In light of the National Day of Protest in my country, the beautiful Philippines! Let me post a photo which would represent my protest contribution. This photo is not mine and neither have I sought authorization from the owner. I just hope that the owner (musicorspaceshuttle.com) would be generous and kind to permit me in using this photo.
Look at the photo and imagine them lifeless. This is iWire Center in Moline Illinois in its full capacity at 9,200 people during a Pearl Jam rock concert in 2014.
The full capacity of iWire Center is actually even lesser by a couple of thousands as compared to the number of extra-judicial killings and summary executions that has occurred since the day President Duterte has run and governed my country. At present, human rights groups’ count stands at 13,000 casualties.
No to Extra-Judicial Killings. And i pray that it ends soon.
I got my middle fingers up because according to the majority of the supposedly most honorable men and women in my country (the Philippines), the cost of keeping and upholding human rights for the next year is worth one thousand pesos (which is equivalent to US$20). This rubbish decision by Philippine Congress is amidst the pandemic extra judicial killings that is going on in my country.
I have been silent and have been suppressing my feelings of disgust towards how my country is now being run. There is nothing to be proud of and nothing to celebrate about this dimwit decision. Actually, this decision by the sloppy Philippine Congress is nothing but shameful! #GiveMyTaxToCHR
Strange yet true, the Filipino language is one of the unique languages on the planet that duplicates the same syllables so as to produce a word or a name. I am so used to knowing a person with the following appelations: Cheche, Ging Ging, Gly Gly, Ton Ton, Lotlot and Jon Jon. And I am not a bit surprise to hear and use these Filipino words: hakahaka (speculation), singsing (ring), guniguni (hallucinations), gabigabi (nightly) bubukaka (will spread the legs widely) or lokoloko (loony).
Other Filipino duplicated-syllable words that I don’t intend to translate are pekpek, titi, kiki and bulbul! For those people who don’t speak the Filipino language you would just have to google the translation. While for the Filipinos, I’m pretty sure they are now laughing out loud while reading this.
From my readings, one reason why my Filipino language is so used to duplicating syllables to create a meaningful word is because Filipino language as a whole seem to be composed of only simple and uncomplicated phonologies. Also, my Filipino language lacks the composition of 3-lettered consonant clusters (like using str or psy in the beginning of a word and the use of gth or rch to end a word) to make it somewhat complicated. Because of these limitations and to compensate so as to broaden the language, Filipinos unconsciously decided to duplicate simple utter-able syllables so as to create different words and meanings.
Filipinos are so accustomed to duplicating syllables as words it unconsciously spills out from our train of thought when we even speak the English language. Remember Ms. Philippines (Venus Raj) during the final Q&A round of the Ms. Universe pageant who replied that she never had any “major major” problem that she has done in her life during the 21 years of her existence. This was a top trending topic then in the twitter world during that time.
I myself would sometime unintentionally utter doubled/repeated English words as if I am suffering from palilalia especially when I am so so very very happy!
But what is even more strange is that Filipino language does not only duplicate syllables, it even triplicates it so as to even relay a different meaning for such usage of syllables. Filipino words with triplicated syllables are actually words in future tense form. Take these as examples:
Lalala (will worsen)
Dadada (going to spread a word or spill the beans)
Bababa (will descend)
Nanana (going to develop into a pus)
Papapa (will eat)
Yayaya (will invite)
Dododo (will suck from a nipple of a baby bottle)
Pupupu (gonna defecate)
Wiwiwi (gonna urinate)
Nganganga (will wide open a person’s mouth)
I was about to type hahaha which means laughing out loud! Hahaha!
People in New York are called New Yorkers while folks in Rio De Jainero are known as Cariocas. Here in Manila we are called Manileños while those in Sydney are called Sydneysiders. Residents of Paris are called Parisians while those born and raised in Tokyo are called Edokko.
But what about the people in Taipei? How do they call themselves as a people? I know that Taipei is located in Taiwan and its people are known as Taiwanese. But what about the specific state of Taipei? What is their demonym? Strangely, even google doesn’t seem to have an answer.
But no matter what the world would call their citizens, one thing is for sure, I was very impressed by the Taipei people’s character. Prior to visiting Taipei, I plucked and gathered a lot of tolerance and courage from my garden of compassion so as to bring it with me in Taipei. It is because I thought that the people of Taipei were the same and as typical as that of their mainland counterpart. But my encounters with their locals were so surprising all positive. They were unexpectedly polite, well-mannered and very helpful.
And aside from the people, the food and character, their city was surprisingly clean, modern and very organized. It’s a friendly city for a non-Chinese speaking person like me. Their hero (Chang Kai Shek), who paved the way for the molding of Taipei character, democracy and economic development was even someone to be proud of.
May they be termed Taipeinese, Taipei-siders, Taipeian or other names, Taipei people were surprisingly impressive! I think I love Taipei.
I was not longing for Ruby Roman Grapes, the most expensive grapes in the world. I was never looking for Ackee, one of the rarest fruits on the planet. And not once did I crave for Cherimoya which according to Mark Twain is the most delicious fruit known to men.
I was only yearning to try a Miracle Berry and experience for myself the magic and oddity it does to my taste buds.
And this yearning has finally been resolved when Chef Clark Soliman, a co-employee, learned about my hankering. He’s got a Miracle Berry plant in his backyard in Pampanga. Chef Clark when he visited my office actually gave me a handful of this amazing berry.
I right away tested it. I ordered the nearest restaurant from my office to deliver me a chopped calamansi (a very sour citrus fruit abundant here in the Philippines). I munched into the miracle berry as soon as my chopped calamansi has been delivered. And after a couple of minutes, I was supping, lapping and sucking on what supposed to be the sourest citrus fruit on the planet. But my discernment was different, my taste buds were telling me that I was supping on the sweetest and most delicious honey orange in the universe!
Miracle Berry indeed tricked and deceived my precious taste buds! I never knew that my brain could further be twisted by such a mere fruit. It’s fun! Find one and be twisted by the effect of Miracle Berry. Tikman nyo! Kaaliw!
Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet. But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer. Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei. And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.
Night markets in Taipei are quite popular. Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists. This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.
Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items. Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.
The Ampaet Drink
First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice. Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines. Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor. Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.
But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink. Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious. I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety. I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste. So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.
As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version. And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind. It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!) But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila. To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!
The Uncut Cutlet
Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet. It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!
There was a long queue at store called Hot Star. I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for. And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing. I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.
Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty! The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter. Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices. This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy. It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!
These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market. There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market. Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!
It is supposed to be the time of the year when I would write about Cinemalaya, an annual indie-film festival here in Manila. I would usually write about the movie entry that I enjoyed or touched me to the core. However, I opted not to write any of the movies I saw because it seem that the quality of films featured this year seem not worth it.
Instead, let me feature the film I saw over the last weekend. It was shown in movie houses a year ago and in the comforts of my home that I got to see Ma’Rosa, a film by the brilliant Brillante Mendoza.
Ma’Rosa is the official Philippine entry in last year’s Oscars Foreign Film category. This movie however failed to make it to the final cut of finalists. Nevertheless, this is the same movie that was an entry in last year’s Cannes Film Festival in which the lead actress Jacklyn Jose was adjudged as the Best Actress.
The story, the representation, the set and acting seem so real, it felt like I was actually groping into the lives of a poor Filipino family who only have few options of endure life’s challenges. Jacklyn Jose was so outstanding now I know why she won.
After seeing the movie, I was actually not surprised why the Film Academy of the Philippines chose this movie as last year’s entry to Oscars. It is because the elements, the texture and the narrative are all Filipino in nature in its present sorry state. The movie effectively showed and represent how it is to be poor in the Philippines.
I was also not surprised why this movie did not make it to Oscars, maybe it is because the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of America felt that this Brillante movie was too fictional to the point of being too exaggerated. But let me oppose that. I would be one of those Filipinos who was born and raised here, who would dissent at this type of notion. Ma’Rosa is nothing but real, genuine and existent in this side of the planet.
It was a superb Filipino movie. It may not have reached the Oscars level but Ma’Rosa is one brilliant Filipino film. And I hope next year’s Cinemalaya entries would be as exceptional as this one.