Friday, May 4, 2012

Is It More Fun in the Philippines?

So, I've been a dual citizen for almost a week now (It was made official on Friday), which means that I can stay in the Philippines for up to a year, rather than only three months at a time with my American passport. Hell, I could probably work there now. Or maybe go to school. I don't know. My mother is probably going to spend half a year at a time there, now that she can; we've got a condo in Eastwood, a carehome in Sunnyvale, a house in Daly City, two farms, and two passports [each], so she's pretty much ready to roll son

Then I came across this link - ironically, I was reblogging about the crab mentality - which I hate - when I found this fun clip instead (20 Reasons Why Two White Dudes Walter and Jeff Love The Philippines). I decided to come up with my own reasons, but as I am a Libra and need balance, I made two lists: ten things each of what I like and don't like about my birth country, the Philippines. And true to my Libra self, they're often mirror images of each other. I may expound on them further; we'll see.

10 Things I Like About The Philippines

1. Food
2. Fresh and/or Convenient Everything
3. Island Hopping
4. Family
5. Getting Shit Done
6. It's Inexpensive
7. Instant International Support System
8. Drinking
9. Manila
10. Stargazing/Fun Times in the Bukid

10 Things I Don't Like About The Philippines

1. I'm Usually The Fattest Person There
2. Lack of Environmental Friendliness
3. Traffic
4. Family
5. Not Getting Shit Done
6. Sweatshops
7. Crab Mentality & Cronyism
8. Sexism
9. Manila
10. Snakes, Mosquitoes & Other Scary & Annoying Organisms

Honourable Mention:

I like: My indelible roots to the Philippines

I don't like: The heat.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Paris et San Francisco

So lately my friends and I have been trying to come up with analogues to San Francisco and various cities (mainly New York). Then, idly, I thought: What parts of San Francisco can correspond to parts of Paris? Of course, every town is different, so one will never completely and perfectly overlap with another. But San Francisco is always being called the most "European" city in America America meaning, of course, the most the U.S.; the residents of Buenos Aires, however, would probably argue with me over that claim and often, indeed, "The Paris of the West." Does this hold up? Having spent time around both cities, there are parallels but each city is near and dear to my heart for different reasons. Still, here's some matches I tried to make. Also, do note that Paris and San Francisco are sister cities.

The analogues are listed by Parisian arrondissement (and neighbourhood/landmark, if necessary) and San Francisco neighbourhood/landmark (or other Bay Area communities as needed)

This is definitely a work in progress.

1e - Downtown
- Chatelet - 5th and Market (SF Shopping Centre/Westfield, Powell Station, Cable Car Turnaround)

2e - Geary Street + Civic Center
- Pyramides - Japantown
- Opera - Theatre District + Civic Center
- Palais Garnier - War Memorial Opera House

3e -

4e - The Mission/Castro, but with a little bit of the Civic Center
- Le Marais (Jewish part): Mission
- Le Marais (Gay part): Castro
- Notre Dame - Mission Dolores
- Hotel de Ville - City Hall

5e - Berkeley (not in SF, yes, but much more suited to St. Germain/the Latin Quarter than Anza Vista/USF)
- Sorbonne - UC Berkeley

6e -

7e (I went to school here!) -
- Eiffel Tower - Golden Gate Bridge
- Champ de Mars - Alamo Square (which is nowhere near the Golden Gate, but they are analogous for the postcard-pic factor)

8e - Downtown
- Boulevard des Champs-Elysees - Market Street

9e -

10e -

11e - Bernal Heights
- Oberkampf - Hipster Mission, bordering Bernal Heights

12e - Hayes Valley
- Opera Bastille - Davies Symphony Hall

13e - Chinatown/the Sunset
- Les Olympiades - the Sunset (except Les Olympiades rises up where the Sunset spreads out)

14e - Haight-Ashbury
- Montparnasse - Haight-Ashbury

15e - Dogpatch/Potrero/SoMa
- Javel - industrial parts of SF (Dogpatch, Potrero, SoMa)

16e (I lived here!!) - Pacific Heights/Nob Hill
- Auteuil (more densely populated with homes) - Nob Hill
- Passy (mansions) - Pacific Heights
- Bois de Boulogne - Golden Gate Park (even if Pac Heights is nowhere near GGP)

17e - Seacliff (quieter and lesser-known than the 16th but still rich)

18e - North Beach + Fisherman's Wharf + the Tenderloin
- Montmartre - North Beach-Fisherman's Wharf
- Pigalle - the Tenderloin + 6th st (red light district)
- Goutte D'Or - the Tenderloin (large concentration of working-class immigrants)
- Boulevard de Clichy - Broadway (through North Beach, i.e. the part with the strip clubs)


20e - Colma (what? SF has no cemeteries within city limits lol)

Neuilly-sur-Seine - Marin
La Defense - Financial District
Seine-Saint-Denis - Bayview/Hunters Point

Monday, April 26, 2010

She was an American girl

Today is the eighteenth anniversary of my arrival in the United States. If my American experience were a person, she'd be a full adult today! :D And indeed, I'm finally beginning to feel like an American adult. I'm stuck here now, I've got a job (again - the Census Bureau called me up for the second phase on Saturday), and I can do all the things most adult Americans do (except run for president).

America has been good to me, even though there are some horrible things about it: the job market, the war, the imperialistic past and present, racism, how the entire world hates on you when you're overseas... Still, it's offered a home and a good life for my mother and me even though she never even wanted to go to America before the divorce, a decent education (yay for graduating before Cal Grants were cut!) and a passport that will take you almost anywhere in the world without the rest of that bureaucratic red tape (example: going to Japan as a Filipino, even for like a day, results in reams of paperwork; this might have more to do with illegal immigration and Japanese xenophobia more than anything, though). Oh, and as said before, I have a government job again (but only for a few weeks). Whatever gets me through the month, I guess.

I honestly liked growing up American - before September 11 and the war and the entire Bush administration I was proud, happy and grateful for the chance to have come here. I still am happy and grateful to have reached America, but the war (and just growing up in general) has made me a little cynical about this country. The stereotype of America as the fat, blond, hostile, arrogant cowboy the cute chibi from Hetalia notwithstanding sort of makes me hate being from America, but compared to the average Philippine experience I can hardly complain. I guess it's up to me to prove the stereotypes wrong - whether conversing with foreigners or fellow residents - and show what a real American woman is nervy, brunette, only slightly overweight, gracious and polite, belligerent only when directly provoked and/or cut off on the freeway

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Two days left until I go back to reality

I guess I was always a bit of an outsider, wherever I was... but now I feel comfortable that way. You might not realize it, but everyone feels like an outsider on some level, especially when you're growing up." - Utada Hikaru

Was reading an interview with Utada on aramatheydidnt and these words just spoke to me, because I was always the outsider myself. Too Filipino for my American friends, too American for my Filipino family, too different from my Filipino-American friends... unfortunately, although I understand and feel Utada's words, my Daly City upbringing wasn't as exciting as her Tokyo-New York childhood.

I especially felt that awkwardness during this vacation, with Adriaan as an added external factor - as the mediator between him and my family (my world, more like) I felt a lot more Filipino than I used to, especially as I had to explain everything about the Philippines to him (not that the one-month vacation was enough). I also used my native dialect more, and even began to ease back into Tagalog. But after he'd left, it was so much more apparent to me how awkward and in-between I am, pinging between cultures, vacillating between jet-setting and provincial, and speaking this bastardised jumble of Tagalog, Kapampangan and English with bits of French, Spanish, and Italian (and Japanese mixed in for my Arashi-obsessed nieces).

But you know what? I like being this mixed up. Sometimes I wish I was more mixed up, actually - I would love to have had a crazy, globetrotting existence (well, more than I already do now). And considering the history of the Philippines itself, I think the Filipino people fit this extremely international/multicultural life better than anyone else in the world. (Just ask the Filipino janitors in Antarctica.)

Just something for me to ponder as I leave one home for another... and shiver in anticipation for the Utada concert next week!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Holiday Message from Duckie

It's midnight in the Philippines! Church bells are ringing all over the Islands (and all over our part of Asia) as we welcome the anniversary of Christ's birth.

Am listening to Josh Groban's "O Holy Night" (my favourite version) as my cousin Mayeth is doing my hair - I'm slated to sing La Cantique de Noel (aka O Holy Night) in about four and a half hours... and I'm getting over a cold. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hong Kong is the place to be

I've been in Hong Kong for the past few days, and I'm leaving in about twelve hours. I'm writing this from the hotel lobby's computer terminal (it's about 2:32 AM lol) and I just had to say that I'm kind of sad to go. Adriaan (who was partly raised here) was right; you can live here your entire life and never run out of things to do. This is so far the only city that has tired me out this much (four nights out of five I fell asleep before midnight, and I'm a night owl) and I enjoyed almost every minute of it (even though I got a bit snappish when my feet hurt/I got dehydrated from walking around so much). Oh, and we also went to Macau (the Venetian and the part of town around St. Paul's) - I can cross those off my "Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers" location list XDDDDDD

I really don't know why I'm still awake, especially as I've been so tired at night these past few days, but I just felt like checking in haha.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hong Kong!!!

After one lovely flight (Adriaan and I got one row away from business class because we were so early and he is so tall) I am now in Hong Kong. The ride to HK Station from the airport was beautiful, and the airport has been voted Best Airport several times since it opened. I'm in quite a nice area - right on the edge of nightlife and shopping. Adriaan and I have already checked out Wan Chai, which is the part of the nightlife area on the Island, and will soon be going down to see the races at Happy Valley Racecourse, which is down the street from us. In fact, our (23rd story) room overlooks the course, as well as a lovely Catholic cemetery. Right now we are on the fifth floor of our hotel, which has a patio enclosed by a bamboo fence and rattan furniture. The air is balmy, and just right now that we've stopped walking :D I've been up all day, but HK just has so much energy - tonight, just on our block, the weekly races are on; traffic is bustling on Queen's Road East and Wong Nai through the tunnel; and across the street at Queen Elizabeth Stadium the East Asian Games are going on (I've been seeing a lot of athletes go in and out of our hotel, in addition to the normal swanky looking tourists) - so I don't want to crash just yet.

More to come as the vacation continues.