Whew! November came and went in just a few blinks. How was your Thanksgiving? I am so thankful to have my daughter home for the holiday. “There’s no place like home,” she said, “especially for home-cooked meals.” It’s not only on Thanksgiving Day that I am grateful for my loving and supportive family and friends but I am thankful for them every day, along with all the blessings He has given and continues to give me. I am grateful for new people I meet and become good friends with.
With turkey day out in the books, we look forward to my favorite month of the year, December. A month where you get to see family you haven’t seen in a long time and find presents under the Christmas tree. Maybe play Santa Claus to the kids and make memories to last a lifetime.
Shout out to our December birthday celebrants: Guadalupe “Oping” Bautista, Maricel Agcaoili Butay, Annisa Lynne Marie Casabay. 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 will talk about repayment later,” and Billy stood back up straight.
Mom who was talking to Aunty Junie turned to Angel and isem (smiled).
“Okay, Tito,” Angel forcefully spoke.
“Trust me, I will get you to Hawai‘i with a great paying trabaho (job). Don’t you want to uffun (help) your family? Doesn’t your Amahan (father) have many expenses for his medicines and food? You will be able to send kwarta (money) home every month and yena (mother) will not have to suffer to struggle here,” Billy explained.
Angel looked at her Ima (mother) who was so happy and yuhom (smiling). She struggled so much the last three years now that her Tatay (father) was not able to work. Sometimes her nanay (mother) cried at night. Oh, how much Angel tried to do business here to bulig (help). Selling fishballs with a makeshift food cart. Basically, it was just a dolly with a wooden box on it and a gas burner and a pot of oil she would haul all over the town. Sometimes she would bring home 250 pesos. But many nights she would come home with nothing.
Life is hard here. Business is hard when everyone else has no salapi (money) to buy any of your products. So sometimes you are just spinning in circles.
“You could tulong (help) some of your cousins to go to school. You can send kwarta (money) so your Inahan (mother) can rebuild the balay (house). You can buy a bale (house) in Hawai‘i and tabang (help) your mother by bringing your Nanay (mother) and Tatay (father) to the USA later. There’s so many people you can tulungan (help),” Billy continued.
Angel thought about her Tata (father) and how he struggled so much since the sickness. “He used to be so hard working and strong. We used to see him as the foundation of the family. Now that he is unable to work, I see the disappointment and helplessness in his eyes. I love him so much. I remember how he used to carry me and kiss me when I was a kid. I remember he used to come home and give me his coins from his pocket which I would stash away in my shoe. He was a valued worker at his company. Then one day he got hurt at work and we rushed to the hospital. It was awful. I remember so well the hurt and pain of the screams from my Yena (mother). Now that Yama (father) survived, I wonder what goes in his head everyday knowing he is no longer the provider for the family.”
“You can marry and have kids. They would live in the USA and have a bright future. Imagine. You can change the entire legacy of this family.”
Angel began to imagine a life. Pineapple life. Lots of pineapples. Pineapple ice cream. Pineapple smoothies. Pineapple candy. Pineapple cakes. Pineapple hats and shirts.
Suddenly she woke up from her daze.
“Angel. Angel. Angel,” Billy shouted.
“Pineapple pen!” Angel shouted. Her cousin began to laugh hysterically and slapped Angel.
“I’m serious, Angel. So anni (what) is your answer?” Billy questioned.
“Yes Tito, I will follow you. Nanoyin (What) do I have to do?” Angel asked.
“We need to get a National ID card. We need to take some photos. We need to apply for a passport. Come over to my bahay (house) to take some photos for your passport.”
“To your tahanan (house)?”
“Yes, we need to take some photos for your passport as well as for your national ID and to send it to your employer to put in your file,” Billy smiled.
“Ah ok,” Angel muttered.
“Come over to the bahay (house) tomorrow,” Billy said.
“Hani (What) time Tito?” Angel responded.
“About noon. Because I like to sleep late.”
A sudden strong gust of wind hit Angel’s face. Back to reality.
Tears rolled down her mata (eyes) and she started crying. “I did not do anything wrong. I trusted Billy. My family trusted Billy. My nanay (mother) and my tatay (father) even borrowed money so I could come here and achieve what they call ‘American dream.’ I am nasingpet (a 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.
“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!” exclaims the mom.
Angel was gasping, “Ano? (What?) Killed ano? (what?) Ana (what) cop?” she asks confusedly.
“The cop you killed in Honolulu. I know you did it,” the mom says so surely.
Angel is hardly able to breathe. “Uh … uh … uh … ” is all that Angel manages to murmur from her lips.
How did she know about the incident? Did she witness it? Was she there? What is she going to tell this lady?
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.