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Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

Warming up winter One of the hardest things about moving to New Zealand is getting used to the weather. I absolutely adore the summer months, but I struggle with the wet and chilly winter season. There’s a sure way to warm up - do what you love doing best. Divina Paredes reads up on an important part of Philippine history. Nanette Carillo travels to the Philippines to help underprivileged kids. Melissa Mansell excitedly lets us in on Wellington’s Filipino Labour Weekend celebrations. I splurged on a meal at Waiheke Island’s famous Te Whau Restaurant. If it’s Pinoy spiritual music that moves you, please support Father Ronelo and the Living Water Choir’s series of fundraising concerts. Fusce mollis Barangay Pinoy attended a concert in Henderson, tempus felis.Auckland. Here’s good news to a lucky reader – congratulations Myrene San Gil for winning the Manila souvenir giveaway competition. Thanks for your continued support. Keep warm and be happy.


Fusce tellus enim, semper vitae, malesuada vitae, condimentum vel, ligula.

Issue 9 | July 09

Issue 9| July 09

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9/6/09 9:18:49 AM

Issue 9| July 09

Ready to Fiesta By Melissa Mansell Image Fiesta, painting by Carlos V Francisco (1946)

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

egend has it that a long, long time ago in the Philippines, there lived a princess whose beauty and wisdom was renowned throughout the land. It was said that rice stalks would sprout where she trod and her lilting songs would calm storms, swaying them to drizzle gentle rain. The villagers loved her and took her as their very own.



Issue 9| July 09

Alas, one day she fell in love with a prince from a faraway land and she had to leave the village to marry him. The villagers were heartbroken. Seeing their forlorn faces, the princess promised to return whenever the village needed her to sing lullabies to soothe angry storms and coax the rice to a bountiful harvest.

of cultural presentations, sports competitions, talent contests, a beauty pageant, food showcases and market stalls. Oh, and this year’s Miss Philippines New Zealand will be named after a process which the fabled princess would surely approve. Binibining Pilipinas – New Zealand Pageant

And so every year the villagers would gather, put on games, and make merry, and the princess, true to her word, returned when the villagers have gathered in her name. Whether or not the story is true, the fact remains that Filipinos villagers have traditionally come together at harvest time to give thanks and celebrate life. These “fiestas” as they have come to be called, would last for days and are a hodgepodge of events that include parades, culinary contests, oratories, feats of manhood, native games and dances. The marquee event is the competition for the fairest maiden of the fiesta, to perhaps recreate the return of the fabled princess. It’s Wellington’s turn to host a Fiesta

The Filipino Diaspora notwithstanding, or perhaps because of it, Filipinos in New Zealand have been celebrating their own yearly fiestas for more than twenty years. It is held every October, over the Labour Weekend, with the venue rotated among the major cities of New Zealand, where there are representative Filipino host communities. This year, it is Wellington’s turn to host the event. The celebration is from the 23rd to the 25th of October. The activities will showcase not only the capital, but the neighbouring cities of Lower Hutt and Porirua. In keeping with the traditions of a village fiesta, the Wellington Labour Weekend will be chock-full

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

Miss Philippines New Zealand Winners: (From left) Miss Philippines New Zealand 2008 Danica Hibdige, first runner-up Melanie Maelzer and second runner-up Jaline Antinio


Candidates representing the cream of New Zealand Filipina womanhood will vie to be named the best of the best. It promises to be an exciting evening as the ladies pit their talent, costumes, personality, popularity and wit against each other. If previous years are an indication, the beauty competition will be a rambunctious affair for the audience. Their energy level should rise and fall with the fortunes of their favourite candidate. The hall will be echoing with cheers, applause and the thunder of stomping feet. Understandably the winner shall be the perfect combination of beauty, brains, talent, and grace under pressure. This is an event not to be missed. Last year’s winner was Danica Hibdige, from WFSA Hamilton who beguiled the judges and audience with her poise and charm. Palarong Fiesta This year’s fiesta would include banner sports events like basketball, badminton, volleyball, golf, billiards, bowling and table tennis. For the first time however, native Filipino games are featured in the competitions like patintero, sipa, bunong braso, Chinese garter and piko, to name a few.


Issue 9| July 09

Those who have never seen or played these games are in for a treat. For example, patintero is a game that requires a player to make it to a finish line while running a gauntlet of stretched arms and feet. Believe it or not, sipa is the original version of Hackensack. Unlike the banner games that require formal registration, these ethnic events will welcome all comers. The events are open to all ages. No experience is needed, and training can be provided if required. Organise a team with your family and friends. All you need is to show up on the day to be part of this spectacle. Dance Fusion competition

going down at the Lower Hutt Horticultural Hall on the 24th of October. What makes a Filipino? The Cultural Evening on Saturday is another audiovisual feast of colour, music, and dance. This is your chance to reconnect with Filipino culture and an opportunity for others to sample Filipiniana. Like the beauty pageant, this is an event where the audience is almost part of the performance. Watch it with friends. Understanding where we come from, as the advert says, is priceless. The ambience of Market Day Foodies will tell you that you have never lived until you have eaten adobo. Well now you can start living by sampling it along with other native delicacies at food stalls strategically situated within the venues. Be sure to check out the arts and crafts and dry goods that will also be on display. My grandfather used to swear by the rejuvenating powers of balut. You may want to give it a go but be warned, it is not for the faint of heart. Come one, come all Wellington has prepared Friday entertainment for early arriving guests.


In the Philippines, villagers are summoned to gather by ringing a gong or blowing on conch shells. Hear the ringing gongs and the booming conches. Let us all gather in Wellington on 23 to 25 October to celebrate the harvest of life.

Hip-hop definitely is not a Filipino original, but hey, isn’t Filipino culture a melting pot of east and west? Wellington has thrown down a challenge to dance groups: Come and show us your slickest moves but bring on an ethnic twist. This competition promises to throb with beatdowns and soaring kulintang rhythms, a celebration of bamboo flourishes and modern dance. It’s all

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

For advice on bookings, ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship and any other information please check out website or email


Issue 9| July 09

Revisiting a grim chapter of World War II

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

A book revisiting an event that happened in the Philippines more than 60 years ago is racing to the bestseller lists By Divina Paredes Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and its Aftermath, tackles a subject that has been written about extensively. But as the authors Michael and Elizabeth Norman, both professors at the New York University, point out, it is the only book that looks at the Bataan Death March from the points of view of the Filipinos, Americans and the Japanese.


The Bataan Death March is now known as the single largest defeat in American military history. Following a fourmonth battle for the Bataan peninsula, some 76,000 Filipinos and Americans marched to their prisons, a 66 mile trek (approximately 106 kilometres) where they suffered hunger, deprivation, torture from their captors during the march and in prison.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

Michael, former New York Times reporter who now teaches narrative journalism, and Elizabeth, who teaches at the NYU’s Steindhardt School of Education, had retraced the route of the death march. There were a few spots that remained unchanged, as the soldiers had described them. “It was eerie. You could almost feel the ghosts,” says Elizabeth. In the book, they wrote “It is impossible, so the locals say, to walk the ground where this story takes place, the jungles and woodlands and savannas of the Philippines, without feeling the presence, the lingering tenancy, of the men who once fought there — Americans, Filipinos, Japanese. Perhaps that is why at night, Bataanese villagers in their nipa huts often think they hear history stumbling along in the darkness outside their doors… Some nights it is voices they hear, voices begging for food and water, voices pleading for their lives. Other nights it is the sound of shuffling feet, thousands of feet heavy with fear and fatigue, dragging north through the dust mile after mile up the Old National Road.” Michael and Elizabeth interviewed more than 400 people in the Philippines, the United States and Japan, and collected more than 2800 documents for their research on the book. Elizabeth says one of the challenges of writing the book was listening to the stories of the people who were there. “You really peered into the darkness of the human soul,” she says. “Every man, woman and civilian we talked to, these people are haunted by what they saw and what they did and they saw the dark side of humanity.”


Issue 9| July 09

Amado Guevarra illustrating what he saw a Japanese soldier do during the Death March. This photo was taken in Balanga, Bataan in 2000.

Rosalina Almario Cruz was six months pregnant when she walked the Death March route from Mariveles to her village. She had malaria and later lost her baby. This photo was taken in Balanga, Bataan in 2000.

The two had agreed, however, that one of the most haunting parts of the book was the description of the execution of Filipinos near Pantingan River, which Michael describes as “the cold blooded murder of 400 men.”

go back to his mother. Armando refused, and felt a pain as he felt a Japanese soldier’s boot on his back. A second soldier grabbed him and tossed him to the side of the road.

A Filipino soldier who survived said the prisoners, with their hands tied behind their backs, were bayoneted to death. One of the Japanese officers they interviewed described how the massacre was carried out in detail. “We said to him why did you tell us the story? He said it is time for the world to know. I think maybe the Filipinos know about the Pantingan River [massacre] but the rest of the world doesn’t know about it,” says Elizabeth. Elizabeth cites the story of Rosalina Almario Cruz who was then 16 years and pregnant. Her father and her husband were away when the shooting started so Rosalina and her mother were among the residents who walked the Old National Road hoping to find a boat to take them to Manila. She was weak from malaria but, as the Normans wrote, her suffering seemed small compared to the soldiers marching beside her. “She had never seen men so low, so miserable, the tattered clothes, the sad eyes,” the Normans wrote. The soldiers also pitied her, asking her whether she could cope. Rosalina survived, but she lost her child. Michael recalls the story of Armando Pabunan, then nine years old, who saw his father marching. He embraced his father who told him to

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

For Elizabeth, it was stories like these “that added a whole layer of texture to the book that you never read in an American war book.” It took Michael and Elizabeth 10 years to finish the book. “What took so long was we did not want to write a standard history. We wanted to create a good, strong nonfiction story… We wanted to present three different sides equally.” Michael says the book is not just one story, “but many stories running in many different layers all woven together.” The book’s title comes from the literal translation of the ideograph, or kanji, for the Japanese word anrui. It was the word an officer of the Japanese Imperial Army they interviewed for the book used to describe the reaction of General Masaru Homma, who headed the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines, as he read pages and pages of the list of Japanese casualties. Translated literally, it meant the general had ‘tears in the darkness’. “The suffering that all these people had in the battle were perfectly captured in that statement,” say Elizabeth.


Issue 9| July 09

Michael says the book is not just one story, “but many stories running in many different layers all woven together.” In the book, they wrote, “As the events of 1941- 42 passed into the hands of historians, both the battle for Bataan and the death march became symbols, the former as a modern Thermopylae, a stirring last stand, and the latter as a crucible of courage, the courage to continue on a walk to the grave…When the dross of propaganda and myth is skimmed from the surface of history, what’s left, in this case, is an example of the miscarried morality and Punic politics that underlie every appeal to arms — the bad leadership, the empty promises, the kind of cruelty that crushes men’s souls. Proof too that the instant the first shot is fired, the so-called rules of war… give way to … war without clemency or quarter.” “Everybody comes out of a war less than they were,” says Michael. “We really wanted to show that there is really nothing good about war.”

Michael and Elizabeth Norman retraced the 66 kilometre route of the Death March

Tears in the Darkness tackles the Filipino, American and Japanese viewpoints on the Bataan Death March and its aftermath. For more information on the book and to order a copy, please go to

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

Waiheke Island Getaway Winter is not my favourite time of the year. It is a challenge to get up every morning. It is very tempting to just stay at home, curl up in front of the fire and do nothing. You can imagine my resistance when I was told we were going to Waiheke Island one early, very early, Sunday morning. I was woken up just after seven. Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

The next hour was a blur. We left the car at the Downtown Convention Carpark, walked to the Ferry Terminal along Quay Street, bought tickets and sipped steaming hot coffee while we wait for our 8.30 ferry to depart. (Yup, 8.30!) I have to admit, it was a gorgeous winter morning. The city was just waking up. It was refreshing to be out of the house. There were very few passengers in the ferry. The top deck was almost empty. The scenery was stunning. The sun was casting a soft glow – I have never seen the Ferry Building looked so elegant. The 40-minute ride was relaxing. We browsed the weekend paper, but mostly we enjoyed the view. We were lucky - It was a beautiful day. Waiheke Island is a favourite weekend destination for many JAFAs (Just Another Friendly Aucklander). There’s an all-year round holiday atmosphere in the island. It’s as if there’s something in the water that makes everyone happy. A trip to the island is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The island is a picturesque and charming paradise known for its fine beaches, vineyards, boutique accommodations and world-class restaurants. Back in the 50s and 60s, holiday baches line up its shores. Today, it is not unusual for people to live in Waiheke and commute daily to work in Auckland CBD.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

As we’ve only got the morning to spare in the island, we decided to spend the first hour exploring the Matiatia/Owhanake loop. The track starts just outside the Waiheke Ferry Terminal Building and ends in Oneroa Village. Along the route, we climbed a small hill, walked along a rugged shore, and found a secluded beach. The walk was easy and pleasant. We walked back to the terminal and hired a car. Our first stop: Onetangi Beach, the largest beach in Waiheke Island. Its white sand shore stretches for 2.5km. Surprisingly, there were many people on the beach. Some were even brave enough to jump in the freezing water. We hopped in the car and proceeded to Te Whau Vineyard Restaurant – a multi awarded restaurant and recently, Metro’s Best Rural Restaurant. The view from the restaurant is amazing. It offers a 360-degree view of the island. On a clear, cloudless day, the city seems to be just a stone’s throw away. And the food, oh the food, was delicious and as beautiful as the panoramic setting – I could almost taste the contrast of sea and land, wild and tamed. We left the island at around two. We were back in the city just before three. It was drizzling, cold and almost dark. But nothing could dampen my spirits that day. I’ve just been to a very special place. The flavours of Waiheke is as breathtakingly complex, and yet, as quaint as its landscape.

Helpful tip: Check out for weekend specials. If you are buying tickets online, book at least 24 hours before the trip.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

A BINGO A N G BAYAN N OKTUBRE //2009 Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

Reaching out By Nanette Carillo

Image Nanette (right) with Caloocan City street children

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

Street children in Manila love the traffic. While commuters wait for the green light, street children beg for food, wash car windows and wipe passengers’ shoes on the off chance that they would receive alms.


Issue 9| July 09

The noisy streets of Manila are home to many neglected urban children in the Philippines. I joined HOMM Foundation, a volunteer outreach programme in Caloocan City and Meycauayan, Bulacan to do my bit in helping these kids. Like many migrants, I moved to New Zealand to seek a better life. Life has been great so far- I have recently received my teaching license. I have also been granted residency. Helping these children is my way of saying thanks and sharing God’s blessings. Friends from back home have been very supportive of our trip. They welcomed us with meals and helped with transportation. We traveled with New Zealander Mike De Boer and his adopted Filipino son, Romy. They enjoyed their interaction with the Filipinos. They had fun

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

trying out the different kinds of transportation in urban and provincial Phillipines – our own version of the tricycle and the jeepney. We traveled different cities in six weeks. We met hundreds of children. We took kids from Sta. Maria Orphanage to a swimming expedition at Jed’s Resort in Calumpit, Bulacan. Caloocan Street children were treated to meals and games in Jollibee, Caloocan Grand Central. Meycauayan street children enjoyed their lunch at Mc Donalds, SM Marilao. The Sunday School children from San Miguel, Bulacan appreciated their lunch treat at Greenwich SM Baliuag, Bulacan. Seeing the indescribable happiness in these children’s faces was priceless! It was truly an unforgettable experience. The trip made me realise how blessed my life is here in New Zealand.


Issue 9| July 09

+Barangay Pinoy Saint Paul and Saint Malachay’s Fundraising Concert June 27 @ Saint Dominic’s College Auditorium, Henderson

Father Ronelo and the Living Water Choir boys

Consuelo Del Castillo

Teentin Isip and Mike Cruz

Father Ronelo and Pye

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

Father Ronelo with the Living Water Choir


The Living Water Choir Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 9| July 09

I ♥ New Zealand Photography

Maomao Diving @ Poor Knights Island

Maya is a free electronic newsletter distributed to the Filipino community in New Zealand. To submit photos, community-related announcements, feedback and requests for subscription, email Maya Magazine would like to thank the following organisations: Auckland Pinoy NZ, Council of Auckland Philippine Orgnisations (CAPO), Samu’t Sari Philippine Cultural Society, University of the Philippines Alumni NZ, Living Water Choir and the Pinoy Golf Club.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Maya Issue 9  
Maya Issue 9  

The online magazine of the Filipino community in New Zealand