Filipinos In America

Filipinos are all over the place all over the world. I remembered my husband sharing to me when he went to a super remote place in Europe one time and would never thought another Pinoy will be living in that far away place where you won’t expect a kababayan may live in. Pinoys are easy to adapt in different places no matter what, no matter how. If you come to observe, they are like chameleons that would blend in different races. They are so versatile in many ways in the first place. Living in America is like living in a place where Pinoy can be everywhere specially in California, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and many more places to name a few. You will see how every weekend the houses having pinoy parties are loud specially when the videoke machines are on! Pinakbet, calderetta, turon and our very own pinoy sweet spaghetti will always be in party tables all year long. And during the week, we can’t stop to cook our tinapa or tuyo atleast once a week because we always tell ourselves, we’re tired of meat. The sinigang is always on in different ways atleast twice a week. And if ever we won’t have time to cook at home, we have our Filipino restaurants all over the place. Lucky for us in California since it’s almost in every corner. We can’t miss rice in a day that’s for sure! But what really is the reason why there are so many Pinoys outside our country instead?

A lot of our kababayans are trying to escape general poverty, they have millions of reasons but all boils down to one thing… We always wanted better lives for our family. True, it may be a better source of income compared to being home but sadly as well we couldn’t utilize within our country the talents and potentials. We studied and strived to use it somewhere else instead. I know it is not something new to say and realize but that’s forever been a reality.

On the other hand, Filipinos abroad scattered all over the world are still as scattered as they can be even if they are within the same area abroad. Compared to other races like Chinese and Vietnamese you would see their unity even if they are outside their own native land. They are mostly organized and united all the time, they have entrepreneurial power, voting power and all other strong connections. You would see them solidly working hand in hand together may it be at work or in the community. You can always find Chinatown in every city just to prove to you how unity is a strong means to have presence wherever you are.

It may be a biased way to say this but it’s a factual observation, Filipinos abroad are talented, can better communicate not to mention when we call customer service, we sometimes hang up the phone if we are not talking to a Filipino call center representative because we couldn’t understand the person explaining on the other line specially when it’s technical concern. Sorry, I personally can’t follow instructions when it happens… But nevertheless, going back to Filipinos, we have the talent, we have the adaptability in every community we lived in. We easily blend in different races all the time, not to mention we have tne power of welcoming them with our lumpia and pansit! Unfortunately, observing it and talking to different groups of Pinoys, we are not united or I may say, can’t be united, not for a very long time! There will always be ideals to unite the Filipinos abroad but, these people gets burned out and quit or they become successful in doing it but couldn’t last long enough to sustain because it’s either it gets into their heads or others are not happy for them in doing it and starts creating issues against it and pull them back down. A few of us can achieve it but takes double the effort to maintain it. That’s the sick reality of it. I remembered talking to a Filipino public servant his experience in running for position, his encounter with some Filipinos. They would rather support the contenders than support a Filipino to be in the US government position. First, why not your kababayan? Second, in the US it’s a better government system compared to our Philippine government, in the US it’s harder to be corrupt! It’s harder to commit plunder that’s for sure! So why not give a chance and support our fellow Kababayan too? Who knows, he can do a difference and support the Filipino communities. Thirdly, I have observed as an election inspector, whenever there’s free dinner, there is always long box office lines or like EDSA revolution. Big crowds long line for buffet dinners. But come election day, you’ll just see only 1 or 2 Filipinos coming out to vote. Just shows how united we are only in our own benefit and not for everybody. What is it for me? What is it for them? Why can’t it be just do it for the benefit of everyone…

I am hoping one day will come a time when we will all be one and be strong in numbers wherever we are because when we choose to get out of the Philippines we can still be Filipinos soaring high worldwide and not just plain hardworking employees, nurses, caregivers and what not, we are intelligent, mindful citizens and we can make a big impact wherever we may be… As long as we stand tall and be proud we are Pinoys and be united!

I still believe it will happen one day…

Mabuhay ang Pilipino!

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Tokyo, Japan… The home of Kobe beef and Sashimi

Today, I’m about to explore another interesting place…  Tokyo, Japan.  Japanese food has always been part of my favorite food in the whole world but it never came across my mind where it all came from… Japan.

I was given a chance to come to the place where one of the most artistic way of food preparation came from…  The very moment I touched down the Narita Airport, it gave me an impression that this place is really a very organized place…  I was looking around just by the airport system on travellers itself made it much easy to keep up to a foreign land for the very first time…

Their bus system, they just line you up wherever your destination should be…  A bus ride to Tokyo proper showed me a very progressive industrial place yet, the nature as much as they can are kept the best way possible…  One thing that can get confusing…  the right hand drive…  it’s very different and something I am not used to right away to be in a right hand drive system which makes me think to be careful when crossing the streets of  Tokyo.

Tonight on my first night in Tokyo, I am really looking forward to have Sushi and Sashimi from Japan itself…  The most authentic way to try it… from its origin…

So far, people were friendly, although some were limited to talk to me in the universal language, but they all tried their best to manage to accommodate my inquiries…

Day 1 in Tokyo…

The city lights are just another spectacular scenery to look at…  it’s like San Francisco, New York and Dubai at night by the view on the window…

It’s just very interesting to be looking at the skyscrapers at night and the lit city of Tokyo.

Had a very good sushi dinner at a small place in Tokyo Business District near the Embassies.  Had the chance to learn from the chef how much hard work for 15 years he’s been doing since he own this little place.  Mind you, it’s a super small sushi place which I think can only seat about 15 people but it was a great sushi place to really try the real deal when it comes to Sushi and Sashimi…  You can’t go wrong at all.  After dinner, had a walk at the streets of the party district called Roponggi.  Very interesting but seems like too crowded of people preying for tourists in Tokyo so better be careful not to even entertain whatever they are offering at all.  Saw a tower that looks like the Eiffel Tower of France, walked around a few blocks and it’s time to retire…

Day 2:  Had to work all morning since I’m living on 2 time zones.  A little bit after lunch, I decided to just go out and explore some few places.  I asked around and was recommended to come and explore to the shopping district called Shibuya.  So I researched how to get there by train and next thing I know, I was walking on the train station not knowing later on that I should pay more attention to it.  And so when I got off the train, I started walking around coming in and out of different shops.  I got a bit tired and decided to get a bite in a place called Anniversaire.  It’s a european style restaurant and told myself it’s not going to be hard to find something to eat at all.  First approach, the waitress didn’t know how to speak english…  so we relied on the pictures of the food in the menu.  After this late lunch, I continued to walk around.  I ended up in an H&M store, of all places but found a piece to buy which I know can’t be found in the US H&M store at all.  So when I decided to get back, I discovered that the train stations are not the same line I have to take, so I keep asking around and all I get was a smile and giggle from the people when I asked for directions.  They don’t speak english at all!  Even the information booth employee doesn’t speak english.  So I had to try each train station I see just to find the right line.  I ended up walking until the next train station before I got it all right…  So hard to be in a foreign land who doesn’t speak english at all…  was so tired getting home and had to sleep.  Dinner time, just decided, no way to go any place further at all, so I had a grilled sea bass dinner and I think when it comes to fish and seafood, you’ll never go wrong at all in Japan.  I think they eat seafood more than any place elsewhere.  So dinner was done and just so tired that I didn’t go out anymore after dinner and retired that evening…

Day 3:  The third day was all planned out, my cousin’s husband brought us out to the Asakusa Temple.  They said it’s a very famous temple in Tokyo. 

The experience and the learning is good enough, although, some of the traditions doesn’t interest me much…  When you get to the entrance of the temple, you fan some smoke towards you from some incense to bring good luck. 

Then before you can enter the temple, you have to wash by a spring water well.  You take a ladle and wash your hands then, tak e sip and wash your mouth and wash your hands once again…

After the temple tour, we just went to walk around some more and decided to call it an afternoon.

Made a few dinner plans to a place where the chef was held the best chef of Tokyo.  This dinner I may say made me fall in love with the dining in Tokyo…  The gourmet chef champion is spectacular!

Lentils ball in tomato sauce

The starter was initially served, it’s a small lentils tomato ball but full of flavor…  a good start…

This appetizers are like a candy in the eyes...

The thirteen appetizers is just a product of skills and hard labor in the kitchen, it’s so beautiful that you don’t even want to touch any of it all…

Warm bread buns and spiced butter...

I have so much high respect on restaurants that serves warm bread… it just makes a big difference… warm bread versus ordinary temperature ones…

Grilled goat cheese salad...

This goat cheese salad is a melt on your mouth ohhhh soooo yummy salad… I usually hate to eat salad but this one, it changed my mind…

Grilled lamb chops with thyme anyone? This is the main deal!

If you’re looking for a way to just drop your fork and knife, this lamb chops will just make you forget about them since you want to get as much to the bones…  And by the way, if you’re looking for a soup in the entrée, sorry I forgot to take a picture of it first before even sipping on a shooter sized soup… super creamy and yummy…  finished it right away before I even remembered I have to take a shot first…

Dessert Heaven...

Each bite is just not registering any guilt feeling, I tell you!  I didn’t care, they are just comforting!

Walnut Marzipan and Coffee Ball for a shot...

There’s always a way to end the dessert mode… and there’s an art to eat them too!  Get the Coffee Ball first and shoot for the marzipan to a sweetened ending…

Espresso to culminate the dinner...

The finisher… a creamy steamy hot espresso… although, honestly, I skipped this since I’m not a hot coffee drinker and I want to sleep after this wonderful dinner experience…

There you go… that ends my Tokyo exposure!  Domo Arigato!  Sayonara!

* In March 11, north of Tokyo, Japan experienced the strongest 8.9 earthquake of all time and the 5th strongest in the whole world and a 20 feet tsunami followed…  more than 50 aftershocks continued to be experienced according to my cousin who is currently residing there.   For sure, it will never be the same for the longest time how I saw Tokyo then…  The tsunami waves even reached  as far as Santa Cruz, CA USA causing the boats to be pushed to the Harbors.  God bless us all.

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