It is no secret that Filipinos love to share. We are among one of the most social cultures in the world, and when the internet and eventually social media came we clamoured to start socialising there. In 2014, a study revealed that Filipinos use social media up to 11 hours more a week than the global average (which is 42 hours). It is no surprise Philippines has been referred to as the ‘Social Media Capital Of The World’!
I could end this whole post with that, simply say that we are very social people and so we become deeply involved with social media, which makes sense. End of story. Or is it?
My first few days in Melbourne, Australia were definitely the most awkward days of my life.
It was definitely one thing to meet a Caucasian person for the first time. Now I was surrounded by them everywhere, all the time. From being in a place where everyone had similar features to me- medium height, dark hair and dark eyes to somewhere where everyone was tall, fair-haired and had coloured eyes instead. I am sure not all the people around me were like that, but to my eleven year old brain, all the differences were probably more exaggerated in memory.
Lawin has just passed and even all the way here from Australia, it is all I hear about from Bandila and TV Patrol. The fear levels are high and all the more justified. It is almost as devastating, if not just as horrible as Yolanda from 2013. While there are already a rising amount of deaths and destroyed homes, the Filipinos of North Luzon are still trying to gather their spirits. Waiting, persisting and worrying in various overcrowded shelters.
Just to see the photos of this natural disaster’s wreckage is heartbreaking. Such a powerful typhoon doesn’t even discriminate- if your home is in its path, there will probably be damage coming. While the power of nature itself is a difficult opponent to counteract and is impossible to prevent, the best that can be done is to prepare as efficiently and early as possible. In Australia there are much less natural disasters, especially in Victoria. Our main concerns are bushfires (usually started by disturbed people) during the blistering summer and constantly-changing weather.
From early on in school, there were classes and manuals here regarding preparation for natural disasters that I’ve encountered. As such, whether bushfire or a terrible typhoon, it is best to be prepared and usually the same measures apply.
Have you thought about doing these things? Mas mabuti nang i-handa mo ang sarili mo at ang iyong pamilya. (It’s always better to prepare yourself and your family properly).
One thing almost every Filipino and foreign visitor to the Philippines would find hard to deny is the contagious happiness Filipinos have. The cheer all around is almost as bright as the tropical sun, for the lack of a cornier term.
So why are Filipinos so damn happy?
I notice that I’ve been diving off the deep end lately and handling a lot of serious topics (though I think Chocolate Mousse cake is quite serious too in a different way).
So I thought to myself that I would tread on the light side today and talk a little more about my interests, especially my Filipino guilty pleasures.
To be honest I find many international shows quite interesting, especially American ones, but I cannot understand the appeal of local Australian shows. Though of course, there are Filipino shows that always hold a special place in my heart. I will try almost anything just to be able to watch them. Go to my Lola’s and watch TLC. Scour Youtube and odd sites to find streams. Even the dubious ones that look fake. Visit many Filipino shops for old DVDs. Anything.
Here are my five favourite Filipino shows that I will always strive hard to catch an episode of.
If you are foreign to the Philippines and from a Western country, one of the first big differences you may notice aside from the culture is the abundance of rubbish or basura in Filipino streets.
They’re everywhere, unfortunately. At the side of the road, against the canals, on the actual road and even as piles, especially in Metro Manila. Even more sad, the Manila bay. A once beautiful body of water sullied by garbage. Unless you go to a place that is specifically maintained or cared for privately, then most public streets would have plenty of trash like empty cans, wrappers, containers, plastic bags and the lot.
There is a common belief among people about celebrating those that have passed and being happy that they are moving on, rather than concentrating on grief.
For me, when it comes to Sen. Miriam Palma Defensor Santiago, that is difficult. Because she is the best president we never had, as the media rightly calls her.
And along with the title, are so many unfortunate ‘what-if’s.
Thinking of visiting the Philippines soon? Take it from a Filipina, there are simply some essentials that you need when you go over or if you’re going back home. You could have been born overseas and it’s your first time visiting or it may have been a while since the last time.
Or you’re one of the super homesick ones who go home every year.
You may know of these things anyway, but let me explain why they are completely necessary. In Australia, especially Victoria you will probably never need this stuff.
If you take a look at any Filipino child’s report card, chances are if they have many subjects under 75% grade, they are in their parents’ bad graces. Very bad graces. Why?
Because in the Philippines the passing grade is 75%.
Here in Australia it is at 50%, which in a way makes more sense, being half and half. But since I’ve been to school in both Philippines and Australia, I noticed the difference. Why were the Australian standards lower, and the Filipino standards so much higher?
“Hey, can you spare some change?”
When somebody asks me about what my opinion is on the hardships of the homeless in a city street, I always answer back with another question: A homeless person in which country?
Because I know two different worlds, and that makes all the difference.