Welcome back to school everyone! Kids finally headed back to the land of education promise. We can’t avoid the coming of long homework nights. We can’t avoid the coming of endless stories of what happened at school. We can’t avoid the phone calls from your daughter that she forgot her form on her desk at home and it’s due today, so now instead of eating lunch, you have to go pick it up and drop it to her school … in short, you have to fix her irresponsibility. And most especially, we can’t avoid the inevitable, the traffic around school areas. Are you excited about the start of another school year? How do your kids feel about it? I am sure they are anxiously waiting to see their friends again.
Let’s see what is going on with Michael and Angel …
The two run off across the street to Ululani’s shave ice. “That was crazy, Anj”, I didn’t …
Angel: Can I order a shave ice with ice cream in it, and a white cap?
Cashier: Anong (What) flavor?
Angel: Flavor? Epic, and top it with some savage.
Angel motions the pouring of the syrup.
“Damn right girl! I saw what you did,” as the cashier high five’s her.
The cashier hands Angel her shave ice. Just like she always orders, a Haleakalā Flavor which consists of coconut flavored syrup, leche over a scoop of vanilla ice cream and mochi sprinkles. YUM!
The two head over to sit on a nearby bench.
“Anj, that was amazing! I didn’t know you can sing like that. Where did you learn to play the uke?”
Hunched over with her hair draped over her dagway (face). You can hear her sobbing, with her spoon dangling from her mouth.
“Wha? What happened now? Anj, are you ok?”
Thirteen months ago …
“Anak! (My child) Here, take this.” her Nanay (mother) runs to Angel with a handful of pagkaon (food/snacks), tears rolling down her mukha (face).
“Mom, not so much I don’t have much space in my backpack,” says Angel excitingly extending her arms to turn down the music.
“Share it with your kaibigan (friends),” says Inang. “We are in great debt to Kuya Billy for helping us send you to America to work and of all places HAWAI‘I!
Everyone in Hawai‘i is makualta (rich)!” Ay anak, we are so proud of you. Inang grabs her daughter and gives her the biggest kawul (hug). They rock back and forth giggling.
“Nanay (Mom), I won’t let you down! I will contact you all the time and I will send money to help with Tatang’s medicines and allowances. I will work very hard.”
A van pulls up and Kuya Billy appears from the passenger’s door.
Billy is a Filipino balikbayan well known in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte and supposedly very well known on O‘ahu too. No one really knows what he does for a living but a popular man indeed. A short stocky man. He is in his mid-50s. He is a widower and annually visits the Philippines. This year is his ninth time back home for business. It was a short trip and he is headed back to Hawai‘i. He is a friend of a friend who has been looking for an assistant for a client of his. He hired Angel and is bringing her to Hawai‘i to work on a two-year contract with possibility of renewal.
“Kumusta ka, Nanang? (How are you, Mother?) (He calls elderly women “mother” all the time.) Ay, we are naladaw (late) already. Alisto! Let’s hit the road Angel. We don’t want to miss our flight.
They rush to give one more arakup (hug) and kisses to her inahan (mother) and her amahan (father) as they say their good-byes.
As Angel enters the van and Billy loads her bag in the back, she notices the kansion (song) playing in the van is the same station as what was playing at the house.
“Kuya, we have great taste in music ano?” It is a good sign to come.
Angel falls asleep on the car ride to Manila airport. She wakes up to Billy shaking her, “Ading, hurry let’s go, we are running late.” They exit the van and thank the driver. They dash to security but instead of going through security, they pass it.
Billy: Angel, sit here, watch our bags, I need to see my kalugaran (friend). We are tawli (late), he can let us through, so we can make our flight.
He walks to a nearby officer and they talk from a distance. As Angel looks to Billy, he finally signals for her to come. The officer leads them through a door behind the restroom, he swipes his card, and two lefts and down the hall, they are past security.
“Oh, do they have our info already Kuya?” Angel asked Billy.
“Yes, we took care of all that. Priority check in and pass. My kalugaran (friend) is one of the head of security here, don’t worry,” Billy shrugs.
They jump into a golf cart and are shuttled to the gate. Seems like everyone has already boarded the plane and are just waiting for them.
“Thank you bro,” Billy hands him some money and they speed to the gate podium.
“Stay here,” I need to talk to my other gayyem (friend), says Billy.
“Oh Kuya, you are so popular haha.” Angel sits and smiles at the boy next to her playing kanta (songs) on his laptop. “Oh, I like this awit (song)” she says to the kid but the boy sitting with his headphones on has no reaction.
Billy speaks to the lady at the podium and finally waves to Angel to come.
They head through and onto the plane. “Our seats are 9C and 9D. We just made it, Woo.” They sit and high five.
“Hawai‘i here I come!”
Angel: Oh, I have some pagkain (snacks)!
“Mabuhay, and welcome aboard Philippine Airlines, we will be arriving in Honolulu in approximately 10 hours and 50 minutes.”
This was the first time Angel ever flew let alone going to another country. The flight was brutal for her. Take off made her cry, turbulence made her sick, and the man sitting next to her had a bad case of body odor.
“OMG, if this is what it takes to go to Hawai‘i then this is what it takes. I will endure all for the sake of my family,” she says to herself.
Navigating through the screens of the onboard entertainment center and using the free headset they gave out to everyone, “Grrr, I already watched three movies, I’m already so tired. How about some music?”
“Drake? No. Nicki Minaj? Next. Gwen Stefani? Maybe, no next. Radiohead? Ok sure, I love this kanta (song), it’s sad, but it’s ok to be sad, we are human beings anyway” she says to herself.
All of a sudden a message on the screen pops up “Incoming message.”
“Aloha, this is Captain Murphy, we are beginning to make our descent to the Island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. The current time in Honolulu is 7:03 a.m. The temperature is 77 degrees. Beautiful day in Hawai‘i Nei. The seatbelt sign is on, please return to your seats now. Flight crew, please prepare for landing.”
Angel’s eyes widen as she gets her first glimpse (two seats away from the window) of the beautiful island of O‘ahu.
What do you think is going to happen next in our story? We will find out the experience of Angel coming to Hawai‘i.
What was your experience coming to Hawai‘i? Was it a memorable one? Or did it have some hiccups along the way? Tell us about it at www.facebook.com/filamvoice.
Anyways that’s all I have. Keep an eye out for my column every issue. I’m Dulce, helping you to master your Filipino Languages. Like always, let’s laugh, let’s listen, and Let’s Talk Pinoy! Hanggang sa muli! (Until next time!) Ingat! (Take care!).
Dulce Karen Butay was graduated from Maui High School and earned her Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Maui Community College and her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Accounting, from the University of Hawai‘i—West O‘ahu. She is currently the Administrative Officer at the County of Maui, Department of Finance. Butay is a licensed Resident Producer of Life Insurance with World Financial Group and an Independent Consultant of Saladmaster. She is now part of the Travel Club of Saladmaster and won an all-expenses paid trip to Cancun, Mexico with the love of her life, Paul Manzano. Butay has traveled to Texas, the Philippines and Thailand as one of the delegates from Island Healthy Solutions, a dealer of Saladmaster here on Maui.