Tag Archives: culture

It’s My Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day was not a big moment in our lives then when we were on survival mode…besides, we were oceans apart–my parents and youngest brother in the island of Negros and the rest of my siblings with me in Manila. I did not even know there was Mother’s Day in the calendar.

The year 2011 is the year Mamang turned 80 last month–luckily, my youngest brother was able to get a one week vacation to make it a memorable celebration. His family went ahead to make it a worthwhile 3-week vacation. My other brother was able to overlap his 3-week vacation to complete the celebration. Despite Mamang’s complaints about her aching bones, she was ecstatic…enough to make her believe that the 81st will just be as grand as the 80th one. (Let me ask if my sister will still be available for such donation.)

Not everyone of us 9 children could make it home–but everyone’s presence was made possible by the younger generation’s generosity of their time despite their busy lives, not to mention the love and joy they shared. I’m so proud of all my siblings’ and their families’ contribution to the happy memories  our mother will always treasure. That 80th birthday bash was an unexpected event…a blessing for all her hard work, I could only wish our father could have witnessed it–but I know he was smiling on us from somewhere.

Here’s to my Mother who had always put us first…selflessly!

Our mother Rosela at 80...still beautiful!

 

Just one family who will always love our Mamang!

By now, I know…even in the Philippines, there’s such a thing as Mother’s Day celebration. I just didn’t have a chance to celebrate it…let me greet all the mothers–you deserve all the Love the world has to offer.

Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

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A Glimpse of My Garden

My garden is my refuge…my reality! In a world of chaos and drudgery, I am reminded of life’s simplicity as I touch the soil. Just like the little girl in the farm! I don’t have an award winning garden, but I have a reminder of what is important to me and the people I meet in life. This is for my curious niece, Donna, who wants to see a glimpse of what I have in my garden half-way around her world…maybe, both our connection to the Philippines that we missed. I’m sure the rest of her generation, which I equally treasure, would know a little more of mine.

Rescuing a piece of forsaken yard is a back-breaking exercise but rewarding when a little leaf or flower starts to sprout after a long wait.

It's the baby mint sprouting back to life!

 

Back to Life...yay!

An apricot tree down yonder the morning glory.

Apricot tree showing off its new leaves.

For a while...I will enjoy its purple flowers.

My Morning Glory...as it clings to the bare palm base.

 

When things are in shambles, and thoughts get chaotic…even my not-so-private garden can transport me to another place in time. I remember our small farm  where our mother lovingly tended her flowers and vegetables, despite the absence of running water. She had her creative ways of strecthing our well-water consumption! (It’s our secret!) Here are some of the flowers I remembered most that just came into being in my own garden-in-progress.

Just spouting from different places...even between the bricks.

More of the white flower with forgotten name.

Three of them in this picture!

Nudging its way is another purple variety ...which I like better.

When I look at the plants in my garden…be it a flower or vegetable, I remember faces–or just memories–of people in my 6 decades of traveling life’s path. Too long to document here…just enjoy everyone’s contributions if you may!

This pink bush just grew back last spring...dead again by now.

I love this one...I wait for them every year!

Bougainvilla reminds me of home...needs an arch soon.

I love this ground cover that I had to buy a starter piece.

One of the roses I enherited in this garden.

It's a unique one I call--tiger cactus.

Top of my tiger cactus blossomed to a huge head of flowers.

There goes a full view of my tiger cactus.

They come every year...now with purple and pink, too.

I had to buy this one from Home Depot...glad it was on sale.

Another cheap Home Depot flower, but covers the ground beautifully.

Nothing can beat this 99-cent cactus variety, anyhow!

My favorite mother cactus...more to come!

 

Originally posted at https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Maria Clara in Action

April 8, 2008, marked the EIU Asian Heritage celebration where students wore their native dresses. While the ‘baro’t saya’ I sewed for my niece fitted her, it was also small enough to be worn by a young girl. At some point, the organizers thought the color would be more suitable for a child, and the Maria Clara dress would be more appropriate for someone a little older. So, here’s Maria Clara in action; it would not be complete without the ‘Barong Tagalog’ for the male counterpart.

         

      Maria Clara dress for women                         Barong Tagalog for men

 

Students were encouraged to wear their native costumes, but it was also possible for just anyone to participate in however way necessary. Looking at the little girl, I couldn’t agree more that the exchange with my niece wearing the Maria Clara was a good call.

The Eastern Illinois University participants in their Asian Heritage celebration.

 

Here’s a closer look at the intricate designs and the very fine weaving of either  ‘jusi’ (jute) or ‘pinya’ (pineapple) cloth, both from plant material.

My niece (R) — presenting Maria Clara in action at EIU — and her friends.

Originally Posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

“Little Manila: Filipinos in CA’s Heartland”

I must have missed this in my email yeterday…which means I’ve missed watching it last night as scheduled in LA Channel 58. Maybe I’ll find it another time. Thanks M– anyway!

Please check out the documentary, “Little Manila : Filipinos in California
‘s Heartland,” which is going to be aired nationally on select PBS Stations.
We’d love it if you could watch the program on your local station and spread
the news, too.

About the Program:
Narrated by Dean Devlin, famed Filipino-American movie producer
(Independence Day, The Patriot), the program is about the infamous
neighborhood in Stockton, CA, once called, “The City of Gold” by Filipinos.
Filled with chop-suey houses, gambling dens, and dance halls, Little Manila
was once home to the largest number of Filipino immigrants outside of the
Philippines .

The show is part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on PBS. Below
are a few broadcast dates and times, but if your station isn’t listed here,
please download the PDF schedule for broadcast times all over the US .

San Francisco Bay Area:
on KQED Channel 9 and KTEH 54 on Sunday May 4, at 1:30 PM

New York :
on WNET Channel 13 on Sunday May 4, at 7:00 PM
Monday May 5, at 4:00 AM
Friday May 9, at 11:00 PM

Los Angeles :
on KLCS Channel 58 on May 1st, at 11 PM

Boston :
on WGBH Channel 2 on Friday May 30, at 7:00 PM
Saturday May 31 at 12:00 AM
Saturday May 31 at 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM

We’re also working on another documentary about the Filipino farm workers in
Delano , CA called “The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the UFW.”
For more information on it and our other programs please go to:
http://www.mediafactory. tv.

And feel free to email us with any questions!

Sincerely,

Sheila Flores

MediaFactory
http://www.mediafactory. tv
Saul Zaentz Media Center
2600 Tenth St. Ste. 600
Berkeley CA 94710
office: 510-295-4305
screening@mediafact ory.tv

Thanks to the above original source of this email, too.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Motorcycles in the Philippines, a Blessing?

Let me count the ways motorcycles could be a blessing [primarily] in the Philippines, but I guess the first 3 would have a universal appeal. I’ll try to give ‘the thing’ some poetic justice first by looking past the tiny monsters that they are on the road.

  • With the soaring prices of gas, having one is a great money saver.
  • Need I mention the Metro Manila traffic?–an indisputable time saver.
  • Sure…it’s a convenient way of moving around in the highways and byways of life.
  • Then there are 101 reasons each motorcycle buff could concoct for some lame justification.
  • Bottom line, it’s personal gratification.

Exactly…that’s just how I personally feel about this miniature monster. Driving next to it in the wonderful roads of Orange County is no better than driving next to a humongous truck. Imagine that in the congested roads of the Philippines! I’m no mathematician but I can give you the square of hatred [=scorn] for the motorcycle, even the square root [=death]…somebody is going to kill me for this emotional statement. But…hey, I’m entitled to my opinion–as much as anyone is–on having it on the road.

It is personal…when my brother-in-law acquired one [whatever inventive reasons he could give], the repugnance became my battle. I have seen enough accidents on the road while on vacation, just in the vicinity of Fairview, Quezon City. Not to mention his dead motorcycle buddy (bless his soul) hit by the bus while we were still there. If he’s not the father of my nephews and the wife of my sister, I wouldn’t care.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Loving Those Young Coconuts

It’s been known that a coconut palm is an indesputable tree of life (?), but my husband loves it for some simple pleasures it provides. It all started when our family friend who has the tree at his sister’s house got curious as to how a foreigner would like it. Since he had some ready for picking, he went to climb it himself. They have the dwarf version so it wasn’t so bad. Proud as he was of that beautiful bunch fresh from his tree, he handed two to my husband to see what he would do with them.

This green coconuts are soft and could be eaten in several ways.

The juice had been saved; they’re ready for anyone to scoop them.

My husband’s turn to figure out what to do with his share. Yeahhh!

Nothing better than drinkin’ it str*t–hmm, straight from the nut.

Coconut trees thrive in tropical places, which means we can find these incredible trees in abundance in the Philippines–beach, mountains, or valleys. I’m counting the days when we go on vacation in June. I should have booked our tickets in March [but I’d been so consumed by blogging] and now I’m hoping that our agent would find cheaper ones than what I found at the internet today.

Here are a few coconut shots from the beach of Boracay when my sister’s family went there in October. My niece got one of those heavily discounted tickets during the rainy months. You just have to know how to dodge the storms–just kidding–pray that there wouldn’t be showers and thunderstorms while you’re on board the plane, I guess. Be brave and Boracay beach will not disappoint you.

The beach still seems welcoming; discounted ticket is worth braving the storm.

Did the storm run the poor boat aground? It’s simply high tide…isn’t that so?

Now…it’s really bad. The storm is here and it’s starting to really sink that ship.

Nah…they had a wonderful time, and maybe one day, I will take my own pictures of the coconuts. Too bad…when I was growing up in Negros, I didn’t have the chance to take pictures to contrast the inland coconuts, and some of them were even in the middle of sugarcane plantations. Those were the days I did not even realize how our lives were enriched by the coconut trees planted by my grandfather’s parents. I just knew they were my gradfather’s pride…and our family’s joy in many ways.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Password to Modern Civilization

Oh…civilization, what thoust bring to the world? Paper trails of human foibles, for isn’t it a folly to want all the [un]necessary trappings of life? Even the trappings of success are really just traps that keep one from enjoying the basic necessities of living life to the fullest. How many things does one need to survive? …to love? …to hope? …to whatever? Whatever! Teen-agers discovered how to sum up life all in one word. Why can’t we?

What’s in your desk drawer? …in your filing cabinet? …in your computer? Hhmm–‘to do’ lists, bills, records, etc…. Oh, you are organized! In this modern civilization of this day and age, daily headaches would consist of soaring gas prices, doubling effect on groceries, and the rest of you can go on from there. Then it gets harder month-to-month: car payments (Volvo? Mercedes? Lexus?), house mortgage (Beverly Hills? Newport Beach?)–the ultimate [American] dream. What about your cell phone? What else did you say you have…ipod, blueberry, wii, xbox? I won’t dare go on, or my ignorance might betray me.

Life in a filing cabinet…this is just the beginning of modern civilization. Lucky are those computer savvy nomads [or not] with the password at their fingertips. For the uncivilized ones like me…even my husband, what is life like? The password curse is back! I finally convinced him to continue being Mr. Drumblogger (grudgingly, he seemed to be willing; let’s just say I cast that persuasive woman’s spell for now). Ohhh…now, we need the password. That was November then…sure we have some kind of record printed. Somewhere. Hhmmm…I thought it was in this filing cabinet. Do I have to hunt it amongst this ebay receipts? Five months ago, I remembered putting 1 computer stuff file folder right in front of all the other ones for accessibility purposes. Look what 5 months can do! Let’s backtrack…what was your ebay password then? How about your computer password? Nope! Some would know the rest of the story.

I start feeliiiing it in veins…patience, I envoke. Now, let’s try the easy way out–hit that forget-your-password button. See…it’s being sent to your email. Check your email–ooops, not in the Yahoo one; not in the Hotmail, either…then what now? Did you make a Gmail one for the blog? Yeaaaaaaah…that was 5 months ago, too. Which means–with the temporarily misplaced records–the reason why we’re having this problem in the first place. OK…another moment in time lost! I guess I’ll have to wait for another serendipity moment on this one.

Civilization goes with information explosion…always a mind-numbing experience, at least to me. Technology moves at a rapid speed; I can’t comprehend how some humans could make it so…indeed, ‘humans are still smarter than computers’ remains my contention. It’s just the rest of humanity that is sometimes left behind. I am left behind…or should I include my husband? This business of existence is really taking a toll on our retirable minds. This is when computer is better [not smarter] at remembering things. 

I can only dream of what my life was in the Philippines. As a carefree uncivilized kid in one remote farm in the Philippines half a century ago, I had nature as my playground. I didn’t have to go any farther for playmates; I had my siblings and cousins. For some reason, everyone was somehow related to one another: first cousins, second cousins, third or maybe even fourth. Toys? Aaahh…you mean those leaves and twigs and branches and even trees to climb for fruits when you get hungry? Nature has endless possibilities…no need to worry about lead in products, that translates to testing kits…to lawsuits and what nots. The records we kept were in our hearts! The only password we needed was LOVE4EVER…hard to forget–even when the memory starts to fade.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

 

Love from the Heart, Life from the Hearth

You have to love the Philippines to come back and retire there; you have to love life to be in front of the hearth without complaint. I don’t know why someone would search for ‘kitchen in the Philippines’ but it reminded me of the ‘dapog’ [hearth] we have while growing up in the remote farm of Hacienda Estrellas [I think it’s Spanish, meaning ‘farm of stars’] but it was really named after the sugarcane plantation owner’s last name of Estrellas.

However, let’s go back to that kitchen a long time ago. Oh, I wish I had the picture of that hearth as it was the essence of our family’s simple existence. Numerous poignant stories of growing up revolved around there. [Another blog later maybe or when I learn to do the links]. I should probably mention…there was no electricity and running water. Unless you have gone camping, you probably won’t understand that kind of survival. Don’t get me wrong, it was the time dearest to my heart. Maybe one day, I’ll recreate our place in my dream village.

The hearth inside the house is a luxury in the farm. That’s how I look at it now, considering that most farmers and laborers have a Nipa Hut just enough to give the family a roof over their heads…that when the night comes, they would find shelter from whatever lurks in the darkness of the night. They usually cook outside [lucky to have a make-shift cover to protect the hearth from rain].

If you can visualize 3 rocks arranged in a triangle, that’s the basic of the hearth. These rocks elevate the pot and allow the chopped pieces of wood to be positioned underneath the pot. This is just the preliminary activity; the actual cooking has not begun yet. If the luxury of an old newspaper wrap is not available, you just have to be resourceful to find your fire starter from nature as wood will not catch fire like the way the stove’s pilot light would start your cooking. It’s a lot of blowing, which is probably a good lung exercise. It could be a lot of crying too–from the smoke…or maybe from the hard work. Nobody questions…it’s a chore to be done.

I actually came across a few of the different pictures of bathrooms that one of the Lonely Planet pioneers took in his travels, and I think that was pretty interesting. You reeeally wouldn’t want me to post the Philippine ones, but that’s an idea someday when I travel to the bundoks [Tagalog origin of boondocks]. I’ll try to see what I can find on these kitchens though. I think I have one blurry picture from 50 years ago when they were cooking outside during some celebration [not digital…scanning???]. This must have been the reason why Filipinos have traditionally want a ‘dirty kitchen’ in their houses. Did you say why would someone want a dirty kitchen? Believe me, we cook a lottttt of things that could make our kitchen dirty. I’ll show you some when I get to it.

For now, I have the ready pictures of — what can be better than Fairrr[h]view kitchens. I was ambitious at first and I thought I’ll have the small stove/oven combination in the furnished unit. My sister was practically aghast at the idea, but she went along with one trial. After a year without any takers, it was transferred downstairs when we finally did my own kitchen.

      grn rm

 This is the kitchen [fan-only unit] with the ‘dirty kitchen’/laundry area. 

    

Our A/C unit kitchen–same layout in all other units, just different colors.

This kitchen [from the window] shows the location of the cooking area.

The second floor 1st unit has an extended area intended for family gatherings.

This family hub is still at its finishing stage; now it’s the hubbub of activity.

This picture has no bottom cupboard yet, same style as the one above the sink.

My sister wanted to finish the kitchen downstairs so she transferred the stove.

 The cupboards were done by one of the workers with doors bought from SM.

 

This island needs bar stools but I’m too cheap…maybe my worker can make one.

Still with miniature fridge…and on the other side of the door is the dirty kitchen.

 The dirty kitchen…still clean–no plans for dirty cooking yet.

    

My favorite nook–adjacent to the dirty kitchen/our bedroom extension.

Our bedroom is connected to my favorite little nook…a secret access just for me.

From the hearth…to the heart of Fairview, or should it be from the heart to the hearths of Fairview apartments. Where are we? Stuck here in California in an old house [that I equally love] but hard to maintain for just the two of us–again! Even my husband misses my family as much as I do…especially the bigger kids that keep him company. I can’t blame the guy for wanting to retire before retirement.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Survivors Philippines, Real TV?

Mr. Google is really turning out to be a real interesting friend [or foe]…rivaling my fascination with Mr. Webster. I’m starting to have some great friends! Each day is turning to be an amazing-if not amusing-day of information explosion. No Einstein here: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

Would it qualify that I imagined SURVIVOR PHILIPPINES? Did I? I had FIRST posted my SOUL SURVIVOR (4/5/08). They were PINOYs too.  I just happened to google ‘that’–and what came up amazed me:

Do you want to be the FIRST PINOY SOLE SURVIVOR? (4/8/08)
The biggest, most popular and groundbreaking reality show that changed the face of television worldwide is now in GMA. Find out how to join Survivor Philippines!

For awhile I thought it has something to do with Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; then it dawned on me–it’s the TV channel. Now amused…I searched further, and I clicked on…more…and more…

Do you want to be the FIRST PINOY SOLE SURVIVOR?

04/08/2008 | 10:17 AM

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PAUTAKAN! PAGALINGAN! PATATAGAN! [*]

GMA is in search of contestants from 18 to 60 years old, physically fit and willing to become castaways and endure intense physical and mental challenges in an unfamiliar territory for 39 days.

If you think you got what it takes to be one of the 16 castaways for SURVIVOR PHILIPPINES….

 

Coincidence? I’m getting a lot of serendipity moments now that I even included it in my still cluttered categories. My curiosity brought me to dig deeper…nothing more than these ‘not really Filipino Survivor’ 

» Do you want to be the FIRST PINOY SOLE SURVIVOR?

» PEP: Survivor shooting in Camarines Sur?

» With racial split, ‘Survivor’ returns

» GM withdraws CBS’ ‘Survivor’ sponsorship

 

 

Wasted more time, just to find out when they started it, but the about section is still blank, as well as the host one is blank too–hmmm???!–you think I should apply? No longer funny…bordering on getting rediculous! Dream no more…remember RETIREMENT. These TV stuff is taking me away from MY FAIRVIEW goal.

I won’t leave you without translating those Pilipino words (no Pilipino dictionary available here).

*PAUTAKAN — whoever could emerge the wisest (like the sly fox)…the more scheming the better!

*PAGALINGAN — whoever could prove the most skillful will be the best…measure of intelligence???

*PATATAGAN –whoever could remain the strongest…alone, will not make one a winner!

All 3 will be the qualifying marks of their GMA SOLE SURVIVOR winner; mine: just being dirt poor will be enough to qualify as SOUL SURVIVOR Philippines! Is this going to be a competition for Dancing with the Stars?

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

EIU Celebrated Asian Heritage: Philippine Native Dress

Let me take you on a trip back to ancient Philippines. But for now, our travel won’t go beyond my memory as a child exposed to the different costumes worn during dance festivities showcasing folk dances from different provinces.

Yesterday [Sunday], Eastern Illinois University joined in the celebration of the Asian Heritage, and students were encouraged to dress in their native dresses. My niece, of course, had an array of choices, considering that this fragmented archipelago has rich cultural differences reflected in the day-to-day lives of its people in more ways than one, especially in their manner of dressing. Having said that, which one should she represent–the Christians, the Muslims, or the other ‘religio-ethno-linguistic’ groups? This was yesterday’s question, today it is answered below.

The Maria Clara’s popularity made me wish we’re not separated by distance to facilitate the fittings. She wouldn’t have known how to make any alterations, and without her measurement, that would be a tricky proposition. I decided to rely on whatever material was available and the least complex cut I could recreate. I believe this native dress was simply worn by the ladies in most Christian areas before the Spaniards had influenced everything that was Filipino [maybe, not really]. But then I’m only relying on my fuzzy memory more than 3 decades away from my historical facts to say the least. [This is something I plan to revisit in my future website.] 

 

Skirt with adjustable waistline and blouse could cover the elastic.

 

Blouse could be tucked in and elastic in skirt hidden with the sash.

 

Another possibility of adding color to show your own creativity.

 

———————————

My niece just emailed [pictures later when I learn to use Feed Footer plugin] me that during the celebration yesterday, they let her wore the Maria Clara instead, and a kid wore this ‘baro’t saya’ as the color suits the youger one better. Isn’t it wonderful, I didn’t try to sweat it out with the Maria Clara? [The fitting was alright; she has the kid’s size.] I think that’s what it is–‘baro‘ technically means dress and ‘saya‘ is long skirt. This was the ancient Filipina’s day to day attire. Its simplicity may have suited the tropical climate and the poor Filipina’s lifestyle [or status] under the Spanish regime.

 

*Originally Posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com