DECEMBER 3, 2022 OPEN FORUM Tax CuTs Would Be The Ideal holIday GIfT ThIs year CANDID PERSPECTIVES Thankful for My Pre-holIday ColonosCoPy FILM REVIEW kaTIPs: anG MGa BaGonG kaTIPunero AS I SEE IT PInoy surGeon CoIns “TransfusIon free MedICIne” for Bloodless surGery
When you look at the top four countries that receive remittances (money sent home by their citizens working abroad in a foreign country or by expats to their ancestral home) – India, Mexico, China, Phil ippines – we see a pattern of countries with histor ically massive migration. All these countries have histories of diaspora, their people are found in many parts of the globe and have settled and built communities in their adopted homelands.
Migration in these foreign communities has always been initi ated by opportunities for work and income. And therefore, it’s no coincidence that all four of these countries have a huge presence in the U.S. (communities built over generations) and have the highest rates of immigration into the U.S. until today.
There aren’t a lot of studies done that explore the reasons why migrants send remittances back to their home or ancestral country.
Interestingly, as the international communities are currently watching the 2002 World Cup held in Qatar, it is in Qatar where one study was done exploring this concept of migrants’ motivation behind remittances. India (the number one country in receiving re mittances) has a large presence of foreign workers in Qatar.
Researchers have concluded two major motives driving remit tances among these workers: 1) altruism, and 2) self-interest. As mi grants’ income increased, in both study groups (one mostly driven by altruism and the other mostly driven by self-interest) remittances also increased. But in time, it was the self-interest group that continued to send remittances while the altruism-driven group’s remittances de clined. Workers in the self-interest group were identified as those with loan obligations such as a property or house back in India.
Workers in this study were all married males, received only sec ondary education (no college level), and had working contracts for only a few years.
Hawaii sakadas and remittances
We can look to our own Filipino community in Hawaii, the very first wave of migrants (sakadas, 1906-1946) who worked in the sugar plantations. There are similarities in that sakadas were contract workers (for three years), saw their time in Hawaii as temporary, and therefore sent their money earned back to the Philippines to either help their fam ilies (altruism) or to buy land or property (self-interest) or both.
The difference from the workers in the study above is that saka das were mostly all single males. Since such a study wasn’t done on sakadas, we can only speculate that both altruism and self-interest were motivating factors for sending remittances (of course this term wasn’t used then). Furthermore, it’s inconclusive which of the two had a stronger influence.
Today’s remittances practices
It is in this tradition that Hawaii Filipinos first started to send Christmas remittances back to relatives in the Philippines. Through generations and multiple flows of Filipino immigration to Hawaii until today, Filipinos have been sending remittances back to rela tives in our ancestral country.
Those who are more recent immigrants and have strong ties with immediate family – parents, spouse, children -- send remittanc es much more frequently. Some within this group plan (or entertain the idea) to return or retire in the Philippines.
Those who are second-third generation Filipinos with less fam ily ties (relatives) there, and have their primary family members in Hawaii, tend to send remittances less frequently. Some within this group no longer carry on this tradition after their parents pass on, while others – at least during the holiday season – perpetuate this tradition in memory of their deceased parents.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Whether we’re ready for it or not, the Christmas season is here. It’s the happiest time of the year for many as we cele brate the birth of Jesus Christ and enjoy gatherings with family and friends. For our Filipino community, we have a few unique holiday traditions such as sending money or remittances to our loved ones in the Philippines.
For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quina bo reports that despite the global recession, Philippine economists project a 4% growth, anchored by the steady remittances of over seas Filipino workers (OFW). Given the austere economic situation with prices for basic goods at unseen levels in Hawaii, it’s under standable that some in our community are saying their holiday re mittance will be reduced. So, to get the most from the remittances you send this year, it’s even more imperative to do your research and shop around for the best company to handle your remittance transaction. Fees vary from free to nominal. The remittance indus try is very competitive and there are services of all kinds to best match what your (and the person you are sending the remittance to) needs are. To help guide you, there is a section in the cover story ex plaining most of the popular ways people are sending their money – from very cutting-edge tech to old school. We hope this will help.
Speaking of inflation, HFC columnist Seneca Moraleda-Pu guan contemplates in her article “Thanking Outside the Bucks” how fear and worry can take over in rough economic times.
Also, in this issue we have a film review by HFC contributor Rose Cruz Churma on KATIPS—Ang Mga Bagong Katipunero. The film earned 17 nominations at the 70th Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards and took home seven trophies, including top prizes for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Tañada. The Hawai’i Filipinos for Truth Justice and Democracy (HFTJD) hosted the movie’s Hawai’i premiere last No vember 20, in line with its stance against historical revisionism and untruth in social media. Churma includes the perspective of four high school students who watched the film with her. It’s wonderful for leaders in our community to spark interest in our youth on Fili pino history and film.
Keeping with culture, HFC contributor Renelaine Bontol Pfis ter submits a book review on Marikit And The Ocean Of Stars. Tagalog words are used throughout the book, with a glossary to guide non-Tagalog speakers. Author Caris Avendaño Cruz said, “I hope Marikit sparks the readers’ interest in learning more about us Filipinos, our culture, and our beautiful folklore.”
In a rare but interesting topic, HFC contributor Sheryll Bonilla, Esq, shares tips in her article “Parenting Shorts: Corrective Teach ing.” She learned these tips from one of her parenting meetings held while her kids were in elementary school. Other articles by our HFC columnists in this issue: Emil Guillermo’s “Thankful for My Pre-Holiday Colonoscopy, Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon’s “Stupidity, The Biggest Cause of Immigration Fiascos, But Its Effects Are Cur able By Excellent Lawyer,” Elpidio R. Estioko’s “Pinoy Surgeon Coins Transfusion Free Medicine For Bloodless Surgery.”
We hope you enjoy this issue. Thank you for your support. May you all have a blessed, joyful, and safe Christmas season. Until next issue, Aloha and Mabuhay!
Inflation potential impact on remittances
With the current high cost of basic goods and services hitting re cord-high prices, some Filipinos say they will cut back on the amount of money they would normally send for Christmas. Others simply cannot afford to do it this year. This is the likely the trend for Hawaii Filipinos where many are stretched thin financially in a state that is among the top in the nation with the highest cost of living but falls in the bottom half of states in wages and salary, Hawaii ranks number 37 out of 50 states for salaries according to ZipRecruiter. As of Nov 22, this year, the average annual salary in Hawaii is $52,126, that works out to be approximately $25.06 an hour. While this year’s Christmas remittance could experience a dip
Publisher & Executive Editor
Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.
Publisher & Managing Editor
Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo
Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.
Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad
Editorial & Production Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga
Carlota Hufana Ader
Elpidio R. Estioko
Melissa Martin, Ph.D.
Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias
Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D.
Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
Edna Bautista, Ed.D.
Teresita Bernales, Ed.D.
Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.
Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D. Linda Dela Cruz
Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand Amelia Jacang, M.D.
Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D. Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Matthew Mettias
Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D.
Mark Lester Ranchez
Jay Valdez, Psy.D.
Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia
Neighbor Island Correspondents:
Big Island (Hilo and Kona)
Grace LarsonDitas Udani
Millicent Wellington Maui
Big Island Distributors
Grace LarsonDitas Udani
Cecille PirosRey Piros
Shalimar / Jonathan Pagulayan
Advertising / Marketing Director
Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Carlota Hufana Ader
2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
Remittance Tradition, If Possible
We Hope Our Community
on Our Christmas
(continue on page 3)
From Ige to Green, What that Transition Could Look Like
Lt. Gov. Josh Green will be sworn in next month as the state of Hawaii’s ninth gov ernor. Already Green has a few advantages going for him.
favorable areas that could give Green a running start
First, Green has the momen tum of being popularly elected having had two-thirds of votes in the General and a convincing win in the Primary that many Democrats didn’t even entertain entering due to Green’s high favorability in early polls. The two-thirds vote wasn’t just a vote for Green, but perhaps more im portantly, it represents a mandate from Hawaii’s electorate that “green” lights (pun intended) Josh’s campaign platform, and that the electorate is hungry for results on these promises made.
Also going for Green is the perfect Lt. Governor to comple ment his administration. Both are progressives and have very similar goals. While Green is articulate, energetic, confident (great for leadership), he’s not known as the most effective leg islator – which is where Lt. Gov.elect Sylvia Luke (legislating is her forte) can come in to be that bridge for the administration and Legislature, in a role like a Ma jority Whip serves, to get par ty-members to vote with party leaders.
The other built-in advantage for Gov-elect Green (at least in the first two years) is the robust state budget (and state’s highest
in Hawaii, Philippine economists are projecting that the global re cession will not have a severe impact in the year’s total remit tance, and in the end most like ly will settle at a 4% growth or about $33 billion.
Their estimates are based on the quarterly reports (up to Sep tember) this year that show re mittances are on track to slight ly improve from last year – with the last quarter that will include Christmas remittances to surge by nearly $10 billion.
OFWs, the real force behind the country’s enormous remittances
How is this possible in a global inflation? Besides the ap proximate 10 million Filipinos
credit rating) that Gov. David Ige left. Green stands to inherit an unprecedented “rainy day fund” budget surplus of nearly $1 bil lion which sum is due to Ige’s conservative spending and help from the federal government’s COVID-19 spending bills to states.
While some applaud Ige’s “right-size” state government spending, there are others who feel Ige could have been aggressive in some areas of government like providing more affordable housing and curbing homelessness with that surplus money.
In fairness to Ige, he has made improvements to both. His administration built more than 9,400 affordable housing units and there was a reduction in homelessness by 53%.
Still, the fact that affordable housing was among the top, if not the most important issue in the last election that propelled Green to victory (he emphasized afford able housing as a top priority) –this suggests a vast majority of Hawaii residents believe afford able housing wasn’t sufficiently prioritized during Ige’s adminis tration.
While a sizable state surplus could give Green a running start, looming is a potential recession that some economists are predict ing, which could dampen the start of whatever major projects Green has in mind.
There is also the matter of COVID-19 bail out money that were used to keep many state-government services run ning is about to dry up with no plans of massive federal assis
living outside of the Philippines (expats, immigrants, citizens of other countries) that send re mittances, the Philippines has a massive OFW workforce that is responsible for the vast majority of the country’s total remittances.
It’s argued that the Philip pines largest export is its peo ple. From Filipino physicians to professionals of all types, to Filipino electricians and skilled workers of all types, to their countries unskilled labor like maids – many of them are con tracted to work outside of the Philippines in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Middle East. The OFW work culture is so prom inent in the Philippines that the government has grown to be dependent on OFW remittanc
tance to states. Remember that Republicans voted against the last COVID-19 bill and their control of the next House signals less or frozen federal support to states across the board.
Ige’s highs and lows
Gov. Ige will most likely be remembered as the gover nor who led our state during the critical stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. While he will always have his fair share of critics in his handling of the pandemic, some saying that he reacted too slowly, tanked the state’s economy -- a vast majority of Hawaii residents are pleased with Ige’s pandemic response.
Looking to statistics is ev idence of success with Hawaii having had among the lowest COVID-19 fatalities and infec tions during the viruses’ deadliest period. And Ige’s tough contain ment measures -- like mandatory quarantines and temporarily shut ting down tourism and business operations that drew ire and crit icism from many in the business sectors – turn out to be the right choice.
Today as Hawaii’s employ ment has rebounded (as well as businesses, those that survived), and the fact the federal govern ment stabilized the state’s bud get (without having to raise state taxes which was under consid eration) and businesses – in ret rospect Ige’s emphasis on sav ing lives as top priority through tough mandates was certainly the right move.
Ige weathered harsh criti cism and stayed steady in his re
es that accounts for about 9% of the national GDP.
If OFWs are employed abroad, it’s most likely they are sending the same amount of money because their number one priority is to feed their families and take care of the bills back home. They have fixed costs, obligations to pay for. This, per haps, is why even in an infla tionary year that’s off the charts, the country’s remittance is still robust, and potentially will out perform the previous year’s total.
The first week of December typically begins the Christmas remittance season. If possible, we encourage our community to share our Christmas gift-giv ing with our family and friends in the Philippines.
solve to protect Hawaii – some thing a great many leaders would not have been able to do.
The outgoing governor also showed strong leadership in forcing the Navy to immediate ly suspend operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility amid a water contamination cri sis that raised fears of wider con tamination.
Low points of the Ige admin istration (arguably besides not do ing enough in affordable housing) was the false alert of an incoming missile attack by North Korea in which Ige was too late to address and his handling of the Mauna Kea controversy that critics say Ige was not culturally sensitive enough to Native Hawaiians and put the state in an awkward position of being combative towards its own people.
Both low points arguably could have been handled differ ently if Ige was a better commu nicator that some say was Ige’s weakness.
Different leadership, areas of continuity
Already we see Gov.-elect Green is a better communicator than Ige. Green also leans left politically from Ige who was a fiscal conservative. This could mean a more active role for the state in progressive issues such as improving affordable housing, having better access to healthcare (already much better than most of the states), spending more in resources to help those in pov
erty, the chronically hungry and homeless, implementing greater protections of Hawaii’s natural beauty and possibly capitalizing on resources we have for a green economy to complement the state’s tourism (new tourism, em phasizing quality and right-sized tourism).
All of these were supported by Ige (so it could be considered continuity), but we’re talking about increased emphasis on them and possibly larger allot ment of resources to these areas under Green. Where we will also see continuity is women having health care options that includes the right to an abortion, and other areas that champion civil, work ers and immigrant rights.
Where our Filipino commu nity would like to see a continui ty is the appointment of qualified Filipino Americans to top state department posts and adminis trative positions (Ige did well in this area). We are a firm believer that representation matters; and that our leaders should look like the population that they serve.
It’s also imperative that Ha waii works on our physician shortage problem that is already critical in some of our commu nities. Green, a physician, knows very well the dire situation.
Mahalo to outgoing Gov. David Ige. We hope the best for Gov.-elect Josh Green and look forward to working with him in his outreach to Hawaii’s Filipino community.
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 3
(We Hope....from page 2)
Filipinos Undeterred by High Inflation, Christmas Remittance Tradition
Expected to Surge, Economists Say
By Edwin Quinabo
During the global COVID-19 pan demic’s most critical year, the 2020 total remittances (money sent from abroad) to the Philippines suffered the largest drop in a decade by 8.2% finishing at $29.9 billion. In a quick rebound despite the ongoing pandemic, 2021 total remittances to the Philippines rose 5.1% to close at $31.4 billion, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
How is 2002 faring so far amid the latest global crisis of high inflation?
In the first few months this year infla tion has slowed down remittances, but have picked up momentum in the third quarter, particularly for the month of September. BSP’s 2002 latest quarter reporting shows during the nine-month period of 2022, cash remittances rose by 3.1% to 23.3 billion from $23.12 billion in the same period last year. BSP projects that the global recession will not dampen holiday remittances and the year total should finish with a 4% growth (down from the central bank’s original pro jection of 6% growth), or about $10 billion in remittances for the last quarter.
The last quarter historically is the most robust for remittances. Why? Not only do OFWs send more money back home during this period for the holidays (majority of to tal remittances are from OFWs), but Fili pinos from around the world contribute to
Inflation and Christmas tiding remittances
A WorldRemit’s 2022 Cost of Christmas study – which measures a country’s econom ic environment and the cost of standard Christmas expenses –project the U.S. will spend 44% more for Christmas this year compared to last. The study es timates the average Christmas spending for Americans will be $1,235.54, or 27.82% of the monthly household income.
Americans have already been expressing sticker shock at the price of Thanksgiving that some say cost them sig nificantly more this year. Some Americans said they’ve resort ed to buying less and buying a smaller turkey.
the year-end surge.
China Bank chief economist Domini Velasquez said remittances are expected to rise further ahead this Christmas season because “Filipinos will likely celebrate with looser restrictions this year compared to the last.”
Filipino expats (non-OFWs) living permanently abroad
As of 2020, it’s estimated that there are around 10 million expatriates residing in dif ferent countries. That’s a massive Filipino diaspora and another major source of remit tances besides OFWs.
Citizens or dual citizens living in the U.S., Canada, Europe or other Asian countries tend to maintain ties with the family they left behind. Expats say sending cash remittance during Christmas is one of the ways they keep family bonds tight.
Where there could be a dip in remittances
Economists say OFWs are expected to hold steady and finish at par with previous holiday remittances. Where there could be a drop, if any, is Christmas tidings from nonOFW’s living permanently abroad. But in dustry experts say the overall contribution from this sector could balance out if those who can afford to, will be making larger re mittances.
With far more spending el ements for Christmas (beyond one meal as Thanksgiving) for gifts, décor, multiple dinners and events through December -- inflation is expected to take a heavy toll on Americans’ pock etbooks.
The U.S. is the largest source of remittances to the Philippines (mostly from OFWs).
Many parts of Europe are experiencing higher rates of inflation than the U.S. due to a spike in gas prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Filipino OFWs and European Filipinos (immigrants and cit izens) could find it more diffi cult this year to maintain their current amount of pasko remit tances.
Hawaii residents saying Christmas remittances most likely will change
Mary Ann Cabiles Galo lo, teacher’s assistant, Maryk noll School, Honolulu, sends remittances to her mom reg ularly. But due to the current inflation crisis, she hasn’t sent remittances to her mom in the last three months. She says she cannot guarantee that she will be able to send her mom this year the usual amount for Christmas, $200.00.
It’s been rough financial ly for Galolo, who admits that this past Thanksgiving was the first time that they did not have a Turkey. On top of that, not being able to send money comes at a time when her mom
Start of Christmas season, start of remittances
Filipino-Americans typically start sending their Christmas remittances in the first week of December and continue all the way up to Christmas day, industry experts say.
OFWs already begun sending additional holiday remittances since September because the Philippines celebrates Christmas begin ning in the “ber” months, making this coun try’s celebration the longest Christmas in the world. People begin putting up Christmas decorations in September, October, November.
Prices for goods in the Philippines also tend to rise during this time which is why OFWs start sending additional money back home beginning in September. BSP reports dollar remittances climbed to a two-month high in September to $3.15 billion.
happens to be sick and needs her diabetic medications.
Galolo said since arriv ing to the U.S., she has never missed sending money to her mom until this year. This tradi tion of Christmas remittances for her family started before her emigrating to the U.S. She said her grandparents who came to Hawaii as sakadas, even with their meager wages, during the 1920s, sent money back home to the Philippines.
Galolo mentions several methods of remittances like Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) specifically West ern Union, door-to-door de livery, and bank transfers. “I use Moneygram because I’ve found it to be the cheapest one.
I prefer to use them, or which ever company happens to have a sale or discount promos,” Ga lolo said.
John Leon Anderson, Sheet Metal Apprentice, Local 293, said he sends his mom $200 for Christmas to be split between her and a local orphanage. “This year will be slim, cut in half,” he said.
“This tradition of giving goes hand-and-hand with our principle of paying our church tithing. It is customary to give back a little of 10% of our wages. In doing so, it is a great way to help me manage my finances and makes me more accountable.
“I am often reminded of my
4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
(continue on page 5)
(Filipinos Undeterred...from page 4)
late Papa Mahal. He said, ‘the more gifts we share, the more blessings we will be showered from our Father in heaven.”
His mother also encouraged her children to give to the less privileged, to support school children and orphanages.
John goes through Metro Bank for his remittances.
Will probably send the same amount of money
Grace Martin, retired clerk, a second generation Fil ipino-American whose parents hail from Ilocos Sur, has been sending Pasko remittance for most of her adult life (she is now 59).
Her parents taught her the significance of giving back. Her parents would send mon ey back to family in the Phil ippines all-year round, to their grandparents, and for emer gency situations, she said. But Christmas time was special and relatives in the Philippines were always both excited and thankful for the monetary re galos, Martin said.
Both of Grace’s parents have passed on many years ago. The only relatives left in the Philippines are a few cous ins. But still, to keep this tradi tion alive, to show her love for her relatives, and to honor the memory of and the values her parents have taught her, Martin said it’s [sending Christmas re mittances] something she will do for the rest of her life.
“Many of us in Hawaii are upset about the cost of every day goods and essentials. It’s getting harder for families to make ends meet. This will be the first Christmas with re cord-breaking inflation, but my family will continue to send the same amount to our relatives in the Philippines.
“I’m not sure if the Philip pines is having high inflation as we’re experiencing in the U.S., whatever is the case, our relatives will be happy for the regalo,” Martin said.
She said her siblings also continue this tradition. “We usually give the same amount, something we agree on ahead of time. Like what our parents did in their generation among my uncles and aunties, one person (me as the eldest sib ling) will collect the donations
so there is just one transaction fee.
“Of course, today there are so many ways to remit money and the fees for some types are not much. But to keep things simple or it’s just the custom we are used to, we still do it this way. It’s something we can still do as a family. I choose the cash pick-up method because it’s easy and we don’t need to be sending money into people’s accounts –like some of the modern ways available – because our remit tance is just once a year, during Christmas.”
She said they used to do door-to-door delivery remit tance.
Martin comments how sending remittance regalos is practically a part of Filipino culture.
Martin’s brother, Leonard Guzman, federal worker, Pearl City, has been to the Philippines twice: once as a teenager his sophomore year in high school, and another time in his mid30s to accompany his mom as a travel partner because his dad had passed on and his mom didn’t like traveling alone.
He recalls meeting all his uncles and aunties and cousins the first time he went. “It was like, they’re family, instant connection. Because my par ents raised us to be close to our family in Hawaii, just meeting my relatives in the Philippines that first time, it made sense that they were just as close to me as an uncle, aunty or cousin I’ve seen and grew up with in Hawaii.
“From that one time of meeting my family in the Philippines as a teenager, it was enough to keep that con nection with them up until the second time I visited as a mid dle-aged adult, and until now. On rare occasions in between I would have a telephone call with a cousin or receive a card. But I remember it was that first visit that established a bond. It’s that bond that keeps me sending Christmas remittanc es. Also, because I know this is what my parents would want,” Leonard said.
On the receiving end
Jeremiah Calayan, 24 years old, Pateros, Philippines usually gets around $150 from
family outside of the Philip pines that he says he uses for things like shoes or school supplies.
“I think it’s [sending re mittances] my abroad family’s way of giving me something for Christmas since they can’t be here personally. Also, since they can’t be here, they have no idea what my “new” likes are so to avoid any waste they just send the money so I can get the things I want.
“We all have PayPay ac counts. So, my family abroad just transfers money into my PayPal account, then I transfer it to my personal bank account. It’s easy,” said Calayan.
Methods of sending remittances
As a multi-billions dollar industry, it’s expected that new, innovative and convenient methods to sending remittanc es are made available as com petition for market share is red hot. There are choices for everyone sending remittances, depending on comfort-level, level of ease (and tech-pro ficiency) for both the send er and receiver, something for the frequent remit tance sender like for OFWs, or the best suited way for the casual seasonal sender.
Sending re mittance can be as fast and easy as downloading a app and trans mitting money by your phone or going to a bank or remittance company and ei ther wiring mon ey or arranging for a cash pickup. There is still the traditional doorto-door deliv ery system that old-timers prefer.
New and fa miliar ways of sending remit tances
Here are some of the ways people are choosing to re
until the second time I visited as a mid dle-aged adult, and until now. On rare occa sions in between I would have a telephone call with a cousin or receive a card. But I remember it was that first visit that established a bond. It’s that bond that keeps me sending Christmas remittances. Also, because I know
mit money to the Philippines. The first three are the newest, cutting-edge methods of remit tances, the four following them are more traditional methods. (The following is a guide and for informational purposes only. Sender is responsible to do their own research.)
1) DIGITAL WALLET REMITTANCE: Many te chies prefer sending mon ey digitally. People utiliz ing this new method, don’t use the word “remittance” which they’d consider as “old
school.” There are many com panies offering different digi tal wallets. The oldest involves simply transferring funds from your account to someone else’s account as PayPal.
Digital wallets are smart phone apps that store your payment information and se curely transfers money to pay for goods and services or to send to someone digitally like in the Philippines.
This is called Peer-to-Peer Transfers. Instead of going to
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 5
“From that one time of meeting my Filipino family in the Philippines as a teenager, it was enough to keep that connection with them up
this is what my parents would want.”
Leonard Guzman Pearl City, 2nd Generation Filipino American who practices the tradition of Christmas remittances
the bank to do a money trans fer, people can do digital wal let transfers using their phones.
How it works? Basical ly, opening a digital wallet (for example PayPal), you are drawing money from your bank account or credit card to go to your digital wallet. The receiver must also have a dig ital wallet, in this example, with PayPal (there are other companies, Venmo is another popular company) to receive the money you sent.
Some cash app com panies do not require that a sender have a bank ac count at a bank with a phys ical branch. Instead, you can place your funds in an on line-only bank—which gives unbanked and underbanked communities opportunities to access money they otherwise couldn’t. Digital wallet helps to enable broader financial in clusion.
This system is convenient for the receiver in the Philip pines who might not have a traditional bank account to draw from. Many in the Phil ippines do not have bank ac counts. In 2021, a study found only 51% of Filipinos have bank accounts.
The biggest advantage of receiving remittances from abroad using a digital wallet is the convenience of not having to go to a bank or remittance center which could be quite a distance away. Transfers us
ing this method are near-in stantaneous.
Popular mobile wallet companies in the Philippines are GCash, Coins.ph and Pay Maya.
Julie Abalos, GCash Inter national Remittance head, said GCash is the largest digital wallet in the Philippines with 83% of the adult population currently using the service.
Fees vary (could be free or fee assessed) depending on type of transaction.
Digital wallets have grown exponentially during the pan demic when in-person banking was disrupted.
2) CRYPTO WALLETS: Crypto wallets exist to convert fiat currencies to cryptocurren cies, hold money in them, and transfer it to others. Like per son-to-person digital wallet, the receiver of the remittance must have a crypto wallet. Transmission is also done by a phone app.
According to Kenneth Stern, Binance’s GM (compa ny that buys, sells and trades cryptocurrencies), users can save up to 8% in fees when sending funds using crypto currency compared to tradi tional money transfer methods (MTOs).
This, in turn, would bene fit sone of the most vulnerable populations and countries in the world, who today bear un fair and inefficient deadweight costs for transferring small
amounts of money across bor ders, he said.
Fees vary (could be free or fee assessed) depending on type of transaction.
3) MONEY REMIT TANCE TO A CREDIT CARD: Visa offers remittanc es to the Philippines through Visa by accessing the service through Netbanking, mobile or ATM. How it works? Enter the recipients Visa card number and amount to send. The mon ey will be received into the recipients Visa credit, debit or prepay card. Remittance is re ceived in 30 minutes. It’s rec ommended that senders check with Visa and their remittance policies for details.
4) REMITTANCE US ING MONEY TRANSFER OPERATORS (MTOS):
MTOs are non-bank financial institutions that send funds cross-border, either within their own system or via part nership with a network of banks. This is a popular way of sending remittances and there are many companies to choose from. An advantage of using MTOs is their reliability hav ing been the remittance indus try’s standard for decades. For example, XE Money Transfer has been sending remittances to the Philippines for over 25 years.
Some MTOs, like Western Union, are so large that they’re able to afford offering expand ed services and give clients more options.
MTOs offer competitive exchange rates and have low to often no fees which means a higher payout for your money being transferred.
Some MTOs like Panda Remit is fully online and can be sent using a mobile app like digital wallet companies.
Some MTOs have been keeping up with cutting edge transfer tech and offer versatil ity like remitting to your recip ient’s bank account, debit card transfers and mobile wallet credit.
Some MTOs like WorldRemit will offer the first three money transfers for free.
To compare what MTOs are offering, there is an online money transfer comparison engine RemitFinder. It also checks and compares the latest
remit exchange rates.
5) CASH PICK-UP: One of the most popular ways to send remittances is through cash pick-up. As the name suggests, recipients can pick up cash remittances at a loca tion in the Philippines. This method is so popular that there are many cash pick-locations all over the Philippines. Mon ey transfers sent for cash pickup generally finish instantly, and the recipient can pick up the money within minutes. The caveat is because recipi ents are picking up cash, it’s recommended that they pick up their cash remittance in the day.
6) REMITTANCE BY BANK TRANSFER: This system is known to be the most secure as banks have in place a robust system to pro tect against fraud and theft. It is ideal for sending large amounts of money.
7) DOOR-TO-DOOR DELIVERY: While this is one of the oldest methods of sending remittance, it remains popular for its security and convenience for the recipi ent because remittance funds come to your door. For seniors, this is the preferred method to receive remittance because of its convenience, and because they tend not to be tech savvy or comfortable using some of the new digital methods.
It’s said that competition in an industry improves price and options. This happens to be true in the remittance indus try, particularly in countries like the Philippines where it is so common. The Philippines is fourth in the world for remit tances received.
Anything where money is involved, it’s always encour aged that senders do their own research and find the company that best matches their own and their recipients’ needs.
Remittances: mixed bag
Can too much of a good thing be bad? Money remit tances make up 9% of the country’s entire GDP. Foreign remittances have stimulated the country’s overall monetary development, helping to de cline poverty in the Philippines
from 23.3% to 16.6% during 2015 – 2018, economists say.
While remittances have done wonders for the national economy, it comes at a great cost. Critics say remittances increases the Filipino diaspo ra, adds to the country’s brain drain as some of their bright est seek employment or when possible permanent residency abroad, destroys family cohe sion as one (sometimes even two) parent works abroad to support the family.
But much of the case against the Philippines’ nega tive dependence on remittances is specific to OFWs whose ab sence away from home could potentially be problematic for some OFW households.
Holiday remittances from Filipinos abroad (non-OFWs)
The holiday remittances from expats and first, second generation Filipino citizens of other countries, their re mittances are simply season al gifts, relatives who receive them say.
It’s usually substantial enough to win-over a smile, make recipients enjoy their holiday feeling loved and re membered from those abroad. This monetary gift would be enough to buy a few basic items or have a fancy dinner and splurge on entertainment, but not the kind of remittances OFW families rely on for their livelihood.
Some Filipinos know that their families in the Philip pines don’t need the money at all as Filipinos’ standard of liv ing has improved markedly in that country from 30, 40 years ago. Today, money remittances to relatives in the Philippines could be for the receiver like that gift card from Starbucks you get from a friend.
But for many other Fili pinos whose economic situ ation is just as challenging as it were for those 30, 40 years ago in the Philippines, to them, a Christmas remittance could be that money used to feed a family into the New Year.
Either way, the Filipino practice of Christmas remit tances is special, certainly enough value in it for this tradition to last over genera tions.
6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
COVER STORY (COVER STORY: Filipinos Undeterred....from
WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?
Stupidity, The Biggest Cause of Immigration Fiascos, But Its Effects Are Curable By Excellent Lawyer
By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon
Being “crazy” is not bad, as when a young man tells his inamorata: “I am crazy about you.”
Being a “fool” is not bad either. An Ilocano lawyer from Honolulu who met an 18-year-old virgin in Bagu io City went singing in the rain together at the Baguio Botanical Garden during the October 2022 typhoon. What were they singing? The law yer’s signature song, “Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.”
Insanity is a mental illness and is curable. Mental hospi tals abound in America.
According to Merri am-Webster Dictionary, stu pidity refers to “being slow of
mind, acting in an unintelli gent or careless manner, lack ing intelligence or reason, or acting senselessly.”
Stupidity has no cure. But its adverse effects in immigra tion cases can be alleviated by an excellent lawyer.
Father admits to licking his daughter’s pussy
The most disgusting case I ever handled involved a 40-something father who ad mitted that while he was mas saging his daughter’s legs he licked with his tongue her vagina without any complaint from her daughter. For all we know, she might even have enjoyed it.
In Cleveland Clinic’s de scription, the vagina is “a muscular passage leading out of the body of a woman; it is an essential part of a woman’s external genitals, or vulva,
which allows a woman to ex perience sexual pleasure.”
“Pussy” is slang for fe male genitals. Donald Trump described his interactions with women as having “grab them by the pussy.”
The man was charged and convicted in a Hawaii court for sexual abuse. Then he was placed in deportation proceed ings and charged with “mur der, rape, and sexual abuse of a minor.” It is an aggravated felony and there is no relief from deportation.
We represented the man in immigration court. We asked the immigration judge to dis miss the case. We argued that licking a pussy is not murder.
Licking a pussy is not rape because rape means sexual in tercourse by force using sex ual organs, and in this case, there was no force, and the tongue is not a sexual organ.
Licking a pussy is not sexual abuse because abuse requires more than one incident and there was only one incident here.
Furthermore, the term “sexual abuse” is unconsti tutionally void of vagueness. What constitutes “sexual abuse” to one person might not be “sexual abuse” to an other.
Therefore, like beauty, “sexual abuse” is in the eye of the beholder. That is uncon stitutional. The Immigration Judge granted our motion to dismiss. The Department of Homeland Security is com plaining about the dismissal.
We asked the guy why he licked his daughter’s pussy. He said he did not know, and he started to cry. We asked why he admitted to doing it when there were no witness es. He said he did not know.
It is not stupid to lick a pussy. I know at least one who has done it. It is admitting it that is stupid when it is a crime in that state and no one knows it, except the pussy licker, the daughter, and God.
I was in Baguio City on Oct. 25. I spent the evening drafting a Petition to Set Aside the Conviction of the pussy licker because I found out that he was deprived of his constitutional rights to due process of law and that he was tried and convicted with out being indicted by a grand jury.
At about 11pm, my legs were shaking. I thought I might have a stroke or some thing. Then the telephone rang and the frantic voice said: “Earthquake, earthquake. Ev erybody must leave the hotel. Use the stairs.”
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 7
on page 14)
By Emil Guillermo
This Thanksgiv ing, President Joe Biden par doned Choco late and Chip, two North Car olina turkeys. But don’t forget about the other 45 million un pardoned birds. Just go vegan.
It’s not impossible to go beyond the cruelty of the Thanksgiving meal. You’ll still be full, but healthier. And if you eat more vegetables, your colon will definitely be grateful.
And that was my goal this year, to have a grateful colon.
Consider this your holiday public service announcement.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer among Asian Americans (compared to the third most common in the U.S.), and the
Thankful for My Pre-Holiday Colonoscopy
most common cause of cancer death among Asian Americans, according to Wiley Research.
So after years of procras tination, the Friday before Thanksgiving, I had a colonos copy.
Colonoscopy, of course, is a big word for “Your large intestine would like its picture taken—from the inside—now.”
In the past, this would seem to be an impossible self ie. God did not make it easy to do such a thing. But thanks to human ingenuity, the idea of a camera up one’s butt was not considered so daunting a task.
Today, colonoscopies are practically a drive-through procedure. There are 15 mil lion colonoscopies served in the U.S. each year. It’s practi cally a McColonoscopy.
And yet for some rea son, I had remained skeptical. There’s just something about your colon saying it’s ready for its close-up.
I had signed up and can
celed so many times. I even tried that alternative method I call “poop in a box,” where by you simply put your stool in a plastic bag and send it by USPS.
I couldn’t do it. I know my mailman. The box sat on my desk empty. And now Katie Couric, whose husband died of colon cancer, has switched from being the face of colo noscopy to pitching women for “poop in a box.” I still couldn’t.
I can’t explain my colo noscopy reluctance, but the facts end up making the case.
Colon cancer the most common cause of cancer death among Asian Americans. If you’re over 50, a colonoscopy is the best first step to finding out what’s inside you.
But even as I was ready for the procedure, in October the New England Medical Journal published a landmark study. that said maybe the benefits of colonoscopies for cancer screening have been oversold.
A group from the University of Oslo did the first head-to-head comparison of colonoscopies vs. doing nothing in a randomized trial.
The results? Only an 18 per cent lower risk of getting colorec tal cancer and no significant reduc tion in the risk of cancer death.
Is this study a procrastinator’s enabler?
But then I re called the 2020 death of Chad wick Boseman, the “Black Pan ther” actor who died at age 43 of colorectal cancer. That cancer is in creasingly hitting younger demos. And it’s a cancer that is preventable if caught in time.
You need to take that picture.
Finally, my animal rights wife just said, “Stop acting like a baby. Just do it.”
The worst thing about a colonoscopy is what they call “the prep.” It’s what you do to make sure the doctor doesn’t have to see your poop.
The goal is to clean out your intestines with a nice flush. Ask your doctor for the prep that takes just 6 ounces of a clear fluid and tastes like Robitussin. You mix that with 10 ounces of water. And then you drink an other 32 ounces within an hour. That’s 48 ounces in total.
Big improvement. They used to make people chug a gallon of liquid.
And then you wait till your stomach gurgles and you race to the toilet where you sit down and it feels like a trap door has opened up under your bowels.
Or maybe it’s more like Ni agara Falls. Results will vary.
Remember, you have 48 ounces in you. It doesn’t hap pen all at once. Maybe eight times over the next 4 hours. It’s an experience.
And then 12 hours later, you do it again! Another 48 ounces. In and Out. As you go through it all, your poop evolves from murk to clear. The promised land.
That really is the worst part of a colonoscopy. But your colon is now clean and presentable for public viewing.
Thank God for Filipino nurses and Indian doctors
At the hospital, I meet the doctor and try to do a video with my cellphone where he explains how he’s going to take a picture of my large intestine.
I repeat the line, “My co lon is ready for its close-up.” My Indian American doctor plays along, but then stops and says, “You better press start on the camera.”
And at that point, I knew I was in good hands. This doc tor knows not to forget to press start on his colon cam!
The nurses are all Filipino and they prepare me for the procedure. And they know I am Filipino too when I say my last name, “Guil-yermo,” just
like all the Filipinos.
You’re like my dad, one said to me. Then she rolls me onto my gurney into the pro cedure room, the photography suite. One of the nurses who saw me with a camera and taking notes asked, “Do you blog?”
And I told them I was a journalist. The doctor though seemed skeptical, just as I was of his colonoscopy.
And I said, “Doc, you’re about to put a camera up my butt, is it too much to Google me?”
That got a big laugh from the three nurses and the doctor in the operating room. I was the warmup act for my own colonoscopy.
They turned me over on the side to insert the camera, but by then I’d been given the sedative Demerol.
Demerol, is as you know, an opioid. And I attest it really works. A half dose was all it took. I definitely was not my body. I was somewhere else.
The next thing I knew I was slightly upright, and they were showing me pictures like vacation snapshots.
“Your colon,” said the doc proudly. I’m a little woozy, but I’m told they found a small polyp and snipped it off to test for malignancy. Basically, my vegan diet had done the trick. Don’t worry, they said. I had a young man’s colon!
And that was that. They send you home. They do 15 million a year of these. Next!
The drive home
On the drive home late in the afternoon, I’m relieved and thankful it was not a big deal. They didn’t find the potential for cancer. And I may not have to do this again for another five years or more.
But I’m thinking, I kind of liked this.
Maybe I can do this every year. Just for the Demerol?
That and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this clean before ever. My colon is empty! It’s a kind of purity like I’ve never felt be fore as if there is some deeper meaning to my colonoscopy.
Was this my cosmic colo noscopy? Letting go of all my poop?
I turn to my wife who is
8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
(continue on page 9)
Tax Cuts Would Be the Ideal Holiday Gift This Year
By Keli‘i Akina
Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner. But not everything is brimming with holiday cheer.
Hawaii’s high cost of living, the nation’s record in flation and fears of a reces sion threaten to not only alter holiday plans but disrupt life in Hawaii for years to come. Probably even Santa is won dering if he can afford to feed his reindeer for his Christmas Eve trek around the world.
It seems like America’s economy has everyone on the naughty list.
But there is a silver lining: Hawaii has a state budget sur plus of about $2 billion that is projected to grow to about $10 billion over the next four years. It also has $800 million in its emergency reserve, or “rainy day” fund.
This means the state is in a prime position to give Ha waii residents a big holiday
bonus in the form of tax relief.
Granted, some are worried that a recession might make a dent in those rosy numbers. When the economy crashes — like it did during the COVID-19 lockdowns — the state tends to collect fewer tax dollars, since people spend less and fewer tourists visit the isles.
However, these latest bud get projections are based on an estimate from the Council on Revenues, which took into account a possible recession.
So, unless the Legislature squanders our surplus by going on a massive spending spree, it’s still an excellent time for our returning and newly elected state legislators to provide tax relief and give Hawaii’s resi dents a well-deserved break.
One good place to start would be to exempt medical services from the state gener al excise tax. Not only would it help lower our healthcare costs, it would also help ad dress Hawaii’s shortage of medical professionals.
Yes, a GET exemption
for medical services would reduce state tax revenues by about $200 million a year. But considering the size of the state’s budget surplus, law makers could cut taxes even more and still come out ahead.
Another idea would be to lower the GET rate in gener al. Reducing the rate by just 1 percentage point — from 4% to 3% — would put $1 billion dollars back into the economy and have the bonus effect of benefiting low-income earners who shell out a higher propor tion of their income on the tax.
Especially if there is a re cession in the near future, low er taxes on necessities such as food, housing and healthcare would be ideal.
Legislators could also look at trimming our income tax rates, which are the sec ond highest in the country. They also could authorize tax rebates like they did this year.
The point is, lawmakers are not lacking ways to put money back into the pockets of Hawaii taxpayers. All that
is needed is a little creative thinking — and empathy for Hawaii’s struggling families.
Keeping in mind the state’s budget surplus, state lawmakers should work more seriously to lower Hawaii’s exorbitant cost of living by cutting our taxes, trimming costly regulations and reduc ing barriers to housing.
If you would like to give our legislators a little encour agement, you can sign and share the Grassroot Institute
of Hawaii’s petition asking for a GET exemption for medical services — if you haven’t already. You can find the petition at www.grassroo tinstitute.org/get.
What a wonderful holiday gift it would be for our state law makers to prioritize tax cuts and regulatory reform in the upcom ing 2023 legislative session.
KELI‘I AKINA is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
driving us home, and she is my reality check.
“Knock it off,” she says. “It’s just a colonoscopy.”
She’s on to the next thing. Dinner. But not for me. I stayed pure for two more days, drink ing just water and coffee and boullion. I liked the feeling of emptiness.
On Sunday afternoon, I broke the fast with a banana. Still mindful of all those AAPI colon cancer stats. If you are hesitant about the procedure,
If you are middle-aged or older get a colonoscopy.
And make it special. Do it just before Thanksgiving. Not only will you be primed and emptied out for the big holi day meal, but you’ll also have a bonafide sense of gratitude from the inside out. Guaran teed.
EMIL GUILLERMO is a jour nalist and commentator. His talk show is on www.amok.com.
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 9
(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Thankful ....from page 6
By Elpidio R. Estioko
Do you know that the medical term “Transfusion Free Medicine” for bloodless surgery, which is now widely accepted by the medical profession, was coined by a Filipino surgeon?
Dr. Manuel R. Estioko,
AS I SEE IT
Pinoy Surgeon Coins “Transfusion Free Medicine” for Bloodless Surgery
who is a surgeon and cardiolo gist, coined the phrase “Trans fusion Free” for the first time in 1996.
He thought it is the appro priate terminology because there is always some blood loss in even the smallest, sim plest operation (hence not re ally “bloodless”). Bloodless was used much earlier and had been around, but many adopt ed Transfusion Free extensive ly since then.
Ohana Readers Program to Expand to Hawaii Island
The Ohana Readers literacy program is expanding to the Kau area of Hawaii island.
The program aims to enrich reading with families through month ly books sent to their homes free of charge. Initially launched in 2019 at Molokai, the books are high-quality and age-appropriate from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
“This program is all about reading!” said State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. “It encourag es the development of a love of words and reading by helping each child create their own library of books. Each book read builds early literacy skills for school readiness.”
Families can sign up for the Ohana Readers program by vis iting the Nāʻālehu Public Library and Pāhala Public & School Library. Download and fill up the form that can be found at FLHhawaii.org/ohanareaders
A patient named Walker Swofford, knowing that it would conflict with his religious be liefs, puts off having open heart surgery for as long as possible – until his symptoms got so bad that he would get winded just walking to his car.
Swofford, an Inglewood resident, told The Daily Breeze in a 2011 article: “I was in de nial at first… I didn’t want to accept it.”
His physician said he needs donor blood during a heart procedure. But Swof ford’s religion and faith, Je hovah’s Witness, prohibits the practice.
Later on, the 60-year-old Swofford learned about trans fusion free surgery and Dr. Estioko, a surgeon who came to Torrance Memorial Medical Center a year prior.
“All of the evidence sup ports the conclusion that pa tients who do not receive blood have better outcomes. Both short and long term, patients do better.” Dr. Estioko told Daily Breeze. He first began performing transfusion-free surgery in 1996.
The procedure requires
more planning to ensure the safety of transfusion-free sur gery. Patients are screened for anemia and other blood disor ders and are watched closely for any signs of bleeding or hy pertension. Blood loss during the procedure is minimized by using a range of techniques including a special scalpel that burns the tissue.
The surgery is greatly wel comed by the Jehovah’s Wit ness community. In the 1940s, it formally banned the practice of receiving blood transfusions as they believe that blood is sacred which is something that cannot be duplicated based in biblical scripture.
“He assured me that he could do this procedure,” Swofford told Daily Breeze. “I was very relieved.”
The surgery was success ful. Swofford’s recovery last ed about a week. He also told Daily Breeze that he felt much better.
Dr. Estioko is a pioneer in transfusion free medicine. He has been performing cardio thoracic surgery without blood transfusions for more than 30 years.
“The appeal of transfu sion-free medicine has been fueled by the public’s grow ing awareness of health issues such as blood-borne viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents, even in safe donated blood,” Dr. Estioko told Santa Monica Mirror in 2005.
“Eliminating transfusions eliminates the unnecessary ex posure to pathogens carried by donors and offers important benefits to patients, including safety, cost savings and faster recovery. The medical literature also supports that there is less incidence of infection among these patients,” he added.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Dr. Estioko re ceived his medical degree from University of Santo To mas. He was a surgeon and in structor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York for many years. He currently prac tices cardiovascular surgery in Santa Monica, California.
ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, com ments… please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Safe this Holiday Season
It’s finally December which means the holiday sea son is right around the corner. After the Thanks giving festivities last week, it’s now time to celebrate Christmas and New Year. To safe ly gather with friends and family this holiday season, here are a few re minders from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education Campaign:
Get vaccinated. The pandemic is still happening, and its consequences can still cause severe illness, especially for those who are not vaccinated. This holiday gath erings, make sure that everyone in the fam ily is vaccinated.
Keep your shots updated. Even though we are this far into the pandemic,
HHS recommends keeping updated with your COVID-19 vaccination shots. Anyone age 5 or older who has completed the prima ry sets of COVID-19 vaccine is eligible to get an updat ed COVID-19 shot. These updated vaccines provide an added layer of protection against COVID-19.
Isolate when you’re feeling sick. Keep yourself and your family safe when you’re feeling sick. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home and isolate for at least five days. Reach out to a doctor for a video call check-up to be pre scribed medicine to alleviate your symptoms.
The holiday season is about the celebra tion of our togetherness despite the ongoing pandemic. Spend the holiday season safely with your family. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit www.vaccines. gov
10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
Ang Mga Bagong Katipunero
By Rose Churma
KATIPS—Ang Mga Bagong Katipune ro was originally a musical drama for theatrical stage but was converted into film, with its initial re lease in November 2021.
In 2016 when it was first staged in Metro Manila af ter Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency, it won the Aliw Awards, a pioneering award for theater, opera, dance and instrumental productions, winning the best actor award for Vince Tañada, also its writer and director.
After its wider release in August of this year, it earned 17 nominations at the 70th Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards and took home seven trophies, including top prizes for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Tañada.
Vincent Tañada, a young lawyer who pursued theater as his passion, has insisted
that he is against historical revisionism and has consulted with historians to ensure that the narrative is accurate.
In a Positively Filipino ar ticle, he is quoted as saying: “I did this to make sure that the film remains neutral in its political stand and continues as a statement of facts about the realities of the ‘70s un til the latter ‘80s through the eyes of fictional students who might have been real people sporting different names.”
Thus, one of the projects of the newly formed Hawai’i Filipinos for Truth Justice and Democracy (HFTJD) was to host the movie’s Hawai’i premiere last November 20, in line with its stance against historical revisionism and un truth in social media.
The group wanted to make the film fairly accessible, par ticularly to young people, thus its choice of venue was at the Farrington High School Au ditorium, and sought spon sorships to defray admission
costs for local students, in cluding providing transport for students who lived miles from the venue.
I watched the movie with four high school students from ages 14 to 17 years old, bribed with dinner at Zippy’s afterwards (with the goal of getting their assessment of the movie in the form of a group discussion).
Of the four, the 17-yearold was somewhat familiar with Philippine history. When he was in elementary school, he had a project where his classmates were asked to in terview their kupunas.
“Where did you grow up,
Grandma? What was it like to be a teenager in the Philip pines in the ‘70s?” he’d ask.
I still kept the written re port that was required by their teacher. It must have made some impact because when COVID hit and we were all forced to quarantine, he ex pressed interest in Philippine history by watching historical movies such as Heneral Luna and Goyo: The Boy Gener al—the only two available at Netflix back then.
KATIPS, the movie’s ti tle came from the shortened version of “katipunero,” members of the revolutionary group that fought for Phil ippine independence from Spain and eventually the United States.
The older one understood what “bagong katipunero” meant and the context of Mar tial Law, but the three young er ones were clueless and very quickly lost interest in the movie.
The fact that most of the
dialogue is in Tagalog, and the English subtitles were too small to be seen when viewed from the seats of a large audi torium added to the challenge of keeping their interest.
Its length (at 2 hours and 22 minutes) is also problem atic: tightening the screening time to less than two hours will probably hold the young people’s interest better.
One of the students de scribed the jarring effects of watching a song and dance episode--to be followed by vi olent torture scenes.
Even for adults, the tor ture scenes were difficult to watch, but its inclusion is un derstandable considering that these incidents happened and defined those times.
For educators and parents, this is a dilemma. Should we shield the young from these scenes or allow them to watch in the name of truth?
In hindsight, I should have briefed the three young
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 11
(continue on page 12)
Marikit And The Ocean Of Stars
By Renelaine Bontol Pfister
Marikit Lakan dula is a girl from Barrio Magiting who wants what any normal ten-year-old girl wants: nice things.
Clothes that aren’t old and yellowed and mended. A nice dress and good food on her birthday, similar to a friend’s. Marikit envisions wearing a blue ball gown worthy of a fairy, or diwata. But she is the daughter of a poor seamstress, and her father and brother were lost at sea.
Marikit shares the same birthday as her mother, Aling Anita, who has always sewn clothes for Marikit that she is ashamed of wearing. But she hopes her mother would sew her a beautiful dress for once. Aling Anita tirelessly sits at her makinang de padyak, working day and night to provide for Marikit.
On her birthday, Marikit is excited to see what her moth
er has made her. But instead of a fairy-like gown, she gets a dress patched together using scraps. Marikit gets angry as her little hope for happiness is dashed.
But she has no time to in dulge in her tantrum. Suddenly, her world upturns and another she didn’t know before opens. A Shadow comes for her, and she discovers her humble mother is really a diwanlaon: a former diwata, and Marik it is a Halfling. Aling Anita comes from the Manghaha bi branch of diwata—“weav ers of moon-silk and sunrays, forging the armors of kings and gods.” (page 72)
With this discovery, Marik it is thrust into the Land of Eng kantos, where she must embark on a diwata journey and search for “X”, armed with only her patchwork dress as a map to the magical land.
Marikit meets new friends and encounters many enemies in the Land of Engkantos. We come across familiar characters of Filipino folklore: Aswang, Tikbalang, even Juan Tamad,
who are given fresh angles and concepts by the author.
A cast of compelling char acters abound, such as the small but stouthearted firefly Alitaptap (who goes by Ali), a wealthy but trapped girl named Saturnina, and of course, a powerful Bathala.
This is Caris Avendaño Cruz’s first book. “Marikit and the Ocean of Stars” was published by FSG Books for Young Readers and released on October 18 this year.
Cruz, like her seamstress char acter, is a weav er: she weaves an intricate, imaginative, and delightful sto ry of adventure and self-discov ery. Family and friendship are strong elements.
For example, the author con trasts brother and sister Apolaki (the
Sun) and Mayari (the Moon) to Marikit and her brother. While Apolaki and Mayari bitterly fight, all Marikit wants is to play sungka with her Kuya Emman again.
Meanwhile, through char acters like the diwata, Principa lias and Quarts, Cruz comments on social classes and identity.
The setting evokes memo ries of us Filipinos who grew up in the Philippines: believ ing in supernatural beings (for a longer time than we’d like to admit), listening to the sound of a sewing machine as someone in the household mends clothes (in my home it was our beloved yaya, Ate Flor), and playing sungka with our siblings.
“I wanted a story that will take readers home, to our part of the Philippines. The prov ince of Bulacan was a lovely mix of old and new,” says Cruz.
“I was lucky to grow up surrounded by rice fields glis tening under the sun, the sound of the sorbetes peddlers in their bikes, the charming rural vistas reflected on the wide fish farms, and the sun-soaked streets, with familiar faces walking by.”
The main characters in the book are inspired by the two women closest to her: her mother and grandmother. Cruz says, “The name “Marikit” sounded like the Tagalog word for small, “maliit,” because my mother was the smallest among her siblings, and they often (lovingly) teased her for it.”
Cruz says she used to be a shy person who expressed her self by writing in a notebook, but when she got involved in her church and in children’s
(FILM REVIEW: KATIPS ....from page 11)
er boys on Philippine history first, with special emphasis on the 70s and 80s, and Hawai’i’s role in hosting the dictator’s exile.
I feel that the Hawai’i link is im portant to point out, especially for the kids who have a very limited knowl edge of the Philippines, much less its history. That link may be the one that would spark their interest to want to know more.
Film is a wonderful art form to preserve history and to counter un truths, which this film has bravely done. But film and other art forms are also a potent tools for those who want to revise history, evident in the release of films (and future plans to
ministry, she realized she loved creating and telling stories to children; like it was something she was meant to do.
Her favorite literary char acter is Jo March, from her favorite book, Louisa May Al cott’s “Little Women.”
“I always wished for a “Jo Moment,” the time when I could be proud of my writing. I want to think I somehow got that with Marikit!” she says.
Each chapter title in the book features a Filipino word, such as “Marikit,” “nanay,” “dapithapon” and “bato,” de fined in the regular way and ex trapolated to apply to Marikit’s story. One example is: “Sinu lid. Filipino. n. Thread. A long strand of fiber used to weave, stitch, knot, or knit. Occasion ally employed to make magical wings.”
Tagalog words are used throughout the book, with a glossary to guide non-Taga log speakers. “I hope Marikit sparks the readers’ interest in learning more about us Filipi nos, our culture, and our beau tiful folklore,” the author says.
It is an impressive debut, distinctly and proudly Filipino. But the theme is universal.
At the core, it’s about a young girl discovering what really matters and realizing her potential; that powers and magic are something, but not everything.
In order to reach X and ful fill your destiny, one must have heart.
Marikit and the Ocean of Stars by Caris Avendaño Cruz is available to purchase on Am azon and Barnes & Noble.
produce more of these) that depict a false narrative.
It is clear that in the collective strug gle to fight disinformation, fake news and propaganda in the guise of art, young people’s knowledge of “true” history is crucial. Without that baseline, the strug gle evolves into an uphill battle.
The film is still being screened in select theaters in the Philippines and re cently had its premiere in various cities in Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, Asia and the Continental USA. It has a scheduled showing in Canada and Hong Kong until the end of the year.
Let’s hope that the film will be available via streaming outfits in the future.
12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
Thanking Outside the Bucks
By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
Inflation is real. We can see it, feel it, taste it.
Every time we go out to replenish our supplies, dine in a restaurant or fill our car with gas, we couldn’t help but real ize that prices have gone up. We pay more but we get so little.
It is disconcerting. As par ents, anxious thoughts fill our minds.
Will our resources be enough to sustain us in the com ing days? What are the things we need to do to cope with the rising prices? How about those who have no jobs, how will they survive?
With the economic crisis the world is facing right now, we have all the reasons to worry, fear and complain. But I believe that doing so may do more harm than good.
Just recently, our sermon series in church was entitled “Thinking Outside the Bucks.”
Our pastors reminded us of what God says about money
and how to respond to the abun dance or the lack thereof. Many times, it is written in the bible, “Do not worry.”
Hard as it may be, we are beseeched to not be anxious about anything, to not fear the future, to not worry about today. But can we?
I believe we can.
As a mother, I worry a lot. I worry about so many things: my children’s health, my husband’s safety, my family’s welfare and so much more.
The root of the word “wor ry” comes from the Old English word, “wrygan” which means “to strangle.”
Worry chokes. Fear crip ples. When I worry, I am not able to do things properly. I be come unproductive.
But when I choose to quiet myself, present my requests to my Heavenly Father and remind myself of who He is in my life and what He has done for me, the burdens are lifted and peace that transcends understanding envelops my heart.
I have learned that the an tidote against worry and fear is
worship and thanksgiving.
Yes, thanksgiving. Grati tude can dispel fear, complain ing and anxiety.
When we see the many good things that we have in life, when we focus on the blessings that we receive every single day instead of what we lack, we be come content.
The gift of a new day, the air that we breathe, the sun that rises, the roof on our heads, food on our tables, clothes that keep us warm, our spouses and children who love us, friends and relatives who care for us, the list goes on.
Every single day, God’s mercies are new. His steadfast love never ceases. Great is His faithfulness.
Life is hard. It really is. Life throws curve balls. It is inevita ble in a world that is broken and dark. But to survive and flour ish is dependent on how we re spond to the challenges thrown our way.
Will we continue to let wor ry choke us or will we choose to worship and fix our eyes on the Giver of life? Shall we let com
plaints and bitterness fill our hearts or instead let thanksgiv ing overflow?
When the hardships of life overwhelm us and we can’t see anything good, let our beating hearts and breathing lungs re mind us of the hope that we have in the goodness of our Fa ther.
He, who did not withhold His only Son, will never leave us nor forsake us. He is good, always.
Let me share with you one of my favorite Bible verses that kept me going and fighting when the worries of life try to cripple me.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
And why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and to morrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? There fore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heav enly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the king dom of God and his righteous ness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore, do not be anx ious about tomorrow, for tomor row will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34
May you and your family prosper and flourish at this dif ficult time. May your days be blessed by “THANKING out side the BUCKS”.
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 13
Parenting Shorts: Corrective Teaching
by Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.
Parenting is the toughest job in the world. I’ve long believed that whatev er God wants to correct in us, He makes it show up in our kids so we can see a small bit of what He dis likes about it.
I am thankful for those many child psychology ex perts who gave parenting workshops to those of us with
kids. I am equally thankful for all those schools that used their PTSA money to host these educational sessions.
Here are my notes from one of the parenting meetings held while my kids were in el ementary school.
Corrective teaching is teaching your kids what you want them to do. Corrective teaching is responding to your children’s problem be havior to replace it with good behavior. When instructing your children, as hard as it is,
(WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?: Stupidity....from page 7)
My son, Noel, a criminal defense attorney said that the earthquake was an omen. I asked him if it was good or bad. He said we will know when the judge rules on the petition which has been filed
following my return to Ha waii.
I believe the earthquake was a good omen and that the judge will set aside the conviction.
it’s important to Stay Calm. We must model the behavior we want in our children.
When your children mis behave:
1. Stop the behavior 2. Give the consequence 3. Describe the behavior you want 4. Most importantly, prac tice the behavior you want in your children
Remain calm. Stick to one issue. Don’t get sidetracked.
Husband refuses to have sex with horny wife
Two Filipinos met in the Philippines. They had sex before they got married at the instance of the woman. “Gutom” as they say in Ta galog (meaning “starved”).
After the woman peti tioned the man and he ar rived in Hawaii, she wanted to have sex almost every day. The man should rejoice. But he did not. There are limits to a man’s sexual potency which no amount of Viagra can bolster.
One evening, the woman arrived home smelly from a hard day’s work at a hospital. She wanted to have sex. The man declined. He told her to take a bath first. The wom an was infuriated and threw away his clothes outside the doorway. When a woman is horny, she is wilder than the wild bull of the pampas.
The man should have remembered that his green card was con ditional for two years. He must please the pe titioner and do her bidding, otherwise, she could do any thing to torpedo the relationship.
The man should have told his wife: “Darling, let’s take a warm shower togeth er.” When tak
Tell them what the problem behavior is and show them what the correct behavior is.
If your child continues to argue, use the moment to teach them self-control. Talk about other things at a later time.
Give positive conse quences for your child’s ef forts to improve. Give your child a chance to earn some thing back. Positive rein forcement is an effective way to teach children.
If your child works to
ing a shower together, use a bar of soap (not liquid soap), preferably Yardley, to gen tly soap every part of each other’s body, especially the most intimate parts. If this erotic exercise will not result in consummation, we do not know what will.
But the man was stupid. He did not ask his wife to take a shower together. The wife divorced him. The man did not file a petition to re move the conditions on res idence within the two-year period.
Since his wife could no longer co-sign it, his divorce was finalized after the twoyear conditional residency expired. He was now deport able.
Worse, the wife wrote a letter to USCIS that their mar riage was fraudulent and that they never had sex. The man remarried. The second wife petitioned for her husband. USCIS denied her petition reasoning that her husband’s first marriage was fraudulent, and his second marriage did not cure the fraud.
We were asked to rep resent him. We told USCIS that the first wife’s com plaint was merely the rav ing of a scorned sex mani ac for “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a wom an scorned” quoting William Congreve.
We demanded to cross-examine the first wife. We told USCIS that our cli
make up for the misbehavior, you can give back small parts of the privilege.
Be consistent. Use neg ative consequences for be havior you want them to stop and positive consequences for behavior you want to encour age.
Adapt the corrective teaching to work for your child.
In Helen Yong’s lovely book “Children Won’t Wait”, one mother’s comment sum marizes this aspect of parent ing like this: “You raise what you praise.”
ent would show they made love almost every night. US CIS refused. We appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. It reversed the US CIS and ordered it to comply with our demands. USCIS approved the second wife’s petition, rather than comply with our demand.
If the man was not so stupid as to refuse a horny wife’s nocturnal advances, he would not have had to un dergo all this trouble, trau ma, and spend money for attorney’s fees.
ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializ ing in Constitutional Law. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practic es federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwest ern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most pres tigious legal publisher and w rites columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Know ing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he cohosts with his son Attorney Em manuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and use ful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: email@example.com. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com.
14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE DECEMBER 3, 2022
HAWAII TRIENNIAL 2022 | Hawaii State Art Museum | Until December 3, 2022 | 250 South Hotel St Second Floor, Honolulu | Even though the HT22 officially closed on May 8, Hawaii State Art Museum will be keeping their HT22 exhibit on display until December 2022. View the unique exhibits showcasing the fluid concept of Pacific Century interweaving themes of history, place and identity. Entrance is free.
LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday until December
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
2022 at 6:15pm | FilCom Center, Consuelo Courtyard, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | Need to unwind in movement and dance after a long workday? Join the community as we Zumba through the evening. Only $5 per class. Proceeds go to support these program-types for FilCom Center.
CULTURAL WORKSHOPS | Ilokano Language and Li terature Pr ogram & Timpuyog Organization | December 6 | University of Hawaii at Manoa | Connect with Filipino culture in this monthly cultural workshop
from the UHM. Students are encouraged to register using their hawaii.edu email. Register at https://forms. gle/o14dP8MaeG7urDqJA. Here is the workshop details: Eskrima, December 6, 3-5:30pm at Moore 253.
HOLIDAY TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS FROM THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION | AARP Hawaii and Alzheimer’s Association Hawaii Chapter | December 6, 10-11am | Webinar | Get tips for caring for your older family members over the holidays. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/ DEC6ALZAARP. Fo inquiries, call 808-591-2771.
HOUSEHOLD HELP WANTED
Starting salary from $2,000 per month with annual salary increases
• Need domestic help who knows how to do household chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundering clothes and other household services.
• Prior experience preferred. Attractive salary package awaits you!
Babysitter is needed to care for a 1-year old baby and do other activities related to babysitting. Experi ence preferred. Please include in your resume your references.
Competitive salary and other benefits await you.
Send resume to:firstname.lastname@example.org
DECEMBER 3, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 15
70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB OF THE PHILIPPINES. On Oct. 29, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle columnist Atty. Emmanuel Tipon (pictured middle) attended the 70th anniversary of the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) in Manila, Philippines. He was invited by former NPC president and Philippine News Today Editor-in-Chief Alfred Gabot (pictured left) who was an honoree at the event. Tipon and Gabot had the honor of meeting the Acting Philippine Press Secretary Cheloy Garafil (pictured right). The Hawaii Chapter of NPC was recently launched with its initial fellowship meeting at Max’s of Manila in Dillingham, Honolulu last December 1. Its founding members include Tipon as the initial Chairman and Flor Martinez as President. [Photo via Philippine News Today]
DECEMBER 3, 2022