Saturday, January 20, 2007

Writing exercise 1


I see my cottage rising from the bottom of the earth. Why do I say “bottom” of the earth? My property is below road level and as I walk farther into the lot, the earth dips another 5 feet. Part of the property was recently filled but another part was left as is to build the foundation of my 3 cottages. I can now see it gaping widely with parts slightly under water.

The sound of an angry and snarling dog scares the heck out of me. I realize I am alone and no one about to whom I could shout for “Help”. I have no stick to defend myself in case this mad dog, who has never seen a veterinarian, attacks me. I walk away from it feigning pluck, which is nothing close to what I really feel.

The smell of newly laundered clothes make me wince in horror. But the sun has been missing for days and my clothes must have been slightly damp when the laundry woman ironed them. It is an embarrassment and I hope I meet no one along the beach on my way home. I wish I could buy a real dryer. Not the spinner they call dryer!

I taste saltwater in my mouth as I walk leisurely on the beach. These days have been windy and I’ve been spritzed and sprayed by seawater. My hair is no longer soft. It is in a tangled web and stands on edge. I hope we’ll see sunnier days soon. Summer is a couple of months away.

I look across the long avenue of sand, to the islands in the distance and the skies above. I’m praying my new home will be completed soon. I can see the long, narrow corridor now defined by a five foot concrete fence. There at the end of a long driveway my Balinese cottage will rise amidst lush greenery. It’s all drawn up in my head, waiting to see the light of a tropical day.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Laundry that smells like a million!

I’m on my way to becoming independent again. After 2 months of major dependency on my household help, I think I’m ready to move on.

I’m confident about this because my wonderful cousin, Inday, has introduced me to Lloyd, a tricycle driver. Lloyd comes by the apartment on Monday mornings and picks up my laundry. He takes it to the Laundromat and drops off clean and scented clothes at my place the following day. Not only that, my clothes are back in shape after being washed and line dried under uncertain skies.

You have no idea how big this is. In December we had a devastating typhoon and in January, this “low pressure” has kept everything damp. No amount of “nature fresh” and antibacterial Downey could keep my clothes from smelling of sweat. I dreaded to approach anyone within 5 feet. It was that bad.

For 60 cents/kilo, my 7 kilos of clothes, towels, and sheets come home from the Laundromat smelling s w e e e t. I’ve yet to get used to this. One day after a change of fresh clothes, I looked around the bedroom wondering where the scent of Parisian perfume was coming from. Then I realized that it was silly me who was smelling sooo good, it made my own head turn.

Life is good!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

OFW Blues

On Christmas day 2006 the headlines read, "Filipina raped by 17 Kuwaitis". Nothing could be more grim. This woman was trying to escape her employer when she encountered these men who took her to a desert camp where she was raped. Then they transferred her to another camp where she was again molested. (Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire!) According to the newspaper report, there has been 19 cases of rape against Filipinas in the Gulf Emirates.

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) have been called the new heroes of the Philippines. I understand there are 8 million OFWs around the world.
Many of these workers are university graduates who seek employment in foreign shores where they can get better pay. All for the sake of supporting their families in the Philippines.

They leave with noble intentions and work hard. They suffer the pain of separation from loved ones, privations and discrimination. All for love of family.

Not everyone is so lucky to come home unscathed. Some return with nightmares that will last a lifetime. A few return in caskets. Others find a broken family when they eventually come home for good.

What happened to "Joy to the world"?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Weddings

Barely 2 months since arriving in Roxas and I've already been invited to 2 weddings. What a wonderful occasion to meet friends and family! And I must say that the choir music at both weddings were inspiring. But what I'll remember for a long time to come are these words from the officiating priest at Cielo and Taddeo's marriage ceremony. I quote, "Hell is the absence of love".

No wonder........

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year!


What a whirlwind 2006 was for me. One of the biggest changes I made was to drop anchor here in Capiz where I made my first steps as an 11-month old babe. Thank goodness for the warmth of family and friends, I have adjusted well to my new life.

Inday Daku and Joen Conlu have always been there for me. They've found me a place to live in on the beach and have looked after me since. And Jack and Wee Conlu have fed me so often that I'm totally spoiled. And I love it when their kids, Iggy and Carey, look for Tita Charie.

Tina Ong, my beautiful cousin, took care of finding me the contractors and getting their bids. She had paved the way for me to get started with my building plans as soon as I arrived. And Tita and Tony Santos, Tina's parents, are often inviting me for family get-togethers and took me to my first ever trip to Kalibo, only an hour and a half away.

Pilot and Rudy Beluso have helped me in many of my "local" issues. They are not only good friends but part of my family here as are my classmates Bing Arceno and his wife Esther, my high school best friend, Minnie Gannaban and my childhood playmate and longtime friend, Alma Encabo.

What a way to welcome 2007, surrounded by a bunch of caring people. I'm truly blessed!