24 June 2010

pride weekend

unfortunately (and fortunately), i will be on the road with the family traveling to balitmore & dc this weekend, so i will miss all the colorful and vibrant festivities at chicago's pride parade this weekend. (and i REALLY hope my kuya doesn't overdo it and end up on the front of the newspapers or on the 10 pm news. :O) )

anyway, i just saw this really inspiring story on angry asian man about two filipina moms, Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado, fighting to stay together and had to link/repost:

Two Moms Fight to Stay Together from Breakthrough on Vimeo.

"Shirley Tan came to the United States from the Philippines over two decades ago, fell in love and built a life with her partner Jay, giving birth to twin boys and becoming a full-time mom. The American dream, right? Not quite: On gay pride, watch two moms fight to stay together.

Now, she faces the biggest challenge of her life as she fights to stay in the United States, basically made helpless by laws that don't allow gay and lesbian couples to sponsor their partners. Watch the video above for their story, and find out more at Restore Fairness."

my heart absolutely breaks for situation that Shirley and Jay and their family find themselves in.... I really hope and pray they find a way to stay together.

01 June 2010

How are you celebrating Filipino Independence Day?

photo courtesy of Cafe Press

Everybody in the USA knows the 4th of July as Independence Day, but Filipinos celebrate Araw ng Kalayaan on June 12. Here's a little background from Wikipedia:

In the Philippines, Independence Day (Filipino: Araw ng Kalayaan) is an annual national holiday observed on June 12, commemorating the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. It is the National Day of the Philippines.

The 1898 Declaration of Independence, however, was not recognized by the United States or Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, and the United States granted independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila. July 4 was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until August 4, 1964 when, upon the advice of historians and the urging of nationalists, President Diosdado Macapagal signed into law Republic Act No. 4166 designating June 12 as the country's Independence Day. June 12 had previously been observed as Flag Day.

Here's how we're celebrating Araw ng Kalayaan:

1) Eating pansit and adobo, two quintessentially Filipino dishes that I can actually make! Pansit is a noodle dish that's almost identical to chicken or vegetable chow mein, and adobo is a chicken dish stewed in vinegar, soy sauce, black peppers and a bay leaf. It's stinky enough to make your nose curdle and it's absolutely delicious. Don't ask a Filipino -- we're biased -- ask a foreigner like Alfie and he'll tell you!

2) Going to San Francisco's Civic Center for Fiesta Filipina USA, the Bay Area's (and probably California's) biggest outdoor Filipino Independence Day celebration. There will be music, dance, arts and crafts booths, and lots of yummy Filipino food!

3) Wearing our pride on our sleeve. We don't have a huge Filipino flag to fly, but we have a small flag that we'll wave with pride.

So how are you celebrating Araw ng Kalayaan? If you're not Filipino, how do you wear your national pride? Share your comments on Bonggamom Finds and you could enter to win a Cafe Press tshirt! Click here to enter!

19 April 2010

"Everbody's Working For the Weekend!"

You know it's been a particularly busy weekend when you arrive in your office on a Monday morning and sink into your ergonomic office chair with a sigh of relief.

Yep, it was THAT kind of weekend for my family. Let's see...what are some of the miscellaneous and sundry things that happened? In chronological order, we partook in:

  • FRIDAY: The very first sock hop at my kids' school. I was in the organizing committee (decorations) so it was doubly hectic. Right before that, Science Boy had to go to a first communion rehearsal so he had to miss part of the dance.
  • SATURDAY: Two soccer games, one gymnastics class, and a culture show. Said culture show entailed loads of prep work for me -- ironing costumes, doing hair, fixing wardrobe malfunctions, all in high heels. I was at the show from 2 in the afternoon until about 11 pm. Yaaawwnnn...
  • SUNDAY: Mass, CCD, grocery shopping, finish the mulching, taking SB to another communion practice, band practice and playdate. Thankfully managed to squeeze in a yoga class.
  • And MIL was also here for a visit.
Okay, I'm going to quit writing now. I'm getting exhausted just reliving the weekend. I shall concentrate now on something less stressful and infinitely more relaxing. Like work.

28 March 2010

BEST filipina role models evah! :)

i haven't been able to stop watching these lolas dancing... AWESOMESAUCE!!!!

i'm so TOTALLY gonna embarass my kids and grandkids by dancing way into and after my "sexties"... LOL!

08 March 2010

In Honor of International Women's Day:

posting my favorite song about filipina moms:

and a film about filipina women - that i just read/found out about via a tweet. thank you twitter!

currently it's only screening in dubai... hopefully, they'll screen it here in the US as well... :)

05 March 2010

Silicon Valley Asian American Voices

Check out this video trailer for the upcoming Silicon Valley Asian American Voices project:

The documentary follows the stories—the successes, hardships, and hopes—of three Asian American immigrants in Silicon Valley. Two seconds into the trailer, I could tell the first lady featured was Filipina. Her looks, her accent... she is so Pinoy!

Seeing my kababayan onscreen immediately made me sit up and pay attention. I haven't watched the film yet (it's going to be showing at the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, starting March 20th), but I know her name is Nenita Ibe, and she's a Filipina woman working as a room attendant in the hotel industry. She's a Filipina immigrant. Although I've never worked in the hotel industry (in the US at least; my nightclub gigs in Manila are another story altogether and a subject of future blog posts), I'm a Filipina immigrant too, so her story is a little like my story. And her story is a little like my cousins' stories and my high school buddy's story and your story. And if you're not a first generation immigrant, her story might be a little bit like your mother's story, or your father's or your grandmother's. It's a story that's been told and retold by hundreds and thousands of Asian Americans all across the United States, and it's a story worth hearing.

If you live in the Bay Area, check out the Silicon Valley Asian American Voices Facebook page for a schedule of upcoming screenings of this documentary. Hopefully watching this document will get more Asian Americans aware of the struggles that new immigrants still face.

This post originally appears on Bonggamom's personal blog, Finding Bonggamom. She also blogs for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Savvy Source, and Bonggamom Finds.

02 December 2009

my filipino parents were awesome

the young lady in the middle is my mom, leaning on a loaned jeep, somewhere in cebu, circa the 1960s. :) a while ago, i submitted the photo to the new(ish) website my parents were awesome. but, i don't think they're going to post it, so i'll post it here. :)

anyway, i just saw this photo this morning. in the background is manila international airport. in the foreground is a (i assume, filipino) family, looking like they're boarding a plane on the runway... the dad is laden down with baggage, tickets firmly grasped between his teeth. the mom is calmly carrying a toddler while watching an older child scamper alongside the dad.

the old photos of the awesome parents never fail to amuse and astonish me, but almost always leave me feeling bittersweet. my parents split up shortly after my youngest sister was born. most of my mothers pictures were lost in a house fire. and since most of my life has been spent here in the states, away from my father in manila, i have no photos of him as a young man. the only pictures we have of them, as a couple, are their wedding pictures. my parents rarely talk about their courtship, much less, their turbulent and relatively short marriage.

i love and deeply admire both of my parents. i really think they were, are and will continue to be AWESOME. but i am also glad that they found happiness in their separate lives. we all have the emotional bruises that resulted from their divorce, but i think, i hope, we're all "okay" now.

i hope that the "my parents were awesome" website is still around for my children when they're grown ups. and i hope that they think happily enough of my husband and me to submit pictures of us in our younger, fashionably victimized and possibly inebriated awesome days....

06 October 2009

Vote for Efren, a CNN Hero!

Have your heard of CNN Heroes? Every year, CNN gives $100,000 to the winner (from a field of ten finalists---winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world) of its "Hero of the Year" award. This year, a 28-year-old Filipino, Efren PeƱaflorida, made it to the top ten. (A panel of 12 well-known personalities from various fields picked the finalists. Colin Powell was among the judges this year). If Efren wins this year's award (based on how many votes he gets, which will depend on us), he will be able to expand his mobile school program, Dynamic Teen Company, for the children of the slums in the Philippines. What this young man is doing to improve the lives of the kids in the slums is truly inspiring, and I think his efforts are worth my vote.

Voting is open between now and Nov. 19, and it takes less than a minute to click a button to cast your vote. The more votes Efren gets, the greater his chances of winning the "Hero of the Year" award and the $100K. Let's all vote for Efren and help him continue to make a difference in those slum kids' lives! Please don't forget to pass this on to everybody you know---Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike----so more people can vote for this young man with an extra big heart.

This post originally appeared on Bonggamom's review blog, Bonggamom Finds.

01 October 2009

Praying the Rosary

Tonight, for the first time in decades, I said the rosary. Ironic that I said it tonight, Oct. 1, the month of the Holy Mother. I must admit, I was a bit rusty. I had to dig around for a crucifix, a candle, and an actual rosary. My altar is pretty pathetic. After I started, I had to stop, go to Google, and print out the words to the Apostles' Creed. I'd completely forgotten them. Then I went back to my makeshift altar with my printout and had to start over. Embarrassing, no? This from the girl who'd consistently received a 95 in religion class back in St. Scholastica's Academy.

After the Apostle's Creed, I tripped again, this time over the Glory Be. But not as bad. And I'm happy to report that the Hail Mary flowed from my lips like buttah. I did, before I started, look up the Sorrowful Mysteries (and since when did we have the "Light" Mysteries, now said on Thursdays?), and referred again to my cheat sheet at the start of my first set of ten beads.

So far so good. I was kneeling and the words were flowing. It actually felt good to say the prayers. Comforting. It took me back to grade school, when my entire class would say a set of ten beads between each period, and sometimes I'd lead the prayers. I had quick flashbacks when the statue of the Holy Mother would visit my house in Marikina for an entire week, making its rounds in the neighborhood, and my mom and I would say the rosary for every night that the statue was visiting our home. Saying the rosary was such a part of my childhood I'd taken it for granted. I'd even resented it. I wanted to play, to get a snack, to watch TV. Anything but say the rosary!

After I finished my first set of ten, the Glory Be came more smoothly. But then I tripped over the "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins..." prayer. I don't even know what the official title of that prayer is. Anyone know? Anyway, onto my next set of ten.

I couldn't help but think of my own mother. I felt like she was saying the prayers with me. She was a devout worshipper of the Holy Mother, back in the Philippines and after we moved to the U.S. After saying the rosary at school, my biggest association with those set of beads is my mother.

After my second set of ten, and saying the Glory Be, the "Oh my Jesus" prayer surprisingly got easier. Maybe saying the rosary is like riding a bike. The next set of ten came even more smoothly, and the one after that even more so. Unfortunately all the words to Hail, Holy Queen didn't instantly come back. I had to improvise a bit. I hope the Holy Mother didn't mind. But my mom would've looked at me with disbelief.

I read somewhere that saying the rosary was meant to transport you to a different plane of existence. The prayers, chants really, are meant to be soothing and otherworldly. There is some truth to that. On the eve of the next big typhoon about to hit the Philippines, sometimes the only defense against 230 kph winds is a set of beads, especially when you have nothing else to fight with. Tonight, I felt some of the helplessness at not being able to help my friends and family, of being away from them, ebb somewhat. Not totally; I'm still keeping vigil over weather.com tonight. But as I said the familiar words, a sense of comfort wrapped around me, like a long-lost yet much loved childhood blanket.

28 September 2009

Families and Floods

Last night I got an email from a friend who was visiting London, containing just one sentence:

Is your family all right?

When I read it, I did a quick run-through of my family members. Nope, all present and accounted for. What did I miss? Was there an earthquake that I didn't feel? I wrote back and said we were all fine.

This morning I saw the headlines: Manila floods kill 106. Here's an excerpt from the Associated Press news release:

MANILA, Philippines – Rescuers pulled more bodies from swollen rivers Monday as residents started to dig out their homes from under carpets of mud after flooding left 140 people dead in the Philippine capital and surrounding towns.

Overwhelmed officials called for international help, warning they may not have sufficient resources to withstand another storm that forecasters said was brewing east of the island nation and could hit as early as Friday.

Authorities expected the death toll from Tropical Storm Ketsana, which scythed across the northern Philippines on Saturday, to rise as rescuers penetrate villages blocked off by floating cars and other debris. The storm dumped more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours, fueling the worst flooding to hit the country in more than 40 years. At least 140 people died, and 32 are missing.

Oh my.

I'm notorious for not staying on top of the latest news. Alfie has to spoon feed me with emails and links to articles, and I rely on whatever top stories I see on my home page when I check my Yahoo! mail (which is how I found out about this tragedy). And I'm even more notorious for failing to call my parents in Manila on a regular basis. More often than not, they call me when too much time has passed and we haven't said hello.

They haven't called me, so I guess they must be all right.


It's too early to call them right now, but I'm hoping and praying they're fine. After all, this happens every year. The Philippines sees so many typhoons during the rainy season. Signal Number 3 (which signifies the intensity of a typhoon) is a way of life, and while Signal Number 4 and Number 5 are rare, Filipinos get through them. I've experienced countless typhoons and seen the streets of Metro Manila flood countless times.

This one sounds REALLY bad. The hardest hit by the calamity in Metro Manila is reportedly Barangay Bagong Silangan, in Quezon City, with 27 casualties. Quezon City is not too far from where my parents live. Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for many other people), devastation tends to hit poorer areas the hardest -- garbage thrown illegally by squatters tends to fill up sewers and cause flash floods in these areas. So, even though I'm somewhat ashamed to make this assumption, I'm using it to reassure myself that my parents are probably fine.

I hope.

Bonggamom also blogs at Finding Bonggamom, Bonggamom Finds and the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.