Miss Soirée 2011

In an earlier blog I promised not to talk any more about beauty pageants.  I’m brazenly reneging on that promise.  My school recently hosted the entire provinces Girl Scouts of the Philippines for a four night sleep away camp.  They learned native dances, tie-dyed shirts, competed in singing contests, and of course, held an eleven contestant beauty pageant.  After a grueling four and a half hour campaign that tested endurance, talent and “overall loveliness,” the winner was crowned Miss Soirée and left with the deep veneration of all those involved.  Naturally, I was selected as a judge.

After a year and half teaching high school in the Philippines, I’ve been privileged to serve as an honorary judge in a great deal of contests.  Most recently, during my town’s Ati-Atihan festival, I was selected as “Chairman of the board of Judges” in the regional, modern and tribal, group-dance contest.  Drawing from my extensive knowledge of both tribal and modern dance, I was able to guide the board of judges threw an exhaustive two-day deliberation period.

Most of my experience as a judge, however, comes from beauty pageants.  In the past 18 months I’ve judged no less than 10 pageants, and sang the “serenade” at several more.   I’m a shrewd and calloused observer of pageant minutiae.  I’m often asked how I’m able to navigate the murky waters of teenage pageantry; a place resplendent with worthy contestants competing for a single crown.  I decided to keep a running diary to offer some insight.

8pm – I arrive.  There are 250 girl scouts here and zero girl scout cookies.  They’re all wearing Girl Scouts of the Philippines shirts and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I hope they have one in my size.  At this point, the girls from my school are used to me and a few of my students come up to talk to me.  When I tell them I’m a judge, they say “of course you are sir.  Always.”

8:05pm – I am the only judge so far, which puts our 8:10 opening ceremony time in serious jeopardy.  “Filipino time” usually reserves about an hour cushion both ways.  One time I arrived for a flight an hour early and it had left already.  When I told them it wasn’t supposed to leave for another hour, they said “yes sir, it’s left already.”

8:17pm – Still the only judge.  There is something truly creepy about the proposition of being the only judge in a beauty contest for 12-16 year olds.  The sound guy is blasting a mash-up of Jason Mraz and what I’m pretty sure is La Bouche.  The music reminds me of the dance clubs I went to when I was studying in Australia, when I still allowed my friends to bring me to dance clubs.

8:37pm – Now it’s Eye of the Tiger.  The students from the other schools in my province aren’t used to having a white man at one of their events, so a lot of them are casually walking up behind me and posing for camera-phone pictures with the back of my head.  Most of the pictures that exist of me in this country are of me walking by or facing a different direction.  It’s what I imagine wild-life photography is like; “Oh my god, it just looked at me!”

8:42pm – Still the only judge.  I’m blueprinting some improvements for my anti-cat gate.  Within three days of arriving in Altavas after my trip to the states, I found out the cat population in my apartment had doubled.  Four cats.  At this rate I’ll have 23 cats haunting my apartment by the time I close service.


8:45pm – The other judges arrive.

8:52pm – We’re getting started.  The facilitators have all the judges write biographies for the introductions, which is one of my least favorite parts.  There seems to be a collective conscious amongst each individual panel of judges as to the format of how the bios will be written, and I never seem to get it right.  It changes every time and each time they read mean there is something distinctly foreign about it.  I tied to read the bio of the guy next to me as he’s writing it, but it’s in Aklanan.

8:54pm – Shit, it happened again.  The other judges were all introduced as:

“A graduate of Western Visayas University majoring in Physical Education.  A 33 year old MAPEH teacher at Linayuan National School and dance team choreographer, please welcome Mr. _________   ____________.” Then he would stand up and wave to the audience as they applaud.

I was introduced as:

“Traybis Ruffles Lindner, a Peace Corps volunteer at Altavas National School from Bermont, America.” By not putting my name at the end no one knew when to applaud and when I turned around to acknowledge the audience they stared at me blankly and waited for the host to say my name again.  It’s awkward enough that I decide not to stand, which only perpetuates the confusion.

ASIDE: My middle name is not Ruffles.  Each time we (Peace Corps Volunteers) participate in an event here we’re given certificates recognizing our participation.  I figured out early on that A) I will close service with at least 70 certificates and B) They always print your middle name, even if they’re not sure what it is.  So, I’ve been giving fake middle names (that all start with R).  I’ve been Travis Really Lindner, Travis Risky Lindner, and Travis Remulus Lupin.  I’m planning on making a coffee table book someday.

Also, the letters A and V are historically difficult for Filipinos to say, so I’m often Traybis from Bermont.

8:59pm – During the Group Production number each contestant walks up to the mic, says something like “Beauty is power, and a smile is a sword…” and then introduces themselves.  One of the girls says “I’m 12 years of old,” and the audience erupts into vicious laughter.  These pageants are beset with these little, painful moments of throbbing awkwardness where a contestant fumbles with a word or stutters in a step and the audience erupts in raucous laughter.  Watching girls and boys in these pageants working hard to maintain their smiles when everyone is laughing at them is one of the most painful things I’ve experienced in the Peace Corps.  In America, kids are so concerned with looking cool all the time and so mortified when they don’t.  Here, they shake it off in a few moments, which I admire.

9:09pm – The host thanks the judges for sharing their “expertise.” One of the strangest things about being here is that I’m constantly being thanked for sharing my expertise.  Other than knowing a lot about Bright Eyes and Fantasy Sports, I doubt if I even approach the vicinity of being able to claim expertise on anything.

9:19pm – The girls come out wearing their “official uniform,” which looks almost exactly like the outfit Robin Hood wears in the cartoon (except with pants).

9:20pm – An example of some of the criteria on the score sheet: Completeness (30%), Fitness (20%), Bearing (20 %), Beauty (20%), Audience Reaction (10%).  I throw beauty and fitness out the window immediately by giving every girl the same score (a job better suited to Humbert Humbert perhaps).  Completeness and Bearing make very little sense to me, so I’m basically limited to scoring entirely based on audience reaction, which is pretty much determined by which school has the most students in the audience.

9:35pm – I think it’s the smiles that make me the most uncomfortable, which is more of a pageant thing than a Filipino thing.  It’s like watching someone in the dentist’s office who isn’t allowed to shut their mouth for twenty minutes.  Try smiling for twenty minutes straight some time without looking like you’re also crying.

9:41pm – It’s the talent portion and one of the girls is doing the Cha Cha with a male dance partner.  He’s wearing a white…blouse with a purple polka dot turtle neck and a large sparkly, sequin vest that forms a huge V down the shirt.  This is only significant because the Denver boys and I spent a good 40 minutes searching (mostly giggling) through the women’s section at a thrift store for the perfect turtle neck to wear to a holiday party (which did not have a turtle-neck theme).  We would have been all over this outfit.

9:51pm – One of the girls is wearing jean shorts that say “Pink Latte” on the back.  I don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me uncomfortable.

10:01pm –We’re six acts into the talent portion and no one has done an interpretive dance to the Titanic song, which is really unusual.

10:26pm – The chorus of the song that’s playing is “I want to see your peacock, I want to see your peacock, I want to see your peacock…”  I brought my camera fully intending on taking pictures.  Apparently it didn’t occur to me how creepy that would be.

10:28pm – So far my favorite thing about this pageant is the host (Miss Soirée 2008) keeps saying these little condescending comments after the contestants perform.  I’m sure she doesn’t mean to be snide, but that’s definitely the way it sounds. “That was indeed mildly entertaining contestant 10.”

10:33pm – Oh lord.  For the “sportswear” competition one of the girls came out wearing cowboy boots, tiny jean cut-offs, a flannel shirt tied off above her stomach, and a cowboy hat.  She brought out a whip and keeps cracking it.  The audience loves it.  I can’t even make myself look.

10:37pm – A second bad cowgirl.

10:39pm – Three bad cowgirls.  I’m giving higher scores to the girls wearing the most clothes.

10:41pm – “I never imagined these girls could look pretty like this.”  I love this host.

11:07pm – “The judges are having a hard time watching them on stage and moving.” I’m not sure if this is a shot on the judges or the contestants.

11:26pm – We’ve been waiting while they tally the results of “Miss Charity.” I’m not sure what that means, but I can’t imagine a scenario where whichever girl wins doesn’t run off stage crying.

11:31pm – Apparently one of the contestants dropped out because she’s “sleepy.” I had no idea that was an option.

11:43pm – The power just went out.  The rest of the competition will be lit by a single lamp aimed at the stage powered by the loudest generator in the world.

12:07pm – During the interview portion one of the girls was asked what each girl scout can do to help fight global warming.  She said it’s “important to reduce and resist getting things we don’t need.” Very nice.

12:19pm – I just found out I have pin the sash on the winner, which is my least favorite part.  It’s like pinning a corsage on a prom date, except it’s in front of 250 people hooting, it’s on stage, and it feels illegal.

12:41pm – Congratulations to Miss Soirée 2011.  I’m going to sleep.


My first blog is mostly about cats. I’m not quite sure how that happened.

I’m the only person I know who inadvertently has cats.  Like a widower inheriting unwanted step children, I became provider for my apartment’s previous residents when I moved in.  This was a role I initially rejected until I had to clean two kitten carcasses off my kitchen floor when I returned from a week long conference.  I started feeding them reluctantly; just leftovers and crushed up crackers, enough to keep them alive but little enough to keep them from relying on it.  This, of course, didn’t work.  They would root through my trash while I was away and open up my bags of bread and oatmeal and guiltlessly leave the remnants strewn across my apartment, working symbiotically with the ants perhaps.  I couldn’t lock them out because I live above my school’s cafeteria and there is no door to separate my space from the school’s space (this also means I can’t keep out curious students).  I’m still not entirely certain how they get in and out of the cafeteria.  Eventually I realized I was buying crackers just so I had something to feed the cats, so I gave in and started buying cat food.

I named them because that’s what people do with animals.  Each cat has cycled through a few different names at this point (renaming is maybe the purest indictment of an unworthy pet owner).  Currently we’re going with Joanna (Audrey Hepburn in Two For the Road) and Serge (Ibaka, from the Thunder).  Previously they were Echo and Peter Gammons, and before that, Franny and Zooey.

Joanna is creepy and I’m not entirely convinced she’s not half banshee.  She’s completely black except for patches of scabby pink where her fur surrenders to skin disease.  Her eyes are the color of pirate gold and every time you look at them you hear the wailings of a million wandering filipino cat souls.  I’ve never heard her make a sound.  Serge (who is a her not a he) is not his mother’s son (I will refer to her as a him not a her).  His eyes are always bulging out of his face because he’s always seeing something for the first time (‘oh my god oh my god oh my god, he’s pouring hot water into a mug!?!?’ or ‘the lizard on the wall over there is moving!  This CANNOT be happening?!). He’s either frantically examining something or sleeping.  From 3pm to 8pm he speaks in an endless stream of staccato meows, like he’s sending sonar signals out to detect other vessels.  He follows me from room to room, but only so he doesn’t miss out on any action.  The truth is that he makes me laugh.

I’ve never actually touched either of them with my hands.  Joanna and I have coexisted long enough that she winds around my ankles when I’m getting ready to feed her; although she could just be looking for something to scratch her scabby, hairless areas against.  Occasionally Serge will land on me briefly as he flies around my living room but he always panics and flees when he sees we’ve made contact.  I don’t exactly encourage affection.  I see myself as a justified curmudgeon; after all, I didn’t choose this life.  My cat food budget is creeping closer and closer to my human food budget and Joanna’s perpetual pregnancy should tip the scales sometime this month.  My lectures on looseness go completely unheeded and I never miss an opportunity to tell Serge that he’s the product of his mother’s rickety morals.  My other allergies have all given way to my swollen cat allergy.  Each time I search for my inhaler in an allergy fueled asthma fit, I try to find a cat to wheeze “fucking ingrate” at.

Joanna is super pregnant right now.  She’s as wide as she is long.  Every time I look at her it’s a reminder of how little control I have over my situation.  Getting animals spayed or neutered is a near impossibility here, especially in rural areas like mine.  Plus, paying thousands of pesos to fix these cats would be a claim of ownership.  I see myself as more of a roommate who cooks all the meals than a pet owner.  I wouldn’t arrange a vasectomy for dave just because I was sick of watching him pop out kids.



Living in the Philippines has made me think a lot about pet ownership.  In America, stray cats and dogs don’t really exist – at least not the way they exist in the developing world.  Pets in America are given immunizations and flea treatments, they go to school, wear sweaters, and have identification.  Their owners walk behind them and pick up their poop.  They’re spayed and neutered and sleep on couches.  In the Philippines, the majority of dogs and cats are strays, and the ones that do have homes aren’t treated all that differently than the strays are.  It took me a year in the Philippines to get used to seeing dog balls.  Dog balls are a jarring thing to see if you’re not used to them.  It seems very indecent.  Every volunteer in my batch will tell you how badly the image of two dogs stuck together facing different directions after making dog love stains your mind.  My campus alone has about ten strays that wander in and out of the classrooms during the day, and root through the trash at night.  I’ve managed to make friends with two of them, but the others still shrink away when I extend my hand.  I’ve also had plenty of experiences where I was followed by a growling, snarling dog who runs circles around me and nips at my heels as I walk home.  I may not like it, but that’s why people eat dog in some parts of the Philippines.  They’re everywhere and people are poor.

I don’t mean to sound callous.  My American family refers to our dog as “Queen.” She has her own facebook tribute page.  Perhaps that’s why I was so reluctant to have cats.  I’ve always been aligned with dogs in the dog v. cat decision.  I even have a dog tattooed on my side, which is constant source of friction between Serge and me.  When I get back to America, I’ll go to the pound and find a dog with big ears and I’ll take him home.  I’ll arrange to have his unsightly parts removed, get him his shots and flea treatments, and get him a nice collar with his name on it.  We’ll play catch and I’ll feed him from the table.  He’ll sleep on the couch and I’ll shrug off my dog fur allergy.  I’ll name him once.  Until then, I live with cats.

observations after 12 months in the philippines

Observations after 12 and a half months in the Philippines:

-Food is typically served at the opposite temperature than one would expect.  Meat is cold, beer is warm, etc.

-A candid observation of one’s weight often directly follows a greeting.  For instance, “Hello Sir Travis!  You look quite fat!  Are you very excited that school will start now?  What did you do this summer other than eat?”

-During a recent unit I was doing on superheroes, a student described Superman as wearing “skinny jeans” and having “emo hair.” How is it that English expressions like “skinny-jeans” and “emo” make it all the way to the Philippines, but the concept of Subject-Verb Agreement doesn’t?

– When I go back to America and find a group of girls who have toasted themselves orange, it’s going to seem even stranger to me than it did before because white skin here is considered paramount to beauty.  People use soap with bleach in it and saunas offer something called Chemical Bleaching.  Filipino celebrities have been bleached, painted, and photo-shopped until they’re closer to specter than human.

-At one point in my life, my knowledge of Beauty Pageants consisted solely of watching Little Miss Sunshine and the youtube video of the girl from south Carolina (“I believe that our  education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq…). Having lived in the Philippines for a year, I’ve been made a featured judge at several Pageants, and performed “serenades” at several more.  Now, I know that sitting on stage with a guitar in front of 500 Pinoys marveling at how white I am in person, singing songs that were sung by actors diegetically in romantic comedies (last time they had me do Adam Sandler’s song in the Wedding Singer) to a bunch of quivering, oiled up thirteen year olds girls and boys, sounds like every musician’s dream, but I actually prefer to be a judge.  These pageants are so rich in unintentional comedy and awkward/archetypal teenageisms , that I like to be as close to the action as possible.  I love how the girls are all so much taller than the boys because they’re a step ahead in the puberty race, I love how three contestants back-to-back will all sing and dance to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face for the talent competition, and I love how it’s not uncommon for a stray dog or chicken to wander across the stage during an interpretive dance of the Titanic song.  Probably my favorite part of a Pageant is listening to the Host’s play by play.  Here are some quotes from a pageant I judged at my School’s Alumnas Association party:

(note: In order to qualify for this pageant, you needed to be above five feet tall…?)

-“I truuuuly admire this person’s dexterity.”

-“Truly hot…and the hotness has not yet begun.”

-“Look at their smiles, so open and spontaneous.”

-“Please welcome our contestants as they strut their stuff in their exquisite pieces.”

The last one is my favorite.  I find ways to say “exquisite pieces” as often as possible.  ie ‘Excuse me for a moment, I’m going to go change into my exquisite pieces’ or ‘I don’t think we’re allowed to wear shorts and flip flops so make sure to wear your exquisite pieces.’

Let me be clear; there is plenty to hate about Beauty Pageants too.  Giving teenage girls prizes for “Most Sexiest Body” is not something I relish, and they typically go til 3 or 4 in the morning as the town’s power supply cycles in and out.  Plus, one time a kid bit the head off a live chicken and spat it into the crowd.

-Okay, not more beauty pageant talk.

-Pinoys do not sweat.  It’s a scientific anomaly and it’s really quite remarkable.  They’re always quick to point out when I’m sweating which is great, cause otherwise, how would I know? “Telaga!  Sir, you are wet!”

-I was so bored this summer that I decided to read the Bible.  While doing that I got so bored I decided to sit and not do anything instead.

-During training, I lived in Bataan where they speak Tagalog.  I was initially placed in El Nido, Palawan where they speak Kuinin.  Now I live in Altavas where they speak Aklanan and Ilonggo.  Although my language skills have certainly suffered because of all the moving around, my face is near-fluent in Filipino.  Most Filipino dialects incorporate a bunch of non-verbals. In many ways, lip pursings and puckerings, eyebrow raisings and furrowings, and exaggerated mouth openings and closings are the only National Language.

-I miss food so much.  I talk about it all the time.  I’ve been trying to will myself into having a dream where I’m sitting at a table and it’s loaded with things like Hummus and warm fresh baked bread, Pink Lady and Cameo Apples, Cabot Cheese, dark chocolate, taco bell, 12 oz cuts of prime rib with horseradish and mashed potatoes, duck curry with pineapple, flight samples from Stone Brewery, Belgian waffles and fresh/real coffee, crab and corn and scallops and a nice dry white wine, Dr. Pepper, burritos with real sour cream and guacamole, a nice cold rocks glass of irish whiskey and a bowl of steamed mussels.  That was a fun paragraph for me to write.

-It is not considered necessary to trim mole hair.  I have seen mole hairs that stretch and wind about like used guitar strings.

-I have now lived in America, Asia, Africa and Australia and still I don’t really speak another language.  However, I’d be racking up 17 armies a round if life was a Risk board.

-Filipinos have awesome names.  Just awesome.  Here’s a list of some of my favorites.  Most of these are just students I’ve had in my class, and none of them are nick names.


-King Ivan


-Reggie Boy







-Princess Torda


-Kit Kat

-Fasohosp (FaSoHoSp for Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit)

-Recently, while walking through the huge building in Manila that the Peace Corps Office is located in, we noticed I huge sign that said “BLOODLETTING 9-11 am, floor 3.” I’m fairly certain that they mean Blood Drive, but I didn’t investigate.

-I started an English Club at my school and when we were discussing fundraising ideas the students informed me about something they did last year for Science Month called “Marriage Tent.” Sets of two students are nominated by their classmates who pay a few pesos, and the couples get fake-married.  Basically, their wrists are tied together and they’re put into a tent alone for five minutes.  After the five minutes are up, they emerge with a better understanding of marriage and they’re released.  As far as I can tell, the only difference between Marriage Tent and Seven Minutes in Heaven is that it takes place on school grounds and there is some lite bondage.

-I’m still not over Marriage Tent.  Isn’t that fucking crazy?  I went to three faculty sources to verify the rules.

-A chicken walked into my class today.

-I’ve lost the will-power to make sure that everything I eat is completely ant free.  It’s too hard.  I probably eat five or six of the little bastards every day.

-“Rainy Season” is a completely deceptive term for the season that just started.  It must have been named by the same guys who came up with Operation Iraqi Freedom or Bologna cause it doesn’t even begin to describe what actually goes on.  I was wading through shin high flood waters in the capital city of my province the other day and not one person made even one comment that acknowledged that it was raining.  Typhoons, flash floods, and landslides don’t happen cause it’s a little “rainy.”

-I was told that I had the body of Jesus on the cross and that I’m fat and have scoliosis by the same person within a week’s span.

-When we play basketball hoards of drunken trike drivers gather around to watch us and loudly tell us to dunk it.  If I was somehow able to unbend my scoliosed spine, I would stand at a haughty 5’ 9” which would require a vertical leap somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 inches to dunk a basketball.  Speaking honestly though, I am typically the tallest person in the room and that doesn’t make me mad.

-In the NBA off season, sometimes I resort to watching the PBA (Pilipino Basketball Association).  The teams are called things like the Talk N Text Tropang Texters, the Barako Bull Energy Boosters, the Burger King Whoppers, Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants, the San Miguel Beermen, and the Sainta Lucia Realtors.  The commentary is hilarious (“and the Beermen are pounding the Realtors tonight, but they’ve got a tough schedule next week with both the Whoppers and the Juicy Giants back to back…”).

Okay, well I better stop.  I realize this was like fifteen pages, but I so rarely get to talk to people who speak English as a first language, it’s hard to stop once I get going.  I’ve been having a great time here; travelling across the country and keeping myself busy with all sorts of different work projects.  I was transferred into a school that has been incredibly supportive as I continue to integrate into my community and start (hopefully) sustainable projects.  I’ve gotten really attached to many of my students here.  Their creativity and enthusiasm continues to be my most effective energizer.  They’re able to do so much with so little. It’s been really humbling to see how much the quality of an education relies on materials and administration, and how little control over that a student has.

I hope you are all doing great and that your families are happy.  Mostly I hope your bellies are full of food that you enjoyed and that you’re comfortable in your exquisite pieces.  I do my best to keep track of everyone’s goings on by intermittent, but aggressive facebook stalking.  Please write and let me know.  It’s not always easy to respond to emails because I don’t have internet in my town, but I find a way to check a couple of times a week or so.  In another attempt to guilt Fed Exed Filet Mignons or Nachos out of you since so few got the hint last time, here’s my address;

Travis Lindner PCV
C/O US Peace Corps
6/F PNB Financial Center
Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City
1308 Philippines



I’m coming home for Christmas/Hanukkah!  I play up the Jewish thing here because one time I told my class that I wasn’t Catholic, and that my father comes from a Jewish family and one of my students raised his hand and said “Sir? Like the gays?”

observations after 5 months in the philippines

This was an email I originally sent out in February, 2011.

Observations about the Philippines after nearly five months of Peace
Corps service:

-People are extremely generous.  If you stop for a moment to have a
conversation with someone you’ve never met before, you’ll be fed and
introduced to their family before you know what’s happening.
-There is a demonstrated lack of family planning amongst the canine
and feline communities.  94% of Filipino dogs have given birth since
you started reading this email.
-There is no stigma against picking your nose, so everyone is
constantly knuckle deep and flickin’.
-Videoke, which is like karaoke except for with funny videos is
huuuuge here. It’s like watching movies in America.
-At schools that don’t have enough chairs or text books, it’s a
priority to get a basketball court and computers (even the schools
that don’t have electricity)
-Tom and Jerry are huge here. Even with adults.
-There are so many old foreign men vacationing with 20-30 year old
Filipino women that it’s impossible to spend an adequate amount of
time glaring at each one.  Most of the time they won’t look you in the
-It’s not a real meal unless you eat rice.  I’ve seen rice served with
pasta and french toast.
-After someone dies, there is often a get-together with an open
casket, bingo, and videoke.  It lasts all night long.
-One of the other guys from the Black Eyed Peas is half Filipino.
National hero.
-If you’re blonde you’re American, if you’re black you’re African, if
you’re Asian you’re Filipino, if you have dark hair you’re European,
and if you’re racially mixed you’re anything other than American
(often you’re Filipino). Mostly my Puerto Rican/African
American/Cherokee site mate is Fil-Am (Filipino-American) and I’m
Puerto Rican. My friend Shauna (blond hair blue eyes) is Japanese
because her last name is Masura, and my Japanese/American girlfriend is Filipino.
-It is widely accepted that if you go to bed with wet hair you will
wake up blind.  I have found no evidence to refute this.
-If you’re not married, you’re single.
-For the most part, it’s totally acceptable to be a gay man here…as
long as you dress like a woman.
-“Straight” men often come on to foreign men.  Confusing.
-The Tagalog word “mahal” means both love and expensive.
-I have seen as many as six people on a single motorcycle.
-Filipinos do not use toilet paper.  Instead they use a plastic dipper
called a “tabo” which they pour over the relevant areas.  Yeast
infections abound. Ahem.
-Fish, fish, fish
-The mayor of my town locked herself in her office for a month,
bathing and eating all her meals in the Municipio, when her opponent
in the last election declared himself the real mayor because of a
-Typhoons, volcanoes, and floods aren’t considered natural disasters
in a place where they happen all the time. It’s just weather.
-“Mahirap” means poor and difficult.   .  “Lungkot” means sad and
lonely .  Some of us have theorized that a language that has so few
descriptive words has created a culture with very little emphasis on
the creative arts. The most famous Filipino author wrote, Dr. Jose
Rizal, wrote in Spanish.  The majority of the music is either imported
or covered.  Even the “cultural dances” are still largely Spanish,
even though Spain only occupied the Philippines for a portion of their
-If you’re white and you have a beard, you look like American Idol
crooner David Cook (notice the absence of facial hair in recent
pictures of me).
-If you’re white and you do not have a beard, you look like Brad Pitt
(notice the absence of facial hair in recent pictures of me).
-There are many fruits (i.e. papaya) that are a vegetable before
they’re rip and a fruit once they’re ripe
-“Filipino time” and “Ethiopian time” are remarkably similar.
-One shouldn’t pack two pairs of wool pants when moving to a tropical climate.
-Burping and sneezing are happen often and are never acknowledge.
-There is one brewery responsible for almost all of the beers in the
country.  if you are at a bar in the states that has a sizable
international beer selection, I implore you to avoid San Miguel at all
-Oh how I hate the ants. The ants and the flies. The ants and the
flies. I can deal with the hand-sized spiders and the mice-sized
flying cockroaches, it’s the ants and the flies.


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