Wednesday, February 18, 2015


   My son Jojo was gifted a dog by his college girlfriend.  It was no special breed, an Askal which means ‘street dog’.  Jojo named the dog Madonna, after the rock star.  I didn’t want a pet but couldn’t say no to a token of love.  

   Whenever I drove out of our gate I would see in my rear view mirror Madonna running after me.  Then I would have to drive back to keep the dog in.  If my son was busy, I fed Madonna and gave it a bath.  I realized I fed my children and gave them baths but none of them ran after me like Madonna did.  

   Two years later Jojo dropped out of college and ran away from home leaving Madonna totally in my care.  When he came home Madonna still recognized him but the love between them has grown cold.  Madonna has bonded with me in a deep friendship no one intended.  When Madonna died, I grieved secretly.

   After I lost the love of my life in death, I met Bob, a 60 year old American who owned a border collie named Buddy.  When Bob asked me to marry him, again I was not very keen on living with a dog but Bob assured me that Buddy was easy.  There’s no need to wash Buddy because it lives in the garage and cleans itself.  There’s no need to fix food out of left overs since dogs in America ate dog food.  

Buddy and me
   Buddy was waiting for me the day I arrived.  It came up to rub itself against my legs.  It was a warm welcome I didn’t expect.  True enough Buddy was no trouble, hardly barked, didn’t make a mess, and was always sweet to me.  As days went on, the love and appreciation I wanted to find in my marriage I got from Buddy. 

   The last time I saw Buddy it looked at me with sad eyes.  I never found out why Buddy disappeared.  I waited every evening.  After several days I knew Buddy was not coming home.  I ran out the door calling Buddy in tears.  Bob came after me and gave me a comfort hug.  He said he looked all over and that Buddy might have found an owner with better dog food.  I don't believe that.     

   Bob and I divorced after 3 years.  Buddy, like a child, might have saved the marriage.  I would have stayed for Buddy, or better yet, we should have run away together.  Maybe that sad last look was saying goodbye so I can move on.  

In 2015, I found a new borrowed pet, Tore. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blog's 2nd Anniversary

   Thanks to the 18,850 readers from different countries.  February 2015 marks the 2nd anniversary of this blog.  This blog has given me a voice that has reached the places I can only dream of like France, China, Russia, Germany, etc.

   In the past 12 months I paid respect to my cousin Rey, my uncle Nardo Manecio and the best place to work in Manila, GA Manila.   The Reading Man of Geneva and The Jeepney Dispatcher are about two men who are continents apart but share the rough life in the street.  

   Eat Bulaga's FHHM - The Equalizer 2 is about a beauty contest for the plus size women.  For the first time beauty was all about the face and personality.  The winners became a part of the show as The Six Bomb Dancers.  Eat Bulaga Scholarship is about the scholarship sponsored by Eat Bulaga to help the deserving students.  The scholars who will continue through college received laptops as gifts.

   The city of my childhood is revisited in Pasay City Kids, The Standbys of Pasay, The Backlash and Another Pasay City Kid, while articles about my life in California are A Filipina Deals with California Drought, The In-Law Apartment Lifestyle, The Brown Bag, Wood Floors and Flowers of California.  

   Some articles which attempts to describe the mindset of the Filipina are Suicidal Without Depression, Api (Oppressed) Syndrome and Employee Mentality while The Dollar Exchange Rate To Hate, The Fighter’s Mom, 1950’s Kitchen, Widow of the Living and The Preacher’s Business are about mothers in different walks of life.

   Parting with a Saturn Named Slick depicts the end of a six-year 'through thick and thin' relationship with a 2005 Saturn Ion.  Some marriages don't even last that long.  The difference is that a car will love you back.  For every attention you give it returns in terms of performance and loyalty.  I wish I could say the same about husbands.  

See also:
Blog's 1st Anniversary    
Blog’s 4th Anniversary 
Blog’s 3rd Anniversary

Monday, February 9, 2015

Breaking Barriers

 A Cuban taxi sits with an American flag
   There have been few events in history when someone knocked down a wall to end an era.  President Reagan gave the ceremonial command to “Tear down this wall.”  The Berlin Wall that stood for 28 years was torn to pieces.  President Obama knocked down an invisible wall that has stood for half a century, almost twice longer than the Berlin Wall.  In his 2015 State of the Union, he ended the Cuban embargo that began in 1960. 

   “In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo.” - President Obama

   On another kind of barrier, from the 60’s Filipinos had been rallying for the removal of US military bases in the Philippines.  Those bases were overstaying remnants of a colonial stretch that should have ended when the US recognized Philippine Independence in 1946 in the Treaty of Manila.  

   “Again I turned my attention to all the acts of oppression that go on under the sun.  I saw the tears of the oppressed, and there was no one to comfort them.  And their oppressors had the power, and there was no one to comfort them.” (Ecclesiastes 4:1)

   In 1991 Mount Pinatubo broke its silence in a thunder heard across the globe.  It covered the military bases in volcanic ash that would take more money to clean up than to move out.  The US gave up the bases back to the Filipinos in the only nature made diplomatic maneuver known to man.  Some would say it was an act of God to show that some walls would take a deity to crumble into ash.  Like the parting of the Red Sea that liberated the Israelite from Egypt, Mount Pinatubo removed the last vestiges of domination from Philippine soil.  

   “There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” (Luke 21:11)


" But today, just months later, many young Cubans rock the American flag as part of their apparel. Whether it’s as a fashion statement, or political one, one thing is clear: the American flag is being raised in more places than just the American embassy." (ABC News, Aug. 13, 2015)

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Filipina’s View of 2015 SOTU

   I did not vote for President Obama because I have not voted for anyone since I found religion some two decades ago.  Beyond those years I had a very politically conscious past.  “Political consciousness” was a term that was popularized at the University of the Philippines in the late 60’s.  Yet there have been rare occasions when I was touched by current politics.  The 2015 State of the Union address of President Obama was one. 

The President said
I say

Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before…
My daughter arrived in California in 2011, 3 years after the 2008 mortgage crisis.  She didn’t have car and walked long distances.  She worked hard without a promise of promotion.  Within only 2 years she rose from the ranks and was promoted to Store Manager. 

We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet.  And today, America is number one in oil and gas.  America is number one in wind power.  Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.” 
I have dreamed of getting solar power used widely in the Philippines, the country of sunshine, even when it’s raining.  Solar power would bring the energy price down making it affordable in the urban poor areas where they resort to stealing electricity by illegal tapping.  Illegal tapping is done by non-electrician/non-engineers and has killed many.

America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more.”
My father got his Dentistry degree courtesy of the GI Bill in the early 50’s.  That benefit provided a good life for my brothers and myself.  My father did not practice Dentistry outside of the US Navy.  He retired in his early 40’s to devote the rest of his days to the family he left in the Philippines.

“By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future.  That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college – to zero.” 
The Philippines does not have educational loan.  Children are sent to college by their parents.  For those who can’t afford to do so the children take a job to support their own education.  Literacy list says:
Cuba    99.8%  age 15 and over can read and write in Spanish
Philippines       95.4%  age 15 and over can read and write in English because the medium of education in the Philippines is entirely in English.

“Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave.”
The Philippines provides maternity and paternity leave, solo parent leave, bereavement leave, calamity leave and Magna Carta for Women which gives 60 calendar days leave to all female employees who goes into surgery due to gynecological disorders.

   It brought me to tears to realize the comparison between the State of the Union and my own grasp of my country’s 'state of the nation'.  

See also: