Saturday, May 31, 2008


My cousin sent me text messages today telling me that he's on his way to the town of his girlfriend. He's about to ask her parents for her hand, as what we call it. In the Philippines, the tradition of asking the girl's parent's permission to get married, still exist. In the northern part of the Philippines, it is known as "Pamamanhikan". In the city where I came from, we call it "Pamalaye".

It is a man's way of showing his respect and true intentions as well as the couple's manifestation of respect to both of their families. It shows Filipino's value for family, as what is taught in school that the number 1 unit in society is family. The family of the bride ask for assurance that their daughter will be well taken cared for. The guy is usually accompanied with his own folks and family. It is a way of saying that their son wants to marry the daughter of the other famiy involved.

In my cousin's case, since his immediate family lives far away, our uncle is the one representing instead. In this event, the guy and his family would bring foods and other goods enough for his and her family to partake. It is also in this event that the wedding arrangements are discussed, as to when the wedding date would be, the venue of the ceremony and the reception, the cost, the estimated number of guests and entourage, among other things that pertain to the wedding. This is usually the official meeting of both families. After such event, making the necessary arrangements would start.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Back to School

In the Philippines, it's usually enrollment period every last week of May. Classes start on the first or second week of June. Yes, just when the school ends in the US, it's about to start in the Philippines. In the malls and bookstores, parents rush to buy bags, notebooks, books, and other school supplies for their children. If you want to go through the counters without any hassles, it's always preferable to go shopping as early as April to avoid the long lines.

During this time, parents work harder and find all means for their children to enroll. Education in the Philippines is so important that even the less fortunate ones strive hard just so their kids can finish school and have a degree. For the parents, education is the only legacy that they can leave their children with.

Aside from the long lines in bookstores and malls for school supplies, there are also lines involved in the enrollment itself. When I was in college, I applied as a student assistant, which includes the early enrollment privilege. When the regular enrollment started, all I did was help in the process and assist fellow students. Just before the school starts, there's the orientation day especially to the freshmen. I miss those days when I was still a student however, I don't think I miss the homeworks!lol

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

No Excuse

While surfing the net, I read a news article about a man suing an airline for ruining their family vacation. Their destination is overseas and they were stranded for hours in their first stop for which they were not allowed to board their connecting flight, which is an unexcuse gesture from the employees of the said airline. After days of being stranded, they were not able to see their luggages. He decided to change airlines and finally they arrived to their destination but it was three days later than what they planned. Upon arriving, he spent most of his time chasing the airline company because they haven't seen their luggage which they finally claimed after almost a week have passed. To make matters worse, they were forced to spend thousands of bucks for hotel rooms, clothes, and other costs! With this, they were continued to be rudely treated which is yet another unexcused actions by the employees. In this situation, the employees concerned should be apologetic the least. One of the important factors that affect airline business are its customers because without them, they will cease to exist. Providing good customer service should be one common goal that all employees should implement to gain positive feedbacks, therefore attracting good business and satisfied customers.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Indiana Jones

The new Indiana Jones is now showing in a lot of theaters worldwide. It is currently earning an estimate of $311 million in global box office sales. After 19 years, the phenomenal director Steven Spielberg and some of the cast led by Harrison Ford worked together again for a sequel of the Indiana Jones which as reported, took almost $200 million to complete.

The first Indiana Jones which was shown in 1981 was called the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Three years after, it was followed by the Temple of Doom. The Last Crusade appeared in 1989 and currently, which is the fourth one, is called the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The first three Indiana Jones set were in 1930's while the latest one is set in 1957.

When we went to Disneyland, one of the attractions was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. It is a show of stunts with complete props and casts playing. We watched the Indy Jones last night and we all agreed that it's a very good movie. Of course, with Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg, I don't think you can go wrong. It is so full of adventures, actions and occasional humor. Cate Blanchett also did a good job in playing the Russian villain. The plot revolved around the crystal skull. With the recent standing in the box office, it is expected to earn more from all over the world.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Videoke is a very popular form of entertainment in the Philippines. An entertainment in which amateur singers or just anybody who wants to try singing, sing along with recorded music using a microphone. On video, the voice of the original singers are removed or muted and the lyrics are displayed with corresponding moving cursors and changing text colors so that one can easily follow the song. These serve as a guide to successfully deliver the song. It can be in a plain TV with an attached player or it can also be a videoke machine wherein you press the corresponding buttons to enter the number of your song and then play it.

It has become so famous that wherever you go, you'll find videoke bars. In my city, my co-workers and I usually go to a videoke bar on our rest days. The bar has more than 5 rooms in different sizes. Each is an airconditioned room that contains the TV set with 2 microphones, couches and table. The rooms are intended for small to large groups of people. Drinks and appetizers are also served. In the Philippines, appetizers or "pulutan" goes well with beer and similar beverage. The rates are hourly so you can sing all you want as long as you're ready to put down the microphone when your time is up!lol

Another scenario in the Philippines for a videoke is simply in the homes of Filipinos where families gather together for an occasion. I should say that I also have fun and enjoyable memories singing on videoke with my family. One will also find videoke in some malls as part of the recreation area. Videoke is not only to those who have the golden voice, but it is for everybody who just want to enjoy each treasured moment.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

A Day to Remember

Today is Memorial Day in the US, a Federal Holiday observed every last Monday of May. It is formerly known as the Decoration Day. It is a day commemorating all brave men and women who fought for this country and died. People visit cemeteries and memorials to show respect. Aside from commemorating those who were in military service, it is also a day to remember our deceased loved ones who may not necessarily be in the service. On the other hand, it is unofficially the start of the summer season. Some major activities are also linked with the Memorial Day such as the Indianapolis 500, a race car event in Indiana.

Yesterday we visited my husband's grandparents' and other relatives' grave. My father in-law was there in the entrance to the cemetery sitting by a table because he's part of the committee that collects donations for the maintenance of the cemetery. Later today, we're also planning to visit my mother in-law's grave. She died 5 years ago at the age of 70. She's remembered as my husband's mom as well as a woman in service because she used to be in the Air Force.

In towns or cities, a memorial ceremony is being held in some churches or memorial parks. Some groups of people also place American flags on each grave of the servicemen. For some, this is a day to be with families and have picnics and just enjoying the holiday. Today is a day to remember, treasure and honor the memories of the brave men and women in military and to the loved ones who have bade farewell.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oldies but Goodies

When I first got here, one of the things that my husband introduced me was a TV sitcom called The Andy Griffith Show. It didn't catch my interest at all because for one thing, it's a black and white show! I was never fond of the non-colored shows because for me they're old and they just didn't catch my attention. My husband however, told me that once I am familiar with the characters in the show, then in time I will learn to like it. Since the airing of the show is during lunchtime, we had more time to watch it. After some time, I finally got acquainted with the characters then before I knew it, I was watching it more and more and now, I simply love the show!lol We watch it everyday and make sure that we have our lunch ready as much as possible on the time it starts. My husband knows that I am getting addictive to the show that one of the presents that I got from him on Christmas were DVD's of the show.

One time we ate out in a diner and it was showing on the TV which made our dinner more enjoyable. Then some families entered and immediately recognized the show, only then I realized how popular the show is. It had eight very successful first-run seasons in the 1960's. The first five seasons were filmed in black and white and the last three were in color. We find it ironic because I actually like the older seasons considering I never did like black and white shows! The Andy Griffith Show was so successful that it still has reruns airing after 40 years. I just love all the characters as each one of them delivers their roles so well and so naturally that the end result is a very gratifying show.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Before I left for the US, I had my best job ever. I loved it so much that I even enjoyed the training days. It was in a call center in my city that caters to clients all around the globe most especially the US. It's an outbound call center that gives the customers satisfaction with the products.

In my batch from training, there were 13 of us and we were all deployed which was amazing because not all batch had a 100% deployment. The trainers even called us the lucky 13. Each one of us had different personalities but still worked harmoniously with each other. Since we were new, we all had our breaks together because the introduction of the company's policies and such were done in classroom settings so officially we did not start with our job yet. During breaks, we would just stay outside the building and crack jokes and tell stories or go to the mall which was adjacent to the call center.

After 6 months, we were deployed as regulars which was of course always a good thing with all the benefits that comes with it, not to mention the increase of our salary!lol We were then separated and distributed to different teams. Some of us were on the same teams. As part of the company's motivation system, teams are encouraged to have team buildings once in a while. It's up to the team to decide where they want to have it and what they want to do. For our team, we went to the beaches and islands. Even just going to a disco or karaoke bar was a lot of fun. Not only did we have fun in our outings but in our work as well because we interact with each other.

The experiences and memories I had while working there were priceless because aside from the job being great, it has a lot to do with the people we work with and the whole environment that we work on.

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The Signs of Times?

The world at present is so full of big happenings. Most of which are happenings not so pleasant and worthy to even remember. The recent being the tragic 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit China and killed thousands of people. As an aftermath, in one refugee center alone, there are about 20,000 people who are so to say "lucky" enough to be there where there's food and medical services served. We hate to think how all the rest of the affected people not in centers, are coping up. The death toll continues to rise and it's around 40,000 now. Another equally tragic that happened in a neighboring country, Myanmar, was a deadly cyclone that was reported to have 12 feet high waves and there was just nowhere to run and hide. The latest death toll is estimated at 200,000. Plus there's a million who are in urgent need of assistance. It is a very sad and terrible news that shock the whole world. I am more concerned myself because both of these countries are close to my own native country, the Philippines.

Aside from the natural calamities that happened around us, there's also the continuing rise of gas prices all over the world. It is devastating because it affects almost everything there is, the foods, the clothing which we all know that they are part of the basic needs of men in order to survive. My family in the Philippines are telling me that very same thing is also happening there. In fact, I watched the Philippine news last night and the jeepney and bus fares are expected to increase today. On the other hand, here in US, all people are affected by this especially that all people has their own vehicles that you just can't postpone buying gas. It's terrible! I remember when I came here last year in spring, the gas prices were still around 2.98 per gallon.

We can't help but think are all these signs of times?

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Monday, May 19, 2008


The extra ordinary friendship-sisterhood between four women. Although sometimes have similar attitudes, most of the time are distinctly different. Four women who have gone through thick and thin. Almost a decade of friendship but felt like it's been a lifetime. These four women, which by the way includes me, have and will always stay connected eventhough new chapters and circumstances in life separate us.

It all started in our junior year in college. We had the same classes. Erica and I became friends because I found out that she's from my Mom's hometown. She then introduced me to Jean who wasn't too crazy about me at first because she thought I'm a snob!lol After she finally knew me, we met Jeanny and the four of us just clicked and before we knew it, we hang out more and became closer. After a while, we decided to call our group as "Babuns". It all began when Erica and I were in our Math class. It was starting to get boring so Erica found a writing on the wall which said "Baboon ka!" which means "You're a baboon", in English. She found it funny so she pointed it to me as if the writing was directed to me! From then on, it became a joke between the four of us so we decided to call our friendship, Babuns (we just changed the spelling to be unique).

Each of us are close to our own families that whenever there's a party or occasion of one, all four of us are present. Having said that, each one's family know all of us and has become like a member of each family, if that makes sense! Time passed by and Erica got married and went back to the province. Then Jean went to another country for a job. That left Jeanny and I in our beloved city. We tried to see each other as much as our work would allow us. Although last year, I had to leave to get married and be with my husband. So at present, we're all far away from each other but still manage to keep in touch as much as possible. We all know that distance and time can never separate us forever. The Babuns spirit always stays in our hearts.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A Tribute to my Mama

I am going to write about my mother as a tribute to her for Mother's Day. She passed away in the year 2004. Although she and my father broke up when I was still a kid, she did her best to provide for me. Being an only child, it was her and me against the world, per say. She was so loving and at the same time a disciplinarian. I remember when I had an accident, while laying on my hospital bed, I woke up to find her crying and praying beside me. At the course of time, she needed a companion in life in which at first I couldn't seem to understand. My attitude towards my stepfather was not bad but was not that good either. But still, since my mother loved him, I respected that. I practically grew up with him and with my step siblings. As I was a bit bitter with my mother, hence I often stayed with our relatives. I knew then that she was hurting because for her whatever happens, she wanted for me to be with her as much as possible At the same time, I witnessed how my stepfather saved my mom several times when she had to be taken to the hospital. And for that I am and always will be grateful to him.

In my senior year in high school, I was sponsored to join a club in our school and my sponsor which was my friend, secretly asked my mom to write a letter for me as a part of the retreat. While reading her letter, I just could not stop from crying. In fact, I have it with me until now that whenever I read it, it always does have the same effect as reading it for the first time.

My mother's happiness was getting together with our families and relatives. She was always the first one to organize and see to it that everybody could attend. I remember my cousin telling me during my mother's wake that the very thing that he won't forget about my mom is that because of her, he knew more cousins and relatives. For us, that is my mother's legacy.

During her last few hours, she had an attack that she couldn't talk clearly anymore and all she mumbled about was my name. At the hospital, she was in a coma state and hearing the doctor saying that her life is only up to days or maybe even hours, was so devastating. It literally felt like my heart was being pounded and broken to pieces. I cried until it hurt my head. It was probably my worst cry ever. To make matters worst, she was burning hot with fever while her oxygen was crank up to the highest level of its calibration. It hurt so much seeing her in that condition that I wished I was in that position instead. Few hours passed, my Aunts talked me into talking to my mom not to worry about me because we all thought that's just what was holding her up. At first I would refuse because she can't leave me because she promised she would never do that. In the last moments, I was starting to accept that she'll be gone and I would rather have her rest than seeing her in such condition. So I talked to her telling her not to worry about me, that I'll be fine. I even joked that I will marry a foreigner, just to break the ice of the moment(which turned out odd as I look at it right now because I really am married to one!lol). Lastly, I told her to just rest then I saw a tear rolled down her cheek and after a minute, she let go.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008


When my husband and I did our usual grocery shopping a month ago, I was eyeing a woman that looked like a Filipina who in return was looking at me as well. Then when I was picking up apples, she was also there and we had the chance to talk and exchange information. I asked her where she's from and she said from the Philippines and so I gladly said that I am too. I asked her in what part of the said country, her reply just made us both surprised because come to find out, we came from the same hometown! It's just a tenth of a million probability to bump into somebody in a big country such as the US and to actually find out that you both came from the same country as far as the Philippines. Before our acquaintance in the mall, she also met another Filipina in the same mall and actually established friendship eversince. In our recent trip, I also happen to met quite a few Filipinos. The southern states just have more percentage of Filipinos (among other nationalities) because of the warmer climate which really felt like I was just in the Philippines. Here in our area, I learned that there's only 0.1% or 95 Filipinos according to the Indiana Census.

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The Vacation

We just got back from our Florida vacation. It was fun and tiring at the same time, but still, it was fun!lol It was my first visit to the Sunshine State. My husband has been there before but that was twenty years ago so our recent visit is still considered as his first time. But before all that, there was our departure day, we found a delay in our flight which we can't have because it would mean missing our connecting flight. After trying to make arrangements with a representative, we turned out to be in a flight which was three-hour earlier than our original flight! With that being said, we had to get ready in half an hour. We literally stormed out of the house. Our poor puppy was so confused that she didn't know what was going on. To make it worse for her, we had to leave her in that condition until my father in-law picks her up.

Anyways, after we arrived in our destination, we met with some friends and had a fabulous dinner in a great Japanese restaurant, served in a habachi table. Our first official day was spent in The Universal Orlando Resort. It was awesome! We enjoyed some rides and it was a full day which was also the most tiring day of our week-long stay. The next days were spent on more theme and water parks. In the middle of the week, we headed to the beach to unwind and sure did just by looking at the very wonderful sight of the sun setting along the horizon of the Gulf of Mexico. The water was surprisingly warm as well and enjoyed swimming and simply dipping in it. The next agenda to our trip was the Disneyworld. I should mention that I was like a kid in a candy store!lol

I felt so at home in Florida because the weather is similar to my own country then I saw plants and flowers that we also have in the Philippines. Over-all, our vacation was a blast. We enjoyed it so much that we're ready to go back!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Interracial Marriage

Marriage is one big step in a couple's life. However, interracial marriage is a bigger step with more adjustments involve in it. For instance, years ago, it was not accepted by the society especially here in the US that a law barring whites from marrying non-whites existed. However, it has become common nowadays that you see more of the mixed-race union almost everywhere you look.

We also know about the computer age that has vastly become popular. With this comes the birth of online dating. In fact, we're one of those who ventured in such way of meeting someone. After some time of corresponding online with my mate then, he decided to meet me and my family in person by going to my country. After actually spending time with each other, we decided to move forward with our relationship by processing papers for me to be with him. Waiting patiently for almost a year, I finally was able to join him here. With that, we decided to get married. Marrying somebody who comes from a completely different race is a very huge move. There are the different cultures, traditions, and simply, ways of doing things. Not to mention the exchange of dishes! Lucky enough, we both can take each other's foods! lol

In a relationship, some essential things are to compromise and have an open communication. These don't apply only to the interracial marriage but to every marriage for it to work.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Close Family Ties

Filipinos are known to have a very close family ties. This is one of the values influenced during the Spanish regime in the Philippines. This is manifested in most Filipino household, if not all. Usually, it's a full household, including the married children and their own families.

A concrete example of close family ties is my own family. Travels and vacations are always a thing to look forward to. When my mother was still around, her joy is for the family to get together even without a special occassion because the affair itself is special enough. She was the one who organize for a get together. Then we would just hang out together for lunch until supper, everybody just having a good time. About twice or three times a year, she would also organize for all of us to go to our hometown. The travel in itself was an event since we would just rent a jeepney or two so the five-hour drives were always fun, each one has stories or jokes to tell. When we were all together, it's like nobody's an elder because nephews and nieces tease uncles and aunts. In our hometown, it's like a reunion always, more aunts, more uncles, more cousins, more fun. Each meal is always a big meal prepared and shared by everybody. We would go to the river and have a picnic. Even going to the cemetery to visit our loved ones was fun because there's always someone who cracks jokes. Sounds weird? Well, that's my family!

One can always count on his family. If a family member is in trouble, it's an instinct of a Filipino to do the best he can to be able to help even if it's beyond his means.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pinoy Hospitality

It is one of the common traits of being a Filipino. It is a trait that every Filipino is proud of, wherever he goes. It is making guests feel welcome. Even in the humblest house, one can expect to be treated like they're just at home. I remember my husband observed the same thing when he visited me in the Philippines a couple of years ago. He appreciated so much how he was welcomed by my family. When he had dinner with us at home, my folks were busy cooking and preparing for our guest. My Aunt even set up the table beautifully with an equally beautiful tablecloth reserved for guests. He told his folks here that he was treated like a royalty and even told me that we didn't have to do that since it's just him, he's no actor! Well, I told him that it's what Filipinos are, hospitable. Same goes with my friend when her husband visited her. In households, stuffs such as good or brand new sheets, blankets, towels or even a good set of houseware like china, are stored and kept in cabinets for guests to use. Hospitality in the Philippines goes to the extent of offering their own bedrooms to guests even if it means that they have to sleep in another bedroom or in the living room, for that matter, which is common to Filipinos. Being friendly and making guests feel at home is an honor to a Filipino. Showing up unexpected in a house, you'll find yourself served with snacks, the least because if you're showing up during meals, expect to be invited to join and the family would even cook more or even buy more foods outside, in small stores which are known as "sari-sari" store, meaning a variety. Hospitality is one trait that has been passed down from one generation to another and for more to come.

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