Thursday, February 28, 2008
Negros Navigation is also sailing to Boracay and Coron
Boracay on a budget
Technorati tags: superferry Boracay superferry+boracay ferry transportation+to+Boracay
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
An example of this is opening of gifts. In Europe, when someone gives you a gift, it is normal to open it in front of all your guests. In the Philippines, we don't open gifts in public because of hiya. Why? If the gift is too cheap compared to the rest of the gifts received, it will be too shameful for the giver of the gift. Also, we like to save ourselves the embarrassment of pretending to like the gift. When we receive gifts, it is customary to open it in private where we are free to express our real emotions without embarrassing anybody. In the beginning of my stay in Switzerland, I really hated it when I had to open gifts in-front of the people who gave it to me. The problem is, most of the time they are watching my facial expression as the gift is revealed. I hated to have a pretend smile and a ready exclamation of "Wow, thank you!" even if I had no idea what the gift is used for.
Another example is admitting ignorance for something. In the Philippines, if you ask someone for directions, no one will admit that they have no idea what you are talking about. So most of the time the person you ask will just point to a random direction. Usually, you will know if you found a person who knows the place you are looking for if the person is more specific in giving you directions. If the person you ask just points somewhere and says "I think it's there" that can be translated to "I have no idea what you are talking about but I will send you somewhere just to get rid of you".
Anyway, after living in Switzerland for four years and working with a lot of Swiss and Germans. I really had to throw away my hiya. It was quite difficult because it was deeply ingrained in my soul. If I don't understand what my boss is telling me, I have to admit that I don't understand. If I don't agree with someone, I have to say that I don't agree. Here, it is quite normal to argue openly (with shouting and everything) with colleagues and it would not be considered personal. I have to be walang hiya otherwise I will not be successful in my job. The problem arises when I go back home to the Philippines for a vacation because I am still programmed to be walang hiya which doesn't rub well with a lot of people....
Culture Lesson No.1: Don't look me in the eyes
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
We stayed at the Green House, a very basic but cosy place. There is only one bathroom without hot water but for a few pesos they would heat some for you. The best place for dinner is Log Cabin. When we were there we had to place our orders a few hours in advance because it can get quite full. For breakfast you shouldn't miss the Yogurt house where you will find the yummiest yogurts.
Sagada could get cold at night so make sure you bring warm clothes.
From Sagada we went to Baguio taking a bus that passes through the Bagiuo-Bontoc road or the Halsema Mountain Highway (yeah right, dirt road is a more correct term). If you have 10 hours to waste, take this road because the view is so breathtaking. Taking this road is an adventure unto itself. On the way to Bagiuo we passed by several landslides and sometimes I was sure that the tires of our bus went a few inches from the cliff (picture). I am not sure if it is adviseable to drive on your own here because the road is really treachearous.
Sagada Mt+Province Burial+caves Mountain Hiking bagiuo+benguet+road Halsema+Mountain+Highway
Monday, February 25, 2008
With a risk of sounding like Malu Fernandez, I have to admit that in the beginning of my stay in Switzerland 4 years ago, I did not appreciate being asked if I was a mail order bride or if my husband bought me (yup!) or if I take care of children. I was trying to be a scientist but all I got was judgmental stares as I walk along Zurich's streets. I felt that I was being dismissed and belittled just because I was Filipino.
Just paranoia? I don't think so. Once, while collecting insects in a field just outside Zurich with my husband (who is Swiss) for a biological experiment (we used to work together), a Swiss farmer on a tractor saw us. He immediately jumped out of his tractor and ran towards my husband. The farmer while staring at me, excitedly asked my husband where he found me, if I cook well and if I have a sister! I felt like a cow for sale getting appraised.
In Rome while on vacation, I was refused entry to a McDonalds! I felt so humiliated when a crew pushed me out the door while shouting at me in Italian. I bit back the tears as I went back to my husband waiting outside for his food. I couldn't comprehend why I was treated that way. Is it because I was Filipina?
For a few months, I resented Filipino mail order brides and OFWs all over the world who I thought was responsible for my difficult time in Switzerland. I resented them for not being proud enough to refuse to sell their souls only to be second class citizens of another country. I blamed them for my inability to get respected in my new world and for being stereotyped as a domestic helper. I went as far as to pretend to be South American!
Please don't burn my blog just yet and continue reading.
Perhaps because of my indignation when a Lebanese colleague remarked to me that she was very surprised to find a Filipina working in science in Zurich when all the Filipinos she heard about in Lebanon are domestic helpers that I changed my mind. She mentioned innocently that they have a problem with Filipinos because we are known to trick employers into paying for our plane tickets only to move to another employer who will pay more. She said that is why it is common practice in her country to take the passports of the Filipino helpers and to lock them inside the house to prevent them from leaving. "But that is illegal and inhuman!" I cried. I was so horrified I couldn't say anything more! I was talking to an educated person who sincerely believed that Filipinos should be locked up.
In my mind something clicked, Filipinos are proud! We are so proud that we brave horrible conditions abroad just to provide a good future for our families! We sacrifice the joy holding our own children in our arms to take care of someone else's. We are so secure in our resolve to give our children a better life that we do not tremble at the possibility of being raped, killed, and abused in a foreign land. If that is not strength of character, I don't know what is.
After that I evolved, now I am proud of our OFWs. I am proud to be Filipino. We export love in all its forms, there is nothing wrong with that! If the Swiss are into banking, and the Germans are into cars, we are into love! We export motherly love so that foreign children will know what true maternal love is, we export helpers to care for homes abroad and we export conjugal love so that western men would experience how to be loved by a good wife.
I spoke with a good friend of my husband's who had a Filipina nanny as a child. Now, he is probably 35 years old but together with his siblings they have maintained good contact with their beloved nanny. They would visit her regularly from Switzerland. I feel their deep affection for her. I feel proud of the genuine love that these children got from a Filipina for them to consider her as a second mother.
The respect that I wanted soon followed. As soon as I was not ashamed anymore of where I came from, people started to respect me for who I am. I now hold my head high. I managed to go inside the Louis Vuitton shop at the Banhofstrasse in Zurich without getting thrown out (although I will never even think of buying a bag for 3000 USD in this lifetime). My colleagues admitted to me the other day that before meeting me, they thought all Asian women with a western man have somehow been bought or mail-ordered, and that Filipinas are like sex slaves. Well, apparently, my endless stories about our way of life and history have made them all realize their mistakes. Now, they think that Filipinas are strong, intelligent and capable women that they shouldn't mess up with.
All things considered, as a biologist, all my grand work will be published (or not published at all) and forgotten but no one will ever forget the love of a Filipina. Being a nanny may not be the most glamorous profession in the world but for sure it is one of the most noble.
Submitted to Filipina Images
Friday, February 22, 2008
I was right. The Philippine embassy in Berne was so helpful. My husband doesn't even need a visa, we just have to fall in line in the Balikbayan line at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and then show our marriage contract (then he can stay for up to 1 year). My friend needs to get a visa but she only have to send her documents by mail and then pay 51 sfr then the visa will be mailed back to her in 3 days. She can then stay for 59 days. Easy. No hassle at all!
I'm really proud of the Philippine Embassy in Berne because in the 4 years that I've been living in Switzerland, they never gave me any hassle. I needed to get a few important documents from them a couple of times and they were always prompt and efficient. I was able to renew my passport in 3 days without problem whereas I know citizens of some European countries even needed to go home to renew their passports. I know a Russian girl who needed to go back to Russia for 1 month to get her passport renewed.
Anyway, here is the official site to get information about getting a Philippine Visa.
Here is the link to the homepage of the Philippine Embassy in Berne. It is not so easy to find their website because they are not yet in google. To get information about the Philippine embassy in your country and your country's embassy in the Philippines click here.
Philippine+visa Philippine+embassy Philippine+embassy+Bern
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Actually, I had a big problem about this difference the first few months I was in Switzerland. I noticed that when speaking with some people, I get nervous/agitated. Sometimes I cannot speak at all and most of the time I would act like a fool. It really ruined me socially a couple of times. I was enlightened as to why I get so agitated after reading the book Culture Shock. The answer to my problem is EYE CONTACT! I get so nervous when the people I'm speaking with hold my eyes! Knowing this helped me a lot. Now, I don't get nervous anymore.
Foreigners coming to the Philippines don't know about this and they expect people to look them in the eyes while talking. In Switzerland, if one is not capable of fixed-eye contact while conversing means that one is not honest and so cannot be trusted. I guess this simple difference in culture can cause the lot of misunderstandings between tourists and locals. Maybe, this is the reason western tourists always feel like they are being cheated (ok, sometimes cheating really occurs).
Message to western tourist: We don't look each other in the eye while talking. It is an aggression/provocation. Try not to mistake shyness for dishonesty.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Note: The picture of the kutsero in the kalesa above is not the guy who harrassed us.
Kalesa+ride Malate tourist+trap Manila
Monday, February 18, 2008
My craving for siomai was so great one weekend that I learned how to do siomai from scratch out of extreme desperation! This favorite is an product of chinese influence on Filipino cooking.
4 1/2 cups (500 g) flour, sifted
1 tbsp oil
100 ml water
500 g minced pork
2 tsp salt, or to taste
2 big onions, chopped
3 tsp ginger, chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1 carrot, chopped
Spring onions, chopped
1. Mix the flour with 100 ml of water and oil to make a dough. Knead until smooth
2. To prepare the filling, mix all the remaining ingredients.
3. Divide the dough into 2 portions and roll like a jelly roll. Cut each into 50 pieces. Flatten each piece and roll into thin circles about 2 inches in diameter. Place 1 tbsp of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough over it, enclosing the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal. Makes about 50 dumplings depending on the size.
4. Steam until cooked and enjoy
Mix the following together in a small bowl:
6 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps lemon/calamansi juice
Chili as desired
Dash of sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
siomai steamed+dumpling Filipino+food Filipino+recipe
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The picture above was photoshopped by a German-friend back in 2004.
dental+tourism teeth permanent+fillings
heidelberg germany schnitzelbank restaurant german+food sauerkraut
Most recent exchange rate post
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
- I cannot agree more with Irish writer George Moore when he wrote "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it". I am a Filipina who had been living in Switzerland for 4 years and there is not one day when I didn't wish that I was home in the Philippines. I didn't come to Switzerland to find myself because I knew who I was when I left. I came here rather for personal, professional and economic reasons as are the reasons of every migrant Filipino. As required of any successful adaptation, I can't help but rediscover who I am in the process of clawing my way into the strict Swiss socio-economic structure.
- I don't have so many Filipino friends in Switzerland. In a way, it is a blessing in disguise because having mostly European and Swiss friends helped my thoughts and feelings evolve into new dimensions. I now see myself and our country in a different perspective and surprisingly, it is not a bad view at all.
- I believe now that what makes the Philippines poor is our lack of pride for who we are and for our country. We are the first ones to belittle ourselves to the world for no reason other than because insecurity was imprinted in our psyche by our colonial masters. Unfortunately, the world tends to think what we want them to think about us. We have a beautiful, abundant country filled with wonderful, talented, intelligent people who are constantly looking beyond the pacific to define who they are. The moment we stop doing this will be the moment we will stop being poor. Because ultimately it will be pride who will clean our polluted rivers, save our forests and our coral reefs. For one will not destroy what one loves.
- Often when my husband and I travel in the Philippines and we reach a place off the tourist track, the first questions that locals ask us are "are you from here?" and "If you are not from here why would you like to come here?" and when we reply "because it is a beautiful place and we would like to see it", the first thing they would do is to look around and wonder what it is that we find so beautiful. When we travel in Europe, locals of remote forgotten towns would point to us a small street and declare with pride "look how beautiful this place is". Love can transform a small street into a grand boulevard. Pride makes a big difference. We cannot wait for other people to be proud of our country for us.
- As I travel around Europe, eat French food in expensive restaurants, frolick in the Mediterrean Coast, wander around old streets of Rome and Napoli, and hike in the Swiss Alps, I grow firmer in my belief that the Philippines have something different and extraordinary and in a whole new league of its own. Granted, we have no thousand-year old monuments, but nowhere else in the world would you find a cuisine which is a mix of Southeast Asian, European, Chinese, and South American, endless magnificent coastlines due to being an archipelago of 7100 beautiful islands, a culture based on family, hospitality and friendliness, and abundant flora and fauna brought about by our unique location of being the bridgeway between mainland Asia and Australia. We have everything! We just have to open our eyes and see it!
- With this blog I hope you will see what I see, a country full of all the wonderful gifts nature could give just waiting to be appreciated, loved, cherished and protected.
Monday, February 11, 2008
So, please don't come to the Philippines if:
1. you are not open to new cultures and new ideas. We do things differently. You have to arrive in the Philippines without expectations and ready to be surprised. You cannot expect people to think the way you think and judge them wrongly if they don't think like you. Remember you are the foreigner there, you have to adapt to the locals and not make the locals adapt to you;
2. you have not yet internalized that life in the Philippines is slow. You cannot expect to land in Manila by plane, go to the Banaue Rice Terraces, and then be on the beach in Pagudpud the same day. Yes, all these destinations are on the same island but we don't have a fast-train like the TGV that goes 300 km/hr. Mostly you will be on dirt roads riding a jeepney that will break down every few kilometers;
3. you do not own a travel guide telling you about bus schedules and ferry schedules. Even if you do, you have to double check anyway because maybe the schedule changed already. Take note that ferry schedules are typhoon-dependent;
4. you are not flexible regarding time. In the Philippines, we don't care about time. Relax, and cool down. Noone is running after you;
5. you will judge the country from a western point of view. In the beginning, my husband and I argued a lot about the Philippines because as a Swiss he thought that a lot of things could be done differently (like traffic management etc). He will get irritated about how things are done (or not done). I agree with him on some points but the big point is the Philippines cannot be like Switzerland because Filipinos will never be like the Swiss. =) We have other qualities =) that I will never trade for Swiss dependability. This goes in the same direction as this joke:
In Heaven: the cooks are French,
the policemen are English,
the mechanics are German,
the lovers are Italian,
and the bankers are Swiss.
In Hell: the cooks are English,
the policemen are German,
the mechanics are French,
the lovers are Swiss
and the bankers are Italian.
6. you are a pedophile;
7. you are sex tourist;
8. you have a penchant for complaining; and
9. you are expecting the Philippines to be like the countries of indo-china. I've read in many travel guides that the Philippines is a Latin American country lost in Asia. Indeed, we are very different from our neighbors because of our history. I have to say that I also feel more connected to the Latinos than the Thais. If you find no buddhist temples or spicy food, that doesn't mean we have no culture, all it means is that you didn't find the culture you were expecting. Maybe you should have read more about the Philippines before coming.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Part 1 of 6
Part 2 of 6
Part 3 of 6
Part 4 of 6
Part 5 of 6
Part 6 of 6
balut bizarre+food filipino+food travel tourism philippines
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Wonder Island Resort 0063(0)49- 545-1766 and 545-6491. Day rate: Adults
P784; Kids P700; Senior Citizens P690. Rates include use of swimming pool, food, boat transfer, picnic huts.
P.S. Their chicken galantina is really really really good.
Technorati tags: Calamba, Laguna, wedding, swimming pool
Friday, February 1, 2008
What I didn't appreciate in Laiya is that the beach is not for everyone. In Boracay, even if you stay in the cheapest possible place at the center of the island, you are allowed to go to the beachfront of Fridays or even Discovery Shores, in Laiya not. As soon as you walk on the beachfront of a resort where you are not staying there will be a guard shooing you away immediately. Even the locals are not allowed to enjoy their town because they are not allowed to go to the beachfront. I thought that beaches are public property. Private properties just starts so and so meters from the beach. Can a lawyer clarify this?
Laiya Cocogrove Resort
Triple G Beach Resort
Sabangan Beach Resort
Virgin Beach Resort
Laiya, san+juan, batangas, beach, white+beach, resort, travel, tourism, day-trips
world's+best+beach white+sand boracay travel tourism philippines aklan