Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jeepney Press COVER May-June 2012

Cover Art and Design by Dennis Sun  (
Jeepney Press May-June 2012 is out on May 11, 2012 .

Jeepney Press official website is here:

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CENTERFOLD: UTAWIT Through the Years by Irene Kaneko


UTAWIT Through the Years
by Irene Kaneko

From merely an idea eight years ago, the seeds of UTAWIT were sown in the hearts and minds of a few eager and enthusiastic individuals. These seeds were germinated with passion and love. From a few individuals to a flourishing number of concerned groups, from designated regions to the whole nation of Japan, UTAWIT has grown strong & blossomed into a force that would not only promote culture and brotherhood through music but alleviate the lives of less fortunate children.

Now on it’s 8th year, UTAWIT continues to grow in size and number with a noble purpose to give and reach out. Like a flower, Utawit blooms to promote and recognize Filipino talents as mainstream performers in Japan. Like a plant, Utawit aims to develop seeds to enrich cross-cultural appreciation and understanding among Filipinos and Japanese. And like a tree that gives comfort and nourishment to people, Utawit aspires to give hope and better lives to less fortunate families by starting to help educate their children.

Indeed, Utawit, starting from a few seeds, has grown more in number as more and more groups all around Japan unite in sharing Utawit’s vision and mission.

Every year, through Gawad Kalinga, the Utawit Felicity Sibol School was created to change and make better the lives of pre-school children. By helping create positive lives while they are small, we are already creating a better future not only to these children and their families but to the whole world, as well. Like trees in a forest, we are all connected to each other one way or the other. What we give to others, we give to ourselves, also.

In this issue, we asked  winners from the time it started to the current winners how UTAWIT had changed their lives.

Cristina Kanakubo, Saitama
Utawit 2005
2nd Place Winner

For me, joining Utawit was a dream come true! It gave a spark again to my one true love which is singing. Before Utawit, I was just a plain and domesticated housewife. Winning in Utawit 2005 (the very first Utawit) opened many doors for me and my world became bigger! (^_^) I met many people in the many Filipino events I was invited to sing as Utawit winner. It paved the way to open my own business, Karaoke Ponpoko(^O^//, in Saitama. I am now giving voice lessons as well! My husband and 2 kids are very supportive of me. They are always there with me in all my activities.  Utawit really gave back my self-esteem and confidence. ARIGATOU! MORE POWER

Maricar Riesgo, Tokyo
Utawit 2006
Grand Champion

Utawit has changed my life that well coz I had a great chance to meet all the Filipino community here in Japan!!! Most important thing, I was able to connect with them, share what God has given me, inspire more amazing Pinoy singers to join Utawit & be proud to explore their God-given talent.

Arnel Castillo, Tokyo
Utawit 2007
Grand Champion

How did UTAWIT change my life? I earned the respect of people when they come to know that I was an Utawit winner. It feels good that people respect you even though they don't personally know you. "Respect" is what Utawit made of me.

Most importantly, an Utawit winner should constantly support its objectives in their own ways. I love singing but I don’t earn a living by it. So, I promote Utawit to friends and to those who have talent in singing. I've tried to find time to attend auditions and the Grand Finals as support coz being there makes me feel always a part of Utawit.

Richard Martinez, Tokyo
Utawit 2007
3rd Place winner

About "UTAWIT”, nung mag-join ako, napa-kasaya ko at lalong mas nagkaroon ako ng lakas ng loob sa mga singing competition. Nung manalo ako, mas lalo ko pang dinevelop yung singing career ko kaya po malaking pasasalamat ko sa UTAWIT dahil nabigyan ako ng chance na maipakita ko ang talent ko sa pagkanta at sa mga co-singers ko. Never stop singing hanggat hindi nyo naaabot yung dream nyo na manalo sa mga ganitong Singing Contest.
Mercy Ebara, Tokyo
Utawit 2009
Grand Champion

When I won Utawit 2009 as the grand champion, I was overwhelmed with happiness. I also felt that I was really lucky because I won in a prestigious contest that's known all over Japan. For a long while, I actually stopped singing when I got married. But my victory in Utawit 2009 brought many changes in my life. Since then, my passion for singing was brought back to life. There have been numerous offers to me here and there and I could be even watched on You Tube that adds to audience. Most importantly, I'm gaining a lot of fans! Oh, I mean friends :) At present, I’m grouped with a Japanese band with whom I experience to perform in big occassions such as birthday parties, wedding, christmas parties, reunion and get-together parties and many other kinds of celebrations. I've been always busy that sometimes I am having difficulty to divide my time because I also work everyday. Despite the busy schedule, I am really grateful that I won in Utawit because I get to interact with different people and others even become my friends. If only I am allowed to join the competition again, I'd love to! Because more than the winning, I have a chance to help my less fortunate kababayan living in the Philippines through Gawad Kalinga-Sibol. Therefore, to all my kababayan here in Japan, I am inviting and encouraging you to join in the Utawit Regional Qualifying Rounds nationwide. Who knows, you might be the next lucky champion! To all the great people behind Utawit, thank you very much. If it's not for you, the Utawit singing competitions would not have been successful. MABUHAY UTAWIT! I wish you all good-luck!
Bernard Palad, Kyoto
Utawit 2009
2nd Place winner

Singing has been my passion since I was 10 years old. I've only joined some school competition and never tried bigger competition. My passion brought me to live in Japan. Then, after years of stagnant singing career, my innate competitive soul persisted when somebody asked me to try join another contest... and that was UTAWIT. I sang my heart out and won 2nd place in 2010 Grand Finals. UTAWIT became my greatest foundation in my singing career. Winning in this prestigious contest boosted my confidence to represent not just myself but the entire Filipino community in Japan. It broadened my horizon and open new doors to share my talent. Recently, I got an offer from a Japanese label company to produce my first ever album. With all humility, I dedicate my forthcoming album to my fellowmen and I will be forever grateful to be part of UTAWIT!
Dave Aguilar, Kyoto
Utawit 2010
Grand Champion

Definitely, Utawit changed my life. When I won, many people in Osaka and Kyoto were able to know that I can sing. They started to invite me in different events that help me to earn extra money. I received more invitation when I decided to live here in Chiba. I was one of the front act singers twice in Aegis Band concert. Thank you very much to my friends and also my family here in Japan, Romeo Paala, Suzette Paala and Nakahashi family. They helped me to transfer from Osaka to Chiba. I met them because of Utawit.
Marlitz Abangan Ishioka, Aomori
Utawit 2010
2nd Place winner

I miss UTAWIT !!! First and foremost, I am very thankful for having this event every year, for reuniting all Filipino talents in Japan. I'm proud to be part of UTAWIT. It has changed me in a sense that it added confidence and self-esteem in me. Made me think that the road is still "narrow and long" for us, though predicaments go our way, the spirit of artistry conti-nues.

Despite the crisis Japan is experiencing right now, especially the TOHOKU region, I believe that through singing I can do my part to lighten the hearts of the sad. Thank you UTAWIT, for bringing me back to my inclination, singing. Thank you God, for this wonderful gift.
Mark Warren de Luna, Tokyo
Utawit 2011
Grand Champion

This Utawit experience made me believe in dreams again. Dreams like to be noticed with what you think you are good at. My self- confidence in singing really came back. I thought being here in Japan working as an Engineer will not give me the chance to do my one great passion. Utawit gave me that chance to continue fulfill my dreams.

I get to be invited to perform in some events here in Japan. Some private gatherings like performing for our Philippine Ambassador to Japan (Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez) at the official residence, which I never thought I could have the chance. It was such a great honor and overwhelming experience. Invitational performance to charity events have been a blast. Performing and reaching out to our in-need kababayan at the same time proved that singing is also sharing. As Utawit in the first place is not just a singing competition or a network to promote Filipino Talents but also a charitable organization. Utawit opened the door for me to meet good people and gain friends here in Japan.  I am really proud to be a part of Utawit. It sure is one of my memorable moments in my life that I would love to share to everyone.

Florence Liwanag, Chiba
Utawit 2011
2nd Place winner

Utawit made me more inspired to show my singing talent and always do my best in my singing performance. Basta pilitin po ninyong makamit ang tagumpay. Masarap makasama sa Grand Finals ng  Utawit. Napakasaya! At masarap din pong makatulong sa kawang-gawa na magamit ang inyong talento sa pag awit. Pagkapanalo ko sa Utawit, naimbitahan ako agad isa sa mga front act singers ng batikang Band singer tulad ng Aegis at marami pang iba. Masarap din na ma invite as special guest sa mga events. Maraming salamat, Utawit!
Melita Gumatay, Fukuoka
Utawit 2011
3rd Place winner

At first ayaw ko po talagang sumali sa UTAWIT kasi nga parang napanghinaan na ako ng loob sa pagsali sa mga ganyang patimpalak dahil madali akong kabahan at wala akong tiwala sa sarili ko. Pero ng malaman ko na ito ay para sa mga bata na nangangailangan ng tulong thru Gawad Kalinga-Sibol. Agad kong naisip na sumali na. Sabi ko, “LORD, give me a chance na makapag share ako ng tulong sa mga bata na ito.”  Pero hindi marahil kaloob na manalo ako nung unang sumali ako noong 2010. Sabi ko na lang sa sarili ko, ang importante ay nakatayo ako sa stage na yun at nakapag share ako ng awit. I remember pa, may nakasabay ako na isang contestant na malungkot sa elevator dahil hindi kami pinalad nung time na yun. Sabi ko marahil may ibang plan si LORD. Ang importante ay nakapag share na tayo ng malaki noon. Dahil kung wala tayong mga contestants, hindi mabubuo ang event. So marahil ang masasabi kong nabago sa akin ay kung may ganitong mga events na for charity, kailangan i-grab ito dahil ito ang chance na mai-share ang kung anong talent mayroon ang isang tao na makakatulong sa kapwa nya. Hindi ko makakalimutan ang UTAWIT dahil nakatulong ako sa pamamagitan nito at nakarating pa ako sa Tokyo for the first time kaya galak na galak ako.

Shoganai: Gaijin Life by Abie Principe

Shoganai: Gaijin Life
by Abie Principe

Telepono at iba pa (Gadget Addict ka ba?)

Nung nakaraang Marso, umuwi ako sa Pilipinas, una dahil bakasyon sa eskuwelahan ko dito sa Nagoya, at pangalawa, dahil graduation ng aking pamangkin. Hindi naman ako madalas umuwi ng Pilipinas, kaya everytime umuuwi ako, nabubulaga ako sa mga iba't ibang mga na-uuso na bagay-bagay. Isa na nga dito ang mga telepono. Kunsabagay, kahit noon-noon pa man, talagang mahilig sa telepono ang mga Pilipino. Naalala ko pa noong una akong nag-ka cellphone, wow, iba talaga ang feeling! Ang sosy-sosy ng pakiramdam, samantalang hindi naman sobrang hi-tech ng una kong cellphone, Nokia 3310, o di ba? Nalalaman tuloy na hindi ako kasing bata ng mga karamihan ng aming dear readers ng Jeepney Press.

Ngayon, hindi pa rin nawawala ang pagkahilig ng mga Pinoys sa gadgets. Andyan ang iPhone, ang Blackberry, ang Galaxy at kung anu-ano pa. At ito ay mga telepono pa lang. Ang gadgets ay hindi limitado sa telepono, andyan ang tablets, netbooks, music players, and so on and so forth. Walang katapusan ang maaring ilista na mga gadgets. Noong nasa Pilipinas ako, maraming mga graduates ang humihi-ling ng bagong telepono bilang regalo (ang pamangkin ko ay hindi isa sa mga ito, medyo kakaiba siya dahil walang hilig sa telepono), at dalawa ang pinaka-popular na telepono, ang iPhone at ang Blackberry. Medyo nagulat ako, kasi dito sa Japan, hindi ganun ka-popular ang Blackberry. Halos lahat yata ng Pilipino na kilala ko dito naka-iPhone. Medyo na-misteryoso-han ako kung bakit popular ang Blackberry sa Pinas, kaya nagtanong ako sa mga kabataan (meaning, tinanong ko ang mga teenagers and early 20s kong relatives), at nalaman ko na mas-mura daw ang mag-online pag Blackberry ang phone, meron silang tinatawag na BBM, na sa totoo lang, hindi ko masyadong naintindihan, dahil hindi naman ako gumagamit ng Blackberry. But anyway, napansin ko na ang mga kabataan, alam na alam gamitin ang mga gadgets nila, nakakatuwa naman, dahil parang napaka-smart nila kapag nag-e-explain kung paano gamitin ang mga telepono nila. Mabuti naman knowledgable sila, dahil maximized nila ang mga gadgets nila.

Pero marami ring mga tao ang gusto magka-gadget just for the sake of having one. Kung baga, gusto lang masabi na meron sila. Hindi naman nila alam gamitin. Meron pa nga na merong latest phone, meron ring latest tablet at latest netbook, pero hindi naman ginagamit ng lubusan. Mga gadget addicts na ang mga ito, at ito ang darkside ng pag-hahangad ng gadgets. Sayang lang kung bibili ng latest phone tapos hindi naman i-maximize ang capabilities. Dito sa Japan, medyo ok lang to get the latest phone models, kasi kadalasan, zero-yen plan yan. Pero sa Pilipinas, kalokohan ito dahil ang mahal-mahal ng telepono dun, tapos hindi naman gagamitin ng tama. Talagang pang-porma lang. Kunsabagay, pera naman nila yun, and they can spend it anyway they want. Pero ang sa akin lang, mas marami pang mabibili na mas mabuti ang pera nila. Mga bagay na talagang magagamit nila, tulad ng washing machine, o di kaya bagong TV sa bahay, na talagang useful para sa lahat, at hindi isang telepono na pang-porma lang. Meron mga tao, ipagyayabang sa iyo na meron silang latest na telepono,  tapos pag tinanong mo kung ano ang bagong app nila, sasagutin ka ng, “ano ba ang app?” Yan, gadget addict na talaga yan, dapat nang i-rehab.

O, wala pong magagalit, ito naman ay  isang obserbasyon lamang. Dapat when we buy anything, we know what it is for and how to use it, hindi lang pang-porma. O di kaya naman, willing tayong pag-aralan kung paano gamitin ito.  Kung hindi, sayang naman ang hard-earned money natin. Responsible spending, ito ang dapat nating matutunan, hindi lang for ourselves, but also for our families.



Napakaganda ng phrase na pinauso ng isang TV station sa atin – Ako ang Simula. Ibig sabihin, puwedeng mag-iba ang takbo ng buhay kung mayroong willing na magsimula ng pagbabago. Ito ang layunin ng kolum na ito – makahikayat ng mga taong magsisimula nang isang buhay na babago sa nakagisnan na kahirapan.
Salamat po sa ilan nating tagasubaybay na nagbibigay ng appreciation sa ating pagbabahagi ng ilang ‘barya’ ng kaalaman tungkol sa financial literacy. Dalangin ko na sa pamamagitan ng pagsusulat natin dito sa Jeepney Press, marami sa ating mga kababayan ay makakapulot ng ilang gabay tungkol sa mainam na pamamahala ng ating pananalapi.
Marami sa atin na mga Overseas Filipino sa Japan ang nag-aasam na makaahon sa tinatawag na rat race na buhay. Pinapangarap natin ang pagdating ng panahon na hindi natin kailangang magtrabaho para kumain. Sa halip, ang naipon natin ang magbibigay sa atin nang pantustos sa ating pangangailangan at mga gusto sa buhay.
Nakakalungkot  isipin na makalipas ang 20 taon sa Japan, marami pa rin ang bigo na makamit ang pangarap na ito. Ang dahilan – ang kawalan ng maliwanag na ‘mapa’ tungo sa matatag na buhay pinansyal.
Below is a suggested checklist of tasks and financial goals that will bring us to our financial independence. Tingnan mo kung nasaan ka na sa mapang ito. Hindi madali pero posible kung pagsisikapan.

Financial Goals
Step One
This may take one year to two years.
        Magdesisyon na maging financial independent between five to 12 years.
        Pay-off your credit card debts.
        Do not take any more consumer loans.
        Zero-out your credit card debts.
        Set aside Yen100,000 for your emergency fund.
Step Two
This may take one to two years.
        Start building your emergency fund.
        Open a ‘Storehouse’ Bank Account where you can save your emergency fund.
        Increase your savings for emergency fund to Yen500,000.
        Reduce the balance of your outstanding consumer loans, (car loan, multi-purpose loans).
Step Three
This may take one year to three years.
        Protect yourself through insurance.
        Familiarize yourself on different kinds of insurance.

        Increase your savings for emergency fund to Yen1,000,000.
        Zero-out your consumer loans.
        Secure life insurance.
        Secure health care plan.
Step Four
This may take two to three years.

        Look for ways to increase your income through business, investments, etc.
        Increase your financial literacy through seminars, self-study, group discussion, research, etc.
        If you plan to start your own business, study short courses related to your desired business. Do research and get professional advices from experienced and experts in the field.
        If you want to own your own house/condo, this is the right time to consider taking home mortgage loan to finance your purchase.
        Put your emergency fund in high yielding demand deposit accounts. Do not invest in long-term instruments your emergency fund as it must remain easily available once needed.
        Begin savings for your major purchases.
        Begin savings for your retirement.
        Begin savings for children’s education.
Step Five
This may take one to three years.

        Start your business.
        Explore long-term investments.
        Draw up estate plan for your beneficiaries.
        Enjoy life! Teach your children and their children this guide.
        Pay off your Home mortgage loan,
        Children’s education funded.
        Invest wisely in mutual funds, shares of stocks, parcel of land.Note: Jewelries are not investments. They are luxuries. If you can afford them, by all means buy and enjoy them.

Your first step is the most critical one -  the beginning of your journey towards financial independence for yourself and your next generation.  Along the way, you will need discipline, determination and dedication in order to reach your destination. However, the struggles will be worth it. Your future generation will thank you and be forever grateful because you have changed their destiny.
Hindi pa huli. May pagkakataon pa. Puwede mong sabihin ‘Ako ang simula’.

KWENTO Ni NANAY by Anita Sasaki

KWENTO Ni NANAY by Anita Sasaki

Inaanyayahan ko po kayong suportahan po sana ninyo itong proyekto namin na
(Battle of the Bands) para sa TAHANAN  NI  NANAY.

To All Readers :
I am Anita Sasaki, Founder and President of Christian Association Serving Traditional Laymens Evangelization (CASTLE).

Having lived in Japan for almost two decades, I have observed a sharp increase in the number of children and youth in recent years. While most of them have families who cared and helped them to be assimilated to the Japanese society, some have lost identity. Those who left home are displaced
and alone.

Driven by the desire to care for the young and guide them to be good Christians and resposible citizens, a center called "Tahanan ni Nanay" has been conceived to cater to the needs of Filipino and Japanese-Filipino children.  "Tahanan ni Nanay" is envisioned to serve as a temporary shelter
and to provide a venue for education and cultural exchange.

To realize this vision, CASTLE is spearheading an open band competition entitled "Music Barrage 2012" on May 13 (Sunday) at Muzik Hall  from 1:00pm  to raise funds to start the "Tahanan ni Nanay" project.

However, it is evident that the sustainability of "Tahanan ni Nanay" project is financially challenging. In this regard, I would like  to request for your generous support as benefactor to ensure the proper maintenance of the facility and the continuity of programs.

For further details, please feel free to contact me at 080-3457-1640 or thru my email address

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration and financial assistance.

Yours sincerely,

MUKHA by Arlene Dinglasan

MUKHA by Arlene Dinglasan

Nang Dahil sa Facebook


"Super like ko yan, BFF!"

"Ang ganda-ganda mo talaga!!!"

"Pare, sino kasama mo sa picture? Hindi yata si Misis yan ah…"

"Happy birthday to the most beautiful girl in the world!"

"Ay, ang swerte mo naman --- may picture kayo ng ex kong si Gabby! hehehe"

Sigurado ako, pamilyar kayo sa mga ito:

• Pictures at sangkatutak na pictures ng apple-picking, grape-picking, pati na nose-picking
• Weekly FilCom events, birthday parties part 1 to part 5 to part di na mabilang
• Daily updates ng profile pictures
• Three…four…five times sa isang araw na pagpapalit ng status
• Bolahan sa comments section
• Sangkatutak na "like" ng pictures, status, at comments
• Daan-daan o libo-libong friends

Yan ang Facebook! Walang pinipiling edad, kasarian, estado sa buhay o ano pa man --- bata, matanda, may sariling computer or cellphone o wala --- kapag wala kang Facebook account, hindi ka in! Que sejodang makigamit ka pa ng phone ng iba o mag-ubos ng pera sa computer rental…makapag-Facebook lang!

Obviously, maraming napapala ang Facebook users kaya maraming naaadik dito. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nagkikita-kitang muli ang mga magkakaklase o school mates sa elementary, high school at college. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nakakapaglaro ng mga games ang mga bata o gustong bumalik sa pagkabata. Nang dahil sa Facebook, mas madali nang mag-invite sa mga events, at magpromote ng mga projects. Nang dahil sa Facebook, mas madali na'ng magkwento tungkol sa kanya-kanyang lakwatsa at adventures. Nang dahil sa Facebook, wala na'ng pwedeng makalimot ng birthday ng may birthday. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nagkakaroon ng support system ang mga pare-parehong nanay, o pare-parehong estudyante, o may pare-parehong hobbies. Nang dahil sa Facebook, sumisikat ang mga quotations na ginaya sa iba. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nagkakaboypren at gelpren ang mga single. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nagkakaroon ng extra boypren at gelpren ang mga kunwari single o aminadong double.

Kung minsan, nang dahil sa Facebook, nagkakabistuhan kung sino talaga ang mga single, double at extra double. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nawawalan ng trabaho ang mga nag-sick leave pero nabistong nakipag-date lang pala. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nabibisto ng mga nanay na may boypren na pala ang teenager nila. Nang dahil sa Facebook, nae-expel ang mga estudyanteng lumalabag sa school rules. Nang dahil sa Facebook, may mga friends o lovers na bigla na lang nag-aaway at nagpaparinigan sa status at comments. Nang dahil sa Facebook, hindi na nag-uusap ng harapan kahit mag-asawa. Nang dahil sa Facebook, maraming nakakalimot kumain o uminom o matulog dahil sa kakatingin ng pictures, kakabasa ng mga comments at kakasawsaw sa usapan ng may usapan na lalong nagiging sanhi ng paglaki ng away at chismis.

Anupa't tila hindi maipagkakaila ang influence ng social media sa ating pakikisalamuha sa tao at sa mga relasyong nabubuo, lumalago o nasisira ng dahil din dito. Maraming pindot na lang ng pindot ng "like" button kahit hindi naiintindihan ang post na sinasabi nyang gusto nya. Kung ang post pala ay "Kakali-bing lang ng pusa kong namatay sa cancer," ano ang likeable doon? May iba namang araw-araw kung mag-iba ng profile pictures para araw-araw din nyang nababasa ang mga comments na "Wow, ang ganda mo talaga! Bongga!" At mayroong ibang invite lang nang invite sa games para may makasama sya sa kanyang addiction sa paglalaro. At marami rin namang accept lang nang accept ng friends para humaba ang list of friends nila.

Walang masama sa mga ito. Kung minsan naiisip ko lang, sa dami ng friends sa Facebook na kasalamuha natin sa computer o cellphone, gaano talaga kalalim ang friendships sa pagitan ng bawat isa? Halimbawa, kung meron kang 5000 na "Facebook friends", ilan dito ang kalaro mo lang talaga sa virtual games? Ilan naman ang nilalampasan mong basahin sa News Feed dahil hindi ka naman talaga interesado sa buhay nila? Ilan ang pinagsasawaan mo nang makita dahil every two hours nag-a-update ng status? Ilan ang kinagigiliwan mo talagang kapalitan ng comments? Ilan ang tinitingnan mo lang ang pictures para may masagap na chismis? Ilan naman ang madalas mo talagang sinusubaybayan dahil ang mga posts nila ay nakakalibang, nakakatuwa, nakaka-inspire, nakaka-encourage o original nilang katha? Ilan sa 5000 ang enjoy ka talagang makita sa personal para makasamang magkape o kumain sa labas? Ilan ang lihim mong kinakainisan? Ilan ang inaanyayahan mo sa iyong tahanan? Ilan ang talagang malapit sa iyong puso? At ilan ang maaasahan mong tawagan sa oras na ang gusto mo ay higit sa virtual na "like" lamang, dahil kaila-ngan mo lang ng kausap tungkol sa kung anong malalim na bumabagabag sa iyong puso?

Maraming naaadik sa social media, particularly sa Facebook. Nang dahil sa Facebook, para bang magkakaibigan nga ang lahat ng tao sa napakalaking mundo. Sana lang, nang dahil sa Facebook, magkaroon nga tayo ng malalalim, malalago at meaningful na friendships sa bawat sariling maliit na mundo.



 ni Fr. Bob Zarate


Kagagaling ko lang ng Portugal and Spain last April 3.  Isinama ako as chaplain or accompanying priest ng Gloria Boys’ Choir, the only boys’ choir in Japan na ang main list of songs ay mga classical religious latin songs.  Itinatag ito more than 50 years ago dito sa simbahan ng Kamakura (Perpetual Help Church) bilang isang choir para sa misa (Latin lang ang misa noon), parang patterned after the Vienna Boys’ Choir o yung choir sa Vatican.  Puro lalaki ang members (kaya nga boys’ choir!) at ang mga present leaders, organizers at teachers -- some of them, professional musicians! -- ay mga former members din.  May mga babae na rin silang teachers who serve as pianists at voice instructors lalo na sa mga soprano at alto na bata.  Ang pinakabata sa main choir ay mga Grade 2 pa lamang at ga-graduate ka from the group after high school.  Pero may mga nagsisimula pa mula kindergarten.  May mga concerts din sila during the year pero ang pinaka-aabangan ay yung ginaganap sa Yukinoshita Catholic Church sa Kamakura every December 23, na kung saan ay kinakanta nila ang buong MESSIAH by Handel, kabilang dito ang sikat na naririnig nating Handel’s Hallelujah. 

Kasama namin sa Portugal-Spain Tour na ito ang chamber orchestra, na kinabibilangan din ng mga professional musicians sa larangan ng classical music dito sa Japan.  All in all, mga 90 people kami transported by 3 buses to Santarem, Portugal at sa Carmona at Toledo sa Spain.  Very much honored ako to be part of this choir... yes, part din ako ng basses (kasama ang mga high school at mga former members na nag-reinforce ng tenors at basses)!  This is the first time that a Filipino has entered this choir (since I have joined 3 concerts in the past, too).  This is also the first time na makaranas akong makapag-tour with a choir sa ibang bansa.  Nakakapagod ang pressure.  Pero sulit din naman with all the pasyal and the companionship that you feel with the members who are all very respectful at seryoso sa kanilang ginagawa. 

Allow me to share things that I have learned during this tour, lalung-lalo na yung mga bagay na maa-aring makatulong sa atin bilang mga Pilipino:

Perfection is an attitude that we Filipinos should have.  Kung si Lea Salonga nga kailangan pang mag-practice kahit na kinanta na nya ang song na iyon for like 1,000 times.  “Practice makes perfect,” ika nga.  At nakita ko iyan sa mga batang kasama ko.  Isang batang Grade 2, kumakanta ng pagkahaba-habang kanta sa Latin?  Practice is the key!  Kaya huwag lang makuntento sa sheer talent.  Kahit may talent ka na, mag-practice ka pa rin.  Ibanat ang mga muscle na iyan.  Always give the best!  Go to the next level lagi.  Kung magaling ka na sa isang bagay, huwag makuntento.  Kailangang maging MAS MAGALING ka pa... kasi Pilipino ka!

Ang nakakatuwa sa boys’ choir na ito, 5 lang ang Katoliko sa mga bata at 2 sa mga teachers nila.  Pero ugali nilang magdasal before and after practice.  May kinakanta din silang prayer before and after meals.  Bago sila umalis for abroad, at pagdating nila sa simbahan, kahit pagod na pagod na sila, request pa rin nilang may prayer and blessing sila mula sa pari.  Lagi rin nilang hinihiling sa pari na magkaroon sila ng misa sa kanilang summer intensive camp.  Para sa kanila, importante ang prayer.  Buti na lang dala ko ang holy water at prayer book ko noon!  Nakailang beses din akong nag-lead ng Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer at Prayer before the concert.  Naka
ilang beses din akong nag-bless with holy water sa kanilang lahat.  Sana ganyan din tayo.  Before and after any meeting, any practice or any activity, sana nagdadasal tayo.  Isama mo ang dasal sa iyong gawain... kasi Pilipino ka!

Sa 11 days na wala kami, siguro nakapag-casual clothes ang mga bata ng tatlong beses lang.  Almost the whole time, naka-uniform sila ng boys’ choir attire -- white shirt, gray sweatshirt at maroon necktie... pati sa eroplano!  Sa pasyal lang sila puwedeng mag-rubber shoes.  During the concert, of course, naka-white sila, with a big cross... at leather shoes!  Yung mga sumamang former members hindi rin nagpatalo sa mga bata... lagi silang naka-suit with necktie ha!  Tapos very organized sila in their movements.  Natutuwa nga ang mga tao when they were moving around in lines.  Kaya walang batang nawawala.  At ang mga middle and high school boys were very responsible.  Alam nila naandoon sila for concerts at hindi for fun.  Sana ganyan din tayong mga Pilipino.  Pinagyayabang nating masayahin tayo at spontaneous, pero ganoon din naman ang mga batang ito.  Nung binigyan sila ng time for soccer and dodgeball, balik-bata talaga lahat!  ALAM NILA NA DAPAT NASA LUGAR  ANG UGALI NILA.  Kaya din natin ito... kasi Pilipino tayo!  Huwag sana tayong mahulog sa mga usual na palusot na, “Eh gusto kong maging masaya eh!” or “Eh boring naman talaga ang mga Hapon na yan!” at kung anu-anong kayaba-ngan na kung tutuusin ay wala naman talaga tayong maipagyayabang.

First time kong pumunta sa abroad na halos ang salita ko ay Nihonggo.  Dati kasi lagi kong kasama, kung hindi mga relatives ko, mga pari na galing Pilipinas. This time, bilang na bilang ang mga beses kung kailangan hindi ako nagsalita ng Nihonggo.  Pero ang maganda dito ay nagsilbi din akong interpreter from time to time, lalo na kung marunong magsalita ng English ang kausap o kung ang sinasabi nilang Spanish o Portuguese ay madali namang maintindihan.  Importante nga talaga na mahasa tayo sa language kung nasaan tayo ngayon.  Sa case natin, sa Nihonggo.  Take time to master Japanese.  Hindi sa komo nakapagsasalita ka na, puwede na yan.  Go to the next level.  Master the respectful words.  Master reading or writing na rin.  Huwag magpatalo sa “Wala na akong time eh” na reason.  If there’s a will, there’s a way.  Ako nga, doon ko rin na-realize (at pinagsisihan din!) na sana mas naging seryoso ako sa aking Spanish!  Sayang.  Pero dahil Pilipino tayo, kaya nating mag-master ng ibang language nang mabilis!

Naaalala ko noong maliit pa ako, ang dating sa akin ng mga Espanyol ay mga mananakop at mang-aagaw ng lupa.  Para sa akin, kontrabida sila.  Para sa akin, wala na silang ginawa kundi lupigin ang ating kalayaan.  Pero noong nasa Spain kami, nakita ko na marami talaga sa kaugalian ng mga Espanyol ang nasa atin ngayon.  Of course, nandyan na ang ating Catholic faith, ang pagkakagawa ng ating mga simbahan, ang ating mga Catholic traditions, din.  Of course, nandyan din ang mga pagkain nilang akala ko minsan ay kumakain ako ng pochero o adobo!  Pero bukod pa diyan, nakita ko na maraming mga posters sa mga pader at mga kalat sa kalye... akala ko eh nasa Pilipinas ako noon, kung hindi lang sa Espanyol na nakasulat dito.  Tapos, kung tumawag sila ng tao, sumisitsit!  On the positive side, mahilig din sila sa physical affection... hawak sa braso, sa balikat, may kaunting akbay, o kaya embrace.  Gulat nga yung isang teacher naming babae kasi pinaghahalikan siya sa pisngi ng isang matabang, matandang lalaki dahil medyo malapit ang mukha niya sa isang Espanyola.   Kaya kahit na ituon pa natin ang galit sa mga Espanyol dahil sa ating pagka-Pilipino ngayon, wala na tayong magagawa doon.  Ang importante lamang ay ituloy ang mga magagandang namana natin mula sa kanila... at dapat nga mas magaling na tayo kaysa sa kanila!  Our Spanish Heritage has given us our uniqueness as Filipinos in the world!  We should actually be proud of it.  Kaya natin ito, kasi Pilipino tayo!

Walang Sabit by Arleniks

Beep-Beep! by Jose Miguel Parungao

DAISUKI by Dennis Sun

by Dennis Sun


It’s siesta time! My mother shouts each one of our names. We are all seven siblings! It’s time to give mother a massage. She’s on the bed waiting.

We used to hate this time. Not only was it so hot in the Philippines during siesta, but it was also boring giving someone a massage since all we cared for, as little kids, was to play our games.

My mother loves a foot and a head massage. I usually give my mother a great head massage so she will fall asleep soon thus making me escape the foot massage. I just had to be sure she is deep in her sleep so I can cut the 10 minutes to half time and join my siblings with their games. I just needed to hear that magic sound…the beautiful sound of her snore!

I was still a young boy. So, I wondered why my mother loves a massage. Can’t she just play games like her children? I bet that was more fun than lying down on the bed getting a massage. That seemed pretty boring for me then.

Now several years later, I found myself wearing the shoes of my mother. I don’t only love massages. I am addicted to them! Every week, I am looking forward to getting one. Although I get free access of massage chair use and water massages everyday at the gym or at some spas, the human touch is totally different!

If you have extra money, do invest in getting a massage. A massage can help you maintain physical, mental and emotional well being. It calms the nervous system and promotes a sense of relaxation. It reduces tension and anxiety. It improves blood circulation, helps in pain management, and prevents getting other diseases. A simple massage can do many more good things.

A friend of mine was so stressed and exhausted from work that she opted to buy the latest massage chair. She said all she was looking forward after a day’s work now is to go back home and sit on her throne, the expensive massage chair! She turns on her CD and plays a nice relaxation music and falls asleep on her chair that she doesn’t put out her futon from the closet anymore. I asked her about the price. She said it doesn’t bother her since she was able to get a 2 year installment loan for it.

In Japan, a regular 10 minute massage costs 1,000 yen. So an hour massage costs 6,000 yen. If you get an aroma massage or an oil massage, the price can add up. In the Philippines, you can find 200-250 peso massage for an hour. And maybe give an additional 50 pesos tip. That’s about 500 yen for an hour! I highly recommend everyone to get massages when you go back to the Philippines. You can do it everyday but try getting different kinds of massages. There are shiatsu, Swedish, Thai, oil, aroma, salt scrub and even our very own Hilot! I must confess I had never experienced getting a hilot massage. Thus, I am looking forward to getting one when I go back home especially from an authentic albularyo!
However, be extra careful as massage is not a good idea if you have fever, infections, inflammation, and other medical conditions. It’s better you ask the advice of the massage therapist whether it would be right for you or not.

The power of touch has miraculous effects for everyone: from the healthy to the weak, young to old, from the athlete to the terminally sick, from the exhausted home mother to the stressed executive. Try this wonderful and relaxing drug-free therapy. It’s a non-bitter but enjoyable treatment! Just ask your body if you need a massage. You will know. If your body doesn’t need a massage and you get one, you will just feel itchy and you just want to end it as soon as possible.

Doc Gino’s 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:

Mga Tanong Ukol sa Pagkabaog
(Questions About Infertility)

Tanong (T): Doc Gino, magandang araw po sa inyo. ako po ay 32 y/o na ang aking asawa ay 33 y/o. kami po ay halos 10 years ng kasal pero sa hanggang ngayon po ay hindi pa kami binibiyayaan ng anak. regular po ang mens, kaya lang palagi pong advance ng 1 week, monthly po yun. ang work ko po ay sa office ganun din po ang asawa ko..hihingi lang po sana ako ng payo o opinion kung papano po ako magbubuntis. gustong gusto na po talaga naming magka anak.
Doc G (DG): Mas mainam kung ikaw at ang iyong asawa ay magpasuri pareho. Nangangailangan ka ng isang gynecologist upang malaman ang sanhi ng infertility. Ang iyong asawa naman ang kailangan ng isang urologist upang masuri ang kanyang semilya.

T: Katulad din po nila ako, nais ng magka-baby, ako po ay 31 y/o at ang aking asawa nman ay 31 y/o din, we’re married for 4 years na po, regular nman po ang monthly period ko, computershop ang business namin for 2 years, dalawa kaming nagma-manage nito ngayon, dati pong welder ang asawa ko abroad for 6 years, maari po bang sanhi rin ito ng hindi kaagad namin pagkakaroon ng baby? nagkonsulta n rin po ako sa OB, sabi po mag hintay-hintay lng po kami, anu po bang VITAMINS ang maipapayo mo sa aming mag-asawa, para tumaas ang chance na magka- baby na kami, Maraming salamat po, & more power.
DG: Kung sa iyo ay walang problema ayon sa iyong gynecologist, maaaring sa iyong asawa ang sanhi ng hindi mo pagdadalang tao. Ipakonsulta ang iyong asawa sa espesyalista sa ari ng mga lalaki o "urologist." Susuriin ang kanyang ari at semilya upang malaman kung dito nagmumula ang problema. Ang pagkain ng wasto, maraming gulay at sapat na karne ay hindi kayang tumbasan ng mga vitamins.

T: hi po dr. gino ask ku lang po kung pwede magbuntis ang may sakit na mayoma at anung edad po ang pwedeng dapuan nito? nakakahawa po ba ang mayoma o namamana? may pinsan po kasi ako madali lang xa mabuntis pero pag dating po ng 6 months lagi xa nakukunan sabi po ng doctor na pinagkukunsultahan nya dahilan daw po un ng sakit nya na mayoma tulad po ngayon nakunan po ulit pero 1 month na po na wala tigil menstruation nya, maari po ba xa magka-anak? sana po masagot nyo salamat po and more power...
DG: Ang "mayoma" ay bukol sa matres o bahay bata. Ito ay nangyayari sa 60% ng mga kababaihan at hindi nakakahawa o namamana. Kapag lumaki ito, maaaring maging sanhi ng problema sa regla, pagkabaog o parating nakukunan. Ang pagsusuri ng isang "gynecologist" ay makakatulong upang ito at masolusyonan, at nang makapagdalang-tao.

T: hi doc, gaya po ng tanung nila dahil kami din po ng asawa ko hindi nabibiyayaan ng anak almost 3yrs. na po kaming live-in at 25 y/o n po ako at ang asawa ko nmn po ay 30 y/o iregular po ang mens ko at last 2008 na-diagnose po n my polysystic ako. ang asawa ko nmn po last feb. 2010 nag-take ng radiation for his hyper thyroidism. tanung ko lang po kung malabong magka-anak pa po kami? maraming salamat po doc.
DG: Hindi naman lahat ng may "polycystic ovarian syndrome" (PCOS) at nag "radiation therapy" ay hindi nagkaka-anak. Mas mainam kung ikaw ay magpasuri sa isang "gynecologist" at ang iyong asawa naman ay magpasuri sa isang "urologist" upang makita kung ano ang dahilan ng inyong "infertility." Kung ang mga ito ay malalaman at maitatama sa pamamagitan ng tamang lunas, may tsansa na ikaw ay magdalang-tao na.

SHORT-CUTS by Farah Trofeo-Ishizawa

by Farah Trofeo-Ishizawa

First Cut
The deadline for this article was a few days ago, but I requested Jeepney Press for an extension because I wanted to take some photographs of the Hanami last April 8th.

Second Cut
For all of us who are in Japan, we all know what “Hanami” is all about, diba?
Pero, sa mga baguhan at sa mga nasa Pilipinas, please allow me to write about it.

Third Cut
Hanami comes from two words – Hana which means flower, and Mi, which is derived from the verb “Miru” which means to watch. Put them together, that would give you an idea of what it represents.

The beauty of the Cherry Blossoms, or "Sakura,” is appreciated by most Japanese.
For many, it reminds them of a new start - that comes with Spring. April in Japan is the "beginning of a new year." It is "the start" of a new year for students, and for fresh graduates who will enter their new companies, a new life. So, the blooming of the cherry blossoms can mean a lot to more people who are in this phase of their lives.

Fourth Cut
The beauty of these flowers is also so much appreciated because - we wait for them to bloom for a year, and they only stay for a week or two.

Personally, when I am in Japan, I enjoy my birthday because the sakuras are usually in full bloom. :D

Fifth Cut
During this time, many people flock to the parks as early as possible to reserve their places under these trees. They pack their food, or buy them from the nearby department stores or shops. Whatever it is, they come prepared with their food, drinks, and “blue sheets” or picnic mats. :D

Sixth Cut
Many people get drunk and do “foolish acts” to attract attention. Recently, some parks do not allow “alcoholic drinks.”. Therefore, before going to the park, be sure to check which park will allow you to drink. (Wink, wink !! )

In the park where we were at, there were some foolish guys trying to make their party very lively. Even in the absence of beer and wine, I saw one guy who wore a wig, and a black swimsuit, and he started to dance in front of his friends. For me, it was not funny at all, but for him at least, he got the attention he wanted. Chaaa-la ! C’est la vie !

Seventh Cut
It is this time that families, friends get together. They have a good time at the same time, they appreciate the flowers. In the end, what matters most is that you have a good time with the company you are with.

Here’s to a celebration of new life, and even new friendships. “Kampai!”

So next year, if you missed the Hanami, try to go to one.

God Bless –Mama Mary loves us !

Guilty Ka Rin? by Isabelita Manalastas -Watanabe

Guilty Ka Rin?
by Isabelita Manalastas -Watanabe

Bago ang lahat, isang pagbati sa lahat ng mga nanay, lalo iyong mga working mothers, at saka iyong mga nanay na malayo sa piling ng kanilang mga anak.

I fall in both categories, having worked all my life since after graduation from the university.  And for the past seven (7) years, I have been away from my son.  Still am…

Even during the time I was living with him, actually even from the time I have brought him into this world without of course his consent, without assurances that I could give him a loving, secured and a happy life, I have asked myself, kaya ko ba?  Will I be a good mother?  Will he turn out alright?

Guilt, guilt, guilt.  Tons of it.

Guilt: for not being able to take care of my son myself.
Envy:  for the affection he has, obviously much more than he had towards me when he was a toddler, towards his yaya.

Shock: during the time I went home to the Philippines to take him back to Tokyo after 1 ½ months of stay there for his orthopedic consultations, he did not recognized me as he run towards his yaya.

Shame: when I come home from my very long hours at work, tired and hungry, and just wanting to lie down and sleep, and not having enough patience to listen to the little nothings that he wanted to say to me, or to respond when he tells me “Mama, let’s play.”

Shame: for having lost my temper, raising my voice reprimanding him after what was a nice day with him in Disneyland, because he has become so grouchy, and having all those tantrums.

I read a lot of books, having had no experience on how to raise a child.  I found out that it is not really the number of hours spent with our children that really matters, but the quality time we are able to spend with them.  Better have one solid hour of good, happy, and enjoyable moment with our children, than having a lot of time but not really giving them full attention and loving care.

I started to change.  I should not feel guilty being a working mother.  My son, from his very early age, knew that I was out the whole day, only because I had to work.  He knew I did not go to parties, I did not spend time socializing with friends, only home – work – home.

Of course, as all “guilty” mothers like me probably do, I have bought him a lot of toys, and other material things money can buy.  To compensate maybe for my lack of time with him? The same as what many Filipino mothers in Japan whose children are in the Philippines are probably also doing? Remit money to their loved ones there, not only to pay for basic things like food, education, clothing and shelter, but to buy their children toys, and all those modern gadgets like cellphones, computers, etc.?

Last time, I went for consultations with my Japanese lady doctor. She told me she now has a person helping her take care of her small daughter.  She told me that this Filipina baby sitter is a very nice lady, and confided in her that this Filipina lady is herself also a mother of small children whom she has left in the Philippines, to come to Japan, to earn and support their daily living and soon, their educational expenses. Imagine, one mother taking care of another woman’s child, so that she can also “take care” of her children living thousands of miles away.  Isang dakilang ina.

So all mothers out there – let us not feel guilty being away and working our butts, trying to give the best that we could, to our children back home!

If our children know that we are away from them only because we have to, and that we are abroad only because we could find better employment here, and that we are not here to enjoy but to also make a lot of sacrifices, that with a sufficient income we can support our children’s many needs, including giving them the best education there is, then they will turn out to be good kids. 

I read a study made in the Philippines (sorry I could not recall the proponent) on children of OFWs.  The study’s objective was to compare how children of at least one absentee parent fare in school, as compared to children with both parents staying with them.  The theory was that children with absentee parents will fare lower in academic achievement, than those with both parents there to guide the children.  The results?  There was not that much difference.  In fact, the children of OFWs fared even much better in some areas. 

My son was 16 when I left Japan for Europe for an assignment lasting four years.  He was then in junior high here in Tokyo.   We decided that it is better for him to stay with me wherever I will be based.  My husband and I met with the principal of Marymount International School in Rome, for his enrolment there.  But as things are in Italy, it took a long time before I could get my work permit and when I finally got it, there is not enough time anymore to petition for my son, in time for the start of school. 

We decided to enroll him in the US,  so that he could already establish his residency there, for cheaper cost of tuition when he enters university.  While he was safe in the care of his ninang and my best friend, he was at that tender and difficult age, when we parents worry endlessly about them being involved in drugs and sex.  Another of those experimentation we parents are subjected to, at various stages of the growth of our children – should we be very strict? will it be better if we are lenient?  

I read, read, and read, many books on child rearing and parenting.  I consulted time and again, my own mother who herself was also a working mother when we, her 6 children were growing up.  And of course, I prayed, and prayed very hard for  guidance and strength, so that all those trials and errors I had to do will result in more good things than bad.

But at 16, children are already mature and old enough to know and feel that we really love and care for them, despite the fact that we are away, or unable to spend long hours with them.  They know that whenever and wherever we could, we spend quality time with them.  And they also realize the conveniences brought by those various material things which could afford to buy because we are employed.

Fast forward to the present

JC is now 21.  He continues to do very well in school (graduated with honors in high school, and is now enrolled in one of the best universities in the US). He passed the stage of a puppy love; fell in love again, and fell out of love.  We are still unable to talk frequently because of the time difference, or due to our conflicting schedules. But when we do, and when we exchange emails, we both know we miss each other very much, that we both love and respect each other, and that he is the son that any mother could be very proud of.

Yes, proud of a son who returned back to me all those post-dated cheques I have issued to him, for his monthly allowance, telling me “Ma, I have enough,” referring to his income earned doing part-time work after school, in a movie house, selling pop-corn and sweeping floors.

Yes, I felt guilty many, many times in the past.  I have committed many mistakes along the way, trying to succeed in my career, while also doing my best to be a good mother.  I still feel somewhat robbed of all the good things I could have shared with my son – those school plays I missed, those times when I could have sat with him to help him do his assignments, those happy and memorable moments that could have been much happier and more memorable, had they been shared with him.

By the time this article comes out of the press, I will be with my son, spending few but very precious moments with him.  In another year or so, I hope to be there with other parents, to witness his graduation.  Maybe even to meet my (final, future) daughter in law, who I hope I could share with, all those parenting trials and errors, so that my future grand children, can turn out to be the best of them all.


SIDE TRIPS by Jackie Murphy

by  Jackie Murphy

High School Reunions

Sa dami ng mga Filipinos around the globe sigurado akong kahit minsan ay nakauwi na sila sa kani-kanilang mga sariling bayan at probinsiya.

Itanong ko lang kung nakaranas na rin ba silang mag-high school reunion? O dili kaya'y minsan na bang sumagi sa kanilang isipan kung ano na kaya ang nangyari sa kanilang mga high school friends, bestfriends at mga crushes nila noong kanilang mga kapanahunan? O sige kahit hindi na yung mga super valedictorian at salutatorian noong araw kahit yung mga kilala na lang nila sa entire campus...yung mga tipong celebrity status ang dating. Nagkatuluyan ba ang mag-sweethearts na kilalang-kilala nila noon? Marami ang mga nakakatuwang true-to-life stories like...akalain mong nagkatuluyan si ganito at si ganyan. Meron din namang nakakagimbal as in super shocking na... maagang namaalam sa mundo si ganyan...tapos ikaw naman dahil sa sobrang wala kang kabali-balita, deadma lang...sabay sobrang laki ng mata mo sa gulat as in...Who killed Magellan? Sagot mo naman: Is he dead? O dili kaya...nalulong sa bisyo si ganito at si ganyan. Mapapabuntung-hininga ka at mapapalakas ang kabog ng dibdib mo talaga sa mga super taas ng antenna ng mga high-tech na balita these days.

Pero para sa akin ang Cinderella story pa rin ang pinaka-inspiring sa lahat...naging doktor o abogado o engineer na si ganito...super yaman na ang dati mong seatmate na si ganito. Sa super dami ng mga most current updates kulang talaga ang the in...hihirit ka pa talaga dahil kulang na kulang ang oras madugtungan lang talaga ng super updates ang listahan mo sa lahat ng mga naging kaklase mo...dagdagan pa ng mga gusto mo rin updates sa mga sikat sa campus niyo noon...dagdagan ang hair para sa bakasyon kung puwede lang.
Hayyyzzz...Inaamin kong isa na ako doon sa mga hindi in HINDI PA TALAGA nakaranas makadalo ng high school reunion as in grand reunion. I missed a grand one 8 years ago and another one last year. Buti na lang at may Facebook at Twitter na ngayon to update us up with forthcoming events. Kahit pa long distance or overseas...lahat connected na in short messages, voice callings or conference calls...buti nga inabot pa namin ang technology na ito.

At nitong huli kong bakasyon (just last month), nakakatuwang isipin at siyempre nakakataba ng puso na marami din pala sa high school batchmates ko ang gusto akong makita. Kochira koso (ganun din ako sa kanila) gustong-gusto ko rin silang in super-excited!

Itinaon kong Sabado, March 24th nagpatawag ako ng munting salo-salo para sa lahat ng mga makakadalong batchmates ko from Cabugao Institute, my alma mater, Batch '81. Everyone was welcome! Siyempre a week earlier, coordinated na yan sa aming butihing president, Mr. Bobby Ubungen. Nung una kinabahan ako kasi yung venue baka malayuan ang mga attendees. Ganoon pa man still our energetic and kind president pa rin ang gumawa ng paraan para lalong mapalapit kami sa venue. Muntik ko nang di kayanin ang super special treatment na yun! Isa-isang nagbitbit ng kontribyusyong pagkain, maiinom, barbecue, salad, pulutan at kung anu-ano pa ang dabarkads hanggang sa ang inaakala kong simpleng salo-salong puto at kutsinta with softdrinks lang ay humantong na pala sa mini-reunion na rin! May sayawan, kantahan, kantiyawan, duet at take note: may kasama pang professional pianist at violinist...o saan ka pa! Noon ko lang din natuklasan na meron palang itinatagong talento sa pagkanta at pagsayaw ang iba ko pang mga batchmates na ni minsan ay hindi ko nakitang nagpakitang-gilas noon sa iskul... haha... Kuwentuhan... Inuman... Siyempre yung old style nating Pinoy pag pinapakanta ay ayaw. Bumubuwelo pa lang eh. At nung naka-Tanduay Ice na...ayun...di na mapakali ang mic...kanya-kanyang hila na...kanya-kanyang gawa...hahahaha...

Hindi maubos-ubos ang mga true-to-life story-telling, kasiyahan, kakenkoyan, alaskahan, kuwentuhan at siyempre kantiyawan. Paano ba naman kasi may mga di pa madali't sabi: mga binata at dalaga pa rin hanggang ngayon (isa na ako doon...whatever...) Halos lahat may mga tsikiting na at taken na taken na. May iba naman nabiyuda nang maaga. Tuksuhan to the max pero huwag ka ng dahil sa mga tuksuhan na yun eh may mga nagkatuluyan kaya! Kaya on-going pa rin ang walang-kamatayang match-making. Sa tagal na rin siguro ng panahon at obviously sa edad, may puti na ang mga buhok namin. Yung iba itim pa rin kahit pilit nang kinulayan. Ang mga boys matipuno at super-guwapings pa rin ang mga tindig at ang mga girls nandoon pa rin ang mga high school charm na di pa masyadong kailangang daanin sa gayuma ng kuwintas ni Nardong Putik o sa feng shui...dahil until now, all natural pa rin ang beauty.

Kulang na kulang ang oras na yun para punuan ang tatlongpu't isang taon na di kami nagkita-kita. Deep in our hearts we do still feel the longing for each other and very much aware how much time we've missed. Ang saya-saya. Ayoko na sanang banggitin pero siyempre: may iyakan din...Hindi dahil sa alaalang di pinakopya ang seatmate noon kundi dahil sa kung ano na ang buhay na narating na namin ngayon pagkatapos ng maraming unos na pinagdaanan, pagpupursigi at pagsisikap sa mga nagdaang dekada. Masarap pakinggan ang mga rags-to-riches na kuwento ng iba kong mga batchmates. Some of them now have either wealth or fame or both. Some of them are holding good positions in topnotch hospitals, judiciary, military, government offices and private practices. Some of my classmates are already in Hawaii and other parts of the U.S., enjoying luxurious and happy lives with their families. Others are in Australia, Europe and other parts of the globe. And would you believe one of them even was a board in No. 1...Wow! Everyone is in awe...!!! Nakaka-inspire talaga sila.

Siyempre kung may super success meron namang tama lang. Meron namang super-sikap pa rin to the max until now as in never give up na galing ng Pinoy. Yung iba naman sa sobrang pagmamahal sa pamilya may nawala sa laot. Yung iba naman mahahabag ka talaga dahil nawala hindi sa bundok kundi... sa sarili and with this we symphatize. Ang hindi lang masyadong nakakatuwa, super-kainis at nakakakulo ng dugo, we also have not forgotten a very few who have given shame and became a disgrace to the batch...kinarir lang naman ang pagbebenta ng gamot... bawal nga lang... hayyyzzz... Life is a choice at choice niya yan...kaya doon tayo sa usapang mas masaya at matino... hmmmp...

Basta ang alam ko masaya ang mga or high school or college lalo na kung makakadalo lahat. Kaya kung magre-reunion ngayon pa lang mag-isip na ng motif: dress code kung 70s or 80s or 90s ba? Sabayan mo ng rhythm of music ng napiling dekada... parlor games, bingo games, prizes, donors, etc. It takes time to organize a once-in-a-lifetime event. Sumali ka at maki-balita. IKAW ANG BIDA DIYAN... kaya don't miss it!

To this date, I'm looking forward to the next golden jubilee reunion ng batch namin in 2014 and by then sana lahat kami ay nandoon. Subukan mo at para di ka mahuli sa balita mag-open ka na ng Facebook o Twitter account mo at siyempre: BE UPDATED! Huwag nang matigas ang ulo... Ikaw din once-in-a-lifetime lang ito...

Happy reunion...
Happy reading!!!

(To all my friends and batchmates of Cabugao Institute Batch ‘81 who joined me during my last vacation in Cabugao and Manila, maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong pagdalo. Everywhere I go, I always take a piece of all of you with me. )

Ano Ne! ni Jasmin Vasquez

Ano Ne!
ni Jasmin Vasquez

Matagal-tagal na rin akong nani-nirahan sa lugar ng Iida, Nagano-shi. At sa ilang taon na pamamalagi ko dito, marami akong nakilala at nakasama sa iba't ibang lugar na nasasakupan ng Nagano. Kabilang na dito ang Matsumoto, Ijima, Ina, Komagane at iba pa.

Dahilan sa pagkakaroon ng mga event ng kanya-kanyang Parokya ng bawat lugar, dumami ng dumami ang aking mga naging kakila at kaibigan. Sa bawat isang lugar sa Nagano ay may mga taunang aktibidad. At isa sa mga pinaka-importanteng bagay ang mayroon ang mga taga-rito ay ang pagsuporta sa bawat grupong nanga-ngailangan ng tulong.

Talaga nga naman na kapag ang simbahan ang naging daan sa bawat bagay na iyong gagampanan na maayos ang takbo ng lahat at nagkakaroon ng pagkaka-isa.

Isa sa pinaka- naantig ang aking puso ay nang kami ay napabilang sa aktibidad ng mga taga-Okaya sa pamumuno ni Mervin Salazar. Hindi ako nag- atubiling tanggapin ang kanyang paanyaya na makisama sa pagbibigay ng kaun-ting programa upang mapasaya ang mga matatanda sa Home Care at mga bata sa Orphanage na inabandona ng kanilang sariling mga magulang. Lalo na ng makita ko ang isang bata na ubod ng cute. Hindi ko maiwasang hindi mapaluha. Kung maari lang na ampunin ko sya eh gagawin ko.

Sumunod naman na aming dinaluhan at nilahukan ay ang patimpalak para sa Parol Making Contest mula sa mga recycled things sa lugar naman ng Matsumoto. Nakakatuwa ito sapagkat ang bawat parol na ginawa ay may kanya-kanyang simbolo na nagpapahiwatig ng kahulugan ng Pasko. Alam kong magiging masaya ang bawat taong dadalo doon kung kaya naman kahit sobrang pagod na ako mula sa pagtugtog ng organ para sa Misa sa Ina-shi at Komagane ay pinilit kong makarating ng Matsumoto upang bahagian sila ng isang awitin bilang presentation at panauhin mula sa bayan ng Iida-shi.

Ganyan umiikot ang samahan ng bawat isa dito sa Nagano. May mga pagkakataon na nagkakaroon ng Misang Bayan kung saan lahat ng maaring magsimba ay nagsasama-sama. At ang nakakataba pa ng puso, habang tumatagal dumadami ng dumadami hindi lamang ang mga Pilipino kundi pati ang mga Hapones ay natututo na rin ma- kisama sa ating simbahan at mga programang ginagawa. Katulad nitong nakaraang kuwaresma. Marami ng Hapones ang nakikipag-anuyo at nakikisalamuha sa paggunita sa pagkamatay at muling pagkabuhay ni Kristo.

Sana ay patuloy pang magkaroon ng magandang pakikipag-ugnayan at samahan ang bawat Pilipino at Hapones na naninirahan hindi lang dito sa Nagano kundi sa buong bansa ng Japan.

Isang Araw sa Ating Buhay ni Jeff Plantilla

Isang Araw sa Ating Buhay
ni Jeff Plantilla

Dahil sa dumating na ang spring, nagsisimula na naman ang mga activities tulad  ng bazaar at matsuri sa iba’t-ibang lugar. Isang Sabado, pumunta ako sa isang matsuri sa Kyoto-shi. Multi-cultural ang program ng matsuri na ito – may mga tugtog at sayaw mula sa ibang bansa. Isa sa nagbahagi ng kultura ay ang mga Pilipino sa Kyoto-shi – ang mga miyembro ng Kyoto Pag-asa Filipino Community.

Anim na Pilipina, suot ang makulay na tradisyonal na damit Pilipino, ang nagsayaw ng tinikling. Ang tugtug ng tinikling ay mula sa isang video na nagpo-promote ng mga tourist spots sa Pilipinas.

Ipinakilala ng emcee ang tinikling bilang bamboo dance. Mukhang mas kilala ang tinikling sa Japan bilang bamboo dance. Tama naman, at mas mabilis intindihin. Nguni’t hindi naipapaliwanag ang salitang “tinikling” na mula sa pangalan ng ibong “tikling” na kadalasang matatagpuan sa mga palayan. May nagsabi na ang “tinikling” ay nangangahulugan ng paghuli sa tikling – yung kawayan ang bitag o trap at yung paglukso ang pag-iwas ng tikling na mahuli ng bitag.

Hindi rin ako sigurado kung alam ito ng mga Pilipino mismo – lalo na ang mga sumasayaw ng tinikling!

Pagkatapos ng mga sampung minutong pagsayaw, nag-anyaya ang mga sumayaw sa mga nasa audience na subukan ang tinikling. Naunang sumama ang mga bata at sumunod ang mga matatanda. Palaging masaya kapag may audience participation, dahil nalalaman ng mga nanonood na kaya nilang  sumayaw ng tinikling. Alam ko dahil ako ay palaging miron sa tinikling at sumasama lang sa audience participation.


Parang karamihan sa ating mga presentation ng sayaw Pilipino, tinikling ang nagugustuhan. Sa aking limitadong karanasan sa Japan, kapag nabanggit ang Firipin bunka isa sa mga nasasabi ng mga Hapon ay ang ating bamboo dance.

Dahil sa pagkakakilala sa Philippine bamboo dance, hindi natin masyado naipapakita ang iba pang sayaw. Para na ring tinikling ang ating national dance.

Isang bagay na ating dapat alamin ay hindi tayo nag-iisa sa bamboo dance. Sa isang Google search lang, lalabas na ang impormasyon tungkol sa bamboo dance sa iba’t-ibang bansa sa Asya. May bamboo dance sa northeast India, Bangladesh, south China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, at Indonesia. Sa YouTube din, napakaraming videos tungkol sa bamboo dance sa iba’t-ibang bansa.

Ang mua sap sa Vietnam, geba-geba sa Moluccas (Indonesia), magunatip sa Sabah, dacai sa Hainan (China), lao kratob mai sa Isaan (Thailand), cheraw sa Mizoram (India) at cheralam sa Bangladesh ay katumbas ng ating tinikling. Ayon sa mga videos sa YouTube, marami sa mga bansang ito ay ipinakilala at sinasayaw ang kanilang tinikling bilang major tourist attraction dahil sa galaw at galing ng pag-iwas sa pag-ipit ng mga kawayan. May audience participation din minsan.

Maaari ring sabihin na mala-king bahagi ang kanilang bersyon ng tinikling sa kani-lang sariling ethnic identities. Kadalasan ay yung mga tinatawag na minority communities ang sumasayaw ng tinikling – mga taga Mizoram ng India, Chakmas ng Bangladesh, Li community ng south China, taga-Sabah at Moluccans ng Indonesia, at yung mga Thai sa northeast Thailand  (Isaan) na may kulturang tulad sa Laos.

Kakaiba tayo sa Pilipinas dahil ang tinikling ay hindi kilalang sayaw sa isang lugar o grupo ng mga Pilipino. Sa imbes, sinasayaw at kinikilala na ang tinikling bilang sayaw ng sinumang Pilipino saan mang lugar sa bansa. Kaya nga parang national dance na natin ang tinikling. Ang singkil lang ang kilalang sayaw ng mga Pilipino sa Muslim Mindanao.

Nguni’t sayaw man ang tinikling ng isang minority group/community o ng buong bansa, ito ay nagiging bahagi ng identity ng mga taong sumasayaw.


Nakaka-aliw panoorin ang makabagong bersyon ng tinikling lalo na nung mga  kabataang Filipino-Americans. Lumalabas na sa ilang lugar sa America, ang tinikling ang isa sa mga paboritong Philippine dance. Sa mga makabagong bersyon, modern music ang gamit na ginagawan ng magandang bersyon ng tinikling. May mga acrobatics (tulad ng bagong sayaw ng mga kabataan na parang mga sirkero) at mabilis na palitan ng kawayan habang nagsasayaw.

Malamang na sa mga batang Filipino-Americans, ang tinikling (kasama ang modernong bersyon) ay isang magandang halimbawa ng kulturang Pilipino. Mahigit pa rito, ito ay isang pagpapahayag ng kanilang ethnic identity sa loob ng openly multi-cultural coastal cities ng America.

At mukhang ganun din sa mga tao sa ibang bansa sa Asya. May mga estudyanteng Asyano na sumasayaw ng kanilang tinikling sa bansang kanilang pansamantalang tinutuluyan (sa Asya man tulad ng Japan, o sa America at Europe). Ipinakikilala nila ang kanilang tinikling bilang pagpapakilala ng kanilang sariling kultura.

Sa mga taga-Myanmar na naging refugees, ang kanilang tinikling ay sayaw na itinuturo sa kanilang mga anak na malamang ay hindi pa nakakatapak sa sarili nilang bansa.

Sa ibang banda, ang mga taga-Mizoram ng India ay tulad ng mga Pilipino na nagsusubok na makakuha ng world record (kasama ang Guinness Record) sa pinakamaraming taong sumasayaw ng tinikling.

Lumalabas lamang na ang tinikling ay tunay na malaking bahagi ng identity ng mga tao.  Isang bagay na dapat ipinagmamalaki.


May isang Pilipino ang nagsabi sa akin noong wala pa ako sa Japan na yung kakilala nilang professionals na bumisita sa Japan para sa professional training ay masaya sa kanilang pagtitinikling. Enjoy daw sila dahil sumasayaw lang sila, may bayad pa. Tinikling daw ang hiling sa kanila pagdating sa cultural presentation kahit hindi sila mananayaw.

Malaki na ang inabot ng tinikling sa diwa ng mga Hapon bilang halimbawa ng kulturang Pilipino.

Naipasa na sa ilang mga anak na Filipino-Japanese ang kulturang ito. At nagustuhan na rin ng mga Hapon ang tinikling.

Ang nangyari sa matsuri sa Kyoto ay malamang na paulit-ulit na nangyayari sa iba’t-ibang lugar sa Japan.

Masaya ang indayog ng tugtog, makulay ang damit ng mga naggagandahang mananayaw, at sumasama ang mga miron sa pagsayaw. Yan ang tinikling dito sa Japan.