October 27, 2010

So excited to help folks smile.

Its always a nice recharge to visit mama in the Philippines. I get to sleep 12 hour nights (after eating and drinking for another 12 hours), tell mama I love her in person, see relatives, and meet new friends. I also make sure to visit Manila and when possible, visit a new place if time (and money) persists.

But the coolest thing of all is that for some reason, an opportunity to actually help the community I visit always reveals itself.

This will be my 3rd year helping my aunt’s clinic, a “free children’s mobile clinic” helping children of the province my mom is from. This time my aunt is collaborating with a team of doctors and dentists who perform surgeries on children as well as adults who have facial deformities such as cleft lips and palettes. Deformities that occur in the fetus where the baby’s mouth or lip doesn’t forge fully enough. More info at Wiki.

The team is called Faces of Tomorrow (FOT), and after working for years in South America, they are now going to the Philippines for the first time, with my aunt’s clinic as its host. My aunt’s job was to get the local government involved, find a hospital to host the surgeries, and connect with local midwives, nurses, and physicians. And after a year of emails, phone calls, and visits to the Philippines, FOT will be operating on 60 (or more) children AND adults from January 16-22, 2011.

And how fitting that it ends on my mama’s birthday. Coincidence? As rickety as my faith is after mama’s stroke, im confident in saying there is a higher power at hand here.

After 3 years, I like to brag that im part of a “small global community of voluntourists.” Crossing miles of earth to change the worlds of people I actually don’t know too much about, have never met, and will probably never meet again. Then again I do get something back in return, these people are in fact folks from my mother’s community. I feel that in making their lives a bit better, I help my mom too.

But I hope one day, when I go on vacation to Hawaii, the Bahamas, or to Cancun, that not only will I look for the best rates, the best hotels, and the best places to eat, but that I also try to find communities who are in need of something that I have abundance in. The best that I can give when I visit.

Until then, my perfect vacation spot is the province from which my mother is from. There is never too much to give there too.

Team Manila “Manila Royals”

October 13, 2010



They haven’t been released online yet, but Team Manila tweeted this photo here a few days ago. Waiting anxiously now for a reply to my stalkerish tweet inquiries lol.

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Flicking people off with adidas!

October 12, 2010

"Adidas" is an acronym for "all day I dream about shucks-I-love-chicken-feet"

What I love about the bustling Filipino food scene in the Bay Area is that there seems to be no shortage of opportunities for one to reconnect (or connect for the first time) to the different nooks and crannies that make up Filipino cuisine.

No need to hop on the jeepney to get to this corner. Unless you're trying to get to the MRT by De la Salle!

Or in this case, the various street corners and alleyways of Manila’s street food!

1st "Pinoy Street Food Festival" at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, CA

The “Pinoy Street Food Festival” was held by Intramuros Restaurant in South San Francisco, CA, and when I found out about it via tweet from my fellow Filipino-food-consumer Joanne, I knew I had to check it out.

KWEK-KWEK! aka Toknene

One of my biggest woes besides missing my family in the Philippines is missing the food I can’t get in America, and after finding kwek-kwek at the festival (battered and deep-fried quail eggs) I decided to stay the full 8 hours to consume everything. 2pm to 10pm!

I thought I saw some ISAW! (pronounced E-sau)

The neat thing was practically half of all the offerings they had I never tried in Manila, like this pork isaw (pork intestine) that was marinated and grilled to perfection. It definitely made up for the lack of chicken isaw (chicken intestine) that I always made sure I got whenever I went back to the province.

With that said, I just had to stay for lunch, merienda (light snack), dinner, and dessert to consume halo-halo, fish balls, sago & gulaman, pork isaw, adidas, banana que, champorado, arroz caldo, dinuguan, balut, guinataang bilo-bilo, pancit luglug, chicharon bulaklak, kwek-kwek, ukoy, karioka, and cassava. Oh and red horse beer!

Banana Q!

Did I mention banana que lol? (deep fried banana coated with caramelized brown sugar).

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5 years ago today

October 10, 2010

Mama in the hospital

5 years ago today I found myself on my computer in between bathing and feeding my mama and after a few weeks of fooling around with a design for this blog, I made my first post on October 9, 2005, 5 years ago today! It was about “dark-skinned Filipinos” for some reason lol.

I still don’t know why I didn’t blog about our experience post-stroke. I learned and grew so much being a caregiver for my own mom. But I realized a while back that Filipino culture provided me an escape from the day-to-day of caring for my precious mama!

Mama checking out the fishy's!

In February of 2007 my mom’s pension kicked in and her family in the Philippines and I decided it was best for her to stay there so I could finish school and she could be happy.

But I still have my blog and have been visiting my mom in the Philippines every year since she left. Back home in the US, I didn’t finish school and ended up being more active in anything that dealt with the Philippines.

Mama lookin' flashy!

I guess in the end, there are two things in my life that matter most to me. My mom and my Filipino heritage. And as long as my passion is toward these two very much connected subjects in my life story, this blog will exist.

See you in January mama! I love you! (I wish she read my blog lol).

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Almost missed my jeepney!

October 5, 2010

I was then taken away by museum security. EMBARASSSSS!!

Turns out this jeepney was part of an exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. So THAT’S why it was surrounded by barrier posts. And those pesky museum security guards dragging me away… talk about annoying. Bayad po!

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