You get all the jokes about traits that make one a Filipino.
There was the story of a Filipina nurse who had just found work in the United States. She (and her relatives) were so happy of this news. She had 20 or so relatives who depended on her for either dole outs or some financial assistance. She traveled with her mother to America on what would be the last hurrah of her savings. But even before she could start settling down, her mother had passed away. Because it would be too expensive for her to travel back with her mother for the wake and burial, she had sent her mom in a wooden coffin back to the Philippines.
When the coffin arrives in Manila, and the relatives open it, they are aghast at what they see. The old woman has her face plastered against the glass of the coffin. There was an accompanying letter that read:
DEAR KUYA TONIO, ATE LETY, KUYA JERRY, ATE GRACE, LOLO, LOLA, JUNJUN, JEKJEK, MAIMAI, ANNANN, RICRIC, LETLET, KATKAT, TOTI, TITA RINA, TITO BOY, AT SA MGA PINSAN KO NA DI KO NAKIKITA PERO NAGHATID SA AMIN NI NANAY PAPUNTA SA AMERICA. PASENSIYA NA KAYO AT DI NA AKO SUMAMA KAY NANAY PAUWI. MASAKIT MAN SA AKIN, SIYA NA LANG ANG PINAUWI KO. ALAM NIYO NAMAN NA MAHIRAP ANG BUHAY NGAYON AT KAKASIMULA KO PA LAMANG.
PAGBUKAS NINYO NG KABAONG PAKIKUHA ANG 50 LATA NG SPAM SA MAY ILALIM NG UNAN NIYA. MEDYO MUKHANG TUMABA SI NANAY, PAKI HUBAD NA LAMANG ANG MGA DAMIT NIYA. YUNG MGA 6 NA JERSEY NG NBA AY PARA SA MGA PAMANGKIN KO. LARGE AT EXTRA LARGE SILA. HUBARIN MO NA RIN ANG 5 BRA NA SUOT NI NANAY AT PARA KINA ATE AT LOLA YUN. YUNG 4 NA MEDYAS NA SUOT NI INANG, PARA KAY LOLO NAMAN. MAY PANTIES AKO PARA SA MGA PINSAN. SUOT DIN NI NANAY, PAKITANGGAL NA LANG. MAKIKITA NINYO NA NAKA NIKE SIZE 15 SA PAA NI NANAY - PARA SA IYO YAN KUYA TONIO. YUNG 8 RELO SA KALIWANG KAMAY NI NANAY AY PARA KINA ATE AT BABAE KONG PAMANGKIN, TITA AT LOLA. YUNG 8 RELO SA KANANG KAMAY NI NANAY AY PARA KINA KUYA AT LALAKE KONG PAMANGKIN, TITO AT LOLO. SA MAY PUWETAN NI NANAY AY MERON MGA COMFORTERS PARA SA INYO. SA ILALIM NG KABAONG NIYA AY MAKIKITA NINYO ANG MGA SHAMPOO, CONDITIONER, KIRKLAND VITAMINS AT FISH OIL, PEANUT BUTTER, IBA'T IBANG CHOCOLATES, POTATO CHIPS AT DE LATA. MERON DIN DIYAN YUNG MGA BAG AT T-SHIRT NA GAP NA BINILI KO SA OUTLET. BAHALA NA KAYO MAMAHAGI SA MGA KAMAG ANAK AT KAPIT BAHAY NATIN. OO NGA PALA, YUNG KUWINTAS NA SUOT NI NANAY AY PARA KAY ATE LETY, YUNG MGA HIKAW AY PARA SA MGA PAMANGKIN KO. PINADAGDAG KO NA LAMANG SA NAG EMBALSA KAY NANAY NG 5 BUTAS PA SA MAGKABILANG TENGA PARA MAGKASYA YANG MGA HIKAW NA FANCY. ANG PINAKAHULI AY SA MAY PUWET NI NANAY MERON KAYONG MAKIKITANG IBA'T IBANG URI NG PABANGO. ANG MGA JOVAN MUSK AY PARA SA MGA LALAKE. ANG CACHAREL AY PARA SA MGA BABAE.
SIGE. MAHABA NA ITONG SULAT KO. AT NAPAGOD NA RIN AKO SA PAGIYAK AT PAGAYOS NG BANGKAY NI NANAY PAUWI DIYAN. PAGPASENSIYAHAN NA NINYO ANG MUNTI KONG PASALUBONG
P.S. PAGHUBAD NINYO KAY NANAY, PAKI AYOS LANG NG ITSURA NIYA BAGO ILIBING.
Where does the story lead?
It's supposed to be the story of every Juan in us. I'm not sure if it depicts how spendthrift the Pinoy is or how misplaced our sense of spending is. On our vacation in London, I was telling my partner that I was observing the Filipinos wherever we went. There weren't many Pinoys in the galleries or the museums (come to think of it there were none during the days we were there). There was a Pinoy couple who went to one of the plays (The Elephant Man) on the night we were there. However, when we went to the Harry Potter Studio tour, we spotted several Pinoys in the crowd. When we had lunch, there was a family of Pinoys who sat next to us. The father opened his bag and voila - handmade sandwiches, fresh strawberries, bottles of water and soda, chicken wings and sausages!! I had this smile to my face. And they definitely had a more delicious lunch compared to the paltry tasting overpriced theme park food. They knew how to conserve their cash because they definitely were not poor. Mom was carrying an LV bag and the other children were lugging bags of various designers. And the boys were in spanking new Adidas sneakers. So you've got to give it to how thrifty the Pinoy can be. You will not see them dining in fancy restaurants or having breakfast in the hotels (unless it's free). They're having a happy meal at the next McDonalds. You won't see them having afternoon tea at Laduree. They're at the next Starbucks sharing a grande with the family.
It's the journey that tell our stories...