It’s back to school time! Did you have a hard time finding the school supplies on the list according to the grade level of your child? Or did you just order the ready-pack of supplies? Isn’t it worth the price for being stress-free? How do you feel now your kids are back in the classroom? They don’t have to be at home anymore, in front of their laptop. It’s almost back to normal except they are still wearing masks and still limited to large gatherings. Let’s not put our guard down and do our best to stay healthy. Boost your immune system by eating healthy and exercise regularly. Always practice personal hygiene. And always have a good night’s sleep.
Shout out to our August birthday celebrants: Jesus Butay, Jr., Omar Lascano Lugtu, Adrienne Kawano, Gail Fujiwara, Vanessa Kate Erin Galiza, Catalina Evangelista, Sean Matthew Impelido-Butay, Adrian Chris and Edrien Chris Delos Santos, Angeline Manzano, Gene Alvarez, Paul Manzano and Exsor Alibin. Happy, happy birthday to you! (Tagalog) Maligayang bati sa inyong kaarawan! (Ilokano) Naimbag nga panagkasangay mo! (Ibanag) Makapagayaya nga aggaw na nikeyana mu! (Kapampangan) Masayang kebaitan queca! (Ilonggo) Masadya gid nga adlaw sa imo pagkatawo!
Let’s visit our friends Angel and Michael and see what’s going on with them this month, shall we?
“We know ana (what) you did to that officer, Angel. Just let my son go. Please, I am asking you,” she pleads to her.
“Officer?” Angel asks herself.
Mom’s voice shatters. “He doesn’t deserve this. He is a good person. Just let him go! I’m begging you, please.”
“Ano (What) are you talking about lady?” Angel couldn’t control herself anymore.
“You know hani (what) you did,” says the mom.
“Ana (What) did I do?” she asks confusedly.
“You are on video. They are coming after you!” the mom exclaims.
“Nanoyin?! (What?!)” Angel asks.
“You killed that cop!”
It was at this moment that Angel reminisced about that day. That dark day. Her first day in Hawai‘i. Dream turned into a nightmare.
That stupid old man who she trusted. That crooked policeman driving her to the transaction location. She remembers it like it was yesterday. How they were escorted through the airport and avoided all the proper procedures to enter the USA like customs, and the bag check area.
She remembered how hot the sun beamed down on her, how it absorbed into her skin after the thirteen-hour flight. She remembered how sticky the leather of the old patrol car felt, and the suffocating stench that came from the smoked soaked upholstery. She remembered how dizzy she felt from the road and the horror she felt when put into that van with all these other girls from all parts of Asia, just awaiting their doom.
Tears roll down her mata (eyes) and she starts crying. “I did not do anything wrong. I trusted Billy. My family trusted Billy. My magulang (parents) even borrowed money so I am able to come here and achieve what they call an American dream. I am a nasingpet (good person). Why me?”
“Hello? Angel! San-o (Where) is my son?” Michael’s Nanang (mother’s) voice fluttering and fading away in the background as her mata (eyes) well up.
“Hello? Angel!” Michael’s mom says softly.
Suddenly Angel sees herself in the Philippines, like a motion picture of her own life.
“Hello Angel! Sitaw (Where) is my son?” Her Aunty Mary Grace popped her head into the pintuan (door) of their bahay (house) as Angel is loading clothes into her luggage. “Hello? Hello? Angel! Nokarin (Where) is my son?”
“Aunty, I don’t know. I haven’t seen him since yesterday,” Angel replied.
“Oh my gosh. Nasaan (Where) is this boy? Ever since last week he has been in and out of the tahanan (house). Never telling me inno (where) he is going. He hasn’t eaten breakfast with us for how many days, and is out all day, coming home late. [Censored words … more censored words],” her Aunty Mary Grace complained.
“Aunty [more censored words] I cook and I clean the bale (house). Hani (What) is he doing? He does not help with anything. You know the other day, your uncle …” Aunty Mary Grace continued.
“Aunty,” said Angel, still folding clothes and loading them neatly into her luggage, “Raffie is a masippo (good person). I will talk to him when I see him.”
“Your uncle had to get bigas (rice) all by himself and carry all of it to the balay (house) from the farm. Do you know how old your uncle is now? He is …”
“Aunty,” Angel again said, while reaching for her water bottle.
“Bugas (Rice) … he has to bring it to the balay (house) and Raffie is the one supposed to lay the qabyas (rice) on the road and watch it. Now, everything is late and … ” her Aunty kept going.
“Aunty!” Angel shouted while smiling and waving her sock in the air trying to get Aunty’s attention.
“And then who is the one to feed the pigs in the piggery? That is Raffie’s job. Oh, when I get my kamay (hands) on him … ” Aunty made a sour-face and clenched.
Angel frantically waved her sock in front of Aunty while she was still in a trance.
Flori, Angel’s second-degree cousin who was passing by overheard the conversation with a barbecue stick and soda pop bag in her hand, peeped in and smiled.
Curse words came from Aunty’s mouth firing bombs in front of the two girls.
Angel tossed her sock at her forehead. “Aunty,” said Angel.
Aunty glared right at Angel.
“Aunty, I don’t know if you notice … but he has a kasintahan (girlfriend).” Angel chuckled and picked up her sock.
Aunty’s mata (eyes) turned bright red and she climbed into the bahay (house) and his Angel with her slipper. [More curse words].
“Ana? (What?) Why? Who told him to have a nobya (girlfriend)? You know about this, ha? And you don’t tell me?” Aunty Mary Grace sounded mad.
Florie giggled as she watched Angel clinch into a ball trying to dodge the onslaught of Aunty’s flying slipper attack which she perfected over three kids and helped to raise her 14 nieces and nephews over the course of two decades.
“Nasaan (Where) is he now? You tell me.” Aunty Mary Grace demanded Angel.
Uh-oh, Angel spilled the beans to her Aunty about cousin Raffie. Will Angel tell Aunty more about her cousin who is her best friend and family at the same time? Is she going to get him in trouble or will she protect him how he always does to her?
Anyways that’s all I have. Keep an eye out for my column in 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 received her Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Maui Community College. She earned her Bachelor 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 Saladmaster’s Travel Club and won an all-expenses paid trip to Cancún, Mexico. Butay has traveled to Texas, the Philippines and Thailand as one of the delegates from Island Healthy Solutions, a Saladmaster dealer here on Maui.