Monthly Archives: Jul 2010

Tabo by Helga Weber

Tales of the travelling tabo

I’m a self-confessed scruncher. This was also the article in which I admitted to having visited Sexpo.

There is one thing I never leave home without and it’s not my American Express. It’s the first item to go into my suitcase and the first to be unpacked. It’s on my packing checklist three times.

‘Mahal, did I pack the—‘

‘Yes!’ my husband usually groans in exasperation after hearing the same question for the umpteenth time.

‘OK, just checking…’ I rummage around for a few seconds. ‘Where? Where is it? OH, MY GOD, WHERE IS MY TABO?’ Continue reading

Easy going Sydney

This piece appeared in a compilation article for a travel-themed issue of PINOYexpats.

Sydney offers modern city attractions as well as quaint delights amid glorious sunshine during the warmer months. While the Opera House, the Centrepoint Tower and the magnificent harbour are well described in tourist guides, there is no shortage of unique experiences available to intrepid visitors.

Renowned for its spectacular harbour, you can spend an entire day at Circular Quay absorbing the sun, eating a picnic lunch as you watch the antics of street performers. On a tight budget, an all-day ferry pass takes you to various beachside suburbs where you can enjoy ice cream on a hot December day or hire roller blades and explore the beachside. If you can splurge, try a showboat cruise for dinner. For families, free entertainment can often be found at Darling Harbour—you might even catch some fireworks! Continue reading

Faking it in the kitchen

This was my first article to appear in a print magazine, my first column piece and the first writing gig that I was actually paid for.

In my family, cooking is a tradition. Everyone has a signature dish. My specialty was burning food. Once, I forgot I was boiling water and scorched the saucepan.

I married a man who wouldn’t know a tong from a tweezer. ‘You’ll make a great cook,’ he encouraged. The words of a desperate man. I hoped the honeymoon would last long enough to survive my first meal. I was counting on love to keep us alive should dinner explode. Continue reading

RJ Rosales

RJ Rosales: On leaving and coming home

This was my first interview, and I hope I did justice to RJ, who also happens to be a childhood friend. It’s one of my favourites.

Filipino-Australian entertainer RJ Rosales took the bold step of moving back to Manila to live his dream. He talks to PINOYexpats about what it’’s like to be an expat then a balikbayan, and how he copes with living out of a suitcase.

There’s something lightly surreal about talking to a childhood friend whose face regularly appears on television and whose voice draws audiences from around the world. So it’’s a relief to discover that chatting over the phone with RJ Rosales is just like, well, talking to an old friend. Which is just as well, because it seems he’’d just gotten out of bed when I rang, though I wouldn’’t have guessed from his cheerful tone. He eats his breakfast as we talk, and the conversation is laced with humour and just a touch of homesickness. Continue reading

Bowl of rice - Photo by kittenpuff via morgueFile

Beyond adobo and rice

This was the first feature I wrote that didn’t include anecdotes in the article. I initially sent Susan Quimpo a list of about 20 questions. She very tactfully suggested I send her a shorter list.

Bowl of rice - Photo by kittenpuff1 via morgueFile

Source: morgueFile

Being a second-generation citizen is characterised by a dichotomy that resonates differently from the experiences of one’s parents. For most naturalised (first-generation) citizens, this dichotomy is acquired by choice. We can balance the memories of home with the reality of our new country of residence. For our children, who are born overseas but live a different cultural experience than their peers, growing up a product of two or more cultures can be a struggle that their parents and grandparents may not easily understand. Continue reading

Homeward bound

This editorial piece was written to introduce the April/May 2006 issue of PINOYexpats, which I compiled and edited. The theme was ‘Homeward Bound’.

As expatriates, our perspective is inescapably coloured by memories of home. The stories in this issue of PINOYexpats explore the myriad ways in which we find ourselves bound to the Philippines, the home of our hearts. Continue reading

Sydney on sale

When my family first arrived in Sydney, even 20c lollies seemed like a rip off. ‘What? That’s almost four pesos. Ang mahal naman!’ the adults would exclaim as they marched around the grocery with a calculator, feverishly converting dollar prices into pesos. It took years for us to stop thinking in pesos and refrain from the mental gymnastics required to do exchange rate calculations in a blink of an eye. No wonder so many migrant children do well in Maths.

It’s been a long time since I went shopping with Mum and her calculator, but I still feel a twinge of alarm when I buy any item of clothing over $50. With my mortgage and child, sometimes even the credit card company is alarmed. Continue reading

The passport in my PC

I pledge allegiance to the IP and the protocols for which it stands.

I don’t do cigarettes, drugs, gambling or orgies. I do the Internet. I have to: I’m a cybercitizen.

At uni, my friends dreamt of going on safari, riding a gondola or trekking the Himalayas. I just wanted to go to Canada to see dexx, my cyber pal. I spent at least $50 a week to log on at the library and chat in the Filipino room at wbs.com. I’m convinced that taking up Computer Science—and free access to lab computers—saved me from bankruptcy.
Continue reading

Enrol to vote now 2010

Enrol to vote

Enrol to vote now 2010We’re having an election in August. Don’t waive your right to vote!

For most voters, the key dates for this year’s elections are:

Deadline to enrol to vote: 8pm on Monday, July 19
Deadline to update your electoral roll details (Close of rolls): 8pm on Thursday, July 22
Election day: Saturday, August 21

The deadline is tight, but enrolling is easy. All you have to do is complete the form online and return it to an AEC office in person, by fax or by email. The Australian Electoral Commission’s website also has a list of frequently asked questions about enrolling to vote.

If you have travel plans and won’t be in Australia for the elections or if you’ll be away from your electorate, you should fill in a postal vote form (PDF).

I firmly believe that voting is a right and a civic duty, and I urge you to make your vote count.

Her Son, Jose Rizal - June 2010

Her Son, Jose Rizal (Gala performance)

This was a review of Her Son, Jose Rizal performed by a local Filipino community theatre group. This piece went through a lot of revision, but it didn’t quite suit the publication I was aiming for.

Her Son, Jose Rizal - June 2010The sold-out gala performance of Her Son, Jose Rizal, written by renowned Filipino artist Leonor Orosa-Goquingco, was an extravaganza of music, colour and emotion. Goquingco’s one-act play is a brief but powerful look at key moments in the life of Jose Rizal, the Philippines’’ most celebrated patriot. Four scenes are linked by soliloquies of an older Rizal (Manny Diel) in prison and show various stages of Rizal’’s life as a boy (Elijah Merjudio) and a young man (RJ Rosales).

A sense of expectation hung in the air as the lights dimmed at the Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills. Diel opened the play from one corner of the stage, an anguished Rizal on the brink of martyrdom. Although director Armando Reyes seemed heavy-handed with these speeches, the spectre of Rizal’’s prison cell, ever present downstage, remained a deliciously foreboding presence. Continue reading