Monday, November 30, 2015

A Message to The Gunman

   The old Salawikain (proverb) “Pagkahaba-haba man ng prosisyon sa simbahan din ang tuloy,” is listed to mean “Sa tinagal-tagal man ng samahan ng magkasintahan, sa bandang huli ay humahantong din ito sa kasalan.”  

   In English, the proverb says “no matter how long the procession it always ends in church.”  The listed meaning in English says “no matter how long the engagement, it ends in a wedding.”  Most 'cultural' proverbs (not found in the Bible) are debatable.  Other cultures would contest one as erroneous or adapt, assigning to it an entirely different meaning.  Besides engagements don’t always end at the altar.

   My mother often quoted the above proverb.  However, she had her own interpretation which is unlisted in Google and probably unheard by other generation of Filipinos.  My mother was born in 1928, half a century prior to the Philippine marriage annulment law enacted in 1987.   She was raised to be a one man woman.  In her world, the above proverb meant, and I quote her, “no matter how many mistresses a man should have (since only men were allowed by culture to have an affair outside of marriage) at the near end of his life, he will return to his first wife.”  She usually gave real life examples to make her point, like a man left his first wife as a young man to be with other women, then came back home when he got old and broke, so wife no.1 cared for him until he died.

   When I mentioned my mother’s version to my daughter who was born in 1980, she said it’s wrong.  She quoted to me the Google interpretation.  Brainwashing from birth tends to stick for life.  I still can’t shake what my mother taught me.  Here’s my own real life example to corroborate my mother’s proverb.

   Becky and the Gunman married at 17/18 years old and separated when they were 20/21.  They are now both in their mid 60’s, the ripe age for my mother’s proverb.  In the spirit of Aldub Dubsmash here’s a song that the Gunman could have sang had it been composed in 1971.  
   At this point in her life Becky has asked me to put out there a hidden message enclosed in the song below that only the Gunman himself would catch.  This proves, once more, my mother’s version of the Salawikain, that spouses remember No.1 in the end.





Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ethnically Ambiguous

   Filipinos in multiracial marriages produced gorgeous ethnically ambiguous  children called mestizos or for short tisoys (male) and tisays (female).  These children are taller and have a complexion that range from light brown to many shades of white.  Some are born with aquiline nose called 'tukang loro' (parot’s beak) or the Caucasian nose called leptorrhine, the long and narrow which has become the model for Rhinoplasty, in common terms: a nose job.

Vanessa Minnillo from
 http://img2-3.timeinc.net/
   The foreign genes whether it be Chinese, European or American diluted with Filipino blood gets handed down from generation to generation producing unique physical traits as it goes along.  Most famous of these are Lou Diamond Phillips, Rob Schneider, Bruno Mars, Enrique Iglesias, Phoebe Cates, Vanessa Minnillo, Nicole (Valiente) Scherzinger, etc.

From: http://philnews.ph/
   This brings us to Richard Reyes Faulkerson, Jr., a.k.a. Alden Richards, our current Twitter trending, tisoy heartthrob.  In 2014, Richards became an ambassador for Habitat for Humanity Philippines, building homes alongside other volunteers and families involved with the non-profit organization.  In 2015, Richards became a part of the Philippines' longest running noontime variety show, Eat Bulaga!  His popularity skyrocketed due to an accidental love team between him and his Eat Bulaga! co-host Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza.  The love team is called Aldub and can be found all over YouTube.

   As for biracial mental assets, geniuses like Diosdado P. Banatao, a Filipino American “invented in the late 1980s the world's first ever single-chip graphics accelerator”.  His inventions revolutionized the personal computer we all can’t live without today.  “His first contribution to the computer industry was the Ethernet controller chip… Before that, computer networks operated on big, cumbersome systems that required a lot of space.”

   A Filipino inventor, Roberto Del Rosario patented the Sing Along System in 1975 which has evolved into the now known as Videoke.  Robert Del Rosario is the head of Trebel Music Corporation.  

   Abelardo Aguilar, a Filipino physician, co-created the drug Erythromycin (Ilosone®) in 1949. He sent his employer, Eli Lilly Co., samples of an antibiotic isolated from a soil that Aguilar collected in his home province of Iloilo, in central Philippines.  The antibiotic was named “Ilosone” in honor of Iloilo province where the soil was originally collected.  It gave an alternative medicine to patients with allergic reactions to penicillin.  Erythromycin treats bacterial infections, respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infection, ear and skin infections, gonorrhea, syphilis, rheumatic fever, whooping cough and diptheria.  Erythromycin has earned Eli Lilly billions of dollars, but Aguilar or the Philippine government received no royalty.  Aguilar was allegedly forced to resign by the company’s district manager or he'd get fired for various reasons.  In 1993, Aguilar died, after 40 years of struggling in vain for recognition. 

See also: 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Diva

   It was amazing to realize that there are still places in America where the residents are not familiar with Asians.  These are rural areas where only white people live and city areas with all black population.  In Louisville, Kentucky, Asians are rare and far from each other.  Gloria met four Filipino families in her residency of eight years.

   The image of Filipinos seen on television news of a calamity gave the impression that all Filipinos are destitute.  Many Americans she met were not ready for a Filipina in a suit and were resentful that she landed a job on the seventh floor of a corporate center.  A man said to her face “You’re taking a job from an American.”

 2000 Ford Focus SE
   Her first car was a 2000 Ford Focus SE which did not have ABS brakes in a state where it snows six inches in winter.  After slip and sliding several times, she traded in the Focus for a car with ABS brakes, a 2005 Saturn red coupe, something too sporty for a middle aged immigrant.

   While most of the ladies she knew wore rubber shoes to work and changed into formal shoes when they arrive at the office, she wore her stiletto heels from home.  An American asked her “Do you drive with that on?”  She did not reply but thought, why would she need another pair of shoes to drive with?  

   She never left the house for anything without eye make-up, never let her gray hair show, styled her hair with curling irons and never went out looking shabby even to the nearest Walmart for groceries.  In a conversation with Tiarra, an American friend, she advised the younger woman “You have to look good all the time.  You have a responsibility to your fans.”  

   When she went to an informal gathering wearing a black Nike, a gift from her American husband, Tiarra commented, “I’ve never seen you wear rubber shoes before.  I didn’t think you owned one.”  

   She was surprised when Tiarra started calling her “Diva”.  She thought the label meant a singer.  She could not carry a tune.  The Urban Dictionary defines diva as “to describe a person who exudes great style and personality with confidence and expresses their own style and not letting others influence who they are or want to be.  A person whose character makes them stands out from the rest...A person who tries to achieve what they want and who do not let people get in their way, and doing so with style and class.”  

   Now seeing how Asian women are marginalized in the Midwest, she liked being called a diva.  She has left for California.  Tiarra is in her Facebook friends list.  








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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Being a Girl

   I am an only girl among my siblings.  I was tomboyish as a child, awkward in my early teens, then kind of wild and radical in my late teens.  From there I jumped into being a working mom who did all the chores at home and some.  

From: www.stockdonator.com
   I know how to mix cement with a shovel and actually have put up a wall of hollow blocks with steel reinforcement using a steel saw (just saw around the edge then bend to break).  I laid out red bricks on the dining room wall and the facade of our home using old kitchen tools like an old butter knife to spread cement on the brick before laying on the wall.  I have installed wallpaper, replaced spark plugs on a car and changed a flat tire.  I have maintained car battery with distilled water and radiator with coolant.  (The Philippine car batteries are usually not ‘maintenance free’ because that kind is cheaper and lasts longer if maintained right.  Radiators need constant monitoring and coolant addition because of the climate in the Philippines.)  I have used a wrench to change faucets.  I have painted concrete walls and metal garden furniture.  I am what is called a handywoman.  

   Although I am proud of being able to do a ‘man’s job’ I equally enjoy ‘girl talks’, ‘girl things’ and dressing up.  I like romantic comedies, Miss Piggy, ruffles and lace.

   While working at GA Manila, a survey was circulated.  The question was “What would you want to be called, a lady or a woman?”  My answer follows:

   “Girl!  A lady has sophistication, a woman has substance but a girl has fun!”

From: www.clipartbest.com
   I have ‘emergency make-up’ in my car and a travel toothbrush set in my purse.  I have hats for different seasons (hat helps to warm in winter and protects from sunburn in the summer).  I don’t accumulate shoes like the rich and famous but I insists on wearing stiletto heels at 63 even if it means walking slow like ailing.  I love wearing a coat in America and a swimsuit in the Philippines.  I don’t selfie but I censor my photos.  Only the good ones should be out there.  

   In a medical office, the doctor said I look 10 years younger than my age.  Then he asked how I manage to maintain my shape.  That was enough for me.  I asked my daughter on the way home, “Is it just me or did that 40 something white doctor seemed to like me?” 

   “It’s just you mom,” she replied with a grin.

   Hey, I still believe I can be a girl past 60.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Cost of Being Filipino Abroad

From: socalpain.com
   When I arrived in the US I tried all the American fruits that were not available in the Philippines.  We have our Baguio strawberries and China grapes and apples so let’s exclude those. I liked cherry and grapefruit because it’s similar to suha.  The berries (blueberry, blackberry and raspberry) I liked a little.  After a few months I’ve had enough of them.  I started craving for the Philippine fruits.  Here’s what I found.  

   I have no idea how much atis cost in Manila right now but here in California three pieces of atis cost $4.99+tax=5.15 X current dollar rate of 46.79 is approximately PHP240.00.  

   

   I liked none of the American vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, etc. except for lettuce.  I go to the Asian store to get talong even if there are US and Mexican eggplants available in the supermarkets.  Talong cost $1.49 plus tax equals PHP77.20 a pound X 2.20 = PHP169.84 actual cost per kilo.
   


   Kangkong costs $$1.95 plus tax equals PHP100.59 a pound X 2.20 = PHP221.30 actual cost per kilo.

   Halaan (Manila Clam) cost $4.99 plus tax is approximately PHP240.00 per pound X 2.20 = actual cost per kilo PHP528.00.  That price include the scale heavy shells.  That makes the halaan swam soup outrageous expensive!

   American salt is manufactured salt.  The Philippine salt is sea salt which is better for health reasons.  Sea salt from Pangasinan cost $1.99 plus tax = PHP101.00 a pound X 2.20 actual cost per kilo is PHP222.20.

   

   Headless shrimp is available in American supermarkets.  However, I find the shrimp heads taste better than the most expensive lobster.  Shrimp with head cost between $6.99 to 8.99 a pound, depending on the size.  That’s not even sugpo, that’s just shrimp.  It would cost about $7.50 to 9.50 (PHP444.00) with tax = actual cost per kilo is PHP977.91  

   There are different kinds of vinegar here such as Red Wine vinegar, Cider vinegar, Balsamic, etc.  However, for reasons I can’t explain, I still feel safer with the Philippine Datu Puti which cost $.99 plus tax would be approximately $1.10=PHP51.46.

   I charge all these to the cost of being a Filipino abroad.