November is here, my birth month, my favorite month.
In the Philippines, November 1st is All Saint’s Day and November 2nd is All Soul’s Day. It is the day when we remember our loved ones who have passed away. A few days before the beginning of the month, people go and clean the cemetery where their loved ones were laid to rest. Some hire people to clean and repair the memorials. This year, I wasn’t able to visit my grandparents’ and my dad’s grave, however, I had my cousin light candles and bring flowers to their graves.
In the U.S., November is also when we celebrate Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day. Thank you to our Veterans for their services and sacrifices for our country. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. Thanksgiving Day is the day to reflect on what we are thankful for. Sometimes we forget to be grateful for the free things in life like the fresh air, the sun, and the rain. When I wake up in the morning, I always say “Thank you for waking me up today.” This year, I am thankful for all the blessings that He showered on me and also for the challenges that made me a better and stronger person. So, what are you cooking for Thanksgiving? How do you spend your Thanksgiving? Do you fly anywhere or drive to the nearest family member? Are you the host or do you go out to eat? I would love to hear your favorite Thanksgiving dinner story, please share it with us at www.facebook.com/FilAmVoiceMaui.
Now, back to our story. Where were we? Oh, that’s right. Waikiki Beach.
As the night creeps on, Angel tucks her braso (arms) into her shirt and curls up in the corner of the pavilion which is shared by two homeless men and their carts. There is also a lady. She is rocking back and forth talking to herself. Angel sinks her ulo (head) into her chest to avoid the urine smells and closes her eyes. “Dear diary, day 1 in Hawai‘i, not so epic. Day two, still to be determined. Dios ti mangtaribay kanyak (God will protect me from harm),” as she whispers herself to sleep.
“Ate, Ate!” A young girl runs to Angel and tugs on her dress and points in the direction of a building. The young girl takes her hand and pulls her. “Ok, ok where are we going basang?” Angel asks. The building is an old gymnasium and as the doors open, people shout. Confetti, balloons, and a giant banner with Thank you Ms. Angel! written on it. A swarm of people crowd her, smiling, clapping. She is kissed by a handsome man. “Babe, to the podium.” A bit startled, Angel tilts her ulu (head) in confusion. The crowd claps louder and begins to chant, “Angel! Angel! Angel! Angel!” A woman wearing a headset and holding a clipboard takes her from the young child. “Miss Angel, this way” and helps her up the stairs and onto the stage. She hands her a few index cards and gives her a thumbs up.
With the crowd chanting, Angel shyly waves. She walks to the podium and pre-reads the card. As she settles into position at the stand the crowd quiets. She reads the cards. “Naimbag nga aldaw ka da kay amin. (Good morning everyone.) Agyamanak (Thank you) for being here ita nga aldaw (today). Welcome to the grand opening of our company’s 32nd Help Center of the Angel Foundation.” The crowd erupts and chants again “Angel! Angel! Angel!” It becomes so loud that she can barely hear herself. Getting comfortable at the podium, she motions for the crowd to settle down. The crowd gets even louder. Confused, Angel doesn’t know what to do. The headset lady approaches the stage and motions for Angel. She kneels down to hear “Miss Angel, thank them and ride out the ovation. We need to get out of here in 15 minutes, we have a meeting at 2:30.”
Startled, Angel rises back up and heads to the podium. “Daghang Salamat, (Thank you), salamat gid (thank you).” The crowd chanting, “Mabbalo’ (Thank you).” “Kaluguran daka (I love you) guys.” Smiling and waving, the crowd eventually quiets down. “Ahem,” Angel clears her throat. Overwhelmed and juggling with her index cards, she begins to read them.
“Salamat (Thank you) for being here ngayon araw (today). Welcome to the grand opening of our company’s 32nd Help Center of the Angel Foundation. We are honored to be welcomed karun (today) by the community’s outreach to ask us to open in the historic Sakada gym. The Angel Foundation opened its first doors in Hawai‘i 12 years ago. Since then, we have expanded to each island and ventured out to the Mainland USA, with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, and New York to name a few. But our hearts will always remain grounded in the Philippines. Last year we opened our first center in Manila and our second in Angeles City. We continued to expand and proudly announce the opening of our 32nd clinic in San Nicolas partnering with Ilocos Norte Provincial Hospital. The Angel Foundation has helped hundreds of thousands of young women, children and families that come from troubled backgrounds, get them into safety, back on their paa (feet), trained and employed. We, at Angel Foundation … ”
Suddenly, Angel is splashed with tubig (water) and is now being attacked. Angel opens her eyes; it’s a dog licking her. Angel jumps to her bitis (feet), sun beaming in her eyes. Where is she? As she rubs her eyes, she notices she is in the pavilion, the one that smells like urine. The one that has three homeless tenants and apparently a dog that is now licking her tiil (feet). “So, all that just now was just a dream?” she says to herself. Smiling, “at least it wasn’t a bad dream.”
As she rises to her saka (feet) and clinches her elbows, she steps onto the sand. The sound of the ocean breaking in front of her, the crisp nippy air around her, even how bad yesterday turned out to be, the opportunity is here and now. “I will make it here,” she says. Left with literally nothing, her belongings left in the cop car, the hand bag left in the van, all she has right now is the shoes on her takki (feet) and the dirty clothes left on her body. She begins to walk. Her homeless roommates are still fast asleep this early morning.
As she walks, she finds a restroom and does her business. As she reaches the sink, she stares at herself in the mirror. “OMG, look at you Angel, you are a mess,” she whispers to herself. She uses the hand soap to wash her hair, and face. She pats dry with the provided paper towels. Just as she is about to leave, she cups her hand over her mouth. “Ewww … gross!” She runs to the sink and uses the hand soap and her own finger to brush her teeth. After rinsing, she looks back at the mirror. She does her epic pout and smiles. “Not too bad Angel, not bad at all 9 out of 10. Still napintas (beautiful),” she says while winking to herself.
As she passes shop after shop, thoughts race through her buntuk (head). “What now Angel? I need to find shelter, food. Oh my gash. FOOD.” Suddenly, her stomach starts to growl. She hadn’t noticed with all that happened that she really hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday. Suddenly, the smell of breakfast food is nearby. She follows her smell like a rottweiler, lo and behold a Denny’s. As she stands outside, reality sets in that she has no money. All she can do is watch people go inside, sit down and eat. She walks away back to the beach road and finds a nearby lamisaan (table) where she pops her ulo (head) down.
Exasperated, she releases all her energy on the la mesa (table). Tapping her finger, she turns her ulu (head). On the pillar is a sign. Help wanted, earn $1000/week, call Lisa 808-256-1126. “Perfect! I will do it! But how do I call her?”
Opportunity knocks every so often, so listen closely. What is in store for Angel and how will she get out of this mess? Find out in our next edition of Let’s Talk Pinoy!
Your homework this week is to say Happy Thanksgiving in Ilokano to 10 people. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I know you will do great. Let me know how it went. 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 makinig (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.