Thursday, January 12, 2012

JEEPNEY PRESS COVER January-February 2012



Jeepney Press Cover
Art & Design by Dennis Sun www.dennissun.net

CENTERFOLD Jeepney Press January-February 2012



The Red School : The Coolest Filipino Driving School in Japan, and More
by Stephanie Jones Jallorina

This year, as in the past, Jeepney Press aims at bringing you closer to reality, to the truly inspirational Filipinos here in Japan, that no matter how sad it always must have been not being able to go home for Christmas and New Year, it is not that bad - at all, because we have Filipino spirit here - the kindred spirit; the spirit of community and of belongingness and, the Christmas spirit that is innate - with every Filipino, including drivers.

The Kindred Spirit
It is a known fact that Filipinos are one if not the craziest (in a good way) and happiest people on Earth. Ang salin-wika po nito ay, "Ang Pinoy lang ang tanging nakangiti pa rin kahit lubog na sa mga problema." Mahilig ang Pinoy mag-saya kahit na may dinadala. Ang mga babae, pupunta lang sa mga mall at kahit mag-window shopping lang, masaya na. Ang mga lalaki naman, idadaan na lang sa inom, "solb" na!

The Spirit of Community and Belongingness
By definition, “community” is a social, religious, occupational or other group sharing common characteristics or interests perceived as distinct in some respect from the larger society. With Pinoy’s history and in effect, its diversity, mahilig ang Pinoy sa ka-community. Dito sa Japan, siguro may hundreds or more Filipino communities. Hindi nasusukat sa dami ng communities na sinasalihan ang ikakaunlad ng isang tao; kahit isang community lang basta yumayaman ang sarili sa kaibigan, sa karunungan at may maasahan sa oras ng pangangailangan, may karamay sa oras ng kagipitan, at may kasama ka sa bawat kasiyahan at tagumpay.

I have been into so many communities and I have known so many great groups of Pinoy but I have yet to discover those who we seem as just some “ordinary people” but actually can, and eventually will impact our lives in such an extraordinary way. I am proud to feature a truly centerfold-worthy, not one, not two, but a group of Pinoy men and women that would surely inspire all of us here in Japan. Tadaa!!! Meet and Greet… the Red School, a.k.a The Champions of Dabawenyos Organized Society (DOS) first ever Christmas Choral competition, bagaman at hindi pa man din mga Bisaya!!!

The Red School is a school of Pinoy drivers, and their wives, and family. They were originally coined as “Group Name Pending” in Facebook to “Red School” or in short “The Reds” when they joined this Christmas Choral contest with theme, “Ang Diwa ng Pasko sa Pinas”. Sa unang tingin nga, akala mo sila yung one of the “ordinaryong” Pinoy lang. Yung bahay-trabaho-bahay, inom-tambay-inom. Walang community na pagkakaabalahan, grupo ng pinagsamang masayahin lang, at wala ng ibang “commitment,” pero may kasabihan nga na, “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” 2012 na so dapat talaga matuto na tayong, ‘wag manghusga, bad yun! Ang Red School ay nabuo ng malikhaing isip ng akala mo mga, “drayber” lang, na akala mo pa-easy-easy lang sa buhay pero may angking talento, kakayahan, nag-iisip, naghahanda, nagpupuyat, at determinadong manalo – seryoso din pala!

The Christmas Spirit
Sinasabi ngang natural sa Pinoy ang pusong Pasko dahil kahit saang lupalop man ng mundo, basta may Pinoy, may Pasko. Bonded with this common spirit, and for a noble cause which is to spread Christmas love to the rest of Filipino brethren, kaya may mga mag-asawang Vinoe Kulafo at Glenda Argamaso, Jonas at Cheryl Peralta, Rico Gonzales, at JP Punzalan at Marie Cordova, mga mag-isang nagtatrabaho dito na sina Noreen Argamaso, Emma Espinosa at Thia Mangahas, at may mga mag-anak na sina Lila, Alden at Avel Estolas; at Melvin, Bria at MJ Sarvida na sumali at umabot sa contest. Merong mga nag-practice hanggang sa kahuli-hulihan pero sa kasamaang-palad, dahil sa tawag ng trabaho at propesyunalismong angkin ng Pinoy ay di nakasama at kinailangang pumasok sa araw ng contest: Andrin Macasaet, Elmer at Ferdinand “Junior” Atienzar, Sally (ni Rico) Gonzales at Tina (ni Alden Estolas).

Kahit pa sabihing lima lang ang naging kalahok, nag-back out pa yung dalawa, alam kong mananalo ang Red School! It took over a month for The Red School to get their talents and skills together, and to put up a good fight. Di nila ini-smol yung competition, yung posibleng kalaban nila, yung magiging concept ng kalaban nila, yung magiging biases ng posibleng judges nila, hence, I knew in my heart then, that they will bring home the “hamon de bola,” (smile). Mula sa piyesa na orihinal na inareglo para mabigyan ang mga kababayan ng kakaibang timpla ng pasko, hanggang sa detalye ng damit na susuotin, ng mga props na gagamitin, lahat metikulusong pinag-isipan. Bukod sa signature na converse shoes na kahit gipit at Pasko pa naman ay isiningit sa budget. Yung bow and tie, socks with lace, ribbons, lalagyan ng cellphone na may application ng flashlight (na animo’y yung sa pelikulang Step 3 lang ang peg), suspender, instruments, mga parol, lahat ay labor of love at di basta lang ready made na binili. Dahil ang Pasko ay panahon ng nag-aalab na pagmamahalan kaya naman, mas pinasagana ng Red School sa pula ang paligid. Magulo, masaya at may angking talino ang totoong Pinoy, nakatapos man o hindi – may sariling diskarte sa buhay kaya naman ibinabalik ang concept ng eskwela ala Iskul Bukol. Catching at hindi nakalagpas ang concept na ito kanino man nung mismong event ng DOS na panay ang picture dito, picture doon ng mga taong naparoon at nanuod. Kahit si Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez na siyang panauhing pandangal ng araw na iyon, sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ay nabighani sa mga nagagandahang “kolehiyala.” Naging favorite at darling of the crowd ang Red School na sa pag-akyat naman ng mga lalaki ng stage, hiyawan naman ang mga babaeng manu-nuod ng “Ako Budoy!”

Pero siyempre, di nga lahat ng matatamis na tagumpay ay parang taya sa lotto na .01 ang chance ng panalo. Ang Red School ay dumaan sa masusing paghahanda. Ang isa sa kagandahang asal na pinamalas ng Red School ay kahit na sabihing may angking galing sila sa kantahan at musika, naging open knowledge at wisdom yung hindi pagiging confident at over-confident na attitude towards any contest in life. Kumbaga sa pag-aasawa daw ika nga ni Junior, aka “Brader” ng grupo, di sapat yung salitang “mahal” mo lang ang isang tao, lagi-lagi, bukod sa “tiwala,” may kalakip yun na pagsusumikap at mga sakripisyo para mapanatili at mapag-ibayo ang relasyon. Kahit pagod sa buong araw na trabaho, at kahit umuulan at sobrang lamig, pinag-puyatan ang mga ginawang pag-eensayo ng Red School; nagkakasya sa isang bahay at sa handaang nasa hapag. Dahil walang magbabantay, kasa-kasama lagi ng Red School at ng mag-asawang Bria at Melvin ang bunsong anak na si MJ, na nagsilbing “lucky charm” ng grupo. Mataas magsalita ng Ingles at Nihongo ang bata kaya naman sa edad na tatlo at bagaman matalas ang pick-up, slang pa rin ang pagkanta ng “kumuthekuthetap, bumubhusehbuhsehlak…
chandhy…”

Halos buong weekend ng halos isang buwan, nag-ensayo di lamang sa bahay kung saan contained yung boses, kungdi maging sa park. Habang palapit na palapit ang araw ng kompetisyon, at maging sa kalaliman ng gabi ng ensayo, nagawa ding pumunta ng studio ng grupo para lang malinis pa ang kanilang presentation. At siyempre, sa bawat pagkakataong makakapag-ipun-ipon, bukod sa alak na animo’y “friendship bond” ata ng grupo, at siyang dahilan kung bakit unsolicitedly nalaman ko na di lang pala puro kalokohan ang pinag-uusapan ng mga mahilig uminom na drayber na kilala natin. Kumpisal tuloy nila Jonas at Vinoe, sa umpisa lang yung mga malokong usapan at yung walang kamatayang “wala ka sa tatay” ko na payabangan, pag mag-umaga na, doon mo maririnig ang totoong kwento ng buhay, ang normal na tinatakbo ng bawat Pilipinong namumuhay rito sa Japan, mula sa kung gaano at paano ang mga babayarin sa bahay, ipapadala sa Pinas hanggang sa kung gaano sila ka-proud sa kani-kanilang mga anak sa Pinas. One more amazing truth about Red School is that while the husbands enjoin their wives or vice versa in these “sessions,” what seems to be as only a “friendship bond” from the surface, then means so much more, a “marriage bond.” If I can fully play by play recap the whole picture of the victory session, I see wives making kurot and making batok their husbands pag kunwari ibubuking ng mga kabarkada sa kalokohan, tapos ang ending, sabay-sabay malulungkot pag naalala ang mga anak o asawang naiwan. I guess if this is one thing that could keep a marriage work, I would advocate na sana mag-VO (read: alak po ito) na lang lahat ng mag-asawa. Dahil sa VO, may mga mag-asawa who became the best of friends. With that being said, you really cannot and should not judge people by the color of their skin, the way they talk, they walk, or by what and how they drink or because drivers drink when they don’t drive.

Gaya ng ibang organisasyon, ang Red School ay dumaan din sa di-pagkakaunawaan, di-pagkakaintindihan at minsan sa mga biruan may mga nasasaktan at may nagkakatampuhan. Minsan may mga salitang binitawan na mami-misinterpret ka, at dahil nabitawan mo na ang salitang yun, tatak at tatak sa puso’t isipan yun. Kung masakit, talagang masasaktan ka. Pero normal yun sa kahit anong relasyon. Ang di-normal doon ay kung sa bawat pagkakatampuhan ay di natututong lumimot at mag-move on ang mga taong involve. But because this group gave so much importance on how they started and where they came from – all from a place where their worth has been taken for granted and their skills have been underestimated – they surfed up on every trial; they can forgive and forget every miscommunication. And, I too, strongly believe that when they never, (really) not even once, hurt each other while they are under the influence of alcohol, I know they can go easy with each other when they are sober. I also believe that they will continue to stick together, strengthen and encourage each other, and, create better music and perform vibrant shows to the great amazement and hearty glee of Pinoy crowd, and fan like me, mawala man ang Converse shoes, pramis!

10-Q



Samahang Filipino Para Sa Pagbabago
At Pagkaka-isa/SFPPAP
(present name since June 2009)
United Filipino Community/UFC (former name)
Iida-Shi, Nagano-ken, Japan

Noong ika-18 ng Setyembre taon 1994 ng simulang itatag ang samahan UFC sa tulong ni Father Joseph Hermans OFM, Sister Jane Pineda RGS and Sister Celeste Yuson RGS. Layunin ng samahang ito na palaganapin ang pagkakaibigan at pagkakaisa, hindi lamang sa mga kapwa natin Pilipino kundi pati na rin sa iba't-ibang lahi na naninirahan dito sa bansang Hapon. Gayun din sinimulan ang pagbibigay ng abot kayang halagang mailalagay sa pondo upang may maitulong sa mga tao kung sakaling may mangangailangan.

Nagkakaroon ng iba't-ibang activities tulad ng taunang bazaar, bingo, etc., upang mas maging aktibo ang bawat isa at magkaroon pa ng mas masayang communication. Kung inyong mapapansin ang aming founder ay mula sa simbahan kaya naman lahat ng aming gawain ay kasama lagi ang aming parokyang Iida Catholic Church. Mayroong kaming taunang pagbisita sa iba't-ibang simbahan sa malalayong lugar.

Sa ngayon, abala po kami sa paglikom ng mga donasyon tulad ng damit at pera para po ibigay sa mga biktima ng Bagyong Sendong. Patuloy po namin itong gagawin upang kami po ay makatulong.



TRAFFIC by Alma Reyes



TRAFFIC by Alma Reyes

“Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea…
His head was bent in sorrow; green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. Oh!”
- Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow

ENTER THE DRAGON

Best Wishes for the Dragon Year 2012!
Here comes the fierce, fiery, and probably, the most powerful sign of the Chinese Zodiac calendar! Beware! (Ha-ha) Well, in ancient China, the dragon was an auspicious symbol of the Emperor’s power, but these days, it is more associated with success and happiness. Dragons are people who were born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 and this year 2012. They are noted to be passionate, ambitious, and are filled with abundant energy. They may be conceited, quick-tempered, self-assuring and highly confident, but are generous in helping others, which keeps them close to many friends. As they are extremely temperamental, they may be prone to sicknesses related to emotional outbursts and stress. Like the animal itself, they prefer outdoors and value their sense of freedom. They also like to spend money, and are shrewd in financial dealings.

Recognized as one of the most significant animal creatures in history, dragons appear in many ancient tales and legends. One of these is the famous legend about St. George and the Dragon. Here, the dragon was known to be evil that ravaged the country, and St. George came to the people’s rescue by slaying the dragon. We also see the dragon in the tale of Beowulf, the Greek myth of The Dragon of Boeotia, even in biblical stories, such as St. Michael’s feud with the dragon, and more. Generally, it is regarded as an evil monster that destroys humans and villages. On the lighter side, it is also a protector of kings and emperors. Manga comics often use dragon characters in their stories: Dragon Quest, Dragon Ball, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, etc. No wonder, the dragon is a favorite motif for tattoos, too!

Japanese myth has an abundant list of dragons with different names and physical appearances, that so many temples and shrines are devoted to this auspicious creature. You probably have Japanese friends with the characters 龍、竜、辰 (tatsu or ryu) in their names, which signify the dragon.

So, are you a destroyer dragon or a protector dragon?


RUNNING IN THE FAMILY

Speaking of dragons and tattoos, recently, I worked on a translation job for an interview with a great tattoo master in Japan, and I learned many interesting things about tattoo art in Japan. You may notice many youngsters in the streets with flashing tattoos on their bodies: on their buttocks, arms, stomachs, ankles, back of the necks, on the forehead? It seems to me that every rock musician has a tattoo on some part of his body. Some of us find these tattoos unsanitary or offensive, but in fact, tattooing has been around since the Stone Age! In Japan, tattooing or irezumi (meaning insertion of ink) began from as far as the Edo period. In those days, Japanese craftsmen made their own blades and knives, and made tattoo art an exclusive handmade craft. What fascinated me was discovering that tattoo masters in Japan all carry a name that begins with “Hori,” which means to carve: Horiyoshi, Horihide, Horikazu, Horitaka, Horiken, and more, and are called Sensei. The tattoo art world is very much like the world of Kabuki, Calligraphy, Rakugo, or Tea Ceremony, wherein masters in these guilds work under a “godfather” figure, and carry on his tradition by adopting his name. Therefore, horishi (tattoo sensei) train their sons, and their sons’ sons, and so forth, giving them names, such as Horiyoshi I, Horiyoshi II, Horiyoshi III, until the end of the line! Parang King din diba? That is how sophisticated the tattoo world is in Japan.

In Kabuki, the actors also train under Kabuki “families,” such as Nakamura, Ichikawa, Onoe, Kataoka, Bando, etc., and so, you would find many Kabuki actors who have the same adopted family names. Similarly, you also have the families of Hayashiya, Sanyutei, Yanagiya, Katsura, and others in Rakugo, who carry these names from generation to generation.

Japanese traditional art and craftsmanship makes it almost impossible for an “ordinary” person to join the “family” of such prominent artists, unless you yourself have a tie with any of the family members, for traditional art in Japan has always been an exclusive world only mastered by its family generations. When I was still studying in Kyoto, I remember my professor telling me that it would be almost a miracle if Japanese culture can change this oligarchic system, and be able to open its traditional art to the “ordinary” art enthusiasts. Surely, today, there are many contemporary artists who practice such art and craft, and have been successful in their own ways, but they are not easily “accepted” as part of the traditional art families. I remember my professor telling me this sadly; even expressing how Japanese traditional art is inevitably dying.

During the Japanese O-shogatsu (New Year), Japanese take special time to create a “traditional” mood, such as preparing traditional o-sechi ryori (traditional Japanese New Year cuisine), eating o-mochi, playing hanafuda (Japanese old playing cards), takoage (kite flying), koma (top), visiting temples, and even dressing up in indoor kimono. It’s good to think of old Japanese tradition once in a while amidst the times of ultra-modernity, chaos and uncertainty.

Have a Blessed 2012 to all!



SHOGANAI: GAIJIN LIFE by Abie Principe


SHOGANAI: GAIJIN LIFE by Abie Principe

Let’s Put the “New” in “New Year”

Nung nakaraang ka-Paskuhan, mara-ming natanggap na messages sa Facebook, ang tema ay: Let’s put “Christ” back in “Christmas.” Napakaganda ng mensaheng ito. Nung nakaraang Pasko ba, ilan lang sa atin ang talagang naka-pag “Happy Birthday” kay Jesus? Pero napa-karami sa atin ang nag-shopping, namigay (at tumanggap) ng regalo. Sana hindi natin nakalimutan na mag-regalo din kay Jesus, birthday pa naman niya!

Maari rin natin ihalintulad ang mensaheng ito ngayong year 2012. Ilagay natin ang “Bago” sa “Bagong Taon.” Ibig sabihin ay maging seryoso sana tayo sa pagkakaroon ng “bagong” buhay nga-yong taon na ito. Hindi yung new year’s resolution na tatagal lamang ng isang linggo (ang iba nga isang araw lang!). When we speak of the New Year, let’s really make it “new!” Ang mga bagahe natin (emotional, physical, financial) bagama’t mabigat, dapat pagsikapin nating gumaan ngayong taon na ito. Kadalasan naman, tayo rin ang nagpapabigat nito. Kaya’t tignan natin ang nakaraang taon, at isipin ang mga bagay na dapat baguhin. Mara-ming nag-iisip na “hanggang dito na lang ako” o “wala naman akong ibang kayang gawin.” Kung ganito ang inyong pag-iisip, hindi ninyo nilalagyan ng “Bago” ang “Bagong Taon.” Kahit umpisahan natin sa maliit na bagay, i.e. ang kumain ng mas maraming gulay ngayon taong ito: ang itigil paunti-unti ang paninigarilyo; ang hindi agad magalit sa mga kasambahay dahil sa mga hindi pagkakaintindihan. Ang mga ito ay maliliit na pagbabago, ngunit sa pagtagal, malaki ang kabutihang maidudulot.

Ang mga holidays, sa totoo lang, ay nandyan hindi lamang para mag-celebrate tayo, kundi upang mabigyan tayo ng oras para tignan ang ating buhay, at pag-isipan kung paano tayo mas-mapapabuti. Ang Pasko ay para maalala natin ang ating paniniwala sa Diyos, ang Bagong Taon ay para sa ating paniniwala sa ating sarili. That in the end, ano pa man ang iniisip nating mga balakid sa pag-unlad ng ating sarili, lahat ito, dala din ng hindi natin pagkilala na kailangang may baguhin tayo.

Kaya, ngayong buong 2012, huwag nating kalimutang to put the “New” in “New Year!”



ISANG BARYA LANG PO! by Alex Milan


ISANG BARYA LANG PO! by Alex Milan

2012…. bagong taon, bagong pag-asa sa bagong kabanata ng ating buhay. Ito ang maganda sa bagong taon, puwede kang magsimula muli. Puwede mong bigyan ang iyong sarili ng bagong pagkakataon.

Natatandaan ko ang payo ng isa sa aking mentor tungkol sa apat na hakbang kung paano ang tamang pagsisimula muli.

Una, kailangan magbalik-tanaw sa nakaraang taon at gumawa ng listahan ng mga dapat gawin sa bagong taon bunga ng pangyayari sa nakaraan. Kung maaari, ilista natin ang mga pangyayari (events) na nagbigay ng tagumpay at kabiguan sa atin. Ganoon din, ilista rin natin ang mga taong naging malaking tulong at pagpapala sa atin at maging yung mga nagbigay ng sakit ng kalooban. Mas detalyado, mas mainam. Pagkatapos, isulat natin sa tabi ang natutuhan natin sa bawat significant event at significant people sa ating buhay. Because God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called to His purpose, it means every event and every person that came into our lives are God’s instruments to accomplish God’s best plan for us. Ang sabi nga, every person is intended to be either a blessing or a lesson for us or both. Under the loving control of our Creator, He makes all things beautiful. Every victory gives us a glimpse of the extent of how far have we developed and progressed. Every defeat reveals area where we need to improve. Every person who has been a blessing gives us the assurance that we are never alone. And every person who causes us some pain can make us realize our need… deepest need that we must ask our Creator to meet.

No one can see that list anyway, so you can be very honest or I should say, brutally honest. No need to hide. Describing your real feelings in written form would somehow provide great relief.

Ikalawa, ilista ang mga action items o mga dapat gawin to sustain your victory, to overcome your defeat, to preserve your relationship with people who have blessed you and to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt you. People called this list New Year’s resolution. By having this list, we are guided on how we can have a better year than last year. However, accomplishing them will require, more than anything else, humility. To eat humble pie is a prerequisite to unlocking more victories, more blessings and more opportunities. To refuse to eat our pride will hinder us from experien-cing the greater things that God has prepared for us this year. God’s creation is limitless and so His plan for us. Only us set the limit.

Ikatlo, make every effort to stay positive even during the most challenging times of your life. Always remember, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The sun always rises in the morning no matter what. Every problem has a solution in the hands of our God. Surround yourself with positive people. Stay away from people who are angry, bitter and miserable. Keep doing the right things. Don’t be affected by negative emotions and negative words that you hear. When confused, just pray. Don’t be afraid to cry, if you need to. Crying is a form of earnest and intense prayer. After all, we are instructed to pray at all times.

Ikaapat, set your goals for the year – a savings of 3-months of your salary; a business of your own; own condo; build your dream house; buy your dream car; finish your course. Whatever it is, the important thing is you decide which project you will complete this year.

In 1957, there was a study conducted where graduates of Harvard University were asked of their dreams. Only 3% of the graduates actually wrote down their dreams. After 20 years, when an assessment was made, the study revealed that those who actually wrote their dreams became more successful compared to those who did not write their dreams.

I like New Year. It gives me an opportunity to restart or refresh my life and realign my goals with God’s plan for my life. It also gives me a very good excuse to ask forgiveness to those whom I have hurt in the past and at the same time, release forgiveness to those who hurt me. It gives me a new motivation to realize my goals.

Happy New Year, indeed, to all.

KWENTO Ni NANAY ni Anita Sasaki



KWENTO Ni NANAY ni Anita Sasaki

Dr. George Cabrera Strikes Back in Japan

My most admired and respected director of Teatro Kanto has decided to go back home for good in the Philippines in the last quarter of 2010.

However, an unknown, mysterious force, or perhaps a calling, had sent him back to Japan where my curiosity started which prompted me to write this Q&A article.

I believe the Lord had given Direk George, as he’s fondly called by everybody in Tokyo, a mission to help in reaching-out, most especially the Filipino English Language Teachers and the prospective teachers.

Let’s learn more.

Anita: Direk, why did you suddenly come back to Japan after deciding to go home and end more than a decade of your stay here?
George: That’s an interesting question. Well, things have been great back home. In fact, there was even a six-digit salary offered to me and it’s indeed tempting, but there’s this indescribable feeling that’s driving me back here. So, I bought my plane ticket, and here I am now, finally back in Tokyo.

After staying for few months in Manila, perhaps the most significant factor that made me decide to finally pack my bag and return here is that great challenge to assimilate in our homeland, especially for someone who had experienced living in Japan for almost half of his life. And I can’t deny the fact that it’s not for me and that I am not up for that challenge anymore.

Anita: And what awaits you here upon arrival.
George: Hmmm…., God is so good for sending a very supportive Japanese friend who helped me get back on track. Hmmm… I would say consultancy is keeping me busy. And after learning that I’m back, Olive Akatsu, another very good friend of mine, reconnected me with our common missionary friend, Cesar Santoyo of the Center for Japanese-Filipino Families (CJFF). Koyang, as people call him, recently registered a limited corporation named Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS) that aims to help Filipinos establish their own English language school. He invited me to join his management team to develop Filipino English teachers in Japan and I think this is my calling.

Anita: What made you feel that way?
George: SEELS, as I’ve learned, is a by-product of that desire to extend kindness for humanity after the 3/11 triple disasters in Japan. It was in search of qualified educators to fulfill its mission of developing human resources through trainings and education. And since, I happened to have a Doctorate degree in Development Education and Educational Administration from the Royal Pontifical University of Santo Tomas and The University of Tokyo, I feel that SEELS is designed for people like me.

I share the same passion with other SEELS personnel like its Chief Operations Officer, Amina P. Banzon, who has a Master in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Business Administration. Like Ami, I believe God lead us to SEELS for its mission and its new journey with the Filipino migrants. It holds true with the rest of the Management Team of SEELS that includes Dale Maturan and Daff Marquesses Yaginuma.

Anita: In what direction would you think SEELS is leading the Filipinos in Japan?
George: As of now, the training courses being provided by SEELS will enhance the capabilities of our “kababayan” most especially those who are into English teaching. We’ve just started the SEELS Diction and the English Sound System Training course this November. Computer Home-based English Teaching; English Grammar Proficiency; Homeschooling; and a series of Computer Trainings will follow this.

SEELS is also preparing to offer certification courses and eventually higher education to Japanese-Filipino youth by having a four-year education course that is accredited by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education.

Anita: And where will those trained by SEELS go to make a living?
George: As Japan continually competes globally; there is an endless need of English education for Japanese across the board. As part of its ventures, SEELS is designing training programs for those who want English tutorials done in coffee shop or in rented public halls. It would also help Filipinos who want to establish their own English language school upon the completion of our training courses.

Anita: How about your theater work?
George: Like theater arts, teaching is a performance. In SEELS training, we apply theater techniques to the training of participants for better understanding and as a form of concrete learning.

Anita: Do you mean you are getting back to theater production again with a vengeance?
George: I’m open to possibilities. It’s already in my system and with the right projects and with the right people in God’s time, dealing not only in theater but also in film production would be a fantastic experience.

WALANG SABIT ni Arleniks

PAGMUMUNI-MUNI SA DYIPNI by Fr. Bob Zarate


PAGMUMUNI-MUNI SA DYIPNI by Fr. Bob Zarate

CONFESSIONS of a Priest... Mga Angal ng Isang Pari Part 2

Happy New Year sa lahat! I am sure marami tayong mga projections and plans for the year. Marami rin tayong mga prayers and wishes for sure. Ako rin. Deep within, bilang isang pari, mayroon din akong mga “sana” wishes sa puso ko... na lagi ko na lang ginagawa every year kasi walang nangyayari! Kaya, eto pa rin po ang mga angal ng isang pari after 10 years in Japan. Let them not ruin your 2012. Rather, sana ay makapag-gabay ito sa inyo as we all start another year of blessing from God.

Pag Nagalit ang Pari

Bakit nga naman ba kapag nagagalit si Father, o kahit pag naging istrikto si Father, ay bigla na lang aangal, “Pari ba yan!” O kaya, “Pari pa naman, tapos ang sakit niyang magsalita!” Naku naman... tama na ang drama! Hindi naging pari ang isang lalaki para magpa-cute. Nagiging pari siya para ipagtanggol ang katotohanan. And sometimes, the truth can really hurt.

Madalas nating i-compare ang pari kay Hesus na nakasulat sa Bibliya (yung pagkabait-bait na may awa sa lahat ng mga maysakit, mga makasalanan, mga humihingi ng tulong sa Kanya). Pero dapat tandaan din nating nagalit si Hesus. Want to check it? See your Bible... sa Matthew 21, 12-13. Doon nagalit si Hesus dahil dinadaya ng mga nagtitinda ang mga timbang nila. Grabe ngang magalit si Hesus... pati ba naman mga gamit ng mga nagtitinda, tinumba pa Niya! Ayan, napako lang kasi tayo sa mga paintings at statues ni Jesus na maamo at mabait. Pero kapag katotohanan ang pag-uusapan, fired up si Hesus!

Ganyan din ang pari. Kapag may sinabi si Father na medyo “Aray!” at tagos sa puso, huwag kaagad mag-react. Isipin muna natin kung totoo ang sinasabi niya. Especially kung pigil pa ang tono ng boses ni Father at ramdam mong ayaw niyang sumigaw, ibig sabihin noon ay pinag-isipan niyang mabuti ang sasabihin niya -- yun bang kailangang tatarok talaga sa puso. He has to say these things for your own good. Trabaho niya yon. Walang personalan sa loob ng puso niya para saktan ka.

Sinabihan ka na ba ni Father pag late ka sa Misa? Nagsalita na ba siya laban sa damit mong super casual pag nagsisimba? May mga comments ba siya pag sintunado kayong kumanta, magaslaw ang iyong kilos, o parang palengkera kung magsalita? Kung hindi ka pa sinasabihan ni Father, mag-ingat ka na. Baka nagpapa-cute lang siya!

Iwasan ang mga paring nagpapa-cute!

Mga Bangag na Kristiyano

Yes, I know I have to be sensitive and caring to people who need help, lalo na iyong mga lumalapit sa mga pari kasi super depressed sila o talagang lubog na lubog sa problema. Honestly, nakakapagod makinig sa kanila. Meron silang tendency to shift everyone’s attention to themselves -- na para bang sila lang ang may problema sa mundo! Pero, sa totoo lang, mas madali silang i-direct kumpara sa mga wala nang ginugol kundi mga bagay na espiritwal.

Don’t get me wrong. Totoong malaki sa trabaho ng isang pari ang spiritual matters katulad ng Grace of God, Blessings, Presence of God, at marami pang iba, pero hindi kami nakapako sa mga bagay na espiritwal lamang. Ang tao ay katawan at kaluluwa. Kung katawan lang siya, siya ay isang bangkay. Kung kaluluwa lang siya, siya ay multo. Pero ang taong buhay pa dito sa lupa na walang inatupag kundi espiritwal na bagay... bangag na Kristiyano!

Our Christian Faith is not our escape from our problems. Ang ating Pananampalataya bilang Kristiyano ang siyang dapat mag-gabay sa atin upang humarap sa realidad ng buhay dito sa mundo.

Halimbawa, may mga nanay na nagdadasal sa simbahan at pinapabayaan ang mga anak nilang magtakbuhan sa loob, mag-games, o kumain. Oo, mahal ni Hesus ang mga bata, pero gusto din ni Hesus na i-train natin ang mga bata na galangin ang simbahan at magdasal sa loob nito. Minsan nga sinagot ako ng isang nanay, “Eh Father, ang dami-dami ko nang problema! Dito na lang nga ako nakakapagdasal kasi kailangan kong alagaan ang anak ko lagi!” I had to tell her, “May problema ka o wala, hindi ka magkakaroon ng break from your being nanay sa anak mo. Habang bata pa ang anak mo, lahat ng lugar at oras ay chance to train him para paglaki niya, alam niya kung ano ang gagawin... kahit sa loob ng simbahan.”

Nakakagulat lang talagang isipin na kayang iwanan ng isang tao ang kanyang dapat gawin sa buhay (like pag-aalaga ng bata o pagluluto ng pagkain sa bahay) at pupunta sa simbahan, tapos sasabihing, “Ginagawa ko naman para sa Diyos ‘to eh!”

Naku, Neneng, huwag mong gawing takasan ang simbahan. Rather, pumunta ka sa simbahan, magdasal nang taimtim, makinig sa Salita ng Diyos, tumanggap ng Komunyon, at umuwi dala ang Kanyang biyaya upang lalo mong kayang harapin ang realidad ng buhay.

Samahang Simbahan, Nagiging Barkadahan

Philippine community... here, there and everywhere! May mga grupong Pilipino na hango sa probinsya o sa wika. May mga grupong Pilipino na hango sa trabaho. May mga grupong Pilipino na hango rin sa relihiyon. Ang dami-daming Philippine communities around Japan na kapag tinanong ka ng Hapon kung mga ilan ang communities dito, sagutin mo na lang ng tanong: “High tide or low tide?”

Of course, pati sa mga Catholic churches dito sa Japan, tiyak may Philippine community din -- mga matagal nang naitayo, o yung bago pa lamang... at iyong naghihingalo dahil sa mga away-away nila!

Bakit ba ang tawag nila dito ay Philippine community? Hindi naman sila ang buong Pilipinas. Hindi rin naman sila ang kalahatan ng mga daan-daang Pilipino na nagsisimba pag may English o Tagalog Mass. Hindi rin naman sila ang mga representative ng mga Pilipino kasi hindi naman nila personally kilala ang mga ito. Tapos, organize pa sila nang organize ng mga activities at fund-raising na pagdudulutan pa ng away, tampuhan, back-biting at hindi na pagpunta sa simbahan. Sayang.

Tinawag tayong lahat ng Diyos upang maging anak Niya. Tayo ay nabinyagan upang maging Katoliko. Tayo ay tinipon ng Diyos upang maging Bayan Niya. Yes, upang maging Community NIYA... hindi barkada nyo! Kapag hindi “based on faith” at hindi “Christ-centered” ang inyong pagiging Philippine community, someday, magwawatak-watak din kayo. I really get turned off kapag may mga nalalaman ako o nakikita sa facebook, o mismong nakikita ng aking mga mata ng mga Philippine communities na based sa simbahan, at kung mag-party ay lasingan galore! Tapos kung anu-ano pang kabastusan na ang nangyayari. Ang nagiging impression tuloy ay: nagkakilala sa simbahan, naging barkada, naging party people!... Ayun, naiwan si Hesus sa simbahan!

Kapag nagsama-sama ang mga Pilipino sa simbahan, panatilihin sana ito sa simbahan. Huwag nang dalhin ang samahan sa mga clubs diyan o pub doon. Huwag nating bahiran ang samahan sa simbahan ng mga bagay na dala ng kamunduhan. Samahang simbahan ito, hindi ito samahang lasingan with for-adults-only parlor games.

Let our church communities be based on the Gospel. Let our communities be faith-communities. Kung magpaplano ng any activity, always think kung paano ito makakapagpalalim ng ating pananampa-lataya, kung paano ito makapagbibigay sa atin ng chance para i-apply ang Gospel sa ating buhay. Pray more. Learn more about our Faith. Share more with each other your Faith Journey. Kung ganito lang sana ang ating mga Philippine communities sa simbahan, tiyak hindi to maghihingalo.

Philippine-Japan Migration Story by Carmelita Nuqui and Jeremaiah Opiniano



New Plot To The Philippines-Japan Migration Story

by Carmelita Nuqui and Jeremaiah Opiniano
Philippines-Japan NGO Partnership (PJP)

JAPAN offers lots of memories —good and bad— to Filipinos, not just its rising sun that is an economic magnet for Filipinos to go there.

There’s former overseas performing artist Maricris Sioson who, exactly 20 years ago, was mysteriously killed by alleged Yakuza elements five months after arriving in Tokyo. Sioson’s mysterious death never stopped a wave of migration by Filipinas doing the same kind of work which, to advocates for migrant workers, is tantamount to trafficking and to putting these women’s homeland into shame. That kind of migrant worker deployment even had processes and documents to be acquired, as well as a large-scale recruitment business which the Philippine government regulated. The tide changed in 2005, when Japanese immigration law changed and tightened the entry requirements of those wanting to work as OPAs. The amendment included provisions that anyone seeking such a visa must prove that he or she has education or experience as an entertainer. Certification from another government is no longer enough. This resulted in a steep drop in the number of entertainers being sent by the Philippines from about 80,000 in 2004 to about 38,000 in 2005. In 2010, the number of Filipino women deployed to Japan as entertainers was only about a thousand.

There is now an increase in the number Filipinas marrying Japanese, that being a means to escape poverty (as some departing young Filipina spouses married to elderly Japanese admitted).

Japan-Philippine relations surrounding overseas migration also evolved. The bilateral relationship became economic, resulting in an economic partnership agreement that has, among its terms, deploying Filipino nurses to Japan. Only two of over 200 deployed nurses passed the Nihongo-laced nurses licensure examination in Japan, and currently the nurses deployment provision of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement is being evaluated. While distant from a matter that concerns Filipinos’ migration to Japan, the relationship between the two countries is beyond overseas migration.

Japan is among the Philippines’ major source countries of official development assistance, in which civil society groups hope that such development aid undergo transparent and accountable processes. Nevertheless, the aid from Japan led to bridges, light railway transit systems, and even emergency relief for people in Mindanao.

Japan-Philippine economic relations will not be complete without the Japanese companies heading to the country —from vehicles to electronic equipment, some of which became household names among Filipinos (e.g. Toyota, Sony, among others).

The relationship between the two nations even led to the reverse, i.e. of developing country Philippines helping Japan. Images of the waves that splashed eastern Japan given an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami last March simply touched Filipinos’ hearts to help (for example, the Philippines-Japan NGO Partnership, a group of non-government groups here that has a partner NGO network in Japan, donated some money to Japanese NGOs providing disaster relief in tsunami-struck areas in Japan). Even Filipinos affected by the quake and tsunami had to be helped. There are stories of cause-oriented groups coursing their donations to the Philippine embassy in Tokyo and to some Japanese NGOs directed at the Filipino families victimized by the quake and tsunami. Still, Japanese maintained their resolve even in the midst of tragedy, and Filipinos learned from it.

But Filipinos, thanks to the opportunity of being in Japan for work, study and permanent residency, extend themselves to help the Philippines through philanthropy. Filipino groups of all sorts in Japan—scholars in Japan, Filipinos based in Japanese communities, migrants’ rights associations, and many more— have been noted to be helping social development causes in the homeland. Of some P2.5 billion of donations coursed through the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LinKaPil) program of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), some P33.65 million came from Filipino and non-Filipino donors based in Japan. These are on top of the remittances that Filipinos in Japan send back home: From 2001 to 2010, the US$5.349 billion is way, way ahead of Japanese development aid and foreign direct investment coming from Japan. Even in the last three years when the world faced a global economic crisis, Filipinos in Japan sent record-high amounts.

With these episodes surrounding Philippines-Japan relations and the Filipino migration to Japan that went with it, what future is in store? Japan might need to continually depend on foreign labor given their declining birth rates. It might also compel Japanese authorities to be more open to the contributions of foreigners and, if possible, respect foreigners’ (and Filipinos’) rights. For the Philippines, under a new chapter of citizens emigrating to Japan, it might mean that the episodes of forced migration to Japan —a la Sioson— should be over. Probably, helping more Filipinos in Japan and decrepit compatriots in the Philippines, as well as fostering better mutual relations between Japanese and Filipinos, may be the next steps. But for both countries, Japanese and Filipino vigilance to collaborate and help address the welfare of Filipinos in Japan and in the Philippines is a logical next step. This is where, for example, the Philippines-Japan NGO Partnership (PJP) is working with the Japan-Philippines NGO Network (JPN, a network of Japanese NGOs with projects in the Philippines) is doing something about it. Or Philippine rural communities welcoming Japanese citizens and enjoying their company and friendship in areas with visible concentrations of Japanese. The migration story concerning Filipinos heading to Japan is evolving, with development outcomes affecting both countries and their citizens. Opportunities abound from this evolution, and these can excite the Filipinos in Japan and the compatriots at home who are concerned about their welfare and of a homeland’s hopes for a better future.

DAISUKI by Dennis Sun



DAISUKI by Dennis Sun

BRING YOUR OWN SUNSHINE!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine!
- Anthony J. D’Angelo

Remember the time with the waiting for the coming of the year 2000 millennium? People in the computer and financial industry were so worried about the breakdown of the computer system all over the world. People had to stay in the office on new year’s eve to see what will happen exactly with the entrance of 2000. Baka masira raw ang data nila sa computer. Kasi hindi yata naka program ang computer data system beyond the millennium. Pero anong nangyari? Wala. Tuloy pa rin ang ikot ng mundo.

This new year, whatever your situation, whatever you do, wherever you are, always look for the goodness in someone or something no matter how small it is. Try to find joy in your life even in the hardest of times. Joy is the ultimate gift of life. Natatandaan pa ba ninyo kapag bumabagyo sa Pinas noong bata pa tayo? Diba ang saya natin? Kasi we didn’t have to go to school. Sa bahay lang tayo. Walang exams! We just watch TV or Betamax or VHS. Wala pang DVD noon. At kung naputulan man ng kuryente dahil sa lakas ng hangin, masaya pa rin tayo dahil tuloy pa rin ang laro nating magkakapatid. Scrabble, monopoly at iba’t ibang card games.

Kaya minsan, it’s good to be like children when facing problems. Ang bata, iiyak because he feels the pain. Pero bigyan mo lang ng kendi o laruan yan, tatawa na bigla. Sana tayong mga matatanda, ganoon din. Tingnan ang mga bata sa daan sa Pinas, naglalaro sa labas tuwing bagyo. They enjoy the rain. Umulan man o umaraw, ang mga bata, masayang naglalaro.

Marahil, marami sa atin dito sa Japan ang umuwi sa mga kani-kanilang probinsiya nung nakaraang Christmas. Ang isang taon na pinaghirapan ni Mario, biglang mawawala na parang bula sa kanyang mga gastos sa kanyang pamilya. Wika ni Mario, “Diyan ako masaya… Makita lang ang aking pamilyang maligaya at maginhawa. OK lang mawala ang pera. Babalik rin iyan next year!”

Wala naman akong nakikitang problema sa pag- gastos ng pera. Hindi forever, darating ang pera sa buhay natin. Tao lang po tayo. Tumatanda at nagkakasakit. Kailangan din natin i-plano ang bukas natin. Paano kung wala ka na? Sino ang magpapakain sa mga anak mo? Paano ang kanilang edukasyon? Isipin mo ito habang genki ka pa.

Tanong at obserbasyon ng mga ma-intrigang tao sa Pinas: “Bakit daw napakaputi at makinis ang kutis ng mga Pinay na galing sa Japan?” Sagot ni Elsa na isang caregiver sa Tokyo, “Kasi hindi kami lumalabas ng bahay. Kapag winter, super lamig kaya it’s better to stay at home. Pareho rin tuwing summer. It’s super hot! Kaya it’s better to stay inside the house na naka full blast ang aircon!” Ganoon ba? Talaga? Bigla akong napatingin sa mukha ni Elsa. Oo nga. Parang namumutla yata si Elsa. Parang anemic na kulang sa dugo. O baka naman sa make-up niya? Elsa, wala ka na sa omise! Isa ka ng caregiver kaya hindi mo na kailangan pang gumamit ng makapal ng make-up at lipstick!

Ito naman si Aruray, ang napaka-beautiful kong kaibigan. More than 12 years na rin siya sa Japan at ang alam lamang niyang Nihonggo ay “Irrashiaimase!” (with a strong Visayan accent). Kahit ganyan yan, mabait naman. Nasa Shinjuku kami at nag sha-shopping. Ewan ko ba at pina-pa fill-up ng form si Aruray. Biglang humarap sa akin at nag-dramang, “Dennis, paki-sulat mo naman ito at medyo masakit ang aking mga daliri.” Hay naku, Aruray, sana this year, kahit man lang ang pangalan mo, maisulat mo sa katakana o hiragana.

For now, just feel good about yourself. If you’re in Japan, how about having a dip in your nearest ONSEN? Aba, kailangan mo ng relaxation para hindi ka magkasakit at tumanda ng bigla. At Inday, para pag-uwi mo ng Pinas, hindi ka mukhang garutay. Feeling fresh and beautiful ka pa rin!

Have a great 2012!

PISNGI NG LANGIT by Doc Gino


PISNGI NG LANGIT by Doc Gino

Sa kolum na ito, ating tatalakayin ang mga pang-araw-araw na karamdaman na maaaring dumapo kanino man. Nasa inyong pagpapasiya kung nais ninyong sundin ang payo ng inyong abang lingkod. Bisitahin ang kanyang blog site: http://doctorsronline.blogspot.com/

Mga ugat sa bayag (Varicocele)
Tanong (T): Hi po, ‘yung isa ko pong egg eh mas malaki kesa sa isa at parang may ugat ugat na lumalabas pero wala po akong sintomas ng hernia.. Ano po ba ito?

Doc Gino (DG): Sa tingin ko, ang iyong kondisyon ay ang tinatawag na "varicocele". Ito ay kapareho ng "varicose veins" na nakikita sa mga binti. Ang "varicocele" ay nangyayari kapag ang dugo sa mga ugat ay hindi nadaloy ng lubusan kung kaya't ito ay naiipon na nagreresulta ng paglaki ng mga ugat sa bayag.

Kung wala namang ibang sintomas na nararamdaman gaya ng pana-nakit o pagkabaog, ito ay hindi naman kailangang gamutin. Kung ito ay magsanhi ng pagkabaog, kinakailangan itong operahan ng isang "urologist" o espesyalista sa ari ng mga lalaki.
Ang operasyon ay maaaring gawin ng ilang oras sa OPD. Maaaring malaman ang dagdag impormasyon mula sa iyong "urologist."

T: Delikado po ba ang sakit na yan? Ako po ay 17 taong gulang pa lamang po! Mga magkano po ang nagagastos sa pagpapa opera sa luslos? Estimate price lang po?
DG: Mas mainam kung sa ospital o clinic magtanong at sila ang nakaaalam kung magkano ito.


FORECAST by Madam Marivic



January-February Forecast
by Madam Marivic

SHEEP
Sa pagpasok pa lang ng taon ay mararanasan mo ang stress. Madaling uminit ang iyong ulo at maikli ang pasensya. Iwasan ang magalit. Control your temper and you need more patience. Don't put yourself in a dangerous situation. Stay in the house, calm yourself and be relaxed. In February, watch your health! You are prone to getting sick and accident. Avoid long travel and don't drive too fast. Iwasan din matulog sa Southwest direction at kung maaari iwasan din ang pumunta sa hospitals, prisons or police headquarters and cemeteries.

RABBIT
This month is excellent in entering new relationships. If you are looking for romance, you will find it easily. Marami ang magpaparamdam sa iyo at mahihirapan kang mamili. For students, rabbits will improve their special skills and good timing to take exams. February is the time you have to undergo since it is your stressful month. Don't let yourself get affected and stressed out. It would help if you are going to take a vacation and relaxation. Bring your family or friends and spend more time with them.

HORSE
Maganda ang pasok ng taon. Good fortune will come your way. This is the time to follow your instinct and don't hesitate to make a decision. You don't have to worry about your problems. It will disappear easily. Just trust your instinct and enjoy. February would be fabulous and would bring a lot of good news. Ang lahat ng projects na nasimulan ay mag- tatagumpay at aangat ang posisyon ng iyong karera.

MONKEY
You will feel irritated and always get a bad temper. Mahaharap ka sa mga gulo. Ang iyong relasyon ay maaapektuhan dahil sa mga maling paratang. Don't take it seriously since life is too short. Enjoy. Try to laugh and crack some jokes. In February, illness will start to visit you. You have to be watchful with your health. There is danger related to travel. If you have long distance travel, cancel it! Kung di maiwasan wear some protection amulets. Avoid also some dangerous sports like mountain hiking, snowboarding and so forth.

PIG
You will encounter losses when it comes to money matters. May possibility na ikaw ay mawalan ng mahalagang bagay or maloko sa pera ng isang kaibigan. Kaya mag- ingat sa pagtitiwalaan. Don't take any risks kung alam mong walang patutunguhan. Hintayin ang tamang panahon. In February, you may get many opportunities so stay tune. Just go with the flow and wait for the good fortune. Everything you make would be best for you in a positive way. Your relationship is going well. Focus on your career and your mentor will be on your side.

DRAGON
Sa pagpasok ng taon 5 yellow stars will come to your chart and you will be dealing with some problems and obstacles. Ngunit maiiwasan mo ito kung maglalagay ka ng 5 element pagoda with tree of life sa Southeast sector and avoid staying in the Southeast. You are in a company of new friends and acquaintances on the month of February but this will bring in trouble to those who are married. May mga temptation sa inyong married life or current relationship. Don't let someone enter into your relationship. Build a new friendship. Clients are very important so make sure not to have a romantic feeling.

ROOSTER
Sa pagpasok ng taon ay mararamdaman mo ang ganda ng year of the dragon para sa iyo. Nasa tamang oras, panahon at pagkakataon ang pasok ng suwerte sa iyo. There will be some opportunities coming to you. Don't hesitate to take it! Your personal life and career will be exciting. In February, dahil sa ganda ng pasok ng taon sa iyo, may isang kaibigan ang maiinggit sa iyo and this will bring you into trouble. She's one of your dishonest friends. Puwedeng ito ay kasamahan sa trabaho. Pag-ingatan ang mga mahahalagang bagay sa iyo and be careful not to trust easily.

SNAKE
Be alert to misfortunes that would come your way. Huwag munang gumawa ng anumang plano ngayon. Avoid taking risks to those who are in a business. Avoid staying in the Southeast direction and try not to overspend your money. Hindi man gaanong maganda ang pasok ng pera sa buwan ng February but you will enjoy the good relationship. May dumating man na problema, your friends and allies are always there to support you. Don't be arrogant and accept help coming from someone. You have a charm to make your enemies into friends. Be happy and contented in your life.

OX
Everything you started is becoming successful because you have the completion luck. Career and personal life will be more exciting, dumalo sa mga events, parties or any occasion that will make you enjoy. In February, opportunities will come and this would make you busy. You are full of positive energy to do some new ventures and projects. You are starting to enjoy your wealth luck and there is some kind of help coming from your friends and allies.

TIGER
Start of the new year is a promising month. You have a lot of power to bring you good fortune and wealth luck. Maraming oportunidad na darating na hindi mo babaliwalain. Your personal life is also promising and you will find what you are looking for because there is a lot of passion in your life this month. Prosperity luck and wealth luck this month of February is coming your way. Ito ang magandang simula ng mga bagong projects, launching new products and putting some plans. Trust your instincts and your intuition is your best guide to make you successful.

DOG
There is burglary and money loss. One of your friends will betray you so be careful when it comes to trusting people. Huwag ibigay ang buong tiwala ng lubos lalo at hindi gaanong kilala. In February, you have the heavens luck, there are helping people which makes you the best thing to give some freedom to choose for the next four weeks. Whatever you do is your choice and there is nothing wrong with that because you have a strong success luck. There is also a mentor luck that will give you a good advice at magbibigay ng oportunidad para sa iyo.

RAT
Take some rest and be careful with your health. You are prone to sickness or catching common cold from weather. Umiwas sa mga mataong lugar lalo na at alam mo na madali kang mahawaan ng mga virus. Don't take some risks. Kung alam mong delikado, huwag nang ituloy. February 4 is the first month in the Chinese calendar, so in the first month you have the powerful number 1 white star that will bring you in a good competitive pursuits maging ito ay sa business, school or sports. Malalagpasan mo lahat ng competition because you are surrounded with supportive people. Ano man ang dumating na pagsubok, malalagpasan mo.


SAVINGS by Isabelita Manalastas-Watanabe



EARNINGS – EXPENSES = SAVINGS
by Isabelita Manalastas -Watanabe

Marami sa atin ang nagko-complain, na hindi maka-save, dahil sa ang dami at ang laki ng ating mga gastusin.

Di-ba, kapag gumagawa tayo ng family budget, unang gagawin ay ililista natin ang mga anticipated na gastos sa isang buwan? Pagkatapos, titingnan naman natin kung magkano naman ang papasok na pera. Kung mas malaki ang anticipated na gastos kaysa anticipated na income, e-di “shoga nai” – wala munang savings sa buwan na iyon. Kasi nga, Earnings minus Expenses = Savings, di-ba?

Buwan-buwan, ganito ng ganito. Kamot ulo na lang tayo – shoga nai, sasabihin natin, walang magagawa, kasi laki talaga ng gastos at mas maliit ang kita.

E kung baguhin natin ang formula?

Gawin nating:

Earnings – Savings = Expenses

Ang ating gagawin, ay mag-aim ng kahit maliit lamang na halaga na gusto nating i-save, basta’t siguraduhin lang na hindi tayo papalya.

Kunwari, kahit kalahating lapad (JPY 5,000) lamang sa isang buwan. Mas mabuti na iyong maliit lang ang ambisyunin natin, basta’t 100% nating gagawin ang pagtatabi ng pera, kaysa mag-ambisyon ng mas malaki, at magawa ito ng ilang buwan lamang, tapos papalya na. At kapag pumalya ng minsan, mas malaki ang posibilidad na magpapalya na naman.

Saan natin kukunin ang JPY 5,000 sa isang buwan? Heto ang posibleng magawa natin:

1. Mag-skip ng pagkain sa labas. Kahit JPY 1,000 lang per eating out, kung dalawang beses sa isang buwan ay sa bahay na lang kakain, o kaya’y mag-prepare ng obento para hindi kakain sa labas.
Savings: JPY 1,000 x 2 times = JPY 2,000
2. Huwag mag-coffee and/or dessert kahit 2 beses lang sa isang buwan.
Savings: JPY 200 x 2 = JPY 400
3. Mamalengke ng 15 minutes bago magsara ang department store kung saan ka namimili ng isda, gulay, prutas, etc. Karamihan, may mala-king discount na ibinibigay, dahil nga ayaw na nilang itago pa ang mga ito, para ibenta ulit sa next day. Potential savings: JPY 500. Gawin itong pamamalengke ng almost closing time, ng isang beses sa isang lingo.
Savings: JPY 500 x 4 = JPY 2,000.
4. Kung 2 bottled/ canned juice normally ang binibili mo sa vendo sa isang linggo, gawing isang beses na lamang.
JPY 150 x 4 times = JPY 600

Total savings: JPY 2,000 + JPY 400 + JPY 2,000 + JPY 600 = JPY 5,000.

Parang ang liit-liit lang ng JPY 5,000 na savings sa isang buwan, pero kung consistent tayong maka-save ng kahit ganito lang, ay mayroon na tayong JPY 60,000 sa end of 2012, di-ba?

JPY 60,000… Mga PHP 33,000 pa rin ito @JPY/PHP = 0.55.

Parang namulot ka lang, kasi effortless naman ang ginawa mong paggawa ng target monthly savings mo.

So, sa December 2012, bahala ka kung ano ang paggagamitan mo nitong pera – i-remit sa iyong savings account sa Pilipinas? Mag-travel sa Korea, ng 4 days 3 nights? (pwede, kasi mga ganito lang gastos kasama na ang eroplano, hotel, at ilang meals). O kaya’y magpunta sa Kyoto, o kaya’y sa Hiroshima? Kahit mag-bullet train ka, at mag-hotel, kasya na itong savings mo! O i-pamper mo ang sarili mo, at pumunta sa esthe salon?

Kahit ano pa ang plano mo sa naipon mo at the end of 2012, mayroon ka ng spare cash bago mag-bagong taon ulit, at bago mag-umpisa ka na namang mag-ipon, buwan-buwan.

JACK'S TIPS by Jackie Murphy



Jack’s TIPS
by Jackie Murphy

Paraan Para Lalung Ma-in-Love Siya Sa ‘Yo!

Ngayong tapos na ang pasko at mahabang pagsasalo-salo ng mga magkakapamilya at mga magkakaibigan, paano mo naman ngayon haharapin para mas mapagbigyan ng solong pansin ang iyong minamahal na kabiyak?

Walang mahirap gawin kung mag-e-effort ka lang. At para sa mga taong mahal natin upang lalong mapalapit ang puso mo sa kanya kailangang alamin mo rin kung paano siya i-please. Marami sa mga kababaihan mas mahalaga ang mga materyal na bagay para kainggitan pero para sa mga kalalakihan, simple lang ang pangangaila-ngan. Mas gusto nila ang mas may karagdagang effort at atensyon. Narito ang 10 simpleng paraan para lalo silang mapalapit sa puso mo:
1. Mag-ayos kung kasama siya sa public places.
Gusto ng mga guys na iparada ang kanilang mga ladies. Hindi kailangan ng sobrang make up. Yun tipong hawakan mo siya sa braso, maging confident sa sarili at magkaroon ng maaliwalas na ngiti.

2. Kaibiganin at barkadahin mo siya. Hindi sa lahat ng oras gusto ng guys ang sobrang romantiko o sobrang nakapulupot. Kaya mas madalas para maiba naman mas gusto nila sariling barkada na mag-inuman ng beer kesa makipag-kampai sa wine glass mo. Sa madali't sabi, subukan mong alamin kung ano ang mga hilig niya at ng kanyang mga kaibigan - hindi mo man masyadong gusto pero to make him special, gagawin mo yun para sa kanya.

3. Hingin mo ang kanyang payo.
Kahit di mo masyadong kailangan ang advice niya sa ibang bagay subukan mo siyang kunsultahin dahil nakakadagdag yan sa kanyang ego. Sobrang gusto nila yan kung nangangailangan ka ng tulong. Puwedeng tulong emosyonal o kaya'y tulong para ayusin ang sirang tubo. Minsan kailangang maramdaman nila na sila ang natatakbuhan mo minsan o tuwing may problema.

4. Magbigay at magsabi pero huwag sobrahan ang compliments.
Batiin mo siya sa kanyang magandang pananamit at bagong gupit. Mainam na gawin ito nang madalas at huwag sobrahan nang di magmistulang pang-uuto o pambobola.

5. Batiin siya sa kanyang magandang pag-uugali sa harap ng kanyang pamilya.
Isa na marahil ito sa pinakamahalaga sa kanya. Karamihan sa mga kalalakihan ay humihingi ng pagsang-ayon ng kanilang pamilya pagdating sa kanilang nagawa.

6. Ihanda siya ng masarap na almusal. Imbes na ordinaryong itlog at tinapay bakit di mo subukang maghanda ng masarap na hotcake w/ maple syrup ngayong weekend? Mga maliliit na bagay kagaya nito ay nakakapag-pasaya sa kanya upang lalong mapalapit ka sa kanya dahil napapataba mo ang kanyang puso.

7. Sorpresahin siya.
Sa araw-araw na bahay-trabaho bahay-trabahong routine ay maaaring maka-bore sa buhay-pag-ibig. Hindi ito magagamot kung hindi pag-uukulan ng pansin. Mag-alay ng bulaklak o maghanda ng masarap na inumin o di kaya'y sopresahin siya ng isang pelikulang pareho ninyong mapapanood sa home theater dagdagan pa ng bucketful of popcorn.

8. Bigyan siya ng suwabeng masahe.
Di naman kailangang ikaw mismo ang magmasahe kung di ka masyadong magaling sa larangan na ito. Maari rin namang bigyan siya ng gift certificate para sa isang spa therapy session. Nang sa gayon ay lalo niyang ma-appreciate na pinapahalagahan mo ang kanyang kapakanan para makapag-relax paminsan-minsan. Kung mapansin mong sobra siyang pagod sa isang pagkakataon bigyan siya ng suwabeng aromatic massage at pansinin ang kanyang kakaibang energy.

9. Maging interesado sa kanyang mga leisure activities o hobbies.
Ipadama sa kanyang sinusuportahan at napapahalagahan mo ang mga nagpapasaya sa kanya. Puwedeng makinig ka sa uri ng kantang paborito niya o maki-jamming sa tugtog na nakahiligan niya, mga sports na sinusubaybayan niya o di kaya'y mga librong kanyang binabasa. I-update ang sarili sa kanyang mga bago pang makakahiligan.

10. Ipagtanggol mo siya.
Mas madalas mga kalalakihan ang siyang nagtatanggol at pumuprotekta sa mga kababaihan ngunit kailangang maramdaman din nila na ipinagtatanggol din sila. Kung may marinig kang sinisisi siya, sinisiraan siya o kaya'y binabastos siya, pagkakataon mo nang ipagtanggol siya sa mga tumutuligsa sa kanya. Makakadagdag ito sa respeto niya sa iyo.

Maraming mga bagay ang puwede nating gawin para sa ating mga minamahal na mister at boyfriend. Ipadamang mahalaga siya sa iyo. At sa simula pa lang nang taon nawa'y lalo pang tumibay ang tunay na pagmamahalan at samahan na laging minimithi.

A PROSPEROUS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL! ....woot...woot...

ISANG ARAW SA ATING BUHAY by Jeff Plantilla



ISANG ARAW SA ATING BUHAY
by Jeff Plantilla

Habang nakapila ako sa money exchange counter sa isang airport, may isang babae na nagtanong sa akin kung ako daw ay marunong mag-Ingles. Dahil naramdaman kong siya ay Pilipina sumagot ako ng Pilipino. Nabigla siya at pabulong na nagpasalamat. Bibili daw siya ng softdrink kaso Philippine Peso ang dala niya, hindi puwedeng gamitin. Papunta daw siya sa Hiroshima, nagta-transit lang siya sa airport na yon.

Dahil may local currency na ibinalik sa akin nung nasa money exchange counter, ibinigay ko na lang sa kanya ang natirang pera (kasama ang natirang mga coins). Sabi ko sa kanya, yon na lang ang gamitin niya. Tuwang-tuwa naman niyang tinanggap ang aking pera. Hindi na niya pinapalitan ang kanyang dalang mga piso. Mabilis siyang umalis at nawala.

Mukhang ngayon lang siya nagbiyahe sa labas ng bansa. Marami pa siyang aalamin, kasama na ang pagpapalit ng pera mula pa lamang sa Pilipinas.
Siya ang isa sa mga Pilipinang makakaranas ng buhay sa labas ng Pilipinas. Nagsisimula siya ng buhay na malayo sa pamilya, kaibigan at mga kakilala. Pupunta siya sa lugar na hindi pa niya kabisado. Magsisimula siya ng buhay sa Japan bilang gaikokujin, o bilang estrang-hero.

Saan kaya siya pupunta? Kung siya ay talagang sa Hiroshima pupunta, may mga residenteng mga Pilipino kaya siyang makikilala? May komunidad kaya ng mga Pilipino siyang mapupuntahan, na makakatulong sa kanyang pamumuhay sa Japan?

Sa mga taong sanay na sa pagbibiyahe, hindi na siguro problema ang paghahanap ng grupo ng mga Pilipino na maaring kaibiganin. Sanay na sila sa buhay estranghero.

Pero paano ang mga bagong salta? Lalo na kung nag-iisa silang nakikipamuhay sa ibang bansa? Hindi kaya sila mahirapan sa pag-a-adjust sa bagong buhay na ito? Malamang may mga hindi sinasadyang pagkakamali silang magawa. Maaari silang magkaproblema nang mahigit sa kanilang inaasahan.

Pilipinong Hindi Nakikita

Minsan sa isang forum ng mga Hapon, sinabi ko na iba ang komunidad ng mga Pilipino. Wala tayong sariling lugar tulad ng China Town o Korea Town. Hindi tayo visible, paminsan-minsan lamang tayong lumalabas o nakikita bilang mala-king grupo. Pero mahigit na 200,000 tayo dito sa Japan – saan tayo napapunta?

Ang pinaka-karaniwang nangyayari ay ang pagkakakaroon ng komunidad sa isang simbahan o sa isang lugar. Minsan, may mga grupo na binuo ayon sa isang gawain (sports), issue (grupo ng mga kababaihan), o status (grupo ng mga students o alumni ng mga universities sa isang lugar).

Nguni’t hindi pa rin ito sapat para tayo ay maging visible sa mga Hapon.

Ang tingin ko, marami sa atin ay hindi nakikita dahil kabilang tayo sa kani-kaniyang pamilya sa Japan. Kahalo na tayo sa mga pamilyang Hapon. Ang gawain natin ay hindi na kakaiba sa gawain ng mga Hapon – mula sa pag-aalaga ng mga anak, sa pakikipamuhay bilang mga asawa, pati na rin sa pagtatrabaho. Sa pang-araw-araw na buhay, hindi tayo nagkakasama- sama dahil sa ating kani-kaniyang pinagkaka-abalahang pamilya at trabaho.

Mukhang ito ang nagi-ging kalagayan ng marami sa atin, abala sa pamilya at sa trabaho. Kaya hindi na nagkakaroon ng panahon sa makasali sa mga grupo ng Pilipino.

Bagama’t bahagi ito ng normal na buhay may-asawa o buhay trabaho, may magandang dahilan pa rin na mapasama sa komunidad ng mga Pilipino.


Komunidad ng mga Pilipino

Para saan ba ang ating mga komunidad ng mga Pilipino? Ito ba ay pang-relihiyon o kung anumang dahilan?

May mga mabuting nagagawa ang mga komunidad ng Pilipino sa iba’t-ibang bagay. May mga komunidad na nagiging tulay sa pagitan ng mas mala-king komunidad ng mga Hapon at ng mga Pilipino. Sila ay maaa-ring katulong din bilang tulay sa mga Hapon at iba pang hindi Hapon, tulad ng pagdaraos ng international activities.

May mga komunidad na tumutulong sa mga nangangailangan sa Pilipinas. May mga scholarship funds na itinatayo, may mga school supplies na ginagastusan, may tulong sa mga naapektohan ng mga disasters tulad ng bagyong Ondoy. May nagagawa din ang mga komunidad para sa mga Pilipino dito sa Japan.

Sa mga Pilipinong matagal nang hindi nakakasama ang pamilya sa Pilipinas, ang mga komunidad ang nagiging shelter para mawala ang lungkot, para maging Pilipino muli sa kilos at salita. Kahit isang beses lang sa isang buwan, malaking tulong ang mapasama sa isang komunidad. Ang ilang oras ng tawanan at kwentuhan ay malaking tulong para muling lumakas ang spirit at katawan na nahihirapan sa pang-araw-araw na buhay dito sa Japan.

Kaya ang halaga ng mga komunidad ay hindi lamang upang tayo ay maging visible, kahit konti, sa lipunan ng Japan. Ito ay hindi lamang para makilahok sa lipunan ng Japan. Ito ay hindi lamang para makatulong sa kapwa Pilipino sa Pilipinas. Ito ay para rin sa pangangailangan ng mga Pilipino sa Japan na makabalik sa dating kalagayan – kilos Pilipino, salitang Pilipino, kaing Pilipino.

At sana ay maunawaan ng ilang Hapon na ang komunidad ng Pilipino ay mahalaga sa pamumuhay sa Japan bilang dayuhan. Hindi natin inihi-hiwalay ang ating sarili sa mga Hapon, sa imbes araw-araw tayong nabubuhay na kasama sila. Konting break lang ang ating ginagawa, break sa araw-araw na saya, lungkot, pagod sa buhay sa pamilya at sa trabaho.

Kaya sana yung Pilipinang aking sandaling nakausap sa airport ay makakahanap ng komunidad na kanyang masasalihan. Hindi na niya kailangang danasin muna ang hirap kung kaya namang sabihin sa kanya ng kapwa Pilipino kung ano ang magagawa para maging maayos ang buhay niya sa Japan.

Sana ay nagdala din siya ng makapal na coat para hindi siya lamigin sa unang tapak niya sa lupa ng sumisikat na araw.

ASIAN HARMONY IN SERBIA by Leith Casel-Schuetz



Asian Harmony in Serbia: A Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Cultural Dance Troupe Performance
by Leith Casel-Schuetz

Serbia is one of the last places you would ever expect to find a student-driven non-professional dance troupe that specializes in Philippine folk dance performances. But the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) Cultural Dance Troupe, composed of talented Japanese students and graduates of the university’s Philippine Studies Program, actually went to Serbia on a mission! In fact, the troupe returned from a highly rewarding tour to Belgrade in early December 2011.

The opportunity arose when Madame Etsuko Tsunozaki , wife of the Japanese ambassador to Serbia and a personal friend of Prof. Michiko Yamashita, the professor-in-charge of the Philippine Studies Program at TUFS, learned that the dance troupe also performs Japanese folk dances. And so the invitation arrived for the troupe to perform in Serbia under the theme Asian Harmony, with three distinct goals: (1) to acknowledge the sympathy and solidarity shown by the people of Serbia toward victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, (2) in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Japanese Studies Program at the University of Belgrade, and (3) to demonstrate a strong ASEAN presence in Serbia. The troupe was given the name Silangan Cultural Dance Troupe for this particular trip, in order to emphasize the Oriental background of the performers and their dances, since they were performing in Europe. Remaining true to the theme of the trip, the troupe demonstrated considerable versatility by performing Japanese, Indonesian and Philippine folk dances.

The first performance took place at Sajam, a large festival hall where an annual international charity bazaar was held, sponsored by the International Women’s Club (IWC) of Serbia (chaired by Madame Tsunozaki), whose members are the wives of diplomats in Serbia and Serbian women who hold important positions. There were 39 booths from different countries and it was the very first time for a Philippine booth to be present. Dance troupe accessories and stage props were used to decorate the booth, which was manned by Ms. Verica Milakovic, Honorary Consul of the Philippines in Serbia, (the Philippines has no diplomatic relations with Serbia currently) with the assistance of other members of the TUFS group. In order to even have goods to sell at the bazaar, some members of the dance troupe flew over from Manila loaded with Philippine products such as banana chips, polvoron, dried mangoes, dried guayabano, etc. and native products such as accessories made of capiz shell and wood, all of which were financed from the common fund of the troupe. Most products sold out midway during the bazaar. Meanwhile, the dance troupe did 3 separate performances at the bazaar according to the country represented: Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Other performances were held at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence, the Sumice Sports and Cultural Center, and the University of Belgrade. The performance at the Sumice Sports and Cultural Center was attended mainly by members of the largest opposition political party in Serbia including its leader, Mr. Nikolic, and members of the diplomatic community. University officials and members of the diplomatic community, attended the performances at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence, and the same audience including students attended the performance at the University of Belgrade.

The dance troupe fulfilled its mission very well. A representative of the dance troupe thanked the people of Serbia at each performance for their help during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami last March 11, while short footage of the disaster was shown. During a couple of performances, one of the members did introductions in Serbian, which were admired and applauded warmly by the audience.

The Japanese dances performed by the troupe highlighted the 35th anniversary celebration of the Japanese Studies Program at the University of Belgrade. It was also an opportunity for Serbian students not only to practice their Japanese conversation skills with members of the troupe and have a direct Japanese experience, but also to start lasting friendships across the seas.

Among ASEAN countries, only Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar have embassies in Serbia. So it was with considerable pride that the dance troupe help set up the first Philippine booth at the International Women’s Club bazaar together with said countries to form the ASEAN section of the bazaar. The addition of a traditional Indonesian dance to the repertoire won the admiration of the Indonesian ambassador, who was always present during any performance. The Philippine booth aroused Serbian public interest toward Philippine products, while Philippine dance performances heightened their admiration for Philippine culture. In addition, several Filipinos living in Belgrade proudly attended each performance and enjoyed rare visual reminders of their cultural heritage.

The troupe’s first tour in Europe was very fulfilling because their performances proved that they were not only ambassadors of goodwill for Japan, but also for Asia at large.

KAPATIRAN by Loleng Ramos



KAPATIRAN by Loleng Ramos

UTOL KITA

“Manigong Bagong Taon!“ Ang bilis, ano ang nasa sa isip mo kapag New Year? Hindi na siguro ang putukan kasi sa Summer iyan dito eh, Hanabi! Media Noche ba? Osechi-ryori sila rito pero sa almusal mo pa kakainin. Soba na lang muna sa bisperas ng bagong taon. Sa new year’s eve sa Japan, walang barilan, walang torotot, walang busina, pero merong kalembang; sa atin sa Pilipinas, sa pagkatapos ng midnight mass at sa pagtunog ng alas-dose ng gabi, dito, midnight din ang 108 na beses na pagtunog ng kampana ng mga Buddhist monks. Baka tanungin mo bakit 108, kase iyon daw ang dami ng pwedeng maging kasalanan ng isang tao, hmmmm. Tama kaya iyon, ikaw ba naka-ilan ngayong taon? Tatanggalin daw kasi ng bawat tunog ng kampana ang mga kasalanang ito.

Iba-iba ang selebrasyon sa bawat bansa pero para sa lahat, ang bagong taon ay naghahatid ng bagong pag-asa ng mas mabuting buhay, mas maunlad, mas masaya; na sa lumipas na taon, nadala na din nito ang lahat ng mga pangit na pangyayari, pati na ang lahat ng kapangitan sa ating sarili. Ang bawat taon din ay nagpaparamdam, na umiksi din ang chapter ng libro ng ating buhay… dapat sa bawat taon, umaasenso tayo, sa pagka-tao. Paano na lang kung wala ng next year, saan na tayo pupunta? Saan ba tayo pupunta?

Narinig mo na ba ang salitang “Beatific Vision”? Eto ang sandaling pinakahihintay ng bawat nilalang. Sa katapusan ng ating buhay, makakamit ba natin ang sukdulang ligaya, na makaharap ang Diyos na lumikha sa atin? Teka, kilala mo na ba Siya? Kilala, kinikilala pa? Baka mamaya dahil nilisan mo ang Pilipinas, pati relihiyon mo nilisan mo na rin. Baka mamaya sobrang cute ang dating sa iyo ng pag-hila ng kampana sa Shinto Shrine tapos may pag-palakpak, doon ka na rin nagdadasal hah? Sa pagyuko natin sa Shrine at Temple, nagbibigay galang lang tayo sa sinasamba ng ibang relihiyon pero para makidasal tayo, naku naliligaw ka na nyan! Tingnan mong mabuti ang nasa altar!

Ang bilis ng New Year, ang bilis din ng buhay! May mali ba sa iyo? Wala naman perpektong tao pero alam mo din kung meron kang dapat itama, umpisahan mo na ngayon. Marami tayong magkaka-patid na nakakalat sa Japan, kung kailangan mo ng tulong, lumapit ka lang, kung talikuran ka man ng marami, hindi pwedeng wala kang kapatid kay Kristo na dadamay sa iyo. Magpakatatag ka at manalig na hindi lang Bagong Taon ang pwedeng ibigay ng Diyos, Bagong Buhay din! Hawakan mo ang iyong buhay na merong takot na isang araw, matatapos din ito. Matatapos din ang buhay. Ito na siguro ang unang bagay na ayaw nating isipin. Basta, bahala na! Bahala na?

Isang magandang New Year’s Resolution (pero syempre mas higit pa dito ang pwede nating baguhin o maging resolution para sa ating sarili): Isipin mo ang Diyos sa bawat araw. Kung hindi ka makapag-dasal o hindi ka marunong mag-dasal, wala kang oras makapag-simba, walang malapit na simbahan, pagod ka na, sa kung anumang dahilan… kahit isang minuto lang, isipin mo na nakikita ka Niya, nadidinig ka Niya. Itong saglit na ito, sa bawat araw pa ng ating buhay, dadami din, parang nag-iipon lang tayo sa alkansya. Para when our time comes kumbaga, may dudukutin din. Kapag tinanong ka na ni San Pedro, “Nasaan ang credentials o katibayan ng kakayahan mo para sa Final Interview?” Pwede ka agad makasagot ng “Eto lang pong alkansya ko eh.” Sabi ulit ni San Pedro, “Sige, timbangin natin kung pwede na.” Hahaha. Kapatid hindi biro ito hah? Kaya kung ‘bahala na’, ikaw din, sige ka!

Bago natin makalimutan, syempre dapat magpa-salamat tayo sa Taas para sa lahat ng biyayang natanggap natin at para sa lahat pa ng darating ngayong Bagong Taon. Gamitin nating mabuti ang 2012, para sa Kanya, sa ating sarili, sa ating bayan, sa bayang nag-a-ampon sa atin, sa ating kapwa.

Kapatid, Happy New Year sa iyo, and a Happy New Life!

CANDLES by Maria Carmelita Kasuya



CANDLES: A Season For A Reason
by Maria Carmelita Kasuya

It was Holy Thursday. I left school early to make sure I could hear mass from the beginning. That was one occasion that I did not want to be late with my date with the Lord. As planned, I left the laboratory early, took the bus to Shibuya and the Yamanote Line to Meguro. I arrived about 30 minutes early but eating at a restaurant would not permit. So, I grabbed some bread (the ham and cheese was really good) and went to Aling Cora’s to buy “turon” and had my “supper” there since it was too cold to eat outside of the church. I arrived early, saw a friend at the entrance and we decided to sit together in front. At first, I was not comfortable sitting next to friends because it gives room to conversations inside the church. In my opinion, it is not appropriate and besides, I wanted to pray and prepare myself with my encounter with the Lord reflecting on His passion. Anyway, I decided to stay until I was asked to do the First Reading. Joy engulfed me as I have not done that for ages…all the more on a Holy Thursday.
I went near the Perpetual Help and lighted a candle and as I did, I whispered: "Lord, this is me." And went back to the pew and got ready for the mass. I joined the processional and when I reached the altar and my seat, I saw my candle with its light OFF. I was stunned since I declared it as representing me, Mel. At first I thought that it meant death. Was I ready for it? Maybe yes. Will it be this year? Who knows? Anyway, I decided to light my candle when the time permits, probably after the mass at the latest. As I heard mass, looking at my candle brought a tiny tinge of sadness as all the other candles were lighted and burning brightly. Mine was at the corner in front and dark. There were many times when I wanted to go down and light it myself. During the washing of the feet, during offertory and other instances but I did not want to make a scene as I was seated up in front. Until communion time came and all the candles were consumed except for one…my candle and it stood straight, alone without light!
The mass will soon be over, I thought and by then I could light my candle. But, lo and behold! One of the 12 apostles stood up and lighted my candle!!! He noticed and lighted it. And my candle lit the entire corner…only one candle…my candle lighted and burning brightly. It was such a joy. Somebody noticed it. Without me doing anything, somebody from nowhere noticed it and lit it and he was an apostle, an angel I supposed. And the mass continued until the proce-ssion to the altar of repose. After the mass, we all left and before I did, I took notice of the corner and saw my candle lighted and giving light to other candles!!!! Yes, my candle that was dead in oblivion at one time is now burning brightly and a source of light to everyone.

REFLECTION:
The candle represented me, my life. There were occasions in the past when I was just behind, standing in a corner, working but unnoticed, quiet but present, patiently enduring, persevering when all the rest were loud, bright and beautiful. Nobody noticed my presence, my work, my goodness, my passion, my capacity and my talent. Until God sent people to notice the light I have and bring it out so I may shine like all the rest. Yes, my time came. People noticed and I was able to shine so brightly that the entire room was lighted by only one candle. Yes, my time will surely come. When all the rest are “dead and done,” I will shine and I will give light to everyone. Yes, someone notices or better yet, God’s spirit moves someone to notice and bring out the best. That is how God works. I would have been like all the rest. Brightly lighted like all the rest. But I had to die to myself to wait for my time when I will be useful to everybody. Somehow, I am different from the rest. But as always and in all ways, God comes to rescue in perfect timing…for a season and a reason.

SHITTERU! by Marty Manalastas-Timbol


SHITTERU! by Marty Manalastas-Timbol

ALAM NYO BA…if you are really in love? Paano nga ba talaga malalaman kung in-love ka? Should you trust your intuition, do you listen to your heart or rather your mind? It’s really difficult to know if you are really in love. Sometimes, it is hard to even think about it. Pero masarap to be in-love lalo na if the person you love, loves you in return. But how will you know that he/she loves you? Marami ang mga tanong pag dating sa salitang “love.” You will experience pain, you become stronger but what is important, you will learn the real meaning of love, which sometimes di mo ma-explain. Na gets nyo ba ang ibig kong sabihin? Oh well, masarap ang umibig and be loved in return, just like it would be nice to be ”loving someone” and “being in love.”

ALAM NYO BA…na totoo yung kasabihan na love is blind. Some psychiatrists say that “Love needs to be blind.” Love is blind daw kasi when you are in-love, kahit alam mo na di na dapat ang ginagawa ng iyong love, you pretend not to see the bad side, but instead, you continue to love him/her wholeheartedly or unconditionally. You commit to love him/her, no matter what.

ALAM NYO BA…when you want to give up or let go of something, it will not just happen kung kailan mo gustong mangyari, but it will, sa tamang oras at pagkakataon.

ALAM NYO BA…that when you lose someone you love, it will really hurt you? Marami sa mga kaibigan ko ang mga namatayan na. For others, it was really very difficult in letting go kasi nga mahal nila yung namatay na kamag-anak o kaibigan. Yung iba, mas gusto nilang mapag-isa dahil nga masakit sa kanila ang nangyari. Others will just cry from time to time remembering their lost.

ALAM NYO BA…na habang kaya pa raw o malakas pa kayo, go and enjoy travelling and visit places you have not visited or yung mga lugar na gusto ninyong bisitahin. Sabi rin daw na paminsan-minsan, mag get-together with friends dahil hindi rin daw naman ito dahil sa pagkain. Ito raw ay dahil na rin sa wala ng panahon at nagkaka-edad na lahat. Kaya mga kaibigan, let’s enjoy life with the company of our families and friends as long as we can.

ALAM NYO BA…na kung kayo ay may pera, might as well use it and enjoy it. We are not getting any younger just to keep your money in the bank. Spend it wisely and make sure that you don’t spend everything in useless things…yung tama lang na may savings ka pa rin for emergency at para sa pamilya.

ALAM NYO BA…na may Yen to Yen door to door delivery na ang SPEED Money Transfer Japan? It started two months ago. So yung iba na gusto ay Yen pa rin ang pera na matatanggap ng mga kamag-anak sa Pilipinas, tumawag na sa SPEED at 03-6268-8010 for more details at sa iba pa nila mga offers.

Happy New Year po sa inyong lahat. God bless you all!

PEDESTRIAN LANE by Mylene Miyata



PEDESTRIAN LANE by Mylene Miyata

SPARKLING 2012

Welcome 2012!

Ano kaya ang meron para sa bawat isa sa atin this 2012? Exciting! Enti-cing! Enchanting!
Talking about the next twelve months to come would mean so much... Again, gaya last year, we either learn or get better. Apart from the "hula" thing last year na malapit na daw ang katapusan ng mundo, heto sabay-sabay nating i-celebrate ang bagong taong 2012.

Kada sasapit ang bagong taon, napakaraming pumapasok sa isip natin. Bagay na gustong baguhin, simulan o iwasan. There are so many things each one of us are aspiring and looking forward, wishing ...praying each year. Maraming marami. Natural po iyan dahil kada sasapit ang bagong taon, halos para na ring nagbe-birthday ang bawat isa sa atin ng sabay sabay. Panibagong taon, panibagong simula. Sabay sabay na nagbaba-bye sa nakalipas na taon. Nagpapaalam sa kung anuman ang hindi kagandahang parte nito. At naghahanda sa panibagong simulang dala ng panibagong taong parating. Pagkakataon para isaayos ang hindi kaayusan sa nakalipas na 2011. That is how blessed we all are no matter what po! Ang magkaroon ng pag-asa.

For 2012, nag-uumapaw na pag-asa at pasasalamat lamang ang hiling ko para sa ating lahat, lalo na sa atin dito sa Japan. In case we may feel we have wasted some chances last year?... Cheers! Because here comes another sparkling year, another chance to make things happen the way we want them to. Something to look forward to and be thankful for, di po ba?

Traditionally, kapag sinabing new year, dapat may kasunod na--New year's resolution, di ba?
Ano nga ba yung new year's resolution natin nitong nagdaang 2011? Hmmm... may mga ilang taon na din akong hindi naggaganon eh. Naging sapat na kasi sa akin ang salubungin ang parating na taon ayon sa kagustuhan ng Lumikha.

The simple thought na merong panibagong taon should already fill our hearts po. Beyond all other things, good health para sa bawat isa sa atin this New Year. Masyado kasing redundant kung paulit ulit na lang magsasabi ng ganito at ganyan ang gusto kada new year eh. The simple, the better siguro. Kayo po? Merong panibagong labing dalawang buwan. Paano nyo po ito gustong gamitin? Para iwasto ang hindi kagandahan? Ipagpatuloy ang kanais-nais? Magsimula ulit? Natural po na magkamali kahit sinoman sa atin, kaya wala pong dapat ikabahala kung sakaling sablay man tayo minsan. Huwag lang gawing bisyo ang pagiging sablay. Dahil sayang naman ang 2012 kung sakali, di ba? Live it wisely para sakto. Try ko din po. Try natin.

Malusog, maligaya at makinang na 2012 po para sa ating lahat!