being pinoy

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i love being filipino.

sure, it can be a drag sometimes. there may be lots of reasons why i’d rather not live here. why i’d rather not watch the TV news. why i opt not to vote. why it seems so easy to rant and rave and shrug off the crappy things around me. why i’d rather talk about cool stuff happening elsewhere–like snow and seasons and whatnot. anywhere but here, we always say.

as if!

but seriously, i’d rather be here. even if there are a lot of reasons to not like the philippines. these things are shallow and petty compared to being who we’re meant to be as a nation and as a people.

i’m guilty of whining and complaining, folks. we’ve all had our fair share of bad experiences in our crib. and seriously, i think it’s high time we look at things differently. even i am guilty of claiming that i love being pinoy yet secretly wish i were in australia, or the US, or timbuktu.

maybe i should change my first sentence to this: “i want to love being filipino.”

who’s with me? :)

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through a yahoo messenger conversation with my singapore-based cousin, i was able to find out how interesting my heritage is. it’s a story worth telling to my kids someday.

for starters, maybe i can tell them that i’ve lived in six cities and one province. then again, that fact is of this writing, and i’m guessing i’ll be living in a few more ;) you can never call tell! :D

lunch, and then some

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just for kicks i decided to have lunch at our building’s newly-opened food court. i was–am–a packed lunch person, and to be honest i got sick of cooking for myself the past couple weeks, so i decided to do something different today.

i was craving for something japanese and crunchy (read: katsu), and was relieved when i saw a japanese-looking kiosks around the area. unfortunately, they were still cooking their rice and did not have meals available. not having rice at one pm? yikes. then again, maybe they weren’t anticipating a lot of patrons today. i decided to look elsewhere.

i was on my way out when i saw an oriental-looking food stall. “tong se,” the sign read. hmmm, looked oriental enough. well, it sounded like it. so off i went, expectant and hopeful for my katsu fix.

they had a wide selection of viands: sweet and sour fish, tilapia with greens, beef with broccoli, lemon chicken, pork cordon bleu. (hey… wasn’t this supposed to be oriental?) i vacillated between the pork cordon bleu and lemon chicken because both looked crunchy and yummy, and the portions were huge. the cordon bleu looked katsu enough to me, anyway. after a few seconds of thinking, i chose the lemon chicken. i’d been craving for KFC earlier in the week and i surmised that i must be craving for chicken, per se.

the meal was served on a bento box, with veggies and TWO scoops of rice. for 85 bucks, this was a sweet deal. they also gave me FOUR pieces of lemon chicken, and soup. and the soup wasn’t just knorr chinese style stuff. sure, it was knorr, but it had REAL chicken bits innit. so i knew then that i made a good choice.

or maybe not.

i would have raved and all about my experience save for one thing:

the meal was cold.

not like ice cold, mind you. the food was unheated. like ten notches lower than warm. i started out with the soup, complete with blowing it to not scald myself. i should’ve felt some sort of heat emanating from the liquid to my lips while i was blowing it, right? nope. zero.

the rice was cold, too. and so was the chicken! the only heated item on my bento box were the veggies. which was not bad, but… i still found it a bit sad. it’s funny, when you think about it, because the food was displayed on those stainless-steel catering style dishes that supposedly had burners under them. you get my drift, right? so i immediately deduced that the meal should’ve been hot. or warm, at the very least.

the older man who was next to me in line sat across from me, and from the look on his face, he didn’t seem very happy with his choice as well.

i decided to cheer myself up with a little bowl of cerealicious. i picked the “benjamint button” bowl, which had cookie crisp, chocolate syrup, goya mint, and oreos. it wasn’t as yummy as it looked on the photo, but hey, i can give it another try. as long as they added more syrup. (lol)

so. how was your lunch today? :)

even "surrogate" mothers know best

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okay, before i get to the actual story, i’ve just cross-posted my wordpress blog into my facebook. so to the people who care enough to read this and are incidentally my facebook friends (hi, jannah!), you may now receive updates from my facebook notes. hooray :)

anyway.

as you may know, i live apart from my actual family. the family i live with is composed of a mom, two brothers, and two sisters. i’ve never lived with boys apart from my dad, which is a brand new experience for me to be honest, and that’s a blog for another time.

so. anyway. i was spending time with tita P, the household matriarch, after dinner. i asked her how her day went. she told me about “the curious case of benjamin button,” among other things. then i remembered a conversation i had with some friends earlier in the day.

K: ay, tita. late po ako uuwi bukas.

note that this is a customary thing for me. the first time i went home at an ungodly hour without paalam, i received a scary two-question interrogation from their oldest brother. it was the scariest three minutes of my life. this, again, deserves another blog (he might be reading this, too. hi, T!). but i digress.

tita P: bakit? (glances at clock) anong oras ka uuwi? baka naman kung anong oras yan…
K: (smiles) hindi tita, mga ganitong oras siguro. (it was around 11:30 then) pupunta po kaming araneta.
P: anong gagawin niyo sa araneta?
K: kakain po ng ice cream. (a few friends and i talked about invading the Dairy Queen tomorrow night)
P: ice cream lang, pupunta pa kayo sa araneta.

which made sense, yeah, but i told her that the galleria branch would already be closed by 9pm. she shrugged it off and continued with benjamin button.

this makes me really feel warm and fuzzy inside, the interrogation bit and whatnot :) yeah. even surrogate moms know best.

A Time for Everything

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1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

a time to work, and a time to play, too.

Lord, teach me to appreciate this season in my life.

happy mother’s day, y’all.

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It’s 3:30 in the morning as I type this and I’m thinking of a decent blog to write about Mother’s Day. Forgive my rambleness and randomness, as I’m still trying my best to get the caffeine off of my system.

My mom taught me a lot of things: reading, fun, prayer, thankfulness…and affection. Mommy, as we fondly called her, was fiercely protective of her young. Kind of like mother elephants towards predators wanting their babies for lunch. I know comparing my mom to an elephant is not the most awesome illustration in the world, but bear with me.

Mommy was supportive of me. She didn’t like the fact that I enrolled myself in a course that did not guarantee big bucks or work stability, but she reveled in the fact that I was enjoying myself, that I loved what I was doing. She would pout whenever I wouldn’t send her the stuff I wrote. She hated the fact that I hid things from her, that I would go my own way.

Quite recently I told my mom about a huge decision that I wanted her to know about. I still wanted to hear what she wanted to say, in spite of the fact that she was a million miles away from me. The decision was so huge, it involved relocation and starting over in a completely new environment.

Instead of the reaction that I actually hoped to receive—a smile, a pat on the back, encouraging words, like of a job well done—I heard admonition amid high pitched tones. Rethink my decision, she said, in her signature sosyal bungangera way of saying things.

After a few moments of silence after hanging up, I realized that she made much sense. Here I was, in a job I liked, in a work shift I’d been desperately wishing for, in a house I just moved in to, and barely starting over. Barely getting the “responsibility” bit. Barely gotten on my two feet.

I finally got it after twenty-three years of existing. She wanted the best for me. Still does, and always will. I guess that’s how all moms are like. My mother was definitely not perfect, nor did she claim to be, but the greatest thing she ever…I honestly don’t know how to put it. I can only say that the greatest thing ever about her is this: she wanted the best for me and my sisters. Even if we screwed up and made mistakes, she still loved us unconditionally.

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Another mother I’d like to honor is the matriarch of the household that I currently live in. “Titaaaaaaa,” as I fondly call her, is someone I consider a surrogate mother of sorts, having mentioned earlier that my actual female parent is a million miles away.

I hardly know her—I’ve just lived here for three months—and at the same time I feel like I’ve known her for a long time. She, like my real mom, is fiercely protective of her five children. She was tough and knew her way around. In other words, she knew how to make diskarte. She was self-assured and possessed the wisdom that you don’t really hear anywhere else.

Truth be told, I have an affection for her that I really can’t explain in words, because they really won’t suffice. One thing I can say is this: she isn’t mushy, but she knew love. She knew and understood it, and gave much of it. Not in the typical, but then again, Tita Paz is not typical in so many ways.