MORE THAN FUN!
It’s May and as of this writing, tapos na ang mahiwagang Golden Week vacation natin sa Japan. I’m sure, marami ang umuwi sa atin who missed their family and friends and wanted to experience more fun in the Philippines.
Besides family and friends, of course, there are 3 other things that make it more fun in the Philippines. They are food, shopping and massage… the last one being the most important for me. I can settle for my mother’s cooking at home and go by without shopping. But don’t take away the massage from me. Siguro, it must be a sign of aging? When you are in your twenties, hindi mo pa kailangan ito. But when you double that age, it becomes a necessity already. What about when you triple that age? Sigaradong rehabilitation na ang kailangan!
It’s really fun to go back home. Why? Because it is so cheap! Tingnan mo lang kung magkano ang isang oras na massage sa Japan, about 6,000 yen. Pero sa Pinas, 600 yen lang per ora doon sa malapit sa bahay namin. Tsaka bigyan mo na rin ng konting tip pang konsuelo. Feeling rich, diba? Nandoon ka na rin, magpagupit ka ng buhok at kung kailangan, magpa-kulay ka na rin. O sige, sabayan mo na rin yan ng manicure at pedicure. At kung may extra datung ka, magpa-facial and body skin bleaching ka na rin. At kung super-dooper rich ka, derecho ka na lang kaya kay doktora para mapa-ayos mo yung ilong, mata at ano pang parte ng katawan mong gusto maretoke. Aba, tingnan lang natin at baka ma-deny kayo sa airport sa Japan kasi hindi mo na kamukha yung pikchur sa passport at residence card mo. Baka gusto mo na rin kayang palitan yung pangalan mo? How about Marilyn Monroe? Blonde and blue eyes ka na kasi, eh! Why not? Inday, tumahimik ka! Sa tanda mong iyan, mahigit singkwenta anyos ka na. Baka matakot lang ang immigration sa yo at mapagkamalian kang terorista at derecho ka sa kulungan!
Indeed, it’s going to be MORE than FUN in the Philippines as there is a national election this May. Ano kaya ang mangyayari at sinu-sino kaya ang mananalo? Siguro, by the time you are reading this article, alam niyo na kung sinu-sino sila. Just to let you know, kahit nandito tayo sa Japan, pwede tayong bumoto sa mga national elections sa Philippines. It’s called the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV). Pero kailangan, mag-pa-register muna kayo sa Embassy o ibang konsulado ng embahada. Kaya sa susunod na eleksyon, exercise your right to vote by contacting the embassy about the voting procedures.
Sarap talagang bumiyahe. Last time I left Japan, I used Haneda International Airport as the port of embarkation. It was so beautiful, new, high-tech and of course, much nearer compared to Narita International Airport, if you are coming from central Tokyo. Haneda airport is perfect for me as it took less than an hour to get there as opposed to Narita where it takes about 2 hours. I just read in the newspaper that Haneda is now ranked as the 4th busiest airport in the world. Pero when I was there, hindi naman ganoon karami yung mga tao. Guess which airport is the world’s busiest? Siempre, China’s Beijing Capital International Airport. Sa kanila lang, punung-puno na siguro yung airport.
Pero last time I traveled abroad, medyo feeling poor na ako. Kasi bumaba ang value ng yen. Tumaas ang dolyar at pesos against the yen. Kaya yung 600 yen na massage ko, naging 800 yen na. Aray ko po! Huwag na lang kaya full body massage? Kasi mahal na. Wala pa yung tip doon. Foot massage na lang kaya para mas makamura?
Imagine po ninyo, during the 1970’s, yen was valued at around 300 yen to the dollar. Japanese products cost little compared to imported products which were so expensive. During the 1980’s, yen was pegged to about 200 yen to a dollar. By the 1990’s, yen went to the 100 yen mark to a dollar. Until last year, yen became so strong as it was pegged around 70 yen to a dollar. As of this writing, it already went back to the 100 yen mark to a dollar.
Maraming salamat po sa ating mahal na Philippine Ambassador Manuel Lopez, Minister Angie Escalona, Minister & Congen Joy, Consul Ryan, Agriculture Attache Doc Sam and Tourism Officer, Mr. Val Cabansag for supporting my art exhibition at the ASEAN Japan Centre in Tokyo last March 27 – April 5. Special hugs to DOT’s Jennifer Yamamoto who was there from the start coordinating the event, Joyce Ogawa for being a wonderful hostess, Abby Watabe for the fabulous gift of food for my birthday and closing party, Racquel Satuna for giving everyone physical relief with her relaxing hilot massage, Arlene Dinglasan for the technical help and all my friends who were there to share the fun!