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Roots&Wings CULTURE

Spring 2010



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From the Editor


e are delighted to present this Spring Issue of Roots&Wings to all of you. The cruel winter is now behind us. We are ready to move on, to be inspired, to find new insights, new strengths as we look forward to enjoy the gifts that come with the season of Spring. We are very happy to welcome five new volunteer staff members as they join the Roots&Wings team. Josephine “Tipin” Lareza is our Bureau Editor in Milan, Italy, Ivee Blossom Bernal Hedvigi, is our Bureau Editor in Stockholm, Sweden, Anne Fatalla, is our Correspondent in Helsinki, Finland, Hanna Stenbacka is the Youth Editor for our Youth in Focus pages and Johnny Villagomez, is our Advertising Director in Manila.

The Filipino martial art of Arnis is alive and kicking in Oslo. We can only give thanks and admire Danny Huertas for preserving this noble part of our culture. Thank you Dr Antonio Repotente for sharing an article about our beloved national hero, Dr Jose Rizal in commemoration of his 149th birthday anniversary in June 19. Rizal thrived in Europe, immersing himself in the study of European languages, learning new skills and the European way of life. Rizal was a genius and remains a great inspiration for many.

The Youth in Focus section will be a regular feature in Roots&Wings. We believe that the future belongs to the youth. We start with the youth in Sweden. It looks like they know what they want and how to get it. We admire their Our feature artist for this season is Father sense of values and their vision of a bright future Armand Tangi, priest and painter in one, whose while upholding their sense of identity.. Mother and Child collections are simply adorable. We heartily thank Father Armand for sharing his We have no room to mention everyone, except divine talents with us. that we are proud and happy to be a part of the Filipino community in Europe, preserving our Doctor Marcos Fojas, the first and only Filipino beautiful culture and traditions while continuing physician and ophthalmologist in Greece, Joseph to learn new things, being hardworking, funNoel Sengco Vasquez, Filipino Norwegian loving, God fearing citizens of Europe. lawyer, Donn Torres, multitalented musician in Geneva, Anton Juan, internationally acclaimed Every Sunday, our Christian faith unites us as we director, playwright, teacher in London, Rexceluz gather to worship and fill up the great cathedrals Evangelista, soprano student in Weimar, you and centuries old churches around Europe. It is inspire us, you make us proud to be Filipinos - if very important for us to feel unity with the rest you can do it perhaps we or our children can do of our kababayans as we celebrate our oneness it too? with our Creator.

Contact: Letty Simpson Rosenlundsgatan 18, S-118 53 Stockholm Tel. (0046 8) 658 59 86 (0046 8) 556 077 88 073-951 88 51 2

Air Asia Travel

For all your travel & tour needs

The Northen Lights, that fascinating heavenly Mabuhay tayong lahat! phenomena that we have heard so much of, is just a normal happening in the life of 16 year old Anna Theresa Anderssson, a Filipina-Swedish girl who lives in northen Sweden. Watch this young girl. If she can write that way at age 16, how much more in a few years time? Thank you dear Anna for sharing your magnificent story with us and for the phenomenal pictures. 3

Ivee Blossom Bernal-Hidvegi Bureau Editor - Stockholm, Sweden has a BS degree in Biology and is a Doctor of Medicine graduate. She has worked as a medical transcriptionist. An active member of the International Women’s Club, she is currently studying Swedish in preparation to acquire a Swedish medical licence and is managing a business in Stockholm.

Rachel Hansen

Editorial staff

Editor in Chief

Hanna Charlotte C. Stenbacka Editor – Youth in Focus Section Hanna is 21 years old. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and is now working on her Masters in Econometrics at the University of Stockholm. Hanna obtained her primary and secondary education in Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and Egypt.Aside from being actively involved in various community services, Hannas extracurricular interests include Music, the arts and meeting people.

Aina Bauer Publisher

Jonathan Arevalo Coo

Luz Bergersen

Contributing Editor

Associate Editor

Carmen Tuason Lifestyle Editor

Josephine ”Tipin” Lareza Bureau Editor - Milan, Italy has been working in international sales, marketing and business development in the field of wireless telecommunication and IT. Very much interested in promoting Philippine art and culture, she has organised several concerts and art exhibits in Stockholm. She is now dividing her time between Sweden and Italy.

Anne Tafalla Correspondent - Helsinki, Finland Jenny Hansen Layout Editor/Photographer

Eleanor La’O Hernando Contributing Editor

Evelyn Mendoza Contributing Editor

Maria Luisa Medrano Editorial Assistant Manila-based

Bureau editors

holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Eastern Philippines in Samar. She served as a Local Correspondent for Manila News Star and as Senior Writer for the Catarman weekly tribune in Samar. At present, Anne is studying Finnish in Helsinki and works as a housekeeper for a family.

Johnever “Johnny” Glenn A.Villagomez Advertising Director - Manila, Philippines

Deng Valera-Larsen Yoko Ramos-Vingno Copenhagen, Denmark


Athens, Greece

Karlene Denolo London, U.K.

Michael Cu Brussels, Belgium

Cora Lembke

holds an MBA in Business Administration from Wesleyan University Philippines and received the Oral Revalida Award for comprehensive examination. He lived for 20 years abroad, went to school in Africa, USA, Singapore and Hong Kong. He has travelled extensively in Europe. Johnny is a Corporate Consultant with specialty in Business Development, Marketing, Sales and Public Relations.

Hamburg, Germany



A quarterly magazine for Filipinos in Europe Head Office in Stockholm, Sweden Published by Rachel Publishing Co.

Rachel Hansen – Editor in Chief

In This Issue

Luz Bergersen – Associate Editor Carmen Tuason – Lifestyle Editor Jenny Hansen – Lay Out Editor & Photographer Jonathan Coo – Contributing Editor Evelyn Mendoza – Contributing Editor Eleanor (Lala) Hernando – Contributing Editor Aina Linnea M. Bauer – Publisher

BUREAU EDITORS Yoko Ramos-Vingno – Athens, Greece Anita Valera–Larsen – Copenhagen, Denmark Karlene Denolo – London, U.K. Michael Cu – Brussels, Belgium Cora Lembke – Hamburg, Germany Maria Luisa “Nanette” Medrano Editorial Assistant, Manila


Pitoy Moreno – recipient of 2009 National Artist Award for Fashion


FranciscoTejada Nacion,Jr – a world-class artist at 28


Pilita Corrales – Asia’s Queen of Songs


John Levi Leano – a 20 year old Filipino chef


Lights on Gandingan – a three hour journey of dances


Armela Fortuna – French Filipina soprano


IDER - International Disaster Emergency Readiness


Film Review – “Baler”


Black Gold, Oil Wealth


Palarong Pinoy


Fr. Gabriel Baldostamon


Photo Quiz Contest


Rellenong Manok


Our Cover: “Mother and child” by Fr. Armand Tangi

Fr.ArmandAbeleda Tangi The oil paintings featured in this spread are portraits done by Armand Abeleda Tangi. These portraits were taken from his latest book launched in January 2010 entitled “Mother of Surprises.” Fr. Armand is a priest, aside from being a portrait artist and a painter, thus it is easy to see why he has a special liking for religious subjects, particularly those dealing with motherand-child themes. His close relationship to his own mother, the late Gregoria Abeleda Tangi, also inspired Armand to paint these portraits.

Works with this theme although inspired by colonial art brought into the Philippines by the Spanish missionary friars, have since been “Filipinized and infused with our culture” throughout the centuries by local artists through the use of Filipino images and emotions, as is the case with Fr. Armand. Also featured here is one of his latest works showing the late Philippine President Cory Aquino praying her favorite devotion. Admittedly a mama’s boy, his mother considered 7

Armand, the youngest of six children, as God’s special gift to her especially after being widowed at an early age when Armand was just in second grade. Fr. Armand was born in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro on August 28, 1953. He entered the Society of Saint Paul in 1978 when he was already a professional. He took up Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines and Graphic Arts at Worcester School of Arts in Massachusetts, USA. He entered the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City where he took up AB Philosophy and continued his studies in Theology at the San Carlos Seminary Graduate School. He was ordained priest in 1983. This artist first discovered his talent in sketching at the young age of 8, when his whole class was asked by their teacher to draw a portrait of the nativity scene. His work was well appreciated and since then, he had been asked to do artworks for the school, and the rest is history. His works have been exhibited


at the San Sebastian Museum (1998), the National Historical Institute (1997), the U.P.Vargas Museum (1996), the Madrigal Center (1992), the Pacific Star (1992), the Hyatt Hotel (1990), the Manila Hotel (1989), the Philippine Center in New York City, U.S.A. (1999). Proceeds of these exhibits were always for charity, especially for the training and studies of seminarians and the apostolate of seminaries. Fr. Armand has also been commissioned to design stained glass windows of churches and paint contemporary as well as religious paintings that now adorn countless offices, buildings, chapels, and seminaries throughout the Philippines. Inspite of his invaluable contribution to the Church and the society through his artworks, Fr. Armand remains humble and very approachable, always ready to meet anyone with a friendly smile. His art is his medium in reaching out to the youth and the indifferent in order to spread the word of God and instill family values.




Bayan, Muling Magtipon!

Introducing the Filipino Catholic Community in Belgium Background: In his message for the World Migrant's Day 1993-94, the late Pope John Paul II said: "The phenomenon of migration involves a considerable part of humanity, forced for various reasons to leave their loved ones, homes and traditions in search of better future." The Filipinos are a fraction of this "considerable part of humanity" forced to leave their country. Basically for economic reasons, they migrate to provide family with financial improvement and education of their children. This phenomenon is not new but it is still the reality of today. There are about 8.5 million Filipinos estimated to be living or working overseas. Ten percent (850,000) of which is in Europe and about 14,000 or 15,000 of those are in Belgium.

The Church: In the Kingdom of Belgium, the biggest concentration of Filipino immigrants can be found in Brussels. About 4,000 migrants comprising of 80% Catholics make up the Filipino Community in this European Capital.The Filipino Chaplaincy in Brussels was given formal recognition on June 1997 by the Archbishop of Brussels, with the Saint-Remy Parish


Church in Molenbeek-St. Jean, Brussels, designated as the Center for Filipino Catholic Migrants. Like many Filipinos at the outset of migration, our kababayans in Belgium turn to the Church for solace, and considers it as an integral part of their new life.Whether the purpose is to visit, work, study, or to reside permanently, Filipino migrants in Belgium gather every Sunday in Saint-Remy to celebrate the Holy Mass. Here, all Filipinos become one family, and through the leadership of Rev Fr. Raymund E. Gaspar, STL, the Church becomes a 'home away from home'.

Demography: As usual as in many overseas Filipino communities, females dominate the population (about 50%) with the other 50% comprising of males, children and the youth combined. Most of the adults are immigrant workers; and as in other countries, most Filipinos in Belgium are engaged on household services and in the construction of houses and buildings.There are also Filipino nurses working in hospitals, especially in the cities of Charleroi and Brussels, as well as employees in different Foreign Embassies and diplomatic residences. Specifically in Belgium, there is also a growing

number of Filipino second generation workers in the business industries and banking institutions.

Pastoral Ministry: Aside from Faith development, the Filipino Chaplaincy in Brussels works toward family life development and cultural integration, providing care and protection for migrants (and assistance to undocumented migrants) and preparing young people to become future Church leaders. Currently, the Chaplaincy focuses on create an atmosphere for Filipino Leaders, both religious and civic, to further relate and complement one another by helping them forge a union based on similarities of purpose and on shared values and goals. It also encourages team relationships and active participation, through programs and activities that showcase the talents and skills of its community members (i.e., Education/Formation, Leadership Trainings, Social Services, Recreational Trips/Activities).

- The Filipino Chaplaincy in Brussels holds two masses during Sundays, 12:00 P.M. and 6:30 P.M., the latter of which being the Youth Mass. - The Church of Saint-Remy is located along Boulevard du Jubile, 1080-Brussels (Molenbeek). - This article would not be possible without the contribution of Rev Fr. Raymund E. Gaspar, STL, Chaplain of the Filipino Catholic Community in Belgium

Regularization: As in many countries, a big obstacle that faces many Filipino migrants in Belgium is the lack of legal residency and identity. There are an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 undocumented Filipinos in Belgium. Undocumented aliens and illegal residents in Belgium are forced to employ various strategies for survival. Working without labor rights, many of our fellow Filipinos engage in illegal work concentrated in cleaning services, constructions, hotels, restaurants and agriculture. Unfortunately, some employers and businesses continuously take advantage of this situation giving workers salary below the minimum wage. Often, female domestic workers are the most exploited and mistreated by employers, as is always the case. So far, the Filipino Chaplaincy has already provided personal assistance to more than 300 applicants for Regularization 2009.


MARCOS R. FOJAS, M.D., F.P.O.S.: The first and only Filipino physician and ophthalmologist in Greece By: Yoko Ramos-Vingno

For his tireless effort in helping his countrymen, in promoting Philippine culture, and for being an outstanding Filipino, both in the Greek and Filipino communities, Dr Marcos Fojas was conferred the “Presidential Banaag” award by Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in December 2002. It is the highest honor given to a Filipino living and working abroad. In September 2007, Dr. Marcos Fojas was elected as one of the Twenty Outstanding Filipinos Abroad by the Filamimage Magazine based in Washington DC. This prestigious international Award has been given annually for the past twenty two years now to Filipino achievers living abroad who have made a name for themselves and the Philippines. Dr Marcos Fojas is the first and only one Filipino from Europe to have been given this honor in 2007 as all previous awardees have been from the USA and Canada. Dr. Marcos R. Fojas, a charming and active septuagenarian, is the first and only Filipino doctor here in Greece and still very active in the practice of ophthalmology. Dr. Fojas hails from a big family in Manila, the second of eight children of Engineer Angel P. Fojas, Sr and Felisa del Rosario. Engr. Angel P. Fojas, Sr. (U.P. Engineering Class 1922) was voted U.P. FATHER OF THE YEAR in December 1962, as all his eight children were graduates of the University of the Philippines. Dr. Fojas graduated valedictorian at the Torres High School and finished with highest honors in college at the University of the Philippines. He took his medical studies at the UP College of Medicine and was among the top ten of his graduating class. He passed the Medical Board Examinations and became 14

a resident in the Department of Eye Ear Nose and Throat at the UP Philippine General Hospital. He also became an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the UP College of Medicine. I met Dr. Marcos Fojas through my Greek cardiologist, Dr Helen Marcoyannopoulou, his wife of 48 years, herself an accomplished medical practitioner, being a world-renowned cardiologist and a 2008 Department of Science and Technology (DOST) balik-scientist awardee. She is also one of the world’s renowned 67 experts in Metabolic Syndrome. Marcos and Helen met in London while on scholarships, pursuing post graduate studies in their respective fields. Helen joined Marcos when he returned to the Philippines, where he had a successful and rewarding private practice in Manila. Helen practiced in Manila where she also became a well known cardiologist in UP-PGH, and was also appointed as faculty member of the UP College of Medicine.

do” and immediately immersed himself in the Greek way of life, learning the language and the Greek culture easily. He got his licensures to practice medicine, and got an appointment as a Consultant to the biggest general Hospital. the Evangelismos University Hospital. Dr. Fojas not only broke barriers, he was also able to integrate and establish a very successful practice as an ophthalmologist whose patients were mainly Greeks. He attributes this big success above all, to the full and solid support of his wife, to his rigid training in the University of the Philippines and to his practical experience in Manila and more importantly, the wellknown Asian virtue of providing tender loving care to patients. Consequently, his being Asian and the professional and qualitative care he provided to his patients became his assets and brought more patients. His first two surgeries, considered “hopeless” by other colleagues, were successful and word got around Athens about this Asian ophthalmologist who was performing “miracle cures” thus attracting more patients” according to the Filipino Magazine in DC, USA. Dr Marcos Fojas projected a very positive image of his country. Through his numerous satisfied patients the Philippines and Philippine Medicine became known to the Greeks and Greek physicians who knew very little, or none at all, about our country at that time. Award from Kinshaza, Zaire. In 1971, the Fojases got an invitation from the World Health Organization to restructure the Congo General Hospital’s Ophthalmology and Cardiology Departments. They moved the whole family again to Kinshasa in the Republic of Zaire. Marcos was the Chief and Director of the Department of Ophthalmology and Helen was the Chief of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Before their term expired in 1973, they were conferred the “Grand Ordre des Medicins du Zaire” by the President for their outstanding services to the people of Zaire. When they returned to Greece, Dr Fojas resumed his medical profession. Having now become an

esteemed Filipino Ophthalmologist in Greece, Marcos became an inspiration to other Filipinos working in Athens and at the same time becoming like a father figure to the Filipino in Greece. Marcos and Helen extended free medical services and other assistance to distressed Filipinos, since there was no Philippine Embassy in Greece at that time. Marcos also became more active in the affairs of the Filipino community, being a founding member and President of the Board of Trustees of the Katipunan Philippines Cultural Academy (KAPHILCA) from 1997 to 2005, the first Filipino Community School in Athens which gives formal Philippine education to the children of Filipinos working in Greece. KAPHILCA teaches Philippine culture and traditions and language of Pilipino, and aims to encourage their young minds to keep their Filipino identity. In June 2006, the Philippine Ambassador appointed him as Special Adviser on KAPHILCA affairs. Marcos and Helen Fojas have indeed accomplished a lot by any standards. They live a good life, both are in good health and continue to pursue successful medical practice with two wonderful sons who are now professionals and equally successful. The two sons are following the footsteps of their parents; Dr Angel Constantino, is a graduate of the University of Bologna-Faculty of Medicine; while George, a graduate of the Florida Institute of Technology is pursuing a career in business. Marcos now travels a lot with Helen. He accompanies her in different regional and international Cardiovascular Congresses where she presents papers on a device she invented that detects very early hardening of the arterial wall (arteriosclerosis) thus being very useful in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The couple wants to give more and share these blessings to the less fortunate. Also, they made it their mission in life to promote Helen’s advocacy to have a healthy society through exercise and diet which are the key factors for living a good and healthy life.

Back to Athens. However, Helen had to return to Greece to take care of her elderly parents. Marcos followed, and though at first had difficulty adjusting to the Greek way of life, he did a “do as the Romans 15

Doce Pares Eskrima The Indigenous Traditional Filipino Martial Arts



interest. Together with our group, we promoted the art in Norway, and after 10 years I decided to start my own group. It was not easy but we did not lose hope. Sometimes, I mean most of the time, nobody came to train, later on our group become bigger and stronger. I have been invited to conduct local and international seminars.

R&W: How many members are there today? Should one be a member in order to train? Can one attend a session on individual basis, or without being a member?

my passion to learn more about Filipino martial arts is a must.

R&W: How did you start a club, was it difficult to start? Aside from you, who were the initial founders in Oslo? How many members were in the start?

DOCE PARES NORWAY was started in Oslo in December 2004 by Danilo “Danny” Huertas , Danny now holds the rank of 5th grade blackbelt in Doce Pares Multi Style System under the supervision of Grand Master (GM) Dionisio “Diony” Cañete and Master Percival “Val” Pableo. DP Norway is the official representative for Doce Pares International, Cebu, Philippines, which was founded in 1932. The objective of the club is to promote Filipino Martial Arts in Norway especially to the Filipino community.

Danny – In the beginning of my training, I joined the group of modern arnis, later on I met my Norwegian teacher Karl Johan, he trained me and guided me in the art, we trained in the park, just a teacher and student and one of my friends, Peyman joined us later. Then we started a small group with the same

Danny - Today, in my club, we have 17 members, from all over Norway we have around 30 members. Yes everyone is welcome to try even if they are not members. I teach individually, and conduct private and group seminars. I am certified to issue a certificate for basic, intermediate and advance Instructor. After completing this program you can represent Doce Pares in your place or in your club.

R&W: What is the importance (that skills in this martial arts form) can be use for?

From my experience the most important is learning the art to be humble, always have a clear mind and calm attitude. These are very important skills. But always prepare yourself in any kind of situation. Never start a fight but if you are in that situation you

DP Norway also represents WEKAF (World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation). WEKAF promotes the art in sporting events and holds the World and European Full Contact Stick fighting Championship. DP Norway holds court in comfortable premises in Øvre Fossum Gård, Stovner, Oslo. It was inspiring to watch Master Danny and senior student Rodel during their training session. R&W: Hi Danny, please tell us about yourself. How old were you when you started or become interested in Arnis/Eskrima? Did you do other forms of martial arts before this? Danny – I am 38 years of age, married and have two wonderful kids. Actually, I started eskrima when I came to Norway. In the Philippines, my grandfather was very well-known in boxing and he was my first teacher, he trained me in boxing when I was only 6 18

until 11 years old. I stopped training when he passed away, after that I did not train in any kind of martial arts. When I came to Norway I did try other martial arts like Aikido, wing chun, kick boxing, karate, but there is always something missing. It all started when I attended a seminar in Oslo which was held by a Filipino Martial Arts Master from Sweden, and “BOOM” that’s what I wanted to train and learn. It gave me the pride of being a Filipino and until now 19

gave all what you have to protect yourself or your love ones. Training with weapon makes you more aware, it gives you understanding how to defend yourself. In DocePares we developed our skills by training in different scenario attacks and defends drills, Amarra (the way man fight), and sparring with and without weapon.

develop their instincts and learn more about our root, culture, history through training of Arnis/Eskrima. The first recognized hero of our country is Lapu-Lapu, when we visit Cebu I make sure that we visit the Lapu-Lapu shrine in Mactan Island. When we were in Cavite we also visited the Shrine of the first president of our country, Emilio Aguinaldo.

R&W: Danny, please tell us, what characteristics are necessary in order to be a good practitioner of this martial arts form? Can you train anybody? Are there persons who cannot be trained?

It is important for our kids that even if they are born in another country we should guide them to remember “kung saan tayo galing at sino-sino ang mga naging bayani ng ating bansa” . Yes I recommended this to all Filipinos and FilipinoNorwegians. This makes us proud being a Filipino to support and train with our indigenous Filipino Martial Arts , “Sining Martial ng Pag tatangol sa Sarili”.

Actually it all depends on the practitioner, but it is important that you should have a lot of patience, interest in what you are going to train, discipline, and obedience. Yes, everybody can train in this art and it so easy to learn, for female and male, old and young. One of the GM in Doce Pares is GM Ciriaco “Cacoy” Cañete who is now 90 years old, still conducts seminars and trains regularly. GM Diony is now 72 years old and when I am in Cebu training with him he moves so gracefully. In case of people with bad attitude, personality, I am very careful with what I teach, and I can see this in just one or two sessions of training, but I do not lose hope to change his or her attitude to be a good and kind person.

R&W: We can see that your daughter Dannica, who is 11 years old is also a keen practitioner of eskrima. Can you tell us how old she was when she started, what level is she now? Can you recommend this to young Filipino and Filipino-Norwegians youth, both boys and girls, How about older people – me for example? Yes my daughter Dannicas likes to train with me, and not only her but also my son Sean. Dannica started training when she was 5 years old, not training on regular basis, but I train her just like we are playing. This is the same with Sean, I train kids in the same way that they develop their skills in coordination, balance,

Yes, older people can train the art including you Tita Luz; we can train “sayaw” using the Filipino martial Arts form here you can pick up a lots of technique that you can use for self defense .

R&W: Wow! I will surely come and try one of these evenings, I find this very interesting. Danny, Have you expanded in other places in Norway? What our your plans for the near future? Any long-range plans? Do you continue to develop? Please tell us!

Yes we have expanded with two clubs in Oslo, Stovner and University in Oslo, a group in South Norway in Arendal and in Skien, Norway. In other parts of Europe, we are in Hungary, Sweden and soon in Greece. I also work closely with other groups in Europe like Germany and UK London. With my group we will make sure that we will try what our GM in Philippines do, to preserve and share this art to the right people, to preserve it so that the future generation of Filipino Martial Arts practitioners will not pass away and will be proud of this art which 20

originated in our country. Long range plans? Our GM works hard that Arnis/ Eskrima will be part of the Olympics. Just like other martial arts forms, Arnis/Eskrima is very safe and very exciting to watch. Tita Luz even your son Edward did try the sparring session, it has headgear, gloves, body protector, arm pads to be sure that the practitioner will be safe. To be part of the Olympics is very hard and difficult, this will be our long range plans to help our Grandmaster. I will continue to develop, that’s for sure. In eskrima there is no “secret” but there are a lot to learn and need more understanding, and I always search by visiting other styles and other Grandmaster that promote FMA.

R&W: This is indeed a fantastic long-range plan and goal. Danny, do you have a special message to our readers?

First of all I want to thank you Tita Luz for giving me this chance to be interviewed “Daghang Salamat”! All are welcome to visit our club in Stovner, you are welcome to try and learn our traditional FMA - also your Norwegian husband or Norwegian wife. Being a Filipino in other country it is hard to find our identity, learning FMA is one way to show that we have our own Martial Arts, like in Japan they have Karate, in Korea Taekwondo, In China, Kung Fu. In the Philippines, Arnis is the National Martial Arts/ Sports “Kaya Tangkilikin ang Sariling Atin” Daghang Salamat Ulit Tita Luz at sa lahat ng Bumubuo ng Roots & Wings Magazine..

For more information Email: Call: +4797029914 Check the website: 21


First Filipino to be educated as lawyer in Norway In this issue, Roots & Wings is pleased and proud to feature the young, good-looking, vibrant- FilipinoNorwegian lawyer Joseph Noel S Vasquez,–who writes candidly of his growing up years, his “roots and wings”, his pride of being a Filipino, and most of all – priceless advice to the young Filipino-Europeans today! Joseph Noel holds a LLM in International and Comparative Law from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, B.A. (Hons.) in International Trade and English from the University of Portsmouth (UK) and Cand.jur. from the University of Oslo. He speaks fluently Tagalog, Norwegian, English, Spanish, and some French. Joseph Noel Sengco Vasquez is the youngest son amongst six siblings. He was born in Manila in 1965. His mother, Mrs. Agapita Sengco Vasquez is from Navotas and his father, Mr. Alexander Poblete Vasquez is from Naic, Cavite. His siblings are: Kuya Raul, who is a nurse and specialist in acupuncture, Ate Mimi who works with Nordea Bank, Dete Cherry who is dealing in real estate, Kuya Elvis who is an auditor and Kuya Bobby who owns his own beauty

parlour in Paléet in Karl Johans gate called “Roberto Hairdressing”. Joseph Noel never brags about his education or title to anyone, even though he has the highest education amongst his siblings, he is conscious of where his position is in the Filipino family hierarchy. His philosophy is that everyone is important in a society. Imagine if the cleaning personnel goes on strike at your work, the whole work place stops to function. The most important issue is that you have a decent job and that you enjoy what you are doing. I would however, modify a bit the latter statement. What is the use of studying a subject, if after graduation you will not find a job or earn almost nothing? You cannot live in utopia on air and love. Unfortunately, money is still important in order to survive. He knows very well that it is very difficult to decide on a future career when you are 15 years old. However, you must set three criteria when picking your education, which are: (1) Your interest (2) the possibility to get a job (3) the possibility to earn a decent salary. For me, those criteria were essential and they are cumulative criteria. I wanted to study languages after finishing high school, but my mom reiterated; Will you get a job with only language knowledge? What about the salary? - I am so happy that I finally decided to study law – the highest general education you can study. As the Norwegians say: Lawyers are like potatoes, they can be used to everything! Joseph Noel moved to Norway in the early ‘70s with his parents and his three brothers and two sisters to a small village in Telemark, called Rjukan. He received his whole education in Norway. As a normal Filipino family, his parents encouraged him to take a university degree. It is every Filipino family’s dream to have a



doctor, a priest or a lawyer in the family. Joseph Noel chose the latter career. Joseph Noel is currently working as a senior adviser with the Norwegian Customs and Excise, specializing in Money Laundering, anti- corruption and money smuggling. Moreover, his daily work consists of teaching Audit Enforcement Officers, replying to public hearings, contributing to international working groups in the OECD and the World Customs Organisation. Before his career in the Norwegian Customs and Excise, Joseph Noel worked with the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality, the Ministry of Labour, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) in Brussels.

first Filipino serving the military service in Norway. He was elected as a spokesman for 3.000 marines in the Norwegian Navy. Joseph Noel still remembers the first meeting with the admiral who asked him if he spoke Norwegian. What an odd question, did the admiral really think Joseph Noel was elected by luck? He also remembers his time at the university being the only Asian Law Student. Joseph Noel is today happy to see all the ambitious Vietnamese and Pakistanis at the Faculty of Law. He still looks forward to seeing more Filipinos going to university. I try to show the young Filipinos the benefit of growing up in this lovely country with free education offered by the Norwegian Government. Many young Filipinos in the Philippines would have given anything to receive free education. Many young Filipinos in Norway identify themselves with other young native Norwegian students, where the family encourages to them to do whatever they like in their career. I think they call it “free upbringing” of their children. This is fair enough, but do not forget, we do not have an equal point of departure. Their family has been here for generations. Let me give a simple example. When I grew up, I really admire my classmates, having everything, the finest clothes, the smartest bicycles, the most expensive ski equipment etc. We could not afford that, since we just moved to Norway. They did what their parents encouraged them to do – do whatever they wanted to, meaning not necessarily a university degree. My classmates picked the easiest way of life, started to work early without having studied hard at the university. Who says that studying a university degree is an easy task? I put my feet in a bucket with cold water in order not to fall asleep while reviewing for my final exams. I studied almost 14 hours daily for the last six months of Law School.

“You don’t need a University Degree to become a successful immigrant abroad, although possessing one makes for greater job opportunity and financial security.”

Interests. Joseph Noel likes to ski, (being brought up in Rjukan, did he have any choice?), swimming, play the clarinet, he loves to visit his apartment in Spain (as often as he can), eating delicious Filipino food (his favourite dish is “kare-kare with bagoong”) and reading literature. Furthermore, Joseph Noel is a Board Member of the Section for Government and State at the Norwegian Association of Lawyers (Juristforbundet). Unfortunately, he has not been to Manila since 1995, but his heart will always belong to the Philippines. Whenever people ask him his origin, he always answers “Filipino” although he lost his Filipino citizenship in 1973, when he became a Norwegian citizen. There are two reasons for his answer; one being it is easier to answer Filipino and not explaining his whole life situation. Besides, he is really proud of being Filipino. Do you have advice to Filipino youngsters in Norway? YES, I have talked to Filipino youngsters. Some complain about how difficult it is to integrate into the Norwegian society. Hey, who told you that life is easy? When I grew up, I inherited my brother’s clothes seven years later. How cool do you think that was? Living abroad is not an easy task. Joseph Noel was the 24

and their son. The son could no longer speak Tagalog (bulol na daw, ang anak nila sa Tagalog). They told me that they moved to Norway in 2003. The son was seven years old when they moved to Oslo. They also proudly told me that when they travelled to the Philippines in 2008, everybody in their village envied them since their son no longer spoke Tagalog and that they could easily tell they were “Balik Bayan”. I thought; “What a weird way to be “Mayabang” of. I really felt sorry for them. How can you deny your origin? “When I told them that I had live in Norway for 40 years and I still spoke Tagalog fluently, they probably felt a bit upset.

When I was younger, I was embarrassed to speak Tagalog in front of my Norwegian friends. They were laughing at me since they did not understand the language when I was speaking Tagalog with my parents. My mom gave me no pocket money if I did not speak Tagalog to my parents. Who wants to live without the possibility to go to cinema, buy magazines, toys etc.? I am so glad my mom encouraged me to speak Tagalog, letting my trips to the Philippines be in an easy way by knowing how to speak the language. I can also today add Tagalog in my CV. Thanks mom, I love you! I am eternally grateful to you for sharing your wisdom with me.

I think this practice is sad, because you never know maybe the children would want to move back to the Philippines sometime in the future. Being able to speak their native language would ease their immigration back to the Philippines. Furthermore, the communication with their family in the Philippines would be easier if they speak their native language. You do not have to brag in the Philippines of being “Balik Bayan” and not speak Tagalog. It is more sophisticated (and if you have to brag) that you speak four or five languages. Teaching your children Tagalog is a positive way for the children to learn it. They do not even think about how difficult the grammar is. They just learn it.

We should be proud of our roots. Perhaps the government is not running the country in a smooth path, but the Philippines is a lovely country. The culinary art, the culture, the smiling faces, the history and scenery, is something we should be proud of. OK, the last advice. Money does not make you happy, but it ease the way of living your life and gives financial security and comfort. Last phrase from my mom: “it does not matter what you earn, but what you save.” Good luck with your choice of career! All the best, Joseph Noel

Like many other Filipinos, I admire my mom who worked as a teacher in Manila. I see many Filipinos who do not bother to teach their native language to their children. I recently talked to a Filipino couple 25

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Yo u t h i n fo c u s By: Hanna Stenbacka Perhaps lolo and lola never imagined how complex the cultural identity of their grandchildren would be. A youth today may have one parent from Sweden and the other from the Philippines, albeit in early life never resided in either. She moves perhaps twice or thrice between the west coast of the USA and the outmost part of Asia, to return to Sweden where she enrolls in an English-speaking high school. She later pursues higher level studies in a neighboring European country, and then takes a few years to study or work in the Philippines. How can we as Filipino youth preserve our multi-cultural identity and keep in touch with our Filipino roots while living abroad? We ask ten young Filipino/Filipino-Swedes how it is to live as third culture youth in Sweden. We find that even as Sweden provides great opportunities to pursue high-quality education and a platform to engage in politics, recreational and social activities, these individuals maintain a stark need to remember their background. As they avail of the blessings given to them, and as they eagerly test the paths that unfold, they do not forget in their aspirations and in their dreams, their desire to preserve the Philippine culture while living in Europe- now and for the years to come.


1. What are you doing to preserve your multi-cultural identity? 2.Are you involved in the socio-political cultural issues in Sweden? 3. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the socio-political cultural climate of the Philippines? 4.What does the Filipino-Swedish youth promote friendship, understanding and a sense of community? 5.How do you perceive your future in Europe and what is your role in it?

1. What are you doing to preserve your multi-cultural identity? 2.Are you involved in the socio-political cultural issues in Sweden? 3. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the socio-political cultural climate of the Philippines? 4.What does the Filipino-Swedish youth promote friendship, understanding and a sense of community? 5.How do you perceive your future in Europe and what is your role in it?

in Stockholm.

I would be interested to be more active in media and web design- but even in other activities such as community service.

3. I have travelled back to the Philippines to visit my relatives, but have not had very much contact with them when away. However, as my educational program at Stockholm University gives me the possibility to study or work one semester abroad, I would be interested in using this opportunity to go to the Philippines to gain more experience of the Philippines and to broaden my contacts.

3. Through the Internet, for example via facebook I communicate with my aunts, uncles and other relatives.

4. I have not had the opportunity to be so involved

4. Functions such as the event for young Filipinos at


1. I have attended Swedish schools all my life and

through this I identify as quite Swedish. While I do not do anything particularly quintessential to preserve my multi-cultural identity, I do hang out with a few Swedish-Filipinos. When I was younger I was also a pen-pal and exchanged letters with youth from the Philippines. My passion is cooking and baking, and when it comes to food; I love to experience and prepare different kinds of cultural dishes.

2. I am a member of a community service organization, and have worked as a volunteer at a homeless center

the Philippine Embassy help to promote friendship. I think to achieve understanding and a sense of community; one can avail of the Internet via websites such as facebook. It is a good and effective way come into contact with other Filipinos.

5. I can see myself working in Sweden in the future,

I feel at home here and accustomed to the society. I am presently studying Business Administration and Economics at Stockholm University and in the future hope to work in this field. While I see myself permanently based in Sweden, I can imagine myself working for a period with this occupation in the Philippines.


1. Firstly, I am proud of being a Filipino. I socialize

with a lot of Filipinos and Asians of other nationalities as well. At home the Philippine cuisine is alive since we have a lot of pansit and adobo.

2. I am very culturally involved in society, with a focus on aesthetics and Art and Crafts in my high school. I have a lot of paintings, sketches, and sculptures which are presented in the Art Exhibitions at our school.

with the Filipino youth, but I think that understanding and a sense of community can be established through organizing outdoor games or other fun activities. It’s also important to remember that food keeps people together, we Filipinos love food, hanging out and we usually will bring along a friend.

5. I want to pursue creativity to the maximum-

through designing, painting, or using technology to develop music beats. It is also important for me that I find my work stimulating as I tend to tire if my work environment becomes monotonous. Group work is required in all levels of life, through since I also enjoy working individually; I can see myself one day opening my own business, related to aesthetics.

questions about the Philippines.

2. I am part of an association in my school called

3. The news and TV Patrol is always on in our

Synergy and recently we have been active with organizing charity concerts, such as the Haiti-Benefit Show after the natural disaster for the children there.

household. My parents and I discuss the current elections and the voting. In order to get a greater grasp on certain issues, I would like to talk to those living in the Philippines for their local insight.

3. Through community websites such as facebook, I am able to stay in contact with close friends and family in the Philippines.

4. I sometimes attend the YFL Youth for Family and

4. I have attended functions such as the Filipino Youth


1. Apart from my Filipino-Swedish side I also have

been influenced by the American culture as I have attended American international schools for all my life. To preserve my Filipino-identity I eat Filipino cuisines at home, travel back to the Philippines, and try to establish contact with other young Filipinos. 28

Party organized at the Philippine Embassy. I thought it was a great way to meet some of the Filipino teenagers within Stockholm that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet. Since I am relatively new to Sweden, I look forward to even more social gatherings to establish more frequent contact with the youth.

5. I want to take up engineering and hoping for a scholarship at a prestigious school abroad, potentially in USA or Great Britain. I believe that I will be a valuable asset in Europe, and looking forward to a tranquil retirement in Sweden.


1. I live in a Filipino community but at the same time

try to adjust to the European culture. To maintain my Filipino side I try to keep my tagalog alive, socialize with Filipinos, and following social etiquette such as helping out at home before I have my free time.

2. I coach a Swedish Basketball League for young

Swedish children aged six to eight. Most children are Swedish so it’s great when the parents ask me

Life which meets once or twice a week. In line with my interest in sports, I also play basketball with many Filipinos so it becomes easy to keep in touch. There is one group of musicians/rappers who produce and record songs. Sometimes people might not know there is an event going on and I hope that through sites such as facebook, we can encourage youth to join the young Filipino community.

5. Since I grew up in Sweden I can see myself

spending most of my life here. One of my visions or dreams is starting up an entrepreneurship where I open a personal training center for basketball in the Philippines. 29

1. What are you doing to preserve your multi-cultural identity? 2.Are you involved in the socio-political cultural issues in Sweden? 3. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the socio-political cultural climate of the Philippines? 4.What does the Filipino-Swedish youth promote friendship, understanding and a sense of community? 5.How do you perceive your future in Europe and what is your role in it?

1. What are you doing to preserve your multi-cultural identity? 2.Are you involved in the socio-political cultural issues in Sweden? 3. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the socio-political cultural climate of the Philippines? 4.What does the Filipino-Swedish youth promote friendship, understanding and a sense of community? 5.How do you perceive your future in Europe and what is your role in it?

off my floorball team and basketball team.

Philippines. Outside many think that it is a corrupted country, and I’d like to break that urban myth. Hence, I want to be more active in the Philippine political realm. I go to ABS-CSBN or ANC channel to see keep myself up to date with politics and the economy.

3. I would like to keep myself up to date with the politics

in the Philippines with the election coming up, but I don’t really have a natural interest for politics, when I try to read about the politics, I find that my affinity to sports draws me to the sports news. Sometimes I hear the latest regarding the Philippine Basket Association, PBA, but I do not follow it regularly.

4. The St. Eugene Church has a youth group, camps

4. We get together and do activities but I am not able to


1. I don’t think I’m making an effort to preserve my

multi cultural identity, it preserves itself. At home I am exposed to the Philippine culture and outside the home, the Swedish. I have many Philippine friends and I speak tagalog fluently, all which help me keep my cultural identity.

2. Personally I’m not so involved in socio – political groups, I am mostly focused on sports; I am a member

attend each and every event, because of my schedule; sometimes I need to skip an event for my sports. There are groups that you can join but I’m not a member in any of those groups.

5. In high school my course is called Sports

Entrepreneur, which focuses on the functioning of the body, leadership skills, and how to improve to be better trainer. My focus in school is primarily my sports and floorball. As of now, I don’t have any plans yet on what I want to become- I will just have to wait and see what’s in store for me.


1. When I came to Sweden the cultural impact was

quite fierce; I had a Philippine moral and everyone here was very independent. With regards to courtesy, in the Swedish mentality, if someone cuts you in the line you let them pass, but in the Filipino culture one will be more quick to express their feelings. I have been affected by these different rules and mentalities and I try to apply the best of the respective cultures to make myself the best person I can be.

2. In Sweden, we have a functioning, supportive the past I was also a member of the Moderate Party Youth Association because I was interested in politics. Because of my time constraints, today I focus on my studies.

3. I discuss current issues with my parents and keep

email contact with my cousins who keep me up to date.

system. I have recently been getting more involved in politics because I want to better things for the next generation. In Sweden many things are considered lagom, or mild; for example, everyone in society has similar perspectives and all are given equal opportunity. I want to develop and use my leadership skills in the Philippines, because I believe there is a high demand for such roles, more so than in Sweden.

3. I am concerned to keep myself up-to-date with the

and other activities to encourage youth to interact with each other. Basketball competitions also provide a great venue to meet others. Filipino food is even sold here, and such events also attract advertisements. I am presently in the process of establishing the Young Filipinos in Sweden organization, to encourage youths to achieve their potential (in academics, talents etc.) and to rekindle interest in the Philippines. Activities will range from learning how to cook Filipino food, to problem solving with aim of improving situations/ issues in the Philippines. A facebook-group will soon be formed to give detail on the aims and activities of the organization, as well as announce the date of the first gathering.

5. I see Europe as a stepping stone for my life and for

my country. I am going to study Political Science in London as well as working on becoming an author. Through my organization, I have a long-term goal to promote stronger bonds not just in Sweden but within Europe. This will help build a platform for an eventual political career- by molding my leadership skills. I encourage Filipinos in Europe to bring their knowledge to the Philippines; the future of the Philippines lays in second generation Filipinos and overseas Filipinos.

4. Many youth meet at sports events or at Church. I


1. I preserve the Filipino side of my identity as I have

a lot of Filipino friends, have played on the basketball league, and also love to eat Filipino-food.

2. I played basketball for almost over ten years on the

Swedish National Team for youth. When I was young I was determined that it was going to be my career but after I injured by knee I aspired for other dreams. In 30

think that the youth could also promote these things by having access to a venue or a youth center where they know that they can meet other Filipino kids; a place to hang out, study, and play games and music.

5. I am very fond of economics, and so I went into sales and ended up working for an insurance company. Now I am studying to be a civil engineer at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan KTH. The program focuses on much practical application which I find important. I see myself working in Sweden in the future, but if the opportunity comes along I could also be interested to work in the Philippines.


1. I think it is a privilege to be able to have a multi-

cultural identity and to be able to see a situation through different eyes- since I have a background from several cultures. As I am born in Sweden, I have a tight connection to Swedes, however through my mother’s side I can be in touch with the Filipino part of me. At home, for example, we speak tagalog.

2. When my mother organizes events, such as Christmas parties or other activities, I have sometimes supported her by helping out with arrangements. I am


1. What are you doing to preserve your multi-cultural identity? 2.Are you involved in the socio-political cultural issues in Sweden? 3. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the socio-political cultural climate of the Philippines? 4.What does the Filipino-Swedish youth promote friendship, understanding and a sense of community? 5.How do you perceive your future in Europe and what is your role in it?

1. What are you doing to preserve your multi-cultural identity? 2.Are you involved in the socio-political cultural issues in Sweden? 3. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the socio-political cultural climate of the Philippines? 4.What does the Filipino-Swedish youth promote friendship, understanding and a sense of community? 5.How do you perceive your future in Europe and what is your role in it?

not a Swedish citizen, but this is the first time I am allowed to vote by age; with a Swedish citizenship I believe that I would be more involved on a political front, otherwise right now my main focus is my studies and my sports.

Filipino/Filipino-Swedes together; I believe that it is important to influence societies by encouraging understanding between cultures. This is something I hope to do in the future.

as singing in our church youth choir and playing the violin at the Royal College of Music.

3. I have never lived in the Philippines, but I have

Karolinska Institute, and I definitely see a future for me in Europe. I hope to engage in more on socio-political issues; because of my multicultural background I do not see in black or white, but rather gray. Many of the problems of the world come from that people cannot see through another’s eyes- but we are all people in the end. My philosophy is really to bring people together- to promote understanding and acceptance, while simultaneously respecting and keeping one’s own culture alive.

relatives and many close ones there. My ties to the Philippines encourage me to try to keep myself updated, and to try to change the things that I can do something about, even while abroad.

4. Sports such as basketball promote friendship and

understanding- both if you participate in the game itself and or if you are watching and cheering on the teams. For me, I focus on connecting Swedes and

3. I read a light-read online blog written by an

1. After four years in Sweden, I have learned to adapt

to the Swedish culture. In many ways, my lifestyle is acquainted with the typical Swedish culture, but I preserve my multicultural identity by networking with people from different cultural areas. I have friends with whom I speak tagalog, English, and of course living in Sweden pushes me to speak Swedish on a regular basis.

2. I work with the Swedish branch of End Child

Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking ECPAT is an international non-government organization. After reading the story of a Filipina girl who was sexually abused, I followed the vision of the ECPAT by forming Students against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children SACSEC. I also work with 32

extreme heat. A part of me longs to be home. Even if I live in Sweden and I am not physically in the Philippines, I care about being up-to-date with media, politics and current events. I care because I know that whatever it is I hear about, my friends and family back home are experiencing it.

5. I am studying to become a Physiotherapist at

Extrakompis which gives opportunity to adults or teenagers with physical/mental disabilities to become more established within a social area. Oftentimes one makes good friends working here. Ny Gemenskap is a community service for the homeless in Stockholm, where I help with various chores.


3. A part of me longs for the busy traffic and the

anonymous Filipino writer who discusses a range of topics- from chocolate prices to the current elections. The blog does not give a full grasp for all issues, but it is a good starting point when one wants to be informed about the latest local talk. My other source of information is my relatives back home, who keep me informed of current Philippine events.

4. One thing we Filipino-European youth do amongst

SAMUELLE FILEA FAJUTRAO VALLES 1. I have only been to international English-speaking

schools my nine years in Sweden. Currently I study at the International English Gymnasium in Södermalm, and there I am exposed to a multicultural environment on a daily basis, i.e. not just Swedish outside the house and Filipino inside. Hence, being multi-cultural is not a matter of preservation, but really what makes me who I am!

2. I am currently the school’s Minister of Public

Relations in our Student Council. Outside school, I hope to soon be volunteering at a retirement home. Additionally, I am active in an international youth group named Youth for Christ Foundation for Family and Life. Lastly, I do a lot of musical activities, such

ourselves, is really stick together. Through good times and bad times, we are with each other all the way no matter what. When my sister and I go around town and see someone from the Philippines, we would always refer to them as a kababayan. In literal translation that would be “towns mate”. Really, it means we see them as family. We Filipino-European youth promote friendship already by using this word and referring other to fellow Filipinos as family.

5. I really love Europe. It feels as though one is in the middle of the world, surrounded by endless possibilities. With this said, I feel as though any future I wish for can be achieved as long as I strive for it. Along the way, wherever I go, each step I take I will always remember where I come from and be proud over my Filipino heritage. This will be my role here, to stand strong and always be proud for who I am.

4. Many youth are active in church, such as Youth

for Christ YFC and the youth choir. They are also active in sport events. In order to promote a sense of community, I would be interested in the creation of even more establishments, such as forming tagalog classes for youth.

5. While I am not yet sure of my future role in Europe

I do consider Sweden as my home away from home. I am a student working on a zoology degree, and through my occupation I would love to see myself following rhino footprints in the middle of the Tanzanian landscape or swimming side by side the bull sharks of Queensland, Australia. 33

charged particles from the sun accelerates to the speed for the Aurora Borealis to appear.

eyes off it. I remember those many evenings when I as a kid would press my face to the window and stare at the beautiful scenery in the sky.

Northern lights Aurora Borealis

By: Anna Theresa Andersson, 16 years old

Sometimes we come across things in our lives that make us pause for a moment. It can be a name in a newspaper, a person passing by who makes you think of someone from your schooldays, a song that you recognize but can’t tell from where. It can also be things that happen in the sky. When I was nine years old, we were driving home with the whole family from the supermarket with our car filled with groceries. After awhile, my father suddenly stopped the car and parked at the side of the road. He stepped out of the car and the rest of us followed him. My father loves nature and natural sceneries – he enjoys watching birds and watching heavenly bodies. 34

When the world famous Swedish botanist, Carl von Linne, went on his expeditions around northern Sweden, it often happened that he would see the Northern Lights. It was the time when nobody knew what caused this phenomena. At that time, people were superstitious, so their explanations were fanciful. Even longer than that, when people believed that the Earth was flat and that every ocean was surrounded by big fires, a common explanation of the Aurora Borealis was that the light from these fires were reflected in the sky which caused the phenomena. There were also strange speculations about glaciers that gathered so much force that they finally became luminous. Or that it was people in the mountains who ran around with torches and searched for their reindeers. Some people in Scandinavia even went so far that they named the Northern Lights “Sillblixt” (sill=herring; blixt= lightning), because they believed that the northern light was a reflection of the big shoal of herring in the sea.

Now he was looking up. It did not take very long for me to recognize the brilliantly colored explosion that covered the sky. My father only said one word: ”Norrsken“ which is the word for Northern Lights in Swedish. Or Aurora Borealis.

So, if the Northern Lights are not caused by any glaciers or big shoals of fish, then what causes it? Well, the Northern Lights is made up of particles from the sun that collides with the Earths magnetic field. Some people say that the Northern Lights come with some kind of sound, but there are no scientific proof to it.

I will try to explain this celestial phenomena for those of you who have never experienced it. One can describe the Aurora movements over the sky as like a curtain that has been caught by the wind. Its intensity changes from moment to moment, just like its position in the sky. It is mostly greenish in color but it can also be reddish at times. The Northern Lights is like an oil painting in the sky, so beautiful you cannot take your

But let us not forget that the Northern Lights which we see here in the northern hemisphere, has a counterpart, which is the Southern Light, which can be seen from the southern hemisphere. The generic name for both northern and southern lights is the Polar Light, which can be seen around the two magnetic poles of the Earth, where the electrically

Here in northern Sweden, magnetic midnight usually occurs at ten o’clock in the evening. That is when one in general can see the Northern Lights in the northerly parts of this far stretched country. Many of us are not aware that the Northern Lights always occur somewhere in the sky, but it is not easy to see when it is too bright. For those of you who want to experience the Northern Lights, there are some special trips available, mostly from Iceland, which is located close to the polar circle. Even now that I am already 16 years old, I am still fascinated by the peculiar scenery of the Northern Lights. Yes I am so lucky to have experienced it so many times, but each time I still feel very happy when the Aurora paints the sky. It is so simple, so mystical, so enchanting. I do not question the scientific explanation of it all, but sometimes I still cannot help but wonder.

The author of this article is 16-years old Anna Tagaro Andersson. She does not mind being called “Uggla” which is the Swedish word for “Owl”. Anna likes discussions and getting involved in all sorts of things, getting to know people, hugging, writing, learning, drinking tea with friends, listening to music, going to concerts, festivals and travelling. In the future, Anna would like to be a volunteer helping other people, writing books, seeing the world and she plans to study Physics.


Paying it Forward By: A. Margarita Klippmark, FGCA Sweden When we Filipinos migrate to a foreign land, we carry with us a flame of hope in our hearts - the hope to realize our dreams soon or eventually. Starting our life in another country comes with difficult challenges. Challenges we often overcome through hard work and challenges that lead us to success and bring us promising possibilities. One promising possibility most of us never cease to work for is the golden opportunity to help our loved ones left behind in the Philippines, to help improve their lives, so that they may be assets to themselves and the Philippine society. Some cultures do not understand this very strong sense of obligation in the heart of the Filipino, but we are simply raised with the value of sharing. It is inherent in us to share our blessings with those in need, no matter how much fortune we have acquired…it lies in our nature to “pay it forward”. Alicia Andersson, a native of Bohol, now a resident of Umeå Sweden since 1990, has always had a strong altruistic vision, not only for her loved ones but also for those who she thinks need and deserve her help the most. Alicia believes that education is a human right. “I believe that every child should have

the right to free education and health care and that every human being should have the same rights, values and responsibilities irrespective of race, color and nationality”, this is how Alicia expresses her altruistic vision. With this statement, Alicia founded the Filipino Global Charity Association in the year 2005 together with a few Filipinos residing in Sweden. She also remains its president. The Filipino Global Charity Association is a non-political, non-profit and non-religious organization. Its goal is to help poor but deserving students in the Philippines get a college or university education by offering scholarship grants. This organization is a combined voluntary effort by Filipinos around the globe who share the same vision. Presently the FGCA is supporting two scholars. One is from Cebu City and the other one, who is soon to acquire a bachelor’s degree in education, comes from Bohol. In June 2010, two more scholarships will be granted to students at the Mindanao State University. The FGCA acquires funds through membership fees, donations from private individuals, Filipino and foreign organizations, business entities and proceeds raised from different events.

Membership is most welcome and truly appreciated. The more members the organization has the more scholarship grants are made available to the poor but deserving Filipino youth. The FGCA is officially registered with the Swedish tax authorities under Organization Certificate Number: 802429-4905 Membership info: 100 SEK/year/ member, Sweden 10 Euros/yr/ member Europe 12 US dollars/year/ member, outside Europe 300 PhP/year/member Philippines

The officers are: Elisa Bombis, Core Leader, in charge of Management and Administration; Rose Morgado-Schwarz, Assistant Core Leader & Overall Coordinator; Arlene Noebbe, Secretary/Treasure and Public Relations Officer; Mel Fingerhut, Music Ministry/Choir Leader.

Swedish Bankgiro #: 5686-3640


FILIPINO COMMUNITY KIEL “Expect great things from God” The Filipino Community Kiel was founded in August 8, 2009 at the residence of Rose Morgado-Schwarz, with the presence of our brothers and sisters in Christ from Hamburg and Kiel. We have five Marks of Mission for the realization of our visions. To date, four ladies are sharing the workload, giving their time, effort, and talent for the growth of FC Kiel.

JOIN the FGCA in its noble cause!

For membership, contact the FGCA treasurer: Julieta Monterroyo-Eriksson, E-mail: More information about the FGCA, its members, board members and its noble work can be found at:

Interoptik Kjølberg Optiske As Brøtergt. 2 p.b. 124 2001 Lillestrøm, Norway Tlf. +47 63811622

As of this writing, we are preparing for our first Easter Cantata to be presented during our Easter Mass on the 5th April, also marking the 5th Year Anniversary of the celebration of the first Filipino Mass here in Kiel.

Come, let us join in fellowship! Filipino Community Kiel Knooperweg 42, 24103 Kiel, Germany - c/o Elisa Bombis Tel. +49 431 587 8372; Fax. +49 431 787 280 Email:

Ms. Alicia Andersson (far right) together with some FGCA members & the FGCA Treasurer, Julieta Eriksson (holding the donation box) during a fund raising campaign in Stockholm, Sweden in 2006.


Heike Bielek A young German-Filipina Scientist, Artist, Dancer Behind the very traditional German name Heike one would not immediately expect the nature of an exotic Eurasian; but in fact, it is the story of the name that implies exactly this German - Philippine fusion. Putting together parts of her fathers name Heinz and her mother’s Philippine nickname Ke, Heike is what you get.

Rexceluz Evangelista -Soprano Rexceluz Evangelista graduated March 2008 at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance (Cum Laude) and Music Education (Cum Laude) under the tutelage of Maestra Irma Ponce-Enrile Potenciano. She has performed as a soloist in various chamber recitals, concerts and mass ceremonies usually accompanied by the UST Symphony and Wind Orchestra. She was a member of the Coro Tomasino which has performed various concerts such as Sampung Daliri Atbp, Paco Park Presents and the Annual Music Summer Camp Festival. Rexceluz was the first-prize winner in the UST Conservatory of Music Voice Competition last March 2005, which earned her the Emiliano C. Cruz Foundation Inc. Scholarship. She had performed at the Francisco Santiago Hall of BDO Makati together with the UST Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Prof. Renato Lucas. She was also featured soloist 38

at the Phil-am Life auditorium with the Clarion Chamber Ensemble. She played the lead role in Dr. Rose Puertollano’s three-act zarzuela “Bukas May Liwanag,” portrayed the role of “Olga” in Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” and “Prince Orlofsky” in Johann Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus.” She had also participated in master classes of Eddye Pearce-young, Abdul Candao and Marvin Keenze.

She refers herself as a “German potato”, but is extremely proud of her Philippine touch: “Most people in Germany are like the weather here, cold and unfriendly, compared to the very polite and warm nature of Filipinos. I think that’s where I got my sunny personality from, besides my looks.” Heike Bielek was born in Frankfurt, Germany, 9th of February 1983. She is the eldest from the 2 children of the formerCorazon Lagrimosa, a Certified Public Accountant of San Jose, Antique (Island of Panay), Phil. Her father is a German and a retired Fine Mechanic (known among his friends as Elvis Presley, among Filipino as German Freddie Aguilar). Heike absolved her High School final exams in 2002

and gained her Masters in Biotechnology at University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt to become an Engineer. She was always eager to live in the United States to broaden her knowledge and the perspectives for her career, so she was lucky when her parents send her to California, USA, as an exchange student when she was only 16 years old. There she lived with a host family for one year, attended high school and experienced the American way of life. Later, in the year 2007, she obtained a full scholarship at the renowned Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla – San Diego, California, for her diploma thesis. Now, she is determined to gain her PhD in science at the high ranking University of Freiburg, Germany. While today there is no question about her career orientation as a scientist, it was not always a clear decision on that behalf. In fact, from very young age her talents would lie more in the corner of arts, dance and acting. In Elementary School, her arts teacher already mentioned that her paintings were exceptional. But the greater passion was the stage.

She won the 2ND prize for Female Voice Category C of the prestigious 2007 National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA). She was also a featured soloist at the Messiah and the Christmas Carol tradition conducted by David Wordsworth in the December 2007 concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. At present, Rexceluz pursues her further studies at the “Hochschule fur Musik – Franz Liszt” in Weimar, Germany. 39

At the age of 9, she started her dancing activity and stage experience by joining a competitive carnival cheerleading dance group, where she would be attending several championships (Junior German Champions in 1998) and performances during Carnival season. Due to her acrobatic talent, she started to be a soloist by the age of 14 for two years. As for sharing the Philippine culture, her family is part of the Philippine Cultural Institute – Frankfurt. She regularly used to contribute a dancing performance at the annual Philippine Cultural Festival in Dietzenbach (PCI Fiesta Filipina), the biggest Philippine summer event in the area of Frankfurt, where also the rest of her family would participate in by dancing and singing (not at least to mention her German father singing Filipino songs, especially the famous song “ANAK” by Freddie Aguilar). Beauty contests are other typical Philippine events, so her mother encouraged her to participate in the Selection for Miss Frankfurt, the winner to be delegated to the contest for Miss Germany, when she was 16 years old. When turning age 24, she was one of the candidates in the Miss Philippine-Europe by the “Kapisanan ng mga Filipinos” in Aachen, 2007.

While going to High School in California, she was much thrilled by the opportunity of dance and acting. So she went to several auditions to be performing in

school stage plays, musicals and dance events (some of it was shown on local television). Back in Germany she quit the carnival club and attended dance classes, like Jazz and Ballet. She joined another successful company for show dance, attending several tournaments to qualify for the annual IDO (International Dance Organization) organized Worldwide Championship of Show Dance - the biggest international event in this discipline. When she left her team in 2007, to move to the very South of Germany for her PhD, it became just clearer for her to continue dance more professionally besides her scientific work. She continued her dance classes in Jazz and Ballet and became a member of the most successful jazz dance company in Freiburg of semi-/ and professional dancers, performing together with members of the Freiburg Academy of Dance. Until today, she performs on several small or big events like exhibitions, fashion shows, in theatres and television, whereas on the other hand she gives presentations of her scientific work in seminars and conferences and aids students in the laboratory. “I would like to be both, a successful scientist and passionate performer. It keeps my balance and both halves of my brain active. Maybe I’m multi-tasking because I’m also multicultural. And as we know, Filipinos take everything more relaxed and easy, so can I!” Heike (27).

Unforgettable Philippines Untiring Filipina

By: Lucy Kampa

If only I could choose my birthplace, I should have chosen GERMANY, where Germans are enjoying many privileges of being western Global citizens. Protected by fair laws and orders, enjoying social unity and solidarity, aware of Human Rights and Social Justice.

I was asking him unusual questions at my early age about “NEPOTISM in the Philippines”, Racial Discrimination within Filipinos, the endless poverty in the Philippines, the power of the Catholic Church, the abusive Filipino politicians, social injustice, and so on…

Sad to say ! My parents have no choice. PHILIPPINES is my birthplace.

My father was most of the time speechless. He did not give me concrete explanation to those topics instead he motivated me to keep working and continue learning.

I arrived in Germany in the year 1988. I was 25 years old and have gained Bachelor´s degree in the Philippines. The political and economic situation in Germany at that time was very stable. And it inspired me. My life in the Philippines was being characterized as a typical conservative Filipina. Inspite of the economic crisis and political turmoil in the country before, my parents did not complain. We kept on working and like other hundreds of Filipino families in the Barangay, we were active in the Catholic Church activities. I was too young to understand and react such political turmoil. I was too powerless to fight against social injustice. But the political discussion with my late Filipino Father was very unforgettable.

He was right. And I am not tired of asking the same questions until now. The answers are very clear. After more than 20 years of working and living in Germany. My life experiences, my personal working experiences in the German society are good enough to get answers to those questions. Though it took me years to comprehend such topics, for me it is not too late. And if my personal mission and vision in life maybe different from my fellow Filipinos abroad, we should not forget – our aim - I guess, is quite the same. Never to forget Philippines... Untiring but Challenging …!

MANGO FILIPINO – ATIN ITO ! One of the Charity Actions done by “Fair International Deal Services” in Germany, was the selling of “Filipino Dried Mangoes” from the Philippines. Mrs. Lucy Kampa, managing director of FIDS initiates this project.The principle of selling the Filipino Dried Mangoes is very simple. In order to promote Mango Filipino produced in the Philippines and in order to help in a long term basis the Poor Farmers Cooperative of the Philippines. Every single profit gained was being donated by FIDS to the charity project – “Library for the Poor in the Philippines”. Mango Filipino – a product from the Philippines for a “FAIR TRADING” in Germany ! 40



Tel.-No.: +49 (0)4408 / 982202 Fax-No.: +49 (0)4408 / 982201 E-Mail:


Contact Nos. TEL. NO. +49 04408 - 982 202 TEL. NO. +49 07024 – 867 52 Your financial adviser: Frau Lucy Kampa KREDIT & FINANZBERATUNG WE SPEAK TAGALOG OR CEBUANO, ENGLISH, GERMAN, CHINESE, SPANISH, and other languages… (nach Anfrage!)

Welcome Kababayans! Mabuhay Fant-Asia Markt Knooperweg 42, 24103 Kiel Germany Tel +49 431 587 8372 Fax + 49 431 787 280

We are located near the city centre of Kiel, the capital of SchleswigHolstein. We specialize in typical Filipino and other Asian products. A wide variety of food and gift items such as fashion accessories, Philippine pearls, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, handmade and designed by shop owner Elisa Bombis. Opening hours Monday to Friday 10 am to 6.30 pm, Saturdays 9.30 am to 2 pm. 42


Finnish-Filipino/ Tagalog-Finnish Dictionary by Ms Riitta Vartti By: Anne Fatalla

Riitta Vaarti, is a freelance writer, who holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation which earned her a Eximia Cum Laude approbator was entitled “Korkeakoulusta kotiapulaiseksi: Filippiniiläisnaisten siirtolaisuus Espanjaan” (From masters to maids: Filipino Womens Migration to Spain). Last March 11, 2010, the first Finnish-Filipino/ Tagalog-Finnish dictionary authored by Ms Vartti was launched in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, at the Cultural Centre Caisa, Mikonkatu 17 C/ Vourikatu 14 / close to the Kaisaniemi metro station. Mr Pertti Laakso, a specialist in Southeast Asian languages, was one of the speakers at the launching ceremony. He spoke about the Austronesian languages. Ms Riitta Vartti also narrated in a brilliant and easy manner the process of making the dictionary. The dictionary is medium-sized and consists of about 30,000 entries, a short grammar and idioms of both languages. At the launching ceremony, the dictionary was sold for 30 EUR per copy and it will also be made available at the local book stores. Ms Vartti is a member, secretary and webmaster of NGO-Activism for Finnish-Philippine Society and Women’s Group PINAY. She is the author of several articles on Trafficking on Women as well as articles on the Finnish leftist movement during the 70s. She has written five novels, the last one entitled “Taifuunivuosi” (Tyhoon Year) based on her one-year stay in the Philippines.

Ms Vartti likes to spend her free time on her favourite hobbies which are Photography, taking care of her cats and cultivating her indoor plants which adorns her very attractive and cosy home. She is also very fond of vegetarian cooking and is planning to produce a Filipino vegetarian cookbook. Ms Vaarti is teaching the Finnish language to Filipinos in Finland and the author of this article is one of her students. In her acknowledgement, Ms Vartti gave thanks to all her friends and relatives for their wholehearted support in making this dictionary project a success. On behalf of my fellow Filipinos in Finland, we salute the untiring energy of Ms Riitta Vartti for her invaluable contribution in the integration of Filipinos in Finland. The Finnish language is a not easy but with this Finnish-Filipino/Tagalog-Finnish dictionary now available, it is surely a great help especially for those of us who are learning the language.

From Filipino to Finnish Magandang umaga - Hyvää huomenta Kamusta ka? - Mitä kuuluu? Ano ang pangalan mo? - Mikä sinun nimesi on? Saan ka nakatira? - Missä asut? Mahal kita - Rakastan sinua Bakit? - Miksi? Paalam.- Näkemiin Maraming salamat - Paljon kiitoksia


ACROSS THE MILES from Copenhagen By: Deng A.Valera

Everyone will agree with me that living abroad definitely has its pluses and minuses. As we all can say, there is always a trade-off. The most common benefits of trying a life abroad are: 1) attaining financial stability; 2) travel opportunities; and, 3) exposure to a different lifestyle, more specifically, enjoying the comfort that progress has offered in a more developed country. We all know as well what the sacrifices are: 1) being constantly far, far away from close families and long-term friends; 2) being almost “out of touch” with our national developments; 3) keeping track with a “round-the-clock” existence, tough life as we call it; and, 4) trying to be self-sufficient in all aspects. Over the years though, we would start to feel that somehow things are changing,,, that is, from one’s own prospective. Perhaps, it is safe to assume especially for us, Filipinos, that we have an inherent special quality: that is, the capability to adapt ourselves in any given set of situations or circumstances. That’s the beauty of our life… its flexibility. That is maybe one of the explanations why there are so many Filipinos working overseas or why Filipinos would get the job among other job-seekers. Most employers would comment that Filipinos are very pleasant to work with. The key factor is that we have an extremely positive attitude towards work, and thus we turn in outstanding outputs. For us, Filipinos, it is simply a matter of putting in our talent and our best effort into anything and everything that we do. We are not content with our gifts manifesting themselves sporadically. We feel the pressing obligation to use them. Industrious and adept in learning, we have what company managers would call “initiative”. Generally, Filipinos living abroad are literate. The


nation’s literacy rate is 85%. An average Filipino speaks one dialect fluently plus Filipino, the national language, and of course, English, being the medium of instruction in the Philippine educational system. Perhaps like in other European countries, the Filipinos in Denmark are encouraged or rather required to study the Danish language and to speak in Danish while at work. With over 9,000 Filipinos now residing in Denmark, it is noticeable that factionalism is continuously developing. It is not the most positive thing that could happen, although it is not totally unusual. Like in our neighboring European countries, it is a fact that there are more than one official Filipino association. That is bound to happen when the people have varied interest, or when there are personal conflicts among them. Personal conflicts aside though, the Filipino community in Denmark, like other Filipino communities in Europe or anywhere else, is still commendable. Outwardly, we are a breed that is naturally concerned with the good of others. We integrate ourselves with our community and reach out in the spirit of friendship and family affiliation. Involvement is the word. Moreover, tie-ups among different Filipino organizations are currently being stimulated. Projects of common concern and interest are planned and coordinated with all the associations working as a team, each team player having his own share of responsibility. And this is unity in diversity. We, Filipinos living abroad, still have the dedication. More efforts exerted, plus more actions, tantamount to growth. This is change. This is progress. And we go forward. ¤



Converging Distant Images of people from past and present, places and events drawn from the forces of history and cultures, combined in collages and illustration, applied with modelling paste. The paintings of Philippine artist, Mario de Rivera and the poetry of Joel Vega transport us to places near and far, to endless time and to different horizons.


Joel Vega is a medical journalist living in the Netherlands. His poems have appeared in various Philippine and US poetry journals such as Runes, Disquieting Muses Review, Caracoa, Versal, Our Own Voice, Poets Against War and Poetry Salzburg Review. Mario de Rivera is a contemporary Philippine artist based in Manila and exhibiting yearly in different countries. He had a one-man show in Stockhom, Sweden in 2005. Minglanilla, Conquistador 3 and Child of Silver, Child of Gold are poems of Joel Vega inspired by the paintings of Mario de Rivera exhibited in different shows and with the same painting titles.

By: Tipin Lareza


Minglanilla 117 x 92 cm, 2004


In the land of saints and horses, the bearers of halos and hooves are victors. What the sky gives, the sea takes, be it stone, bladelike leaves, a cracked egg, the body tattooed, a lady turning back, folding her garment, burdened with remorse. In the land of churches and crucifixes, bounded hands reach out for the ocean’s surface. The sting of salt fills up the lungs, the sway of loosened grass, beyond their grasp. Examine the nautilus, careful ear of heaven. Trace with your brush the gentle curve, the swirl towards the navel. Remember to knock when you reach the gates, to speak when no one listens. When the air hangs heavy, breath deep. Never look back. The sea keeps what it takes, without falter, without regret.


Child of Silver, Child of Gold Bright bundle, child of gold clouds curl up above you. Blueprint of stones, each fluted rainbow collect at your tender feet, shimmering like sweetened milk. Your home, smaller than a thumbprint, drifts in mid-air, a bright kite sailing counterclockwise bravely entering the open sea. We desire your niche of pearls, your coat of fleece. We are exiles from our own body, while you sleep with sunlight, with irresistible currents. Blue of sky sustain you and you grow heavy before the rain. We are yoked to labor and though we are inches away from calm, we are restive.

Child of Silver, Child of Gold 122 x 122, 2004

We grow old. You are brief. We arrive at the body of wealth, you leave with all the hoarded silver, all the beauty and the gold.

Minglanilla Everything in your world is measured: before your birth waves have cleaved to the shore, proclaiming dependence. Stones are collected for the throwing, weight of clouds considered, their movements carefully plotted. Two women in your single dream, one with soft huge eyes, the other delicate as the seams of her piña dress; their palms open to reveal stones, thrown into two directions, one hurtling to a briny surface, the other uncoils blue spirals of embryo.

Conquistador 3 76 x 61 cm, 2007


What fabulous weapons do you hold? Do you have a plan against the plague? These islands were once borders, boundaries to mighty oceans. Tomorrow, brown earth will shape us and we will fit each other, exact as two deep valleys bearing the bright peaks of slow-moving continents.

Ocean Adventure

-Our favorite day trip close to Manila By: Rina & Per Hagstedt Maybe you are waiting for the next flight to the province. Maybe your plane back to Europe is not until tomorrow. Assuming that you have already seen all the interesting things in Metro Manila, done all the shopping you want to do, been to the museums. Then what to do if you have one whole day in Manila?

is totally invaded by hundreds of South Koreans and other visitors). Or you can visit Taal Volcano and find out that it is not active at all (riding on the tiny horses up to the brim of the volcano is actually more adventurous than the volcano itself). But there is much more fun and unique thing to do.

Of course you have the option to go the famous Pagsanjan Falls – well known from the famous movie Apocalypse Now with Marlon Brando (just be sure to go very early in order to come there before the place

May we suggest a day trip to Ocean Adventure in Subic? We did that some time ago and we had an unforgettable time of our life – swimming, riding, feeding and dancing with a false killer whale. Being 49

that close to such a big and friendly animal in the water was a totally new and very pleasant experience for us, nothing that we had done anywhere else. Not even at Sea World in California.

Park admission costs: Adult - Php 500, Children 12 years old and below - Php 420, Senior Citizen - Php 400. Be sure to bring the kids, whey will love all their animal friends at Ocean Adventure!

Ocean Adventure is located at Camayan Wharf, West Ilanin Forest Area, at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. It is Southeast Asia’s only openwater marine park. The drive from Manila is about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Should you need more detailed information about how to get there, go to their web page www.oceanadventure. com , and click on “Find Us”. There you will find what you need, including a map.

If you want to swim with the False killer whale as we did, then the price is Php 4200, including park admission. The minimum age is 8 years old (unless accompanied by an adult). Do not forget to bring swimwear and a towel!

At Ocean Adventures web page you will also find information on their main attractions, animal encounters, programs, membership, conservation, and so on. Some encounter programs are not available year round. For inquiries and advanced bookings contact Ocean Adventure at 047 2529000.

Other main attractions includes a great Dophin friends show, a Sea Lion marine patrol show, and an Ocean discovery aquarium, and other interesting activities. Have a great day at Ocean Adventure – both you and your kids will love it! And do not forget to feed the False killer whale after he (she?) has taken you for a ride. Because that water ride will be the closest you will ever get to the feeling of being on a secret 007 mission at sea.

Cultural coups

Donn Torres: Sharing his Filipino roots in Geneva By: Jonathan Arevalo Coo Last February, Donn Torres visited the Philippines with his wife Debbie Dunn and parents Romeo and Teresa Torres. Debbie works from the United Nations Office in Geneva. Hence, the reason why this gifted Physical Therapist/Musician is based in Europe. Donn's business card indicates the instruments he plays in the various bands he plays with: Fiddle, Mandolin, Bass. During his short trip to the Philippines, he was able to gather Philippine music which he hopes to include in his repertoire. Filipinos who happen to visit Geneva can contact him at



What instruments do you play?

Right now most of the work requires me to play the Fiddle, Mandolin. There was some training in the formative years with piano, violin and guitar.

How many bands do you play for?

There are three groups I am currently involved with. Although, there are some "one off " gigs and studio sessions from time to time.

What kind of music do you perform?

Two of the groups are Country & Western music groups. I play fiddle and mandolin for them. One Country& Western group, Boomer McLennan and the Rythm Rangers, is based out of Los Angeles . He has been touring in the USA and Europe for several years now. I travel to America to do shows with him. And he, along with the rest of the guys, get to come over to my neck of the woods and go on tour. The other country group, Straight Ahead, is out of the Bern area of Switzerland. They perform throughout Europe as well. Another group is a mandolin and guitar orchestra called Mandolinata based out of Geneva, Switzerland. I play 1st mandolin with them. Recently the group performed for the show "Coup de Coeur" for a Christmas special on Swiss television. Their repetoire consists of traditional folkloric tunes from around the world. The group originated in Geneva in the late 1800's. It's nice to be a part of something with such a longstanding tradition. Mandolinata has local concerts and performs at shows and festivals all over Europe.

music or to become a musician?

There was always involvement in music from a very young age. I grew up listening to anything I could get my hands on.......pop, rock, classical, jazz and R&B. I took several years of piano from my grandfather (who was a professor of music). Then I continued in prep school from another professor. This professor started an orchestra and encouraged me to play violin, so he taught me violin. He also encouraged me to join the high school band and started me on trumpet as a freshman. He moved me around the different brass instruments as needed. The first move was to the Baritone during my sophomore year and then to the French Horn by graduation. I continued in college/ university and played French Horn in the symphony for 3 years. During grade school we had a singing group consisting of 10 families that travelled around different parts of the United States giving concerts on given weekends. There was a conference we performed at in Dallas, Texas with well over 10,000 people in the audience. We travelled to Hawaii and performed for 2 weeks.

We also travelled to the Philippines and performed on several islands and even doing a television special. I also played bass guitar in high school, college, and post college years. Those groups gigs consisted of playing at talent shows, rock clubs, proms, wedding receptions...."garage band" type gigs. There were a few bass auditions which led me to play a lot of state fairs, amusement parks, and corporate events. There was a US tour with a talented singer and songwriter named Michael Priebe, which I played bass. I became good friends with the drummer, who coincidently played drums for Boomer McLennan. He had just come back from their European tour. Boomer needed a bass sub and the drummer referred me. I subbed for Boomer's bass player and the gig went well. Since he already had a bass player, he asked me if I played fiddle and/or mandolin. I told him I did. So, I borrowed a friends violin which wasn't being used, and brushed up on my violin. I picked up

a mandolin at a pawn shop and figured it couldn't be too different than a guitar. I read music from the early years of piano and violin, and I had a pretty good ear for picking up songs. He kept me on after a show I did with him so that's kind of how that whole thing came about. With some resourcefullness and a lot of listening and practicing, I'm still with him today and I'm getting other work because of the question he asked. Other groups I'm involved with or have been involved with are Broken Toiz, a great, talented group of musicians that have come together doing something they love to do, Lara Gatling, a wonderful singer/ songwriter in Los Angeles and Crown Five Band, which is a fantastic variety band. They play your favorite current and classic tunes, in all genres, for all occasions.

Do people in Geneva ask about your Filipino roots?

Just the other day the conductor (chef d'orchestre) of Mandolinata asked me about traditional Filipino music. My wife and I recently went on holiday to the Philippines and I said I would pick up some CD's to show him. I got some Rondalla dance and folk CD's, so now he has officially been exposed to Filipino music.

Any plans of bringing your band to the Philippines? Haven't had any offers might just be the connection we're looking for!!!

You can see some of Donn's projects on:

Who influenced you in 52


In 2002, the choir won five (5) First Prizes with four (4) 100% scores at the Mundi Cantat Festa Musicale in Olomouc, Czech Republic. That same year, the UST singers won the First Prize and the Bavarian Lion Prize for Best Interpretation of the compulsory piece at the 4th International Chorwettweberb in Miltenberg, Germany. In 2004, the UST Singers has also bagged the “Excellence with Distinction Prize” having garnered the highest score in the mixed choir category and the “Ville De Vevey Jury Prize” for Best Programming and Interpretation at the Montreux International Choral Festival in Switzerland. It has also emerged victorious in the choral competitions of Spittal, Austria; Miedzyzdroje, Poland; Lindenholhausen, Germany; and Arrezo, Italy. Over the years, the choir’s wide exposure and extremely maintained high standards have also constantly increased its demands for performances and participation in international choral festivals such as the Festival Coral Internacional de Alava, Jornadas

Internacionales de Musica Coral "Caja de Burgos" and, Festival Coral Internacional de Puig Reig in Spain, the 2001 and 2004 World Choral Festival in Mexico, the 2006 and 2007 Taipei Philharmonic Festival in Taiwan, and 2008 Polyfollia International Festival for Choral Singing in France, and as official artists of the World Expo in Hannover, Germany and Zaragosa, Spain in 2000 and 2008 respectively. In addition, during the Pacific Concert Tour of the UST Singers, Hawaii Honorable Mayors Jeremy Harris and Mafy Hanneman declared August 20, 2001 and October 25, 2006 as “UST Singers’ Day” in Honolulu through a Written Proclamation. The UST Singers have sung for Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, the King and Queen of Spain, the Princess of Thailand, Luciano Pavarotti, and the Philippine Presidents Diosdado Macapagal, Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Notable concert collaborations of the UST Singers

UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS SINGERS The UST Singers has established itself as one of the finest mixed choirs in the Philippines, and has gone on to realize tremendous success in a relatively short space of time. The UST Singers, led by its conductor and founder Prof. Fidel G. Calalang, Jr., consists a unique blend of singers who are mainly students and a limited number of alumni representing the different colleges and faculties of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas. Since its inception in 1992, it has continued to impress audiences with its exceptional musicality, versatility and extensive repertoire encompassing music of different genres and from all periods. In the course of 16 years, the UST Singers has completed 15 concert tours around Europe, the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico and Asia, and has earned more than 45 top prizes in 54

various international choral competitions. The choir has won the CHOIR OF THE WORLD GRAND PRIZE along with four (4) First Prizes in 1995 at the 49th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, United Kingdom. They also won the Gran Premio “Citta di Gorizia” and four (4) First Prizes at the 37th Concorso Internazionale Di Canto Corale “C.A. Seghizzi” in Gorizia, Italy in 1998, and the Grand Prize at the 2002 Tonen International Choral Competiiton in Monster, Netherlands together with three (3) First Prizes and the Best Conductor Prize for Prof. Fidel Calalang, Jr. The UST singers also won the First Prize and Premio del Publico in the 1995 International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain and two (2) First Prizes and Prix du Public in the 1998 Florilege Vocal de Tours in France. 55

were with the University of Utah Singers, Singapore Youth Choir Ensemble Singers, Chicago Children’s Choir, Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus, Pilgrim Mission Choir, Orfeon Universitario de Valencia and Humboldt University Choir, Berlin among others. The UST Singers completed a concert tour called “Festival Europe” in the second half of 2008 covering Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy. The choir received an Audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, participated in three (3) International Choral Festivals, and represented the country to the World Expo. This year, they are set to have an outreach concert tour of the Philippines in summer before embarking on another European concert Tour. During the choir’s most recent 2009 “American Encore”,

once again, the UST Singers won two (2) First Prizes and the People’s Choice Award at the 2009 California International Choral Festival and Competition held in San Luis Obispo, California, USA.

18th International Concert Tour 2010 Inclusive Dates

April 8

For more detailed and updated information, the UST Singers connects thru the following websites:

April 9 – 19

April 20 – 25 April 25 – May 3 May 3 – 10 May 10 – 16 May 16 – 19 May 19 – 23 May 23 – 28 May 28 - 31 May 31 – June 3 June 3 – 9 June 9 - 14 June 14 – 16 June 16 – 19 June 19 - 23 June 23 - 25 June 25 – 27 June 27 - 29 June 29 – July 2 July 2 - 11 July July July July July


12 – 19 19 – 23 23 – 30 30 31


Departure Manila KOREA Daegu / Daejoon / Seoul / Busan / Taehan UNITED KINGDOM Bangor, Northern Ireland IRELAND Dublin, Ireland SPAIN Valencia Barcelona Madrid POLAND Sopot, Poland GERMANY Berlin FRANCE Le Mans, France Paris BELGIUM Brussels / Anterp / Brugge NETHERLANDS Eindhoven GERMANY Remscheid Kassel / Gottingen Bad Harzburg CZECH REPUBLIC Prague Jihlava, Czech Republic POLAND Tarnow / Krakow LITHUANIA Vilnius UNITED KINGDOM London, England SPAIN Puig-Reig Alagon Torrevieja, Spain Departure Madrid Arrival Manila


CONCERT AT THE PARK Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium, Rizal Park, Manila 6:00 p.m. Sundays Ms. Minette Padilla, host FREE ADMISSION


n o s ’ t a Wh

a l i n a in M

As we all know,the summer months in the Philippines areApril and May.Although the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra season ends during beginning of April, concerts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philamlife Auditorium, and other performance theaters are limited because artists do take a break during this hot season. However, outdoor concerts are still available at the Paco Park (Paco Park is off season during the months of July and August) and Concert at the Park in Luneta. Other concerts that are free admission include the GSIS Museum Concert Series.


04 "DAAN NG KRUS, THE MUSICAL" Presented by the Teatro Mensaheros of Cavite 11 "DASMARINAS BAND, IN CONCERT" Reynato Resurreccion, conductor 18 "FEU HOMEGROWN TALENTS" featuring FEU Chorale FEU Drum & Bugle Corps FEU Dance Company FEU Dance Theater FEU Bamboo Band 25 "PARA SA INANG KALIKASAN" (In celebration of Earth Day) Talahib Band

MAY (FIESTA MONTH) 02 "INNOVATIVE NOISE COLLECTIVE, Live Jam" (Electronic sound improvisations, Live action and visualization) featuring E.X.I.S.T. Marlon Magbanua Mannet Villariba Ian Madrigal Inconnu Ictu Wire Tuazon ELEMENTO Juan Isip Cee Gomera The Brockas Thomas Daquioag Mitch Garcia

09 "ANG ATING SARILING MUSIKA" Betty Rivera, kundiman singer Eddie Suarez, kundiman singer/guitarist Fame Flores, young soprano Ver Dayap, kundiman singer 16 KAISAHAN DANCERS from Nueva Ecija Mario Eugenio, artistic director 23 TEATRO MIGUEL 30 PLM HIYAS NG MAYNILAD DANCE COMPANY

JUNE (PARA SA INANG BAYANG PILIPINAS!) 06 "ALL FILIPINO" Cardona Chamber Ensemble Delfin Calderon, conductor/music director 13 "PILIPINAS KONG MAHAL" featuring The Klassikal Music Foundation scholars 20 SINAGLAHI DANCE TROUPE of Universidad de Manila 27 MALABON COMMUNITY BAND Rommel Reyes, Filipino guest trumpet soloist from Belgium

SWEDISH-GERMAN PIANIST ANN-HELENA SCHLUETER PERFORMS IN MANILA JUNE 28 Ateneo de Manila University Escaler Hall 4:30 p.m. 30 St. Paul University Manila 6 p.m. 59

PACO PARK PRESENTS Paco Park, San Marcelino, Manila 6:00 p.m. Ms. Thea Perez-Prosia, host FREE ADMISSION APRIL


JUNE (NATIONALISM) 04 “All Filipino” Young students of pianist Lea Capulong 11 "Original Filipino Works" Alejandro Consolacion, piano 18 ROMMEL REYES,VISITING FILIPINO TRUMPET PLAYER based in Belgium 23 UP GUITAR QUARTET


beside the Manila Film Center, CCP Complex 6 p.m. (Every 2nd and Last Thursday) APRIL

09 ST. SCHOLASTICA'S VOCAL PERFORMERS 16 LEAH CAPULONG, SOLO PIANO 23 "HANDOG SA MGA BAYANI" featuring THE SINGING BRAWNERS Rita Brawner, soprano (Ret.)Gen. Felix Brawner, baritone 30 "THE STUDENTS OF MS. THEA PEREZ-PROSIA" Francesca Rebecca Llido Korina Angela Cruz Kimberly Angela Cruz

07 14 21 28


8 Intervoices Chorale (Brian Caluya, choirmaster) 29 Bea Robles, clarinetist

MAY 13 Philippine Choral Guild (Sunddie Manalo, president) 27 Gerry Graham Gonzalez, cello

JUNE 10 Quartetto Espressivo (Joseph Brian Cimafranca, Sara Maria Gonzalez, violins Rey Casey Concepcion, viola, Gerry Gonzalez, violoncello) 24 Mariejune Garcia, soprano

The GSIS Museum Thursday Concert Series is a joint project of the GSIS Museum of Art and The Philippine High School for the Arts Ibarang Alumni Association under GSIS Museum curator Ryan Palad and PHSA Alumni President Katherine Asis.

Sabong It is said that cockfighting or “sabong,” as it is called in the Filipino language, was already the pastime of our native ancestors even before the Spanish conquistadores set foot in our land. And “ sabong historians” do not hesitate to point out that our own national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, in his famous novel, the Noli Me Tangere, referred to cockfighting events as a source of revenues of the government at that time. Up to this day and age, for reasons that have yet to be fully appreciated by many, it still is a top favorite leisure sport of Filipinos throughout the Philippines, entrenched , as it were, by our culture and tradition. Held on a scheduled day of the week, including Sundays, in almost all cities and municipalities of the country, sabong puts the ordinary barrio folk or “provinciano” at par with the rich landowner, the congressman or the mayor, as they put their bets on their favorite gamecocks. In the “sabungan,” the cockpit arena – some are now called sports coliseums - where these fights are played out, there is no distinction between the rich and the poor. Even to a neophyte, it is not difficult to appreciate the “basic mechanics” of cockfighting - although one has to be “schooled in the game” to have the gifts of a skilled “sabungero” or cockfighting aficionado. In simple terms, the fight is between two birds called gamecocks, which are carefully conditioned and trained by their owners – or by handlers or trainers hired by them – over a pre-determined timeline before they are entered into the game. The process is to ensure the gamefowls’ readiness and fitness to fight, to have birds, whether of “local or imported

bloodline, ” that are heavy, strong, healthy and “smart.” Before the fight starts, the feathered protagonists are exhibited for a while to allow the spectators to place their bets. The birds are brought together by their handlers “head to head” and allowed to peck and “get enraged” before they are finally released to do battle. Razor-sharp blades or slashers called “tare” are attached to the legs – usually the left - of both fighting cocks and the fight goes on until one of the birds is killed or seriously hurt that it can no longer continue fighting. The fight is short and bloody , oftentimes taking only a minute or two of the tenminute fight limit. Before you know it, the fight is over. Admittedly, sabong provides utmost entertainment to the spectators who put their bets on either the “llamado” (favorite) or the “dejado” (underdog) in the midst of an almost endless shouting and cheering. The betting system , which makes for another interesting story, has a language and excitement of its own. All these partly explain the Filipino attachment to sabong.

Modern society and animal rights groups continue to frown upon this bloody sport. This is the reason why cockfighting has been considered illegal in many countries of the world. In the Philippines, however, cockfighting remains to be the traditional pastime especially during weekends. It is legal and in fact there is at least one cockpit or sabungan in every town and city in the country. One may ask why this is so. Well, most Filipinos say it is a break from the stresses of life, given the entertainment value and excitement of the game. Among the poor, it is a break from poverty. Filipinos are natural dreamers, believing in windfalls and good luck which, in the end, is what cockfighting is all about. 61

entrance to teaching in the academe. He then found himself in Italy, studying the Italian language and art history at the Universita di Perugia and Universita de Roma before moving to Paris for his special studies at the International de Formation et des Recherces Dramatique as one of the first Filipino scholars funded by the Italian and French governments.

Anton Juan

Internationally acclaimed director, playwright and teacher Being a director is not an easy task. A good director has to be a man of vision, with great concepts, creative ideas and clear intentions. He has to have a wide range of skills to execute his vision - the ability to communicate and motivate performance, effective leadership, technical knowledge, familiarity with extensive literature in addition to other skills to ensure that every single aspect of a production coheres with his vision. A man who has all these qualities, coupled with a strong background of qualifications and accomplishments is sovereign Filipino director, Dr. Anton Juan. Arriving in London just in January of 2010, Anton felt immediately engaged to lead a project to benefit the Filipino community. Through a Filipino events email, a notice of auditions for a production was sent by cultural attaché Cecile Santos of the London Philippine Embassy. Many keen actors, actresses and singers turned up to try their 62

luck to participate in this special project and to have the extremely rare opportunity to participate in a Filipino play in Europe under the direction Anton, an internationally acclaimed director whose productions have been seen in France, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, the Philippines, Laos, Japan, Australia and the United States. Dr. Juan indeed has come a long way since his first promising stab at directing in his teenage years.

Bright start

At a young age of 17, Anton Juan directed his first play in a festival of new works organized by Tony Perez, Paul Dumol, Bart Ramos and himself in Ateneo. Upon admission to the University of the Philippines, he started directing professionally after a producer saw the success of his first play and hired him. In 1979, as he was about to finish his degree in English and Comparative Literature, he was offered a post of lectureship in his alma mater which paved way for his

Aided by a scholarship from the Republic of Greece State Scholarship Foundation, he found himself in the University of Greece to take his doctoral studies. Here he received his PhD in Semiology graduating as a Doctor of Theater Arista Excellence (Summa cum laude), before establishing his own theater company Theatro Aggelon Bima in Athens. Shuttling between the Philippines and Greece, he continued to travel to other parts of the world, receiving post-doctoral training in the Butoh dance form in Japan. He also was a Fulbright Scholar and was granted a post-doctoral research.


Aside from his many celebrated directorial works in theatre, he also ventured into directing films including documentaries Dumating Ka Lang ba Para Umalis about HIV/AIDS, Reconciliation, and Hope for the Good Harvest Film Festival (1998) and mainstream movies such as the third episode Ang Buwan of horror movie, Shake Rattle and Roll VI. As a playwright, another achievement under his belt is “Tuko! Tuko!” or “Princess of the Lizard Moon”) that won the International Alexander Onassis Award for theater. He also has a book on Philippine Drama that won the 100 Best Books of the University of the Philippines Press Centennial Awards in 2008. Some of Anton’s written works have also won various Palanca awards, the most prestigious award in literature in the Philippines. His achievements and contributions were further honored and recognized when he was knighted twice by the French government and received the Chevalier de l‘Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1992 and the Chevalier de l‘Ordre National de Merit in 2002. He was also chosen among the 100 Artists of the Philippines, who,

for their contribution to and impact on Philippine Culture were honored with the Philippine Centennial Honors for the Arts.

Passion for Teaching

Dr. Juan, an excellent mentor, is also a sought after educator. He was a professor in the Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts at the College of Arts and Letters. He was an Associate for Drama at the Creative Writing Center in UP Diliman. His excellence in teaching brought him to teach at Spoleto in Italy. He also gave a workshop at an international directors’ symposium. He currently holds a professorship at the Department of Film, Television and Theater at the University of Notre Dame of Indiana, where he currently heads the Drama and Playwriting program.

Latest Projects

His trip to Manila last year (2009) enabled him to direct Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera that featured Bituin Escalante and Ricci Chan amongst others. This work was cited the Best Musical for 2009 by the Inquirer. Whilst he is on secondment to London at present with the University of Notre Dame of Indiana, he is directing a play that will be part of the Philippine Independence Day Celebrations. Bayan-Bayanan, a play written by Bienvenido Noriega Jr., shows Filipino life in a diaspora. The play weaves the lives of Pinoy immigrants in Geneva who gather and rekindle life in the Philippines, share stories, memories and dreams, engage in playful banter and eat adobo. It will be presented on June 12 & 13 2010 at St. Andrew’s Church in Frognal Lane. For Bayan-Bayanan, the well accomplished director generously shares his wealth of knowledge and experience not only to the cast of the play but the audience who will be treated to a production directed by Philippine theater’s brilliant gem. The theme of the play itself will certainly inspire a sense of nostalgia for our kababayans in London this summer. His list of contributions to the enrichment of Filipino culture has again expanded with the addition of this new project. A director par-excellence, there is no doubt Dr. Juan will continue to bring pride to the Philippines.



Many years ago, they said that coffee was a drink for the elite and was served only to wealthy people, the royalty and the very holy. At that time, coffee preparation was elaborate and ritualistic, almost ceremonial. Not anymore. Today, when you visit a Filipino home, especially in the provinces of Cavite and Batangas, the first thing they will offer you is a cup of Philippine coffee. Looking back at the history of Philippine coffee, the first coffee tree was claimed to have been planted in Lipa, Batangas, thus making it the coffee capital of the Philippines. According to the Philippine Coffee Board, “we (the Philippines) were once the fourth largest coffee-producing nation in the world. That the production and export of coffee was a major industry in the Philippines until coffee rust and insect infestation hit the Philippine shores destroying the coffee trees in Batangas. Then there were few surviving coffee seedlings that were planted in Amadeo, Cavite, where it flourished, now becoming the coffee capital of the Philippines.”* The Philippines grows four varieties of Coffee. ROBUSTA, small berries, ARABICA, medium berries, known for its aroma, EXCELSA, large berries and LIBERICA, largest berries. It is commonly known as KAPENG BARAKO. It has a strong taste and flavor and pungent aroma.

Last week, I visited Mr. Marlon Belardo, owner of Belardo Coffee Enterprise and Tropical Brew Coffee in Amadeo, Cavite. His family history of coffee production can be traced back to his great grandparents over 100 years ago. The coffee business was handed down to his father, Leonardo and then turned over to him as the youngest son. Belardo Tropical Brew is famous for distributing quality Philippine coffee. One of its best sellers is the blending of the four varieties of Philippine coffee called AMADEO BLEND, which is a gourmet coffee. It comes from hand selected natural quality Robusta, Excelsa, Liberica and mountain grown Arabica. Marlon will soon open his own coffee shop in Dasmarinas, Cavite called Cafebelardo. In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, efforts are now being undertaken to revive the Philippine coffee industry produced in the mountain areas of Batangas, Cavite, Bukidnon, Benguet, Kalinga, Apayao, Davao and Claveria. Research says coffee is a good source of antioxidants. It is also used as a body scrub in spa treatments.

To contact Marlon Belardo of Belardo Coffee Enterprise, email him at ph

Welcome to

WhitepRock Zambales Beach Resort

White Rock Zambales Beach Resort is a 5.7 hectare property nestled along the beaches of Subic Bay, just 2 - hrs drive from Balintawak toll plaza. It is a leisurely drive passing through national highways, farmlands and scenic spots. White Rock Beach Hotel is a premier Philippines beach resort located in Zambales. Visit us also at Mountain Woods, another philippines beach resort hotel inside the SBMA tourist center

Source: Philippine Coffee Board, retrieved 2010, March



Everybody’s Favorite Food By: Nanette Medrano

Kakanin are those various types of delicacies oftentimes resembling the shape of a muffin or a cup cake . Their basic ingredients are glutinous rice, coconut meat or milk and sugar. Every region in the Philippines have their own specialties. Kakanin are comfort food meant to be eaten as snacks or dessert at any time of the day. Bibingka is a classic rice cake made from grounded glutinous rice, sometimes topped with salted egg, butter or sprinkled with sugar. Some prefer to add grated coconut on it before eating. The bibingka capital of the Philippines is Cainta. Sapin-Sapin – is made from glutinous rice flour which is very gooey yet tasty. It used to come in two colors – yellow and purple. The modern sapin sapin now is available in at least four to five colors -white/purple/ yellow/orange. Cuchinta- is a favorite of many, served at fiestas and birthday celebreations. The main ingredient in making a good cuchinta is lihiya. Puto – is considered the ultimate comfort food. They are moist and soft and come in various sizes. The original color is white in its natural tasty flavour. Nowadays you can have putos in ube, buco pandan and cheese flavours. Guinatan or ginataan is like a sweet thick soup made from grounded glutinous rice, light coconut milk, sweet potatoes, bits of ripe jackfruit boiled together and seasoned with sugar.

Palitaw – literally means to float. They are made from glutinous rice flour, shaped into tiny balls and flattened before being cooked in boiling water. Palitaws float when they are ready. Delicious served with grated coconut, roasted sesame seeds and sugar. Buko pie – this is a typical Filipino dessert pie only available in the Philippines. It is a very popular dish made from a pastry filled with young coconut meat. A thickier stickier version is the makapuno pie which is made from another variety of coconut. The province of Laguna is well-known for their delicious buko pies. Suman Sa Ibus – is sticky rice wrapped in banana or coconut leaves. In the provinces one can still see women gathered around a tub of soaked rice telling stories as they wrap Suman. The variety of ways a Suman is wrapped is an indication of the artisty, skill and ingenuity of these women. The best way to eat Suman is together with ripe mangoes. Editors Note: Have you heard of Baye-baye, Linupak, Aripahol, Tikoy? If you come from Iloilo like me, you would know what they are.

Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life in Stockholm When was CFC FFL founded in Stockholm?

It was founded in 1998. That year, Tony and Ruby Borja, who were active CFC members from the Philippines, came to Stockholm and asked Fr. Herrera from the Sta. Eugenia church if they could give a Christian Life Seminar (CLS) to those who were interested in joining the community. And the rest they say is history….

What do you wish to achieve with your presence in the community? (short and long term) To better explain this, I will state the Vision and Mission statement of the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL).

Vision and Mission Statement: “We are an evangelistic and missionary community committed to become families empowered by the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth. We strive for holiness of life, as we commit to renew 66

the temporal order through our work with the poor, our work for justice, and our work for life. We are a servant of the Church, working to renew her children through every generation, until the Lord returns once again.” Hence to achieve these, we have the following Core values which allow us establish and make concrete our goals into actual results. Our CORE VALUES are as follows: 1. Centered on Christ – This means that we have to be active “Christians” or believers in Jesus. As a true follower, we must obey Jesus’ teachings and we should take Him as our role model to be followed. “What would Jesus do?”, is what we would typically say. So we strive to be holy as He is holy. Of course, in reality this is not as easy and as straight-forward 67

as it sounds. Nevertheless, even if we accept that it’s virtually impossible to be perfect like God is, the important thing is that we try our best and have faith that “God will do the rest”.

be towards bringing the family together and not further away from each other. This also entails that we will support the culture of life (i.e. pro-life) in whatever way that we can.

2. Evangelistic and missionary – in addition to following Jesus’ example, we are also called to be “witnesses” of Gods good news to others. This means we have an active duty to try and bring other people closer to God. In my own words, it’s like how we tell our close family or friends about an amazing discovery or experience that happened to us in a way that we would want them to also be able to experience the same positive thing as well. Thus, it’s basically sharing to other people something good that we know in an effort that they too would benefit from it.

4. Being community. – Despite having different cultures and backgrounds, we acknowledge that we have one Father in heaven, and so we consider each other in the community as a brother and a sister. We treat each other as one big happy family where we provide love, affirmation, friendship, support and guidance to one another. As they say there is strength in numbers and as one united family, the more easily we are able to help each other to live out being a true Christian.

3. Focused on the family – We believe that Jesus intended the family to be the first church and as the foundation and future of all humanity. This means that we will do everything to uphold, defend and strengthen the Christian marriage and family as this was God’s plan for us. As such, all our activities will

Andre, Noverose, Luke Gabriel and Venice Andrea

5. Living a preferential option for the poor. - We believe that we are here on this earth not for ourselves alone, but also for others, most especially those who desperately need our help. Hence, in the same way that Jesus came for the least of our brethren, we too should strive to uplift the lives of the less fortunate in our society. This does not just entail the sharing our resources and blessings through fundraisers and charity work, but also by showing solidarity with them by living a simple lifestyle and by fighting for social justice in the world. 6. Exercising servant leadership. – Once again, as Jesus is our example, we believe in leading others through service and self-sacrifice. This means that everyone in our community, both leaders and members, are to serve one another with humility and selflessness. “To put others first before oneself.” 7. Being a servant to the Church. – Finally, we acknowledge that the Catholic Church was established by God Himself and that our community is merely an instrument for us to support the church and its teachings. We, therefore, will obey and submit our lives, formations and practices to the Catholic values and ideals. In addition, we will make ourselves available to be of service to the parish and dioceses, especially in the areas of family and life.

we are grouped together in what we call “ministries”. First and foremost is the Couples for Christ (CFCFFL) ministry which is composed of Christian married couples. We then have the Handmaids for family and life (CFCHFL) which are women that are either married but whose husbands are not in the community or those who are widowed or those who are unmarried mature women. We also have the Servants for Family and Life (CFCSvFL) who are the male counterparts of the HFL. We have the CFC Singles for family and life (CFC-SFL) ministry that are composed of young adults (22 years and above) who have transitioned from being a youth and are in the stage of choosing a partner or a vocation in life. We then have the Youth for family and life (YFL) who are teenagers between 13-21 years of age. And finally, we have the Kids for Family and Life (KFL) who are children between 4 to 12 years of age. In this manner, our community is able to have a “womb to tomb” ministry where everyone in the family is included and fully attended to.

What is the most significant accomplishment you have made so far?

Over the years, we have had many successful activities like retreats, teachings, parties, fundraisers, concerts, etc… However if we talk about what is truly a “significant accomplishment”, I would say it would be when we were able to change the lives of individuals for the better. I have seen many in our community

Kids Camp The boys

that have grown into better husbands, better wives, better sons and daughters and better Christians over time. I have seen couples on the edge of breaking up, mending their ways and choosing to love each other more despite their differences. I have seen apathetic and carefree teenagers blossom into responsible and passionate young adults who are willing to stand up and fight for their beliefs and their faith. I have seen many young and old individuals develop their skills, talents and confidence because of the inspiration and encouragement they have received from others. I have seen many individuals who had lost all faith and hope, only to find themselves closer to God and at peace with themselves through constant prayer, guidance and support. These unique positive improvements are the very reasons why I love being part of this community as they are rewards in themselves that I can truly be thankful for.

What activities do you arrange for your members?

In each ministry we are further grouped into smaller units of 5 to 10 persons called “households”. These households meet at least twice a month for prayer meetings and at least once a month for fellowship or teachings. These household gatherings are at the very core of our activities as it is here that we find the support and guidance that we need and at the same time we are able to grow closer to each other as one family. As an entire community we meet on the last Sunday of the month just prior to the English mass at the Sta. Eugenia church. At this gathering which we call a “general assembly”, we sing Christian songs, we pray

Kids Camp The girls

How many members do you have? What are the various groups within the organisation?

Today, we have around 70 active members in Stockholm that is spread across various age groups and backgrounds. In order to better organize and support the development of each individual’s specific needs, 68


together and have activities to which everyone can participate in.

How does one become a member? Do you welcome guests?

As a global community, each ministry has a European conference once a year wherein all the members from the different countries within Europe gather together for prayer, worship and fellowship. These conferences are held in different countries each year so there’s always an incentive to experience a new setting and a new culture each time.

For the youths (CFC-YFL) and the kids (CFC-KFL) we have a youth camp and kids camp, respectively, where we have specially adapted the activity to suit their unique needs.

To fulfill our duty as a servant to the Church, we sing at the English mass in Sta. Eugenia at least once every month and we support the Filipino Mass through the choir and through whatever liturgical services as needed. In addition to these regular meetings and church activities, we plan throughout the year the spiritual growth and development of our members through regular formation teachings, Christian Life Seminars, retreats, recollections and pastoral visits from our missionaries and leaders abroad. Our objective is that each individual is nourished and given the tools to progress and be a better Christian moving forward. Finally we also create opportunities for our members to have fun and enjoy the company of everyone else in our community. To this extent we have parties, picnics, family day sports fests, concerts, etc… It is worth mentioning that in most cases these fellowship activities also involve fund-raising and so whatever proceeds that we obtain are sent to our Work with the Poor (WWP) initiative at the CFC FFL head office in the Philippines. There they have an ongoing and structured approach of improving the lives of the poorest of the poor through housing, education, health services and work enablement. 70

The entry point to the community for the adults (i.e. 22 years and above) is the Christian Life Seminar which we try to hold at least twice a year.

These seminars and camps are basically composed of talks and activities wherein the participants are made to understand the foundations of the Catholic Faith and realize what they need to do to become active Christians moving forward. It is basically a preparation to make the participants ready and fully aware of what is involved when being part of the CFC FFL community. As for guests, they are more than welcome to join us during our general assemblies, teachings and community-wide activities. Guests can also join households during their fellowship activities (i.e. bowling, movie watching, etc…). However, it would be best for guests not to participate in the prayer meetings as they need to have attended the CLS first to avoid any confusion and have a better understanding of what exactly is taking place.

CFC has been supporting the Gawad Kalinga project. Is this something CFC intends to continue doing in future?What other projects do you support?

The CFC-FFL no longer supports Gawad Kalinga (GK) as they have their own program called Work with the Poor (WWP) wherein we are still able to help in improving the lives of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. In general, the WWP is able to offer almost the same as what GK does with respect to providing

housing and follow-up support afterwards. The main difference between the WWP program and GK, besides the fact that the former is on a much smaller scale as compared to the latter, is that the focus of WWP is not just to provide housing for the poor but rather to bring them closer to the Lord by making them feel His kindness and generosity through the selflessness of others. Our aim is not just to improve the physical aspect of one’s situation but to improve his/her spiritual aspect as well… to strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ should be the most important goal. Hence, the WWP, we believe, is how we can put into concrete action our faith.

Choir singing in Uppsala

Name: Andre Carlo C. Suñaz Occupation: Consultant Wife: Noverose Gonab y Castro Children: Luke Gabriel (5) and Venice Andrea (3) Years in the CFC FFL community: 8 years Role: Unit Servant for CFC FFL Stockholm Years in Sweden: 8 Hometown: Quezon City, Philippines Current resdence: Stockholm, Sweden Family day Sports Fest

CFC FFL Stockholm Contact Persons: CFC FFL coordinators: Andre and Novie Sunaz ( CFC Handmaids for Family and Life coordinators: Nelia Davidsson ( and Rita Arreza-Sarmiento ( CFC Singles for family and life Coordinators: Ped and Connie Dela Cruz ( CFC Youth for family and life Coordinators: Mike and Cez Agonoy ( and Alex and May De Jesus ( CFC Kids for family and life coordinators: Erick and Dian Tuazon ( CFC FFL Official Global website: CFC FFL European Website: Eruo Conference in Vienna Presentation


DR. JOSE RIZAL IN HEIDELBERG AND WILHELMSFELD By: Sir Antonio Repotente, MD, KCR Chapter Commander Knights of Rizal, Hamburg

From Paris, Dr. Jose Rizal came to Heidelberg on Feb. 3. 1886. Although he started studying German in Spain, he had very limited grasp of the language.. He befriended some German students who invited him to their group. Since most of the German students couldn’t speak French, they used Latin for communication. He found the German student to be decent, kind, courteous, modest and not boastful. He lived first in a boarding house in Karlstrasse16, later moved to a boarding house at Ludwigsplatz 12 (later Grabengasse 12) which was nearer the University of Heidelberg where he worked in the Eye Clinic of the University under Prof. Otto Becker. At that time, the physicist Prof. Helmholtz had invented the ophthalmoscope. His knowledge about this instrument enabled Rizal later to treat his mother’s eye disease. Rizal spent half the time working in the Eye Clinic and the other half studying German, which he learned almost to perfection in so short a time. Two or three times a week he would go to the Bierbrauerei or Beerhall to meet his German friends, drink beer and further improve his command of the language. He was witness to the duels of the students from various “camps or organizations”, using sharp sabers just to test bravery. Since their bodies were all protected except for the face and the head, most of them had scars on their cheeks. On the first night, they didn’t let 72

him pay, later, he learned that the students paid for their own drinks. In Heidelberg, he met classical education, scientific progress and the growing self-confidence of Germany at the end ot the 19th century. During week-ends, he visited the scenic spots in Heidelberg including the famous Heidelberg castle, the Neckar river, the old churches. He noticed the German Cstholics and Protestants practiced ecuminism for they lived in harmony and cordiality. One of the churches, the Church of the Holy Spirit, was divided by a wall. One half was used by the Catholics, the other half by the Protestants.

the flowers. In the end, although all these wishes and aspirations may be fulfilled, one should not forget his native roots. Rizal met Dr. Karl Ullmer, the Protestant vicar of Wilhelmsfeld who was fascinated by him and later became his admirer. He invited Rizal to spend some time in his house in Wilhelmsfeld, which was 12 kilometers away from Heidelberg, Rizal willingly accepted because this gave him the opportunity to speak German, offered him a quiet and simple countryside as alternative to the busy student life, and gave him the chance of experiencing German family life. In Wilhelmsfeld, Rizal found the warm hospitality of Pastor Ullmer and his family. He learned to speak Hochdeutsch. He had long conversations with the pastor, each elaborating his beliefs and that religion should make not enemies of one another but real brothers. Here, he experienced, yet again, Christian fraternity. A Catholic curate came regularly to visit the Protestant vicar, discussing with each other peacefully, each considering himself a servant of God and leaving it to their Lord to judge afterwards who had interpret better His will – something unheard of in the Philippines at that time. He developed a profound respect for every idea sincerely conceived and practiced with

conviction. In his room where he worked, Rizal always had the Philippine flag spread on the wall. Besides his studies, he completed his novel, “Noli Me Tangere.” He left Wilhelmsfeld in April 1886 and went back to Heidelberg before leaving on Aug.6., taking the Rhine boat trip, for Leipzig and Berlin. The road outside the pastor’s house was later renamed “Jose Rizal Street” In 1998, the way near the catholic church in Wilhelmsfeld was renamed “Karl.UllmerWeg”. In 1964, as a symbol of German-Filipino friendship and as a remembrance to Dr. Jose Rizal and his merits for freedom, human dignity,justice and democracy, the fountain in the Pastor’s garden, from which Rizal drank, was brought to the Rizal Park in Manila by Pastor Gottlob Weber. In 1978, the “Rizal Park” in Wilhemsfeld with a bronze statue of Jose Rizal by Professor Anastacio Caedo was opened. In 2003, four busts made by Czech sculptor Libor Pizak were inaugurated in the Rizal Park. They were busts of Pastor Karl Ullmer, Prof. Otto Becker, Prof. Ferdinand Blumentritt and Prof. Rudolf Virchow

Rizal was fascinated by the flowers along the banks of the Neckar River, among them his favorite, the light blue “forget me not” which reminded him of his garden in Calamba which made him homesick and refurbished his love of his country. In this mood, he wrote on April 22, 1886 his famous poem, “A Las Flores de Heidelberg” (To the Flowers of Heidelberg). In this poem, Rizal poured out his aspirations, wishes and longing for his country. The flowers, which he urged to go to his native land, symbolize the things he witnessed and experienced and which he ultimately put so much emphasis on – education, diligence, democratic and civil rights, be implanted in his country. He longed for peace and, above all, love for his country, symbolized by the fragrance of 73

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