Monthly Archives: July 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