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¿Cómo suena Chavacano?

28 Mar

Daniel Infante Tuaño

A veces me preguntan los españoles si nosotros los filipinos aún sabemos hablar español, dado que Filipinas fue colonia española durante trescientos treinta y tres años.  Siempre les contesto que sí, que hay muchisimas palabras que aún están presentes en el vocabulario filipino. Sin embargo, ya no hablamos el idioma porque el español dejó de ser un requisito en la universidad y otros colonizadores nuestros, los estadounidenses, impusieron el inglés como lengua oficial durante los años de ‘asimilación benevolente’.  El inglés es ahora la segunda lengua oficial de Filipinas, y todos los filipinos pueden comunicarse, es decir, pueden entender y conversar, en inglés, aunque sólo hayan estudiado educación primaria o no tengan estudios.

Sin embargo, algunos filipinos, sobretodo los que habitan en Zamboanga y en algunas zonas de Mindanao y de Luzon (tales como Cavite y Manila), hablan una especie de criollo español conocido por el nombre de Chavacano. Al contar esto, siempre recibo una mirada extraña o incluso algunas risas, ya que la palabra Chavacano (escrita Chabacano en español) tiene un significado peyorativo, a saber, dícese de algo o alguien de mal gusto, vulgar o grosero. De hecho, el Chavacano es fruto del contacto entre la población indigena y los colonizadores hispanohablantes (españoles peninsulares y los novohispanos o mexicanos). En aquellos momentos, era tal el número de dialectos e idiomas que se hablaban que, aunque los hispanohablantes consideraban como ‘vulgar’ esta manera de hablar español, les bastaba y la consideraban de gran importancia para hacerse entender con los habitantes autóctonos.

Algunos me han manifestado su interés en saber cómo es, cómo suena. Casualmente, en la actualidad uno de los grandes éxitos en Filipinas es una canción titulada ‘Porque’,interpretada por un grupo de jóvenes cantantes que se hacen llamar ‘Maldita’. Este grupo de la ciudad de Zamboanga ha logrado promocionar en Filipinas el Chavacano. Aquí tenéis un video y abajo están las letras. Ya diréis si suena vulgar o si suena bien. ¡Muchas gracias al Sr. Arnel German por compartir esta noticia!

Video Courtesy of MAD MEDIA WORKS

PORQUE (Why)
by Maldita

Solo-solo na mi cuarto (Alone in my room)
Hende ta puede durmi
(I could not sleep)
Bira-bira na cabeza
(In my mind it keeps coming back)
El dolor yo ya sinti (The pain that I felt)

REFRAIN
Porque pa contigo yo ya quiere?
(Why was it that I liked (or loved) you?
)
Como bula lang tu ya perde (Like bubble you disappeared)

CHORUS
Porque contigo yo ya escogi?
(Why was it that I chose you? )
Ahora mi corazon ta sufri (Now, my heart suffers)
Bien simple lang yo ta pidi (What I ask for is too simple)
Era sinti tu el cosa yo ya sinti (That you feel how I felt)

Ta pidi milagro bira’l tiempo (I ask for a miracle to turn back the time)
El mali hace derecho (For this mistake to be corrected)
Na di mio rezo ta pidi yo (In my prayer I ask)
Era olvida yo contigo (That I forget you)

Todo-todo yo ya dale (I have given everything)
Ahora ta arrepenti
(Now, I am regretting)
Sobra-sobra el dolencia (Too much pain)
Tormento para vivi (It is difficult to go on (or to live))

Repeat Refrain and Chorus

BRIDGE
No tu distorba
(Never bother me)
Y no atraca kay baka (Or even come near me)
palmadia yo contigo (I might be able to slap you in the face)
Nunca accepta (Never accept)
Si tu ay bira por dolor ya sinti (For if you come back, it is pain I feel)

Porque contigo yo ya escogi? (Why was it that I chose you? )
Ahora mi corazon ta sufri (Now, my heart suffers)
Bien simple lang yo ta pidi (What I ask for is too simple)
Era sinti tu el cosa yo ya sinti (That you feel how I felt)

Repeat Chorus

Ooohh..
Porque contigo yo ya escogi?
(Why was it that I chose you? )
Ahora mi corazon ta sufri…(Now, my heart suffers)

Traducido por Eldon B. Tenorio

Cebú, ipinalabas sa Cuatro

23 Mar

Pagkatapos ng Manila, ngayon naman ay Cebu ang itinampok sa programang Callejeros Viajeros ng Spanish channel na Cuatro noong Lunes ng gabi. Halos pareho ang ipinakita–kahirapan, karangyaan, ang malaking kaibahan ng kalagayan ng mayayaman at mahihirap sa Pilipinas at ang impluwensiya ng Espanya roon. Ngayon nga lang ay may beaches at bird sanctuary. At hindi rin nawala ang mga street food kung saan makakakuha raw tayo ng diarrhea!

Sa mga hindi nakapanood, i-click lang ang link na ito: Callejeros Viajeros: Cebú

Fall in love again on May 14

20 Mar

After the well-attended and critically-acclaimed Kundiman concert held last year, this year someone will serenade you…

We are giving you another night of world-class Filipino talent, enchanting music and another reason to fall in love again.

In celebration of the Philippine National Heritage month, Ang Bagong Filipino group of writers in collaboration with the Filipino Personal Parish and the Philippine Consulate in Barcelona present New York-based Filipino tenor Bernard Milan and Austria-based pianist Ferdinand Bambico in concert.

May 14, 2011
9:00 p.m.

San Agustin Church
Barcelona, Spain

TIME’s 5 Reasons to Visit Ilocos

19 Mar

Bound to the west by the South China Sea and to the east by the imposing Gran Cordillera Central mountain range, the Philippine provinces of Ilocos Norte and neighboring Ilocos Sur combine the cultural allure of old Manila and the natural beauty of holiday hot spot Boracay. Daily, hour-long flights connect Manila to Ilocos Norte’s capital Laoag, but the area still manages to feel far from the tourist trail.

Bagnet, a ‘deliciously tender pork-belly dish’

Time Magazine’s Hans Villarica gives us the THE TOP FIVE REASONS  to visit Ilocos and enjoy its natural wonders, cuisine, history and grand architecture.

‘Gusto kong (yumaman 5X)’

13 Mar

‘Walang Natira’ ng GLOC 9 & Sheng Belmonte. Basahin ang lyrics para malaman ang mensahe ng kanilang awit:

Napakaraming nurse dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila ahhh

 

Yung bayang sinilangan ang pangalan ay Pinas

Ngunit bakit parang puno na ang prutas ay pitas

Nauubusan ng batas parang inamag na bigas

Lumalakas na ang ulan ngunit ang payong ay butas

Tumatakbo nang madulas mga pinuno ay ungas

Sila lamang ang nakikinabang pero tayo ang utas

Mga kabayan natin ay lumilipad, lumalabas

Para pumunta ng ibang bansa at doon magtamas

Ng kamay para lamang magkakalyo lang muli

Ang pahingay iipunin para magamit paguwi

Dahil doon sa atin mahirap makuha ang buri

Mapahiran ng tsokolate ang matamis na ngiti

Ng anak na halos di nakilala ang ama

O ina na wala sa tuwing kaarawan nila

Dadarating kaya ang araw na ito’y magiiba

Kung hindi ka sigurado mag-isip-isip ka na

 

Napakaraming inhinyero dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Napakaraming karpintero dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila ahhh

 

Mabuti kung mabuti ang kinakahinatnan

Ang kapalaran ng lahat ng nakipagsapalaran

Kahit nag-aalangan para lang sa kapakanan

Ng mahal sa buhay ang sugal ay tatayaan

Isasanla ang lahat ng kanilang pag-aari

Mababawi din naman yan ang sabi pagnayari

Ang proseso ng papeles para makasakay na sa eroplano

O barko kahit saan man papunta.

Basta kumita ng dolyar na ipapalit sa piso

Ang isa ay katumbas ng isang dakot na mamiso

Ganyan ba ang kapalit ng buhay ng Pilipino

Kung lilisanin ang pamilya ang amo na kahit na sino

Gugutumin sasaktan malalagay sa piligro

Uuwing nasa kahon ni wala man lang testigo

Darating kaya ang araw na ito’y magiiba

Kung hindi ka sigurado mag-isip isip ka na

 

Napakaraming kasambahay dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Napakaraming labandera dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila ahhh

 

Subukan mong isipin kung gaano kabigat

Ang buhat ng maleta halos hindi mo na maangat

Ihahabilin ang anak para ‘to sa kanila

Lalayo upang magalaga ng anak ng iba

Matapos lamang sa kolehiyo matutubos din ang relo

Bilhin mo na kung anong gustong laruan ni Angelo

Matagal pa kontrato ko titiisin ko muna ‘to

Basta ang mahalaga ito’y para sa pamilya ko

 

Napakaraming guro dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Napakaraming nurse dito sa amin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Nag-a-abroad sila aahh

Gusto kong (yumaman5x)

Napakaraming tama dito sa atin

Ngunit bakit tila walang natira aahhh…

 

Pit Señor! Smile of the Week

1 Feb

Filipinos in Spain like members of Sto. Niño group are all smiles as they celebrate ‘Sinulog’ in Madrid. Photo by Bella Marte

In Barcelona, the Association Visayas-Mindanao once again displayed their colorful costumes and danced to the beat of the drum to  show their adoration to Sto. Niño. Photo by Elle Ladeza

The Sinulog is an annual festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City, Philippines. The festival honors the child Jesus, known as the Santo Niño (Holy Child), patron of the city of Cebu. It is a dance ritual that commemorates the Cebuano people’s pagan origin, and their acceptance of Christianity.

From a Cebuano word “sulog” which means “like water current movement”, the Sinulog dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward done to the beat of the drum. Continue reading Centro Filipino’s History of Christianity and Sinulog in the Philippines

Finding Tita Eva

1 Dec

by Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna

That was two days after Christmas. My two travel buddies and I woke up very early, prepared our things and checked out of the hostel. We were scheduled to leave Rome that day. After all, we had been travelling all over Italy for the past six days. Having seen my first speck of snow in Milan, admired the gorgeous gondolas in Venice, have been enchanted by the incandescent beauty of Florence, awed by the tower of Pisa and beguiled by the magic of Rome, it was time to finally say goodbye to our Christmas holiday in Italy. We took the metro to the bus station with a dazzling image of us celebrating  New Year’s Eve in Madrid. Ten minutes later, the same image broke into pieces when at the ticket booth, the strict Roman lady unapologetically informed us that there were no longer available buses going to Spain until Dec. 29. Now why on earth didn’t we ever consider buying a two-way ticket in the first place? Blame it on our amateurish attempt at spontaneous travelling, our Italian trip came close to the heels of our recently concluded Portugal trip which turned out smooth and fun. So basing from that unforgettable trip, we instantly expected that later trips would be hitch-free and efficient. Well,   that would be possible if it were not a holiday season in the first place and that, if we had two-way tickets! Excitement took over us  the moment we found a very cheap one-way flight from Barcelona to Milan.  We immediately zipped our bags and flew the following  day.

We didn’t mind spending another two days in Rome though, only that we were running out of cash. For an unexplainable reason, my ATM card was not working. We rushed to the nearest airline offices but everything was booked. We dashed to the Termini station to check the trains, but no luck. Harakiri was the best option. Or not yet.

Meeting Tita E.

The Termini station was a picture of pandemonium and madness. Everybody was apparently eager to find any possible ways to get out of Rome. Scenes of angry and tired passengers shouting at the ticket sellers demanding for available seats and additional trips but were only shouted back in return were already a normal sight and sound at the station. My remaining pocket money told me that I could still manage for the next two days if I spent strictly on metro rides, food and a bus ticket to Spain. Clearly, I didn’t have a budget for a two-day accommodation. Little by little, I submitted to the possibility of spending two nights at the Termini station just like the vagabonds and several stranded travelers that were scattered everywhere inside the place. But the moment we tried settling our luggage in one corner, I already spotted two people eyeing at our belongings. We abandoned the idea right away. But deep inside,  I was aware that when worse came to worst, we would be forced to reconsider.

Suddenly, it occurred to us that it was time for Plan C:  Our fellow kababayans, to the rescue.  During our  first six days moving around Italy, we met a handful of Pinoys everywhere. Inviting us for a Christmas dinner at their place in Florence or greeting us happy holidays in the streets of Rome, our fellow kababayans would definitely not turn their backs on us.

It gave me the impression that we were in one of the  McDonald’s outlet somewhere in Manila. Judging from the number of Pinoys in every corner; chatting, laughing, gossiping, eating, selling and shouting, the Mc Donald’s inside the  Termini station was undeniably the hang out place of our kababayans. About ten Pinoys cared to listen to our plight and took the initiative of helping us find a place to spend two nights. Nobody judged us for not purchasing return tickets to Spain. I found myself sighing in relief. Everybody was calling everybody, uttering the same dialogues to the ones on the other line. I could  hear  them saying “There are three  students from Spain who  got stranded in Rome without a place to stay and don’t  have enough money for a hostel. Is it possible for you to accommodate them?”  I couldn’t blame them if they actually would like to say “Three stupid students from Spain got stranded in Rome without return tickets. Don’t have enough money and got no place to  stay. Bunch of idiots!” But no, everybody was sympathetic to our predicament. However, by process of elimination, one by one gave us a sorry look and  an apologetic “Sorry, got no place for you guys.”  Our hearts sank and started to pound heavily. The image of us lying on the floor of the station for two days started to play in my mind. Fortunately,  as my grandmother would always say, “If God closes a door, he opens a window and serves you a free dinner”, God sent us  Tita Eva.  A charming middle-aged  Batangueña who, judging by  the manner  how the other Pinoys addressed her with respect,  was a  very nice and upright woman.  After listening to our ordeal and without asking too many questions, she asked us to follow her.

Tita Eva

New year’s eve with Tita E.

The Ministry of Finance stands a few feet away from the station. Tita Eva slowly swiped her “Gate card” and waited for  the card detector machine to read it and let her entry. Tita Eva was married to Tio Corrado, an  Italian working as a head security guard at the Ministry of Finance.

As soon as we entered the house, she made us feel at home and comfortable. She even prepared pasta for dinner. We finally met Tio Corrado.  A stocky and tall man in his 50’s,  Tio Corrado  was your typical friendly Italian guy who indisputably loved football and pasta.  Both he and Tita Eva were bubbly over dinner, exchanging banters as they narrated to us their love story.

The following day, we went to the  bus station to once again try our luck to buy the tickets for Spain. The Roman gods and goddesses must have wanted us to see more of Rome. The same stern lady at the ticket booth coldly told us that the next available trip to Spain was on January 2.  That would be  six more days in Rome! Not wanting to abuse the hospitality of  Tita Eva by extending our stay, we looked for  trips to Spain  by passenger ship. We found one and it was leaving  in three days.  We asked for the price.  It was so staggeringly high  that we were forced to trounce both pride and shyness to tell Tita Eva about the latest news.  She insisted that we stayed. She didn’t mind having us until the new year. Besides, she didn’t want us to take the passenger ship after hearing about the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia that week. We didn’t have a choice but to stay until the 2nd of January.  And this time, we couldn’t afford to take any chances.  We  bought the tickets for the trip back home.

Tita Eva’s smile was all over her face as she sliced the panetone and put it on the table. She was very excited to greet the New Year with us.  According to her, it had been years since the last time she had fun welcoming the new year.   She and  Tio Corrado would normally have dinner and after that he would go to bed and doze off unmindful of the ongoing merriment. Tita Eva would just wait for the countdown on TV by herself and then went to bed after the clock had struck past twelve. But this evening, it was totally different.  We had sparkling sticks, champagne and spaghetti! The photos said it all, Tita Eva had a blast.

Two days later, we were off to the streets of Rome heading to the bus station. As we were saying our goodbyes, Tita Eve made us promise to keep in touch and thanked us for spending the New Year with her. When she saw us off she could not hold her tears.  She cried.  We felt sad too.  We would miss her.  Our extended stay in Rome with her was one of the things that made our trip to Italy very memorable. We not only saw a lot of Rome but also met a very special person in Tita Eva.

Missing Tita E.

When I got back to Spain, I never missed greeting Tita Eva on special holidays every year. She would always ask me when I would go back to Italy and see her again. The last time  I talked to her  was in May two years ago when I called to greet her “Happy Mother’s day.” She sounded so excited because in two days she was going back to the Philippines for a month-long visit.  She was also half-complaining that she might pay for  excess luggage  which were mostly toys for her grandchildren.  That was the last time  I heard from her. In August of that same year, four years after my first trip, I went back to Rome.  I was very excited to surprise Tita Eva.  But when I tried calling her phone, I  couldn’t get through. I went to the Termini station to look for  familiar faces. I got to meet two women who personally knew her.  Tio Corrado  died a year ago and Tita Eva decided to move to Manila for good.  No, they didn’t have her phone number in the Philippines.  I left my number to them requesting to text me once they hear something from her. I  haven’t heard from them since.

Six years have passed and no longer a neophyte in travelling, (yup, can’t start a journey without  a two-way ticket tucked inside my rucksack together with my passport), I have met a lot of Tita Eva’s along the way. Looking  back, not having that return ticket gave  us the chance to experience the unconditional  kindness of strangers. I am writing  this story to remind  me of this humbling experience where I discovered one important lesson: generosity is universal. There will always be  people with golden hearts, be it a Pinoy or not.  I am writing this story hoping against hope that maybe,  one of the readers of this  account happens to know Tita Eva, and though with not so much details about her ( I don’t know her family name),  would be a dear to inform me of her whereabouts.  The thing is, I now owe her two “Happy Mother’s day” greetings.

More than mere ‘Vacas Lecheras’

9 Nov

Looking beyond billion dollar remittances

INMIGRACIÓN, ASOCIACIONISMO Y DESARROLLO: FILIPINAS

October 14, 2010 – Casa Asia – Barcelona, Spain

By Kay S. Abaño

Filipino Migration, Associativism and Development were the main themes discussed in a conference organized by Casa Asia in cooperation with representatives of the University of Valencia and the Scalabrini Migration Center in the Philippines. The presentation focused on the results of the two groups’ collaborative project- the Migrants’ Associations and Philippine Institutions for Development, or MAPID. This project’s main objective is to understand the relationship between Filipino migrant associations and Philippine institutions, and to promote their cooperation with each other for the home country’s development.

Edelia Villaroya, coordinator of MAPID at the University of Valencia, and Fr. Fabio Baggio, director of MAPID and the Scalabrini Migration Center in the Philippines, elaborated on the project’s findings along with their analysis of the information presented. Their respective presentations were factual yet quite accessible and infused with a deep human understanding, possibly a result of their direct and close contact with Filipinos in Spain, Italy, as well as in the Philippines.

From Brain Drain to Brain Gain

Of all the figures presented, I believe that the most astounding was the number of Filipinos leaving to work abroad each year: 1,422,586. That’s almost 1.5 million Filipino contract workers leaving the country every year, working and using their knowledge and abilities on foreign soil rather than in their own land, to benefit their own people. This fact was also pointed out by the speakers, saying that the migrant phenomenon has been creating another phenomenon through the years- the Brain Drain- which is unfortunately matched with the lack of government programs for what they called “Brain Gain.” Their study also revealed that there are no existing programs for migrant re-integration, nor perceived links between migration and development in the country. Throughout their presentation, a very important idea was repeatedly stressed– the transfer of capabilities and knowledge. It was made clear that the key to migrant re-integration and development in the Philippines is in this sharing of abilities and knowledge, and that Filipino migrants are capable of being more than “Vacas Lecheras” or machines that merely send money home.

Happy Filipinos

Interestingly, the study has found that many 2nd generation Filipinos still feel more Filipino, or see themselves as Filipino-Spanish rather than just Spanish. Also, it was discovered that Filipinos abroad (particularly those in Spain and Italy) are able to stay happy in spite of the various forms of discrimination that they experience. The project’s leaders attribute this positive mentality to the Filipino’s innate psychological strength, which is perhaps what helps the Filipino migrant through the difficult realities of marginalization and the apparent lack of preoccupation for the migrants by both the host and home countries.

Region and Religion

However, not everyone feels the same way about this phenomenon. The study found that there are some migrants who do feel alone and abandoned by their hosts and their own countrymen, many of whom suffer this ordeal in silence.  Hence, the importance of associations.  Filipinos both in Spain and Italy have organized themselves into different groups based mainly on religion and region.  But, although this kind of support exists, they discovered that many migrant workers still look for support and recognition from home.

Everything revealed and discussed during the presentation about Filipino migrants and the realities that surround them was clear and true. Filipino migrant workers do what they do because they have to, and they are certainly capable of dealing with whatever it entails and however it affects their lives. But, what was also made clear was the importance that has yet to be given to migration internationally, its relevance to nations and individuals, but especially on how the host and home countries perceive it. The Diaspora, according to the study, enriches both nations in a number of ways, and goes well beyond mere employment generation. In the end, apart from all the information already available, it seems that there is still more to learn about this phenomenon that everyone could further benefit from. Meanwhile, Filipinos will continue to leave the country in search for greener pastures, towards uncertain futures, in foreign lands.

Representatives from the Spanish and Philippine government, Casa Asia, Scalibrini Migration Center and University of Valencia together with federation of Filipino associations (KALIPI), Centro Filipino and Asociación Filipina de Escritores e Investigadores en España (Ang Bagong Filipino) were present to discuss the different dimensions of Filipino diaspora and its relevance to development.

Little Miss Dianne

5 Nov

(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?

“¡Siiiii!”

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?

Dianne Kaye Jacob Ico

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.”

Awards for her intelligence and congeniality

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.”

Dianne in Filipiniana after participating in an intercultural program for children of immigrants.

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.

Si Kumander*

3 Nov

by Daniel Infante Tuaño

Pre-colonial history will tell us the important spiritual and political positions held by Filipino women in villages. In a traditional Filipino family, the mother serves as  ilaw ng tahanan (literally translated as light of the home) while the father is the haligi ng tahanan (post of the home), which reflects the equal sharing of functions unless the‘padre de familia’ asserts his exclusive right in decision making.

Having a woman boss in las Islas Filipinas is neither new nor a fad amidst the current trend of affirmative action employed by some countries and international institutions to distribute job opportunities.  As we all know, we already had two commanders-in-chief: the late President Cory Aquino and President-turned-Congresswoman Arroyo. We had a woman ambassador and currently, women occupy the top positions of the Madrid Consulate. Just recently, I got the chance to meet the leaders of Filipino associations from Madrid, Milan and Rome and 95% of them are women.

In Spain, Filipino migration has been considered for many years feminine until the hotel and restaurant sectors opened its doors to Filipino men. Migration is certainly bringing changes to gender roles both in the country of origin and the host country–women migrants, having an improved buying power, are taking the role of provider, which is the society-dictated role of Filipino men. These women migrants who usually take charge of ‘domestic’ roles, in turn, facilitate the entry of women of the host country to labor market.

Recently, a report on gender equality has been released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The report puts the Philippines in the top 10 among 134 countries in terms of gender equality.

“The WEF said that the Philippines continues to set the example in Asia, ranking ninth overall because of a strong performance on all four dimensions of the index: health and survival, educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity and political empowerment.”

Iceland and other Nordic countries top the list; United States is at top 15 while Spain is at top 11.  Here’s the top 15:

To see the complete report, click The Global Gender Gap Report 2010

However, gender inequality still exists and it is not solely the fault of ‘evil’ men but the ‘patriarchal’ society in general, which by the way includes women. Certainly, there are women who are more chauvinist than their macho counterparts. And then there are those who pursue their self-serving interests in the guise of feminism, which eventually contradicts the very essence of equality.

*the Commander. Ironically, it can be interpreted as a term of endearment sometimes used by Filipino men to tell to  OTHERS that their wives are powerful and the ones in control.