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Bahaw at Tutong – My first Tagalog post

burnt toastEarlier this year, I watched Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer from Desperate Housewives) in interviews when she was promoting her book titled, Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life.  She said, and this explains the title of the book, “I watched my mother eat the burnt toast.  I watched her take what is the last, the worst, self-sacrificing up to a bad point.” 

And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am like that.  I don’t eat burnt toast but I do eat the burnt fried chicken, the burnt cookie and most usually, the left-over rice (bahaw) and sometimes the crust (tutong) at the bottom of the pot.  And this is what I wrote about in our current topic at Pinoyatbp., “Sana Meron Pang….” 

Bahaw at Tutong is a special post because not only is this one of “My Life as a Mom” posts, but it’s also the very first Tagalog post I have written.  When Patrice informed me that our first topic was “Sana Meron Pang…,” I knew this was what I wanted to write about and it has got to be in Tagalog.  I have been here in Canada for 17 years now.  Not that I don’t speak my native language anymore.  I can still converse in fluent Tagalog.  But I hear people talk and I converse in English everyday and also most of what I read is in English.  So my written Tagalog tends to be rusty. 

I didn’t think I could pull it off.  But I started writing my post in Tagalog and the words just kept flowing.  Although I struggled a little bit with some of the words. 

Listen to this conversation I had with my sister on the phone:

Me:  Lina, di ba meron kang makapal na Tagalog-English dictionary?  Pakitingin mo naman kung ano ang translation ng deprive.

Sis:  Ah teka.  (Kinuha ang diksiyunaryo) Eto deprive, agawin.

Me:  Agawin ba?  Hindi yata ukma.  Paano mo ba ita-translate yung “Ayaw kong I-deprive ang sarili ko ng masasarap na bagay?”  Tama ba yung “Ayaw kong ipagka-ila sa sarili ko?”

Sis:  Ipagkaila?  Hindi yata tama iyon.

Me:  Oo nga, hindi nga yata tama. 

The following night, she called me back:

Sis:  Ate, ipag-kait ang translation ng deprive.

Me:  Ay oo nga ano?  Saan mo nakita?

Sis:  Wala, basta naisip ko lang.

Me:  Ipag-kait nga pala.  Pero hindi bale na.  Nai-submit ko na yung sinulat ko eh.

Sis:  Ano’ng inilagay mo?

Me:  Eh di i-deprive.  (Natawa sa sarili.)  He he he. 

My post, Bahaw at Tutong, is now up at Pinoyatbp.

February 24, 2008 update: You can now view this article here. 


For those who don’t understand Tagalog, you can read an excerpt of Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life at www.myburnttoast.com.

December 7, 2006 Posted by | My life as a mom, Pinoyatbp. | 37 Comments

Pinoyatbp. is back!

Pinoyatbp. is back on-line!


Last year, I had the pleasure of contributing a few articles to this Pinoy group blog.  This time, Patrice invited me to be a part of the group as one of their writers and of course I gladly said yes. 

Pinoyatbp., translated in English, means Filipinos and many more.  It is a community blog that offers news, articles, recipes, etc. written by fellow Pinoys from all over the world. 

So c’mon, check us out at http://pinoyatbpa.com/

December 1, 2006 Posted by | Pinoyatbp. | 20 Comments

Forgiveness and Stress

This post was original published at PINOYatbp.

Last Christmas, I heard someone say, “I still can’t forgive him for what he did to her. He is the reason she died of lung cancer. If he didn’t smoke in the house, she would still be here with us.”

I wanted to jump in and tell the unforgiving person about the Forgiveness course I had taken when I was preparing my youngest son for his First Reconciliation just the previous few weeks. But I thought, who am I to preach about forgiveness? I myself had been having a hard time forgiving somebody who repeatedly hurts me (emotionally). Besides, this unforgiving person is more pious than me and I was not in the mood for one of his religious debates.

There is a saying that goes, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” It’s easier said than done. Forgiving can be a very hard thing to do.

I know, and you all probably do, that forgiving is good not just for the soul, but also for the body.

I read in The Herald, our community newspaper, an article written by Dr. Bruce Naherniak, a chiropractor here in Winnipeg.

He wrote…

“Holding a grudge towards others puts your body into a ‘stress response,’ according to research out of Hope College in Michigan. When people remember past slights…

-their blood pressure increases

-their heart rate increases

-their muscle tensions are higher

Other research has found that stress hormones increase when we can’t forgive and forget. The result is a weaker immune system and possibly impaired neurological function and poor memory.”

He cited that studies have shown that unforgiving people:

-are more likely to develop a health problem

-suffer from increased anxiety symptoms

-suffer from increased paranoia

-suffer increased incidence of heart disease

-have less resistance to physical illness

But how do we forgive someone?

Dr. Naherniak interviewed Fr. Andrew Jarmus from Holy Cross Orthodox Mission for his advice on forgiveness.

1.First, be ready to hurt in order to heal. Sometimes we have trouble forgiving because we are avoiding the negative feelings surrounding the incident.

2.Let go of your right to revenge. You can never make the other person feel exactly like you feel. Getting your ‘pound of flesh’ only prolongs the ill feelings and poisons everyone involved.

3.Remind yourself that they are only human and we make mistakes.

4.An important step is to really wish the person well. We may never have the same relationship with that person again, but we must still wish only the best for them.

Just like shampooing your hair, repeat as necessary.

Forgiveness is a journey. Occasionally the hurt and anger will rise again. At these times, we must repeat the first four steps. The negative feelings may come back but not as intense. Eventually, we will look at the incident with peace of mind and heart.”

I am still on this journey. I wish I could forgive and forget just like that. But it’s tough. I know I should. The stress is taking a toll on my body. Earlier last year, I went to the doctor because of a slight tightening in my chest. My doctor checked me and gave me a clean bill of health. I knew then that I was just stressed out.

I did some researching on my own and I’ve discovered that stress can also cause lower back pains (I’ve had quite a few of this), poor memory (check) and crankiness which is often noticed by other persons before you do (check).

On a recent visit to the dentist for my regular check up, he told me that I am wearing my teeth down – sign of teeth grinding, which is another symptom of stress. Hence, I have to wear a night guard.

I should really start to chill out. I have found out a few tips on how to cope with stress.

1.Take a deep breath.

2.Learn to relax.

3.Make time for yourself.

4.Do something you enjoy – listening to music, reading, painting, drawing, gardening.


6.Eat healthy.

7.Have sex. (wink)

I’ll try to do these as I go on this long journey.

These are the 2 comments from “Forgiveness and Stress” that was published at pinoyatbp.

Duke said on January 24th, 2006 at 8:38 am

I believe that when you forgive and forget, you do yourself the biggest favor. The thing is, it’s not that easy and it does take a toll on your healthi n the long run.

I like your tips! Number seven is the best release (hihihihi)

Patrice said on January 26th, 2006 at 8:36 pm

This is true what you said. Ika nga di ba, a healthy mind (and heart) is equal to a healthy body. Hypothetical but true in some ways. Even if you are physically fit but under a lot of stress, wala pa rin.

In my case, I try to keep in mind what I consider petty offenses and those that I consider major. Unless it involves my family, I try to let it go. No use trying to ponder on petty stuff di ba? Keeping a good disposition and beiing nice to people would help avoid circumstances like these.

This post was updated on July 7, 2008.

January 19, 2006 Posted by | Pinoyatbp., Roadblocks | 6 Comments

Celebrating Christmas at the Christmas Capital of Canada

This post was originally posted in
Ang Aming Pasko (Our Christmas) at pinoyatbp.

Ang Aming Pasko is a collection of entries on how I and other Filipinos celebrate Christmas in different parts of the world.

Usually after Halloween, Christmas decorations start to appear in the stores, carols fill the air, advertisements of toys, jewelry, and electronic gadgets pop up on TV. Snow falls and then it will really start to look a lot like Christmas. Known as the Christmas Capital of Canada, Winnipeg kicks off the holiday season on the third Saturday of November with The Santa Claus Parade. Houses are brightly lit with Christmas lights throughout the season. At home, my kids help me put up and decorate the Tree. They look forward to the Children’s Christmas party at my workplace because they get presents.

My Filipino friends and I take turns in hosting our annual Christmas get-togethers. It has become a tradition. Since most of our relatives are in the Philippines, we have adopted each other as family members. The get-together is always a potluck. We eat, chat, sing and sometimes we even dance. Then we exchange gifts.

My Filipino friends and I take turns in hosting our annual Christmas get-togethers. It has become a tradition. Since most of our relatives are in the Philippines, we have adopted each other as family members. The get-together is always a potluck. We eat, chat, sing and sometimes we even dance. Then we exchange gifts.

My family and I attend mass on Christmas morning. The church is usually elegantly decorated. The sermon is beautiful and points to us that Christmas has become commercialized. But of course the priest always reminds us that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and that it is about God’s love. After the mass, we come home to a festive feast that we share with my mother, my sister and her family. And then we take lots of pictures and we open presents. Now that my kids are older, they no longer receive presents from Santa. I have explained to them that Santa represents the spirit of giving.

And speaking of giving, the Winnipeg Christmas Cheerboard collects non-perishable foods and toys for Christmas hampers to be given to families in need. People here actively participate in this charitable deed. I was at the receiving end when I first came here and now give back in return.

This post was last updated on July 6, 2008.

December 9, 2005 Posted by | Pinoyatbp., Special Occasions, Winnipeg | 3 Comments

Family Shows, Family Time

This post was originally published at Pinoyatbp.

I still remember the old television set we had when I was growing up in Noveleta, Cavite in the 1970’s. It was boxed in a wooden cabinet with sliding doors, an antenna on top and wooden legs. It had four dials. One to turn it on and to adjust the volume as well. Another one to change the channels ranging from 2 to 13. Also one for horizontal adjustment and another for vertical adjustment.

At night, my family (and once in a while neighbours, too) would gather around the TV and watch whatever show was on. One show that sticks in my mind is “John en Marsha,” the family sitcom that starred Dolphy and Nida Blanca in the title roles and also the hilarious Dely Atay-Atayan as the rich mother-in-law whose line “Kaya ikaw John magsumikap ka” always ended the weekly show. Dolphy’s son Rolly Quizon and the young Maricel Soriano portrayed their children Rolly and Shirley.

One other favourite of mine was the family tear-jerker, “Gulong ng Palad.” This was about a family who experienced, I think, more downs than ups. As the song lyric goes: “Ang kapalaran kung minsan ay nasa ilalim… minsa’y nasa ibabaw.” This show starred the beautiful Marianne dela Riva as Luisa, the equally handsome Ronald Corveau as Carding, and the young Romnick Sarmenta as the cute and adorable Peping. This series made the song “Gulong ng Palad” famous. I still remember the lyrics, “Kung minsan ang takbo ng buhay mo. Pagdurusa nito’y walang hanggan. Huwag kang manimdim ang buhay ay gulong ng palad.”

These lyrics prepared me for what was to happen in my life. My parents separated when I was 12 and it was really tough on all of us. Mama, my sister and I left Cavite and went to live with my aunt in Pandacan, Manila. And then Mama left us there when she went to work in Canada.

I was very shy and didn’t join my aunt’s family at night when they watched TV. Most of the time I stayed in the bedroom, which I shared with my sister and cousins, usually studying. It turned out to be a good thing because I got high grades and excelled in most of my High School subjects.

It was then the 80’s and the popular shows were the Janice de Belen starrer, Flor de Luna and and its rival, the Julie Vega starrer, Anna Liza. I got a glimpse of both shows every now and then when I got home from school.

When my sister and I got our own place when we were in college, we were not able to afford a TV set and I wasn’t really able to follow the shows that were on. I didn’t mind it, though. It actually helped me concentrate on my studies and I spent my extra time reading lots of books. Had I watched TV then, I would have known that my elementary classmate was one of the bagets of “That’s Entertainment” and was known by the screen name Raffy Romillo.

When I came here in Winnipeg, Canada in 1989, I found myself attracted to family sitcoms. “Fullhouse” was one show I enjoyed. This was about a single dad raising three children that included the Olsen twins. “Cosby,” although about a black family, tackled issues not just relating to the race but also about issues in raising teenagers. “Family Matters” was enjoyable and was made more hilarious by the nerd Steve Urkel (Jaleel White). “Growing Pains,” with teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron, was another favourite.

As my family grew and the children got older and as we acquired more TV sets, I noticed that the kids were having different choices in shows that they wanted to watch. During the day, we are scattered around the house watching different shows in different rooms.

But the one TV where we usually gather around is the one in the kitchen. I know some people wouldn’t agree with having a TV in the kitchen and watching TV during a meal. To some, dinner is the time for the family to talk. So does in our house. It’s also the time that our favourite family shows are on.

Our current favourites are: “George Lopez,” “Still Standing,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” These shows have kids that are the same ages as mine. Although, these shows sometimes tackle controversial issues, it prompts me to talk to my kids about those same issues. I have three boys, a teenager, a pre-adolescent, and one who’s not quite there yet. It’s not easy for me to sit each one of the two older ones down and talk about drugs, alcohol, and sex. They would squirm and go, “Ewwh.” But somehow, when we are all gathered around watching these issues on TV via a sitcom, it’s easier for me to mention these topics and point out to them the moral lesson of an episode. And it’s not too awkward for any of us.

Television sets have evolved to different sizes and shapes. There are now plasma TVs and widescreen TVs. They have become more technologically advanced. Remote controls have made it easier to flip through hundreds of channels. Families have been able to afford more than one set in the house. Different kinds of shows have come and gone. And family shows are still popular. I think it’s because we can all relate and they also try to tackle subject matter that we encounter every day.

These are the 7 Comments on “Family Shows, Family Time” that was published at Pinoyatbp.

DarkBlak said on November 10th, 2005 at 8:03 am

kabayan!!!! taga Cavite ka pala

Naalala ko yung TV rin namin dati may pinto rin, Black & White pa. Kaya lang di ko na naabutan na maayos. hehehe

Irene said on November 10th, 2005 at 11:21 pm

Kababayan, naabutan mo pa rin pala yung ganung tv.

Sidney said on November 11th, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Nice piece of TV history! Time pass by so quickly!

Irene said on November 12th, 2005 at 10:52 am

Aye, aye to that Sidney. It doesn’t seem so long ago when Cosby was still on air. Well, it still now (on reruns) but it’s already considered a classic.

duke said on November 13th, 2005 at 9:11 pm

uy! may tv di kaming ganon! gawa sa kahoy yung frame

Nanood din ako ng fullhouse. ang bata pa ng Olsen twin duon ngayon Mary Kate and Ashley na sila! I like Malcolm in The Middle . Nakakatuwa panoorin! Good for kids (and kid at heart like me!)

Irene said on November 16th, 2005 at 11:37 am

Patok sa mga anak ko ang Malcolm in the Middle dahil puro boys din silang magkakapatid.

melai said on December 6th, 2005 at 4:05 pm

uhmmnnn naiiyak ako, mejo senti ako pag nagrereminisce ng past e …. anyways ,, yung tv namin na ganyan andit pa sa bodega nakakatuwang tignan pag napapasok ako ng bodega noon

This post was last updated on July 6, 2008

November 8, 2005 Posted by | Books, movies, music, TV, Memory Lane, Pinoyatbp., Raising the 3Rs | 2 Comments


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