Oh, my Manila!

Being away from my country, safe and dry, while most of Metro Manila are underwater and hundreds and thousands of my kababayans are left homeless, hungry, and without electricity breaks my heart.

Yesterday’s pictures of flooded Manila were very difficult to look at. I got scared looking at familiar places submerged in water.  I’ve lived in Manila when I was younger and flooding is a regular occurrence in the capital but it is noticeably getting worse every year. And there’s not even a typhoon to blame this time, just a steady downpour of torrential rain. I am horrified at the thought that Manila is slowly turning into a water world!

My country is in a state of calamity now. I’m worried for my friends and relatives there. Please keep my country in your thoughts and prayers. As more rain is forecast, I pray for the torrential rains to stop and for all the families that are in need to be rescued and provided for. In this connection, I would like to appeal to those who have extra in their pockets to please donate whatever you can.

In the Philippines, here’s a list of drop off points {and contact details} for donations in Manila (please click the photo for a larger image):

Let us join hands and help those who are in need. Please donate whatever you can.
Let us join hands and help those who are in need. Please donate whatever you can.

And for those of who are overseas, the Philippine National Red Cross accepts donations via PayPal. Please check their donations page for more details.

Photo Hunt 057: Mostly black

My entry for this week is not mine, but my sister’s. She sent this to me in January when she and her family went to Kalibo, Aklan to experience the Ati-Atihan Festival.

These kids join in the street-dancing as well; their mostly black bodies were a result of painting charcoal or soot all over themselves.
These kids join in the street-dancing as well; their mostly black bodies were a result of painting charcoal or soot all over themselves.

Ati-atihan is one of the most popular, most fun, and wildest celebrations in my native Philippines. Every second week of January, local and foreign tourists troop to Kalibo, in the Western Visayas region, to take part in the culminating three-days of merry-making and celebrations. These days the Ati-atihan festival is held in honor of the  province’s patron saint, Senor Sto. Nino.  But it all began a long, long time ago when the dark-skinned, short kinky-haired natives called ati, or aeta, inhabited the lowlands of Panay Island. A group of Malayan datus (noblemen) escaped Borneo and landed in Panay island to seek a new home. The Malayan datus and the king of the atis, named Marikudo,  made a pact allowing the Malays to stay in the lowlands and the atis to settle in the highlands. Of course, it wasn’t a free deal. The Malayan datus offered a golden salakot (a native conical hat) and anklet to Marikudo and his wife as a token of their appreciation for the land that was provided to them. At that time, the atis were celebrating their harvest season, so they invited the Malays to join in their “party”. Now this party became what is now known as the Ati-atihan festival.  Modern-day street-dancers and visitors blackened their faces and body with charcoal or soot to look like an ati.

My hometown is just less than two hours away from Kalibo but, I have to admit, I have never been there during the Ati-atihan Festival.  I know I am missing a lot and it’s about time I should go there!



Announcement from the Phil. Embassy in PP


The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Phnom Penh regrets to inform the Filipino Community in the Kingdom of Cambodia that H.E. CORAZON C. AQUINO, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, passed away on 01 August 2009.

In this regard, please note the following:

01. A Condolence Book will be opened from 03-07 August 2009 during office hours.

02. The Samahan ng Mga Pilipino sa Cambodia (SAMAPI) will also offer a mass for the late President Aquino on Wednesday, 05 August 2009 at 06:00 p.m. at the Embassy. Those who wish to attend are requested to wear a yellow shirt or dress.

A period of national mourning for ten (10) days has been declared in the Philippines. During this period the Philippine flag will be flown at half-mast.

For information and clarification, please call the EMBASSY at Tel. No.
+855.23.215.145 or +855.23.222.304.

** Photo Credit: Originally uploaded by my dear friend Seralulalu’s On My Palette.

Photo-hunt #39: Bridge

PH Bridge - Panay Bridge
Panay Bridge
Roxas City, Capiz

Panay Bridge is one of the enduring landmarks in my hometown of Roxas City. It was built in 1910 but despite the long years and the many typhoons that hit the city, the bridge remains standing and as strong as ever. The bridge connects the main streets to the city’s commercial area and the gateway to most of the municipalities of Capiz province.

*NB. I was told that the bridge is now known as the Roxas City Bridge.

Litratong Pinoy #16: Kinagisnan

Ang sineguelas… bow!

Scientific name: Spondias purpurea. Kilala ito sa iba’t-ibang pangalan: Jocote, o ciruela, sa Central America; Hog plum, red mombin, purple mombin sa wikang Ingles; sineguelas, o sinegwelas, sa wikang Tagalog. Pero para sa aming mga Ilonggo, sargwelas ang tawag namin dito.


Kung sa Amerika at Canada ay kinagawian na ang apple-picking, sa amin naman sa Roxas City ay pinanabikan namin ang pagdating ng summer dahil nakagisnan na namin ang mag-sargwelas picking! Tuwing sasapit ang summer, kami ay nagbabakasyon sa Mambusao sa mga kamag-anak ng tatay ko. Marami kaming kamag-anak doon subalit sa isang paborito naming Tiyo kami palagi pumupunta. Ang bahay niya ay luma na at gawa sa bato at ito ay napapaligiran ng iba’t-ibang fruit trees. May langka, balimbing, abokado, mangga, star apple, kamyas, papaya, sargwelas, lansones at iba pa.

Hindi naman matataas ang puno ng sargwelas kaya hinahayaan kaming akyatin ito upang mapitas ang bunga. Subalit ang puno ng sargwelas ay may kakaibang katangian. Kapag ito ay namumunga na, nalalagas ang dahon at nagmumukhang tuyot na para bang patay na ang puno. Kaya minsan natatakot din kaming umakyat sa puno kaya gumagamit na lang kami ng singit* para makuha ang bunga.


Karaniwang kinakain kung manibalang na ang sargwelas na sinasawsaw sa asin. Matamis, malutong kung kagatin at may woody flavor ito. Pero para sa amin, ito ay parang mansanas na rin. Ako naman, dahil may ka-weirduhan, sinasawsaw ko ito sa sukang may toyo. Hmmm, kanamit!

*Oist, bago kayo mag-isip ng hindi tama, let me explain. Singit (mabilis ang pagbikas) ang tawag naming mga Ilonggo sa sungkit!

Photo Hunt #22: Candy

Photo borrowed from my other blog.

This is my favorite childhood treat, ampao, or rice crispies, in the Philippines. When I was a kid in the province, we seldom eat chocolates (they are expensive). Chocolates and other candies were a rare treat, and we usually had them only on Christmas, birthdays and other special occassions. Rice crispies, however,were our everyday treat. They are sweet and crunchy, sometimes sprinkled with peanuts and most of all, very affordable. It is rectangular in shape and because it is quite thick, one has to open its mouth wider than usual to have a bite of it.

Updates from where I am

Hello everybody!

Thanks for dropping by even if I have no updates.
I slipped out of Cambodia and in to the Philippines quietly. I am here for matters concerning my health. I do not wish to divulge details about it as I do not want to dampen everyone’s mood but let me just say that after some tests, there is no immediate cause for concern, thank God.

From my end, I am enjoying my time here at home in Roxas City, eating home-cooked meals that I sorely missed. A close friend based in Norway commented on my non-existent gimik schedule as biglang natahimik, as opposed to my being a curacha when I was in Phnom Penh where I was almost always out of town doing something in the community.

I must admit though that after a couple of days here in Roxas, I kind of miss Cambodia already. I miss my husband (he still has work – school holiday is two months away), and thanks to modern technology, we exchanged sms and talk through YM almost every night. I still have to stay for more tests but for now, I’ll just sit back, relax and enjoy the vacation while it lasts. I am spending time with my parents (who are looking older everytime I come home) and my siblings and their brood – a nephew and nieces – who (except for my nephew) I haven’t seen since they were born.

I have been enjoying my holiday and soon it will be over, but let me just show you where I’ve been spending most of my time:

In one of our family outings, we went to this not so known beach resort in Barangay Basio, in Ivisan town, about 36kms away from the capital city of Roxas. It was such a surprise to see white sand and clear waters comparable to Boracay without going out of Capiz at all! I was even more surprised that only a handful of visitors go there… mabuti nga iyon, we had the beach all to ourselves lang.

Let the pictures speak for itself:

umbrella beach

basiao beach

virgin beach1

Beautiful, isn’t it?
It is still pristine, untouched by the claws of commercialism. I would definitely come back to Basiao with my husband next time.

Noypi, Ikaw Ba ‘To?*

A good friend of mine, Maya, sent me the following and since I have no interesting kwento to post yet, I am sharing this to everyone as well.

Be Pinoy

MANILA, Philippines — Pinoy is what Filipinos call each other, a term of endearment. You’re Pinoy from Pilipino just like you’re tisoy from mestizo or chinoy from chino. It’s a nickname just as Minoy is from Maximo, Ninoy from Benigno, Tinay from Florentina and Kikay from Francisca.

But now they’re Maxi and Ben and Tintin and Cheska. You’ve been called indio, goo-goo, Negro, flip, noypits. Or Filipino,a Spanish biscuit that is brown outside and white inside, or a word stricken from the dictionary which means domestic. Ay, lintik!

You’re Juan de la Cruz or Mang Pandoy. You’re common tao, masa, urban poor but also Cecile Licad and Don Jaime, Jose Rizal and Tony Meloto, Shawie and Pacquiao and Nick Joaquin, galing galing.

Born June 12, 1896, the Republic of the RP is a Gemini, good at connecting, good at loving-loving, good at texting and interpersonal skills. Filipinos like to yakap, akbay, hawak, kalong, kalabit. We sleep side by side, siping-siping, we go out kabit kabit.

There’s lots of us to go around. Someone always to listen to a sob story, even in a jeepney, to share-aload or to share a TV.

Everyone’s tito, tita. Who has a hipag, a bayaw, a bilas, a balae, a kinakapatid? Who has an ate, dete, diche, kuya, diko? The maids call her ate, the driver calls him kuya and everybody is tito or tita.

Who has a Lola Baby, a Tito Totoy, a bosing called Sir Peewee, his wife Ma’am Lovely and their kids Cla Cla and Kring Kring?

The Pinoy lives in a condo, a mansion, an apartment, a bahay na bato, ilalim ng tulay, Luneta, Forbes Park, and Paris too! He’s a citizen of the world, he’s in all the villages and capitals, colonizing the West, bringing his guitar and his bagoong, his walis na tingting, his tabo, his lolo and lola.

Where there’s a beat, there’s a Pinoy. You’ll find her singing in a nightclub in Tokyo, a musical in London, the Opera House in Sydney. Sure, they’ve got the infrastructure, the theaters and architecture. Who but Pinoys direct their plays, or trains their company managers, and imports our teachers, by the way?

Look at that baggage – all pasalubong, none for herself. From bedsheet to hair color, Toblerone to carpet, Viagra to paella pan, Victoria’s Secret to microwave.

Hey, Joe, don’t envy me ’cause I’m brown, you’ll get ultra violet from that sun and turn red not brown. Just lucky, I guess. God put us all in the oven, but some were uncooked and some were burned, but me, I came out golden brown!

Hey, Kristoff! Hey David and Ann! Your Pinoy yaya makes your kids gentler, more obedient, she teaches them how to pray. Hey Big Brother! Hey Grandma Moses! Who but Pinoy nurses make your sick days easier all the way?

We made the jeepney, the karaoke, the fluorescent bulb, the moon buggy. We invented People Power and crispy pata; popularized virgin coconut oil, scaled Mount Everest and made it with Cebu furniture abroad among the best.

Ever trying for the Guinness World Record-with the longest swim of a child, the longest kiss, the longest longanisa.

The Pinoy is a linguist. As in. As if. For a while. Open the light. Close the light. Paki ganyan naman ang kuwan sa ano. Tuck in. Tuck out. Don’t be high blood. If you’re ready na, I’ll pass for you.

Hayop; Hanep! Bongga ka ‘day, feel na feel kita, kilig to the bones ako. Don’t make wala, don’t make tampo. Taralets na, babes, let’s go, nababato na ang syota mo.

I’m inviting you to my party, please RSVP.
Oo means “yes” or “maybe,” or “yes if you insist,” or “maybe if it doesn’t rain.” “Yes” is also a nice way of saying “no.” Yes, hindi kita sisiputin. “No,” eto na ako at ang barkada ko. Please don’t ask a Pinoy a question like that!

The Pinoy finds time to be nice, to be kind, to apologize, to be there when you’re depressed, to help you with your utang and your wedding dress.

The Filipino is a giver, never mind what it does to his liver, never mind what it takes. Hardships of the Third World don’t dry up his blood, they just make him more compassionate, more feeling, of the other guy’s lot. Note that the maid sends all her wages home to ailing daddy. She is the OCW whose labor of loneliness created the original katas ng Saudi.

Bahala na!
The Filipino is fearless, bahala na si Batman, which actually means Bathala na or “leave all to God.” Okay lang if I die by bitay, okay lang if I live, okay lang if I survive by the skin of my teeth.

Saway ni Inay: Di ka naman Bill Gates, di ka naman French, mahirap nang magbuhat ng sarili mong bench.

Be Pinoy! Enjoy!