Wednesday, February 28, 2007

chicago filipino news & events


Ruckus Productions in cooperation with the Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts (CIRCA) presents...

Bamboo and Parokya ni Edgar in Chicago...

Park West Theater; 322 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
Friday, March 23, 2007
Ticket price: $60

People Power Special: $45 if you purchase by February 23.

For more info about the pre-sale: Contacts: or
Doors open at 7 p.m.

2) Truman Int'l Week

At Truman College, we are celebrating International Week on April 16-20 of this year. I have suggested displaying works of artists from the different cultures that are represented at Truman (e.g., films, paintings, sculptures, etc). Would you be able to help us with the resources that are available to you? If you are aware of groups from other cultures, kindly provide me with their contact information. While we are working with the different student groups in the college, we believe it is also important to involve the communities from where our students come from.

Let me know if you are interested in participating and, if so, what particular arrangements we need to consider to make your participation successful.


Raymund C. Torralba, PhD
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Physical Science and Engineering
Harry S Truman College
1145 W Wilson Ave
Chicago IL 60640

Tel (773) 907-4076

3) Chef Jennifer Aranas of Rambutan is publishing a new cookbook called "The Filipino American Cookbook".

read more about jennifer and her new book here.

4) Asian American Interview Respondents Needed

My name is Rosalind Chou and I am a sociology graduate student at Texas A&M doing in-depth interviews about the life experiences of Asian Americans. I have conducted 36 interviews thus far and am particularly seeking out Asian Americans of Filipino, Japanese, Malaysian, Cambodian, Sri Lankan, Laotian, Indonesian, or Thai descent. I have already conducted several interviews with Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Asian Indian, Hmong, and Pakistani Americans and still welcome more involvement from these ethnic groups.

I am actively seeking out male participants first because my sample is discporportionately female, but female participants are welcomed as well. I will conduct the interview over the phone, and the questions surround all aspects of life, growing up Asian in America.

Dr. Joe R. Feagin is my graduate advisor. If you are not familiar with his work, you can google him and may find information about him. He has written almost fifty books and several hundred articles about race and ethnicity. Asian Americans have not yet been the focus of any of his work, but I am hoping to fill in some gaps.

Interviews usually last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. If you would like to participate, please contact me at

Thank you very much

5) Bring books to communities in the Philippines

Read-To Grow Program

Our vision is: To reach out to just one child at a time. Can you imagine the effect if we teach a child to read? We have reached out to a family. This creates a ripple effect. We believe that literacy gives a child to drink, imparts knowledge to eliminate disease, and develops self-esteem in a child.

Our Mission: Partnering with OMF Lit, communities in the Philippines and friends in the US to help start reading centers among Filipino children in urban poor communities.

Become a Sponsor 1. Donor identifies a church, school or community 2. Donor provides one time gift of $200.00 3. MEANS process application and place the order to OMF Lit 4. OMF delivers books to the reading center 5. MEANS sends an update report to donor

To know more about our project, please visit us at:

6) Digitally Entwined

"A collection of photographs from 15 chicago artists brought together through flickr" - one of the artists is filipino photographer, Ken Ilio.

Acme Gallery on N. Western Ave. in Chicago from March 2 - 10, 2007.

Monday, February 26, 2007

the first few days...

i wasn't really sure what, if anything, we were going to be able to do the first full day we were in manila. although the paloma was recovering, i didn't want to push our luck or her health. my older sister, mrs. f, came over with her husband, mr. f and my youngest sister, soon to be mrs. s, in the afternoon to check on her.

the paloma was eager to get outside. come to think of it, so was i. as i mentioned before, manila was warm - sunny, not too humid and in the mid 80s every day we were there. the paloma's got horses on the brain too and near our hotel, kalesas (the filipino version of the handsome cab) were parked one after the other. she wanted to meet every single horse and find out their names. and that view of manila bay from our window was too inticing to ignore.

we agreed that we should take it easy on the paloma and maybe just get a bite to eat and walk around a nearby airconditioned mall to kill some time and help the paloma run off some energy.

my sisters thought that we should hit the mall of asia. since it's the largest mall in the philippines, it has a pretty diverse selection of restaurants and shops and random diversions for kids. i was shocked at the sheer size of it. we weren't looking to walk the whole mall. but even what little we did see was overwhelming and overstimulating - hello!? they had great shops like mango, marks & spencer, national bookstore (where i scored a bunch of adarna house books for the kids) and kultura filipino and the currency conversion was something crazy like 48 pesos to $1!!??

we ate at the yellow cab pizza co. my sisters couldn't believe that it wasn't a chain from the US. i was kinda surprised myself. i was expecting some kind of city-fied shakey's but it was better - gastronomically and esthetically.

here's a picture of mrs. f, me , soon to be mrs. s and the paloma... this was taken after a hearty lunch and a couple of spins on the indoor carousel. btw - this mall also has an olympic sized ice rink in it. then, home again, home again, jiggety jig.... later that evening, i got to meet one of my cousins, mrs j. and her husband, mr. j.

mrs. j is my lolo and lola's first grandchild. she's not that much younger than my youngest aunt on my mom's side (my mom has twelve siblings). the family was a little freaked out by her because my uncle and her mom split up when she was very young. then, after the family tracked her down again, via a detective, she ended up getting pregnant before marriage. blah, blah, blah... they ended up getting married after she had their first child and they had a second child a few years later. the kids are teenagers and she seems like a happy career mom. i can't believe this is the first time i've met her... she's so awesome. she's funny, irreverent, intelligent, spirited and very giving.

the following day, soon to be mr. and mrs. s picked us up to chauffeur spend the day with us. we visited their reception site, villa immaculada inside the walls of intramuros (the oldest part of manila), to tie up some loose ends, drop stuff off, etc... then, we headed over to fort santiago for some sightseeing.

fort santiago is an old spanish fortress within intramuros. it houses the jose rizal shrine.

the paloma gets to ride a kalesa for the first time. the driver was really nice and let her sit on his horse, "pretty boy", for a photo op.

there's a picturesque lily pond underneath the bridge that leads you into fort santiago.

this is the building where jose rizal was imprisioned. his cell was located in the damaged part of the building. there is a mock up of his cell with quotes from his writings on the surrounding walls. it's a very moving tribute. the museum houses many of rizal's personal affects as well as a reliquary that holds one of rizal's bones.

these footsteps mark rizal's final walk to luneta park. it looks as if the steps end just outside the fort, but it's just that some of the footsteps have been paved over... if you keep looking you'll find they'll lead you all the way to where he was executed.

here's a view from inside the gates of the park outside fort santiago. i just loved the wrought iron, the church (?) dome and the filipino flag...

later in the day, my sister checked into our hotel for the night to get ready for the wedding the next day. everything seemed to be going well until my mom got upset that her name was printed incorrectly in the wedding invitation. she got even more upset when she found out that she had to sit next to my father at the reception. she was offended and upset because she felt she and her second marriage were being disrepected.

i knew that situations like this would arise, but i didn't realize how volatile they would be. my mom refused to talk it out with my sister. she just couldn't keep her emotions in check - which i totally understood intellectually. she was threatening to not smile, not talk, just show up and go home. she wasn't willing to compromise. but, i couldn't side with her. it just wasn't her day. it wasn't about her. i really felt that she had a responsibility, obligation or duty to my sister to let the animosity (for my father and for the hypocrisy of the philippines) go for one day.

i talked to my sister and she started to cry which made me cry. she opened up about how stressful the wedding planning had been. how often she felt she had to compromise. how awful it felt all these years to defend her upbringing in a "broken" family. she just didn't want to do it again on her wedding day. i knew that that was what the invitation and the seating arrangement was about. i didn't think it was right that my sister just slip it all under my mom's radar, but i understood why she did it. it was then that she told me that we have a half sister. basically, everyone knows she exists, but no one knows where she is. my sister thinks she's about sixteen. she saw her when she was little. she doesn't know her name. my heart just about broke... for my crazy family, for my father, for my unknown sister...

so, after i calmed her down a bit, i went back to talk to my mom who ended up crying as well... she kept saying things like "i made all the wrong choices.", "i ruined my life and the lives of my children", "i hate myself", etc, etc... it was awful... i asked her if she knew about my half sister. she said she did, but she felt it was my father's job to tell me about her. i did and said everything i could to try to salvage that day... in the end, my mom was inconsolable. my mom is strong though. she would get thru it somehow... and she did.

that evening we were expecting to have dinner with my dad's sisters. but, those plans fell thru. they came over but too late to have dinner. honestly, at that point, we'd all lost our appetites. i just wanted to sleep it all off and forget. just start all over again. just one of those times, i wish life had a "refresh" button.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

getting there...

i guess the trip started when the paloma and i piled into my brothers car and we headed off to the airport. it was about 9:30 pm. i was really hesitant to leave. the paloma and i had come down with some pretty bad colds three days beforehand. i was doing ok. she sounded like she was getting better, but her cough was pretty bad - bad enough that it sometimes made her gag.

we managed to check in without any hitches. i was worried about security confiscating all of our cold medicines since they were all over the 3 oz limit, but they let everything through. the gate was further than i thought and the paloma was really tired so, i had to carry her part of the way - not easy, since i had to carry her carry on and mine - the laptop. at one point, she thought she was going to hurl which upped my stress level to "potential aneurysm".

i had hoped that she would sleep on the first 13 hour leg of the trip. but that just didn't happen. she was too excited, too sick and too tired. and she wouldn't eat. i gave her medicine anyway (i realize now that i shouldn't have) to help with her cough and the pressure on her ears... to no avail. she was miserable. i was miserable. i felt like the worst mom on the planet. (i still do.)

the interesting thing was that although the paloma was having a hard time. the other passengers on the plane seemed pretty cool about it. earlier in the day, i had talked to someone on the urbanbaby message boards about possibly cancelling the trip and worried about the possibility of getting kicked off the plane in seoul because of her throwing a tantrum. the poster replied, "if you were getting on a domestic flight, i would be worried about that too. but you're getting on an international flight to asia. in my experience, the flight attendants and the passengers on those flights are so kid friendly. you'll both be fine. don't cancel. just go." that poster was right. i never felt like i was getting the stink eye from anyone. i was able to focus on the paloma, her fever and her cough and not the wrath of my fellow travellers.

by the way, we flew via asiana airlines. it was a great flight. and by far the least expensive and most direct way to go. they even had toys and puzzles for the kids. the food was good. i finally got to try korean food other than korean barbeque. my first meal was bi bim bap which was YUM-MEE! however, i passed on the hot pepper paste cause that looked lethal. i don't remember what my second meal was called but that was tasty too. it was mystery beef in a mystery sauce.

in addition to the safety info film, they show another film about pressure points you can massage to alleviate nausea, earache, headache, deep vein thrombosis, etc... and they show another film showing excercises you can do in your seat. it was really cool. and i gotta say, the flight attendants were HAWT. can't wait to fly via asiana again.

this pic was taken on the flight from seoul to manila. thankfully, this leg of the flight was shorter - 4 hours ish... and the plane was pretty empty. we all got to stretch out and finally get some sleep. the paloma finally has a smile on her face... it didn't last long. she got her first nosebleed right after this was taken.

we finally land in manila. it's about 80 degrees out. we got thru most of the airport without much trouble from the hawkers looking to get tips from us for "helping" us out. it wasn't until we got to baggage claim where we got jacked into renting a luggage cart and a luggage cart dude. i think we were just too tired to say no at that point. he didn't do a thing. i found all of our luggage and put it on the cart. he just stood there waiting for payment. all we had was US$ too but he was happy to take the $5. we sailed thru immigration and customs too - which was really surprising. we used to bring cigs and chocolate specifically for those people so that they'd let us go. the woman who we saw, glanced at our passports briefly and said, "please go ahead. happy valentines day."

when we finallly got outside the airport and found my sister and my papa and my soon to be bro in law. my papa couldn't stop crying and hugging us and saying, "my daughter!" and "my granddaughter!" which of course got me all kinds of speechless and emotional...

i brought along our portable carseat which is really nothing but a board with a five point harness attached to it. it amazes me that carseats aren't even a blip on the radar in the philippines considering how aggressive the drivers are there and how bad the traffic is... my family didn't once consider that i wanted to use the car seat. any car we got into was always packed two people than the seating allowed. the paloma was usually on someone's lap. i rarely got to use the carseat. it was so hard to just let go.

we finally got to the diamond hotel. i managed to forget our printed hotel voucher back home, so i had to use their business center to open the email again. thank goodness we got there in the afternoon when it was open. the hotel is a beautiful luxury hotel located on manila bay. it was a good location, located midway between my sister's wedding and the reception site.

usually, i would stay with my family in the house in cubao. but, i was worried about my mom and my papa not getting along (which proved true when they saw each other at the airport). it was also going to be a full house with my older sister staying there with her newborn, her husband and her mother in law. and i was really worried about the paloma not acclimating to the heat, the bugs, the environment, etc... anyhoo, i booked our stay via so we got a really - and i mean REALLY - cheap rate. our room was less than $100 a night via hoteltravel.

once we got into the room, the paloma got worse and worse... her fever spiked again and that's when she finally tossed her cookies all over the bed. what scared me was that she'd gotten another nosebleed and there was blood in her vomit. rick, my brother in law, is also a doctor. he was the voice of reason and calmed me down. i was FREAKING out. he suggested we just let her rest - no meds necessary, just a cool compress.

i called my sister (another doctor) to get a second opinion and she agreed. so, the paloma slept for about 10 hours. when she woke up she thought she could keep down some soup and some bread. she did. in the am, my sister came over with some "gentler" meds - fever reducer, decongestant and some liquid vitamin c. the paloma was doing much better. she was regaining her sense of humor and her cheery disposition. see below:

breakfast at the palm court restaurant. the wall of windows looks out onto a giant waterfall and the hotel's two pools.

the view from our room of manila bay in the wee small hours of the morning...

the view of popular mabini street (i think?) . that's the hyatt on the far right. the hotel i wanted to stay at but there were no vacancies...

the paloma resting in our room. for some reason, the beds had down comforters. we either slept on top of the comforters or jacked up the ac in the room... who in their right mind thought of down comforters in manila!?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

we're back!

we arrived around 5 pm last night... of course, the paloma and i are jetlagged.

it's 5 am now and she's watching boobahs on sprout and i'm contemplating bludgeoning my head in with something heavy and blunt if the advil doesn't kick in soon.

i'm so glad to be home. being reunited with the thin man and the pork chop is wonderful. but i must admit i'm not looking forward to a full energized day with the porkchop who should be up in about an hour - probably less. hopefully, the paloma will go to bed around 8ish for her full 10 hours sleep - manila time.

i can't believe how cold it is here... i was just in a sleeveless tee, turning up the the ac... by far, the rudest awakening....

i hope to return to regular posting soon with some stories and pics of manila...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

hello from the philippines!

just wanted to let everyone know that we made it to
the philippines ok. the 20+ travel hours that we
logged just about killed us - especially the paloma
who came down with fevers, nosebleeds and
upchucking... :(

my sister (the MD) checked her out and she doing much
better... we've had some time to recover but we've
been very busy reconnecting with family and preparing
for the wedding...

it's warm and beautiful here. i wish i could share
some photos but i forgot my usb cable and getting
internet access is either pricey (for dial up) or
unavailable. so, i can't promise that i'll be able to
update the blog as much as i'd like. or answer the
latest comments.

i heard it's freezing and snowy again back home. i
miss the thin man and the porkchop so much... i'm
constantly asking to hold babies and am often telling
thin man stories... althoough, i'm so happy here - i
cannot wait to come home!!!

love love love... MZ

Friday, February 09, 2007


pat roberston demonstrates "the oriental eyes"

WHY, LORD???!!! WHYYYY!!!???

anyhoo... on a related racist front... i hate to admit this but i watch that show, "real housewives of orange county". it's a reality show on bravo that follows the lives of five "housewives" living the high life in orange county.

last night, the thin man and i were sprawled out on the futon watching the latest episode. among the many "rhoc happennings", vicki, the housewife who is originally from the chicago area, accompanies her daughter on a drive to her (the daughter's) new condo. while her daughter drives, vicki conducts business on her cellphone. apparently, she's speaking to someone who's asian and after she hangs up, she goes on to say how all she hears is "chinky chinky chinamen".

i just couldn't believe i was hearing it again. i was curious to see if i could find a clip. i still haven't been able to find one but i did find that other viewers are calling her out on it on her blog. i posted my own comments but i'm sure they won't get published... here's what i wrote:

" all of you people who think asian americans should "just get over it" - just because you assume vicki didn't MEAN to be racist, offensive and hurtful - doesn't mean it WASN'T racist, offensive and hurtful to an asian person.

i'm asian. i was offended. i was hurt.

if you're not asian, you probably don't know what it's like to hear "chinky chinky chinaman" ALL THE TIME and what kind of pain or painful memories resurface.

a few years ago, my sister was walking down the street and some white men taunted her with ching chong. she ignored them and kept walking, assuming they would just quit. not only did they not quit, she was dragged into an alley and beaten. they screamed at her, "you chinks are taking away our jobs!" she's not even chinese.

i grew up in chicago and live here now but i've lived in nyc, asia and even (5 years) in california. i've experienced racism from every one - white and people of color, liberal, conservative, christian, non christian.

it's NEVER ok to be racist. that's what i teach my children anyway. this is not an isolated incident. shaquille o'neill did it. adam corolla did it. rosie o'donnell did it. pat robertson just did it.

everyone needs to own up to their own prejudices. everyone needs to reflect on why they think it's ok to be racist "in certain situations". it's not about being politically correct. it's about being respectful of people regardless of their color or culture. we all have to try to recognize subtle racism like this and stop it because if we don't, we're just enabling racism and ignorance to spread and thrive. "

UPDATE 2/10: i just googled and you can contact vicki gunvalson directly via email - vicki@coto/ - see here.

also, vicki posted a "rosiecarolla" apology:

Please accept my sincere apology for the comment about one of my Asian clients. It was no way meant to be racist in any way. I have a very large clientele that are Asian and I respect their communities and cultures. I would appreciate accepting my apology for anyone that was offended.
Regards,Vicki Gunvalson

UPDATE 2/11: i emailed vicki directly with the comment i made above and i just got an email back from her. she writes:

"You are right and I apologize! The comment I made to my daughter was wrong,and I am sorry. I had no idea what I said was going to be publicized on the air. I have learned from this and thank you for letting me know your side of this.


did you all catch that? she had no idea that what she said was going to publicized on the air. so, it's like rosie all over again... she won't make any racist comments anymore- on tv. THANKS A WHOLE HECKUVA LOT, VICKI!

please note the comment by lisa (below) reporting that some complaint comments seem to be missing from vicki's blog now.

i was just telling one of my neighbors (who is african american, married to a caucasian & also new to the neighborhood) about how weird it is for me to live in the neighborhood we live in. it's pretty much split 50/50 - african american and caucasian - generation after generation after generation. i told my friend that i feel like the thin man and i are "race spies".

some of our caucasian neighbors seem to think it's ok to say "watch out for the black people". then, i turn around and some of our african american neighbors say things like "i didn't think you spoke english" to me. the thin man (who is irish and puerto rican) has often had to endure conversations where neighbors talk about the negatives of "black people". he was even privy to a conversation about another latino neighbor who was vying for a captain position for the local volleyball league and how other players were trying to get him thrown out because they didn't want a latino in the league. why do these people think it's ok to tell me - a woman of color - these things? why do these people think its ok to share these thoughts with anyone - caucasian or of color? my friend was really interested because he realized that he really wasn't a "minority" in the neighborhood. he could see that clearly we were - our whole family.

i don't LOVE this neighborhood. but, it's not all bad. we've managed to fashion a pretty good life for us here. we've made very good friends here. we're able to live well and within our means. in some ways, i feel like i'm here for the same reason i'm still catholic. i can't run away from somewhere or someone that needs my help - EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANT TO.

i guess what i'm trying to articulate (and not well) is does any one racist incident/statement make someone a KKK card carrying member? no. i don't think so. but it doesn't make that incident or statement any less racist. it doesn't mean we should just avoid talking about it or sweep it under the rug or excuse it as some isolated slip of the tongue. it came from somewhere and it doesn't disappear. it's just time for ALL of us to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

how cold IS it?

it's SO cold that i may pull the trigger and buy (links are NSFW) this or one of these or even this...

because a) the obvious. b) if i'm still cold, i can light it on fire. c) it will keep the f*cking static electricity down to a minimum.

(and no, i did not post this in front o' the chillins... and don't you even think about posting your favorite thermometer pun in the comments.)

Friday, February 02, 2007


i'm not a sports fan. no secret there.
but i am a HUGE chicago fan.



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