Tag Archives: Australian Filipina

Articles published in the Australian Filipina magazine, a business and lifestyle magazine for the Filipino community.

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

Pate, bread and olives at The Wharf Restaurant, 2006

Lunch at The Wharf

This review was based on the Let’s Do Lunch meal during the Good Food Month in October 2007.

Let's Do Lunch 2006, The Wharf Restaurant

Let's Do Lunch 2006, The Wharf Restaurant

The lure of a cheap lunch found me sneaking out of work, to meet a friend for some alfresco indulgence at The Wharf Restaurant in Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.

We started with chicken liver paté with caper berries and balsamic dressing. The serving was huge, making for a leisurely lunch, as we sipped our complimentary red wine to keep the chill at bay. Continue reading

Size matters

I’m not sure how Filipinos developed this fixation with weight, but if you’ve ever been on the wrong side of the scale I think you’ll understand why this article was begging to be written.

Many people believe that asking about the weather is conversational suicide. They’’ve never had to endure a Filipino greeting.

‘Hoy, tumaba ka yata!’ (Hey, you got fat!) It’’s not exactly the first thing I want to hear after a decade of separation. Suddenly, ten years don’’t seem long enough.

Filipino women are fixated on weight. Listen in on any tsismis and inevitably someone will mention the F word: ‘fat’. If you’’re lucky, they won’’t be talking about you. Lately, it seems, my fortune has been in decline. Continue reading

The power of lambing

This was my first feature article for a print magazine. It went through a few revisions, and I can only be grateful that Michelle Baltazar was (and is) such an understanding editor and mentor.

There’s a reason why Filipinas are so good at grabbing a bargain. And it’s not just the fact that we know where all the factory outlets are. It’s because we harness the power of lambing. Loosely translated, this means expressing physical or verbal endearments to show affection or, in the case of shopping, to get a good deal on that new lounge suite.

The English language has no equivalent word for lambing or karinyo. It can mean tenderness, charm, affection, love, flirtation and even flattery. But these words don’t fully convey the underlying sense of building and nurturing relationships that forms a big part of what lambing is all about. 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