Monthly Archives: Aug 2010

Living on Filipino time

This post was completed approximately two years after I was asked to write it. I was complimented on my use of the semi-colon. Thrills.

If there’s one thing Australia has failed to wean out of me, it’s my inability to be on time. Filipinos call this ‘Filipino time’; Aussies call it being late.

I try my best. My clocks and watches are set at least fifteen minutes ahead. I put things in my calendar half an hour before they start. But nothing has worked. My husband has resorted to scheduling activities an hour ahead, just to ensure I’ll be ready on time.

My chronic lateness is a running joke with my Aussie friends. What they don’t seem to understand is that I regard the clock, with its authoritarian precision and merciless advance, as a mere guide to life rather than its master. Continue reading

Pregnant with twins

Labour of love

The Australian Filipina went on hiatus in late 2007 and was resurrected as an online magazine. I wrote this piece in 2007 and it was finally published early this year.

When I was pregnant with my first child, many women were quick to reassure me that labour will be just like a very bad stomach cramp. ‘And don’’t worry,’ they said, ‘you’’ll forget the pain soon after.’ I believed them. Three children later, I know for a fact that they lied. If there’’s anything I’’ve learned about having children, it’’s that it hurts. A lot. Continue reading

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers Association

The first Australian Romance Readers Survey

This article is an analysis of the 2009 reader survey conducted by the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA). I tried to inject a bit of humour, but I’m not sure how well I did.

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers Association

Source: ARRA

I spend a lot of time online, and most of my romance-reading friendships were made through blogs, Twitter and forums. Over the years, I’ve got the impression that the average romance bookworm reads around 10 books a month and pre-orders the newest releases, collecting hundreds and hundreds of books in their vast libraries or ebook readers. So when I read the results of the Australian Romance Readers Survey that ARRA conducted in September, I was glad to know that I’m closer to average than I thought.

… Almost half of us take up to 2 days to finish a romance novel. Around 10% take 6 or more days to finish. I envy their self-control. Probably so does my husband.

Read this article at the ARRA blog.

This article was first published in the December 2009 issue of the ARRA newsletter.

How to set up your own blog

This article was part of a feature on blogging.

Forget hand-written letters, long-distance calls and e-mail. When it comes to keeping in touch with family and friends, you can’t beat the convenience of blogging. A blog — from the term Web log — is basically an online journal. You write something new, which shows up at the top of a webpage so readers can easily find it. Depending on how you’ve set up your blog, people can respond to and comment on what you’ve written.

But what if you’re someone who still struggles to program the video recorder? Don’t worry — setting up a blog is a piece of cake. Continue reading

Filipinas in the blogosphere: top 10 Filipina Blogs

This has been the most time-consuming article I’ve written thus far. I had to compile the list, research the bloggers’ bios, contact them for photos and verify all the links before the article went to print.

If you’ve spent any time at all on the Internet during the past few years, you’ve probably heard of the blogging phenomenon. Whether you’re visiting an online news source or Lindsay Lohan’s website, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon a blog or two along the way.

Blogs evolved from simple online journals on personal websites into political, social and marketing tools incorporating text, pictures, sound and video. Unlike traditional forms of media and journalism, blogs reflect people’s thoughts and opinions. They’re also interactive, allowing readers to comment on what’s been written and bloggers to respond and update their blog entries as needed. Technorati, arguably the most popular blog index on the Internet, estimates that a staggering 175,000 new blogs are created every day. With blogging platforms more accessible and easier to use than ever before, it seems that every woman and her cat has one—yes, even the cat. Continue reading

Tabo by Helga Weber

Taboo down under

This is a revised version of Tales of the Travelling Tabo, which I adapted for the Australian Filipina, and it always gets people talking.

Tabo by Helga Weber

Source: Helga Weber

There’s one thing I never leave home without, and it’s not my American Express. On a recent trip to Melbourne, disaster struck. I stared at my open suitcase in horror. I looked at my husband. ‘Oh, my god!’ I panicked, ‘WHERE IS MY TABO?’ The prospect of cleaning my bum with nothing but a flimsy bit of paper leaves me … insecure.

For many Filipino expats and travellers, the tabo is taboo—a secret tucked in the corner of the bathroom—but nevertheless essential. Worried about being caught out when you’re away from home? Fear not. There are alternatives. Continue reading

Kat Mayo, 2001

Romance after a mortgage

See the photo? It was taken  six years before the article was written—before we were married.

Kat Mayo, 2001If there’s anything worse that spending Valentine’s Day alone, it’s waking up the next day to the realisation that, well, you missed it. Welcome to marriage. Oh, it doesn’t happen every year, but between paying off the mortgage, managing a household, and staying one step ahead of the kids, many couples find romance taking a backseat to everyday life. Continue reading

RJ Rosales

RJ Rosales

This filler was included in the Miss Saigon issue of the Australian Filipina, which coincided with the Sydney production of the musical. At the time, the magazine only profiled Filipinas, so I couldn’t do a feature on RJ.

RJ Rosales broke into the gruelling profession of musical theatre when he was cast in the 1996 Sydney production of Miss Saigon. Since then, this former bank employee from St Clair, NSW has carved a name for himself, performing the title role in Chang and Eng –– The Musical to critical acclaim in Singapore, and appearing on ASAP as part of a two-year contract with ABS-CBN Philippines. RJ’’s performance in the MMFF Best Movie for 2005, Blue Moon, earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. The physical demands of his profession and jet setting lifestyle haven’’t held RJ back. No longer just a local heartthrob, RJ was one of Cleo’’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors and Female’’s 50 Most Gorgeous People in Singapore — and it’s not difficult to see why! RJ comes full circle when he returns home to perform the role of ‘Thuy’ in the 2007 Australian production of Miss Saigon.

This piece was first published in the February/March 2007 issue of the Australian Filipina. The photo was provided by RJ Rosales.

Finding your voice

One of the greatest tragedies of my life.

I’m part of a silent minority of Filipinos who bear a secret shame: I can’t sing to save my life. From the age of six, I’ve envied Lea Salonga. She has two things I desperately want—dimples and a singing voice. Someone once told me I looked like ‘a Kim’. Too bad my singing voice is worse than grim. By Filipino standards, I believe this makes me a mutant. Continue reading

All packed up

This article was inspired by my parents’ first trip back to Manila, ten years after we migrated to Australia.

If there’s one enduring symbol of Filipinos all over the world, it’s the balikbayan box. Whether we’re travelling home or merely sending presents to relatives, packing these nondescript brown boxes has become a Christmas tradition for many expats.

My Aussie friends, used to exploring entire continents carrying no more than a backpack, are aghast to learn that Filipinos travel with boxes. ‘What do you put in them?’ my friends ask. I shrug. ‘Pretty much anything you can think of.’ Continue reading