Feedback Roll

I have fallen terribly behind in reacting to the feedback on this blog, so indulge me please if I do it all in one fell swoop:

Feeback on Subway Stories from Jerome:

the interesting thing about watching people on public transportation or simply waiting in terminals or bus/train stops is that it makes me ask: are they running away from or going to some one or some place? baywalk tayo ha once you come home… 🙂

Jerome, that’s an interesting thought.  I usually stick to “What are they thinking about?” and “Where are they headed?”  I got your cell number, you’ll get a text from me.  More subway stories coming.

From fellow balikbayan Jayred:

Wow, four balikbayan boxes! That’s great, Dinna. Enjoy your Philippine vacation to the hilt!

Breathe in all the polluted air you can get while there, hehe. 🙂

Jayred, I’ve been “basking” in it so much that I feel an asthma attack creeping up on me! Don’t worry, I already went to Mercury Drug to get my inhaler and will go back for some Orofar L.

Jerome, got it!

Sometimes you can use your blog as a virtual marquee for call outs like my message to Jerome.

Been here half a week and I wish I could stay longer.  (Even if the keyboard at this i-cafe is driving me nuts.  Now I wish I had brough the laptop and just ordered a latte at Starbucks)

Any recommendations for waterparks?

In Baguio with my brother Nikky

I got to Manaoag in time for the 6AM mass, got on a van and reached Baguio at just past 9AM.  We had brunch and then set out to find SM Baguio so I can hit an internet cafe to grab a few cellphone numbers and try to free up my memory card of the pictures I have there so we can take more pictures.

The view from SM is just breathtaking and Nikky and I don’t care that we are as touristy as can be.

Will be heading for the market in a while, but trying to savor the breathtaking view of the summer capital’s landscape here on the third floor.  Beautiful!

My 4 Balikbayan Boxes

My knapsack is bursting at the seams and with the laptop and every other thing in it weighs a ton. I packed practically all of Angel’s clothes in his overnight baby bag. I watched with bated breath as my four balikbayan boxes were weighed at check-in even if we had weighed each box carefully, making sure not to exceed the maximum weight of 70 lbs per checked in luggage.

Right now I’m all excited to open those same boxes once I get home. I felt rather frustrated that I couldn’t bring everything I wanted to bring my wedding gown to have it dry cleaned and boxed for storage, some suits that I wanted copied and then dry cleaned, several shoes I wanted re-soled, etc., etc.

And what tops the list is that the scrapbook I had worked so hard on to finish in time to share with everyone back home was one of the items we decided to just ship or send next time. Well, at least I’m going home. That makes up for all that I failed to bring with me.

In Seoul on a Layover

I’m here in Annabanana’s part of the world during an almost 4 hour layover before I get on the final leg of this sojourn home. (I would’ve actually tried to touch base with Anna but I landed at 4AM.)

The sprawling airport is immaculate and spotless – claiming to be the World’s Best Service Airport. Since the airport is practically dead at this hour, I won’t have much of a chance to find out how true that is. So far so good.  Of course I figured something this modern should be wired for wi-fi, and true enough, even if I hit 2 pay-per-use wireless networks, I found one that actually allowed me free access to the world wide web.

I’ve survived the first 16 hours of this trip (make that 1 ½ hours waiting to board board and 14 ½ hours on board Korean Airlines not without any challenges. What was I thinking bringing along a book to read? My 2-year-old pretty much kept me preoccupied those moments I could’ve spent reading, and even during those moments when I wish I were sleeping instead. He got his naps and his sleep – he charmed everyone on the plane and managed to walk away with a super truck miniature and all the bananas he wanted. But he kept me on my toes and continues to keep me on guard even as we’ve sequestered a quiet area here in the boarding gate for the trip to Manila.

The Seoul sky is turning a lighter shade of blue with each passing minute. I get to see this sunrise at least. We board before 8AM, and I’m sure the sun would be up by then.  I actually have no idea what time it is but it’s freezing in Korea.  I thought I would get a chance to change Angel to some Manila-friendly clothes, but I will have to wait until we get there.

I am really excited to breathe Manila’s polluted air again.  =)  I can’t wait to see the look on my Dad’s face when we see them.  (So forget that I haven’t had any real sleep in over 24 hours now..)

Iba pa rin talaga ang Manila.  I forgot Dad’s cheese in the crisper, Angel’s Gerber, and one or two other things, no thanks to the fact that I was packing my handcarry luggage on the 11th hour.  But I’m here, on my way home.. it’s been too long..

Subway Stories: Lady by the Door

Picture taken April 17, 2006

I take the 7 Train from the Flushing tip of the trip every morning, and while I usually wait for the Express Train that empties into the station so I can (literally) grab a seat, there are days when I don’t have the luxury of time and I just hop onto the train even if it means standing up all throughout the trip.

Monday was one of those days — and I positioned myself at the end of the cabin, leaning against the conductor’s door.  It helps to be leaning against something instead of hanging on to the railing while negotiating the trip to Queens Plaza North.

I was busy playing Tetris on my phone but I saw this young lady looking so forlorn on a Monday morning, staring dreamily into nothingness.. I wonder what she was thinking about on that bright Monday morning.. it seemed to me then that the sunshine was lost on her.

The Immigration Debate

This has been a very emotional topic here in the United States of late.  With 11 Million illegal immigrants in the country, it IS  a big issue not just because of the sheer number of people involved, but more importantly, the economic and social impact that number has on the bigger picture.

I am an immigrant myself.  However, I was lucky enough to have come here properly documented, and soon I will be filing for my citizenship.  I know of people who have braved it all, overstayed their visas and gone TNT.  (Tago ng tago)  Friends have sought my advice and I have discouraged friends and family from going that route, only because it is such a bad trade off despite the lure of dollars and a supposedly better life.

The issue at hand is what is America to do with all these undocumented aliens who are now a huge part of American society.  A bill has been filed in Congress that would make it a crime to be an illegal alien, and it makes those who help/employ illegal aliens criminally liable.  President Bush, for his part, has been pushing for a “Guest Worker” Program that will allow more open employment for aliens given certain restrictions.  This is important to the huge corporations which openly employ illegals because they are paid much lower wages and have little or no benefits available.  (See, in this land of milk and honey, a social security number is necessary to avail of employment benefits, and you don’t get a social security number unless you are authorized to stay here — meaning you are a LEGAL and not illegal alien.)

Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have taken to the streets all over the country militantly protesting against this move of the government to curtail the continued influx of undocumented aliens, particularly those who walk across the border on the West Coast where certain states share a border with Mexico.  At the same time, many Americans are angered and have resorted to forming civilian groups to “protect their homeland.”  In many cases in those states by the American border, this has become a literal struggle as fences are broken and cattle stray, stretches of land become garbage dumps for the refuse (both human and otherwise) of those who trek to the so-called land of milk and honey.

It’s a very emotional issue — but only in America will you see illegal aliens criticizing the government of their host country for wanting to push them out.  So I was wondering in my Pinoy mind what we Filipinos in Manila would think if, let us say, the Taiwanese came in droves, or our Indonesian neighbors decided to swim across to our southern shores and started taking jobs which are already scarce for fellow Filipinos.  [ ————- Pause for effect ————– esep, esep, esep..]

How would we feel if Mandarin or Bahasa, let us say, suddenly became the second predominant language, with signs and announcements now being done in Tagalog and this second language?  (Flashback to those violent riots against the Chinese in Indonesia..)  Here in the US, you call your bank to get your balance, after the usual welcome comes another voice speaking in Spanish offering you to push 2 to continue in Spanish.

Both sides are poised to fight as a matter of survival.  Why are the protesters shouting this law will break up families?  Because many undocumented aliens have given birth to children here who are by law now American Citizens, but whose status does not confer the same privilege and status to their illegal alien parents.

I agree that America is made up of immigrants from all over the world.  They are who make up America.  But the country is in bad shape, and its economy is taking a beating from all fronts.  When you start disenfranchising the locals, you have a tendency to breed resentment towards newcomers. 

The African Americans are no longer the biggest minority here in the US.  Yet they have been here for centuries.  The Latinos stand to lose the most, and we Filipinos have our TNTs in the hundreds of thousands.. perhaps even a million.  I’m watching how this will go.

You have a president who is ending a second term and he doesn’t have re-election to worry about.  Not exactly the best president this country has had — but his homestate of Texas is one of those who will be gravely affected any which way this bill goes.  Se Habla Espanol?