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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

Our thoughts and prayers are with Japan

16 Mar

Design created by James White

Japanese artists based in Barcelona Chisato Kuroki and Mihoki Sugita have organized free workshops which aim to raise funds for Japan. The workshops will be held this Saturday, 19 March, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at aDa Art Gallery, c/dels Salvadors, 8,  Barcelona (El Raval).

Chisato will facilitate a workshop on traditional Japanese calligraphy, in which the participants will be also encouraged to think of and write meaningful words to show their support to Japan. Mihoki will teach the participants on how to make Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. This aims to produce a thousand paper cranes, which will then be sent to the Japanese Consulate in Barcelona and Casa Asia and later on to Japan.

The workshops are for free. The participants may donate any amount and the amount collected will be donated entirely to Japanese Red Cross.

Our singing boy in Montserrat

7 Feb

(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.)

Mark’s mom Doris  wondered to herself as she hung up the phone. The director of the school wanted to talk to her, in person.

“Akala ko bad news! Malaking kasalanan ito kako, kasi directora na mismo ang gusto makipag-usap sa akin.”

It turned out that Mark did not do anything bad at all for the school to summon her. In fact, the reason why mom Doris was urgently needed at the director’s office was because Mark did something extraordinary–something that she never expected of her son.

She couldn’t believe it when they informed her that her 10-year old son could sing. And not only sing sing. But CAN really sing! Mark is ‘soprano segundo’.

“May audition pala sa school nila noon, tapos pinakanta sila, ayun napili siya para sa  Montserrat  Boys’ choir. Mag-isa lang siyang Pinoy na nakapasok.”

Mark was a grade 3 student of Sant Francesc d’Asis when the people behind the world famous L’Escolania, Montserrat Boys’ Choir visited the school and  held an audition to choose new members  for the prestigious group.

The Escolania is one of Europe’s oldest choir groups. The choir school houses the exclusive  boys’ choir of altos and sopranos. It is located at the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, 48 kilometers west of Barcelona. Mark, wearing glasses, is the only Pinoy in the Choir.


This was the firm and final answer of mom Doris when she learned that Mark passed the audition and could be  part of the choir.  Being a member, he would move and live in Montserrat and go to the L’Escolania choir school for his studies.

“Ayoko talaga! Mahihiwalay siya sa amin.”

Despite her unyielding stance, the teacher  tried some more to convince her. She made her listen to Mark sing.

“Pinasilip ako. Aba, mataas ang boses.  Nunca kong narinig kumanta yan. Maganda pala ang boses ng anak ko.”

But still no.  Mom Doris and dad Benjamin strongly agreed that Mark was not going anywhere.  However, no matter how hard they tried to defy any possibilities that would make their son belong to an elite chorale group, fate had other things in mind.

“So wala na talaga.  Sinabi na namin na ayaw namin. Pero si Mark gusto niya. Kaya  binili pa namin ng bisikleta para huwag lang pumayag.  Pero  hindi namin alam na yung school pala gusto talagang kunin  si Mark.  Tumawag sa bahay.  Wala ako, nasa trabaho nung umagang yun. Naiwan ko ang cellphone ko sa bahay. Nagkataon naman na bagong gising si Ferdinand.  Sinagot ang telepono.”

It was the director of the school. They were still trying to sway Mark’s mom and dad to change their minds. And bizarrely, the timing was impeccable.

“Bagong gising yung asawa ko nung sinagot ang tawag. Tapos  hindi masyadong naiintindihan ang sinasabi ng directora kasi Español. Aba “Si” lang siya ng “Si”. “

That single word “Si” turned out to be the crucial factor that would  make Mark the first Filipino to be admitted into the Montserrat Boys’ Choir in its 700 years of existence. Not before long, in September of last year, mom Doris found herself crying on her way back to Barcelona after taking Mark to his new home.

“Nakakalungkot siempre kasi dalawa na nga lang silang magkakapatid, maghihiwalay pa. Kaya iyak ako nang iyak sa tren nung hinatid ko siya sa Montserrat.”

To combat homesickness, mom and son call each other everyday.

“Nasanay na rin di maglaon. Pag Biyernes, excited na akong makita siya uli.”

Students at the L’Escolania are only allowed to leave the vicinity from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning,  also, over Christmas until Epiphany, the Holy Week and for summer holidays.

‘Montserrat is a mountain, a sanctuary and a monastery. A spiritual community. This is why Montserrat is such a special place, the life of the sanctuary revolving around the monks’ communal prayers –to which all are welcome– and community’s devotion to the task of welcoming all those who come to Montserrat.’

“Katulad ni Harry Potter.”  Described  Mark of his new home where he shares the room with three other boys his age.

The school is not only concerned with the musical skills and development of the boys but their academic performance as well. Aside from possessing a beautiful voice, one has to be academically adequate to be considered an applicant.  Before Mark was officially admitted, he had to meet a psychiatrist to orient him of his new “life”.

A9.5 for Mark’s writing composition. Mark with his mother, father and brother.

Mark divulged that he cried on the first night.  But after several days, he was already getting the hang of it. He instantly made friends with the other boys. The school provides them a lot of activities aside from class lectures.

L’Escolania now has more than fifty boys, from nine to fourteen years old from all over Catalonia. For four years, starting from fifth grade until the first stage of secondary school, the boys stay at Montserrat.

The boys sing every day in the Basilica de Montserrat. After attending their daily classroom lessons, they practice one and a half hours everyday.

“At nag pe-playstation po pagkatapos.”

The school provides them a lot of activities aside from class lectures and singing lessons. Mark is the first Filipino admitted into the elite Montserrat Boys’ Choir.

Mark playing flute

Since  the late 60s, the Montserrat Boys’ choir has  been performing in various concerts all over Catalonia and the world.

“Yung mga grade 5 students ay nagcoconcert sa Barcelona, yung grade 6 naman at yung malalaki na, lumalabas na sila ng Spain. Si Mark nasa grade 5 kaya nag-train sila para sa kanilang concert dito sa Barcelona.”

“Siempre bilang magulang, proud kami kay Mark. Nakakataba ng puso pag sinasabing maganda ang boses ng anak ko. Masaya ako sa naging swerte niya, kahit singko wala kaming binabayaran sa kanyang pag-aaral. Kaya nagpapasalamat talaga kami sa taas.”

I requested Mark to render a song to show off his vocal power for which he obliged. He sang a few linesfrom  his favorite song, Ave Maria.  Indeed, the boy has a beautiful angelic voice. Last summer, Mark recorded a song with a Catalan boy for a school in Barcelona.

While most of the choirboys continue their musical studies after upon leaving L’Escalonia, I asked Mark what would he want to be in the future.

Arranging his black framed eyeglasses, he shyly replied.

“Iniisip ko pong maging pari paglaki ko. Pulis na pari po. Pwede po yun, di ba?”

I smiled at him and pronounced the same serendipitous one-word reply his father unintentionally uttered  that fateful day, that single word which  completely changed this  simple boy’s  life forever.

After all, whatever destiny wants, destiny gets. And sometimes it comes with a sense of humor. A really good one.

Here’s a really good video of L’Escolania de Montserrat. Watch out for our little boy Mark 🙂

Learning from Trinidad and Tobago

10 Jan

by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI)

WHAT does the Philippines have to do with a southern Caribbean country named Trinidad and Tobago?

This former Spanish and British colony of 1.338 million people not only hosts an estimated 1,200 Filipinos (including 1,000 overseas workers), but did a bold attempt at national development that a Southeast Asian archipelago can learn from.

At the onset of its own oil boom come the new millennium, and during the time of the country’s former head of government, Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Planning and Development started in 2002 the groundwork to formulate a strategic plan called Vision 2020. By the year 2020, government officials hope Trinidad and Tobago “will be a united, resilient, productive, innovative and prosperous nation with a disciplined, caring, fun-loving society, comprising health, happy and well-educated people and built on the enduring attributes of self-reliance, respect, equity, and integrity”.

The work of the planning committee to formulate Vision 2020 ended in 2005, and the country’s parliament approved Vision 2020’s draft national strategic plan in 2006. This national strategic plan then formulated its first operational plan that covered the years 2007 to 2010. Even a unit within T&T’s Ministry of Planning and Development was created to monitor the operational plan.

Vision 2020, says an informative video (, is anchored on five pillars: enabling competitive business, developing innovative people, nurturing a caring society, investing in sound infrastructure and the environment, and promoting effective government.

This republic has a two-party political system and a bicameral parliamentary system. Head of state is a President, currently George Maxwell Richards; a Prime Minister, currently Kamla Persad-Bissessar, heads the government.

Of course, political dynamics affected the country. Former Prime Minister Manning (of the People’s National Movement or PNM party) dissolved parliament in April 2010 and called for national elections, which Bissessar’s party, the People’s Partnership, won most seats.

Still, the upper-income Caribbean country’s Vision 2020 goes on.

While Vision 2020 outlined specific strategies, the migration phenomenon is integrated in it, considering that there are some 300,000-plus overseas Trinidadians and there are about 40,000 foreigners working and residing in T&T.

Overseas migration is under the population segment of Vision 2020, and two of the six population-related goals of Vision 2020 are where overseas migration operates: developing a reliable population database (that is hopefully 95 percent accurate), and minimize the negative impacts of migration on Trinidadian society.

Under the goal of developing a reliable population database, Michele Reis of The University of the West Indies observes Vision 2020 hoped to precisely determine how migration impacts on education, the work force, and the country’s elderly population. Meanwhile, Vision 2020 hoped to reduce the emigration of skilled Trinidadian labor, facilitate the integration of returning migrants, and facilitate the full integration of documented and non-documented migrants in T&T.

Such bold integration of migration in T&T’s Vision 2020 is so even if the country is not a major recipient of remittances (around US$ 87 million reached T&T in 2007, with that amount coming from more than half of overseas Trinidadians who have college degrees). T&T, Reis also notes, is a destination country of trafficked and smuggled persons, asylum-seekers and refugees.

Compare Trinidad and Tobago to the fourth largest remittance economy, the Philippines: a country with an elaborate migration management system that received over-US$17 billion in 2009, and where an estimated 8.5 million overseas Filipinos, scattered in 220 countries and territories, come from.

As the government of popularly-elected President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is about to finish producing the 2010-2016 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), something seems missing: Where does the Philippines want to go, regardless of who is this country’s president?

Six years, thus Aquino’s term, are not enough for the Philippines to generate some 13-15 million quality jobs to reduce joblessness visibly, if estimates by economists Fernando Aldaba and Reuel Hermoso are to be believed. Poverty levels remained the same (26 million living in poverty), says initial results of the 2009 Family Income and Expenditures Survey. It may take a herculean effort to bring back agriculture’s old glory, or even revitalize the stagnant industry or manufacturing sector.

A government agency, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), just revised its vision and mission in the hope that migration and development, by 2020, has been mainstreamed in the bureaucracy. In the short term, thinktanks like the Scalabrini Migration Center hope a national migration and development plan is formulated by June 2011.

But where the Filipino boat intends to sail remains a question. One remembers a vision by former President Fidel Ramos (1992-1998) during his term: “Philippines 2000” where, by the turn of the new millennium, the country would have become a Tiger economy.

While many factors did not achieve such a vision, and the Philippines continues to be a basket case in Asia, at least there was a vision to direct an entire nation’s efforts.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) may want to think about drafting a long-term strategic plan similar to T&T’s Vision 2020, one that goes beyond a current president’s regime. After launching the new MTPDP by early 2011, NEDA can convene the country’s best minds to, without partisanship, help draft such a development vision for the long haul —and have President Aquino endorse this process.

And overseas migration’s place in such a long-term Philippine vision? It is time to optimize a “Philippine diasporic dividend” —the net of net benefit from overseas migration— that supplements a long-term, not just a short-term, vision of Philippine development.

Since the overseas exodus has impacted many aspects of Filipino socio-economic and cultural life, it is time to develop a migration-and-development system that sees the country and her institutions address systemically the various impacts of migration on development. The Philippines has yet to have a system to address the economic and social impacts of migration —or even a set of goals to manage these impacts and optimize migration’s gains.

Integrating such a migration-and-development system into a long-term Philippine vision will be good first step to see the progress of this migrant-sending country beyond merely sending people abroad and receiving dollars.

But if the boat just sails and doesn’t know where to go, there goes the thrill of looking ahead to a brighter Filipino future.

Comments to the Institute for Migration and Development Issues ( may be sent to this email address:

Pinoy Belen in Vatican

24 Dec

A set of nine Filipino figures made by Filipino sculptor Kublai Ponce-Millan would be among the Nativity scenes to be put on display in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican beginning Dec. 24.

According to CBCPNews, the official news service provider of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Philippine-made statues depict a Filipino family in a boat pulling a net with a plentiful catch from the sea.

The other figures were portrayed playing different indigenous musical instruments. To complete the set, there were baskets filled with different Philippine tropical fruits, vegetables, fishes and shells, highlighting the bountiful harvest of the earth and the sea. Read the full story on the Philippine Star

Thanks to Mr. Exequiel Sabarillo for the alert.

Maligayang Pasko at Mapagpalang Bagong Taon sa inyong lahat! Feliz Navidad y un Año Bendecido a todos!

Ang kuwento ng mga Nauna at Nangunang Migrante sa Espanya

29 Oct

Pabalat ng ika-6 na isyu ng Ang Bagong Filipino. Para makakuha ng kopya, i-click lamang ito: Ang Bagong Filipino número 6


Ang paglingon sa pinanggalingan ay labis na pinahahalagahan sa kulturang Filipino. Hindi tayo maaaring lumimot, lalung-lalo na sa mga nagawa at nakamit ng ating mga magigiting na ninuno. Hindi kailanman tayo makakalimot lalo na kung ang galos ng nakaraan ay siya pa ring kumikirot at sanhi ng hindi pag-unlad ng bayan. Sa ating pagkilala at pagtanggap sa pinagmulan, pinatitibay din natin ang ating pagkatao. Pinaalalahanan natin ang sarili na ang ating nakaraan ay hindi naging madali, at ang siyang nagbibigay ng kabuluhan sa ating kasalukuyan.

Ngunit maaari rin kaya na ang kasalukuyan at ang kaniyang patutunguhan ang siya namang magbigay ng kabuluhan sa ating nakaraan? Maaari kaya tayong lumingon nang paharap, matapos matuto sa nakaraan, at piliing sumulong sa halip na magpabalik-balik sa mga panahong nakalipas na?

Ang ating kasaysayan ay napupuno ng iba’t-ibang Pilipinong pumili sa direksiyong ito. Mga kahanga-hangang Pilipinong nanguna sa kanilang mga larangan at kapanahunan sapagkat ninais nilang abutin ang mga pangako ng hinaharap. Walang takot, walang pag-aatubili, na nangarap at kumilos upang tulungang maiangat ang kanilang kapwa tao. Walang tigil silang nagmasid sa higit pang malayo upang mas mainam na maihanda ang kasalukuyang landas patungo sa isang maginhawang bukas. Ang mga PIONEERS, o ang mga nanguna, kung sila ay tawagin, ang mga karapat-dapat na halimbawa sa patuloy nating pagsulong, at siyang makapagbibigay ng kahulugan sa lahat ng ating napagdaanan. Ang isyung ito ay isang pagkilala sa lahat ng mga Pilipinong matapang na nauna at nangunguna sa pagtahak sa hindi tiyak na hinaharap.

Lubos na nagpapasalamat ang Ang Bagong Filipino sa suporta ng mga sumusunod:

CBN Grupo BDO Remit

Platinum Care

Bar Taberna La Paloma/Supermercado M & M

The man in the corner

23 Sep

by Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna

I always see him everyday. Right on the same spot. The same red bonnet he has been wearing since the first time I took notice of  him. He is always holding a copy of a magazine and whenever  someone passes by, he smiles and extends the magazine asking for donation. His spot is right outside the gate of the church, a few feet away from where I live. For him, this is his office. He is never late. At exactly 8 in the morning, he is there standing straight, holding the same magazine until two in the afternoon, where he  takes lunch and back at four, when the church is open until 8 in the evening.  I  pass by his “office” everyday.  He may not notice me but I always feel  guilty that I don’t have some spare coins to give. I just  offer him a sorry smile as he extends his magazine to me. Or sometimes, I avoid looking his way at the same time making a promise to myself that I will spare him  some coins one day.

I have always  wanted to talk to him,  a short chat perhaps. But most of the time, I am   overcome by shyness. But now, as I am heading home coming from  buying some groceries,  I tell myself that it is about time.  Confident  that I have some spare coins to give,  I pace slowly towards him.  He smiles at me and extends the magazine. I feel my pockets for some spare coins, It later dawns on me that I have used up all of them on my groceries.  I don’t have a choice but to give him an apologetic smile. I walk past him. But instead of going straight home, I turn left and enter the gate of the church.  I suddenly remember that I  have bought  a pack of biscocho for  breakfast. I excitedly  walk briskly back  to his direction.  I  take the bread out of my bag and  hands it to him.

“Would  you like to have some?”

He looks a bit surprised but immediately breaks into a big smile.  I am expecting that he will get the pack and thank me for my act of kindness. But no.  He courteously shakes his head and softly says:

“Thank you very much but I am not hungry.”

“Oh.”  Is all I can say as I embarrassingly retreat my hand still holding the bread.

“ Are you sure you are not hungry?”

He nods his head.  His name is Johnson.  He is Zimbabwean but his family lives in Nigeria.  Before Spain, he  lived in Rome for a couple of years where he had a business fixing cars.  He moved to Madrid a year ago and is now connected with a religious organization asking for donations from passersby.  And he is a boxer too.  After his stint in front of the church, he goes to the gym to practice.  I can’t help glancing at his wide and big hands. I remember how I felt my hand getting smaller while shaking his when I introduced myself to him a while ago. He is training to be a professional boxer. He points to the  long scar on his face.  One of those scratches he got from either during training or during matches.  I tell him that in my country, we have one of the best boxers in the world. I mention  Manny Pacquiao’s name.  Trying not to disappointment me for not knowing Manny,  he gives me another wide smile. This time, I see that the two front teeth are missing.  I tell him my story too.  Some passersby stare at us. We may look like an odd couple.   A tall, muscled  black guy and a short, small-framed Asian guy animatedly sharing some good laugh.  Then I remember I have a pack of ice cream with me.  I bid Johnson goodbye and promise to get back to him some other time. We shake hands. We are so friends now.

The men in the corner. Johnson’s friend, Nathaniel and Johnson

Madrid, just like any other mega cities in the Western world, is a melting pot of people coming from different countries.  The most number of immigrants are Romanians, Ecuadorans, Peruvians, Colombians and  Moroccans.  Among the Asians, the Chinese are the highest in numbers.  When I was working  as a volunteer for a non-government organization that helped educate immigrants, I was able to meet Thom, a guy from Ivory Coast.  I was assigned to teach him how to read and write in Spanish.  Shy and soft-spoken, he told me about his story and how he came to Spain.  Civil war  brought him to leave his family to brave  an uncertain future in Europe. He first lived in France for a couple of months. Finding no job, he decided to move to Madrid.

When Thom found a job, he stopped coming to class.  With Thom leaving, I was assigned to Awad, a sixteen year old Moroccan boy whose patience was so short and his temper, intense.  He  was the only one in  the group who couldn’t read and write. Every session, I would sit beside him and patiently repeated the Spanish alphabet to him.  His temper was put into the  test when one of his friends   poked fun at him when he failed to recognize the letter J after repeating a hundred times.  He was so angry that a fistfight was inevitable.  Rosa, the directress was quick to pacify the two boys before it could get nasty.

In one of our short breaks, Awad shared  how he came to Spain.  They came by a small boat loaded with fifty people, all men.  They were made to pay for the fare the “entrance fee and processing fee”,  all those dodgy fees.  They sailed for several days hungry, seasick and tired.  He  didn’t have a family in Spain,  only his boat mates. Being a minor and without legal papers, he stayed at a social center. The law says that when they reach the legal age, they will be sent back to Morocco.  In the meantime, they had to attend Spanish and vocational classes to keep them off the street.

Working for that NGO, I was able to meet more of them and hear more of their stories. I share their sentiments. I share their loneliness, their homesickness and the uncertainty of the future.   I just can’t bring myself to understand the need of wars and conflicts that displace families and  destroy lives. I  blame the governments of our countries for their greedy interests and for not protecting the welfare of its people.

“Life is unfair, Nata.”  Johnson calmly tells me.  After our first chat, we have become a regular chat buddy now. It has been a daily routine for me to hear myself reciting “Good morning Johnson” every time I pass by his spot in the morning and stopping by  for a short chat in the evening. A few weeks ago, when I had a job interview,  I came to see him and told him about it.  He was excited for me.  On my way home, he asked me how it went.  By the sad look on my face, he was quick to assured me that there would be another one.  And it would be something better.

This morning though, I am  surprised because I don’t see his red bonnet.  His spot is empty.  I check my watch. Half past 8. He must be late.  Come four o’clock in the afternoon, still no sign of him. The following day, same thing. No Johnson. Odd. Maybe they assigned him to another place.  But he could have mentioned it to me during our previous meeting.  For straight five days, I haven’t   heard anything from him.

Not until the sixth day.  As I am heading to the metro passing by the gate of the church, I see the red bonnet. I am about twenty feet away from his spot. I see his face smiling at me from afar.  I see him waving. I wave back.  Then I remember something. I stop. I hurriedly turn back to the house.  I run up the stairs and straight to my room.  I look for the plastic bag that I have been  keeping inside my wardrobe.  I take it out and speed off out of the house.  As I am approaching him, his face looks a little confused by my sudden turnaround.

“Hey! Where have you been? What happened to you?” I ask him smiling.

We shake hands.  His hand is  really big.

“I went to Malaga. I met with my cousin who arrived from Rome.”

“Oh, okay, I thought you were transferred to another place.”

He released a loud laugh.  “Transferred? Not happening.  This will be my only spot, Nata.”

I  hand him the plastic bag I got from my room.

“Hey, I want you to have this, be careful it’s heavy.”  He looks at it and then gives me his patented smile.

“Wow! Thank you very much Nathaniel.  Thank you very much!”

He shakes my hand again and off I go to the subway.  As I inch away from him, I can hear the clinking sound of the coins inside the plastic bag as he carefully puts them inside his rucksack.

“Hey, your copy of the magazine!”  He shouts at me.

“Keep it. It’s okay.”  I shout back at him.

Even from afar, I can see his warm big smile, showing off his two missing front teeth.

Asya sa Barcelona

20 Sep

Ang mukha ng kathakali. Ang kathakali ay katutubong dula-sayaw ng mga taga-timog India (Kerakala) na nagsasalaysay ng mga leyenda at mitolohiyang hindu. Isa ito sa mga tampok sa Festival Asia na kasalukuyang ginaganap sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Barcelona.

Hindi rin pahuhuli ang mga kababayan nating nasa Barcelona. Ang mga kabataan ay magpapamalas ng isang uri ng breakdance, ang Krump, at mayroon ding sasali sa fashion show ng mga kasuotang tradisyonal ng bawat bansa. Magpapalabas din ng isang pelikulang Pinoy na pinamagatang Batanes na idinirek ni Adolfo Alix, Jr.

Ang Festival Asia ay inoorganisa taun-taon ng Casa Asia sa pakikiisa ng iba’t ibang institusyon sa Espanya at mga organisasyong Asyano.  Saan? Kailan? Anong oras?  i-click lamang ang programa ng Festival Asia Daniel Infante Tuaño

Kabayan, what makes you happy?

12 Sep


“…is everything. When we go out with the children, the family, our grandchildren, that’s happiness.” – ARGENTINA

“…is a word… in German we say ‘Glücklich’, it comes from ‘glück’ , (which means) luck. In French it’s not linked to luck…” – FRANCE/ GERMANY

“I am happy, but not completely. Because I have passed 26 and I still have no love. I don’t know why. …why don’t girls want me? Why doesn’t love continue?” – BANGLADESH

“I like to give… because I feel that if I can make people happy, I am happy.” – ASIAN living in SWITZERLAND

“…like a butterfly which you try to catch. When you stop looking for it, it settles on your shoulder. Happiness comes when you don’t expect it.” – CUBA

What exactly is HAPPINESS? This beautiful and inspiring project tried to get as many different definitions of happiness from many different people from all over the world, each one resounding a bit of everything each person feels and goes through regardless of race, age, gender, nationality, status. Does this mean we are all infinitely capable of understanding one another? And therefore capable of being truly happy?

Eh, ikaw Kabayan, what makes YOU happy?

This is “6 Billion Others,” a video project created by French director Yann Arthus-Bertrand as part of the Good Earth project. More than 40 different questions were asked by 6 directors to 5,000 “others” to help us discover what separates us and what unites us. For more information, or if you want to share why you are happy :), go to .  Kay S. Abaño

Ramadan sa buong mundo

2 Sep

Ang lahat ng Muslim sa buong mundo ay nagdiriwang ng Ramadan, isang buwan ng pag-aayuno, paglilinis ng sarili at pagtitiis.  Hindi sila kumakain, umiinom, naninigarilyo at nakikipagtalik mula pagsikat ng araw hanggang sa paglubog nit0. Kapag lumubog na ang araw, maaari na silang kumain ng hapunang tinatawag na Iftar, kung saan inuuna nilang kainin ang isang date (datiles sa Espanyol). Ang mga Muslim ay hinihikayat ding basahin ang buong Koran, magbigay nang kusa sa mga nangangailangan, at patibayin ang kanilang relasyon sa Diyos sa pamamagitan ng pagdarasal. Ang layunin ng pag-aayuno ay ituro ang pagkakaroon ng mababang-loob, pagiging mahinahon at pagsasakripisyo, paghingi ng kapatawaran, pagtitimpi, at pagdarasal na gabayan sila sa hinaharap. Nabanggit ng aking kaibigang Marroqui na isa rin itong paraan upang ipadama sa mga mayayaman kung ano ang nararamdaman ng mga mahihirap kapag sila ay nagugutom. Ngayong taon, ang Ramadan ay magtatapos sa ika-9 ng Setyembre.

Egypt. Ang crescent moon, na kilalang simbolo ng Islam, ay nakuhanan ng larawan kasama ang mga mosque sa Cairo. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

Spain. Isang Muslim sa bayan ng Estepona, malapit sa Malaga, ang nagsasabit ng chart na magpapaalala kung anong oras dapat manalangin. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

London. Ang mga Muslim ay nagdarasal sa London Muslim Center bago kumain ng hapunan na tinatawag na Iftar. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

India. Ang mga pabangong ito na walang alkohol ay tinatawag na ather. May 157 uri nito ang ibinibenta sa Hyderabad. Ang mga Muslim ay naglalagay ng ather sa kanilang mga damit bago magsimula ng kanilang pagdarasal.  (NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan. Kahit pa apektado ng baha at kakulangan sa tubig at pagkain, nakikiisa pa rin sila pagdiriwang ng Ramadan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Indonesia. Mga mosque na gawa sa tsokolate na ibinibenta sa isang tindahan sa Jakarta. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Manila. Mga presong Muslim sa Quezon City Jail ay nagdarasal at nakikiisa rin sa pagdiriwang.  (JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan. Nagpapamigay ng pagkain sa isang refugee camp sa Kabul bilang pagdiriwang ng Ramadan. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

Palestine. Isang Palestino sa West Bank ang nagbabasa ng Koran sa umaga. Ang umagang pagdarasal ay tinatawag na fajr.  (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Saudi Arabia. Libu-libong Muslim ang nagdarasal sa pagsikat ng araw at umiikot sa Kaaba na nasa loob ng Malaking Mosque. Ang mosque na ito ay matatagpuan sa pinakabanal na lungsod ng Islam, ang Mecca.  (AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Mas marami pang magagandang larawan ang maaaring makita sa Boston\’s The Big Picture Daniel Infante Tuaño