Tag: Filipinos

Two Filipinos in Athens

eastwind adventures 01
Two Filipinos in Athens
Author’s note. Encounters with Filipino seamen in Athens. This is a true story, with the dialogue reconstructed. In the 70s, I hitchhiked 25,000 kilo­meters for 18 months, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. Totally broke, I settled in Amsterdam. My adventure was dubbed eastwind, the wind from the east blowing west. If Monching or Kardo (not their real names) or one who knows them, will read this, please keep in touch.
On my second day in Athens, I wandered into Syntagma Square in the center of the city.
“Hey you, Filipino,” a Greek waiter in all white spoke.
“Hello,” I countered.
“You Filipinos are the craziest people I have met ever.”
“Really now. How come?” I countered.
There were about ten waiters dressing up with white linen a long table about half a kilometer long across the entire square. It practically ended at the horizon.
He continued, “You see this table, 300 meters long? This table is for big shots like the mayor of the city or an impor­tant business­man. This table is expensive. Only rich people have their parties here.”
“What does that have to do with crazy Filipinos?” I asked.
“You see that crazy Filipino over there?” he pointed to one giving instructions to the waiters.
“That’s the crazy Filipino? Looks normal to me.”
“You don’t understand. He is a humble second officer in a Panamanian ship that just landed in Piraeus yesterday. He can’t possibly afford to hire this long table.”
“If he is a Filipino seaman, he can,” I said.
“That’s what I mean. You guys are crazy. He saves his salary for five years and spends it all in one birthday bash. He is inviting all Filipinos in the entire city of Athens, I mean all. Now, tell me, what is the logic in all that?”
“I don’t think you would understand even if I explained it to you,” I countered.
“Try me.”
“Well, okay. Filipinos have a different way of looking at things. Money is not everything. You work your ass off, that’s okay. But for a Filipino seaman, you earn money to spend it.”
“I give up. You’re just as crazy. I wouldn’t kill myself for five years inside the belly of a lousy ship just for a birthday party. He’s crazy.”
“I agree. He’s crazy alright. But he likes a birthday bash. What can you say? I must meet him and get invited,” I said.
I walked over to him and he smiled upon seeing me, speak­ing in our native language, “Name’s Monching. What ship are you from?”
“Name’s Bernie. No ship. I’m not a seaman.”
“You’re invited anyway to my birthday tomorrow night. All Filipinos are invited, no matter who they are, what they are, nurses, musicians, bar girls, whoever. Listen, I’m busy. You go talk to my friend Kardo over there.” he pointed to another Filipino and left to give more instruc­tions to the waiters.
I went over to Kardo. He had a huge dapple bag with him. He was in the US navy.
“What ship?” he asked.
“No ship,” I answered.
“What are you doing here?”
“Not much. Just passing through?”
“And you’re not a seaman?”
“That’s strange. You must be a tourist.”
Filipino seamen were not aware of Filipino drifters, hitchhikers, which were rare at that time. I did not bother to explain.
“Listen, man, I need help,” he whispered furtively, look­ing away to see if there was anybody else listening.
“You see this?” he opened the huge dapple bag. I peered in and saw a ton of blue seal Salem and Winston cigarettes, green and red like Christmas decor. “You help me. We sell this in the night bars. You get free drinks.”
“You’ve got about $2,000 worth in there, right?”
“Five. Okay, okay, I’ll give you a commission,” he whis­pered cloak-and-dagger style.
“I’m not interested in a commission. I’d like the drink though.”
“You’re on. Let’s go.”
“You navy men are crazy.”
“Of course, that’s the only way to be. Listen, this is nothing. I smuggled Harley Davidsons in Corsica.”
“You got anything in mind aside from making money on the side?”
“Of course. Women. You want a woman tonight? On me.”
And so we left Monching, fixing up his birthday party, and went around the bars. I was amazed the bartenders knew him. He must have been smuggling cigarettes regularly for years. We had one or two free drinks in every bar. After about ten bars, we were dead drunk. The dapple bag was now almost empty. Kardo treated me to American steak somewhere. I could hardly walk. I couldn’t go home, so Kardo dragged me to his three-star hotel. Pretty good. I ended up with a hangover and missed Monching’s party. I could have met the entire Filipino community of Athens but I had a splitting headache from retsina, the Greek wine which smelled and tasted like aviation gas to a Filipino.
Bernie Lopez – eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
every path is unique
no one can live your life for you
gurus can only give tips and guidelines
in the end you fly your own aircraft
you flap your own wings
you watch your own sunset
you find your own path
in your own way in your own style
when you enter the dark forest
good and bad things lurk
to make and break your soul
take the chance, you will not regret it
darkness and light will encompass you
make the Lord your beacon
gather strength in His grace
and everything will fall into place

Manila: The gates of hell (by Dan Brown)

Good old Dan Brown! He can’t create a better PR if he wanted to. The Philippines has given it to him on a silver platter! It has gone viral! The more we, Filipinos, complain or talk about it (Oooppssss) the more people will get curious and get the book for themselves, ergo, making naughty Dan Brown more money that he can dream of.

Win, win for Dan Brown I am afraid.

Anyway it is true that the traffic in Manila can be really horrendous, there is pollution but not as suffocating as the book says and as to the sex trade, well I did not see a single prostitute or a working girl/call boy touting for trade during a month-long holiday my husband and I have recently taken in Manila.

In fact we have decided to get a little place in Manila to escape to during the bitter winters here in the UK.

So no Philippines or Manila is never the gates to hell but more like stairways to heaven and this is due more to the kind of people who live there. Bravo Filipinos!

Inferno is about a biological created airborne virus which can affect the fertility of humankind.  1 in every 3 will become sterile.  Robert Langdon puzzled it out in the end but was too late. The virus has spread. In the end it was thought that it would solve the problem of population explosion.
Sienna a main character in the book had a very bad experience in Manila.  She was attacked.  Sienna was the one who said that the Philippines is the Gate of hell. We can surmise that her character said that tinged malice and a lot of fury.

Inferno sparks a firestorm: Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown blasted in the Philippines for calling Manila ‘the gates of hell’ in book

  • Dan Brown’s Inferno angers an official in the Philippines, who wrote a letter expressing disappointment in the ‘inaccurate portrayal’ of Manila
  • In Inferno, a character describes the city as ‘the gates of hell’
  • Actress Claire Danes received a similar rebuke after she called the city ‘weird, smelly and full of rats’ after she had filmed Brokedown Palace there


PUBLISHED: 06:18, 24 May 2013 | UPDATED: 06:18, 24 May 2013

Dan Brown’s description of Manila as ‘the gates of hell’ in the American novelist’s latest book has not gone down well with officials in the Philippine capital.

The book ‘Inferno,’ which is being sold in the Philippines, describes a visitor to the city who is taken aback by poverty, crime and prostitution.

The chairman of metropolitan Manila, Francis Tolentino, wrote an open letter to Brown on Thursday, saying that while ‘Inferno’ is fiction, ‘we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis.’

Dan Brown

Raising ire: Author Dan Brown, left, has been blasted by officials in the Philippines for a quote in his latest novel Inferno, right, that likens the city to ‘the gates of hell’

Tolentino objected to the ‘gates of hell’ description, and to Manila being defined by what he calls terrible descriptions of poverty and pollution.

He said that the novel fails to acknowledge Filipinos’ good character and compassion.

‘Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,’ Tolentino said. ‘We hope that this letter enlightens you and may it guide you the next time you cite Manila in any of your works.’

Brown’s publisher, Doubleday, declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

‘Inferno’ is already a best-seller a little over a week since its debut.

The story drawn partly from Dante’s epic again features Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, the protagonist for Brown’s blockbuster ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and its follow-up ‘The Lost Symbol.’

Defense: The chairman of metropolitan Manila, Francis Tolentino objected to the 'gates of hell' description, and to the city, pictured, being defined by what he calls terrible descriptions of poverty and pollutionDefense: The chairman of metropolitan Manila, Francis Tolentino objected to the ‘gates of hell’ description, and to the city, pictured, being defined by what he calls terrible descriptions of poverty and pollution

In the book, Langdon’s companion depicts Manila as a city of ‘six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.’

‘I’ve run through the gates of hell,’ she said.

It’s not the first time that authorities have been angered by an unflattering description of the sprawling city of some 12 million people, where urban shanties and the homeless exist side by side with glitzy shopping malls and walled residential compounds.

In 1999, then-President Joseph Estrada banned Hollywood actress Claire Danes, who shot the movie ‘Brokedown Palace’ in Manila, from entering the country after she said in an interview that the city was smelly, weird and full of rats.

Estrada was elected mayor of Manila in last week’s elections on a promise to reverse the city’s decay.

Another offender: In 1999, former President Joseph Estrada banned actress Claire Danes, top, who shot the movie Brokedown Palace in Manila, from entering the Philippines after she said in an interview that the city was smelly, weird and full of rats

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2330117/Dan-Brown-Da-Vinci-Code-author-Philippines-referring-Manila-gates-hell.html#ixzz2UBY2dUCo
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Lesson In Idol Worship According to Jim Paredes


January 23, 2013, 2:14pm
Manila Bulletin
 Jim Paredes' most prominent solo work is 1986' 'Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo'
Jim Paredes’ most prominent solo work is 1986′ ‘Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo’

MANILA, Philippines – It is common to see girls screaming themselves hoarse, if not literally going crazy over good-looking male and female idols that make up the currently very popular Hallyu trend, particularly K-pop. But what to make of boys that do the same?

A recent report on GMA News revealed that there’s a growing number of young male Pinoys that are as rabid fans as their female counterparts in rapt adoration of imported South Korean music talents. Not only do they buy album after album of these pop gods, they also try in earnest to save their earnings just to be able to attend their concerts.

Indeed, more than just memorizing the song lyrics, aping the dance moves, and combing their hair in the manner of their heroes, they also collect all sorts of memorabilia they could get their paws on. These include shirts, posters, even rare energy drink cans bearing the images of such K-pop idols as Girl’s Generation and Super Junior.

There’s a lesson to be gleaned in such dedicated adulation, this according to respected Filipino musician Jim Paredes of APO fame, who believes that the establishment of such strong rapport between fan and star is a result of hard work and perseverance that involves not only the artists themselves but the South Korean nation as a whole — and it’s something we Filipinos should strive to emulate.

“They have five, ten year contracts, [in the course of which] they come out very polished, they are taught everything,” he said in the same report. “Ang ginagawa nila magkasabwat and record company ang radio, TV, media, government, everything…in promoting them. Pati na ang tourism [department] kasama dun.”

Paredes maintains that the growing clamor for these foreign acts only serves to highlight the fact that we are yet to come up with a good answer that will serve to combat the slow decline of the relative importance of Original Pilipino Music [OPM] in the consciousness of young Pinoy music lovers.

Not that he believes it’s too late for the local industry to rise up to such a challenge, insisting that key to this, is learning to appreciate what is truly ours.

“Koreans sing Koreans, Chinese sings Chinese, tayo lang ang hindi ganu’on,” he explained. “Globalize the Filipino who speaks Filipino to the world.”

“Remember that our most successful recording ever was ‘Anak,’ it was in Tagalog. Tri-nanslate sa maraming languages ang mabili pa rin ‘yung Tagalog.”


This is a  very useful and enlightening topic for Filipinos around the world.  It is time the we take pride in ourselves as Filipinos, because the thing is no one else will if we don’t!

The World of OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers)

The World of OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers)


“Hon, padalhan mo naman ako, kasi may gusto akong bilhing shoes dito.”

“Sa uwi mo, ‘wag mong kalimutan yung pasalubong nina nanay at tatay ha?”

“Akala ko ba, may padala kang package? Ang tagal naman!”

“Punta tayo sa Cebu sa next vacation mo…”

Ilan lang ito sa mga walang katapusang requests ko sa asawa ko nung nasa abroad siya. At kapag walang favorable response, nagtatampo ako. Nasasabi ko pa na tinitipid o pinagdadamutan niya ako. Dun na pumapasok ang pag-aaway namin, dahil hindi ko daw siya maintindihan. Nabubuwisit ako, kasi alam ko na malaki ang sahod niya, pero bakit ang higpit niya pagdating sa pera? Di ko man masunod luho ko gaya ng sapatos, mga bags, damit at iba pang gadgets? Hayyy nakuuu…

Until dumating yung time na nagdecide kami na sumunod ako sa kanya sa banyagang bansa. At last, makakasama ko na rin siya at maipabibili ko na rin mga gusto ko, bwahahaha!

Sa eroplano pa lang, naiisip ko na ang mga bagay na gagawin ko –shopping, bakasyon, dine-out, gala to the max! Paglapag ng eroplano sa Kuwait International Airport, wow! Ang INIT! Humid pa! Sumasakit na ang ulo ko sa biyahe pauwi sa tutuluyan naming flat (kung tawagin ang apartment). Latang-lata ang pakiramdam ko sa init ng klima, summer daw pala kasi! Naisip ko, huwag na muna ang shopping at gala, pahinga muna…

Dumating yung time na lalabas na kami at mamamasyal, excited pa mandin ako.

Pagdating namin sa Mall at nakita ko ang mga bagay na gusto kong bilhin…bigla akong nakaramdam ng panghihinayang…Makita ko pa lang ang tag price, gumagana na kaagad utak ko sa Riyal to Philippine Peso conversion! Napansin ako ng asawa ko at tinanong nya kung alin daw ba gusto ko, sabi ko na lang, huwag na, next time na lang…

Dumaan ang mga araw at nagiging malinaw na sa akin ang araw-araw na pamumuhay ng mga OFW. Kay lungkot pala maging malayo sa pamilya, ang hirap mahomesick! Nakakaiyak makita ang mga pictures ng family sa FB tuwing me okasyon. Yung malungkot ka at gusto mo silang makasama kaya lang hindi naman puwede magbus pauwi ng Pinas.

Mas naiiyak ako pag naiisip ko na, kawawa naman pala ang kabiyak ko noong wala pa ako sa piling niya. Sa init at pagod maghapon sa trabaho, wala siyang choice kundi magluto pa rin pagkauwi para me makain, at gawin ang mga bagay mag-isa tulad ng paglalaba.

Bigla akong nahiya sa sarili ko…naalala ko bigla yung mga araw na nagtatampo ako sa kanya kasi hindi niya ako mapadalhan ng pera para mabili yung gusto ko. Yung mga araw na natitiis ko siya dahil sa aking walang kabuluhang pagtatampo, natitiis ko na hindi tumawag o magtext man lang…Yung mga araw na wala akong ginawa kundi planuhin kung ano ang mga bagay na ipabibili ko sa kanya pagdating ko dito.

Dahil pala bawat text na mabasa niya, ay laksang tuwa na ang dulot sa kanya. Bawat tawag at dinig pa lang sa boses ay ibayong lakas ang bigay sa kanya…dahil sa bawat baryang kinikita niya, wala siyang naiisip kundi ikaw na pamilya niya…

Ang hirap palang maging OFW…pag nakikita ko sa mga pictures yung ngiti nila, mga magagandang lugar na pinapasyalan nila, mga pagkaing nakahain sa harapan nila, sa likod ng mga ito, nakakubli ang ‘di masukat na lungkot at pangungulila. Marahil ayaw nila na tayong mga kaanak nila ay mag-alala kaya tunay na sitwasyon at nararamdam ay itinatago nila. Nakakaya nilang malayo at magtiis, mabigyan lang ng magandang bukas ang kanilang pamilya.

Saludo ako sa lahat ng OFW na nagtitiis para sa mga pamilya nila!….