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Location: Chicago, United States

I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I got this excerpt from the column of Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya newspaper, and I do believe that this is an account of what a true Pinoy is all about. In fact, I could relate with what some of the things are noted in here.

"You like the touchy-feely types?
Filipino create human chains with our perennial tangan,
tutok, etc. We are always seeking interconnection.

The Filipino is a linguist. It is no uncommon for Filipinos
to speak at least three. Many a lot more.
Then there's our Jose Rizal, the quintessential Filipino,
who fluently spoke at least a dozen languages.

Political correctness?
The Filipino evolved gender-neutral words like asawa,
anak, magulang,kapatid,biyenan,manugang,bayani,balae, etc.

The Filipino is a groupist. An average Filipino would have
and know at least 300 relatives. At work, we live bayanihan;
at play, we want a kalaro more than laruan. At socials,
our invitations are open and it is more common even for
guests to invite and bring in other friends.

In transit, we donot want to be separated from our group.
So what we do when there is no more space in a vehicle?
Kalong. No one would ever suggest splitting a group and
waiting for another vehicle with more space!

The Filipino is into weaving, a metaphor. We are social
weavers. We place a lot of premium on pakikisama and
pakikipagkapwa. We weave theirs into ours that we all become
part of them. Therefore, we call our friend's mother, nanay
or mommy; we call a friend's elder sibling ate or kuya.
We even call strangers tia (aunt) or tio (uncle)
tatang (grandfather) etc.

So extensive is our social opennes and inter-relations that
we have specific title for extended relations like hipag,
balae, inaanak, ninong, ninang, kinakapatid, etc.

In addition, we have the profound KA. (co-equal) institution.
Kasama, kaisa, kapanalig, etc. In our social fiber, we treat
other people as co-equals.

Filipinos have (pakiramdam). We know how to feel what others feel,
sometimes even anticipate what they will feel. Being manhid,
teflon, is one of the worst labels anynone could get.
We know when a guest is hungry. We can tell if people are lovers
even if they are miles apart. We know if a person is offended
though he may smile. We get not only to wear another man's
moccasin, but also his heart.

The Filipino is very spiritual. We transcend the physical world,
see the unseen and hear the unheard. We have a deep sense
of kaba and kutob. A Filipino wife will instinctively feel
when her husband or child is going astray, whether or not
tell-tale signs present themselves. Filipino spirituality makes
him invoke divine presence or intervention at nearly every
bend of his journey.

The Filipino is timeless. Measure time not with hours and
minutes but with feeling. Our times is diffused, not framed.
Our appointments are defined by mamaya, sa umaga, bandang tanghali
(noon-ish), sa hapon, or sa gabi. People's tardiness and
extended stays annnoy others. But the Filipino, being governed
by timelessness, allows for more time to be nice, kind, and

Filipinos say good-bye to guests first i the living room,
then the head of the stairs, then down to the descamo (landing),
to the entresuelo (mezzanine), to the pintuan (doorway),
to the tarangkahan (gate). And if the departing persons are to
take public transportation, up to the bus stop or bus station.

So what makes the Filipino special? We are tan, spiritual,
timeless, spaceless, linguists, groupists, weavers, adventurers,
industrious. Seldom do all these profound qualities find
personification in a people. Filipinos should allow, and should
be allowed to contribute their special traits to the world-wide
community of men. But first we should know and like ourselves."

Auntie Patti Koh -- I was touched. It was a very nice article and I shared it with some of my Pinoy friends here in the states by sending it to their emails.


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