Where did September go? It came by so quick that I didn’t even get the chance to buy pre-sale tickets for the Maui County Fair. That’s right, October is County Fair followed by Fall break for the students.
What’s another big in October? The Filipino-American History month. It starts with a Philippine Flag Raising Ceremony at the County Building then followed by Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival. This all-day back-to-back entertainment is like a fiesta in the Philippines, where you get to enjoy street foods and a lot of entertainment, games and contests. What else is stored for the month of October?
Halloween! My favorite part about Halloween is dressing up and seeing what others—friends, family, co-workers—come up with unique costume themselves. Buying a costume is great but making one using your own creativity is double great. Have you ever made your own costume?
Have you read the last issue? Where did we leave off? Oh yes, that’s right. Angel was running from her abductors.
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) …
Sprinting down the road, she turns her head only to see two men in hot pursuit of her on the other side of Kalakaua Avenue. Not waiting for any crossing sign, Angel nearly tumbles over a homeless shopping cart. She takes a sharp left onto Kalaimoku Street and plunges into the kalye (street) onto Kuhio.
Passing a few parking lots, all she can see are tall buildings, palm trees and buses. Fearing the men might catch up to her, Angel continues to jog through additional traffic lights and shops. Now at a slow walk, her head spinning and gasping for air, she stops to rest at the corner of Kuhio and Kānekapōlei.
“Anj, what’s going on? What happened to Billy? Nasaan ako? (Where am I?) Saan (Where) am I going? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” she says to herself.
With so much to process, and completely lost in Waikiki, she paces back and forth near the traffic light trying to gather her thoughts.
Suddenly, a van passes her. In slow motion, the driver takes off his sunglasses and their eyes connect.
A chill hits her and when the van screeches to a stop and makes a sharp U-turn, she knew it was them.
She takes off down the dalan (street) now called Ka‘iulani Avenue. Quickly crossing behind a tour bus, Angel is nearly hit by an oncoming car. Horns blaring and the driver opening her pintuan (door) yelling profanity, Angel sprints down Koa Avenue passing delivery truck after delivery truck. She makes it to the end of Koa and makes a right on Lili‘uokalani Avenue where she can see the ocean. Quickly crossing the kalye (street), she passes a crew that seems to be setting up for a lu‘au. She finds an empty chair under an umbrella nokarin (where) she sits, hunches over and sobs.
An hour passes and it’s now 1 p.m. Hawaiian time. A young man taps her on the shoulder. She looks up at him, a complete wreck. She has been running so she looks exhausted. She has been crying so her eyes are red and puffy, with water dripping from her nose. The young man with a disgusted, horrified look on his face jumps back and says “Miss, do you have a reservation for this pavillion? It’s for guests only.”
Angel wipes her face and asks for some danum (water).
“No, Ma’am, you need to leave right now,” he says sternly.
“Tubig (Water),” she repeats.
“No, please le … ”
Angel starts a tantrum “Tubig! (Water)! Ahhhh!”
Motioning his hands to stop, he leaves and comes back with a bottle of danum (water). “Okay, please leave now,” he demands.
She snatches the bottle, unscrews the cap, flinging it onto the ground and gulps the entire bottle in one sitting. Almost drowning in it, she manages to finish it in no time.
“Salamat po (Thank you),” she stands. “Daghang Salamat (Thank you),” and she limps away.
“Ow ow ow ow,” she clinched her knee. Angel, although in great shape, doesn’t run a lot. In fact, in high school back in the Philippines, she would think of so many reasons to tell her teacher why she couldn’t participate in P.E. (Physical Education). First it was her shoes, then her uniform, then her ankle hurts. But really, it was because she didn’t want to be sweating in the hot sun, get a sunburn and her skin becomes dark. She wants to be napintas (beautiful).
Angel makes her way along the beach and stops. There are so many people here. White people, dark people, brown people. Kids, adults, even babies are swimming in their beach shorts, their bikinis, swimmers in their … naked? “Oh my gosh, that lady is naked!”
She begins to laugh. “Oh, Hawai‘i is so maganda (beautiful). There are so many people here. The weather is perfect. It is hot but not Philippines hot. The danum (water) is so clear and blue. Everyone looks so masaya (happy) here. Look at these families hanging out in the beach, each of them smiling or laughing. So, it must be naragsak (happy) to live in Hawai‘i.”
Angel walks around exploring Waikiki. It is a unique city with shops, side shows, artists and the list goes on and on. She passes a market and all of a sudden, her stomach growls. Holding her stomach, she wonders “When did I eat last? I don’t even remember. But I feel so hungry. Billy had all my things including my bag with my identification and the 300 pesos that Tatang (Dad) gave to me from his secret stash before I left the house. Oh, how I wish Tatang (Dad) is here to protect me. He would never let this happen to me.” She makes her way back to the beach where she finds an open concrete/wood pavilion overlooking the beach.
Staring into the tubig (water) as the sun goes down and the breeze picks up, Angel reflects. “I’ve been dreaming of coming to Hawai‘i since I was six years old. My classmate’s sister married a Hawai‘i man and she would send her money, clothes, and chocolates. She was so lucky and everyone wanted to be her friend. She would tell me stories of Hawai‘i and I became obsessed with it. I took Nanang’s bulaklak (flowers) and I would make lei. I would dress up and sing as if I were Jasmine Trias. My favorite movie was Lilo and Stitch. I would teach my friends how to dance hula, even though I didn’t know how. I would dream of coming to Hawai‘i, maybe go to school. I would dream of finding a good job, maybe falling in love.
I would dream of helping my parents. I would bring them here and they would live in my house and I would drive them in my car. I want to make them proud. I can’t believe I’m here. My dream has come true and I am in Hawai‘i but how do I make this work? I have no family here. I don’t even have my bags.
I don’t know nokarin (where) to go or who to trust. I don’t have any money but I have my health. The Filipino people are resilient and enduring. For my family’s sake I will make it here and become somebody. Just how exactly do I do that?”
As the night creeps on, Angel tucks her arms into her shirt, 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 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.
It’s true, Filipinos have traveled the world, endured hardship, work and living arrangements in order to find a better life. So many do so not for themselves but for their family. I remember my relatives traveling to Manila just to sell their produce. I knew people who went to Singapore or Hongkong to work as a DH (Domestic Helper) or a nanny. They go to other countries to work and take care of foreigners’ houses or children and they sacrifice theirs. Even though it’s not their ideal job preference, they will do it for love. Love for family. Filipinos are the most loving, selfless, and hardworking people in the world and I am proud to be a Filipino.
Have you done any sacrifice for your family? How was it sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of someone else? Was it worth it? Did you regret it? Share your experience at www.facebook.com/FilAmVoiceMaui, we would all love to read 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.