(Ed. Note: Entrevista con Nata. In this section, our correspondent Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna will share with us his creamy and delectable stories, 100 % inspiring yet zero in fat.)
“Isang maliit na kalye na may maraming manok. Malapit sa dagat , isang malaking bahay at maraming kwarto. Kumain po ako ng maraming okra.”
This was how Dianne innocently described her last visit to the Philippines two years ago. She played tag and hide-and-seek with her new friends. She was only seven then but she vividly remembers her month-long stay there.
“Nag-enjoy po ako doon.”
Will she invite her non-Pinoy friends to visit the Philippines?
When my editor asked me why I was interviewing a nine-year old girl, I told him I was doing a back-to-school entry. But at the back of my mind, I was also curious to know how our Pinoy kids born in Spain think. Being raised in a different cultural environment, do they also think differently, are they lesser Pinoys? Are they still Pinoys at heart? Or maybe, not anymore?
I first met Dianne when she joined the Little Miss Catalunya last year. I tagged along with my friend who was training her for the said competition. She instantly made an impression as smart, friendly and a talented kid. On the night of the contest, donning a cancan dress, with white feather boa, a big hat and a cane, dancing a la Catherine Zeta-Jones in the musical movie Chicago, she was the obvious winner, hands down. I was right. She won the Miss Talent award at the pageant.
She may not have bagged the Little Miss Catalunya crown, but her talent was recognized by several Pinoy organizations in Barcelona which invited her to perform her award-winning routine in their anniversaries and conventions.
Did she learn anything from joining the pageant?
“Meron po. Ang natutunan ko po ay hindi importante ang manalo kundi ang pagparticipar.”
Will there be a next time?
“Bahala po si Mama.”
Dianne Kaye Jacob Ico is the only daughter of Tita Mary Fe who hails from Ilocos and Tito Ferdinand who comes from Dagupan. Being an only child does not make Dianne a spoiled brat. She follows what her parents tell her and obeys their wishes. One thing that I admire about this girl is that she speaks fluent Tagalog. Aside from that, she also speaks English, Ilocano, Castellano and Catalan.
“At konting Panggalatok. Pero konting-konti lang po.”
She has Pinoy friends who like her, were born here in Spain but the difference is, they can’t speak the native language.
“Dapat marunong po sila magsalita ng Tagalog, dahil pag pumunta sa Pilipinas hindi sila maiintidihan. At saka Pilipino siya, pamilya niya Pilipino, kahit saan siya pumunta Pilipino pa rin siya.”
Because she speaks Tagalog, she didn’t find it hard to make friends with other kids when she was in the Philippines.
“Nung bago po ako doon, wala pa akong kilala. Sabi ng ibang mga bata, baka daw hindi ako marunong mag-Tagalog. Sabi Espanyola yan. Lumapit ako sa kanila at nagsalita ng Tagalog. Sabi ko Hello anong pangalan ninyo? Nawala po ang hiya nila at naglaro na kami.”
Dianne goes to San Francesc D’Asis Elementary School. She is now in grade four. There are 24 students in her class and only two are non-Pinoys. Now that another school year has started, how does she feel? Is she excited?
“¡Si! Dahil long time na kaming di nagkikita ng mga kaibigan ko. “
Judging from the array of trophies and certificates displayed in their living room, Dianne definitely loves school and is taking her education seriously. Her favorite subject is Plastica where they are taught how to draw, paint and make figures out of clay. She loves drawing and painting, an interest she took after her Dad who also used to paint before.
She doesn’t need to be told by her mom to do her schoolwork first before sitting in front of the television. She does it as soon as she arrives home. According to Tita Mary Fe:
“Nunca na tinuruan ko yan. Siya lang mag-isa gumagawa ng homework niya.”
I asked her if she is madaldal in class. She gave me a shy “ Bueno” coupled with a sheepish smile. I took it as a YES.
“Pues, yes and no. Mezclado.”
Her other favorite subject is Ciencia.
“Science po. Matalino po ako sa science. Nakuha po ako ng 10 sa science, eh. “
Do you want to be a scientist someday?
“ Uhm……Dati gusto kong maging abogado. Maya-maya, gusto kong maging artista. Tapos pintor. Pero depende del destino.”
When asked about her favorite hobby. She gave me a wide smile.
“Yung talagang talagang gusto ko po? Uhm, Cantar po. Singing.”
Her favorite singers are Jonas Brothers, Demi Lobato, Mylie Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Sarah Geronimo.
She also watches Filipino films. In fact, she has just watched “Hating Kapatid.” And her favorite actor is the comedian Vice Ganda.
What does she do at weekends?
“A veces, nanonood po ng TV, nagdo-drawing. Nagbabasa din po.”
Right now, she is reading a very interesting book. She proudly showed it to me.
“El por qué de las cosas. “ The reasons of all things.
This is not a school book, mind. It’s a book explaining everything. She gamely shared to me something about a fly.
“Meron isang langaw na pag-pininchar ka ay makakatulog ka at hindi ka na gigising. Es una mosca del sueño.”
On February 26 next year, she will be ten and as early as now, she is looking forward to it.
“Magkakaroon na po ako ng sarili kong cell phone.”
Does she have a message to Pinoy kids in Spain?
“Dapat mag estudiar ng mabuti. Dapat respeto sa Mama at Daddy. Magpapakabait lagi.”
I see them everyday. I see them on my way to Plaza Universitat. I see them every Saturday at Iskwelang Pinoy. I hear some of them talk in Tagalog. I hear some of them curse in Spanish. They watch Wowowie. They endlessly dance to the Korean song “Nobody.” They are still your typical shy Pinoy kids. Dianne is one of them and is proud to be one. The only thing that sets them apart from our Pinoy kids back home is they know how to reason out and speak their mind. Obviously, the art of shouting has been rubbed off on them by their Spanish friends. Because yes, they shout too. Most of the time, actually.
These kids are our future generation here in Spain. Some of them still say Po and Opo, some don’t. We could only hope that even though they have the advantage of being raised with the best of both worlds, with two different yet closely similar cultures, their Filipino values are still intact in their growing up and formative years. Talking to Dianne only shows that a Pinoy kid is always a Pinoy kid. As long as our Pinoy parents teach them not to forget, respect and be proud of our culture, no matter where they are, they will always be Filipinos, in heart and in mind.
Tita Mary Fe, sensing that the interview was nearly over, arranged the table for an early dinner. They were going to the airport to pick up Tito Fernando who was flying in from the Philippines. Before we devoured her delicious buttered prawns, I had one last question for Dianne.
If given the chance, where would she like to live. Here or Pinas?
“Mas gusto ko po sa Pilipinas, kahit maraming lamok. Nandoon lahat ng pinsan ko. Miss ko na po sila. “
We all laughed and started skinning our first prawns.