Ah, September … The first “ber”—this is the month that kicks off the transition to winter, and it is called Autumn. Autumn, when the days get shorter, the temperatures start to get cooler, and the leaves begin to brown and slowly fall off the trees. It is such a beautiful time.
Nope, not in Hawai‘i! It is still blazing hot as heck! Temperatures still rising, air conditioners working all day and even into the night for some. The ocean waters are warm, bodies are sticky thirty minutes after you shower, we are in the middle of hurricane season which means stock up on supplies, and fires. Of which, we have had fires in Maui every week for the past few months or who knows how long. As miserable as that sounds, Maui is still No Ka ‘Oi. I can’t imagine anywhere else I rather be but right here in Maui.
During last month’s issue, Angel got her first glimpse of the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. Let’s see what happens next, shall we?
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. Nikki Minaj? Next. Gwen Stefani? Maybe, no next. Radiohead? Okay sure, I love this kanta (song). It’s sad but it’s okay 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 (from two seats away from the window) of the beautiful island of O‘ahu.
Angel claps her kamay (hands), shrieks and giggles. She can’t contain her excitement and clinches onto Billy. “This is Hawai‘i! I’ve heard so much about it from my classmates. Life is so good here and everyone is mayaman (rich). We are going to be mayaman (rich)! Daghang salamat (Thank you), daghang salamat (thank you) so much Kuya!”
Billy turns to her with a straight mukha (face). “Okay Angel, we are here in Hawai‘i. It is not like the Philippines. You need to maginna (listen) to me and do what I tell you. Don’t speak to anyone until I tell you to. Do you understand?”
Angel looks up to him with a confused grin. “Ok Kuya. Do what you say, got it. I will be a good girl.”
Billy: When we get off the plane, follow me and not the group. Understood?
Angel: Of course! I don’t know where I am going yet. You are my family here. Salamat (Thank you) so much Kuya.
The intercom comes to life. “Aloha, welcome to …
Angel shrieks. “Ah, they said Aloha! Oh, my gash! I cannot believeee … .”
“Aloha, welcome to the Island of O‘ahu. Please remain seated with your seat belts fastened as we will be taxiing for the next few minutes.”
The plane docks and people begin to unbuckle themselves and stand up. Chatter begins to louden, a few babies cry in the back of the aircraft and most are touching their phones catching up with society.
“So, let me get this correct! We left Philippines yesterday and we rode in this plane for so many hours and then we come here and it is still yesterday? Wow! Hawai‘i is so cool!”
Billy turns to Angel and doesn’t look very happy. “Sorry Kuya. I will be a good girl.”
They grab their bags. “Remember, follow me,” whispers Billy.
Angel hugs her bag, staying very close to Billy. They hurry off the plane, and the group is guided to a Wiki Wiki bus shuttle.
Ahead is a man directing foot traffic. “To your right sir, to your right. Salamat. (Thank you.) Head straight follow the signs,” he says to each person passing him.
When it was Billy and Angel’s turn, Billy shakes his kamut (hand) and they look at each other for a second. “Sir, miss, please come with me, we have to inspect your bags,” he says. He takes them to a nearby pintuan (door) and down a flight of stairs. The two men don’t say a word to each other.
The three jump in a nearby sheriff kotse (car). “Sit in the back and don’t speak.” The man opens the trunk. He hops in the driver’s seat, now wearing a uniform. The officer turns down his cb radio and engages his strobe. They speed through the airport exit and coast down Lagoon drive. The officer pulls into a nearby deserted parking lot. He reaches into his glove box and tosses them a pair of blindfolds. “Put them on now and don’t ask any questions.”
Angel turns to Billy as he nods, assuring her that it’s ok and he helps her put it on. “We are going to my bahay (house) but we are going someplace first, it’s a surprise,” Billy says. Angel nods.
Billy: Good girl. Just do what I say, and you will make it here. This is your chance. Don’t mess it up. Do it for your family.
Angel nods, with a tear rolling down her cheek. “Angel, what’s going on here? Something is not right,” she says to herself.
Billy: Why are you crying? You need to trust me. Do you trust me?
Angel nods and lies. “Yes, this is special, I am just so happy po.”
They drive for maybe fifteen minutes. Angel can hear the two men whispering under the music playing on the radio. “
What is this kanta (song) again? Radiohead. It’s the same kanta (song) as on the plane.”
Suddenly, the kotse (car) comes to a stop. Angel can hear the sakyanan (car) doors opening as she fixes her blindfold.
“Angel, get up, we are changing kotse (car), hurry,” says Billy.
Someone grabs her arm and tosses her. She falls on a hard floor and the ridaw (door) closes. Her blindfold dislodged from her nawong (face) and she is instantly struck by horror. Six women, all blindfolded are quietly sitting in a circle in the middle of a gutted cargo van. Two men are in the front seat speaking a language unknown to her. Gasping for air, she slowly puts her blindfold back on.
“No, no, no. What is going on? Where am I?” she says to herself.
“Kuya!” she screams in panic, which is followed by a blow to her head. She falls to the floor in pain. Peeking through the tiny portion of the cloth, all she can see are auto (cars) flying past on a road that she has never seen before. She tilts her head and notices there are actually three men and none of them are Billy. The one sitting near the exit is probably the one who hit her.
Breathing heavily, looking through the pinhole of her blindfold, she can hear the faint kanta (song) in the background. All of a sudden, the lyrics hit her like a ton of bricks. The kansion (song) and the lyrics are playing in her head crystal clear, piercing through her heart. A kansion (song) that she had unnoticed, has been playing for her the entire day. First at her balay (house) before her mom gave her snacks. Second, in the van ride to Manila. Third, the boy at the airport. Fourth, on the airplane. Fifth, in the police auto (car). And again now. Radiohead.
Radiohead “creep” awit (song) lyrics:
You’re just like an ANGEL … your skin makes me CRY…And I wish I were SPECIAL…But I’m a CREEP … I’m a WEIRDO … What the hell am I DOING HERE? … I DON’T BELONG HERE.”
In Angel’s head: Was this God trying to tell me something? Why didn’t I nakinig (listen)? I’m in trouble. A lot of trouble. I need to get out. NOW.
As the van pulls into a gas station, the man opens the lukub (door).
With the kanta (song) playing loudly in her head, she leaps for the puwerta (door) with all her might.
Radiohead “creep” lyrics:
She’s RUNNING out again … she’s RUNNING out.
She charges into the man, who falls backwards onto the concrete. Angel dashes for the highway while the other two men chase after her. She dives into the highway with sasakyan (cars) screeching and she taray (runs).
Radiohead “creep” lyrics:
She’s… karela (RUN) … takbo (RUN) … dagalan (RUN) … dagan (RUN) …
Where is she going and what just happened? Where is Billy? Is this the Hawai‘i that she dreamt of? Guess you will have to find out in the next issue.
Have you ever ran away for your life? Takbo (run) away from your grandma so she doesn’t slap you with a fly swatter or tsinelas (slipper)? Share your experience at www.facebook.com/filamvoicemaui, we would love to hear it.
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.