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    This one made me weepy this morning. Girl finds out her bestfriend and roommate -- a 160-lb English Mastiff has terminal bone cancer and only has a few months to live. So armed with a bucket list of adventures she would like to share with her dog, they go off on canoe rides, road trips, visits to both busy spots and quiet spaces and, finally, spend a last day together by the ocean in Maine, where she finally finds peace and acceptance. This is real love, people.


    I still keep a journal despite having a blog. No matter how spill-all-my-guts-out open I may seem, there are many things I do and think that I'll just never tell. I've always thought it kept me sane to be able to express myself without fear of being censored or criticized. Whenever I pick up an old journal, even one from my 13-year-old self I realize that as much as I've changed so much is still the same. I just know how to dodge bullets faster and better. From: HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 01/20/15


    Which is why I've decided to keep this blog around, at least for a little while longer. I've always picked up a pen (or sat in front of a keyboard) any time I needed to make sense of my world; writing allows me to get into my head and get all my thoughts out without having to worry about how ridiculous I sound (that's where the editing comes in). From: The New York Times, 01/19/15
    This was lovely. The post is by a novelist who was asked how to encourage a young writer. It sounds eerily like the story of my life -- now all I need is to keep reading and keep writing (and, okay, start submitting). From: M Molly Backes' blog, 07/12/11


    Every day at work I see all kinds of female bodies: athletic, boyish, curvy, voluptuous, natural, enhanced, preteen, post-baby, postmenopausal -- thousands of different bodies I've seen up close and personal in my lifetime. This infographic shows that the description of the ideal female body changes every decade or so, going back hundreds of years. I hope that soon we define the "perfect" body as one that is simply healthy and functioning; that what matters is that we're comfortable in our own skin. From: Greatist, 01/15/15



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »
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June 12, 2005



Hi Gigi! Happy Independence Day! Like you, I am appreciating the uniqueness of Pinoy culture during my stay here in the US. I don't miss the politics and the problems but I do miss the richness of what our culture has to offer. Too bad most mainstream media choose to focus on the politics and the problems. If it bleeds, it leads right?

Oh yeah...during my first two years in the Ateneo, I would take the jeep and hang out with my friends at UP Diliman during my breaks. Di kasi ako maka-relate sa eksena. hehe.


Happy Indie!

If people ask me about the problems in the Phil right now, I would say, "I've lived all my life in HK and I don't know about Arroyo's". Then if people say, wow Filipino has a lot of music talents and I'd say "I'm so proud of it" perhaps it's how Filipino is known for, a MUSIC talented country.


added to that: A filipino of beautiful people, kind, happy people despite of poverty.


Hi Mark and KnOizKi - Happy Independence Day to both!



very well stated. I would write about this subject, but I am hard pressed for time.

thanks for the comment in my blog, it surely helped! :D

BatJay, Ang Dating Supot

i agree with you santa gigi. my stay here in singapore has made me appreciate being pinoy even more. i miss all the things that i took for granted when i was home - the quirks, the humor and all the funny little things we do in the philippines just so we can cope with the hardship.

happy independence day.


Hi Mell - I'm glad you're feeling better. :) My friend showed me this quote not too long ago, and I thought of you. It was by Margaret Fuller: Men, for the sake of getting a living forget to live.

Hello Sir BatJay - Arnel and I often find ourselves laughing at things and situations no one else finds funny. Then we realize: we're really Pinoy na Pinoy.


Very true Gigi, who has the right to define what a true Filipino is?
We should be proud of our heritage even though we opt to be citizens of other countries.Being in touch with one's heritage is one best definition too.


that quote nearly brought me to tears. thanks.


Same with me. I only appreciated being a Filipino after leaving the Philippines behind. I now use more obsucre Tagalog words than when I was back in the Philippines. I also eat steamed rice more often now whereas in the Philippines, I love eating sandiches for dinner. :)


Hi Luchie :) I think being in touch with our heritage also keeps us rooted -- esp. as we try to adjust to our new home and begin a new life.

Hi Mell - I'm glad it touched you in some way. I always try to remember what's most important -- because it's so easy to forget when we're constantly focused on the daily grind. Not an easy thing to do, 'no?

Hello Geejay - Haha, I know what you mean! When I was growing up, I didn't like patis, and I hated it when we had sinigang or tinola. Now I never run out of patis (not that it's good for my health), and guess what I always look forward to eating nowadays? :)


I am glad that there are Filipinos like you who exist in the world outside the Philippines. After 30 years of being Filipino, I think I have somewhat come to know what exactly that means, and with that comes the realization that I will never leave this country for I love it too much to let it go completely to the dogs. I hope people like you come back. :-)


Hi VVV - I'm actually smiling right now because I'm listening to Black Eyed Peas's new album, and I just got to the song "Bebot," which positively overflows with Pinoy pride. I know the song won't mean anything to many BEP fans but just hearing it puts a extra pep to my step. Truth be told I don't think it's a particularly terrific piece -- but I've downloaded it into my iPod anyway.

And it's just such a coincidence because I'm reading your comment now, too, and thinking -- yeah -- this is what it should feel like. Anyway, just as you are glad there are proud Filipinos outside of the Phils, we remain hopeful because of those of you over there, who are determined we don't turn into a memory of a country that could have been great. You know, I really love it here -- but still, there's no place quite like home.


I'm proud of you Gigi! I'm proud that you are proud to be Pinay! No matter what's happening to our country - mahirap man tayo o magulo o maraming problema - I'd not choose to be anything else but a Filipina. I love our country and I'll always be proud to be Pinay! (Belated) Happy Independence Day!


Stepping back is when we get the bigger picture. Our viewpoint becomes different and more pronounced when we see everything in a different light.

I am more of a Filipino living in the states than my "social" cousins in Manila will ever be.

This viewpoint is what I hold dear whenever I toil over the thoughts of why my parents ever moved us here in the first place.


Nailed it right on the head. And yes, I really, really hate people who are so insecure about their ethnicity that they have to add a hyphenate to assuage their insecurity. There's this Singaporean newscaster who pissed me off that way: raised in the Philippines, spent a few years in Canada, and suddenly he's a f###'n "Canadian-Filipino" when asked to describe his nationality. Feeling talaga. :)


HI bugsybee, milkphish, and micketymoc :)

Identity really begins with a choice. For instance, I have a friend in Manila whose bloodline is Spanish and German; I think she may have a couple of drops of Filipino somewhere in the mix, but she looks 100% European. When asked "what are you?", she won't hesitate a second to answer, "Filipino."

Contrast this to a guy I know who used to "make ligaw." He's a quarter Filipino, three-quarter Spanish. His mom (who is half Pinay) told him to make sure he marries a kastila or else he'd "corrupt the blood" in the family. He seemed to agree to the plan -- which made me wonder why he was wasting my time. Needless to say, I didn't want any of his blood to corrupt mine either, so I happily said "adios" and never saw him again.

In my opinion neither one is right or wrong; however, my guy friend obviously has deep-seated self-hatred issues passed on to him by his mom. That, to me, is what I see as his real problem.


The most poetic line in your post is this: I suppose you can say I became Filipino in America. Chills me beyond words...

About arnis and kali... I know a bit of it... it would be great to spar with that guy with a six pack in the pick... looks like he's really good. Punongguro ang dating!


Hi Gigi! Was blog-hopping and I came across your blog... Happy Independence Day to you. I was in the mall yesterday and I heard the tagalog BEP song playing, ALIW! Never thought they'd play a tagalog song in a Singapore mall. Anyway, have you ever been to Singapore? :-)


Hi Jardine :) Yep, you could certainly spar with Mr. Six-Pack; he trained for a bit under Magda (can you tell?). I guess you can say he's brilliant with sticks all around -- percussionist kasi :).

Hello Harrrumph - It really jolts to hear the constant echo in the "Bebot" song of "Filipino, Filipino..." Although this is not the first song BEP recorded about Apl's Pinoy experience, it really leaves no doubt what his message is about. Anyway, I haven't been to Singapore, atlhough it's on my list of places I must go to. My dad used to frequently visit for business, and each time always had praises for the country. Thanks for stopping by -- you'll see me around too. :)


very well said, gigi! i find your post very heartwarming and inspiring.

i'm always proud to be filipino and i don't hide it, even here in a corner of the world far, far from home.

sometimes it's difficult to articulate this pride of being a pinoy, especially during those times (thankfully they've been rare!) when the people i'm speaking with either a) seem to think they should feel sorry for me because i come from a 'third world' country, b) only know about the philippines in relation to world war 2 (either they or someone they know was a veteran of that war), or c) don't know anything about it at all, and ask me questions like "so, is your country a free country?".

but i've come to terms with the reality that some people don't really know much about us at all, and at times i'm even glad that i have an opportunity to share information about the philippines and filipinos with them. i would like to think i left them with a better understanding and appreciation of things pinoy.

on another note: i love the anthemic "noypi" by bamboo. "hoy/pinoy ako/buo aking loob/may agimat ang dugo ko". galing!


Ang ganda ng post na ito. Natuwa ako sa part na sinabi mo na "proficient" ka pa sa Tagalog. Yung mga cousins ko na nadyan na pinanganak at lumaki sa US (all my relatives migrated to the USA in the '70s and '80s), di na marunong mag-Tagalog kasi di na nila ginamit sa bahay (ayaw daw according to my aunts and uncle).

"I was born Filipino and I will die as one. Everything that happens in the middle -- learning about what it means to be one and how that figures into my place in the world -- is, very simply, a gift."

I just love the way you put it! (I switched to English because it's easier for me to express myself in English.)

Kudos to your very readable blog!


Hi Petite and Jayred,

Thank you so much for your comments :) Nakakataba ng puso!


you rock, gigi. =)

when my family and i went back to the states a few years ago for a visit, our older relatives couldn't understand why we would willingly go back to manila when we could stay here.

our reply? "it's home." and it really is, warts and all.


Hello Sarah - You got it backwards there. No, it's you (and your family) who rock. :)


that's one of the best entries I have ever read about being Pinoy.

I guess, a lot of people have this false impression of what makes us filipino. I've read some blogs about pinoy pride although, the only thing they cna be proud of is the fact (as you also mentioned) that they eat adobo and pancit.

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  • LISTEN: "Pluto" by Chamsom


    I don't have to understand Korean to love this song, although I think it's about a person who was in a rocky relationship that ended but still feels deeply for her former lover and is feeling lonely tonight. "You're like a little star that's far away from me and keeps disappearing." I suppose the title -- Pluto used to be known as the ninth planet from the sun but now isn't even considered one -- might provide a bit more context to the song's meaning. Spotify


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