8 Years of Blogging

Eight years ago this day, I launched myself into the wide and far-reaching space of the blogosphere. And Pinoy Transplant In Iowa has been in orbit since then.

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Eight years in existence may be deemed a milestone, especially if you consider the fact that according to research (which I also read from a blog), the average lifespan of a blog is less than 100 days. Perhaps I’m just more stubborn. Too stubborn to quit.

Though in all honesty, I seriously thought of walking away last year. I even have a “swan song” article written already, though it remained unpublished. Again, too stubborn to quit.

I am thankful for all of you, my readers and followers. The silent majority of you are not bloggers. The past year has been the most successful year yet, with regards to readership, as I got more than 70,000 visits last year. But I know, that’s nothing compared to some popular blogs that can garner that same stats in just a few days. For me, it took me eight years to establish that level of audience. That’s fine, Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Speaking of Rome, do you know that the Colosseum in Rome took 8 years to build? It was completed in 80 AD. Given the available technology and equipments they have during that time and considering how colossal (sorry, pun intended) that structure was, which can hold 50,000 people, eight years was really not long, but was rather quick. So a period of time can be short or long if you look at it in different perspectives. Anyway, we know that the Colosseum is still standing today after almost 2000 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not having the delusion that this blog will have the same longevity as the Colosseum. But at least I can say that with the number of visits I have, I can fill the Colosseum in a year.

To all of you, again, I am grateful and humbled for your continued visits.

Sincerely yours,

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Pinoytransplant

 

(*first photo was in Ilocos Norte 2012, the second was in Tel Aviv 2017)

 

Iba Namang White Christmas

Habang ako’y nagda-drive pauwi kagabi ay aking napuna na may mga butil-butil ng niebe (snow) na lumilipad. Matagal-tagal na rin namang kaming naghihintay ng snow, kahit na hindi ko paboritong libangan ang mag-shovel nito. Sabi kasi sa aming weather forecast, maaaring magkaroon daw kami ng 1-2 inches ng snow. Yey, White Christmas!

Pagbangon ko kaninang umaga ay dumungaw ako kaagad sa labas. Kakarampot naman pala ang snow na bumagsak. Ang kuripot naman!

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Dahil konting-konti lang ang aming snow (above photo), siguradong malulusaw at maglalaho na ang lahat ng ito bago pa mag-Pasko. Sang-ayon ulit sa aming weather forecast, wala na kaming  snow fall bago mag-Pasko dito sa Iowa. Mapupurnada yata ang aming White Christmas!

Nainggit tuloy ako sa mga lugar dito sa Amerika na maraming snow ngayong Pasko. Noong nakaraang araw lang, ay pinadalhan ako ng aming kaibigan ng photo na kuha niya mula sa Morristown, New Jersey (photo below). Parang scene sa Frozen ang dating.

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Sa Morristown, New Jersey ako unang napadpad at nanirahan dito sa Amerika. Tatlong taon din akong lumagi doon. Dito ko naranasan ang aking kauna-unahang White Christmas, na noon ay nakikita ko lamang sa mga pictures. Dito ko nasabing para akong nakatira sa loob ng Christmas card.

Nang ako’y bata pa at naninirahan sa Maynila, hindi ko inakalang ako’y makakaranas ng White Christmas. Nagkakasya na ako sa mga dekorasyon namin sa aming classroom sa paaralan ng mga Christmas tree na pinuno ng mga bulak para magmukhang may snow. Sa bulak lang masaya na ako.

Tapos sa klase kakanta kami ng “Dashing through the snow” at “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.” Ano ba naman ang malay ko sa snow at White Christmas? Alam ko lang noon ay “dashing through the flood!” Kinakanta rin namin ‘yung “Frosty, the Snowman.” Pero ‘yung Frosty alam ko at gusto ko. Ito ay isang brand ng ice candy noong bata ako. Masarap siya!

Taong 1991 nang nakaranas ako na pumuti ang kalsada sa Maynila. Pag-gising ko isang umaga at sa pagdungaw ko sa labas, ay nakita kong medyo maputi ang aming paligid. Nag-snow sa Maynila?! Pero nang aking kilatisin, hindi ito snow, kundi abo pala! Abo mula sa pagsabog ng Mt. Pinatubo.

Taong 1994, aking nilisan ang Pilipinas. Hindi para makakita ng snow o maghukay ng yelo, pero para tugisin ang aking mga pangarap sa buhay.

Ngayon, makatapos kong maranasan ang marami ng White Christmas, iba na ang gusto ko sa Pasko. Ibang puti na ang gusto ko, hindi snow. Puti, tulad ng puting buhangin sa beach ng Zambales.  Puti, tulad ng kesong puti sa loob ng bagong lutong pandesal. Puti, tulad ng bagong kaskas na niyog sa ibabaw ng puto bungbong.

Umulan na lang sana ng bagong kaskas na niyog. Samahan na rin sana ng pag-ulan ng puto bungbong at bibingka. Teka, masakit yatang mabagsakan ng bibingka!

Hay, nami-miss ko na naman ang Pilipinas.

Sa lahat ng mga Pilipino sa iba’t-ibang lupalop ng mundo, ano mang puti ang pumapaligid sa inyo – maging ito’y snow, o kaya’y abo at lahar, o puting buhangin at malinaw na dagat, o kaya’y disyerto, o mga puting semento, o kaya nama’y mga kumpol na bulak, o tambak ng puting basura, o kaya’y maging bagong kayod na niyog – kayong lahat ay aking binabati ng Maligayang Pasko!

 

 

Fields of Gold

A few weeks ago, we visited a friend’s farm where they are experimenting if they can grow rice here in Iowa. In case you don’t know, we don’t plant rice here. The farms here in Iowa are mostly corn and soybeans. Though rice is grown in a few southern states of the US.

The rice that they are trying to grow here in Iowa is a different type of rice though. As you can see in the picture below, it is not growing in paddies that we Filipinos are more familiar with. This variety of rice is more sturdy to the cold weather and does not need irrigation or much water. Of course the part owner of this farm is a Filipino. As we Filipinos loves rice, where ever part of the world we are.

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Back in the Philippines, even though I grew up in the city, we went to my father’s province quite regularly when I was young. Their ancestral home was by the edge of a rice field. We spent many hours watching farmers work on those fields. We sometimes played in those fields too, hunted for palakang bukid (frogs) there, and even played tag with my cousins while running in the pilapil (dikes).

During harvest season, it was beautiful to see the palay (rice) with their golden grain swaying and dancing as the wind blows through them like the waves of the sea. I miss seeing those fields of palay.

In 1993, one of my favorite singers, Sting released the song “Fields of Gold.” The song opens and ends with these words:

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold.

Sting found inspiration to write that song as his house in England, a 16th century Wiltshire manor house, was surrounded by barley fields. Even though I am not familiar with fields of barley, I can somehow relate as I have seen “golden” fields of rice, which I believe has the same poetic appeal.

If Sting lived in the Philippines, he could have sung: “You’ll remember me when the west wind moves, upon the fields of palay.” And if he grew up in the Philippines, his name may not be Sting, but it could be Pagi (stingray), or Putakti (wasp), which we know can sting bad. Sorry I digress.

By the time the song Fields of Gold became popular, it was the time also that I left the Philippines. You could say that I left my native land in search of some greener pastures and in pursuit of “fields of gold.”

When I came to America, the first couple of CD’s I bought was albums of Sting. For several months, during my lonely moments, Sting kept me company. I listened to his melancholic songs of Fragile and They Dance Alone, and also sang along his upbeat songs like All This Time and If You Love Somebody Set Them Free. Sometimes he even serenaded me to sleep.

After living here in the US for some time, and after moving from New Jersey, then to New York, then to California, then to Florida, and finally settling here in Iowa, I believe I have found what I was looking for. I can even claim now that I am literally looking at fields of gold. With autumn season upon us and with changing fall colors, even the fields here are turning gold, signifying that harvest time is near.

Below is a picture of a ‘golden’ soybean field.

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I may have traveled long and far in pursuit of my dreams, but at least I can say that it brought me to my own fields of gold. I am not saying that I own those soybean fields. I don’t own corn fields either. I am not even talking about the soybeans, or cornfields, or even those rice fields. What I’m saying is this – what I own, is the realization of my dreams.

As I was running the other morning near these golden fields, the song Fields of Gold was playing in my mind. And if I may borrow from the lyrics of Sting, albeit with some changes:

Many years have passed since those summer days among the fields of barley palay
See the children me as I run, as the sun goes down up among the fields of gold.

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(*photos of soybean fields taken during my morning run)

 

Bakit Mahilig ang Pinoy sa Pangalang Makulit?

Kung ikaw ay Pilipino o lumaki ka sa Pilipinas, ay sigurado akong may kakilala kang Bam-Bam, o Bong-Bong, o Che-Che, o Don-Don, o Jun-Jun, o Nene, o Ning-Ning, o Ping-Ping, o Toto. Siguro idagdag mo pa sina Mac-Mac, Mik-Mik, Mimi, Noy-Noy, Jan-JanLan-Lan, Lot-Lot, Jojo, Pen-PenTin-Tin, Ton-Ton, Kaka, RaraNana, Nini, NonoGang-Gang at Ging-Ging. Lahat ng mga pangalang binanggit ko ay mga kakilala ko.

May kilala rin akong Gaga at Gung-gung. Marami sila.

Bakit nga ba tayong mga Pilipino ay mahilig sa mga pangalang inuulit? Siguro ay makulit lang tayo kaya’t gusto natin ng inuulit-ulit. O kaya nama’y sobra lang tayo sa imahinasyon na gumawa ng makwela o mabantot na pangalan? Pero kung tutuusin uso na ang pangalang inuulit panahon pa ni Lapu-Lapu.

Hindi lang pangalan ng tao, kundi kahit mga lugar sa Pilipinas, ay may pangalang inuulit. Gaya ng Taytay, Iloilo, Guagua, Wawa, Tawi-Tawi, Sanga-Sanga, Hinulugang Taktak, at Mount Hibok-Hibok. Ako naman ay lumaki sa may Balik-Balik. Ang kulit ‘no?

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Meron din tayong mga pagkaing Pilipino na binigyan natin ng pangalang inuulit. Tulad ng kare-kare, bilo-bilo, tibok-tibok, pichi-pichi, kwek-kwek at poqui-poqui. Hindi po bastos ‘yung huling putahe, lutong Ilocano po iyon.

Siguro isama na natin pati tawag natin sa mga hayop. Mula sa maliit na kiti-kiti, hanggang sa malaking lumba-lumba. Andiyan din ang paru-paro, gamu-gamo, batu-bato, sapsap, at plapla. Pati nga bulaklak, gaya ng ilang-ilang at waling-waling. Bilib ka na?

At siyempe pa, pati maselang bahagi ng ating katawan, ang tawag natin ay inuulit din. Hindi lang kili-kili ang tinutukoy ko. Pati ti__, pek__, at su__. Awat na?

Aking nabasa na hindi lang daw ang wikang Pilipino ang mahilig sa mga inuulit na salita. Ang ating wika ay nagmula sa pamilya ng Malayo-Polynesian na mga lingwahe. Ang mga wikang ito ay may hilig na magdikit-dikit at magkawing-kawing ng mga kataga upang gumawa ng mga bagong salita. Maraming pagkakataon, inuulit ang unang component ng salita. Kaya siguro may Mahimahi sa Hawaii, at may Bora-Bora sa French Polynesia.

Kaya kung pinangalanan kang Pot-Pot o Keng-Keng, ay sisihin mo na lang ang ating mga sinaunang ninuno at mga tatang. Anak ng teteng talaga!

Kadalasan kapag ang isang salita ay inuulit ay tumitindi ang kahulugan nito. Kumbaga sa Ingles, ito’y nagiging superlative. Tulad ng kapag sinabing ang husay, ibig sabihin ay magaling. Pero kapag sinabing ang husay-husay, ay ibang liga na iyon at maaaring genius na ito. Kapag laksa, nangangahulugan ito’y marami, subalit kapag laksa-laksa, siguradong matatabunan ka na ‘nun. Kapag sinabing ang pangit mo, ay baka nagsasabi lang sila ng totoo. Pero kapag sinabihan kang ang pangit-pangit mo, ay insulto at away na ang hanap nito. Brod, tara sa labas!

Mayroon din tayong mga salita na tuluyang naiiba ang kahulugan kapag inuulit. Tulad ng bola, ito ‘yung isinu-shoot sa goal. Pero kapag bola-bola ito yung tinutusok at sinasawsaw. Baka iba namang tinutusok at sinasawsaw ang nasa isisp mo? Fishball tinutukoy ko ‘Te. Kapag sinabing turo, maaring tungkol sa maestra o sa paaralan. Pero pag-sinabing turo-turo, ay karinderya na ‘yan. Kapag halo lang ay parang walang dating sa akin. Ngunit kapag binanggit mong halo-halo, ay maglalaway na ako, dahil miss na miss ko na ‘yan.

Maari ring inuulit ang isang salita para ibahin ang verb tense ng isang pangungusap. Tulad ng hawak, ginagawang hawak-hawak para maging present participle tense. Kung baga sa Ingles, dinadagdagan ng –inglike hold to holding. Suot ginagawang suot-suot. At ang salitang bitbit, kahit inuulit na ito, pero uulit-ulitin pa rin.

Example: Bitbit-bitbit ni Pepe ang patpat at tingting.

Meron din naman tayong mga salita na kapag hindi inuulit ay walang kahulugan. Gaya ng sinto-sinto na ang ibig sabihin ay baliw. Ano naman ang ibig sabihin ng sinto? Medyo baliw? O kaya’y guni-guni na ibig sabihin ay ilusyon lang. Ano naman ang ibig sabihin ng guni? Kalahating ilusyon lang? O kaya naman ay kuro-kuro, na ibig sabihin ay opinyon. Ano naman ang kuro? Walang opinyon?

May mga salita ding inuulit, na tayo lang mga Pilipino ang tunay na nakakaintindi, dahil kasama na ito sa hibla ng ating kultura. Tulad ng tabo-tabo, pito-pito, tagay-tagay, at ukay-ukay.

Bilang kunklusyon, maaaring sabi-sabi at haka-haka lang ang mga nilahad ko dito. Maari rin itong bunga ng aking pagmumuni-muni o kaya nama’y guni-guni lamang. O siguro ito’y mga kuro-kuro ng isang kukurap-kurap at aantok-antok na pag-iisip. Kaway-kaway na lang kung inyong naibigan. At huwag namang bara-bara at sana’y hinay-hinay lang sa pagtawa, at baka mapagkamalian kayong luko-luko at luka-luka. Salamat po.

(*photo taken in Bagac, Bataan)

 

 

Oh My Gulay!

The Filipino language is rich in interesting idioms and expressions, that make our conversations more colorful. Like the expression, “isang bulate na lang ang hindi pumipirma,” which means near-death condition. It definitely sounds light-hearted on an otherwise grave predicament.

Anyways, since it’s summer here where I live, and we have planted some vegetables, I would like to showcase our use of vegetables (gulay) in our idioms and expressions, and their respective meaning.

1. Nagmumurang kamias.

This means an “old” individual acting like “young.” For instance, a grandma trying to dress-up like a teenager, perhaps with a hanging shirt and short mini-skirt. In other words, it is used to describe people who are not acting appropriately their age.

Example: Pare, ‘yung lolo mo nagmumurang kamyas, niyaya ba namang i-date niya ‘yung pinsan kong kolehiyala.

2. Pulis Patola

The term means a good-for-nothing cop. I think the term is use, as policeman usually carry a baton (batuta). But here it is described as the police carrying a patola instead of a baton. There’s even an action-comedy movie with that title in the 1990’s.

The expression of “sundalong-kanin” have a similar connotation, a useless soldier whose only contribution in the battle is to consume the rice ration.

Example: Sabi ni General Bato, ititiwalag niya lahat ng mga Pulis Patola.

3. Nangangamatis

This term is used to describe something that is swelled up and inflamed, like a tomato that is plump and red. But mostly the term is reserved for a complication after a boy’s circumcision. Definitely you don’t want that term to describe the you-know-what after being circumcised.

Example: Hijo, pagkatapus mong tuliin, langgasin mo araw-araw, para hindi mangamatis.

4. Nangangamote

Nangangamote means having difficulty or failing to do well. We also use the term kamote to describe somebody who is dim-wit or unintelligent. For sure, you don’t want to be called anak ng kamote. You don’t want to receive the kalabasa award either.

I am not sure why we use kamote as a derogatory term. Kamote for all I know is a highly nutritious food and don’t deserve to be treated with disdain.

Example: Nangamote ka naman sa exam, mas bobo ka pa sa row 4.

5. Mani-mani lang

This term is the opposite of nangangamote. Mani-mani lang means it was so easy that you breezed through it whatever it was. Again, I don’t know why we favor mani (peanut), but hate kamote.

Mani is also used as a slang term for a female’s anatomy. Yes, the counterpart of that thing I mentioned above that can become nangangamatis.

Example: Mana sa akin sa pagka-genius ‘yung pamangkin ko, kasi minani-mani lang niya ang Quantum Physics.

6. Giyera Patani

This is an old expression that means a fight or an argument without causing serious harm or consequences. As you know, a patani (lima bean), is a pod vegetable that has lightweight seeds. And even if you hit somebody with these seeds, it will not cause grave injury.

Example: Hanggang giyera patani lang naman ang away namin ng misis ko.

7. Pupulutin sa kangkungan

This term means a summary execution without having a trial. In other words it is extra judicial killing (EJK), which nowadays is a very hot topic of contention. The origin of the expression is that one way of hiding a “salvage” victim’s body is to dump it in the swamps or where there’s a heavy growth of kangkong (swamp cabbage).

Example: Kung hindi ka tumigil sa pagiging addict, baka pupulutin ka na lang sa kangkungan balang araw.

8. Mala-labanos ang kutis

This expression is comparing the complexion of someone’s skin to be like labanos (horse-radish), which is white and smooth. I am not sure though why we who are supposed to be proud to be lahing kayumanggi are so pre-occupied and trying so hard to be “white.” Just look around and we are so inundated with all those advertisements of whitening products.

Example: Gumagamit kasi ako ng mga Belo products kaya’t mala-labanos na ang kutis ko ngayon.

9. Parang luya

Unlike the expression mala-labanos which is mostly deemed as a compliment, the expression parang luya is far from being one. In fact it is an insult. The term is usually used to describe an ugly feet. This is due to the fact that luya (ginger) has crooked and contorted branching fingers.

Example: Kahit anong pa-pedicure mo, parang luya pa rin ang mga paa mo.

10. Balat-sibuyas

This term is used to describe a person that is easily hurt or sensitive to criticisms. This idiom is due to the fact that the onion has very thin skin. I am not sure if the added fact that peeling and cutting onion makes one cry, contributes to the meaning of the term.

Example: Balat-sibuyas naman itong si Dagul, sinabihan lang na malakas pa siya sa balyena kung kumain, ay umiyak na.

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That’s all for now folks. I know there’s still a lot of vegetables mentioned in the song Bahay Kubo that we have not covered here. So if you know more vegetable expressions, please drop me a comment. Thank you for reading.

 

Hagibis

Ako’y tumakbo kaninang umaga,

Sa amin dito sa Iowa,

Habang humahangos sa daan,

Ay aking pinakikinggan,

Maiingay na halakhak,

Ng mga ibong taratitat,

At sa aking paghingal,

Aking namang nalalanghap,

Ang mabangong halimuyak,

Ng mga bulaklak ng lilac.

Pero miss na miss ko na,

Mag-jogging sa Maynila,

Kung saan naghaharana,

Mga traysikel na umaarangkada,

At aking muling masasanghap,

Usok ng tambutsong kay sarap,

At takbo ko’y lalong bumibilis,

Parang anak ni Hagibis,

Dahil ako’y hinahabol,

Ng mga asong nauulol.

(*Hagibis means speed in Tagalog, it is also a Filipino comics hero, and the name of an all-male pop group.)

 

Little Things

While we were on a trip in Israel, we stopover for lunch in a restaurant overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Even though it is named the Sea of Galilee, it is actually a lake and not a sea.


Besides enjoying the view, I enjoyed the food there as well. The most popular in their menu being beside the Sea of Galilee is fish of course. And that was what I ordered.

After the meal I saw this sign on a wall.


That is absolutely correct. Be thankful for even the small stuffs in this life. Like a good meal. Or a beautiful day. Or a smile from a stranger. Appreciate the little things. Nothing wrong with this reminder, right?

Except that we must be careful on what we call  as “little things” as it could be a slight jab or even a downright insult. Depends on the situation, I guess. You don’t believe me?

Well, here’s the whole story of this sign.


(*Photos taken at a restaurant in Tiberias, Israel)

Pampalaglag

A post-Valentine’s story……

Sa isang maliit na barrio sa Pilipinas, isang babae ang nagpatingin sa duktor. Siya ay desperada.

“Doc, sana po ay matulungan ninyo ako. Wala po akong ibang mapupuntahan. Gusto ko pong magpalaglag,” ang halos na umiiyak na sambit ng babae.

Tinanong ng duktor ng ilang mga katanungan ang pasyente.

“Hija, ano ba ang iyong nararamdaman?”

“Kasi po lumalaki na ang aking tiyan, at para po itong laging humihilab,” sabi ng babae, “at lumalakas din po akong kumain.”

“May asawa ka ba,” ang tanong muli ng duktor.

“Wala po, pero mayroon po akong nobyo,” ang sagot ng babae.

“Anong sabi ng iyong nobyo tungkol sa problema mo,” and uling usisa ng butihing duktor.

“Hindi raw po muna siya makikipagkita sa akin, hangga’t hindi ko po raw nalulunasan ang problemang ito,” ang malungkot na dagdag ng babae.

“Ano naman ang payo ng iyong mga magulang,” ang tanong pa ng duktor.

“Ayaw ko pong malaman nila, at baka hindi po nila ako matanggap,” ang mahinang sagot ng kaawa-awang babae.

Marami pang naging tanong ang magaling na duktor, at sinagot naman ng babae ang lahat ng mga ito sa abot ng kanyang makakaya.

Matapos makuha ng duktor ang buong kuwento, ay kanya nang in-eksameng mabuti ang pasyente. Naging detalye at masinop ang duktor sa kanyang eksaminasyon.

Sumulat na ng reseta ang duktor at ito’y inabot sa kanyang pasyente.

“Hija, ito na ang mabisang gamot para sa iyo. Inumin mo ito ngayong gabi at bukas na bukas din, sigurado akong mawawala na ang iyong problema,” ang kumpidanteng sabi ng mabuting duktor.

Dali-daling nagtungo sa botika ang babae at binili ang niresetang gamot ng duktor.

Nang kinagabihan na, ay ininom ng babae ang resetang gamot sa kanya. Tatalab kaya ito? Malulunasan kaya ang kanyang problema? Ano kaya ang sasabihin ng kanyang mga magulang? Ano kaya ang magiging opinyon ng mga ibang tao? Makikipagbalikan na kaya sa kanya ang kanyang boyfriend?

Nang kinaumagahan na ay nakaramdam ng matinding sakit ng tiyan ang babae. Parang umiikot at gumigiling ang nasa sa loob na kanyang dala-dala. Butil-butil ang kanyang pawis at para baga siyang nanglalamig. Pakiramdam niya ay para siyang nakakain ng panis na pansit at kailangan niyang ilabas ang sama ng loob. Hindi na niya mapigilan.

Mabilis siyang tumakbo sa banyo. At sa kanyang pag-upo ay biglang lumuwal ang isang malaking kulapol ng patay na………..

Bulate!

Ang niresetang gamot? Combantrin.

(*Ang kathang isip na kwentong ito ay sanhi ng aking pagkalipas gutom.)

 

 

Lost in Spelling

Last week, when news from my country is making the rounds on the news networks, I even saw Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, made some digs at the Philippines. Of course he also made fun of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but that’s already old news.

In one of Colbert’s monologue, he questioned why is it that the Philippines is spelled with a Ph, while the word Filipinos, is spelled with an F? He then added, it is so Ph-up!

I have to admit, I also laughed at the joke. For I agree it does not make sense.

However, I would like to try to give an explanation for something that is totally not our own doing.

The Philippines was named after King Phillip II of Spain. The Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez Villalobos named our archipelago Los Islas Filipinas in 1543. After all, Phillip is Felipe in Spanish.

So the original name of our country is Filipinas. And that’s spelled with an F. So it makes more sense that we are Filipinos, at least by what we are called by our first colonizers, the Spaniards.

Thus it is the English language and the translation of our country’s name that made the confusion of why Ph is use in one, and F in the other. Blame it on the English-speaking people.

I think we can blame other things to the English language.

For instance, why is it that the French drinks a lot more alcohol, but their incidence of stroke is not as bad as the English people and the Americans. Also, why is it that the Japanese works much harder, but their rate of heart attack is not as high as the English and the Americans. And why is that the Filipinos eat more salty foods but again the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is not as high as the English and the Americans. Therefore, speaking English is the one that can kill you.

Sorry I digress. Back to the Ph and F.

To make it more confusing, in our native language, Tagalog or also now known as Pilipino, we spell our country’s name or the name of our people with neither Ph or F. Now that’s really Ph-up!

In our original alphabet, which has only 20 letters, we don’t even have the letter F, as it not needed in the phonology of our language. Though recently F has been added in the modern Filipino alphabet, with other letters, like C, J, Q, V, X and Z. We also have the letters Ñ and Ng in our alphabet, making for a 28-letter alphabet.

Therefore, when we speak in our native tongue, the name of our country is Pilipinas. And we the people are known as Pilipino. And both of them is spelled with a P!

Many times we confuse and interchange the use as well as the pronunciation of F and P. This has been a butt of jokes for us Filipinos. It hurts our peelings. We should not peel inferior just because we don’t speak ferpect English.

By the way, “Put@ng-ina,” our beloved president’s favorite battle cry, is also spelled with a P.

Gunita Sa Makulimlim Na Umaga

Noong isang araw, ako ay lumabas para maghehersisyo. Makulimlim at mahamog ang umaga. At habang ako ay tumatakbo, ang gunita ko naman ay nagliliwaliw at tumatakbo rin. Ito ay napadpad sa isang nakaraan. Sa isa ring makulimlim na umaga………

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Sariwa pa sa aking isip ang araw na iyon. Bagama’t tanghali na ay binabalot pa rin ng dilim ang umaga. Makapal at maiitim ang ulap na tumatabing sa sikat ng araw. Bumubuhos din ang napakalakas na ulan. Para bagang tumataghoy at tumatangis ang langit. Nakikiramay kaya ito sa aking nadarama?

Dahil sa kailangan naming dumalo sa isang tinakdang pagtitipon at dapat makarating sa tamang oras, ay napasabak kami sa napakalakas na ulan. Aming sinuong ang bumubuhos na delubyo. Nakarating naman kami sa aming paroroonan.

Matapos kaming makarating sa gusali ng pagtitipon, ay aking pinagmasdan ang mga taong pumapasok sa bulwagang iyon. Lahat sila ay pawang mga basang sisiw na nilublob sa tubig. Kulang na lang ay magsabon na rin sila. Pormal at magagara pa naman ang bihis nila. Buti na lamang at may dala kaming payong. Ngunit gayon pa man ay basang-basa pa rin ang aking sapatos at pantalon.

Kahit na makulimlim at bumabagyo noong araw na iyon, at kahit pa basang-basa ang karamihan dahil sa sinugod nilang lakas ng ulan, ay maaliwalas at maligaya ang napupulsong damdaming sa loob ng bulwagang iyon.

Hindi ko alam kung bakit ko piniling magsuot ng itim noong araw na iyon. Ako ba’y nagluluksa? Ako ba’y dadalo sa libing?

Sabi nila ang araw na iyon ay isang kaganapang tinatanaw.  Sabi nila ito raw ay kasagutan sa isang inaasam na pangarap. Pangarap na maraming tao sa iba’t-ibang lupalop ng mundo ang nagkakandarapa na makamit. Sabi nila ito raw ang katapusan ng mahabang paghihintay. Para sa akin, mahigit dalawampung taon ang inabot.

Sabi pa nila ito raw ay masayang okasyon. Ito raw ay araw ng pagdiriwang. Araw na dapat ipagbunyi. Ngunit bakit may kurot ng lungkot akong nararamdaman? Oo nga’t may tuwa sa aking puso ngunit bakit may bahid rin ito ng lumbay?

Matapos makapasok sa malaking bulwagang iyon ang lahat ng kinaukulan at maupo kami sa tinalagang upuan para sa amin, ay nagsimula na rin ang hinihintay naming seremonya. Tumahimik ang lahat, at kulog at ugong na lang ng malakas na ulan ang aming naririnig.

Pumasok na ang hukom. Ito’y nagbigay ng isang masayang pagbati.

Hindi na nagtagal kaming lahat ay pinatayo. Ako, kasama ng maraming tao, mula sa iba’t-ibang lahi at bansa. Ipinataas sa amin ang aming kanang kamay, at kami’y pinabigkas.

At habang ako’y nanunumpa sa harap ng dayuhang bandila, habang umiiyak ang mga alapaap, ay nangingilid naman sa aking mga mata ang luha………

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Halos isang taon na rin pala ang lumipas mula nang aking ipagluksa ang aking inang bayan. Mag-iisang taon na pala ang nagdaan nang aking isuko ang aking pagkamamamayan sa lupa kong sinilangan.

Namatay at nalibing na nga ba ang aking pagiging isang Pilipino? Huwag naman sanang mangyari.

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(*isinulat para sa pagunita ng buwan ng wika)

(**Photos taken with an iPhone, one foggy morning)