Watch out world, here comes the newest graduate. My pagumankon (niece) has graduated. Two years ago she received her two year Associates Degree. Now, two years later, she has completed and passed the entire four year program earning her a Bachelor’s Degree! The first in our family to do so! The degree is in computer science by the way, one of the most challenging courses. I am so very, very proud of her and am also proud to announce to the world her accomplishment. She has set an example, not only for her family, but also for all young women everywhere that if you put your mind to it you can achieve success.
How did she do this? First she had a dream. She dared to dream that she could earn a degree. Then she believed in that dream. She was willing to make the sacrifices needed to realize that dream. She had no idea how she would pay for all this but she set out in faith that all would come together. With a little financial help she was on her way. There were struggles along the way of course. Like the time she was hospitalized and had to spend her school money to save her life. That didn’t stop her though. She kept on going. Finally, on April 15th 2012, she happily received her degree. Accomplishments like this don’t come easy but she was tough enough to see it through. That’s why I say “watch out world”. I have all the confidence in the world that this young woman is going to accomplish even more great things in her life.
Here she is, Ma. Cristina M. Ligaray. Our graduate.
Doesn’t she look gwapa? That’s because she is. There’s nothing more I can say then that I am extremely proud of her. Cristina, you go girl!
Here they come! Run for the hills! Don’t even take time to pack your luggage, just get to running and whatever you do don’t look back, the buad are here!
Okay, okay, it’s not quite as bad as that but buad is definitely something that takes getting used to. Buad is the Bisayan term and it is called “Tuyo” in Tagalog and is a small, dried, salted fish. The fish itself is no problem and is actually quite tasty when cooked. However it is the aroma (odor, lol) that comes during and after cooking. That’s when you want to run and run and run and run as far away as you can. That is if you are a Westerner. The odor seems to have no effect on the Pinoy or Pinay cooking and eating it. In fact it is a favorite for many Pilipinos who are living and/or working abroad as it reminds them of home. Every one who makes a Balikbayan trip back to the Philippines always brings back plenty of buad/tuyo to share with their kababayan (countrymen) upon their return to their western country. Buad or tuyo is really the food of the poor people in the Philippines and many are happy to have it as otherwise they would have nothing to eat. Sad but true. Even so all Pilipinos enjoy it and those in western countries look forward to it as a special treat.
How to describe the, ahem, aroma? It’s difficult. For the ultimate answer you must experience it yourself. In the meantime, let me relate my story. The first time I stayed in Cebu City I was in a hotel right off Colon Street. Thinking I wanted to acclimate myself to the weather there I turned off the air conditioning in my hotel room and opened the window. Big mistake as that’s when it hit me. I remember thinking, “Wow. Someone must have been dumping their garbage outside the hotel and now it has turned rotten.” I swear, it was terrible. I was forced to close the window. I later learned that the cause of this odor was the restaurant across the street that was cooking buad. I have since become a little bit more used to it but doubt that I will ever fully embrace it. It’s truly quite an experience for my western nose.
Here is what to look for so you can prepare yourself. If you see the following then get the clothespins out and clip one to your nose.
Here is the buad/tuyo section from the SeaFood City grocery store in Sacramento, CA;
I was about to compose a post for Pasko (Christmas) but as many of you may know tragedy has struck our beloved Philippines. Typhoon Sendong (also called Typhoon Washi) has slammed into Northern Mindanao causing massive flooding. At the time it passed over Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City, the sites of the greatest devastation, it had already been downgraded to a tropical storm. Unfortunately in this part of the Philippines it is extremely rare for a typhoon to strike and as a result many of the people were unprepared. To further complicate matters the storm roared in at night while most were sleeping. Whole families were washed away as they lay in their beds. At this point in time there are an estimated 650+ who have lost their lives and another 800+ unaccounted for with the most loss of life occurring in the two cities. However, these are only estimates and the actual loss of life may be much higher, especially when they begin to search the outlying areas of the provinces. Other provinces also experienced the wrath of Sendong throughout the Visayas and Palawan.
This is a time when we need to offer our prayers for those who have suffered the loss of family members, loved ones, friends and neighbors. It’s also a time for us all to come together and help. Help with the basics that are needed by the survivors as well as the restoration of the areas devastated. Much, much work will need to be done in the future but if I have learned one thing it is to never underestimate the resilience of the Pilipino people. When others would give up and turn back the Pilipino will press on with life and find a way to overcome. However a helping hand is always welcome. If so inclined, give what you can to help these victims of nature to recover. You can help right now by clicking on the link below to the Philippine Red Cross. God Bless.
The holidays are almost upon us. This time of year is not only for holiday observances but it’s also the time of year that many people like to vacation. Let’s face it, most of the US, Canada and Europe has dull, grey skies, rain, snow, ice and cold to freezing temperatures. Time to get away! Only question is where to?
This year, why not choose the Philippines? Warm temperatures, sunny skies, beautiful beaches, wonderful people. That’s enough to satisfy most. Want more? How about mountains with rice terraces that are thousands of years old? You’ll find them in the Philippines. Or you could visit someplace like Vigan, which is a World Heritage Site. Go to the Hundred Islands for a great time at the beach. Tour Manila and it’s surroundings like Intramuros, the old city from the Spanish colonial days. Take in the sights of Ocean Park with your family. Dine in a restaurant while you watch the sun set over Manila Bay. Breathtaking! Visit World War II historical sites like Corregidor Island. Walk along the path of the Bataan Death March and pay homage to those vets who were imprisoned and lost their lives. Visit Cabanatuan the site of the prisoner of war camp featured in the movie “Great Escape”. Over in the Bicol region you’ll see Mt. Mayon volcano which is said to have a perfect cone. Do you see where I’m going with this? All these activities are on the Island of Luzon and that is only one island out of 7,107!
Go to Cebu and see the Santo Nino. Visit the actual spot where Lapu Lapu slew Magellan then dine next door at Sutokil. Visit the world class resorts that line Mactan Island Cebu. Go up to Tops Cebu for breathtaking views. How about Moalboal for great diving? While there take in Kawasan Falls as well. Take the fast boat to Bohol and see the Chocolate Mountains. Have a nice dinner on a river cruise. See the tarsiers, tiny little monkeys measuring only 4-6 inches long (10-15 cm) with big adorable eyes. You’ll only find them in the islands of Southeast Asia. Indulge yourself and spend some time at one of the great resorts on Alona Beach. Travel over to Negros Oriental where you can find more great diving around Apo Island. Speaking of Apo, hop a quick flight down to Davao and climb Mt. Apo the highest mountain in the Philippines. Jump on over to Leyte Island and visit MacArthur’s 1944 landing spot where he fulfilled his “I shall return” promise.
Don’t forget the people of the Philippines either. While the country has great sights to see and many things to do, what makes it all so endearing are it’s people. Always hospitable, always courteous, always generous, always warm and loving, always smiling. It’s why I often call it the “Land of Smiles”.
Wow! I’m out of breath and there’s so much more to this great country. Where’s my favorite place? I have a friend in Amlan, Negros Oriental who swears that’s the best place. Another likes Cebu. Another loves Ilocos. Some say the Makati area of Manila. My favorite? Anywhere. As long as I’m in the Philippines then I’m in my favorite place.
Now back to the original question. What’s a good choice for a vacation? I encourage you, Choose Philippines! If all of the above is not enough then watch this short video for even more reasons to “Piliiin Mo Ang Pilipinas” (Choose Philippines). My thanks to the Philippines Department of Tourism and ABS-CBN network for producing this beautiful and informative video. The video features Pilipino singing stars Angeline Quinto and Vince Bueno, the song was written by Robert Labayen, vice president of ABS-CBN’s Creative Communications Management.
Although she did not walk away with the crown and the title of Miss Universe 2011 (Hellooooo Lea Salonga!!) Shamcey Supsup still shines like the brightest star in the sky. Shamcey, a Bisayan who’s hometown is General Santos City, finished in 4th place as 3rd runner up in the recent pageant but she places first in life. Binibining Supsup, graduated magna cum laude from UP Diliman located in Quezon City, Philippines. Cum laude is a Latin phrase meaning with honors, magna cum laude means with “high” honors. An accomplishment this young woman can be proud of throughout her life. Back in 2009 when she stood for the Architecture Licensure Examination she not only passed but she passed with the highest score! Smart? Yes, she is utokan kaayo (very smart). Shamcey is an inspiration to young girls and women everywhere who dream of achieving success in the world. What a tremendous example she has set. She’s a winner in my book. All that’s left to say is “Shamcey, you go girl!”.
This blog started with one of my trips to the Philippines, specifically the islands of Cebu and Negros. I want to share with you the splendors and wonders of Republika ng Pilipinas (RP) as well as the love for and from her many peoples. I hope you will enjoy my adventures and misadventures as well as the fotos that I upload here. Perhaps you will also be motivated to visit and enjoy the 7,107 islands that are the RP.
By the way, that foto at the top of the page is of a beach in Santa Fe, Bantayan on the island of Cebu. Beautiful, is it not?