Pork buns

Gratitude list time ūüėä

  • PORK BUNS BY TIM HO WAN ARE THE BESSSSSSTTTTTTT

 

Yummeh pork buns are yummeh

 

  • Philippines: My country may be messed up, but I still love it. We are crazy and young as a democratic nation, so all these political pains are expected. But you know what, atthe heart of it all, my fellow countrymen are kind and generous and compassionate. (Now about discipline… Um…)
  • Potato Corner Flavored Fries: Every month I get salty-food cravings, and one of the few that can satisfy these would be the barbecue flavored french fries of Potato Corner. Eez juz guuuuuud
  • Phil: Okay there’s this noon time series that my mom loves to watch (forgot the title), and the lead guy is Brazilian-Japanese model-turned-actor Daniel Matsunaga AND HE IS JUST DREAMY. Cheesy, but still dreamy. And his character’s name is Phil. ūüėć

photo from a googled site

Online

I am a millenial, and I am addicted to my phone.

Well, okay, not really. I’m close to it, though.

In any case, the past few days have seen me glued to my phone reading and responding and reposting stories and articles and opinions about that rape joke that presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte uttered last week. I won’t post links lest I be accused of curating what I want visitors to this blog will see. Google it and you’ll find a lot of netizens both in full rage mode against the guy and his supporters still, well, supporting him. 

My main beef with the guy is his morals. I cannot stand to have a national leader who will demean women like me just because that’s “who he is.” He will no longer be who he is if he assumes the oresidency; he will be assuming the role of every single Filipino in this country. He will be representing us if he wins, and therefore he has a lot more responsibility now to the nation as a candidate. As such, he should shape himself up for the job. 

I got into an online discussion with one of his supporters–a colleague of mine from my previous workplace. He condemned the joke, but retained support because of Duterte’s political will. I agreed with him that the candidate was tough, but I still disagree with his use of his machismo and his misogyny.

There were a lot of other comments online that were really misinformed, and this is what ABSOLUTELY frustrates me to no end. We have Information at our fingertips, yet people still react anyway without being informed. They don’t bother to do research or even READ. They don’t bother to listen or communicate PROPERLY. We have the tools at our hands, but sadly, the majority of its users do not use it responsibly.

I’ve spoken my piece about that guy on Facebook, and I will not repeat it here anymore. All I can say now is that whoever wins had better deserve the trust of the people and had better to do a hell of a job keeping this country moving forward.

Gratitude list

  • Om: I finally got to go back to the mat yesterday after almost a week of no yoga. I caught up with the challenge and did some Om chants to calm my mind and my whole being after reading through the hate online (so toxic huhu).
  • Openness: not many people are open to other people’s point of view. People don’t realize that you can still listen to others’ opinions and not have to change your own views. What irks me though, is if their views are wrong, like in the case of Duterte’s supporters who respond to indignant cries of people over the “joke” with “LOOK AT THE CONTEXT OF THE JOKE.” And we go, THERE IS NO FRIKKIN CONTEXT IN THE WORLD THAT JUSTIFIES RAPE JOKES!!! Besides, we weren’t even questioning the narrative behind the incident that brought that statement out; we were indignant over the thinking that it’s okay to crack jokes about raping somebody because no harm was meant, they were just words, they were said in the heat of anger yada yada. NO. Rape jokes are NEVER okay. NEVER.
  • Om: I need to chant Om again.

Moms

One of my closest college friends is giving birth in a couple of weeks and we threw a surprise baby shower for her today. The event was a success; we had good food, good company, and good games (one of which was eating Nutella off a diaper).

Conversation turned to the process of giving birth and motherhood once we finished the program. Those who were moms gave their two cents while the rest of us singletons just cringed whenever someone mentioned the word vagina in the context of givig birth (e.g. “feels like a bowling ball coming out of your vagina;” “You mean you’re going to video the whole thing and see your own sister’s vagina?”)

One of the guests commented that parenting was a scam when she heard how much baby stuff cost. All of us laughed and I guess partly agreed, too. However, none of us laughed when the moms started talking about raising their kids (currently toddlers) into kind, respectful, and responsible people.

Every time my friends talk about their kids’ antics or achievements, I can’t help but feel proud of the kids, but I also am proud of my friends for being great moms who aren’t afraid to discipline their children when needed or teach them to be compassionate. I remember my own mom and think of how much trouble I must have caused when I was a kid myself, and instantly I feel guilty. My SO sometimes talks about his mom raising him and his two brothers while the dad works overseas; I am amazed that one woman can raise three wonderful human beings mostly on her own.

With Mother’s Day coming up in less than a month, I plan on doing something a little bit more special for my mom this year. Don’t tell her; it’s going to be a surprise. ūüôā

Gratitude list

  • Moms
  • Money: I have a new car! Ish. Coming. No more dealing with the heat and rain while commuting. New problem? Parking and motorcycle drivers. But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get my license.
  • Meals: I eat regularly even though soemtimes I don’t like the food laid in front of me. That’s a whole lot more than most of my countrymen who sometimes don’t have money to buy even a piece of pandesal (bread).
  • Mornings: Today I woke up feeling excited. I had a disagreement with SO last night, which we also resolved immediately, so waking up today was better than usual because I knew I’d get to see him today.
  • Metro Manila traffic: Okay I absolutely hate traffic in the metro, but because of this, I come to appreciate my life in the province even more. Having grown up a city girl, the move AWAY from the city was crushing, but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So… Thank you, Metro Manila, for helping me realize and constantly reminding me that I live in Vacationland.

Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte is a candidate for the presidential seat in the upcoming Philippine national elections this May.

A lot of people are voting for him because they believe that his no nonsense way of handling things and iron hand in dealing with criminals are just what our country needs.

I’m not sold on him for two reasons:

  1. He has been accused of (and he hasn’t denied it) being directly in charge of the Davao Death Squad, which has killed low-level criminals on the streets of that city he used to be a mayor of. I don’t think I want a president who condones killing.
  2. In interviews and presidential debates, he hasn’t explicitly explained HOW he plans on eradicating crime in the country, and this worries me because he just might resort to using the Death Squad but in a national scale this time.

However, I’m still considering him because his compassion is undeniable. When Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck our country, he sent help but without emblazoning his name on the relief good bags that he sent.

I have a month left to decide whom to vote for, but the prospects are weak.

Gratitude list

  • Down time: my SO’s home department invited me to help plan a surprise birthday “party” for him and his department-mate. Their birthdays were right after each other’s. We went to a nearby country club, had lumch, played billiards and bowling and overall just had a great time in each other’s company
  • Dogs: They used to scare me so much because I got chased by a big black one when I was a kid. How ironic now that our own dog (1 human year and 3 months old) is big (ish) and black, but he’s the sweetest. He’s surrounded by the cats that my sisters own, so he has imbibed some of their mannerisms. Instead of jumping up and licking our faces to greet us, he runs to us and rubs his body along our legs. When we reach down to pet him, THAT is the time he jumps in us and licks our faces. Our dog Bono is part Malinois, part labrador, a tiny part chow chow. I’d also like to think he’s part cat, but maybe that’s just me.
  • Desserts: at the party earlier we has two types of cakes: a banoffee bundt cake with chocolate chip walnut and cinnamon streusel, and an ice cream cake. I just lost all the calories I burned from doing yoga from these cakes.

Beb

Another nick that SO and I call each other is beb. We do this in jest. Well, I do. I can’t bring myself to call him that, but he takes great pleasure in teasing me using that endearment, which is a local pronunciation of the English babe.

I don’t think I’ll ever be calling him that on a regular basis, though. 


I’ll be including a Gratitude List in all my challenge posts this month with the same letter of the day.

  1. Banks: the one I went to today had really helpful employees. A big dream is getting closer and closer to reality. 
  2. Boyfriend: he kept me company (through chat because he had his own stuff to deal with today) during my long wait at a government office today and throughout my errands.
  3. Bed: I have a bed I can come home to.
  4. Biogesic: to keep my sister’s fever at bay for now. I really hope the test results (out tomorrow morning) will finally tell us what’s wrong with her tummy so that we can do something about it.

Hirap

hirap is Filipino for either “poor” or “difficulty,” so if you say that someone or something is¬†mahirap, you mean that someone is poor or that something is difficult.

Last Wednesday my colleagues and I were required to answer Pope Francis’s call to “go to the peripheries,” which, in our case, meant the Payatas community in Quezon City, around 2 to 3 hours north of my school.

I’ll be honest; I was scared. I have heard and read stories about how Payatas was just full of trash, and rightfully so, as it was one of the country’s landfills. There was a huge mountain of trash there, and people living near it either scavenged through the trash or had to live with the stench when the wind blew unfavorably.

Many of us were scared, but we gamely answered that call. The service interaction¬†was part of our annual spiritual growth activity. We’ve been on service interactions before, but it was our students who interacted with the less fortunate; we teachers merely supervised. This time, though, we were the ones who were required to interact. Needless to say, I found myself in my students’ shoes, full of apprehension and worry.

Soon, I realized I needn’t have worried because Payatas is AMAZING. Yes, it is not the cleanest place in the world, but the residents there do their best given the mountain of trash, which, honestly WAS NOWHERE VISIBLE FROM WHERE WE WERE. It was a good thirty minutes away from where our¬†bus dropped us off.

We broke off into groups upon arriving, and we played some games to break the ice. Then we were partnered off–one teacher with one Payatas mom. My partner, Ate* Vangie, and I took a ten minute tricycle ride to get to her house then had to walk for five more minutes through narrow¬†streets and unpaved alleys. When we got to her house, I saw that there was a small tindahan* or¬†sari-sari* store in front manned by her mom. Inside were two of her six children, Jed and Jenella, the latter a four year old who kept looking at me but wouldn’t talk to me.

The tiny house was cramped but clean. There was no untoward smell inside nor outside the house. There was food on the table.¬†Ate Vangie had gotten up at 3am that day (like she does every day) to prepare the meals for her family and the¬†lumpiang toge (Filipino version of spring rolls; filling is of mung bean sprouts) that she sells. She gave me the last two pieces in the store. I tried paying for it, but she wouldn’t let me. She was horrified. I felt ashamed.

Anyway, her¬†lumpiang toge was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. She mixed her own vinegar dipping sauce to go with it and the combo was just absolutely delicious. I was one of the lucky ones whose partner was able to serve food. The partners of my other colleagues didn’t have food at home and therefore were not able to serve food.

The food serving wasn’t our idea. In fact, we planned to be the ones to bring the food to them, but when they heard that we were to go to their houses to interact after the games, they insisted that they prepare for us. They wouldn’t hear of not being able to serve their guests even a simple meal. It just so happened that others had had a bad night with their husbands ¬†and therefore were not able to prepare anything.

The hospitality of our Payatas partners is legendary. Here were people who had next to nothing, who lived day to day worrying about what to serve their children or how to send their children to school, yet these people openly welcomed strangers into their homes without batting an eyelash. What they wanted? For people to listen to them and not judge them because they lived next to a dumpsite.

And you know what I realized?

I realized that these people were¬†mahirap not because of a LACK or because they were poor. ¬†Our partners were¬†mahirap¬†because they were having difficulty in achieving their goals. As my colleague astutely pointed out, WE were the ones who seemed to LACK because we were always looking for MORE. We were never content. Our partners’ common wish was for their children to finish their studies. It put OUR own wishes to shame for we wanted to travel the world or finish our own studies. Our partners thought nothing of themselves. They were always thinking of other people.¬†¬†My own partner did not complain about her status in life. All she kept saying was that she was proud of her children because they were doing well in school, and her eldest was a year from graduating college.

I’m crying now just thinking of my partner again.

took selfies with my groupmates, partner Ate Vangie, her daughter Jenella, and her mother

took selfies with my groupmates, partner Ate Vangie, her daughter Jenella, and her mother

I was wholly disturbed by the experience.

Filipinos are racist and discriminatory jerks, and the Payatas residents experience that regularly. We found out at the end of our interaction that whenever they try to apply for jobs, employers turn them away as soon as they find out that they are from Payatas. It is unfair because they want nothing more than an opportunity not even for themselves but an opportunity to help their families.

We all went back to work the next day crying during our debriefing/reflection and resolute in our desire to reach out to and help those in the peripheries.

This is not just a Catholic thing. Helping out is expected of any decent human being WHATEVER their belief.

We were disturbed. We were shaken. We will help.

———

*ate¬†(pronounced ah-teh) is an honorific that means “older sister.” also used as a sign of respect towards a slightly older female

*Tindahan means store.

*sari-sari means “many different things” or “variety”.¬†¬†Sari-sari¬†store is a small home-based store that sells a variety of goods that you might need at home such as a sachet of shampoo (if you’ve run out already and it’s not yet grocery day) or a pack of crackers or a loaf of bread or a bottle of soda, etc

X

I’m going to cheat a bit here… You know that emoticon with X’s for eyes?

Today (Tuesday, April 28) is supposedly the execution date of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina who was caught with drugs in her luggage in Indonesia where she was supposedly to start work as a domestic helper. Her story–that she did not know there were drugs in the bag because it was just “given” to her–sounds true, and this was corroborated, albeit too late, by the surrender of the person who recruited her. It was originally set for 5pm, but somehow it got moved to Wednesday, April 29, 1am, Philippine time, and this is an hour from now. What pisses me off is that President Widodo says that staying the execution will be seen as a sign of weakness. NO. It is seen now by people (even Indonesians who have put up a petition to save her [see pic below]) as a sign of INJUSTICE. Punish the guilty, yes, but this woman is NOT guilty and therefore does not deserve to be executed. Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.09.51 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.23.37 AM One hour to go. I cannot imagine what she must be thinking or going through right now. I cannot imagine what her family and children must be thinking of now. My heart, my thoughts, my prayers go out to her and her family and to the Indonesian president who seems to think that saving an innocent person’s life¬†is a sign of weakness.

Might is not always right.

UPDATE:

She’s safe… for now.