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The Other Side of Jose Rizal

21 Jun

A new documentary about the human side of Philippines’ national hero José Rizal and the mystery that enshrouds him.

‘Jose Rizal, the First Hero’ will be screened tomorrow, Friday, 22 June 2012, at 7 p.m. at Rizal Room of the Consulado General de Filipinas, Av. Diagonal 497, 5 planta.

Mr. Jourdan Sebastian, the documentary’s producer, will be present during the screening to give background on the project.

The film runs for an hour and has English subtitle.

Here’s the trailer:

For more information about the movie, please visit this website:

Viaje, Barcelona-Manila: A Conversation With F. Sionil Jose

3 Feb

I had forgotten all about it-Manila traffic. And I’d forgotten all about those 3 important Filipino traffic factors: that it was raining, that it was 3 days before Christmas, and that it was Wednesday, Baclaran day. If one wishes to arrive anywhere on time on this side of Metro Manila, these 3 things must be very well considered. I called to apologize and say that I would be late. ¡Que Vergüenza!

We were on Sucat Road in Parañaque on our way to Padre Faura Street in Manila, and traffic moved lethargically. So, I observed, just as I used to. Only this time I was observing with new eyes, ones that had been away for several years. There were street vendors selling peanuts to bored passengers, people getting on and off crowded jeepneys, others randomly crossing the street, zigzagging honking cars and totally ignoring the pedestrian overpasses built by their generous city councilor or mayor (prudently announced with big and bold letters painted on them.) There were also children playing games on the sidewalk, joyful and unmindful of the holiday rush and smoke of vehicles just a few meters away from them. Everything looked oddly familiar; nothing much seemed to have changed.

Traffic ebbed and flowed and suddenly we found ourselves just behind the CCP, in that cultural complex built by a woman with a once-famous edifice complex. I was getting more and more nervous as we neared Padre Faura Street. Ten minutes more and we were finally walking towards Solidaridad Bookshop, where I was to have an interview with a truly inspiring Filipino thinker-lover-critic, a prolific writer I deeply admired— Francisco Sionil Jose.

After profuse apologies, I was kindly taken up to the office of Mr. Jose- Manong Frankie to many. I was warmly welcomed by the publishing house staff, Manong Frankie’s wife, and later, Manong Frankie himself. He asked me to sit down, and with very little introductions, I began my interview. What ensued in the next hour was in fact more like a friendly conversation, given the ease with which Manong Frankie generously shared his thoughts and feelings to this ‘balikbayan’ in search of some answers.

The writer with Manong Frankie and a copy of his novel Viajero.


Of course, the very first thing I wanted to hear from the author of Viajero, a brilliant book about the physical and moral journey of the Filipino people throughout history, was his very thoughts on the Filipino Diaspora…

“It should never have happened!”

“It started when Marcos took over and he was faced with this problem of so many Filipinos educated and unemployed…all dressed up and nowhere to go…They saw to it that the Diaspora would be encouraged.”

“Kaya galit ako sa Ilocanong iyan, eh. (That’s why I’m angry at that Ilocano) He wasted two decades, which would’ve enabled us to progress like Korea, Taiwan, even more so than Singapore…What should’ve happened was, he should’ve hastened the development of this country, industrial development. Just like Park Chung Hee. And for sure, we would’ve absorbed all these Filipinos who went abroad in innovative export industries…because we’re a very talented people. As you can see, when they leave the country they are very industrious, very enterprising, because they get out of their old comfort zone…they know they have to. They work hard. You know, the immigrant culture.”

He spoke of this in his book— the immigrant culture, ours.  Also, in Viajero, he suggested that we’ve had this long history of leaving. I wondered, is it really in our blood?

“Traditionally, yes… well, because we’re an archipelago, we’re a seafaring people… And that’s another thing, we’re a maritime people but we didn’t build up a maritime industry. So we end up working as captains, stewardesses, sailors, but we are not building our own ships.”

Hay naku hija, I get very angry when I think of all the opportunities that we missed because of lousy leadership…Nagagalit ako, I get so angry and frustrated. Matanda na ‘ko…”

“One time I was talking to Nanding Roces, a contemporary of mine. He would’ve been 87 last July…We were talking 2 or 3 years ago, he told me— Frankie, isn’t it sad, we are living in a country in far worse shape than when we arrived. Which is true… very, very true. Ten years ago nobody was sleeping in front of our bookshop, now occasionally there’s a family there. Some people…many people now eat only once a day. There’s hunger in Manila, even in Manila there is hunger.”

“I grew up in a village. Now, when I was young, the poorest farmer there ate twice a day during what we call the Gawat. These are the months of June, July, and August, the planting season. It is in these months when there was still no harvest, because the first harvest comes in September. These 3 months were the most difficult for the farmers because they only ate twice a day— at 10 in the morning and at 4 in the afternoon. Now, many people, both in farms and cities, eat only once a day… do you know what it’s called? ALTANGHAP- Almusal, Tanghalian, Hapunan (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner). That word has been used for almost 10 years now…In other words, for the last 10 years people have been eating only once a day!”

“And then this Diaspora…you must’ve been told about the many social problems this Diaspora has created… dysfunctional families… it’s been worsening. Earlier I was given a report, results of a survey… It’s worsened, it’s worsened…”

“Yes, they keep the country afloat. But then what is happening? The money sent here is not spent wisely.  They want to come back… but how can they come back here if they don’t have money? They don’t have jobs here. Eventually, the solutions must be here not abroad.”

What will happen to all these uprooted Filipinos scattered all over the world? Will Filipinos just keep leaving the country?

“I think so…but you know, it’s not so much the Diaspora I’m worried about. I wrote about it the other Sunday…I’m worried about the specter of an implosion, hija… it will collapse, not explode…but it will implode. And one morning we will wake up to find that we no longer have a country, because it has imploded. All the institutions have been destroyed…anarchy, murder, rape, robberies… these will be commonplace, because we have become a failed state…like Somalia and these African countries that were first destroyed by corruption, then dictatorships. That’s the fate of so many of these countries in Africa…and the symptoms are here. The widespread anarchy, the absence of confidence in the police, the moral malaise…”

I remembered all the Occupy movements in the West, the beginnings of which were not very far away from my current home. Barcelona, Madrid- Los Indignados…then there’s the Arab Spring. People are fed up, people are tired and speaking up and will not let such darkness take over…What about us Filipinos?

“I wish there were more social unrest because that means people care…that they are fighting.”

“But it’s apathy… And when that’s what is happening, that’s it, it will collapse…and people will know how to adjust to it because they know that if you act morally or according to the rules, nothing will happen to you. So people act and adapt to the conditions…”

“Reading the letters of the exiles, particularly del Pilar’s, he recognized their anguish, the stringent pull of memory that Buddy himself felt for those fractured images of his early boyhood. How he wished that del Pilar had kept some journal…” ** MEMORY… is this unique to the Exile? Does one need to be away to remember?

“No, we all need memory- it’s memory that bonds a nation together. Racial memory. To keep this memory, to rejuvenate it, that’s the function of writers and teachers…”

“Memory is very important! It’s important for all Filipinos, whether you are here or abroad…because your nationality is where your heart is.

I’ve met Chinese who go to China thinking they are Chinese, and then they discover they are really Filipino after all…they get homesick for the Philippines, for wherever they come from. One time in the 60s I attended a conference, there was a Chinese writer, I kidded him saying that his loyalties were to the mainland and not to Malaysia. He corrected me, he told me- you know when I’m homesick I don’t think of China, I think of the palm trees of Penang, Sate Babe, the beaches where I swam as a boy… no, I don’t think about China… I speak Chinese, but you know…”

“This is a true story, ha… in Hong Kong when we were living there in 1960, there was a Chinese girl named April Velasco, who was staff artist of the magazine I edited. It turned out she grew up in Binondo…She was a Binondo Chinese. We talked in Tagalog. She told me, when the communist took over China, she returned to help in rebuilding the homeland…She thought she was Chinese. So she went. Then of course the communists were there, and she had to work in a commune. She said life was very difficult. She said—‘you know Frankie, I was so homesick for Binondo…So, I took a trip to Manila, then when I got to Manila, I climbed to the tallest part of the ship… up to the very top. And I looked over to Intramuros and Binondo. But I didn’t go down, because if I went down I’d be arrested as a communist. So after that I went back to Hong Kong. I just wanted to see Binondo…’ sabi niya. ‘I speak Chinese I look Chinese, pero hindi na ‘ko Intsik, Frankie, I’m Filipina!’ So, things like these…”

“…at least these are people who can still identify with this country, because many Filipinos cannot. And that’s why we’re like this. The Zobel-Ayalas, do you think they’re Filipinos? NO, they are Spaniards. Some of these Chinese who send their money to China, they are not Filipinos they are Chinese. And Marcos, he wasn’t Filipino, he sent his money abroad…They are here but they are like the old imperialists. What is the logic of imperialism? You exploit the country and send the loot to the mother country. That’s the logic of imperialism. So in a sense, that’s why we’re like this…We are colonized by our own people, by our own leaders. And the reason is first, we don’t recognize this form of colonialism, and second, we don’t have the patriotism to love this country as we should.”

Speaking of patriots, aren’t all OFWs the best of them all? The new heroes of our time? The BAGONG BAYANI?

“The overseas workers are not bayanis, they are just poor people trying to make a living, you know…That’s consuelo de bobo (a fool’s consolation). They are just ordinary Filipinos.”

“But this I tell them, ok— when Sun Yat Sen mounted the first revolution in China in 1911, the greatest help came from the overseas Chinese… they gave the money.”

“But what I would like to see is that the overseas Filipinos get ORGANIZED… really get organized, to pressure this government, to see to it that the money they remit home is used properly, for infrastructure, and not to buy the luxuries of the rich. And that can be done through proper organization… through political clout! Because the rich Filipinos, our leaders, will not move unless they are forced…that is the common attitude of people in power. People in power- they won’t move, they are enjoying it…unless they are criticized or pushed…So if overseas Filipinos are organized and they have a strong voice in government, they can make a difference…”

“But that’s the problem. Filipinos tend to divide. Too much ego…ego, hija, ego…in San Francisco there are about 300 Filipino organizations. I suppose you can say the same thing in Spain.”

“In San Francisco, out of these 300 Filipino organizations, from my hometown of Rosales there are 2 organizations. I told them- our town is so small why can’t you just work together…No answer. I told them they were too arrogant.”

“So, now, that illustrates the diversity in this country. That’s OK, but there should be issues wherein this diversification should be avoided.”

“Why are Filipinos united when Pacquiao fights?”

“So, maybe those who are in charge of organization should look for the commonalities that would bind people together rather than emphasize the diversities. Because those diversities will not disappear…They are ingrained in society… but it’s possible. EDSA 1 is an example of diversities uniting together…”

“It’s a difficult problem because it’s ingrained in Filipino culture. But like I said, these are issues that people like you should look carefully into. What are the issues that unite us rather than divide us?”

Questions, questions…all of Manong Frankie’s questions reminded me of his writing, the ideas found in his eloquent prose that had kept me company in my own share of loneliness abroad. “…the epic diaspora needed to be recorded if only to show how the Filipino had become the proletariat of the world.”**  What more did he have to say to Filipinos abroad?

“Huwag nilang kalilimutan ang malungkot na bayan nila. (Don’t forget your lonely country.)”

“But usually they don’t, eh. And many of them realize how Filipino they are when they are abroad than when they are here. So you feed on that, that hungering for identity, which grows among the loneliest of people. This is where a sense of community will help very much.”

Manong Frankie, the writer Kay Abaño, and her mother Barbara Abaño.

We said our goodbyes, and after buying some books from the bookshop – like rations for the next few years abroad – my patiently waiting mother and I made our way back to where we’d parked our car. Walking down Padre Faura Street and through Robinsons Galleria mall, I silently observed my fellow Filipinos. Manong Frankie’s words echoed in my thoughts.

Getting out of that part of Manila had always been quite a task. The streets were full of people and jeepneys, equal owners of the narrow road! But we slowly found our way out, crossing Taft Avenue and going up Leon Guinto Street, then making a turn at Vito Cruz which, after a few more narrow turns, finally led to the South Luzon Expressway. It all started coming back to me, this route I used to take.

I began to remember. I could remember it all.


F. Sionil José or in full Francisco Sionil José (born December 3, 1924) is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society. José’s works – written in English – have been translated into 22 languages, including Korean, Indonesian, Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian and Dutch.

His many awards include the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award, Chile, 2004; (Kun Santo Zuiho Sho) The Order of Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, Japan, 2001; and the National Artist for Literature, Philippines, 2001. (Lifted from Wikipedia)

F. Sionil Jose signing copies of Viajero for Ang Bagong Filipino

** Quoted text from Viajero, a Filipino Novel by F.Sionil Jose (link:

** Interview was held last December 21, 2011 at the Solidaridad Bookshop in 531 Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

** Solidaridad Bookshop Facebook page:

All streets lead to Gràcia!

19 Aug

by Kay Abaño

Filipinos already know the Ciutat Vella (Old Town) of Barcelona very well as most live in this part of the city. Everyone knows Calle Joaquin Costa, MACBA, Plaza San Agustin, and of course, the famous Las Ramblas. Others are more familiar with Avenida Parallel, Nou de la Rambla, and El Molino. These are just some of the typical streets and landmarks to be found in areas that have become home to Filipinos in Barcelona for decades. (In fact, since Rizal’s time! Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar and others used to live in the Barrio Chino, an area of what is now known as El Raval). What many Filipinos don’t know much about, though, are other neighborhoods or ‘barrios’ of Barcelona that could just as much cater to our tastes and special interests.

Filipinos LOVE celebrations. Food, live music, dancing, singing, food, drinking, and colorful decors in the streets… have I mentioned food? Yes, we Filipinos love all these. Why else would we be called the Fiesta Islands if we didn’t?! Well, this week, a beautiful part of Barcelona is celebrating its annual town feast filled with all the things we Filipinos love, and we are all invited!

Our friend Irene will tell us more about why it’s worth visiting the Fiesta Mayor de Gracia!

Irene Cervera is a 35-year old “Gracienca”- born, raised and bred in the barrio of Gracia. She is the founder of the organization Animal Latitude (link:, which provides information and training courses about wildlife around the world, their habitats, conservation, rescue and rehabilitation.

ABF: What is the Fiesta Mayor de Gracia?

Irene: The Fiesta Mayor de Gracia is one of the most awaited summer festivals in Barcelona. It is a week of street parties all over the Gracia neighborhood, with different activities like concerts, fire runs, children’s art workshops, and many more for each day and night. (see link below) This year’s celebration will run from the 15th – 21st of August.

ABF: Why is it popular and important?

Irene: It is most known for the very colorful and creative street decorations worked on with complete devotion by its residents, each year surprising us with different themes and their unique use of materials. It is also a very good example of the strong ties and collaborative spirit of its residents, some of whom prepare all year for this important event.

ABF: Which streets are your favorites?

Irene: My favorite street is Calle Joan Blanques for its creativity in concept and use of colors, lights and recycled materials. Their ideas are usually based on more abstract concepts like poetry, making it more emotionally touching and inspiring. Another is the Plaza Rovira because in 2009 they decorated the entire square as if it were under the sea, with plants, animals and other sea creatures floating all around. I generally love anything that has to do with nature.




IN THE PHILIPPINES, we have our very own Pahiyas Festival.

 Pahiyas Festival is a colorful feast celebrated every 15th of May by the people of Lucban, Quezon, Philippines in honor of San Isidro Labrador. It is the farmers’ thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest with a grand display of colorful rice wafers, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts adorning every house in the town.

Putukan o Basaan?

24 Jun

Kabilin-bilinan ng mga tiyahin ko noong nakatira pa ako sa Sta. Mesa, Manila na huwag na huwag dadaan sa San Juan sa araw ng San Juan dahil wala silang sasantuhin, lahat mababasa, kagaya ng nasa larawan. Nagbabasaan din sa Baylan sa Batangas, Punta-Taytay, Bacolod City at sa Camiguin. Ito raw ang bersyon natin ng mga water festivals ng mga kapitbahay nating mga bansa. Bilang isang predominanteng Katoliko, ipinagdiwang ito ng Pilipinas upang alalahanin si San Juan (Bautista) ang nagbinyag kay Jesus.

Kung sa bandang Greenhills ay nagkakabasaan lang, sa mga beach sa Barcelona, hindi lang nagkakabasaan, nagkakaputukan pa.

Ganito ipagdiwang ang San Juan dito. Sinasalubong ng maraming paputok, konsiyerto, parties, picnic sa beach, at kung anu-ano pang putukan. Imbes sa Bagong Taon magpaputok, ginagawa nila ito sa bisperas ng Sant Joan (ang Catalan para sa San Juan)

Ang pinakatampok sa gabing ito ay ang pagsisindi ng mga hogueras (bonfire), isang antigong ritwal na ginagawa rin sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Europa upang ‘bigyan pa ng puwersa ang araw’ na unti-unting hihina pagdating ng winter season.

At bago dumating ang mga buwan ng taglamig, ngayon muna ay marami ang lalabas, kakain ng coca at iinom ng cava at magpa-party all night long upang ipagdiwang ang kapanganakan ni San Juan o kaya naman ang opisyal na simula ng beach season.


Marami-rami na rin ang memorable experiences ko sa mga gabi ng San Juan. Dahil sa maraming tao, maraming alkohol sa katawan, maraming nagsu-swimming, maraming distractions, marami rin ang nananakawan. At isa na ako dun, yung nanakawan.  Sa anim na taon ko sa Maynila at matapos akong maakyat-bahay, akala ko na-develop na ang anti-theft instincts ko, at isa pa, ako ang tipo na kapag nagdi-dinner sa labas, yakap-yakap ko ang bag ko kahit deodorant lang ang laman nito. Ang sama kasi ng pakiramdam kapag nanakawan, lalo na yung hindi mo alam.  Buti na lang, noong gabing iyon, ang kupas na knapsack ko lang ang mapapakinabangan ng magnanakaw.


Nanakaw na rin ang aking inociencia. Akala ko naman kasi kuwitis lang ang pinapaputok, ang iba lahat pinapaputok. Baka siguro hindi pa sapat ang init ng mga bonfire, kaya may iba nagpapainit ng konti.  Akala ko sa tinagal-tagal ko sa Barcelona, zero na ang culture shock, mas open-minded na ako. Hindi ko na pinapansin at hindi na ako namamangha sa mga nagpa-public display of affection at hindi na rin nagtatalon sa tuwa kapag nagpupunta sa nudist beach. (Hindi naman kasi lahat ng mga naghuhubad nakakatuwa). Wala na sa akin yung mga naghahalikan sa kalye na halos kainin na nila yung isa’t isa, yung halos magkapalit na sila ng mukha. Wala na sa akin yun.  Pero ibang usapan na yung mag-live show sa harapan ko, yung puwede mo siyang kalabitin at puwede kayong mag-heart-to-heart talk, at sa harapan ng mga children at parents at the whole wholesome family na gumagawa ng mga kastilyong buhangin sa dalampasigan. Mabuti na lang at malamig pa nga at hindi nila kinailangang tanggalin ang kanilang mga damit. At mabuti na lang mas maingay ang mga paputok.

Hindi ko na hinintay na makarating pa sila sa heaven o kaya sa Greenhills, baka magkabasaan pa. DIT


Sa mga gustong makakita kung ano ang itsura ng beach na pinaggaganapan ng Revetlla de Sant Joan sa Barcelona, puwedeng i-google o i-check ang tourism website ng Barcelona o kaya naman panoorin na lang ang latest video ni Shakira–Loca. Marami ngayon nito sa Barceloneta.

Araw ng Kasarinlan, Paninindigan, Pagbabago at Kabataan sa Barcelona

11 Jun

Ang poster para sa taong ito. Kabataan, manindigan para sa Pagbabago ng Bayan.

Bilang paggunita sa Araw ng Kasarinlan ng Pilipinas at ika-150 anibersaryo ni Gat José Rizal, muling dadausin ang taunang pagdiriwang ng mga Filipino sa Barcelona sa pangunguna ng iba’t ibang asosasyon na napapabilang sa Kapulungan ng mga Lider Pinoy sa Barcelona (KALIPI) at sa pakikipagtulungan ng Embahada at Konsulado ng Pilipinas at ng Ayuntamiento de Barcelona. Ang programa ay gaganapin ngayong Linggo, ika-12 ng Hunyo sa Plaça dels Angels, harapan ng MACBA, Barcelona, Spain. Sisimulan ang tanghalian (a las 12) ng Food Festival at mga Palarong Pinoy. At kung gusto ninyo naman ng basketball, may  Basketball Friendship Game sa Poliesportiu Can Ricart, Calle Sant Pau, a las 9 ng umaga. Para malaman ang kompletong programa, maaaring i-dowload ito: Programa Philippine Independence Day Barcelona

Mawawalan ba ng artista? Maraming artista! Isa na siya:

Pagkatapos ng konsiyerto niya sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Espanya, muli nating masisilayan si Alexandra ngayong Linggo!

Harana, o cómo cortejar a las mujeres filipinas, en Barcelona

11 May

Las mujeres filipinas podrían enamorarse de ti si sabes cómo cantar una Harana.

Así se interpreta la Harana


Harana es el nombre por el que se conoce a las canciones populares líricas filipinas procedentes de la época de dominio español. Estas canciones tradicionales de cortejo derivan sus elementos rítmicos del tango o la habanera española. Mientras que la versión española tiene un ritmo alegre y seductor, la versión filipina es romántica, lírica y lenta.

En la forma tradicional de cortejo en Filipinas, un hombre corteja a una mujer, siempre por la noche, cantando debajo de su ventana. Era ventajoso por tanto para un hombre joven poseer talento musical ya que a menudo debería usarlo para cortejar a una mujer. Sin embargo, si el interesado carecía de talento,podía recurrir a amigos que supieran cantar bien la Harana, o bien contratar a los mejores músicos de la ciudad. Por lo tanto, la Harana no siempre es un esfuerzo realizado en solitario.

Sin embargo, en nuestra época y debido al uso generalizado de la electricidad, la práctica de la Harana ha muerto. Tristemente, la Harana sólo puede ser efectiva en un entorno rural donde suele haber una noche tranquila,  sin viento, con la luna bien visible y las estrellas centellando, sin olvidar la necesidad de que la casa de la amada disponga de una ventana o balcón suficientemente altos.

Rescatando un repertorio de esta práctica tradicional filipina, será posible escuchar la Harana en la ciudad de Barcelona el próximo sábado 14 de mayo, a las 21h., en la Iglesia de San Agustín sita en la Calle Hospital. Las entradas sólo cuestan 5 euros.

El acto servirá para recaudar fondos para sostener la publicación Ang Bagong Filipino (El Nuevo Filipino), así como celebrar el mes del Patrimonio Cultural de Filipinas. Se trata de un proyecto organizado por Asociación Filipina de Escritores e Investigadores en España con la colaboración de la Parroquia Personal Filipina y el Consulado General de Filipinas en Barcelona.

Harana en Barcelona este sábado, 14 de mayo, a las 21h, en la Iglesia de San Agustín, Calle Hospital, Barcelona.

How do you sing Matud Nila in Japanese?

8 May

Translation in Japanese may be cute but a Japanese singing a Bisayan song like ‘Matud Nila’, as one comment says, is something spectacular. Japanese baritone Teppei Kono sings ‘Matud Nila’.

Now, Polish-American tenor Mark Piekarz  gives Imelda a run for her money as he sings ‘Dahil Sa ‘Yo’.

Do you know how to sing Pinoy songs, in Filipino 🙂 ? How well do you know Pinoy songs, your heritage? Wanna hear more Pinoy songs? Wanna be serenaded this weekend? You’ve got two chances this week:

1. Go to Casa Asia, Avenida Diagonal 373, Barcelona, this Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. Free Entrance. Limited seats.


  • La Flor de Manila
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya
  • Gaano ko Ikaw Kamahal
  • Ang Larawan
  • 3 Folk Songs

2. Buy yourself a very cheap concert ticket, 5 euros only and go to Iglesia de San Agustin this Saturday, May 14.  Be early. The concert starts at 9 p.m. You can also buy the concert tickets at the entrance.


  • O Ina ng Laging Saklolo
  • O Naraniag nga Bulan
  • Magsimula Ka
  • Kahit Ika’y Panaginip Lang
  • Matud Nila
  • Init sa Magdamag
  • Iduyan Mo
  • Kastilyong Buhangin
  • Ang Larawan
  • Pandangguhan
  • Kataka-taka
  • Habang May Buhay
  • Ngayon at Kailanman
  • Nais ko
  • Bayan Ko

Know your roots. Be proud of your heritage. See you at the concert.

Bawal bang mahalin ka?

7 Apr

Pinoys just like any other may engage in love types which may challenge sanctified societal conventions. The distance from the nuclear family and the ‘openness’ of the host country foment an opportune climate for experimenting a new way of expressing love. Some of them are embroiled in forbidden love, some engage in same-sex affairs and others in interracial relationships. There are those whose way of coping with love is to demur and defer it opting for single-blessedness. Some of these are well-taken while some others view them with supercilious contempt.

The Pinoy lover, just like nature, abhors vacuum. There’s got to be love one way or another. And they cope with it either by approach-approach whether acceptable or not or they may try the avoid-avoid. After all, love still makes the world go round. The Pinoys abroad are no exception. The emotion of love draws out the genius in every Pinoy. They love all they will and they love all they can.

Pabalat ng ika-7 isyu ng Ang Bagong Filipino. Upang makakuha ng kopya, i-click lamang ang link na ito: Ang Bagong Filipino numero 7

Basques in Manila

5 Apr

Basque names are easily recognizable in street names (Echague, that runs along Quinta Market through sa ilalim ng tulay), places (Plaza Goiti), and provinces (Nueva Vizcaya). They are still with us in business: the Aboitizes, the Elizaldes, and the Ayala side of the Zobel de Ayala clan. Continue reading: Luis H. Francia\’s Basques in Manila

Manila’s Jai Alai stadium. Among the jewels of that period was Taft Avenue, a mini-Champs Elysee, with grand homes, sparkling movie houses, colleges and spectacular Art Deco buildings. One of the finest buildings was the Jai Alai stadium, opened in 1940 as a home for the Basque game of the same name and quickly adopted as a playground by the rich and glamorous.

Wow Titser!

30 Mar

(Ed. Note: Entrevista con Nata. In this section, our correspondent Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna shares with us his creamy and delectable stories, 100 % inspiring yet zero in fat.)

“Ms. Delos Reyes, when are you getting married? You might turn into an endangered specie.”

Resisting not to laugh, Wowie  gave the curious owner of this question a wide smile.    After all, being a teacher of young innocent and imaginative minds, questions like this can always turn up unannounced. And she always comes prepared.

Wowie or Rowena Isabel Delos Reyes, who hails from Puerto Princesa City, Palawan,  graduated Psychology at the Silliman University and  took up Professional  Education at the University of the Philippines.  Later on, she decided to take a Master in Special Education at the University of Southern Philippines.  In 2001, she got a scholarship to study in Valladolid, Spain.

She has always wanted to be a teacher.  It was her maternal grandmother who inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming an educator. For her, her grandmother did not only teach her how to read and write but also handed her down values.  This time, it is her turn to share and teach those values to her students.

“I come from a family of educators. My grandmother taught me to read and do arithmetic in a very fun and easy way.”

She has been teaching for 18 years now,  where she has  taught in the pre-school, elementary and high school in Manila and Cebu. She also taught Spanish at Poveda Learning Centre in Manila.

Wowie with her students at Southville International School, Philippines

What kind of a teacher are you?

“I always try to be fair and firm with my students. It is my responsibility to encourage my students to continuously develop and improve their knowledge and skills about things they’re interested in and good at, to become lifelong learners.”

She can no longer count with her fingers those memorable moments she had with her students inside or outside the classroom.

“I always have a class that giggles a lot. One of my favorites is when one of my students came to class and exclaimed, “I heard a bad word said in the play I watched yesterday!” To prevent a bad word to be said in my class, I reminded my students that bad words aren’t appropriate. They’re not accepted in my class. But one of them insisted, “Come on tell.”  Before anybody could say something I declared, “No bad words should be said here. This is my domain. You do what I say.” One asked, “What is domain, Ms. Delos Reyes?” and before I could say something another one said, “I know that! That’s the barber of my grandfather. That’s Mang Domeng!”

Giggling students, Cebu International School

In  2008, she moved to Ankara and worked for the Bilkent Laboratory and International school.

“I have a Filipino friend who used to teach in an international school in Istanbul and told me lots of beautiful things about Turkey. This was  my first overseas teaching job .”

How were your first days in Turkey?

“Turkish people are hospitable and sweet. It was so easy to fit in. Although it was miserable on my first Christmas in Turkey, because we Filipinos spend Christmas with so much festivity and there were no carolers, no Christmas trees, no Christmas decorations at the department stores, no Christmas songs over the radio and  no Christmas cards!, I decided to get my family and friends birthday cards.  For me, one reason why we celebrate Christmas is because we celebrate Jesus’s birthday. Some of my friends find it hilarious receiving a birthday card for Christmas!”

There are about 6,000 Filipinos in Turkey. Most of them are employed as household staff of diplomatic communities and rich Turkish families.  Furthermore, around 600 Filipinos are skilled workers and professionals working as architects, doctors, engineers and teachers. The greatest number of Filipinos can be found in Istanbul.

How were your students?  Your colleagues?

“I always have awesome students! I had great coworkers at Bilkent Laboratory and International School. We partied and traveled a lot! We still keep in touch. One of the things I like about teaching in international schools is people have mutual respect and tolerance for each other. “

How are Filipino students different from other international students that she has handled?

“Students are all the same in the classroom in any country. They’re enthusiastic, sweet, smart and fun to be with. Some of my students keep in touch with me and I have a very friendly relationship with them.  I treat them like my own.”

Did your students ask about the Philippines?

“Students are always curious about how is life in their teacher’s country. They asked a lot of questions about the Philippines.  I have a student who made me listen to songs of Black Eyed Peas because according to her one of them is a Filipino. I have one who asked me if she could come spend her summer holiday with me because she wants to go to Amanpulo Island in Palawan.”

How did Ankara treat you?

I didn’t have a hard time adjusting when I was in Ankara even if it was my first overseas job or even if I was the only Filipino in my school because I had helpful, accommodating, and very supportive colleagues. Because of this I had a super hard time leaving Turkey. You can get the best of both worlds in Turkey: it’s quite ancient and very modern at the same time. Traveling is another thing I enjoyed in Turkey.  I had a wonderful and awesome time in Turkey! My very close Turkish friend said she thinks Filipinos are kind, sweet, resilient and smart. I guess the others see Filipinos the same way.

Wowie in Ankara, Turkey

Are there Pinoys in Ankara?

“Yes, I see them when I go to church. Most of them are nannies. A few were my students’ nannies. Some were married to Turkish and a few work in the Philippine Embassy.

Did you have any chance of integrating with the locals, getting to know their culture?

Yes. I’m always lucky to have very kind and accommodating friends in every country that I live in. I get invited by them and get to experience their celebrations and we traveled together. I get to learn more about their country, their language. I become very close to them and they become my best friends.

With her students at Bilkent Laboratory & International School, Turkey

Why didn’t you plan to extend your stay in Turkey?

“I’d like to work closer to the Philippines because of my mother. I’d like to be able to go home anytime I need to.”

Was it worth it, teaching in Turkey?

“YES! I had a great experience in Turkey.  I liked the people a lot they’re very warm and sweet.”

Any plans of going back to the Philippines to teach again in the near future?

“I have already taught in the Philippines for 15 years. I’d like to travel this time and learn about the culture of other countries.”

Do you have a dream country where you see yourself teaching for a longer time?

“Good question. I should start thinking of one already. I think I’d like to teach in an international school and stay long in New York.”

After her stint in Ankara, Wowie got another teaching job in Busan, South Korea where she is a Grade 4 teacher at Busan International Foreign School teaching English, Mathematics, and Unit of Inquiry (combination of Science and Social Studies). But be it Ankara, or Manila or Busan, Wowie doesn’t mind.

“I always get hugs and sometimes letters and certificates (awards) from my students for being a great teacher to them.”

There has been a running joke about teachers that they end up single because they spend most of their time inside the classroom or preparing lesson plans and activities for their students. Does this worry you a bit?

“I am just different and very picky that’s why my soulmate and I haven’t met yet. I am not worried at all.”

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” An American  journalist and academic, Henry Adams once said. Endangered or not, to her students, a teacher like Wowie will always be a special kind of specie.