Thursday, March 8, 2012

JEEPNEY PRESS MARCH-APRIL 2012 COVER



Art and Design by Dennis Sun
www.dennissun.net

CENTERFOLD March-April 2012



CENTERFOLD March-April 2012:
WINNING UTAWIT
An Interview with:
Mark Warren de Luna, Utawit Champion 20122

by Dennis Sun

UTAWIT has captured many Filipino and Japanese hearts with abounding and unparalleled talented Filipino vocalists spread all around Japan. Japan, I think, is the only country outside the Philippines, which has the largest number of very talented Filipino singers.

UTAWIT, now on its 8th year, is the most awaited national singing competition for Filipinos and Japanese alike. From a simple competition in Kanto area, it has expanded its wings and has become a vehicle for showcasing the gems of Filipino talents all over Japan.

What does it take to be a champion? How does one become one? Let us hear it directly from the current champion of UTAWIT 2011, Mark Warren de Luna.

Tell us about your childhood. Mahilig ka na ba talagang kumanta when you were small?
Bata pa lang ako mahilig na akong kumanta, namulat kami ng kuya ko sa musika. Ang ama’t ina ko rin ay mahihilig kumanta. Natatandan ko pa noong nasa Saudi pa si tatay, nagpapadala kami ng recorded voice tape. Hindi pa uso ang skype noon. Kaya nag-settle kami sa ganoon. Lagi namin kinakantahan magkapatid ang tatay ko para kahit paano ay hindi siya malungkot. Hindi ko alam kung buhay pa yung mga tapes na yun.

Were you part of the school choir or glee club?
Opo. 4 years akong naging member ng college chorale group (Mapua Concert Singers). Maraming unforgettable experiences. Dahil sa choir na ito, ang dami kong natutunan na mga techniques in singing. Well, classically, we were trained. Maganda rin daw base yun for other singing styles. Masaya dahil nagkaroon ako ng chance na makapag- perform sa mga importanteng tao sa television programs. At isa pang hindi ko makakalimutan ay ang pagsali ng grupo namin sa 4th world choir games sa dalawang categories na sinalihan namin, parehas naming nakuha ang silver medals.

Where did you get your musical genes? Did your family influence you somehow?
Opo. Sila nanay at tatay. Meron din kasing collection ang tatay ko ng mga music albums. Halos pag umuuwi siya, lagi nagpapatugtog ng kahit anong music.

Tell us how you got into Japan?
When I graduated in college, naisip kong mag-aral ng Japanese language para magkaroon ng edge kahit paano when searching for a job abroad. Nag-aral ako ng Japanese sa Laguna at Makati. Siguro, 6 months inabot. Sabi ko, after that, para naman walang nangyayari. For a year, nag-work muna ko sa Pilipinas sa isang Japanese company. September 2008, while I was working in a Japanese company, I received a call from my former sensei in Japanese. I was asked to take an exam and interview for a job in Japan. 5 people were called and 2 people only came for the exam and interview, and they only needed one. I really thank God for giving me the opportunity to work here.

What do you do in Japan now? How long have you been here?
I am a Systems Engineer, and our company provides manpower to Toshiba. This coming March 28, mag 3 years na po ako dito sa Japan.

How do you see Japan? What do you like about Japan? What do you hate also?
Dito sa Japan, napakadali ng buhay. Everything is accessible at mabilis. Convenient ang lifestyle. Masarap mamuhay siguro dito ng permanente. Hate? Sino bang may gusto ng mayat-mayang paglindol?

Do you plan to stay longer here? Would you like to stay longer here?
Yes, I do. If the company wants to renew my contract, why not? I still have lots of things to discover and learn in Japan.

How did you know about UTAWIT?
2 years ago, my friend gave me a copy of Jeepney Press. I read about it and wished to join Utawit 2010. But it was not my time. I don't know how to join and I was really focused on my job. Siguro nung 2010, ang confidence ko sa sarili ko ay sobrang mababa pa. Kaya sabi ko next year na lang. Then came 2011, kahit anong mangyari, sasali na ako talaga.

You won at the first round in Tokyo. Did you even imagine you could get the 1st prize sa Grand Finals? What was in your mind during the day itself?
I never expected it. Sobrang nabigla ako at iniisip ko na madami rin na magagaling na singers na sumali. Nag-aim ako to win the first prize. Sa tingin ko naman, lahat ng sumali ganoon din ang
aim. Kung hindi naman ako nanalo sa Tokyo 1st Round, sasali ulit ako sa iba pang round eh, kasi focused naman ako sa pag-join sa Utawit.

What song did you sing during the grand finals and why did you choose it?
I sang the same song sa qualifying round at sa Grand finals. The song was "Ikaw." I chose the song because it depicts how one person can be so passionate to really express that love can rule one's entire life. And the melody of the song is very heartwarming, thus, making the song more truthful.

What did you do with your prize money? Have you used you prize round trip air ticket?
Well, I have not yet used the prize money and the ticket, at least not yet. I'm planning to use the money for a new lot under my name.

Who are your favorite singers? Who among the famous singers influenced your singing style?
My favorite singers would be Michael Buble, Boyz II Men, and Martin Nievera. They all influenced my singing style: a mixture of ballad and RnB. I hope that's the style I'm singing. Heheh

After winning the championship of UTAWIT 2011, tell us what happened afterwards. What have you been doing since then until now?
It has been a blast since then. I have been invited to sing at some big events and personal gatherings. Well, this time I'm not only enjoying to perform
to people and see their reactions. I'm also getting paid to perform! lol.

How did UTAWIT change your life so far?
It helped me regain my self-confidence. It became my network to meet good people, people who believe in my talent. Utawit also helped me to be a philanthropist. Utawit is one of the
best ways to help our fellow Filipinos, I could say.

How important is music in one’s life?
Music is incredibly important in one's life. Well, at least for me, especially in the toughest moments in my life. It's been there when I've had absolutely nothing and even when I have something, there's always a song to suit my mood. It's the one of the few things in this world that's constant and will always be there as an outlet for emotions. Without it, I think I'd lose my mind. lol.

How do you find Japanese music?
Japanese music has a wide variety of styles. I find it very romantic and real. I have been hearing my boss singing some beautiful Japanese songs and the message of most of the songs is always about love. Well, I think love is the universal concept in expressing music in any country.

How is your Japanese ability? Can you sing any Japanese songs? Which ones?
I’m still working on my Japanese. I need to really increase my Japanaese ability because I need it for my work. I can sing some Japanese songs like Michi by Exile, Sakura by Naotaro Moriyama, and Mou hitotsu no Doyoubi by Shogo Hamada.

Do you like enka? Can you sing enka?
I like enka, but I can't sing enka yet. I need to work on the emotion in covering enka music to make it work.

What are the 3 things you can’t live without?
1. My ipod/record player!
2. The internet (I’m an addict.)
3. My Phone (Galaxy Nexus)

Ten years from now you will be....
Doing exactly what I’m doing now, only BIGGER! or better! I see myself performing in different parts of Japan and in the Philippines and spreading a positive message with my music. I see myself having collaborated with other filipino artists that I admire and am inspired by. I see myself having opportunities to continue to be philanthropic as a result of my hard work. And…I see myself as a loving husband to my wife and a responsible father to my children.

If you were to put a CD album now, what would you name your album?
I have one in my mind. "You make me Sing.” A dedication to everyone especially to those whom I'm inspired by.

If you were to sing your last song in your life, what would it be and why?
If I were to sing my last song it would be "No More Night" by David Phelps. I really love this song and it touches my soul every time I listen to it. The lyrics says it all:
"No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again. And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb."

Would you sacrifice your job right now for a singing career?
I would. It's my dream.

Any mottos in life?
I've read these on the internet: "Every day is a new canvas on which to paint.” Also, “A setback is nothing but a setup for a comeback!"

What would you advice other people who would like to join the future UTAWIT competitions?
To those who want to join Utawit, self-belief is the most helpful tool. If you want your audience to believe in your performance, you must start believing in yourself first so that you can give your best. You must remember that joining Utawit is not only helping yourself but also our in-need fellow Filipinos.

3-11 Report





3-11 Report

Isang taon na ang lumipas ng tinamaan ng masaklap na lindol, tsunami at ang nuclear crisis ang bansang Japan noong Marso 11. Milyong mga tao ang apektado rito lalo na ang lugar ng Tohoku.

Maraming namatay, nawalan ng bahay at hanap buhay dahil nitong matinding trahedya. Handa at sinuring mabuti man ng mga Hapon ang pinsala ng dinudulot ng lindol at tsunami pero maraming leksyon pa rin ang natutunan nila sa mabagsik na pinsala noong nakaraang taon. Subalit unti-unting bumabawi ang ekonomiya ng bansa at handa na itong sumulong ulit.

Ang Jeepney Press ay nagpaunlak ng mga mamamasa na ibahagi ang kanilang mga karanasan at isipan ukol sa trahedyang ito.

Ano ang ginagawa mo noong kasalukuyang may lindol? Ano ang epekto nito sa iyong buhay?

----------------------
ALL SHOOK UP – March 11
MARCH 11, 2011. A lot has been heard, seen and shared about that dreadful day -- a day that literally shook all of us living here in Japan whether you’re 2, 20 or 200 kilometers away from the epicenter of that magnitude 9 earthquake.

For a gaijin, living with constant reminders and having earthquake drills is a part of life that we have to get used to. Participa-ting in the countless hinan kun ren, even got me thinking that Japanese are really prepared for what’s coming at them. But March 11 just proved me wrong! The scale of the devastation left me in awe and, for once, I felt genuine pity towards my host country and the people. Here is a powerful and technologically advanced nation with all its comforts to offer but became helpless by the unpredictable force of nature.

I cannot imagine the images that I saw, the stories that I heard and my own experience where I thought the earthquake seemed endless. This made me realize that it pays off to be prepared. I am still thankful to this day that when the big earthquake occurred, I was with the people who knew what to do in the most critical times. I admire them for their calmness and gracefulness dealing with the situation. The orderly queue of people waiting for their turn is another thing. I think this is a part of their culture showing respect to the other person when they allow a reasonable space between them.
The people whom I thought were indifferent were seen extending help to their fellows who needed help. For a society that treats charity work as a nuisance, I was relieved that they too felt the need to help their countrymen. I cannot help but feel proud for Filipinos extending their undying support and assistance. We learned to embrace the life and culture of Japan and were given the chance to give back to the country that has become a home to all of us the help they needed.

I know how Japan shook last March 11 quake that took away my senses which helped me see things in a newer and better perspective.

- Kareem Yonque
Asst. Language
Teacher, Kawasaki
---------------------------------

Sa naganap na triple disaster tragedy sa Japan noong nakaraang taon, malaki ang naging epekto nito sa economy, financial, social at in general--- sa pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay ng lahat.

Sa ganitong mga pagkakataon, di mawawala yung mga sentiments tulad nung sympathy at pakikiisa sa lahat. Halimbawa na rito ay yung isa sa ginawa namin ng aming grupo dito sa Shizuoka City- ang Philippine NAKAMA Organization, na bilang respeto at pakikiramay namin sa mga naging biktima at nasalantaan sa tragedy. Hindi namin pinagpatuloy ang aming yearly HANAMI picnic event noong nakaraang taon. Instead para doon sa mga magagastos namin for the event, we donated the amount for the victims. Gayun din, dahil kailangan din sa ngayon ang lalong pagtitipid sa energy- yung every year na pagde-decorate ko sa bahay ng illuminations for holiday season ay postponed sa taong ito dahil kahit alam kong maliit na bagay lang yon ay isang pakikisama na rin yon to save energy.

Ang triple disaster tragedy rin ang mas nagbigay sa akin ng more awareness sa pagiging mas lalong handa sa ano mang klaseng calamities. Lalo na dito sa Shizuoka City na sentro ng Tokai Earhquake na anytime ay ini-expect na magaganap. Mas naging aware ako sa mga possible measures at mga pointers kung ano ba ang mga dapat gawin bago maganap, kung magaganap at matapos maganap ang disaster at kung saan ba dapat tumakbo o mag-evacuate just in case the disaster occurs.

Nagpapasalamat din ako dahil aside sa mga prayers, may word ang mga Japanese which is one of my favorite- yung "ganbaru" na in times of trouble or crisis they really don't give up and they keep on trying.

- Melinda Yamashita
Filipino staff, Shizuoka City
Association for Multicultural Exchange
-----------------------------------

The tragedy traumatized my kids. We're all in school and I just finished my last class sitting on my desk for 10 minutes. I was trying to fix my stuff before I left school when it shook. All the papers around the teacher’s room started to fall, emergency alarm started to ring and all students went out for evacuation. I was crying then seeing all the students around me screaming and water overflowing from the swimming pool. My head was full with going back home to pick my kids up but I can't move my whole body because I was trembling and praying for the safety of my kids. It lasted almost 15 minutes. I drove back to pick my youngest daughter. She ran to me crying. When we both arrived home, my two other kids were waiting outside crying and thankful we're all safe. Furnitures were broken and messed up. On the other hand, I was still thankful because I still pity those who suffered and died during that nightmare as I call it.

We are much aware now and the pack of emergency kit is always on the doorside. We eagerly learn to save on utility like electricity and water. With the exaggerated news expounded on the danger of the nuclear power plant, it made me think of leaving Japan but is also difficult to think because I have spent half of my life here with the kids.

- Rizalyn Pascual
Asst. Language Teacher,
Ibaraki
--------------------------------------

Nakakalungkot po ang trahedya ng March 11 kasi bumagsak talaga ang sales ng kumpanya. Dahil madami ring kliyenteng may business na sari-sari stores, shops na nagsara dahil humina ang market nila.

- Thess Carreon Tagle
Sales Manager, Tokyo
-------------------

Jasmin Vasquez
Part-Timer, Nagano

MARCH 11, 2011...isang hindi inaasahang kalamidad ang dumating sa bansang Hapon. Ng mga oras na yun kasalukuyan kaming nagtatrabaho at bigla kaming napatigil sa aming ginagawa. Matapos ang ilang minuto sa halip na palabasin kami ay inutusang ipagpatuloy ang aming ginagawa. Wala ni isa man sa amin ang may ideya kung ano na ang nangyayari sa ibang lugar katulad ng nangyari na tsunami. Pagsapit ng alas 5 ng hapon, doon lang namin napag-alaman na marami pala ang pinsalang dinulot ng nasabing kalamidad. At sa di inaasahang pangyayari kabilang din pala kami sa apektado. Kinabukasan pag pasok namin, lahat kami ay nalungkot noong sinabi ng aming mga leader na ihihinto na ang ginagawa sapagkat wala ng communication at hindi ma contact ang kompanya sa Fukushima na siyang may order sa aming ginagawa.

Malaki ang naging epekto sa akin sapagkat ilang buwan akong hindi nakapaghanapbuhay. Ang balak kong maka-ipon para makauwi ng December to January ng Pilipinas mula pasko, bagong taon at kaarawan ng aking anak ay hindi natuloy. Anim na taon na akong hindi nag papasko at bagong taon sa Pilipinas. Awang-awa ako sa aking anak ngunit wala akong magawa. Ang tanging inisip ko na lamang at ipinaliwanag sa kanila ay mas mapalad pa rin kami kumpara sa mga nakatira sa Fukushima. Nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sapagkat unti-unti at sa tulong na rin ng panalangin at pag-tawag sa Diyos ay hindi pa rin nya kami pinapabayaan. Hindi man ako nakauwi ng nakaraang Pasko alam kong maiintindihan ako ng aking anak.

-----------------------------

Ai Ofelia Kaneko
Office Lady, Tokyo

March 11 last year!!! Malakas ang lindol dito sa Japan. It was about 2:45 pm. Nasa trabaho sa
opisina nung biglang lumindol. Tumakbo kami ng mga officemates palabas. Nakita namin na gumagalaw ang mga daan. Ang mga tao nag-papanic at
nakikita naming nag-we-wave ang Shinjuku building at akala namin matutumba.

Yung ibang “pasokon” natumba. Mga trains nag stop at wala ring masakyang taxi sa gabing yon. Hindi rin naka uwi ang mga kasamahan ko sa trabaho kaya sa opisina nalang sila natulog. Ang malupit pa sa TV namin napapanood yung tsunami!

The effect of March 11 to me? Yappari kawatta! Nagiging alert and ready na rin ako. Maraming biniling stock na pagkain tulad ng kanzume. At kapag lumilindol, yun ang nasa isip ko lagi. Kahit mahina lang, medyo kinakabahan na. Medyo natatakot. Lumalabas na ako ng bahay kasama ang aking “neko” ko. Yun ang nasa isip ko lagi.

-------------------------

Leslie Matawaran
Asst. Nurse, Nagano

Last year po kasi during ng tragedy dito sa Japan, nasa Pinas po ako. Isang buwan po ako mahigit sa Pinas noon, e. Kaya sa news and net ko lang din nalaman na lumindol nga at nagka tsunami. Nakakagulat at nakakatakot nung makita ko po sa TV. Hindi ko naman po masabi na apektuhan ako sa wala nga po ako dito. Pag balik ko po ng Japan yun mga napinsalang lugar na may mga pabrika like Meiji, hindi sila makagawa ng product that time kaya po yun branch dito sa Nagano bigla pong nag hire dahil dito po pinasa yun
ibang products at nagkaroon po ako ng chance maka pag “arubaito” sa Meiji Nagano branch sa loob ng 3 buwan. At paminsan-minsan pag lumindol po parang balewala na lang po. Parang hindi na bago. Pero ganoon pa man nagdadasal po agad pag nararamdaman ang lindol.

------------------------------------
Marialyn Komatsu
Housewife, Yamagata

March 11 was a very unforgetable day for me. We suffered two days of black-out, panic buying everywhere and a very long line in gas stations. Can't sleep at night because of the after shocks every minute.

It's almost a year now, but still feels that it happened only yesterday. Hoping and always praying that it won’t happen again. But always be ready all the time.

TRAFFIC



TRAFFIC
by Alma R. H. Reyes

Spring air—
Woven moon
And plum scent.
- by Matsuo Basho


MELANCHOLIC SPRING

So, here they are—the refreshing pinks and whites of spring! In Japan, spring is not only a season of new beginnings (first day at work, first day in school, start of fiscal year, etc.), but also a special moment of contemplation and melancholy. Japanese use this time to ponder on intended visions and dreams, and to reflect on past committed errors. In fact, Japanese say that spring is so beautiful that it allures, strange enough, many deaths and suicides. Bizarre? It’s like Yukio Mishima’s novel, The Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji) where the hero burns Kinkakuji simply because it is too beautiful. Surreal…

THE FEUDALISTIC FILIPINO SYNDROME

So, alright. I will then, get a little bit melancholic :) If you have been living in Japan for, at least, ten years (yes, less than ten years does not count in this condition), surely, this question has popped up in your mind one way or the other: “Why am I still in Japan? And, why can’t I go home (yet) for good?” Ano, totoo o hindi? In the past two years, I have gone back to the Philippines about four times a year on average by unprecedented circumstances. That is an incredible record for someone like myself who likes to travel to other destinations. And, with each return to our beloved homeland, I cannot help encounter certain episodes that make me go back to that fatalistic question, “Why am I still in Japan? And, why can’t I go home (yet) for good?” Of course, the answers vary on many premises. Some of you have extendable job contracts that you cannot help but renew each time they expire. Why? Because work conditions are good; salary is high (higher than in the Philippines); and other reasons. Others may be married to Japanese, or foreign expats, or have children who have settled in schools here. For others, still, there is always that magnetic pull that stretches to a kind of love-and-hate relationship between being here and being “home.”

All I know is, every time I go home, I always taste the feudalistic Filipino lifestyle that never fails to astonish me, since Philippines is no longer a colony of Spain that brought feudalism to our history more than a hundred years ago. Yet, here they are—the helpers (not just one, but two, three…), drivers, gardeners, guards—the ever-dependence on somebody else’s aid, like living without it disrupts our biorhythm. Don’t you hear Pinoys who complain and panic when their maid has left their house? So, I say, but I have been living outside the Philippines for more than twenty years without a maid!

Upon arrival at NAIA, at once, here they are—the “baggage pullers” who volunteer to pull your luggage out of the baggage carousel. No such thing in Japan, we know. When you get out of the exit gate, here they are—the “barkers” who again, volunteer to carry your luggages so you can hire their taxi. No such thing in Japan, we know. When you reach your home, here it comes—the driver who voluntarily lifts your luggages out of the car trunk. In fact, most of the time, I like to pull out my luggage myself only because I know I am capable of doing it, and because I got used to the ways in Japan, where here, you have to do everything by yourself.

Then, there is the supermarket episode. In every cashier stands a “bag packer,” who packs your groceries in plastic bags. No such thing in Japan, we know. That is separate from the “boy” who places the bags in a cart, and drags the cart until your car in the parking lot (yes, never mind if it’s far). No such thing in Japan, we know, because here, even if you are 70 years old, you have to pack your grocery bag by yourself.

In shopping malls, I have witnessed Pinoys “ordering” sales ladies around (yes, “ordering,” not asking). There is a kind of presumed Filipino attitude that customers are “upper class” and sales clerks are “lower class;” hence, clerks can be “ordered” around. I find this very appalling. No such thing in Japan, we know, because here, everyone is treated as equals—at least, that is what Japanese try to show each other.

Maids, who are asked to do the most menial of chores—turning on the air-conditioner, switching off the light, fetching the slippers, answering the door, etc., etc.—these episodes, too, after living more than twenty years outside of the Philippines, I have found quite disturbing.

Abroad, many foreign employers like to hire Filipinos because we are reputed to be hard-working. Yet, we are also lazy by nature, aren’t we? This laziness stems from the fact that our culture has been so uprooted in over-dependence on external help, when, if you stop and ponder on it, you realize that we don’t need all that attention on hierarchy, status, and self-proclamation. I confess this feudalistic system has made me wonder about re-settling back home. But, I also think about the bicycle rides I cannot take around Manila (due to pollution, dirt, bad traffic manners, invisible sidewalks); the afternoon visits to parks and rivers I cannot make (due to pollution, dirt, poor maintainance); the seasons of spring, autumn and winter that I cannot enjoy; the efficiency of the Japanese convenience stores where you can purchase movie and concert tickets, and pay your utility bills and taxes; the speedy takkyubin delivery service; the automatic bank remittance system; the Co-op service of home delivery; the super efficient transportation system and time schedules; the severely polite manners; the humility and low profile of the Japanese…need I say more?

But, despite all these, Philippines is HOME. It is FAMILY. It is FRIENDS. It is chicharon, bagoong, kare-kare, San Miguel beer, Simbang Gabi, and Bisita Iglesia. It is laughing at corny Pinoy jokes. It is watching unfortunate street children sing and play. It is smiling back at the waiter who smiles at you. It is being stopped by a security guard who hums a tune while he inspects your bags. It is being able to say “Anu ka ba?” No such thing in Japan, we know. It is, as the Tourism Department promotes, FUN.

Some day, we will all have to make a choice; that very difficult and melancholic choice.

Enjoy the wonderful cherry blossoms!

KAPATIRAN



KAPATIRAN
by Loleng Ramos

PASLIT ANG PAG-ASA

Hi, Kapatid! Kumusta? Ang lamig-lamig ngayon dito sa Japan, no? Naalala ko tuloy noong bata pa ako sa Pilipinas. Pangarap ko lang palagi makapunta ng Baguio kung saan malamig kahit sa airconditioned room lang kaya pala palagi nasa mall ang mga tao sa atin. Ngayon naman, kung pwede lang magtago sa loob ng bahay para lang maka-iwas sa brrrrrrrr. Sabi nga ni lola noong pumasyal dito, “Ano ba to pati tumbong ko nanginginig.” Ha ha.

Parang ang sarap tuloy umuwi ng Pilipinas. Masarap magpa-init sa sikat ng araw iyong tipo bang aasim ang amoy mo dahil sa pawis at sa kapal ng libag mula sa alikabok. Medyo hindi na maganda ang imahinasyon kapag simoy na ng hangin sa Maynila ang pag-uusapan. Kung dito, virus ang ayaw ng sinuman ng masinghot sa atin tambutso ng mga sasakyan na polluted air.

Kapag pala matagal ka na sa ibang bansa hindi pwedeng hindi ka mauuwi sa paghihintulad. Napakalaki ng agwat ng bansang Hapon sa ating bansa: teknolohiya, agham sa kasaganahan. Naapektuhan ka ba nito? Nalulungkot ka ba para sa ating bayan? Naitatanong mo ba sa sarili mo? Bakit kaya?

Meron ka bang naiisip na dahilan? Pera at pwersa ang ugat ng kahirapan sa Pilipinas. Alam natin kung sino sila. May magagawa ba tayo? Tayo na hindi man lang nakatira sa ating sariling bayan? Syempre naman kapatid kahit maliit meron pa din. Siguro nga hindi lang kapalaran ang nagdala sa atin dito sa Japan pero may mas malalim pa na dahilan. Kung marami sa kanilang big time (politician, government people, business tycoons) walang moral responsibi-lity (walang kunsyensya, walang takot sa Diyos, walang pakialam sa bayan, pinapaghirap ang kani-lang mga kababayan) tayong mga small time o ordinaryong mamayan ay meron!

Kahit na nga malayo tayo sa ating bansa, isasalba natin ang ating Pilipinas, sa kung anumang kahit na maliit na bagay na magagawa natin. Meron bang bata sa paligid mo? Anak, pamangkin, kamag-anak, kapit-bahay kahit sinong bata. Sila ang pag-asa ng Bayan. Kung wala ng solusyon ang mga taong nasa pwesto ngayon, bukas merong pag-asa, sa mga bata ngayon! Pero hindi mangyayari ito kung hindi natin sila palalakihin na hindi lang may moral responsibility at maging patriotic din (may tunay na pagmamahal sa bayan). Gabayan natin sila sa tama at mali pero ikaw din kapatid dapat alam mo kung alin ang tama di ba? Turuan natin silang magmahal sa bayan (kung banyaga ang isa sa kanyang magulang ng parehong bansa ng kanyang mga magulang). O di ba, may magagawa ba tayo? Meron tayong responsibilidad sa mga batang ito at gawin natin. Ang mga bata ginagaya nila ang mga matatanda. Tayong nasa tabi nila unang una ang titingalain nila kaya dapat mismong tayo ayos ang buhay, tama ang asal sa pamumuhay, nagbigay-galang sa Diyos at sa kapwa. Magagawa ba natin ito? Magagawa mo kasi gusto nating lahat na mabago na ang kapalaran ng ating bansa na hindi lang ang konting taong nasa taas ang nagtatamasa ng yaman ng Pilipinas kundi ng buong sambayanan na minamahal ng bawat Pilipino ang Pilipinas, ginagamit ang sariling wika, may pagkalinga sa isa’t isa at lahat ay nagtutulong tulong para sa kaunlaran kung hindi man ngayon ay sa lalong madaling panahon.

PAGMUMUNI-MUNI SA DYIPNI



PAGMUMUNI-MUNI SA DYIPNI
ni Fr. Bob Zarate

CONFESSIONS of a Priest...Mga Angal ng Isang Pari Part 3

Tuloy pa rin ang angal ng isang pari! Akala kasi ng ordinaryong tao ang pari ay dapat mapagpasensya, maintindihin, at laging nakatawa. Hmmm... as far as I know, ang taong ganoon ay may sira ang ulo. Tao rin ang pari. Naiirita din siya. Kapag may mga bagay na hindi talaga tugma sa patakaran ng Diyos na siyang nakikita sa bibliya, sa nature at sa katalinuhan, pag-iisip at asal ng tao, aba’y dapat lang umangal ang isang pari.

Kaya tuloy ang angal... para sa Mga Feeling Intellectual!

Ano ba ang patakaran sa mundo ngayon? Kung magaling ka sa debate o sagutan, panalo ka na? Kahit mali ang iyong pinaglalaban pero magaling ka lang sa pananalita at palusot-lusot, ok na ba iyon? Ang dating kasi sa mga nagpapatama at umaaway sa mga pari at obispo ng simbahan ngayon ay kaya nilang talunin ang mga pinaglalaban ng mga taong simbahan na ito. Na-realize yata nila hindi naman pala sila kikidlatan ng Diyos kahit insultuhin ang pari. Na-realize yata nila na kahit anong insulto ang isagot nila sa pari, hindi naman pala sila masasampal o mababalatan ng buhay at buhusan ng asin.

Kapag nagsalita ang Simbahan laban sa isang patakaran ng gobyerno, ang banat kaagad ng mga feeling intellectual ay “separation of Church and State” daw. Kung baga, ang Simbahan, dapat magsasalita lamang kung espiritwal ang usapan. Pero hindi ganoon si Hesus. Nagsalita Siya laban sa mga palakad ng mga Pariseo. Nagsalita Siya laban sa mga nandadaya sa templo. Nagsalita Siya laban din kay Haring Herodes. Bakit? Kasi nakikita Niya na hindi ito tama at hindi ito angkop sa Diyos -- ang Diyos na nagpahiwatig ng Kanyang kalooban sa mga nakikita natin sa kalikasan (nature) at sa pagkatao natin. Kapag hindi nagsalita ang Simbahan sa mga issues na:
- laban sa buhay (for example, against abortion),
- laban sa katawan (for example, against prostitution),
- laban sa karangalan ng tao (for example, against labor problems),
- laban sa tunay na pag-ibig (for example, against divorce or adultery),
- laban sa tunay na value ng sex (for example, against casual sex, condoms at pills),
- laban sa natural na pamilya (for example, against same-sex marriage)...
yes, kung hindi nagsalita ang Simbahan sa mga bagay na ito, kitang-kita na may nag-iiba sa tao. Nagiging madamot siya. Sarili lang ang iniisip niya. Nawawala siya sa karaniwang daloy ng kalikasan, sa kanyang pagkatao at sa tunay na pakikisama sa iba.

Kaya nagsasalita ang Simbahan. Hindi naman Niya gustong palitan ang mga lider ng bayan. At hindi rin tama na ihambing sila sa mga prayle noong panahon ng Kastila. Hindi rin tama na ibanat sa kanila ang mga problema ng mga nang-abusong pari. Hindi rin tama na sabihing sagabal sila sa ekonomiya ng bansa. Kung baga gumagamit ang ibang topic para sagutin ang totoong issue na pinaglalabanan ng Simbahan. Wala sa topic! Maganda lang pakinggan, kahit hindi tama, hindi sapul at bastos.

Ginagawa lang ng mga pari at obispo ang trabaho nila: ituloy ang turo ni Kristo at ilapit ang tao sa Diyos. Pinapakita lang nilang may mas mahalaga pa sa pagiging mayaman, may halaga ang pag-ibig na hindi nilalaro at tinatakwil, may halaga ang buhay kahit na ito ay kinukutya ng present society. Kaya kung ayaw mong makinig, eh di huwag! Kung sa bagay, yung mga gustong lumaban sa Simbahan naman ay gusto lang makuha ang sariling nilang interes at hindi ang kahalagahan ng nakararami.

Tama na yung mga banat na “21st Century na tayo!” o kaya, “Huling-huli na tayo!” at pati na rin yung, “Hirap pa rin ang Pinas! Ang daming iskwater!” Meron ngang iba na nagsasabing, “Salita ng salita ang mga obispo eh hindi naman nila kayang kontrolin ang mga playboy at baklang pari nila!”... na para bang sinasabi na rin nila sa isang teacher na huwag na siyang magturo ng Math kasi hindi naman magaling sa Math ang sarili niyang anak!

Ang laban lang naman ng Simbahan dito ay i-defend ang mga bagay na mahalagang-mahalaga, mga basic values in life, na kahit noong 1st Century o kahit sa 50th Century pa ay mahalaga pa rin katulad ng nature, buhay, kabataan, kalusugan, katawan, kababaihan, mga matatanda, mga nilalamangan, at pati na rin ang katapatan sa iyong “only love.”

Kung sa bagay, you don’t need to be intellectual para maintindihang mahahalaga nga ito!

A Wedding And 4 Funerals



A Wedding And 4 Funerals
by Maria Carmelita Z. Kasuya

How was 2011 to all of you?

It was exceptionally exci-ting and “breathtaking” for me. Aside from the great earthquake on March 11, the previous year will always be remembered as a suspense-packed year that almost took my breath away. Allow me to tell you why.

January 24:
My Japanese best friend passed away. She was one of my trusted few that knows even my innermost secrets. I was shocked to know that my last visit would be our last time together as she died a few minutes after I left the hospital.

February 8:
My beloved father passed away suddenly, unexpectedly. He has been a very good father - a disciplinarian but with compassion, a man full of wisdom and integrity. He taught my 3 brothers and me the value of education and the virtues of honesty, diligence and perseverance. I will always remember his last words and his way of bidding his unica hija goodbye: “I love you, anak.” Had I known that it would be our last telephone conversation, I would have thanked him and let him know how much he was loved and appreciated.

February 20:
My former Japanese host professor passed away. I owe her the basics of cell culture. She was my supervisor during the post-doctoral fellowship. But more than a teacher, she was a mother to all of the students in the laboratory.

August 26:
My good friend’s wedding. I will forever be thankful to the couple because they requested me to be one of the principal sponsors. Because of this, I decided to fly to Manila the day before the wedding - only to find out that I would be preparing for my mother’s funeral instead. Their wedding day, which I did not get to attend, was the last time that my mom and I were together.

August 27:
My beloved mother passed away. She taught us the true meaning of selfless giving, kindness and patience. But the best gift she gave us was her unwavering faith, her steadfast love for the Lord and devotion to Mary.

With a wedding I missed and 4 funerals for the people I loved so dearly, 2011 may be considered the worst year. But it was actually the best year. The trials and struggles became opportunities for maturity and spiritual growth. They were blessings in disguise. The pain brought out the best in me. It was during these difficult times that I have come to realize who I really am – a woman blessed with great faith and strength of character. I survived by the grace of God. He was always there to see me through. Truly, alone we can do nothing but with God, everything is possible. There will always be a way. There will always be light at the end of the dark tunnel. When I remained faithful to Him even under these circumstances believing that there was a reason for everything, all things worked for good. My spirit may have been almost crushed but I did not loose hope. Surely, the sun will rise after the storm.

The God of surprises turned my tears into joy just before the year ended. The good results of my research allowed me to present the work during the International Symposium on Fluorous Technologies held at the City University of Hongkong. It was a bi-annual gathering of experts and researchers in the field of fluorous chemistry from different universities all over the world. On the last day of the weeklong confe-rence, the awarding ceremony for best presentation was held. There were 3 winners with one coming from Japan, who was not even a Japanese, but a Filipino - Maria Carmelita Zulueta Kasuya.

After all, 2011 was one of the best years in my life. Thank you, Lord.

Isang Araw sa Ating Buhay



Isang Araw sa Ating Buhay
ni Jeff Plantilla

Nalaman ko isang araw sa isang Chinese student dito sa Japan ang mga tinatawag na “returnees” mula China. Ang mga “returnees” na ito ay yung mga Japanese na naiwan sa China nung World War II at yung kanilang Chinese na pamilya.

Nagkwento yung Chinese student tungkol sa isang lugar sa Osaka na maraming Chinese “returnees.” Sabi niya dahil hindi marunong mag-Nihonggo ang mga may edad nang Chinese “returnees” na maaaring anak ng mga Japanese na naiwan sa China, iilang trabaho lang ang maaari nilang pasukan gaya ng paggawa ng obento.

Gabi ang trabahong ito mula siguro ng mga hating gabi o madaling araw hanggang mga alas-6 ng umaga. Kaya pag araw tulog sila sa bahay. Malamang na hindi na halos nagkakausap ang mga magulang at mga anak dahil salisi ang oras nila. Papasok sa eskwela ang mga bata habang parating ang mga magulang mula trabaho. At darating ang mga bata sa bahay mula eskwela samantalang nagha-handang umalis ang mga magulang para sa trabaho.

Dahil nag-aaral ang mga bata, mabilis silang natututo ng Nihonggo at mga bagay-bagay sa Japan. Mas marami silang nalalaman tungkol sa Japan kaysa sa kanilang mga magulang.

Magandang matuto ang mga batang ito ng Nihonggo at mga bagay-bagay sa Japan, pero nalalampasan na nila ang kanilang mga magulang sa ganitong kakayahan at kaalaman.

Sabi nung Chinese student, nagkakaproblema sa relasyon ng mga magulang at anak sa ganitong sitwasyon. Hindi na mapangaralan nang husto ng mga magulang ang kanilang mga anak. Dahil siguro ito sa mas magaling na ang mga anak sa Nihonggo kaysa sa kanilang sariling salita kaya’t Nihonggo na ang kanilang ginagamit na hindi naman naiintindihan ng mga magulang. Kaya problema sa pag-uusap nilang mag-anak. Nasabi din na ang tingin ng mga anak ay mas nakakataas sila sa kanilang magulang dahil sa kanilang kakayanang mag-Nihonggo. Bumababa ang tingin ng mga anak sa kanilang magulang na hindi makapag-Nihonggo at kulang ang alam sa Japan.

Buhay Japanese

Hindi na rin ako nagtataka sa ganitong kalagayan ng mga dayuhan sa Japan. Sa tingin ko, ito ay hindi na rin naiiba sa mga karanasan ng mga Japanese mismo.

Maraming istorya na akong nalaman o nabasa tungkol sa gap sa pagitan ng mga magulang at mga anak na Japanese. Tulad ng mga Chinese “returnees,” halos hindi na rin nagkikita ang ilang Japanese na magulang at ang kanilang mga anak. Ito ay lalo na doon sa mga “breadwinner” ng pamilya – na kadalasang mga tatay. Ang mahabang oras sa trabaho para sa mga tatay at ang inaasahang pag-aalaga sa mga anak para sa nanay ay dahilan ng ganitong kalagayan. Naalala ko ang nabasa kong istorya tungkol sa isang mag-asawa. Umuwi nang maaga si otosan. Nguni’t sa imbes na matuwa si okasan, sinisi pa si otosan. Sabi ni okasan, bakit ka maagang umuwi? Ayaw mo bang mapromote?

Si nanay sa bahay, si tatay sa labas ng bahay. Yan ang kaugalian dito at pareho din sa ibang lugar tulad ng Pilipinas. Nguni’t dahil sa hindi na rin ganoon kaganda ang ekonomiya, minsan kailangan na ring magtrabaho si nanay sa labas ng bahay.

At lalo pa sa mga Japanese na maliit ang kita, parehong nagtatrabaho ang mag-asawa. Para naman sa mga single mothers na itinuturing na mahirap dito sa Japan, kaila-ngan nila ng dalawang trabaho para kumita nang sapat sa pangangailangan ng pamilya (yung ina at anak o mga anak).

Kaya kahit karaniwang middle-class na pamilya o yung itinuturing na mahirap na pamilya sa Japan, parehong may problema tungkol sa gap sa pagitan ng mga magulang at mga anak.


Pagiging Magulang na Pinoy sa Japan

Madalas na rin akong nakaka-rinig ng mga istorya ng hirap sa pagpapalaki ng anak sa Japan ang mga Pilipino. Dala ito ng kakulangan ng oras na magkasama ang mga magulang at anak at ang lumalaking gap ng kakayahan at kaalaman sa Japan sa pagitan nila. Walang pinag-iba sa problema ng mga Chinese “returnees” at mga Japanese mismo.

May mga mag-asawang Pilipino at Japanese na nagtutulungan sa pagpapalaki ng anak. Maaaring dala ito ng pagkakaiba nila sa mag-asawang parehong Japanese, kaya hindi nila kailangang sundin ang kalakaran sa Japan (yung “Ayaw mo bang mapromote” na kalakaran).

Dahil dayuhan ang asawa, libre ang asawang Japanese na gumawa ng ibang paraan ng pagpapalaki ng anak.
At kung ina ay Pilipino, may mga close sa mga anak at tinutulungan ng mga anak ang nanay sa mga bagay-bagay sa Japan (kasama na ang pagbabasa ng kanji sa mga sulat at ibang bagay). May mga anak na natuturuan ng kulturang Pilipino at nakakauwi sa Pilipinas kaya’t alam ang ating bansa.

Nguni’t mas mahirap kung ayaw tulungan ng anak ang magulang na dayuhan. Sana ay hindi marami ang ganitong mga anak ng mag-asawang Pilipino at Japanese.

Identity

May isa namang Korean-American student ang nag-interview ng mga kabataang Korean residents sa Osaka. Sabi niya “Kulang daw ang kaalaman ng mga kabataang ito sa kulturang Koreyano samantalang Koreyano naman sila.” Hindi tulad ng kilala niyang Korean-Americans. Maaaring dahil ito sa hindi kayang turuan ang mga anak ng kanilang mga Koreyanong magulang ng kulturang Koreyano na hindi nila alam (maliban sa ilang pagkain at gawain). Hindi sila marunong magsalita ng wikang Koreyano kahit second generation Korean residents sila.

At saka, tulad sa mga bagong saltang Chinese “returnees” children, lumaki na ang mga batang Koreyano sa Japan kaya Japanese na kultura ang alam lang nila.

Kakaiba nga ang kalagayan dito sa Japan ng mga dayuhan. Hindi palaging magandang ilabas ang tunay na identity dahil sa takot na hindi tanggapin nang maayos ng mga Japanese. Hindi ito tulad sa U.S.A. na malayang ipinahahayag at ipinagdiriwang ang pagkakaiba ng mga tao.

May isang dalagitang Filipino-American na nag-upload ng video sa YouTube ng kaniyang pagbisita sa Pilipinas. Tumuloy siya sa bahay ng kamag-anak sa isang bahay along da riles sa Metro Manila. Kahit hindi mayaman ang kamag-anak, hindi niya ikinahiya na ipakilala sila sa video. Hindi siya naging maselan sa ganung kalagayan. Pilipino pa rin siya at tanggap niya ang Pilipinas kahit yung hindi magandang bahagi.

Masarap isipin ang mga anak na hindi ikinahihiya ang mga magulang at mga kamag-anak.

SA TABI LANG PO



SA TABI LANG PO
Ni Renaliza Rogers

Yugyugan Na!

Napapansin ko lang na nitong mga nagdaang buwan, napapadalas yata ang mga kalamidad sa Pilipinas. Ilan dito ay ang flash floods sa Cagayan, landslide sa Compostela Valley, at ang pinaka-latest, lindol sa Central Visayas. Oo, alam ko namang mula noon hanggang ngayon eh suki na ang bansa sa mga natural disasters. Ganun yata ang sumpa ng mga mala-paraisong mga bansa tulad ng Pilipinas, ang palaging daluhin ng kalamidad…

Sa lahat ng nabanggit ko, ang pinaka may “first hand experience” ako ay ang nangyaring lindol sa Visayas kamakailan lang. Nasa Bacolod kami na hindi naman gaanong tinamaan. Sa totoo lang, pangkaraniwang lindol lang ang naramdaman ko, tulad ng mga usual na lindol sa Tokyo, konting yanig tapos lilipas din. Pero dahil minsan lang lumindol sa Bacolod, ang intensity 3-4 ay nakaka-praning na sa mga mamamayan!

Nasa bahay ako noon, mga pasado 11 ng umaga, kakabihis lang ng uniform at nagsusuklay ng buhok habang nakatayo’t nanonood ng “The Day the Earth Stood Still” sa TV. Bigla akong na-outbalance ng bahagya. Medyo natigilan ako at kung anu-anong bagay na ang tumakbo sa isipan ko. Anemic ba ako o high-blood? Ba’t ako matutumba? Ngunit nakita kong gumegewang-gewang din ang lakad ng aming kasambahay. Doon ko lamang na-realize na lumilindol pala.

Malakas na ang ganoong lindol para sa Pinas at ang tagal pa bago tumigil. Mga dalawang minuto siguro tumagal ito. Hindi ko naman pinansin pagkatapos, off to school pa rin ang drama ko, pasan ang aking malaking bag na puno ng tuwalya’t swimming attire dahil may practical exams pa ako. Nagsimula lang akong magtaka pagdating doon dahil andaming estudyante sa kanto, nagsisi-abang ng jeep pauwi. Pilit kong inisip na nanagsisi-uwian lang sila para mag lunch dahil 12:30 na ng tanghali. Hindi ko rin naman marinig ang mga usap-usapan sa paligid dahil ako’y naka-headphones, nakikinig full-volume sa kantang “Ulipon sa Gugmang Giatay” habang naglalakad papuntang La Salle.

Tuluyan akong nagmukhang tanga at nadismaya pagda-ting sa loob ng skwelahan. Walang katao-tao. Mag-isa akong naglalakad sa hallways na mistulang ghost town. Hindi ko maintindihan kung iiyak ako o sisigaw sa inis dahil sa pasan kong bagahe o dahil nagsayang pa ako ng oras para bumiyahe o dahil pinapasok pa ako ni manong guard sa gate kung alam niyang wala nang tao sa loob.

Yun pala eh suspendido lahat ng klase dahil sa lindol at dahil nag panic ang karamihan sa mga estudyante, lalung-lalo na ang mga dalaga! Tilian, sigawan at takbuhan, nakalimutan na ang calm state of mind. Mayroon pang tsunami alert level 2 na idineklara ng PHIVOLCS, so sino ba namang hindi mapapraning niyan? Umuwi na pala lahat at ako na lang ang tatanga-tangang naglalakad sa loob ng campus. Nakita ako ng nagrorondang guard at nasigawan pa. Halos murahin na ako ni manong kung bakit nandoon pa ako sa school gayo’t lumilindol. May hidden agenda ba ako doon? Bangag ba ako? Ano? Napapraning lamang ang mga tao sa Bacolod pero awa ng Diyos, konting yugyog lang ang naramdaman namin. Yun pala sa karatig-bayan naming Guihulngan, Negros Oriental (235.4km from Bacolod), mas matindi ang epekto ng lindol.

Intensity 6.9 ang tumamang lindol sa kanila. Kung nayanig lang kami sa Bacolod, sila doon ay nabiyak ang mga daan at nag-collapse ang mga tulay. Ang palengke nila disaster din. Nasira din ang mga gusali at nagkaroon pa ng landslide sa ibang parte ng bayan na siyang tumabon sa ilang mga kabahayan at kumitil ng maraming buhay. Nawalan ng kuryente at naging uso na naman ang evacuation centers at relief goods. Handa ang nakararami sa bagyo’t baha, sanay na ang Pinoy doon. Pero sa lindol, medyo naninibago pa.

Trending din kaagad sa Facebook at Twitter ang lindol. May isang walang hiyang nilalang pa ang nagpost sa Twitter na sana’y matuloy na lang ang tsunami at lindol sa Kabisayaan para mawala na ang lahat ng baduy sa Pilipinas. Hindi ko lang maintindihan ay kung bakit inakala niyang “cool” mag post ng ganoon klaseng statement habang nagluluksa ang nakararami. Hindi ba niya alam na digital na rin ang karma ngayon? Mabilis na! Kalat agad ang pagmumukha ng naturang nilalang sa internet. Buong Pilipinas, lalung-lalo na ang mga Bisaya ay gusto siyang ilibing ng buhay. Ewan ko lang kung makapunta pa siya ng Boracay dahil sa sinabi niyang yun…

Haay naku… Nakakalungkot lang isipin na hindi tayo gaanong handa sa mga bagong delubyo at may mga tao pang walang kakwenta-kwenta ang pinagsasasabi. Mabuti na lang tayo’y mga Pinoy, kaya nating itawa ang mga problemang dumarating. Ang lindol? Wala yun. Kinilig lang daw ang Earth dahil Valentine’s Day na.

Pisngi Ng Langit



Doc Gino’s Pisngi Ng Langit

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/

X-ray Exposure During Pregnancy

Tanong:
Nabasa ko po ang inyong colum sa internet ang jeepney press... marami po akong nalaman, tanong ko lang po; kung ang x-ray ay makakasama sa baby pag buntis ka, last week ko lang pong nalaman n buntis ako nag pregnancy test po ako - di ko pa po alam kung mga ilang weeks na pero tingin ko po baka mga 6 weeks na... a month ago po nag pa chiropractor po ako and ini-x-ray po ako ng doctor sa spinal cord, jaw at sa may bandang tyan po.... ngayon po ako nababahala baka po maka apekto sa baby!!! Maraming salmat po!

Doc G: Maraming salamat sa iyong email. Ang “X-ray” ay maaaring makaapekto sa pagbubuntis lalo na sa unang tatlong buwan ng pagbubuntis kung kaya't iba yong pag-iingat ang kinakailangan bago sumailalim sa pagsusuring ito lalo na sa mga babae.

Malalaman kung ano ang epekto nito kapag naisilang na ang sanggol o kung lumaki na ang sanggol sa loob ng matres at sumailalim sa pamamagitan ng “ultrasound.” Hindi naman ibig sabihin ay 100% na magkakaroon ng epekto sa ipinagbubuntis. Mayroon din naman na walang naging epekto ang “X-ray.” Kaya't kailangang magpasuri ng regular sa iyong doktor. Ipagdasal na rin na maayos naman ang kalalabasan sa huli.

Kung may makita man na epekto sa sanggol, ipinagbabawal naman sa ating bansa ang ipalaglag ang nasa sinapupunan.

SHORT-CUTS



SHORT-CUTS
By: Farah Trofeo-Ishizawa

First Cut
How are our Jeepney Press readers doing? Are we ready for Spring?

Second Cut
Spring! New life… Fresh beginnings for many who will start school… Start work… Start a family or anything for that matter. Here is wishing everyone the best of luck for that very first step. “Gambatte sa lahat”.

Third Cut
I had a chat with my mother today. Can you believe that she learned how to use the computer and “Skype” so as to be able “to talk with us” here in Japan?
For those who do not know my mom- she is the person who always thought that her best friend was her IBM typewriter. Thanks to modern communication - life has gotten much better for most of us, diba?

Fourth Cut
I was so happy already when both my parents learned how to use Skype. What surprised me next was both my mama and papa are on Facebook! While I was in Manila, they told me to set up their FB account and of course – again so that we can keep in touch and share photos and more. Okay, I was the one who made their FB accounts and I thought that was it. I thought it was just for them to check on us. But oh no, they both learned to navigate FB and now they comment on photos, post messages on the wall and also send private messages. Isn’t that pure and simple happiness having groovy parents, diba?

Fifth Cut
Classes are off for us ALT’s / English Teachers. Another school year has gone and I am delighted with a feeling of achievement. Congratulations to my friends in the same field of teaching. Congratulations to our Grade six students who have graduated. I hope they take with them what they learned from us ALT’s to Junior High School. Good luck to all our students who will start another phase in their lives.

Sixth Cut
The Bourne Legacy series did their filming in the Philippines. Jun Juban, my friend from the Philippine Film Studios, was the Philippine counterpart and producer. I am so happy to hear that everything went well. My brother Ari, was part of the sound department. Hollywood debut for my younger brother – this makes me proud of him, looking forward to reading the end credits. Had I been in the Philippines, am sure I would have worked with the team, right Jun?

Seventh Cut
Life is good for everyone. I am happy for my family, my friends, my students and most of all for YOU. Yes, YOU reading this? Why? Simply because reading this means – that you are alive. Feel good with everything and everyone around us.

God Bless. Mama Mary loves us !

Shoganai: Gaijin Life



Shoganai: Gaijin Life
By Abie Principe

Halos isang taon na ang nakalipas mula noong Marso 11, 2011. Ito ay isang araw na hindi makakalimutan ng kahit sinong nakatira sa Japan o kahit mga taong taga ibang bansa.

Wala ako sa Japan noong nangyari ang lindol at tsunami pero noong nakita ko sa TV ang nangyari, hindi ako makapaniwala. Dali dali akong tumawag sa asawa ko at bagama’t natuwa ako na hindi gaano apektado ang Nagoya, nalungkot pa rin ako sa nangyari sa Tohoku. Dahil rin sa medyo matagal na akong nakatira sa Japan, marami rin akong mga kakilala at kaibigang nakatira sa mga apektadong lugar at hindi ko maalis na nag-aalala ako para sa kanila. Matapos ang ilang araw, unti-unti na akong nakakatanggap ng balita na maayos naman ang mga kakilala at kaibigan ko.

Nguni’t talagang mara-ming napinsala at hanggang ngayon, isang taon na, marami pa rin ang apektado ng kalamidad na iyon. Bilang pag-gunita sa Marso 11, at bilang pagpapa-alala na dapat tayong laging maging handa, nais kong ibahagi ang mga impormasyon ukol sa mga dapat gawin kung sakaling magkaroon ng malaking lindol.

KANSAI CRUSADE



KANSAI CRUSADE
by Sally Cristobal-Takashima

Seasons, Sunrises and Sunsets

My walk along memory lane starts the day I left Manila for New York City. Four year university graduates who majored in Foods and Nutrition mostly head for the United States for a year's Dietetic Internship with a stipend or find an on-the-job training with a salary. I opted for the second one. Being the oldest of a brood of four children, I felt a responsibility to help my parents the best way I can to lighten the expenses incurred in giving my younger siblings a good education. I will also be on the road in search of my own destiny. The first steps I took as I boarded a PAL flight was the beginning of a life's journey. I was literally on my own and there was no going back.

My send off was kind of a big event. My grandfather Iciong was even wearing a barong tagalog and Lola Maria was dressed up like she was going to a baptismal party. There were gifts, hugs and kisses. Mom and Dad had mixed feelings. Before long, my plane was airborne. It was a seemingly endless flight to New York City with brief stop-overs in Los Angeles and Chicago. Ang layo pala ng Estados Unidos, I murmured to myself. Light conversations with some Filipino nurses and doctors helped passed the time away.

My job as an Assistant Nutritionist at the Kent School, a private co-ed boarding high school whose deserving graduates enter American Ivy League universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton Universities. The Headmaster was Sir Sidney Towle when I worked there. The students were from upper class families all over the U.S. Foreign students from various countries were enrolled as well. Nutritionists ensured that the students eat nutritionally balanced meals. Food service management followed strict rules. Menu planning was well supervised. Checking food deliveries, inventories were part of the job. Coordinating with the Cook and Baker was done on a daily basis.

It was in Kent, Connecticut in New England that I saw my first Snow as well as the most beautiful spring day and the awesome autumn foliage that graced the surroundings. Kent School even now, is in same league as Hotchkiss and Choates Schools. The Cantebury and the The Gunnery Schools are both nearby. Being young and single, I increasingly found the Kent a lonely place to live. I turned down a contract renewal and headed for New York City where I found work as a Dietitian at a city hospital. At long last, I found some of my schoolmates. We had endless topics to talk about and inspite of our busy work skeds we found time making side weekend trips to Boston, Washington DC and other nearby states. Better pay and better working conditions are common concerns of most Filipinas working in New York City.

It was a dream come true when I was hired by New York University Medical Center. It is a medical center with a great reputation. It is located not far from the United Nations Headquarters along First Avenue. My subsequent decision to start accumulating credits for a graduate degree in Nurition Education made me enroll for courses at Columbia University. It is said that one finds a good man either in a church, library or in a university and only sick people in a hospital. It was during this time that major decisions had to be made if I was to keep my time frame to settle down before I turned thirty.

It was also the summer I spent in Europe and a chance meeting with a young Japanese man visiting New York City. Upon his return to Japan, he wrote me a letter offering me to teach English in Osaka. They also offered to buy the air ticket. Exactly the break that I needed. What followed were daily trips to the New York City Public Library to prepare me for the teaching job that awaits me in Osaka. What I thought would be a year's teaching stint in Japan turned out to be something unexpected and the rest is history.

Mother was against the idea of a marriage due to lingering memories of the war. We finally received my parent's blessing. My husband graduated from Waseda University and was a Television Producer for KTV (Kansai Telecasting) Channel 8 when I married him. We are blessed with 4 children (Lisa, Mari, Rie and Ken) and 2 grandchildren (Sara and Rinaru).

ON THE ROAD



Neriza Sarmiento’s
ON THE ROAD TO:
Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn

If there is anyone worthy of a Patience Award, our JP Editor Dennis, no doubt, will get it. I always run out of excuses each press deadline. And every time I ask for an extension, Dennis would say that “I would wait no matter what.”

Since February and March are the busiest months in school, students also go through a lot of stress reviewing for exams, submitting term papers and reports. I try not to demand more than what my students can deliver. After the final exams, I asked everyone to record their comments about the class. Ryo’s comment was quite touching and unexpected. ”I loved going to Neriza sensei’s class because I enjoyed every lesson and it taught me a lot about how to develop self-confidence!” He was late for class several times due to his soccer club practice. I always reprimanded him but, surprisingly, he participated diligently in class activities and came for make-up lessons. Moreover, he was the mood maker of the class and no matter how tired he was, IGOR (the nickname I had given him) would still smile and laugh at my jokes. Sometimes though, I felt that some jokes were too much for him considering our cultural differences and sense of humor.

Twenty two years of teaching at Osaka University’s Center for World Languages in Minoo is an affirmation of my love for teaching and the affection I have for any student I encounter. When I was still a young teacher in the Philippines, my mentor and chairman of the Speech and Drama Department- Prof. Naty Crame-Rogers, used to tell me: “To be a good teacher, you should entertain your class with interesting lessons. If they enjoy your class, they will be willing to learn.” This remarkable mentor later earned a national award for theater.

I taught at the Philippine High School National Arts Center for the Arts years ago. In a class of specially selected scholars, there was a quiet but very substantial lady that caught my attention. Every time I look into her eyes, I thought there was something special about her. It was already when I got in Japan where I read articles about her in Philippine magazines and in Japanese newspapers. Just over a year ago, she was featured in NHK’s Amazing Voice. Her name is Grace Nono - the Philippines’ foremost folk singer and known worldwide.

Teaching in Japan is a challenge. Natsume Soseki’s ”Botchan” was published in 1906 and is an amusing and humorous portrayal of some teachers and students in high school. In another book, “Rising Sons and Daughters” written by Harvard graduate Steven Wardell in the ‘90’s, the author related his experiences as an exchange student in Japan with the following observations: ”If a teacher was a little slack about discipline, there could be fooling around in class and the attitude of the students change with different teachers.”

My favorite columnist in the Daily Yomiuri is Ms. Helene Uchida who suggests teachers to follow the 4 Fs in the classroom --- Firm, Fun, Functional and Flexible! Teachers can be kind but firm with rules that students have to follow. Lessons can be very academic in nature but can be taught in a fun way. Lessons that are functional can help students in their future careers and as each student have different abilities and needs, teachers need to be flexible.

Every time I face a class, I think of it as a performance and know what their interests are. Igor likes soccer and AKB48. Aki is fond of yakimanju as it reminds her hometown in Gunma. Natsuki is a Gundam enthusiast like her mother. Miku showed me a picture of her idols Mr. Children because their songs give her strength and hope. Yasuko is fond of traveling and going to Europe during the school holidays. Miki likes chirashi-sushi. Yuma is fond of baseball and trains. Tomiso is a karaoke fan. Mitsuru from Kyoto idolizes tennis star Kei Nishikori. Yuki is going to the Philippines in March to study and had attended a Christmas party of a Filipino Community in Osaka. Mika, who graduated from Assumption in Minoo and stayed with a Filipino family in Antipolo, remembered how she liked the taste of “katsudon” she ate at the Mall of Asia. Momoka remembered how I taught her how to stand when delivering a speech. She was excited to say that she has the same birthday as Audrey Hepburn.

For a teacher, the greatest gift of all is seeing students succeed in whatever field they choose.
Once in a while, I bump into some of my former students. Sachi-San is now a Professor in a university in Hiroshima and is deeply involved in research on Filipino Migrants. Jun is now based in Thailand but never fails to send me a New Year card every year. Miki works in a publishing company in Nagoya. Kyoko is with the Department of Tourism office in Osaka. Masanobu worked in Manila Shimbun. Some are now High school teachers like Tomoko who had stage fright until I prodded her to be in the cast of “The Gaijin.” Matsutaro who played a bit role in the musical ”The Gaijin” is now a diplomat at the Foreign Ministry of Japan. And of course Yosuke Shohara is now comple-ting a year of being a “ryugakusei” in the Philippines. He was also the leader of all Japanese students in U.P. during the Japanese night in the campus.

There was only one thing I told my students: “You must like yourself. Respect yourself and
people will like and respect you!” As school term ends, it also marks a new beginning for teachers and students with an endless cycle of learning to teach and teaching to learn!

DOUBLE VISION



DOUBLE VISION
by Warren and Wayne Sun

THE 20-PESO BUSINESS

These days sa pagtaas ng bilihin kada taon ngayon, feeling ng mga Pinoy medyo wala ng value ang 20 pesos. Dito sila nagkakamali. Take a pause and think of any food or items that is worth 20 pesos. O, ano ba talaga ang magagawa natin sa 20 pesos? How far would 20 pesos go? You would not believe kung gaano kalayo ang mararating nito not unless if you’re street smart. Read on:

P20 Movie!
A lot of SM malls like SM Manila, San Lazaro, Sta. Mesa, Fairview, Valenzuela and even Ever Gotesco are offering discounted movie screenings at P20! But wait…hindi nga lang the latest movies being shown for the week. Usually mga movies from the past years. Pero kung iisipin mo, for people on a budget at mahilig manood ng sine, makakatipid kayo ng marami talaga. Standard movie ticket would cost you P110 and 3D movie for P250. You can watch 5 20-peso movies at may sukli kapang P10!

Warren comments:
Who could ever think that you can watch in the cinema with just P20 pesos? Yun nga lang selected malls nga lang.
Wayne comments:
I think sulit ito if you’re within the area and you’re a movie enthusiast at the same time.

P20 FITNESS GYM!
Sa mga gym buffs, they would even spend thousands of pesos just to get into some high-end fitness gym. But wait…meron mga fitness gyms na nag-o-offer lang ng P20 entrance fee. Ang tawag nila dito mga bakal gyms. Mga gym na non-aircon, walang membership fee, in short, walang kaartehan! Maraming mga bakal gyms na nagke-cater sa mga gym people on a budget.

Warren comments:
Smart! On the budget talaga ito. Yun nga lang no expectations sa mga equipment nila na luma na at walang kagandahan.
Wayne comments:
As they say “You get the value of what you paid for.”

BENTELOG!
Tapa+ egg+ rice and a glass of water= BENTELOG all for P20! Bentelog foodcart na nakikita natin sa mga tabi ng mga schools all across Manila and outside Manila, too. Hindi lang tapsilog ang available but meron din silang maraming combo to choose from: hotsilog, cornsilog, meatsilog, burgsilog, chosilog, hamsilog and siomaisilog. For people on-the-go at nagtitipid sa daily meal nila para sa kanila ito! Patok na patok din sa mga estudyante ito. Marami parin mga tao lalo na mga estudyante na hindi parin makapag get over dahil P20 lang. Masarap na mura pa.

Warren comments: Hhmmm…busog nga ang tummy pero sabi ng iba baka yung bentesilog ay magiging sakitsilog naman sa tyan Hehe.
Wayne comments: It’s better kung maging sigurado tayo sa kinakain natin at alamin at maging aware kung meron man silang sanitary permit to be sure malinis naman. That’s something we need to know.

ANO TALAGA ANG MABIBILI MO SA P20???
Nag tanung-tanong ako from different people kung ano talaga mabibili nila o kung P20 lang pera nila sa bulsa ano ang ibibili nila? Here you go:
• Cornetto coffee caramel drumstick! Mapapatugstugstugs ka sa sarap!
• Cobra energy drink!
• 40 pcs of fishball. LOL
• Phone load
• 4 Zesto na big apple
• A bottle of mineral water- I can’t go without one.
• C2 apple or lemon small or medium sa tindahan
• Benteng Maxx candies
• 4 na crinkles sa Julie’s
• Load!! Pang Unli!!
• Cornetto. Anu pa ba?
• Shades mula sa Vente
• Pag gutom ako…1 rice worth P5-7 and the rest would be spent for P1 calamares/pc that’s sold near the school. Solve !

Warren comments:
If you were to ask me, nasa mood lang yan. If you’re hungry, would love to try the Bentelog. If not, ok na ako sa 40 pcs of fishball…yung malinis na fishball.
Wayne comments: Depende yan kung nasaan ka at ano ginagawa mo at the moment. If it’s really a hot weather and nag-jo- jogging ka, of course you would go for a bottled mineral water. Kung busog ka na and you’re just looking for some sweets, would go for Cornetto Java ice cream.

ADVICE NI TITA LITA



Advice ni Tita Lita
by Isabelita Manalastas -Watanabe

----------------------
Tita Lita shares with you her yen for living. Send your questions to Tita Lita at jeepneymail@yahoo.com
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Bago ko po sagutin ang mga katanungan ng readers ng Jeepney Press, hihingi muna ako ng paumanhin sa maling title ng aking isinulat sa New Year edition ng JP.

Ang tama pong formula na aking inire-rekomenda ay:

EARNINGS – SAVINGS = EXPENSES
EARNINGS – EXPENSES = SAVINGS

Sa unang formula, kaagad ng ibubukod ang target amount of savings na gusto natin, at pagkatapos, iba-budget ang natitirang pera from the earnings.

Sa pangalawang formula, walang target savings. Kung ano na lang matira after expenses, e iyon ang savings. Kapag ito ang ating ginamit na formula, karamihan talagang wala ng matitirang pang-savings.

Para maging epektibo at talagang magawang magkaroon ng savings, start very modestly. Kahit ilang thousand yen na savings lang sa isang buwan, basta’t consistent tayong mag-ipon, lalaki at lalaki din iyon. Sabi nga ng isang colleague ko sa SPEED, “Ang piso, nagi-ging libo; ang libo, magiging milyon din ito.”

Heto naman po ang aking mga sagot sa katanungan ng ating mga readers:

Dear Tita Lita,
Meron pa akong konting savings at gusto ko pong mag-invest sa Pinas. I am not sure whether to buy a house and lot, or condo, or townhouse. Please help me know the diffe-rences. Salamat po.
Louie

Dear Louie:
Kapag house and lot ang binili mo, wala kang babayarang monthly association dues, na karamihan ay required sa mga may ari ng condo or townhouse. Ang amount ng association dues ay depende sa laki ng iyong condo or townhouse (number of square meters). Mas malaking floor area, may malaki ang monthly association dues mong babayaran. Hindi mo pag-aari ang lupa sa iyong condo or townhouse – joint ownership iyan ng lahat ng nakabili ng units sa building ng iyong condo or townhouse.

Kapag house and lot, siyempre sa iyong pangalan naka-registro ang bahay at saka ang lupa. Pwede kang magkaroon ng iyong sariling garden. At siyempre, walang monthly association dues. Sa condo, wala kang private garden. May posibleng joint green space to be shared by all unit owners.

Ang titulo ng townhouse ay katulad ng condo sa klasipikasyon (CCT – Condominium Certificate of Title). Pwede mong ibenta kahit sa foreigner (non-Filipino citizen) ang townhouse or condo. Pero ang house and lot, hindi pwedeng ibenta ang lot. Ang bahay, yes, pero ang lot, Filipino lang ang pwedeng mag-acquire. Ang mga former Filipinos na naging citizen na ng ibang bansa, ay pwedeng bumili ng lupa sa atin, pero limited to 1,000 square meters lang ang maximum na pwedeng bilhin.

Kung absentee owner ka, like nandito ka sa Japan, at nasa Pilipinas ang iyong real estate property, mas exposed ka sa mga magnanakaw kapag house and lot ang iyong property at walang nakatira/ nagbabantay doon. Ako, ninakawan ang aking bahay, pati toilet seats, hinakot! Kapag condo or townhouse, dahil nga may nagma-manage at may security generally (kaya nga may bayad kang association dues), mas safe sa akyat bahay.


Dear Tita Lita,
More than 20 years na po ako sa Japan. Isang beterana na. Gusto ko po sanang kumuha ng life insurance. Sabi ng isang friend ko, waste of money lang every month. Ano po sa palagay ninyo?
Myrna

Dear Myrna:
Kung nag-iisa ka lang sa buhay, at walang inaalala kapag ikaw ay tinawag na ng Panginoon, siguro hindi mo na kailangang kumuha ng life insurance. Pero kung may anak ka, at inaalala mo paano sila kapag ikaw ay yumao ng maliliit pa lang sila, or hindi pa tapos sa kanilang edukasyon, siguro magandang mayroon naman silang makuha from your life insurance. Pumili ka lang ng stable at reliable na insurance company. At maraming klaseng mga insurances ang pwede mong pagpilian. Ako, ang kinuha ko ay “Sure Dollar 10.” Dollar denominated siya, at siyempre dollar din ang monthly premium kong binabayad (Note: Swerte tayo ngayon dahil Endaka – Yen Takai – Strong Yen, kasi we need less Yen for the same amount of US dollar). Ten years lang ang aking commitment na magbabayad. After 6 years of paying monthly premium, entitled na akong makatanggap ng dibidendo. At kapag ako ay nagkaroon ng grabeng sakit, like terminal cancer (huwag naman sana!!!), the insurance company can pay me the full coverage na in advance, kahit hindi pa tapos ang 10 years. Ganito rin, kapag namatay ako at hindi pa tapos ang 10 years. Nakapag-loan din ako ng mabilis against my insurance policy’s proceeds. And of course, after 10 years, pwede kong i-cash in na ang insurance policy ko, plus dividends earned. Siyempre, hindi ko makukuha total kong binayarang monthly premium for 10 years, dahin ininsure naman nila ako during those 10 years. So fair na rin, di-ba?


Dear Tita Lita,
Bumababa ang value ng dollars. What’s the best way to do with my dollar savings account? Should I use the money now sa mga travels ko? Or shouldn’t I touch the money? Or change them to yen or peso?
Christopher

Dear Christopher:
I assume that you live and work in Japan, and you earn in Yen. For your travels, best for you to use your Yen, dahil it is very strong right now. You will need less Yen for the same amount of US$, for example, that you will need to do your shopping and dining in your travels to the USA. For example, you can convert your US$ savings account into a Time Deposit Account, so that you can get better interest earnings (although ang liit na rin din ngayon ang interest earnings kahit ng mga time deposits). Kapag back to good economic health na ang US, Uncle Sam’s currency will become much stronger. So if you have the patience (and the funds) to wait for a little while, when the US economy gets strong again – at least 2 years? - the US$ can again become very strong. And then, you can consider converting your US$ savings into Yen or Peso.


Dear Tita Lita,
I would like to invest in stocks which my friend is doing. Pero I don’t have an idea what they are. Can you explain to me more about investing in stocks and would you advice me to go into it?
Fe

Dear Fe:
Some people go into stocks, as long-term investment; some go for quick profits. Kapag bumili ka ng stock ng isang kumpanya, ibig sabihin, part owner ka ng company na iyon. Kapag tumubo ang company, pwedeng maka-receive ka ng dibidendo. Kapag hindi kumikita, siyempre walang dibidendo. Kapag maganda performance at prospects ng company, tataas ang balor ng iyong stocks, at pwede mong ibenta na at magtubo. Kapag pangit naman, siyempre, papangit din halaga ng iyong stocks. Either ibenta mo at a loss, or maghintay ka, hoping gaganda ang performance ng company. Those who go for long term will invest in blue chip companies (these are supposed to be reputable and stable companies which are expected to be there for the long haul, and will not close for business after just a few years). It means, you have to wait for years before you cash in. Some enter the stock market for short-term gains. Ito iyong buy and sell kaagad ang ginagawa, basta’t tumaas na ang value ng stocks. But you will need to monitor palagi ang price ng stock mong binili. You will need to have a stock broker who will also require you to open an account with them which will be your settlement account for the stocks which you order your broker to buy or sell for you. Your account can be automatically debited/ credited for the total amount of your stock purchase/sale). Kung nasa Japan ka right now, and you want to buy stocks in the Philippines, mahirap to go short-term dahil hindi ka makakatutok mabuti sa galaw ng price ng stocks doon. Kung feeling mo, ang isang blue chip company (kunwari, San Miguel Corp) ay stable at kikita talaga, kahit hindi kaagad, but in the medium or long term, pwede kang bumili. Ang mga banko sa atin, mayroong may securities company/subsidiary which can help you buy and sell stocks. Sa Japan, medyo mahirap – pwera pa sa malaki normally ang minimum number of shares na pwedeng bilhin at i-trade sa stock market, hindi kadalian ang pagbubukas ng settlement account. Ang rule of thumb: kapag hindi mo intinding mabuti ang isang bagay or isang business, or hindi mo linya ang gusto mong pasukan, huwag pumasok.


Dear Tita Lita,
I am now 45 years old. My daughter graduated college. Now, kami lang dalawa ng asawa ko. Parang gusto ko tuloy bumalik sa school to study. Hindi pa ba nakakahiya at my age?
Cora

Dear Cora:
By all means, go for it!!! Walang age limit ang pursuit of knowledge. Surely, you will find it fulfilling to go back to school. I read about one adult foreigner in Japan, who enrolled in a Japanese elementary school, para matuto ng Japanese. Biro mo, elementary students ang mga classmates niya! Pero hayun, that foreigner was very much determined to learn, and it did not matter that parang anak na niya (or apo? he, he, he) ang mga classmates niya.

ISANG BARYA LANG PO!



Isang Barya Lang Po!
by Alex Milan

Beware of Plastic


Mag-ingat sa “plastic.”
Sa mga “plastic” na kasama sapagkat ang dulot nila ay malaking sakit ng damdamin dahil wala nga silang tunay na malasakit sa iyong kapakanan. Naririyan lamang sila kapag ikaw ay papakinabangan.

Mag-ingat sa “plastic.”
Sa mga plastic na basura na sumisira sa ating kalikasan at pumipinsala sa kabuhayan ng ating bayan.

Mag-ingat sa “plastic.”
Sa mga tuksong alok ng walang harabas na pagkaskas ng “plastic” na pera na kung tawagin ay CREDIT CARD marami nang kinabukasan ang nasira dahil dito. Marami ng taong naibaon ng buhay sa utang dahil sa “plastic” na ito. Ang panandaliang kasiyahang alok ng “plastic” na ito ay hindi sapat na kapalit ng pangmatagalang perwisyong dulot nito.
Sa karanasan ng marami, dahil sa maluwag na access sa credit mula sa mga credit cards na inialok ng libre, mas malaki ng halos 1/3 ang nagagastos ng isang tao kapag gumagamit ng credit cards kaysa gumagamit ng cash. Mas magaan kasi ang magkaskas ng plastic card, kaysa bumunot ng CASH. Sa totoo lang, may kasamang konting yabang ang pakiramdam kapag CREDIT CARD ang ginagamit na pambayad kaysa CASH.

But not to someone who fully understands how credit cards operate or should I say, how credit card companies make money out of your hard earned salaries.
Para madali mong makita kung gaano ka-attractive sa mga credit companies ang iyong ibinabayad na interest over the period of thirty (30) years, look at the table below. ( Please refer to the photo of column above). Assume you have Y50, 000 in your credit card debt at an 18% interest rate per annum. This would cost you about Y9, 000 in interest annually. Your annual interest of Y9,000 if invested at 18% over thirty (30) years will sum up to ¥6,744,475.

This is called the power of compound interest working for them at your expense.
Mas malaki pa ang kikitain ng credit card companies mula sa mga taong higit sa Y50,000 ang utang sa credit card. Kaya naman kabi-kabila ang nag-aalok ng credit cards at ngayon, maging ang mga kabataang estudyante ay target market na rin nila.

The use of credit card only offers three things:
Convenience - It is very convenient that you can have access to spending power anywhere and anytime.
Value - You earn points where you can eventually convert them to avail of special offers. Prestige – You have a credit card while the 50% of the population do not have.

But what are the disadvantages? You get to spend an average of 30% more than what you can do when you are spending on cash basis. You lose the opportunity to save and accumulate investment funds that you can invest over the years to avail of the power of compound interest working for you and not against you. Nowadays, it is more prestigious to operate on cash basis rather than on credit. Liquidity is more desirable and admirable.

We heard so many horror stories of people getting into the mire of using credit card to pay-off credit card minimum monthly payment! Once you are in this situation, the credit card companies are earning more from you because they can do finance charge, penalty charge and in the end your interest rates instantly will double up.

If you want to get on the road to FINANCIAL FREEDOM, you have to take control of your credit. If necessary, you need to perform PLASTIC SURGERY – cut the credit card into pieces, to put a stop on the temptation of using it if you are already paying a significant amount in interest payments on a monthly basis. In that way, you can use that payment to build your savings.

Sa huli nating pag-kukuwentuhan, iminungkahi natin ang pangangailangan ng RESERVE FUND for emergencies. Ngayon naman, tatahakin natin ang ikalawang daan patungo sa inaasam nating financial stability – ZERO CREDIT CARD DEBT. Pag nagawa mo ito ngayong taon na ito – isa kang dakilang WINNER. Dahil ang matitipid mo sa interest na binabayaran, maidadagdag mo sa iyong SAVINGS.

Paano ba mababayaran ang CREDIT CARD DEBTS?

1. Pagsikapang bayaran kaagad yung credit card na maliit ang balance sa lalong madaling panahon. Pag nabayaran mo na, gupitin mo na. Make sure you cancel the card so that you do not get charge for annual fees. Listen – do not keep it. Then, idagdag mo yung binabayad mo dati sa card nayan para bayaran naman yung susunod na maliliit na balanseng card hanggang mabayaran ng buo. Ulitin mo ang ganitong diskarte hanggang mabayaran mo na lahat.

2. If you have credit card with higher rates, look for companies that offer transfer balances facility offering lower interest rates. Pero tiyakin mo lang na walang dagdag bayad sa ibang paraan gaya ng transfer fee o annual fee at ang interest rates sa balanseng inilipat ay hindi mas mataas kaysa naka-advertise. Mag-ingat sa tinatawag na teaser-rates. Madalas may limit lamang ito then babawiin pagkatapos ng certain period. Bantayan din kung mayroon expiration date yung mga lower interest rates na ini-o-offer. Pagtiyagaan mong basahin yung maliliit na nakasulat na terms and conditions.

3. Consolidate all your credit card debts into one personal loan. There are financial institutions, i.e. banks, SSS, Pag-IBIG, Cooperative, that offer multi-purpose loans. You can use this facility to pay-off your credit cards. Normally, the interest rates and amortization of this loan are more manageable than your credit cards.

4. Stop using CREDIT CARD if you are not disciplined to pay in full when the statement comes.

5. Gumamit ng DEBIT CARD instead. Debit card is just like your ATM card, you can only use it when there is fund available. Your spending power is only limited to an amount up to ZERO. Unlike credit card, you have a negative balance that could go higher and higher. Of course, the credit card companies would prefer you spend more and more because that’s where they increase their sales – from people who will not pay in full.

Sana sa mga tips na ito maging maraming kaalaman ang ating matututunan. Try to think of your current use of credit cards. Let us not allow the offer of convenience and easy access to defeat our ultimate goal of financial freedom. As the saying goes, “the road to destruction is wide and easy; but the way to eternal bliss is narrow.” Also, the Bible is very clear on this issue – Owe no one anything. Talagang kailangang mag-ingat sa “plastic.”

If in 2012, you can succeed in paying off your credit card debts – you are right on track towards financial stability.

DAISUKI!



DAISUKI!
by Dennis Sun

Kilig sa Lamig, Ngamba sa Yanig!

Lamig! Lamig! Ano ba to? I have spent more than half my life in Japan and still, I cannot bear these cold spells of winter. Last year, hindi naman ganito kalamig, diba? Sa Tokyo, hindi pa natatapos ang January, dalawang beses ng nag-snow! Now, early February na at kalahati ng Japan ay natatakpan ng snow!

Feeling ko ngayon, nakatira ako sa Hokkaido. (Hi, Tita Susan!) Malamig nga sa Hokkaido pero very warm and comfortable naman sila sa loob ng bahay kasi meron pa nga silang built-in hot springs! Eh tayo sa Tokyo, hindi made to endure the cold winter ang mga bahay natin dito. Walang centralized heating. Meron ka ngang heater, ang mainit lang ay yung parteng kaharap ng heater. Yung likod mo, freezing! If you turn on the aircon naman, sige ka sa skyrocketing electric bill mo next month! Si Jeff, satisfied siya sa kanyang electric carpet. For awhile, OK siya. But after an hour, para kang pinipirito na. Si Laura, gamit niya ang electric blanket pag matulog. Feeling lumpia lang daw siya but it works. However, mag-ingat sa overheating. And using electric carpet and blanket could cause potential harm in the long run to our body organs because of its electromagnetic fields.

I was observing my friend, John. Ang lakas ng hangin at naka bisikleta pa siya with all-smiles this winter season! Hindi yata siya tinatablan ng lamig. Tinanong ko siya kung anong sikretong tinatago. Nasa loob daw ang sikreto. He is wearing heat-tech clothing underwear. Hindi na niya kailangan pang magsuot ng layers and layers of clothing. Baka makuba ka pa sa bigat ng suot.

Si Katy, meron din siyang tinatagong mahiwagang anting-anting laban sa lamig. Sa loob ng kanyang sapatos, linalagyan niya ng KAIRO na nabibili sa mga conbini at kusuri yasan. Meron din nakasaksak na kairo sa kaliwa’t kanan ng kanyang bulsa sa coat. Basta’t mainitan lang ang kanyang paa’t kamay, solve na siya!

Si Lola Jena, ang albularyo kong kaibigan, advice lang niya ay uminom ng salabat. Malakas daw ang heating power ng ginger sa loob ng katawan. Makakaiwas din magkaroon ng sakit sa pag inom ng salabat. Hay naku! Lola Jena, naglalaway akong kumain ulit ng linuto mong goto with lots of luya and bawang!!! Mmmm!

Kauumpisa pa lang ng taong 2012, malakas at medyo matagal na lindol agad ang salubong sa bagong taon. Sa loob lang ng buwan ng Enero, ilang beses na rin tayong nalindol. Sabi nga sa news sa TV, may scientific forecast na magkakaroon ng magnitude 7 or above earthquake within 4 years. Nakita natin ang nangyari last year sa Tohoku earthquake. Kailangan tayong maging handa lagi.

Hindi ko pa nga natatapos isulat itong article at biglang meron nag-flash message sa facebook. Magnitude 6.9 sa Negros and Cebu areas in the Philippines. As of this writing, more than 90 people na ang pumanaw sa yanig. In Japan, buildings are earthquake-proof. Kaya last year during the 3-11 after tremors, nasa loob lang ako ng condo above the 10th floor. Sway lang ng sway ang building namin na parang nasa loob ako ng barko. I didn’t even think of going out. Mas safe pa raw sa loob kaysa sa labas. I just trust in the construction of the buildings here. Pero if I were in the Philippines, mas bubutihin ko pang lumabas at baka malibing pa ako bigla sa pagbagsak ng building. Sa Pinas, anytime of the year, laging mainit naman. Eh dito sa Japan, kawawa ka kung sa winter pa dumating ang malakas na lindol. Kung walang electricity, paano papainit ang loob ng bahay? Hindi na kasi uso ang kerosene oil heater ngayon sa mga condo at apartment. Diba sa Great Kobe earthquake, it happened early morning early January? Malamig din doon! Dami rin after shocks daw. My friends in Osaka were sleeping wearing their helmets and shoes on! Yan ang mga girl scout friends ko. Always ready!

Ano ba itong buhay dito? Super lamig na, may yanig pa! Pero nandito pa rin tayo!

PEDESTRIAN LANE



PEDESTRIAN LANE
by Mylene Miyata

Teka! Teka!

Sa Japan, tayong mga Pilipino ay talaga nga namang nakakabilib. Sa maraming aspeto! Halimbawa, paano natin na-master/mina-master ang wikang hapon... Kahit naman kase ang mga Amerikano, hindi pwedeng pumalag na mag-Ingles kung nandito sila, diba? Naaalala mo pa ba kung paano nagsirko ang dila mo para lang makipag-usap gamit ang wikang Nihonggo? Kung paano ka natutong humawak ng chopsticks? Hindi kase uubra ang kamayan. Spoon and fork, di masyado. Ang sumakay ng densha para makarating sa mga lugar na gusto mong puntahan? Umorder sa restaurant lalo na kung walang picture ang menu? Isa pa, mangumpuni ng device na Japanese lang ang instruction halimbawa? Magpaliwanag ng tunay na saloobin sa kausap gamit ang wika dito...?

Few things to overcome as a newcomer dito. Siguradong marami pang karagdagan sa listahan. Dagdag nyo lang po. Mga ilang taon na ba ang lumipas mula noong una kang tumuntong dito?... Ano ba uso noon? Kumusta ba ang buhay sa Japan noon?

Bilang dayuhan, "Job well done!" po para sa ating lahat. Sa patuloy na pakikisalamuha sa buhay hapones, sulong mga kapatid! Karamihan sa atin, halos sanay na sanay na sa uri ng lifestyle meron ang bansang Hapon. Pero, hindi natatapos dito ang lahat. Hindi ibig sabihin na mahusay ka nang makipagtalastasan gamit ang wikang Nihonggo ay mauunawaan mo na lahat ng sinasabi nila. Lalo pa't hindi sila gaanong expressive gaya nating mga Pinoy, di ba? Minsan, matalinghaga at talaga nga namang kailangan mo ng puspusang pang-unawa. Bagay na nagsasabing... hindi sa lahat ng oras ay maging masyadong kumportable. Napakara-ming kaalaman ang naghihintay sa atin kada araw. Huwag din naman masyadong pwersahin ang super powers. Give way to "refresh" kada sandaling kailanganin. Malaking bagay ito.

Nowadays, marami-raming imbensyon na rin ang sobrang nakakatulong sa atin kumpara noon... Very convenient! "Benri!" sobra. Isang click mo lang dyan sa friendship mong smartphone, ayos na! Walang tayuan sa kinauupuan mo? Okay din! Lahat ng gusto nating malaman, basta may 3G, 4G, o Wifi/Wimax plus super gadget mo, go! Halos spoon-feeding na ang agos ng kasagutan sa mga katanungan natin, di ba? Wow! What a lovely thing nga naman! Salamat talaga sa mga imbentor na ito. Saludo kami sa inyo. Imagine? For instance, nakakausap na natin ng halos libre ang mga kamag-anak natin sa iba't ibang panig man ng mundo. Viber? Skype? Kakao? WhatsApp? Tango? Although, minabuti ko na ring limitahan ang social network activity ko lately. Facebook, i'll see you again some day. Sa ngayon, bakasyon muna ako sayo. Twitter is just right perhaps. Just the same, thank you, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg. People all over the world are really fascinated with your creation. You deserve to be worth that millions and billions! Sharing, socializing with the world is really healthy. Except for "some," minsan it boils down somewhere unpleasant, unconsciously. May mga ilan na nalilihis gawa ng pagkakamali sa paggamit o misuse of the social networking concept at some part. Again, hindi lahat kundi may ilan sa gumagamit nito. Sad to say but some people tend to brag. Some are becoming self-centered in some ways. Moreover, some seem to mislead their once peaceful life instead. But then again, thank you! Precisely, to the genius Mr. Steve Jobs! You will forever be remembered and thanked for. Thank you for making life a little fun, easier and interesting for us. We enjoy bringing thousands of songs and photographs along with us each day in our pockets. Grateful to learn vast of stuffs through certain educational applications in an instant.

Ooops! There is a "sweet reminder" po for each one of us. Lahat po ng meron tayo sa ngayon, lahat ng tinatamasa natin, ine-enjoy ng buong galak sa araw-araw ay pawang hiram at panandalian lamang. Huwag pa din po sana tayong makakalimot sa mga bagay na higit sa kung ano pa man ay magbibigay ng tunay na kahulugan at kaligayahan sa ating pagiging "traveler" dito sa mundo.

Tumbang-preso, habulan, piko, taguan, o luksong-tinik? Uso pa ba 'to?