Let’s Talk Pinoy!

It’s my favorite month! Why is that? It’s because it’s my birth month. I am happy when November comes because I am going to be a year wiser and older. I am forever grateful for the gift of life. Four decades and more is not an easy one. There were—and I still have—bumps on the road but it’s what makes the ride exciting and fulfilling.

In the Philippines, November 1st is All Saint’s Day and November 2nd is All Soul’s Day. It is the day when we remember our loved ones who have passed away. A few days before the beginning of the month, people clean the cemetery where their loved ones were laid to rest. Some just hire people to clean and repair the memorials. Families go to the cemeteries and visit their loved ones. They light a candle, bring flowers and hang out with their loved ones—dead and alive. They bring food and it becomes a party.

In the U.S., there are two holidays this month. Veteran’s Day is on November 11. This is the time to honor all those who served the country—our U.S. Veterans of the armed forces and victims of all wars. Thank you for your service and sacrifices for the country. The other holiday is Thanksgiving Day, November 23. It is a day of giving thanks and sacrifices for the autumn harvest and other blessings of the past year. I hope you are not just thankful on this day but every day of your life. Start your day with a grateful heart. May this month be a special one for you as you enjoy all thirty days.

Shout out to our November Birthday celebrants: Ben Acob, Annie Ramos, Leticia Domingo, Helen Bueno Velasco, Efren Delos Reyes, Felmar Guiwa, Rose Anne Rafael, Hazel Kheizabel Valiente, Alfredo Dumlao, Mary Grace Joy Andam, Dianne Alexie Butay-Guiwa, Peter Villanueva and Eileen Andrea Bueno Verkhov. Happy birthday to you! (Tagalog) Maligayang bati sa iyong 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 see what’s going on with our story this month and where Michael and Angel will be going next, shall we?

“We have trabaho (work) to do,” Ray tells Michael and looks at him in the eyes with a blank expression.

“Ahh… loosen up Sergent, obro (work) can wait,” says Katherine to Ray and takes a seat next to Michael. “Family comes first before trabahu (work).”

Ray does not argue, he follows Katherine and sits next to her.

Ray takes the plates from Angel and notices she is shaking.

“Family first,” he says, looking at Angel in her eyes seriously. “Maraming Salamat (thank you), Angel,” he says softly, still looking Angel in the eye.

It’s the first meal they have with Uncle Ray with a lady guest. And it’s the first meal he has with Angel and his parents. This must be something, Michael thinks.

Angel returns to her seat and quietly eats and listens to their conversations.

“So Michael, you haven’t answered our question,” Uncle Ray says while he is reaching for the rice.

“Unsa (What) was the question Uncle Ray?” he asks shyly.

“This maanyag (beautiful) lady is your girlfriend?” Katherine is the one who asks the question.

Michael looks at Angel but Angel is busy playing with the pagkain (food) on her plate.

“Angel is maganda (beautiful).” He smiles shyly.

“Oh Mikey, that is not even the question,” his mom says. “You are just like your Uncle Ray who cannot think straight when you are with a napintas (beautiful) lady.”

“Angel,” Michael’s mom turns to Angel and asks, “Are you and Mikey boyfriend/girlfriend?”

Angel’s mukha (face) turns red and she says “Michael and I …” in a shaky voice.

Michael interrupts her and says, “Mom, Angel and I are still getting to know each other. We hang out but I have not formally courted her.”

“Well, Michael, I raised you well so you should know what you are doing and you should use your brain wisely,” his mom tells him scoldingly.

“Well, that is good that our Mikey is still getting to know Angel so we know who part of our family will be,” Ray says seriously, looking at Angel.

Angel gets scared with Ray looking at her seriously. She holds on to the lamisa (table).

“What is he thinking? Does he know about the incident on O‘ahu? But that was over a year ago. Oh gosh, doesn’t he like me for his nephew? Maybe because I am poor or not pretty enough. I don’t dress up. I only wear a T-shirt and pants. I don’t really have a lot of clothes. I’ve been trabahu (working) job after job but Aunt Lydia is taking all the money I am making so I haven’t really earned anything. I haven’t even been able to send money to my family,” she says to herself. She looks down at her plate so they will not see the tears forming in her eyes.

“Angel … Angel!” Mikey calls her and snaps his fingers to get her attention.

“Ha?!” Angel asks confusedly.

“Mom is asking if you don’t like her cooking or you want something else to eat. Looks like you didn’t even touch the makan (food) on your plate,” Michael says.

“The food is delicious. Daghang salamat (Thank you) for the pagkain (food). I’m just getting full but I will finish what is on my plate. I don’t want to waste pagkaon (food). There’s a lot of people who don’t have kapangan (food) on their table,” she says quietly.

“Well, that was a delicious meal, my dear sister-in-law. Madamogud nga salamat! (Thank you).” Ray turns to Michael’s mom. “As always, you are a great cook. No wonder my brother has been gaining weight every time I see him.” He laughs then he turns serious and says, “I have to go get something in the car and will wait in the living room. Michael, we have things to talk about.” He wipes his mouth, stands up and exits through the front puwerta (door).

Everyone is left quietly finishing their kanan (food) on their plate.

Didn’t that feel awkward? It feels like it was the last supper. Are you able to enjoy your food knowing there will be a serious talk after? Don’t forget to be grateful for the people we still have in life and the food we have at the table.

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.