Tag Archive: Independence


I’ve attempted several Regular Features on Heavy Mental, but without much success. Not unlike Italian forms of government since WWII. I’ve tried read-alongs. I’ve tried retrospectives.

But this one is different: this go-round, I’m making  the time for it, once a week. I’ll be scribbling some reflections and ideas engendered from Coffee Wednesdays at the Waldorf School of Atlanta. It’s Wednesday, and I’ve had my coffee. So let’s get started.

Getting mugged at WSA. You're doing it right.

After dropping the young lad at school, I stayed, joining in the fun, bread, and beverages at Coffee Wednesdays. I got my java and homemade bread fix, had some insightful convos (Thanks, Nancy!), and made a new connection for my freelance writing business. The last one was a complete surprise — either a complete coincidence or a divinely coordinated arrangement.

I’ll bank on the latter.

You're doing it wrong.

I stayed to the end of the event and helped to carry a tray of coffee mugs (no Styrofoam(TM) found here!) up to the kitchen, taking the opportunity to talk with a fellow parent. It just turns out that her relative is a contract writer for a local agency and would be glad to pass on my 411 to the relative. Sweet — that’s organic networking at its finest.

To top off a great morning, on my way to the parking lot, I found myself behind Ms. Luba’s kindergarten class as they were heading back from their morning walk.

Ah, childhood: like each day, it’s so full of promise.

Filipino Flag

Happy Philippine Independence day, everybody!   Didn’t know it was today?  Didn’t know it was?  Most Americans won’t recognize it…not unlike the United States’ position on the occasion back on June 12, 1898.

I celebrate because I’m Filipino by marriage; our son, by heritage.  And I want our son to know his peeps.   Of 50-50 US to Philippine parentage, our 4-year-old halo-halo or

Oy, pare...that has *got* to be good for you.

Oy, pare...that has *got* to be good for you.

“mix-mix,” a tasty Pinoy drink, is learning Tagalog from his mom and has probably well surpassed his father’s ability. So much for my goal of fluency at our first wedding anniversary…

While I still run rings around him in Japanese, German, and Spanish, he’s gaining some serious momentum.  I’m certain he’ll give me a polyglotic run for my money some day, particularly when I consider that he gained his current ability before he officially dismissed pull-up diapers from his night-time wardrobe…

The islands have a fascinating history.  A Spanish colony for about 500 years, it was occupied until recently by the USA for 50-some years.   It’s an appropriate quip that “the Philippine islands spent 500 years in a convent and 50 years in Hollywood.”  That’s enough to mess with anybody’s notion of self.

It’s kinda sad how true that is.   I explored the above quote and the idea of Filipino national identity in a research paper in 2006.   From what I’ve gleaned, the identity is questionable, yet tangible.   There’s pride in being Pinoy, but finding facets of the culture that are distinctly their own and not engendered by the States or Spain is tough.

I mean, the country is named after King Phillip of Spain, under whose reign his explorers “discovered” the island.   Methinks it was there and doing just dandy before being discovered.  But hey, half a millennium later, I get a fantastic wife. Thanks, Phil!

Pride in being of Pinoy heritage has found renewed interest in unexpected

The Black Eyed Peas.  (Far left) Apl.  (Far right) Silly pose.

The Black Eyed Peas. (Far left) Apl. (Far right) Silly pose.

places.   Take the hip-hop music of The Black Eyed Peas (BEP)—Apl, a founding member of the group and halo-halo himself—often refers to his heritage and sings in Tagalog!

  • Check out a slow, biographical tune: “The Apl Song
  • Or something upbeat: “Bebot” I use this as my wake-up call…and then promptly go back to sleep: <alarm goes off> “Zzz…huh? Wha? 5:45 already? <Tagalog lyrics kick in> “Hey, Apl…cool. Represent the homeland, my bruthah! Represszzzzzzzz…

Being a writer, I was pleased to know that there are many, many celebrated Filipino writers, too.   One in particular, Carlos Bulosan, was even Freedom from Wantcommissioned by FDR to write an essay.  The piece, entitled “Freedom from Want,” you might not recognize.   But you’ll have no problem recognizing the corresponding Norman Rockwell painting of the same name.   Both works appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on March 6, 1943.

After getting engaged some years ago, I discovered that my great-uncle Jake courted a Filipina lady during his time in the service.   As he passed away while stationed abroad, the familial connection to the ‘ppines had to wait a few generations.

Know your history, peeps.   You might just have a stronger connection to those 7,000 islands* in the Western Pacific than you think: http://tinyurl.com/PinoyIndependence.

* And 7,000 is at high tide.

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