Category Archives: Anecdotes and humour

Why Mum is still the best cook in the world

I wrote this for PINOYexpats, but this article was also the starting point for a similar piece that I submitted to the Australian Filipina magazine.

My extended family has produced some excellent cooks and my mum is one of the best. I, on the other hand, avoided the kitchen for as long as I could.

Cooking seemed to me a messy, laborious and thankless chore. When I moved out to an apartment with a brand new kitchen still gleaming in its stainless steel glory, I vowed to turn over a new leaf. Who better to experiment with than my new husband, who promised to do the washing up? Continue reading

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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

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

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