Let’s Talk Pinoy!

It’s summer time! Fun in the sun! How are you spending your summer this year? With the COVID-19 still going on, are you considering traveling or doing a staycation? Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun. After all, Life is short. We have to enjoy it and spend time with friends, family and especially those kids. Kids grow up so fast. One minute you are changing their diapers and the next thing you know, you are sending them to college. I see a lot of posts on Facebook of families going hiking, going to the beach and sight seeing. We should enjoy our paradise while there’s not many tourists around us.

A few months ago, Angel and Michael played as tourists and enjoyed Lahaina. Let’s see what’s going on with them this month and where they will be going next, shall we?

While driving to Pä‘ia, Michael reminisces about his teen years. He drove an old Corolla that was handed down from his Uncle Ray and he drove this route to Pä‘ia so many times he could do it in his sleep. He loved that car even though it was more trouble than anything. He probably put $3k into the $800 car keeping it alive throughout his high school days. And even getting him to the first semester of college before the head gasket blew and he had to dump it.

Michael parks his sasakyan (car) in front of the Pä‘ia Post Office. Now what?

He unbuckles his seatbelt … breathes … He turns off the engine and looks around the area while he is still inside the sakyanan (car). Nobody is there. Not a single person.… He looks at his watch and it’s six o’clock in the morning.

He gets out of his saken (car) and locks it.

Whew! It’s so nalamiis (cold) here in Pä‘ia. I better get my body warmed up.

He jogs in place for a minute then looks at both sides of Baldwin Avenue before crossing the street. He walks towards the street called Melia Place. There are seven houses on this dalan (street) and he does not see a single person to ask if they knew where Angel lives.

I don’t think she lives on this kalye (street). There’s an empty property in front of the post office. I wonder if she lives there. Wait, is she homeless? Nah … she doesn’t look like one. She doesn’t have dirty clothes, she doesn’t smell bad and she looks like she’s a neat person. Hmmm… let me just go take a look at that balay (house) and see if someone lives there.

Michael starts walking towards the blue bale (house) or property that looks like it has been empty for a while. There are layers of leaves that are covering who-knows-what underneath. As he walks, the crisp crackling of twigs and breaking of leaves beneath his shoes echoes around the property. Now tiptoeing oh so gently, he reaches the four step front stairs. In the darkness, he can barely make out the color scheme of the house but the dull lavender blue has probably seen happier days. He knocks on the front door of the balay (house) and nobody answers. He tries to peek through the front window but to no avail can he see anything through the dark interior. After a few more gentle knocks, and a hello, Michael decides to start walking towards the back of the property.

This is crazy. What am I even doing here? Oh my goodness, Mikey, why don’t you ask your employee to do this. This is very dangerous for you to do. If there’s homeless people that beat you up here, you don’t have anybody to help you out. No Uncle Ray to save you this time. Ahhh … Angel, what are you doing to me? Nokarin (Where) in the lubong (world) are you?

He walks around the property but doesn’t see anybody. The home is still dark and in the back shed he feels a chill run down his spine. The erie feeling of standing in a house he has never been to before and the unsettling silence tells him to get out. He sees another balay (house) that is surrounded by a lot of trees. He quickly makes his way around the home and past the driveway. He starts to walk towards the nearby balay (house) that catches his eye. Standing in the front yard he shouts, “Hello? Anybody home?” Total silence. He yells louder. Still no answer. One more, he says to himself. He yells even louder. Suddenly, he sees a light turn on and Michael runs to hide behind a nearby tree. He sees a silhouette of a person’s head peeking from the bedroom window upstairs. He then sees a light turn on and Michael’s heart begins to pump.

The door opens and a short, chubby woman comes out wearing what seems to be a nightgown, holding a flashlight. She murmurs a few syllables and vowels all of which Michael can’t make out from where he is standing. The lady begins to circle her property. As Michael looks on from across the dalang (street), he watches as this old woman shines her light in many random places that Michael could not dream to guess what this lady’s thought pattern is. From the rubbish can to under a rock to behind the weedwhacker stands (like Why would a person be hiding behind the weedwhackers?) But this charade continues for a few minutes until the lady gives up and returns into the bahay (house).

Ok, I guess ngayon (today) is not a lucky day for me to find and see Angel.

He starts walking towards his sasakyan (car) and just as he does, he feels as though someone is watching him.

In the bahay (house) surrounded by a lot of trees, Angel is laying in bed staring at the ceiling. She is listening to music on her radio. “Oldies, nah.” She changes the station. “Hawaiian music, nah.” She changes the station. “Hits radio, Justin Beiber, okay, fine,” she says as she turns up the sound and goes to the toilet. As she closes the restroom door, a faint “Hello, Hello” sound creeps into her room but doesn’t penetrate the restroom door. While sitting on the toilet, Angel is busy contemplating if she’s leaving or not. If she does, she needs to pack her bag now or soon and leave. But aha (where) is she going? Sitaw (Where) is she staying? Maui is a small place and Lydia will eventually find her. If not, then she will be tied to the slavery and the harshness of this lady.

Aahhhh, what happened to my life? What will the future bring me? A single tear drop rolls down the side of Angel’s eye.

It’s a busy day ngeni (today), I have to get up now and start doing the chores that the old lady listed for me to do. Angel starts reading the list and her mukha (face) is in awe.

In our house, this list will be divided among my sisters and my brothers.

Angel can’t help herself but think of the family she left back in the Philippines.

I have to contact my family, especially my Mom. I’m sure they are very worried because I haven’t contacted them since I came to Hawai‘i. I wonder how they are doing? How do I contact them, they don’t have a cellphone? I’ll just send them my only $300 that I got for cleaning houses.

Michael sits in his lugan (car) for a while.

How do I find Angel in this kalibutan (world)? San o (Where) does she live? Sino (Who) can help me?

He turns on his kotse (car) and in the radio background is a familiar sound of laughter like …

Rossssiiiiiieeeee! Yes, Rosie can help me find Angel.

He is so excited. He drives back to town with a big timan (smile) on his rupa (face) and then …

Swwoooooshhhhhhhhhhhhh …

Find out what happened to Michael and keep an eye out for my column every issue.

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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 Saladmaster dealer here on Maui.