Monday, July 27, 2015

The Unmarried Filipina

Below are some words one could hear from the unmarried Filipina:

  •    “If I like being controlled like a child, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I don’t mind sharing my hard earned money and resources, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I can forgive a man for cheating on me, I’d still be married.”  
  •    “If I enjoy arguments like it’s some kind of sports, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I like being ignored and unappreciated, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I didn’t need independence and freedom to be me, I’d still be married.”
  •    “Spinsters and widows get sympathy, I don’t.”
  •    “If I thought emotional abuse is not cruelty, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I could take physical abuse as normal, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I find insults, name calling and foul language acceptable, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I can love someone beyond the third offense, I’d still be married.”
  •    “My children think my life has been easy.”
  •    “If I saw love in his eyes when he looked at me, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I hadn’t given up so easily, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I didn’t get sick, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I didn’t mind waiting, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I didn’t lose my business, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If he wasn’t on drugs, I’d still be married.” 
  •    “If he wasn’t hiding from the law, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If we could talk, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If he stayed, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I had been rich, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I didn’t go abroad, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If my parents had been supportive, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I could turn back time, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I could take back all I’ve said and done, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If he hadn’t met her, I’d still be married.”
  •    “If I hadn’t met him, I’d still be married.”
  •    “Married people are some of the loneliest people in the world.”
  •    “If I had studied the Bible, I’d still be married.”

See also:
Widow of the Living
Divorce For Filipinos

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Beetle

My Beetle with my daughter
and a Makati Film Society poster
   My first car was a red 1966 Volkswagen Beetle I bought in 1979.  It was so old that it had those small tail lights.  I was 26 years old.  I paid 300. pesos bribe to pass my driving test, a standard procedure at that time. Since I was new at driving I had several fender benders.  We had just moved into our new home in Cavite which I built from a SSS housing loan.  Life was good and the Beetle was icing on the cake.  

   It made the commute to my job in Makati City more convenient.  I was holding two jobs to earn two basic salaries.  One was in advertising, selling television shows to direct clients and advertising agencies.  Reporting time was at 8:00 am.  The other job was selling water proofing for brand new cars at car dealers.  This job reports at 5:00 pm.  Needless to say I was running around like crazy to meet my quotas.  On top of those jobs I had film showing projects for Makati Film Society, an organization I co-founded with friends.  The society met at night after office hours because we all had a day job.  The Beetle brought me where I got to be and took me home to Cavite sometimes at midnight or early morning.  Now, that is workaholic.

   On weekends I wanted quality time with my family.  We took the Beetle to Tagaytay for the sites and to eat bulalo, a specialty of the area.  We often went to Cuyab hot springs of Laguna where I get a massage while soaking in hot water.  Whenever there was a kiddie movie showing we went to the Malls in Makati and Araneta Center, Quezon City, then the kids can play video games.  If I didn’t have money we drove to Luneta Park so the kids could run around in the grass or to the park at the Cultural Center where they can rent a bike.  We used to drive over to my parents in Taguig so the children could spend time with their grandparents.  None of those would have been possible without the Beetle.

   When there was an opportunity for some girls night out, I took the Beetle to meet up with friends for a few drinks at some disco or music lounge or Shakey’s Pizza, whichever the budget allows.  Somehow that always included drinking.  I used to down 10 orders of Stolichnaya and tonic and still drive the Beetle home to Cavite in the wee hours of the morning.  That Beetle was a part of my growth in my career, my assertiveness as a woman and my daughter's conception.

See also:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Colonial Mentality

   The Philippine colonial mentality is a residual mindset of inferiority inculcated during the years of colonialism by the Caucasian race, specifically Spanish and Americans.  It started with the introduction of religious idols that are modeled after the white race, teaching that the god of the Bible is white (while Jesus, himself, said "God is a Spirit..." John 4:24).  Then came the Hollywood movie stars that became the pattern for the Philippine movie industry, making it impossible for a non-mestiza to qualify for a role.  

   Colonial mentality was, through a great part of history and for most of the population, an unconscious propensity.  The political activism of the 60’s brought the term into the consciousness of the masses through a sector by sector reeducation for social and political reform.  

Gloria Diaz
   As a result, the colonial mentality, that had been unconsciously absorbed, was subconsciously tempered.  A short, dark skinned, provincial talent became a ‘superstar’ of unparalleled magnitude in the entertainment industry.   More tanned beauty queens rose to power i.e.  Gloria Diaz - Miss Universe 1969, Miriam Quiambao - the 1st Runner Up, Miss Universe 1999, Maria Isabel Lopez - Bb. Pilipinas 1982, etc.  Spanish subject in high school was discontinued in the 70s, and became a subject only in college course then was totally cancelled in the 90s.  Original Philippine Music (OPM) competed with foreign bands with pop songs and ballads. The pop music artists were Nora Aunor, Rico Puno, Celeste Legaspi, Basil Valdez, Hajji Alejandro, Rey Valera, Freddie Aguilar, Imelda Papin, Nonoy Zuniga, etc.  Consumer demand for skin bleaching products fell as sale of bronzer make up increased.  

Taliba, Mayo 30, 1960
   While major broadsheet news were all in English, Taliba, a new Tagalog paper emerged.  Followed by Pilipino Star NGAYON, in 1986 and Abante started publication in 1988.    

   Television arrived in the Philippines with old cowboy series and movies like The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Laramie, The Roy Rogers Show.  In the 1960s, Tagalog shows replaced those such as The Nida-Nestor Show, Buhay Artista, and Pancho Loves Tita and Tawag ng Tanghalan, a popular radio amateur singing contest.  

   As the revolutionaries, armed with nationalist slogans, competed against Martial Law government programs to capture the nation’s allegiance, colonial mentality diminished.  A newly awakened Filipino pride surged.  The expat Filipino workers from Europe to the Middle East took up the charge of proving to the rest of the world that the Philippines is a colony no more.

See also:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reshaping the Philippines

Macapagal Boulevard
   Macapagal Boulevard, an eight-lane road parallel to Roxas Boulevard located in the reclamation area spans from CCP Complex, Pasay City to Asia World City, Parañaque in Metro Manila, Philippines.  The Government Service Insurance System complex which houses the Philippine Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs–Office of Consular Affairs Building as well as a number of luxury condominiums can be found in the area.  Macapagal Boulevard is now used to relieve the traffic around Epifanio Delos Santos Ave. (EDSA) en route to SM Mall of Asia, Entertainment City which has Solaire Resort & Casino and City of Dreams Casino all the way to the Manila-Cavite Expressway.  

   In 1979, the way to Cavite was the old Parañaque road.  It has two lanes on each direction starting from Baclaran though Paranaque and Las Piñas to Bacoor, Cavite.  Traffic then was awful and seemed unsolvable.  Street widening was not an option because it would tear down all the homes and businesses along both sides.  I know this by heart because on that year we moved to  our new home in Imus, Cavite and I commuted daily to my job in Makati City.  I used to pick the seat next to the jeepney driver in front so no other passenger could watch me do my make up along the way.   

   While no one could figure out how to fix the road situation, President Marcos got the answer, the very ambitious task of moving the shore of the Manila Bay.  While reclamation was going on his critics said it would be a waste of public funds.  Some said the reclaimed land would only benefit the rich and powerful.  A few years later the Cavite Coastal Road was opened to the public.  Many begrudged paying toll.  Those people could still take the old road and suffer the slow moving traffic home.  

 Las Pinas Salt Farm
   The coastal road now called Manila-Cavite Expressway and the reclaimed land brought progress to all the cities it crossed.  The salt farms of Las Piñas and the rice fields of Cavite became housing villages.  The new housing when populated developed the commerce and new recreation centers in those areas such as Covelandia now called Island Cove Resort & Leisure Park.  In the rush of development, people forgot whose big idea it was to move the Manila Bay, forever reshaping the map of the Philippines.