Let’s Talk Pinoy!

It’s the 2nd ber month. In a couple of months, the year will be gone. How are you coping with this global pandemic? This time of the year, we would be having fun at the County Fair or even traveling because it’s the kids’ fall break. For now, we refrain from traveling and choose to do a staycation instead. We live on one of the most beautiful islands in Hawai‘i and we should enjoy it while there’s not a lot of tourists. There are hotels/condos that are offering Kama‘aina rates. Some activities too are offering Kama‘aina rates for us to enjoy our own island. Let’s have fun and spend time with the kids while we can. They grow up quickly and time flies by so fast.

Let’s see what’s going on with Angel this month and where they will be going next, shall we?

Meanwhile, Angel gets out of the restroom and starts reading her to-do list that Lydia gave her to do that day and her mukha (face) goes awe.
In our house, this list will be divided among my sisters and my brothers.

Angel couldn’t help herself but to 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 spoken to them since I came to Hawai‘i. I wonder how they are doing? How do I call them since they don’t have a cellphone? I’ll just send them my only $300 that I got for cleaning houses.

Beep … Beep … Beep … Beep … Beep!

Angel: Aaarg! I got up before my alarm clock? Wait, what time did I get home last night? Michael dropped me off after 10 p.m. last night and then I put away the laundry and cleaned the kitchen … ahh, Michael …

Angel goes back to bed. “It’s nalamiis (cold)!” she says and pulls up her blanket to cover herself. She wants to sleep in because Lydia won’t be home today. Angel is sadot (lazy) to do the chores on the list. She closes her eyes and Michael’s nawong (face) pops into her head. Angel imagines Michael’s rupa (face) and how he turned a shy red when he looked at her. And she thinks about his katam (sweet) ngiti (smile), how it made her feel safe and warm. Not like other guys. They would timan (smile) at you and you could already see their eyes wander up and down your body. His ngisi (smile) was genuine as if he really was magayaya (happy) to see me. Having that feeling of being truly wanted and appreciated means the mundo (world) to me.

Michael is so different from the others. He is such a silly guy but in fairness, it’s something that makes him so guapo (handsome). He treats me so well. He didn’t try to take advantage of me yet. I wonder if he will treat me differently if he knows about my situation. He is so sincere to me. I should tell him the truth before he finds out himself. Or maybe not this time.

Angel jumps out of bed and makes her way to the bathroom again. She reaches for her toothbrush on the cabinet, squeezes a pea-size of toothpaste and starts brushing her teeth. Suddenly, her father pops into her brain. Angel remembers when she was a young kindergartener, how her father brushed his teeth with her and they would make funny faces together. He always made her laugh. Those were the days, carefree, naragsak (happy) and fun. Oh how she misses her family. The only person who makes her feel this way is Michael who makes her laugh, sing and dance. He makes her feel special, and wanted. Even for a few moments to get away from this horrific reality.

As Angel finishes brushing her teeth, she looks at the mirror and stares at herself. “Who are you? What are you doing with your life?” She stands there for a minute and starts to let the water run. She washes her toothbrush and thinks, “I don’t own anything here.” Lydia even gave her this very toothbrush and even this hairbrush. Angel received a lot of verbal abuse before she even got those. She didn’t have anything when she went to Lydia’s house but the clothes on her back. She lost everything when she ran away from those guys in the van.

I wonder whatever happened to my luggage and who has it now. In there I have my favorite jacket that my Tatay bought before he got bed-ridden. He saved five pesos every time he sells a bag of rice just so he can buy that jacket for my birthday. He knew how much I wanted a jacket like the one that Sarah Geronimo, her favorite pop singer star in the Philippines. I also have my favorite blue blouse that says “I love you like a mango” on it. Joanna, my cousin, gave it to me as my graduation gift. I only use it on special occasions so it doesn’t get worn out. Then, my sneakers that I bought using the money from picking and selling empty bottles. Me and my sister Vicky would go to the market every afternoon to pick up bottles and sell it. Then we use the money to buy food for the family and I used to skim 5 pesos every day and stash it under my bed until I had enough money to buy those sneakers. Now these sneakers are worn out and discolored but I love them dearly and use them every day because I cannot afford new ones. Life was hard in the Philippines, there are no jobs and the trabaho (work) that is available are low wage. But at least you had a life. You were malipayon (happy). You had time to spend with those who love you and could do things that made you matula (happy) without the extra stress. Here in America, it is not what I expected. You ubra, ubra, ubra (work, work, work), and have little to show for it. It’s like you are just a robot everyday, just doing the same routine. Oh, how I wish I was back in the Philippines. Life was so good. I just didn’t know it. But I am here in America and this is my chance to support my parents who supported me all these years. Now that they are old and unable to trabahu (work), I have to make it here.

“That’s right! I will make it here no matter how hard it gets,” teary eyed, she says to herself in the mirror. “Michael, where are you? I want to tell you everything,” Angel says to herself.

Ding … dong. The doorbell rings. “Michael?” she gasps. Angel wipes her eyes,and runs down the stairs. She lunges for the ridaw (door) with the biggest isem (smile) on her goya (face) and opens the puwerta (door).

What? This is where this month’s story ends? Haha, you just have to tune in next month and see who is at the pintuan (door).

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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.