Bahala-na: Faith, Fatalism or Indolence?

“Bathala” gives some “babala”

The Philippines is a Bahala-na republic

Back in 2008 I bought myself one of those fancy t-shirts with funny logos that are sold in the Philippines.

One of those logos said “Bahala-na Republic”, a play on words for the expression “Banana Republic”.

The reason why the Philippines is described on my t-shirt as a “Bahala-na Republic” is because in the Philippines there is the bahala-na or bahala-na si Bathala mindset.

Bahala means something like “taking care”.

For example Filipinos use the expression bahala ka sa buhay mo meaning “you take care of yourself”.

Na basically means already

Bahala-na si Bathala

Filipinos use the expressions bahala-na and bahala-na si Bathala.

Actually the very word bahala comes from Bathala.

Who is Bathala?

“The word Bathala is believed to have come from the Sanskrit Bhattara Guru or “the highest of the gods.”

In Philippine mythology, the highest-ranking god of the ancient Tagalog people is Bathala, also known as or Maykapal or Abba. Bathala is the creator of all things — the sea, the sky, the earth, and all the plants. He dwelt in the highest realm of the sky….It was after the arrival of the Spanish missionaries on Philippine shores in the 16th century that Bathala came to be associated with the Christian God, who is referred to as Panginoon (Tagalog) or Diyos (from the Spanish Dios)”- source https://www.tagaloglang.com/bathala-the-tagalog-god/

So bahala-na si Bathala means “God will take care”.

Bahala-na as faith

There are events we can’t control and in the Philippines there are many such events like super-typhoons for example.

I experienced a fierce bagyo or typhoon while in the Philippines, back in 2008, and I think I have an idea of what it is like to feel powerless and at a loss of what to do in the face of those cataclismic events.

Those natural calamities are definitely beyond human control.

In the face of events that are beyond human control those who have a solidly grounded faith in God or Bathala can cope with the uncertainty and maintain a measure of peace of mind, and, in fact, the biblical Bathala says something along the lines of “do not be afraid for I am with you” and Bathala also says “trust in God with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding” and the Bible mentions the “peace of God that surpasses all thoughts”.

So Bahala-na si Bathala in the sense of serious faith in God’s ability to intervene or, at least, provide peace of mind, is a form of protection for those who have this kind of faith.

Bahala-na as fatalism

However, more often than not, the average Filipino who displays a Bahala-na attitude doesn’t quite come from a position of serious faith but, because for most Filipinos (as well as for most followers of any mainstream religion in any part of the world) the approach to spirituality is rather shallow and it is nothing more than the following of a bunch of traditions and rituals, this attitude seems to have a more fatalistic que sera sera flavor, not only toward events beyond human control like typhoons and so on but also toward the consequences of lack of planning and poor decisions.

Bahala-na and the law of cause and effect

So how do many Filipinos deal with things they can control?

Well, from my position as husband of a Filipina I observe a lot of attitudes in the Filipinos I interact with that border on indolence or, in some cases, even sheer irresponsibility.

I have met Filipinos who have fancy cars and the latest electronic gadgets but they are baon sa utang or mired in debt.

Others make kids as soon as they move to my country before they find a proper job or house.

Others share their apartment with another family to be able to buy an expensive car, eat out often, send money home to support a lot of relatives who don’t always have real emergencies.

And they dismiss the possibility that they might not be able to pay back their debts, support their children and find themselves in other dire situations with a bahala-na approach.

Nature teaches us that every cause produces an effect and this law is ruthless: if we sow badly we reap bad consequences.

The famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that “casualness leads to casualties”.

Casualness, neglect, lack of planning produce negative consequences that could be avoided by making better decisions upstream and in some areas Filipinos tend to be rather kampante (leave things to chance).

Is Bathala always bahala?

In modern Philippine society Bathala is the Christian God and most Filipinos belong to religious groups that are supposed to base their beliefs on the Bible.

Is the biblical Bathala always bahala no matter what one does?

Well, as far as I know, the biblical Bathala gives a lot of babala (warnings) like for example:

“If someone wants to build a tower he should calculate the expense”, Jesus said that in the Sermon on the Mount.

For example if a poor Filipino wants to have a lot of children he should make sure that he has the possibility to support them or “calculate the expense”.

If he fails to plan ahead and shows pagwawalang-bahala (carelessness) for the babala of Bathala is Bathala going to rescue him from the ikinababahala (worries) of his hasty move?

Maybe what Bathala will say to him is bahala ka (you fix your problem), not bahala ako, because I have given you the babala and you have shown pagwawalang-bahala for my babala…..or something along these lines.

Many Filipinos neglect their health:

for example many consume a little bit too much alcohol

Alak (alcohol), says Bathala, is “pampasaya ng puso” (makes the heart rejoice) but Bathala also gives the babala that one should only be drinking “kaunting alak” (a little bit of alcohol) not kaunti container as many Filipinos like to do, otherwise alak becomes pampasaya ng mayari ng sari-sari store (pampasaya of the owner of the grocery store) and not pampasaya ng puso.

With regard to alak Bathala gives a lot of babala like “ang lasenggo at matakaw ay maghihirap” (the drunk and the glutton will go broke).

And one of the babala that Bathala gives is the equivalent of the law of cause and effect: “anuman ang inihahasik…iyon ang aanihin” (you reap what you sow).

Bathala is not always bahala

Bathala is not always bahala, rather apart from events we can’t control we generally reap what we sow and…. bahala tayo not Bathala.

Yes, Bathala is not always bahala, rather we reap what we sow…and yesterday I saw a bottle of nice Chianti Red wine and bought it to sip some kaunting wine (not container) as pampasaya ng puso…

Principles vs Rules

My wife is Filipina and Filipino people are more externally-driven than internally-driven.

In my post about the Filipino concept of happiness I mentioned that Filipinos prefer being masaya (temporary happiness which is the result of titillation and external stimulation or, in other words, what Aristotle called “hedonic happiness”) to being maligaya (inner happiness that does not depend upon external stimulation, or what Aristotle called “eudemonic happiness”).

And in my blog I have also repeatedly touched on the Filipino culture of pakikisama or togetherness: Filipinos definitely fancy being part of a group and very few seem to value the kind of solitude that creates internally grounded individuals.

So Filipinos are, in many areas, externally grounded.

This Filipino trait also influences what motivates many Filipinos to do what’s quote-unquote “right” or moral.

Filipinos seem to need rules and authority figures, who enforce the rules, and they also have a deep-seated need to avoid hiya (shame) and save mukha (face).

Very often Filipinos reason in terms of pwede ba? o hindi pwede? (can I or can’t I?), dapat ba? o hindi dapat? (do I have to do it or not?), bawal ba? o hindi bawal? (is it forbidden or not?).

And, as I have said, they often do something or abstain from doing something because failing to do the quote-unquote right thing or doing the wrong thing might be nakahihiya (put them to shame).

The buwaya

Traffic in Manila is a big mess and rules are merrily ignored….unless there is a buwaya (literally “crocodile”: a Filipino word that in this context means policeman) around.


People who are guided by principles create more advanced communities

One of the insights that travelling around the world has given me is that societies that need a lot of rules and the constant presence of some authority figure who is always reminding people to abide by the rules and where people need to always be specifically told what to do or not to do, what’s allowed or not allowed, are less progressive and evolved while societies that are driven by broad principles are more evolved.

This also applies to individuals because a society is the sum total of the individuals who make it up.

In my life I have visited very advanced countries such as Sweden and Finland and developing countries like the Philippines and what I have noticed, for example, is the fact that in the first group of nations people drive safely, and abide by the rules in general, regardless of whether police is around or not while in places like the Philippines people only respect the rules if a buwaya is there.

In the more advanced countries where people do the “right” thing (at least the kind of right things that create order and efficiency and a thriving economy) people seem to be guided by the general overarching principle “if I want to live in an efficient community I have to do my part as an exemplary citizen who drives safely and disposes of the garbage properly, stands in line without complaining etc.”.

There are people (and communities) who seem to be driven to doing what’s quote-unquote “right” from a place of consciousness and awareness of why doing the quote-unquote “right” thing is good and beneficial and they align with it.

And there are people who need a rule and a carrot and stick approach to do what’s “right” and the Philippines definitely seems to fall in this category.

“Tanungin mo ang pastor”, “sabi ng pastor”

And when it comes to religious laws and principles many Filipinos rely on what the pastor said and they need to be constantly reminded by some pastor what to do in a specific situation.

Now what’s interesting here is that the Philippines is a Christian nation, for the most part, and Christianity is all about principles over rules.


So, at least in theory, this concept of principles over rules should be taught from a very early age.


I am not promoting any religion here because it’s not my purpose in this blog, I am just trying to make a point.

The very core of Christianity and what sets it apart from Judaism is the fact that Jesus replaced hundreds of specific laws with few broad principles and, in fact, he said that the hundreds of specific laws of the Mosaic Law boil down to few broad principles like “love your neighbor as yourself”.

He also said something along the lines of “keep on seeking first the Kingdom” instead of giving a ton of commands about how often his followers should do spiritual things.

Once one has embodied the idea (if he believes in Christ) that the Kingdom is a priority it is up to him or her to determine how to apply this broad overarching principle in various circumstances and such individual does not need any constant reminders. And if one has embodied the principle “love your neighbor as yourself” he doesn’t need to be commanded not to kill, steal etc.

Coming from a place of awareness

So, what’s interesting is (and this applies to every domain of life) that one can do what’s right because somebody told him, because of fear of punishment or, as it often happens in the Filipino culture, to avoid hiya (or “shame”) and to save mukha (or “face”) or he can do what’s right and moral from a place of integrity, consciousness and awareness.

“Simulain” and “batas”

In the Tagalog language there is a distinction between the words batas (law) and simulain (principle): this means that the idea that a person can be driven by broad principles rather than strict rules is not foreign to the consciousness of Filipinos.

Because these words do exist in the vocabulary of the Filipino language this means that Filipinos do have the concept of what a principio or simulain is.

It is just that many Filipinos need to be trained to reason in terms of principles and understand the value of being internally driven to do what’s right…. whatever that means.

Is Marriage the Solution to Loneliness?

One of my cherished moments of solitude


(I have slightly modified this old post)

When I was single I was not particularly desperate about finding a spouse and I was definitely not in a hurry to marry someone.

And in fact I took my time and I only made this move at age 36 when it had become obvious, beyond any reasonable doubt, that I had passed “the bloom of youth”.

For many years I held back from even looking for a girlfriend and I faced a lot of peer pressure from friends and family members who were trying to encourage me to find one and who seemed to view my reluctance to settle down and build a family as foolishness.

But I was actually cherishing my solitude and all the freedom and the opportunities that it was offering me.

Well, I have been married for 17 years now and during the past years I have had the confirmation of what I always suspected, namely that those who get married are, more often than not, no less lonely than those who remain single.

And this is the case for a variety of reasons

Husband and wife have conflicting interests

Husband and wife are not twins so there are things and interests you will never be able to fully share with your spouse and that your spouse might never relate to.

For example I have a passion for reading, for musing, contemplating and meditating, for being out in nature and this is a vast universe that constitutes a huge portion of who I am as a person that is completely foreign to my wife and definitely off her radars. She is the typical Filipina who prefers pakikisama or togetherness, partying and connecting with people to the above mentioned things.

So within me there is a vast landscape of passions, interests and deep reflections that I am not able to share at all with my wife, and I mean at all.

Our deepest emotions cannot be shared

Also, during my most difficult times,  or even during my happiest highs, there are feelings, emotions and fears that are simply beyond the realm of communication, not just with my wife but with any other human being and, in fact, during my teen-age years I would spend long days shut away in my room unable to share my deepest emotions with others, not even with my parents, and things haven’t changed that much: to this very day I continue to face the deepest joys and fears in life, the ones that cannot be put into words and shared, all by myself.

Husband and wife are mostly immersed in their own thoughts

Another reason is because I have become aware that most of the time I spend in close proximity with my spouse my wife and I are, for the most part, immersed in our thoughts and even when together we are de-facto separated.

It is not easy to be fully present and give our partner undivided attention and electronic gadgets certainly don’t help.

If you are married you have to work more and have less time to socialize

Those who are married have little time, if any at all, for their old friends.
When I was single I had plenty of social interactions because I had a lot less responsibilities and I had to work a lot less.
Now I hardly have any time for my old friends, and I used to have many all over the world, because my priority is (obviously and rightly so) my family.
I don’t work that many hours but, because I am the head of the family, I might have to, should the need arise,  and, as a result, have very limited time to interact with my only friends that I have the chance to associate with on a regular basis, namely my family.

I know plenty of married people who work so hard that they barely spend few minutes a day with their spouse before they fall asleep, and my father was one of those for a part of his life.

The situation is obviously much worse for married people who do shift work and perhaps are in a situation where even their spouse has a similar job.


Married people who live in a developing country might be forced to work overseas away from their families

The situation is even worse for those who work overseas (as many Filipinos do) away from their families, and that is really the height of the loneliness that a married person can experience.
I know Filipinos who have been working abroad for more than five years and haven’t had the chance to get their families to live with them, they only see them through Skype.

We are fundamentally alone in this universe

I am not in any of the above mentioned extreme situations and I have enough time to be with my wife but, as hard as I try to give my wife full attention and presence and as hard as I try to be interested in the things she values, what I have discovered is that, at the deepest existential level, life is a first-person responsibility and not a family project.

A relationship with the Creator, if you believe in one, or, at least, an investigation into the nature of existence, why we are here and so on, these are personal endeavors.

You can certainly worship God and pray to him with your spouse or, if you don’t believe in God, you can read about, talk about and speculate about the meaning of life with your spouse but, ultimately, the buck has to stop with you and you have to face these deep existential aspects of life all by yourself.

And….yes, death is something that you’ll have to face alone, even if your wife and the entire extended family (and Filipinos have a very large family and social group) is next to you: they can encourage you and comfort you but they are not going to follow you.

You are alone as far as your health and your emotions are concerned

Taking care or your health is a personal endeavor, and in fact there are people who work out and eat healthy food while their spouse doesn’t.

The emotions you feel are the result of how you use your body and what you focus on and not the result of how your spouse makes you feel.

Solitude is critical to enjoying a healthy relationship

Solitude is necessary to be productive, to write in a journal, to plan, to schedule, to read, to contemplate and to grow, speaking of which I must also say that living as a couple without carving out moments of solitude and reflection could actually endanger the relationship itself.

One of the reasons why my relationship has improved dramatically is precisely because I isolate myself on a daily basis and reflect on how to improve my marriage, write the challenges I have in my marriage down in a journal and put down in writing my insights about how to meet those challenges.

So, can marriage really fix your loneliness?

The reality is that you are alone, you came into this world alone and you are going to leave alone.

You’ll have to face the deepest existential issues all alone, you’ll have to cultivate an intimate relationship with the Creator (or with life, the universe or whatever you believe in) all alone.

You will be spending most of your couple time immersed in your thoughts and your spouse will do the same most of the time and you might actually be too busy working to even spend much time with your spouse, let alone with your old friends.

And you will need solitude to study the best strategies to improve your relationship.

So loneliness cannot be avoided even if you are in an intimate relationship and you will actually need plenty of quality time by yourself to become a solidly grounded human being who is in the best position to make the relationship grow.

 

 

Naka- or Nakaka-? A Common Mistake that Native Filipino Speakers Make

When I deeply immersed myself into the study of the Tagalog grammar I came across the abilitative forms of Tagalog verbs being maka- and makapag-.

These forms convey the idea of ability.

If, for example, I use the verb tumawa that verb means to laugh.

If, instead of using the infix -um- (that goes between the first consonant and the first vowel of the root word tawa), I use the prefix maka- I am communicating the idea of being able to make someone laugh.

So, whenever I use maka- or makapag-, I am conveying the idea of ability.

Now, the mistake most native Filipino people make is that they use nakaka- as prefix (or unlapi) whenever they use the verb in the incompleted aspect (more or less the equivalent of the present tense in English, but to be precise there is no such thing as tenses in Tagalog, there are only aspects).

Is that correct?

Let’s take for example the verb tumawa.

We said that the abilitative form is makatawa.

Now, because the incompleted aspect is formed by repeating the first pantig or syllable of the root word tawa, the right form should be nakatatawa, because the root word is tawa and the first syllable is ta: so ta becomes tata.

Yet most Filipinos use (quite incorrectly) the nakaka- affix instead of using naka- and repeating the first syllable of the root-word and so they say nakakatawa instead of nakatatawa, nakakatuwa instead of nakatutuwa, nakakainis instead of nakaiinis, nakakalungkot instead of nakalulungkot and so on.

I used to ask my wife why she used the nakaka- and she would reply that that’s the way they say it (which is not quite what the Tagalog Grammar textbooks I have studied say).

This example teaches me that one who is trying to learn a foreign language shouldn’t rely too heavily on native speakers…. unless they are language professors

Introvert Western Husband of a Filipina vs the Filipino Culture of Pakikisama

(I have slightly modified this old post)

A typical Filipino social gathering

My wife is Filipina and she comes from a culture that is all about pakikisama, a Tagalog term for togetherness.

I, on the other end, need, cherish and actually crave plenty of solitude and prefer associating with few selected individuals to having a lot of friends and going to large social gatherings.

I love solo hikes and I also love sitting alone on park benches or simply being shut away in my room to read for hours on end. And I love going to a cafeteria or a restaurant with maximum one or two very close friends and engage in deep conversation.

The Filipino culture is, on the other hand, all about large social gatherings, music, dancing and karaoke, chit-chatting and sharing.

The Filipino idea of togetherness fosters a spirit of bayanihan, a spirit of communal cooperation and help which is such that the whole community helps when of its member needs practical help.

So how can I, a very strong introvert, sit well with a Filipina who comes from a culture that is strongly oriented toward connecting with a lot of people?

Well, not only have I discovered that an introvert man can sit well with a woman who comes from a culture that encourages much togetherness but I have also found out that an extrovert person actually needs an introvert partner and that an introvert and an extrovert complement each other rather nicely.

Here are some reasons why I think an introvert like me can thrive in a relationship with an extrovert and make it work rather well.

Introverts are not hermits, they just prefer few and high quality relationships to many shallow ones

The Filipino idea of togetherness has a lot of great aspects to it, like the spirit of bayanihan that I have just mentioned.

On the other hand, because Filipinos definitely prefer large social gatherings to socializing with one or two people at a time, relationships tend to be rather shallow.

In my life I have always had very few friends but those people have been my friends for decades.

I have always preferred fixing misunderstandings and working on improving my relationships with those few people to running away from them when things don’t work out

There are people who seem to have plenty of options because they have plenty of shallow relationships with a lot of people so they always have someone else to turn to when they get upset with a particular person.

I prefer to maintain my relationships with the people whom I care about and make them grow to turning to other people when things don’t work out and this personality trait has stood me in good stead in my marriage.

I have been through a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts in my relationship (like all those who are in a marriage) but I have entered this relationship with the idea that there is no plan B. My wife is my best friend and the relationship has to work and I am committed to raising the quality of it every single day.

And, because I have very few friends outside the relationship, I can focus on my marriage without too many distractions from a lot of people who claim my time and attention.

Introversion Breeds Peace Within and Without

Because I need and cherish solitude I can easily leave the scene of a heated discussion without suffering too much because I can be just as fulfilled while alone as when I am interacting with my wife (or with any other person).

Also, choosing to deliberately isolate myself on a regular basis, by carving out moments in which I write in a journal, gives me the opportunity to reflect on what’s working and what’s not working in my relationship and come up with solutions I couldn’t come up with if I were always socializing.

Contemplation and inner work breed more self-control and peace of mind in general and create an internal environment that can hardly coexist with conflict.

An Introvert Gives Space

Because an introvert needs space he is also more likely to give space and giving space is vital in an intimate relationship.

I need a lot of space and I am willing to give my wife space, to the point that I am willing to allow her to spend even one or two months in the Philippines while I stay here (and this has already happened three times since we got married).

An Introvert is Rich Internally and Therefore is Less Clingy

A strong introvert doesn’t enter a relationship because he is desperate about finding a spouse.

As I have already mentioned, during my moments of solitude I can be just as fulfilled as when I interact with people, or, more accurately, I feel even more fulfilled.

I fully enjoyed my almost four decades of singleness (I got married at age 36) so I was not really clinging to the idea of finding a marriage mate, I could perfectly function alone.

And, because one of the hallmark traits of a thriving marriage is giving, those who don’t enter a relationship because they badly need companionship have more to give, or, at least, have less to take.

The Downside of Being too much of an Introvert

So, being an introvert has, without a doubt, stood me in great stead as far as my marriage is concerned.

Yet I must admit that sometimes I push my need to be alone too far and my being too much of an introvert borders on selfishness.

Not only does my wife connect with a lot of people to just socialize with them: in so doing she actually helps a lot of people in many practical ways, which is something that I definitely need to work on and that I am learning from my Filipino wife.

So I think that an introvert and an extrovert can definitely learn from each other and not view each other as incompatibile.

I am the most introverted person you can imagine, I am, in fact, the peak of introversion while my wife comes from a culture that is the polar opposite of it and yet we manage to function rather well.

My experience shows that a relationship between an hyper-introvert and an extrovert is possible and if I can be in a relationship with an extrovert everyone else who is in a similar position can.

So, yes, a strong introvert can perfectly be in a relationship with an extrovert and my experience is the evident demonstration that this is definitely the case.

Overhead Wires in the Philippines vs Underground Service Cables in Europe

I am writing this post because even today (lockdown measures have been lifted a bit) I have had to cope with one of the many traffic jams that are caused day in and day out by never ending road repairs, many of which are the result of the fact that all kinds of utilities in this country run underground.

One of the things that really impressed me the first time I set foot in the Philippines is the incredible amount of utility poles and overhead wires and cables.

I found that jungle of wires quite odd because here in Italy, as well as everywhere else in Europe, there is almost nothing hanging overhead.

I assume that the reason why they have overhead feeds in the Philippines is because the cost of underground wiring is much higher and developing countries evidently can’t afford all the extra expenses of boring holes in the ground, and all the more so because cities like Manila grow very rapidly and more and more new high-rise buildings and shopping malls are being built almost at the speed of light.

The downside of this “spaghetti wires” system became pretty obvious to me back in 2008 when I experienced my first tropical typhoon ever, bagyo Frank: we had no electricity for three days. Evidently overhead wires get very easily damaged by storms and severe storms do happen in the Philippines way too often.

Here in Italy we never, or hardly ever, have any prolonged power outages.

Underground feeds also offer a much cleaner look, since there are no power poles running down the streets.

On the other hand the underground wiring system has its downsides:

First of all electric bills are very high in this country and I guess that the higher cost of boring holes in the ground and digging every now and then to do ordinary and extraordinary maintainance is something that ultimately us users pay.

Another problem is that we have to put up with men at work digging holes to repair electric lines as well as gas and water pipes, day in and day out, and more men at work putting patches on the asphalt and those patches are not always even (and that is perhaps why in the Philippines roads seem to be smoother than the ones we have here in Rome: no one is digging holes all the time).

For us tourists who visit the Philippines those messy overhead wires are a little ugly to watch but I guess that it would be rather unpractical and probably too expensive for a country like the Philippines to switch to underground wiring in the short term.

At least Filipinos can enjoy their new roads that are free from the way too many patches and bumps that we have in this country….

Never ending digging in Rome

No overhead wires in Rome

Overhead wires in Baguio City, Philippines

Roads in the Philippines are getting better and better and they are free from utility workers who dig holes all the time…

Markers in Tagalog

Markers in Tagalog play a role similar to that of articles and prepositions in English.

A marker is, in fact, a word that comes before a noun.

Depending on the focus of the verb a marker indicates the role that the noun plays in the sentence: a marker may mark a noun as actor, object, location, direction etc.

ANG and SI/SINA

These markers are used to point out the focus of the sentence.

1. ANG (or ANG MGA if the focus of the sentence is a plural) marks a word as the focus of the sentence except for nouns that are the names of people that are marked by SI (singular) or SINA (plural)

Examples:

Pumunta ang empleyado sa opisina (singular)=the office worker went to his office

Pumunta ang mga empleyado sa opisina

Pumunta si Mario sa opisina

Pumunta sina Mario at Grace sa opisina

NG and NI/NINA

These markers are used when the noun is not the focus of the sentence

Example:

Binasa ng estudiante ang libro=the book is what the student read (the student is not the focus of the sentence, rather it is the book)

Binasa ng mga estudiante ang libro

Binasa ni Mario ang libro

Binasa nina Mario at Grace ang libro

NG also indicates possession

Example:

Ang libro ng estudiante (the book that belongs to the student)

Ang libro ni Mario

SA and KAY/KINA

These markers have to do with direction, location and beneficiary and correspond to prepositions in English

Examples:

BENEFICIARY

Ibinigay ng titser ang isang libro sa estudiante (or sa mga estudiante=plural)=the teacher gave a book to the student

Ibinigay ng titser ang isang libro kay Mario (or kina Mario at Grace)

DIRECTION

Pumupunta ako sa bahay=I am going (sa=to in this context) home

Pumupunta ako kay Mario=I am going to Mario

LOCATION

Example:

Mayroon ang isang Jollibee restaurant sa Milan, Italy=there is a Jollibee restaurant in Milan

SA also marks a future time

Example:

Magbabakasyon ako sa Agosto=I’ll go on vacation in August

Why Avoid Jumping from one Relationship to Another: a Lesson from the Filipino Movie “All My Life”

(I have modified this old post)

Many immigrants in my country end up broke and mired in debt because of their mindset, similarly people who move to another relationship without changing their mindset don’t solve any of their problems

Relationships don’t fix our emotional issues

When I entered my relationship with a Filipina one of the very first things I did, to become acquainted with her culture, was watching Filipino movies.

One of the first ones I watched is entitled “All My Life”.

The lyrics of the theme song of this famous Filipino movie say something along the lines of “I’ll never forget how you brought the sun to shine in my life…there was an empty space in my heart”.

These are not just the lyrics of a song, this is actually how most people who wish to be in a relationship or wish to be in a better one think.

A lot of people in our society, not just in the Philippines, believe that on a sunny day the ideal partner will show up and “bring the sun to shine” in their hearts, there where there is an “empty space” to fill, as the song goes.

I believe that this is a myth and that entering a relationship or moving from one relationship to another doesn’t quite bring the sun to shine in an empty heart.

It has been said many times and in many ways that one of the hallmark characteristics of a healthy relationship is giving, so if one has an “empty space” to fill the solution is inner work not someone else who will do it for us.

I believe that if our current partner is not causing the “sun to shine” in our heart the solution is not another partner, rather it is fixing our own crap and no one can do it for us unless we do it.

Unless one is in a relationship with a partner who has become abusive, violent, irresponsible, extremely lazy or otherwise unbearable to the point that there is no way to continue the relationship, moving from one relationship to another is not the answer in my modest opinion.

Migrating from a relationship to another without changing ourselves is like moving to another country without first improving ourselves

I think the condition of many Filipino immigrants in my country is an interesting metaphor to illustrate this point.

In much the same way as many people move from one relationship to another, Filipinos who live in Italy have moved from one country to another looking for greener grass.

The problem is that while some have indeed fixed their financial problems most are just as broke as if they would be if they had never left the Philippines. Why?

Because of the bahala-na approach to life (or “casual” approach to life), which is part of the “Pinoy mentality” that often doesn’t change when Filipinos move to another country.

For example, one of the reasons why Filipino people leave their country and move here is because here in Italy health care is free. The problem is that despite having access to free medical care most Filipinos keep drinking way too much alcohol, eating way too often at KFC, Mc Donald’s, most exercise very little if they exercise at all and, as a result of this mindset, they are just as ill as if they lived in a country that has no free health care (my wife is Filipina and I love Filipino people flaws and all, I am just trying to make a point here).

So my point is that wherever we go we bring us with us. Unless we shift our mentality no place, situation or person will ever fix our problems.

A famous motivational speaker said that “it is not the blowing of the wind, rather it’s the setting of the sail” that determines where we wind up in life.

It is true that, just as there are people who cannot help but flee from dangerous and abusive relationships, there are also people who cannot help but flee from countries that are plagued by war, extremely difficult economical situations, persecution and so on.

The problem is when one runs away from a difficult situation that is the result of a messed up mindset and expects to find the solution to his or her problems by moving to another environment without changing anything about his or her mentality

Many Filipinos, as soon as they move to my country have kids before they even find adequate work, many buy a fancy car and the latest electronic gadgets and give very little thought to cultivating smart financial habits and, as a result of this bahala-na approach, many end up having spent years or even decades in this country without having changed anything about their situation.

If we work on our mindset we can make our present relationship work

The same principle applies to relationships: if we have an “empty space” in our heart we need to fix it by doing the hard work that is necessary to change our mindset and if we do our homework in this area chances are that “the sun” will start to shine in our heart of its own accord and it is highly likely that by doing so we will not need to rely on someone else and change partner to fill the “empty space in our heart” but rather we will be able to make our present relationship work.

If we do nothing to improve ourselves and expect a new partner to fix us we will keep chasing “the same person only in a different body” as Dr. Wayne Dyer wisely said and the empty space in our heart” will remain empty.

The bottom line is: it is way better in my opinion to work on our mindset and fix our weaknesses, thereby making our present relationship work, than run away from the relationship in search of the elusive goal of finding the perfect match who can make the sun shine in an empty heart.

Uso pa ba ang Harana? (O Hindi na Uso?)

Para sa akin uso pa sana ang harana kung mayroon sana mas marami akong panahon para tumugtog ng gitara.

Mayroon pa akong gitara na binili ko sa Pampanga noong 2009 na medyo magandang klase.

Binili ko iyon sa halagang 5000 pesos at may pick up pa!

Isa sa mga bagay na gusto ko tungkol sa Pilipinas ay ang dami ng mga tao na marunong kumanta at tumugtog.

Masyadong bisi ako sa ngayon at bihira ang mga pagkakataon na kaya kong tumugtog.

Marami akong pananagutan sa buhay at natural na lang na ang gitara ay nasa pinakadulo ng aking mga prioridad (syempre pamilya at trabaho muna…).

Dati marunong akong kalabitin ang harana by Parokya ni Edgar pero dahil matagal na hindi ako nagpractice medyo nakalimutan ko ang strumming pattern….kung hindi ako nagkakamali ang strumming ay DDUUD DUDUUDU.

Kailangan kong hanapin ang tutorial sa YouTube at magpaturo sa isang mahusay na YouTubero….

Italy is the Philippines of Europe!

(I am reblogging this old article)

In this blog I have been talking for several weeks about the differences between a Filipino wife and a Western man.

But “Western” is a very broad concept.

White people in the Philippines almost treat each other as fellow countrymen no matter where they come from.

I remember a French young man in Rosales, Pangasinan running up to me and almost hugging me, as I was the only white man he had probably seen in years.

An English guy showed me a similar affection in Tayug, Pangasinan, as I was the first person in years he could talk to about soccer.

Nevertheless, while Westerners in the Philippines almost look all the same and almost treat each other as fellow countrymen, due to the fact that the Filipino environment is so utterly different that the huge differences between Northern and Southern Europeans fade into insignificance, in a Western context there are huge differences between a German, for example, and a Southern Italian or a Greek, a Spanish or an Albanian.

Italy and particularly Southern Italy, is one of those Western countries where Filipinos probably feel most at ease.

The pictures above show some Italian landscapes that resemble the Philippines: the clear waters of Sabaudia, about 80 km south of Rome, the Vesuvius, a volcano near Naples and a bay near the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy.

These and many other places in Italy kind of resemble similar scenarios that are typical of the Philippines.

So, in terms of landscape, my country and my wife’s share many things in common, apart from the weather.

Here in Italy we have islands, crystal clear water, volcanoes, latin origins like the Spanish who colonized the Philippines for 300 years.

Food is one of the core elements of the Italian lifestyle and this is something Italians and Filipinos share in common.

The driving style in cities like Rome and Naples, the fact that Southern Italians don’t like queuing, almost make Filipinos feel at home in my country.

Roughly 108,000 documented Filipinos reside in Italy and estimates on the number of undocumented Filipinos vary widely from 20,000 to 80,000.

In 2008, ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), Italy’s statistics office, reported that there were 113,686 undocumented Filipinos living in Italy.

Although many of Pinoys and Pinays in Italy are clandestine, the Italian government turns a blind eye and doesn’t crack down on Filipinos to whom they appear as a group of immigrants who work hard and mind their own business.

So, yes, under many aspects my country, at least the Southern part of it is Filipino-friendly and certainly one of the reasons why we have so many Filipinos here is because of the huge similarities between the two countries.

Yes, Italy is a Western country but, under many aspects it can be viewed as “the Philippines of Europe”!