Domestic Job: Diretso ang Trabaho sa Kabila ng Lockdown

Dito sa aking bansa mayroon humigit-kumulang 200,000 mga Pilipino at ang karamihan ay nagtratrabaho sa domestic sector.

Dito sa Italya ang lockdown ay nasa full force at maraming mga trabaho ay bawal.

Sarado lahat ng mga bar, restaurant at karamihan ng mga tindahan at factory.

Bukas lang ang mga negosyo na itinuturing essential.

Ang mabuting balita ay na ang mga katulong, baby sitter, tagalinis at iba pa ay ligtas, sa diwa na ang kanilang trabaho ay nasa kategorya ng mga trabaho na essential, kaya diretso ang trabaho para sa mga Pilipino.

Bukod dito, dito sa Italya, mayroon din maraming mga Pilipina na nagtratrabaho bilang nurse at iyon ay lalong higit necessary sa panahong ito.

Ang nagiging problema lang ay:

  • Ang mga Pilipino na walang papel o permit to stay na, dahil dito, walang regular na kontrata sa trabaho
  • Ang mga Pilipino na may papel ngunit walang kontrata sa trabaho.

Dito sa Italya mayroon mahigit 2,000,000 katulong, subalit 48% lang ang may regular na kontrata sa trabaho.

Karamihan ng mga Pinoy na nagtratrabaho bilang live-in o full-time sa isang amo lang ay may kontrata, ngunit ang mga Pilipino na nagtratrabaho sa iba’t ibang mga amo at nagtratrabaho isang oras dito at isang oras doon ay, sa maraming kaso, may kontrata sa isa o dalawang amo lang at ang mga iba ay di-regular.

Kung minsan ito ay nangyayari dahil ayaw ng amo magbigay ng kontrata (dahil napakataas ng mga buwis dito) pero may pagkakataon na ang mga trabahador mismo ang may gusto na iilang oras lang ang regular para makakuha nila ang mga benepisyo ng social welfare.

Ang malaking problema ay na tuwing lumalabas ang isang tao mula sa bahay, sa panahong ito ng lockdown, kailangang lagi may dalang permit

Ang form na kailangang dalhin tuwing lumalabas ang isang tao sa bahay. Sa form na ito kailangang ilagay ang address ng lugar ng trabaho

…at may maraming buwaya na kumukontrol.

Karamihan ng mga buwaya ay hindi naman kumukontrol kung totoong pumupunta ang isa sa trabaho pero pwede mangyari na kumukontrol sila.

Ngayon paano kung ang isa ay T.N.T. o walang regular na trabaho? Medyo mahirap iyon…

Kaya ito ay isang importanteng bagay na kailangang isaalang-alang bago tanggapin ang isang trabaho na di-regular o lumipat sa ibang bansa bilang T.N.T.

Maaaring bumangon ang ganitong uri ng situwasyon na puwede maging sanhi ng problema.

Manila Pollution Problems and the Benefits of Few Weeks of Community Quarantine

Manila Bay looks like Boracay (photo taken from Filipinos Around the World)
Boracay? No: Manila Bay! (photo taken from Filipinos Around the World)

While I was checking my Facebook notifications I stumbled upon a couple of posts from Filipinos Around the World and Virtual Pinoy that caught my attention

(https://www.facebook.com/179374708785475/posts/2960181320704786/?app=fbl, https://virtualpinoy.com/2020/03/look-beautiful-sierra-madre-over-metro-manilas-smog-free-skies/)

I have been to Manila a few times and I have been wandering how the usok or smog problem could possibly be fixed.

The area know as Metro Manila is wrapped in such a thick and dense cloud of smog that it is almost impossible to see the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains.

Well, few weeks of community quarantine have made it possible, as smog has abated quite a lot.

Not only that: it seems like even Manila Bay is becoming some sort of Boracay.

So here is the answer to the question that many experts have tried to answer for decades: how can Manila pollution problems be solved?

Evidently by drastically reducing car traffic!

How? Not easy but my impression as a foreigner is that way too many Filipinos use their cars or ride on a jeepney unnecessarily, even to cover very short distances. So letting go of that habit would probably go a long way.

Manila traffic

Mabuhay ang kawalan ng trapik….

Kung Papaano Harapin ang Asawang Babae Kapag Mainit ang Ulo, may Buwanang Dalaw at may Lockdown pa

MaBOTEng usapan: ang kanlungan ng mga lalaking Pinoy mula sa asawang babae na may buwanang dalaw

Dito sa Italya at sa Pilipinas din may mahigpit na lockdown at, dahil dito walang magagawa kundi manatili sa bahay.

Ang mahirap ay na walang tiwasay na dako kung saan ang isang asawang lalaki ay pwedeng tumakas kapag mainit ang ulo ng kanyang kabiyak at, baka, may buwanang dalaw pa siya.

Karaniwan, sa Pilipinas, ang mga asawang lalaki ay naghahanap ng ligtas na dako mula sa asawang babae na may buwanang dalaw kasama ang kanilang barkada at mga kainuman.

Subalit sa panahong ito hindi ito posible at posible rin na sa loob ng maikling panahon hindi na masusumpungan ang alak sa mga sari-sari store.

Kaya obligadong gumawa ng ibang paraan para makayanan ang asawang babae na mainit ang ulo at may buwanang dalaw.

Hindi ako masyadong umiinom at hindi ako masyadong mahilig sa barkada pero tumatakas din ako sa asawa kapag matindi ang situwasyon at pumupunta ako sa tahimik na dako.

Ano kaya ang ginagawa ko sa ngayon yamang wala akong kanlungan?

Ang sinisikap kong gawin ay ito: mayroon akong personal “relationship journal” kung saan inililista ko ang lahat ng mabubuting bagay at katangian ng misis ko (dahil hindi naman lagi mainit ang ulo ng ating mga kabiyak, hindi ba? May mga pagkakataon na masarap ang ugnayan) at kahit mahirap itong gawin kung minsan pinipilit ko pa rin ang sarili na masumpungan at least 3 mga bagay na pinahahalagan ko sa misis ko at isulat ang mga ito.

Sa regular na paggawa nito nakita ko na, kahit sa panahon na sobrang mainit ang ulo ng misis ko, madaling itinutuon ko ang pokus ng isip ko sa kanyang mabuting mga katangian at ipinapalaala ko sa aking sarili na may malaking pagkakaiba sa pagitan ng KUNG SINO TALAGA ang misis ko at KUNG BAKIT MAHAL KO SIYA at kung ano ang GINAGAWA niya sa partikular na panahon na nasa ilalim ng stress o buwanang dalaw siya.

Oo ang pagtakas (lalo na ang paglubog ng mga problema na karaniwan sa pag-aasawa sa alak) ay hindi isang mabuting solusyon at kapaki-pakinabang, sa palagay ko, samantalahin ang pagkakataong ito na nakaquarantine tayo upang linangin ang mas malaking pagpapahalaga para sa mabubuting katangian na tiyak na taglay ng mga misis natin sa kabila ng init ng ulo at buwanang dalaw na likas sa kanila….

Love in the Time of…Coronavirus

An invitation to stay home from the Italian government that very few drivers dare to ignore

I have heard about a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez entitled “Love in the Time of Cholera”.

I haven’t read it yet but it seems like it would be a good idea to do so given the particular time we are living in.

When I complete reading “The 5 a.m. Club” by Robin Sharma I might check out Marquez’s book but for now I have to figure out how to remain in a state of love during the quarantine because, like all couples in the various countries that are under lockdown, my wife and I will be spending a lot of time together without any possibilities to go on a solo retreat when the atmosphere gets intense.

The increased anxiety, and the irritability that goes with it, that characterize this unusual time make it difficult to practice some of the keys to a happy marriage that experts talk about.

  • One of the key ideas that I have abundantly read about in various relationship books and that I have (more or less) diligently tried to practice is the idea of showing ‌appreciation.

Now, because during the lockdown we will be spending a heck of more time together, chances are that I will see more clearly the ugly things than the amazing things in my wife (and she will see my ugly side of course).

Because it is going to get increasingly difficult to see the things we appreciate in each other it’s time to practice this appreciation thing even more consistently. So my battle plan is to make it a daily practice to look at as many pictures as possible of the best moments my wife and I spent together throughout all these years.

Also, because I regularly put down in writing the things I love about my wife (as experts suggest) and the reasons why I fell in love with her in the first place, I am thinking about spending more time doing this and doing it even more than once a day.

I am also working out a strategy to be able to (somehow) do other things that are important in a relationship, namely:

  • Going on a date:

We won’t be able to eat out for weeks to come (or even longer…maybe) so my idea is that we could go on an imaginary date by turning our house into a restaurant (provided that grocery stores will stay open).

We could perhaps prepare a special Filipino meal together and she could teach me (for the 20th time because I keep forgetting) how to make lumpya or Filipino spring rolls (she once taught me how to make pandesal and I did a great job but, as usual, I forgot how to do it).
Yes, cool idea: we could create a home restaurant…

  • We could go to the movie by watching a movie together…on YouTube (as if we were going to a literal movie theater…which we actually never do but we could start doing it now).
  • We could spend an evening with some close friends through Zoom or Skype.
  • We could replace going on a romantic getaway with planning our next trip by means of Google Maps or looking at some pictures of the best trips we made together in the past.
  • Another crucial thing in an intimate relationship is giving space: not easy when you share the same room 24/7 but I could allow her to watch her own things on YouTube while I do my Kindle reading, so we could give each other space this way without leaving the room.

There are different ways to go about working out a viable strategy to prevent the inevitable tension that characterizes a lockdown from eating away at love and intimacy.

At least I have started thinking about it and putting down in writing some ideas. I’ll try to come up with more ideas and insights in the days to come…as a matter of urgency!

Surviving a Lockdown

In this period I am deflecting a bit from my main topic, which is my relationship with a Filipina, and I am touching on what it is like to live under total lockdown.

This is, more or less, what Rome looked like yesterday night

So I am being forced to spend weekends at home.

But I have a lot of things that make my isolation much sweeter like:

First and foremost my beautiful wife who is sweetening this unusual time with pure and pristine love, a love that isn’t tainted by any pressures to go out and do something, just pure cuddling

I have also discovered an app, similar to Skype, called Zoom that allows us to do videoconferencing with up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes (with the free version) and we are using it both for our regular spiritual gatherings and for other kinds of Filipino social gatherings, without having to spend any money on gas or experience the burden of finding parking

And I have managed to do my regular weekend excursion by means of Google Maps!

This weekend I am visiting the amazing sea resort of Sperlonga, situated about 130 km South of Rome and I am exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful town by means of Street ViewAnd, last but not least, I am tapping into my Kindle collection of books and taking advantage of the immense reservoir of knowledge availableBut we are also allowed to breathe some fresh air to queue at the grocery store…

Slowly but surely I’ll get used to this quarantine….

Filipino “Diskarte” Amid Coronavirus Crisis: Homemade Face Masks

Filipino people have a way with finding creative solutions to all kinds of problems.

This Filipino trait is known as diskarte.

A serious problem most people have at the moment here in Italy is how and where to find face masks to protect themselves from Covid 19.

I don’t have any problems in this regard because my wife comes from the land of diskarte so I have my personal collection of homemade face masks.

Face masks are almost impossible to find in this country at the moment but, a couple of weeks before the nation-wide lockdown was introduced, I already had my Filipino-made masks.

I am not quite sure about the actual effectiveness of these masks against the virus, but grocery stores won’t let me in without one, so these ones should do their job and grant me access to the nearest supermarket.

It’s getting tough here…..

New restrictions coming…

Bisogni e desideri: un’importante lezione che ho tratto da questo periodo di quarantena forzata

Come ho già detto nella versione inglese (la lingua principale del mio blog) di questo post, io sono stato per anni un grande consumatore di caffè al bar.

Ora che non si trova un bar aperto nemmeno a pagarlo in oro non ho altra scelta che portarmi il termos del caffè da casa (dato che il mio lavoro non conosce quarantena e ci devo andare per forza).

Sono passati solo pochi giorni dalla chiusura totale dei bar e….. incredibile ma vero, mi sto abituando all’idea del termos.

Questo mi sta inducendo a fare una riflessione che sarebbe stato saggio fare 25-30 anni fa (ho 53 anni): se avessi acquisto questa abitudine da giovane quante migliaia di euro in più avrei ora sul conto corrente?

Credo proprio che dopo l’emergenza virus non metterò più piede in un bar (so che l’economia va sostenuta ma io credo di aver già dato….4 caffè al giorno per 30 anni…ma va’).

Questo dovrebbe consentirmi di arrivare alla pensione (ammesso e non concesso che esisterà ancora) con qualche migliaio di euro risparmiati….

Mannaggia i desideri!

Mga Pagnanasa vs mga Pangangailangan: mga Di-inaasahang Kapakinabangan ng Lockdown

Sarado lahat ang mga mall: paano ang mga Pilipino?…

Dito sa Italya nagiging talagang mahigpit ang lockdown dahil sa bilis ng pagdami ng cases ng Coronavirus.

Walang bukas na bar, restaurant, fast-food, shopping mall o kahit anong uri ng negosyo na hindi itinuturing “necessary”.

Ako ay matagal nang may masamang kaugalian na magkape sa bar kahit 3 o 4 na beses sa isang araw, kapag may pasok ako.

Sa ngayon wala akong magagawa kundi magdala ng thermos ng kape mula sa bahay.

Ito ay nagbibigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na mag-isip tungkol sa kung gaano karaming pera ang inuubos ko sa di-kinakailangang mga bagay.

Bukod dito kami ng misis ko ay mahilig sa dating at gusto naming kumain sa labas pero, dahil sa ngayon walang bukas na restaurant, nagdedate lang kami sa bahay at natuklasan namin na hindi talagang kailangan ubusin ang pera sa ganitong mga bagay para mag-enjoy ng pag-aasawa. Napakaromantiko na ang paglalambing sa kwarto namin!!!

Kung sana nilinang ko ang kaugalian na huwag gumastos sa bar o sa restaurant, na obligado akong taglayin ngayon dahil sa lockdown, noong bata pa ako marami na sana akong savings sa ngayon.

Ang Coronavirus Crisis ay nagturo sa akin ng isang importante aral tungkol sa kamangmangan ng pagsasaya ng pera sa di-kinakailangang mga bagay….

Thermos ng kape na lang
Sarado lahat

Needs vs Wants: What the Coronavirus Crisis is Teaching Me

Italy is on complete lockdown for the first time in its history.

What this entails is that all bars, all restaurants, all fast-food restaurants and many other non-essential businesses are closed.

Even if you were willing to pay 100€ for a cup of espresso you won’t find any bar open and if you were willing to pay 1000€ for a pizza you won’t find any pizzeria open.

For the first time in decades I have been forced to bring my coffee thermos from home and give up my habit of going to a bar up to 3 or 4 times a day to order an espresso, because there is nowhere to go.

This situation is causing me to reflect a little bit on how much money I could actually have saved up if, when I was younger, I had adopted the habit of bringing my own coffee to work, instead of always going to a bar and splashing unnecessary money.

Going to a bar 3 or 4 times a day means (here in Italy) spending 3-4€ a day, which multiplied by 7 days per week, 30 days per month and 365 days per year means a lot of money, money that I have been unconsciously spending on non-essentials.

Had I conquered this habit 25 years ago, or, better yet, had I never started this habit, I would, by now, have a lot more money in the bank.

This Coronavirus thing is making it plainly obvious that consistently spending money on non-essentials is absolutely foolish and it also making it obvious that we don’t really need to go to a bar or a restaurant to be happy.

My wife and I are having an amazing time together despite the fact that we are unable to go anywhere for a date.

From now on I will always bring my coffee thermos to work and my wife and I are considering the possibility of cutting back rather drastically on our habit of eating out.

12 years from now I should be able to retire (provided that there will still be such thing as a pension check in Italy): if I really manage to ditch this bad habit of spending money on unnecessary cups of espresso for good I should be able to have good extra money in my bank account…..hopefully.

A passage of the New Testament written by Paul of Tarsus says that we should be content with having nourishment and clothing (and a house I guess)….it seems like he was right. There is a lot of stuff we don’t really need…

My coffee thermos is proving to be a very useful tool

First Weekend Ever Under Lockdown in the Italian History: How are Italians and Filipino Immigrants Coping?

We are running out of masks but we’ve got plenty of wine bottles and jars
When you can’t go fishing
When you need to fill out a form to justify to the police why you are not at home….you can write that your dog needs to poop
When you are used to standing in a crowded bus

When discos are closed

What is likely to happen if the lockdown lasts too long
Saturday night (Corona) fever

What about Filipino immigrants?

They are not supposed to do the things they love the most like:

  • Going to large social gatherings
  • Going to shopping malls
  • Hanging out in front of the monument to José Rizal (we have a Luneta Park here in Rome)

So what’s the alternative?

Group chatting!