Category Archives: filipino

Being Filipino

Saturday night’s barbecue with Sol Laforteza was _the_ best evening
I’ve had in Canada so far, and I owe so very much to Dr. Oposa for
introducing me to their wonderful family.

It was amazing how quickly they took me in and made me feel welcome.
Upon hearing that I’d graduated from Ateneo, no fewer than three
Atenistas started chatting with me about our alma mater. Then there
were questions about high school, grade school (turns out a number of
them had also been associated with St. Scholastica’s College), the
diabolo I brought… And of course, the brownies were a big hit.

What really made me melt, though, was how they repeatedly referred to
the Philippines as home. Even those who had moved as far back as 1988
still had very active connections with the Philippines, still thought
of retiring (or at least skipping the Canadian winter) in the
Philippines to teach. With all of our tsk-tsk-tsking over the
political messes the country gets itself into, there was still that
underlying pride in our country.

And oh, how Filipino we were last night. From discussions of
traditional delicacies to musings on the lyrical properties of deep
Filipino, it was an evening celebrating our culture. Top it all off
with truly horrendous puns (like the name of an actual salon: Scissors
Palace), another Filipino specialty, and you’ve got a night to
remember.

I had a lot of fun teaching Gretchen how to do the diabolo, and by the
end of the night both she and Leslie could get it spinning pretty
quickly. Tito Gil made very passable and amusing attempts. He’s a
natural comic and performer, positively twinkling with energy and joy.
I’d like to be like that when I grow old! It’ll take me years to gain
the kind of ease and confidence he had, though… Amazing, really.

What a fantastic group of people! I’m really, really glad I had an
opportunity to meet them, and I hope to get to know them better over
the next couple of years.

そのコンピュータはかなり時代遅れだったので役に立たなかった。 The computer was so outdated that it was good for nothing.

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Thank God I’m a Filipino!

From Maoi Arroyo: Thank God I’m a Filipino!

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How to wear a malong

Someone came upon my webpages while looking for ways to wear a malong,
one of the traditional Filipino costumes. It’s really simple – just a
tube of cloth – but incredibly versatile. Although a number of
creative ways to use a malong are featured in a traditional dance
called (unsurprisingly) the malong-malong, I haven’t been able to find
a good Web reference that gives step-by-step instructions on how to
wear a malong. I may just build a malong site this summer, after
sewing that pretty blue/green batik cloth into a spring/summer malong.

Here are a number of ways to wear a malong as a full-length skirt. The
easiest way to wear a malong around your waist would be to flatten the
tube and wrap it around your waist, tucking it in at the end. My
malong is ankle-length when worn like that, which probably goes to
show that I’m exactly the typical Filipino’s height.

Alternatively, you can step into the tube and fold the malong inwards
until it’s the height you want. Then:

  • draw it to one side and wrap that one around tightly, tucking in
    the other end with or without pleating. To pleat, you wrap part of
    it tightly and then fold the excess back and forth with a little
    bit of overlap (like making a paper fan, except with less
    overlap), then tucking this bulky part into the tight inner part.

OR

  • stand in the middle and use your elbows to keep the front side of the malong
    close to your waist while you tie the excess ends into a knot (or a
    double knot), or

OR

  • draw it forward and backward, then use your elbows to keep the
    inside part of the malong close to your body as you fold the excess
    ends to one side and tie a knot

Or you can make something up. =)

I tend to like pleating over a tight wrap because pleating gives you
some freedom of movement. If I knot the malong, I prefer to knot it at
the side so that it has more of a shape, although middle-knotted
malongs go nicely with certain tops.

I should post pictures sometime – maybe three weeks from now, when things quiet down a bit (end of term cramming)…

I’ve also figured out how to wear it as a dress that reminds people of
India or togas. It’s interestingly cultural and gets a lot of comments
(although I’m not sure how many of those are being politically
sensitive) although it’s probably not kosher (safety pins?!). For that
one, you step into the tube and pin it under one arm, then take the
excess and drape it over the opposite shoulder, pinning it to the
front side and adding a large brooch.

I also experimented with using garters to hold up a tube dress (wrap
the tube around you, fold it in front, fold a little bit back, tuck
the excess under that fold, fold the top part in a bit to secure, then
clip on the garters like dress straps). White garters with metal
fasteners looked incongruous. Black or beaded garters with black
fasteners might do the trick.

And yes, I know, I should just post pictures so that you know what I’m
talking about, but I’m technically not supposed to be up this late
documenting part of my cultural heritage… =)

Besides, isn’t it just _so_ cool that malongs are one of the
acceptable skirt-like garments that guys can wear? ;)

More malong tips would be very much appreciated. If my blue/green
malong goes well, I’ll probably shift more of my wardrobe to malongs.
(I can’t sew a balintawak or a Maria Clara!) People can chalk it up to
my being charmingly quirky/nationalistic/exotic/weird…

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Batik and ethnic clothes

Wearing a batik malong

I love wearing ethnic clothes. Traditional outfits are hip enough to
pass off as casual but dignified enough to go formal, possible with a
little creative re-pinning. I love wearing batik-dyed or embroidered
malongs, the simple tubular skirts that can be turned into dresses and
sashes and sleeping bags depending on need. I love wearing my
butterfly-sleeved terno and wish I had one that looked less formal.
The gold-threaded cream blouse makes it too dressy, but I wear it
anyway!

Of all the costumes I wear—from hacked computer T-shirts to flowing
skirts to jeans and a tee—I like the traditional ones the most.

Thanks, Mom, for sending me two more malongs and a few black tops!
Thanks to Pavel and Emily for bringing them from the Philippines!
I want more outfits…

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More malong pics

My mom sent two more malongs through Von Totanes. Slowly building a malong collection and coming up with different ways to wear it. When I go home, I should learn the kappa kappa malong dance… ;)

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Documentary on Filipino teachers

Via School Librarian in Action (eruannie): Tals Diaz will make a documentary on Filipino teachers going to the US to work and teach. More info

I watched a documentary about the difficulties domestic helpers face
when they reunite with their families after years apart. “When
Strangers Meet” – it’s available at the Canadian Film Board.

I want to watch a documentary on techie migration, too. I’d love to
help make that happen.

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