Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Scare, Celebrities and Wellness Businesses here and there

After the melamine scare we have naman a peanut butter scare. Naku lagi pa naman akong bumibili noon ng Ludy's but switched brands more than two years ago. Salmonella Typhimurium ang na recover sa mga peanut butter ng Texas and since then it spread also like wild fire sa ating mga products na meron din palang Salmonella. Ewwww....sad...sad...sad....

Ang Salmonella typhimurium ay isang klase ng bacteria na mabilis mag multiply sa gastrointestinal tract ng maraming animal species where it usually causes no disease, but sa humans its growth causes gastroenteritis. Six to 48 hours after ingestion of contaminated water or food (usually poultry or beef) and in this case mga peanut butter, Maguumpisa ito sa nausea and vomiting (pagsusuka), often followed by diarrhea (pagdumi ng madalas). Sa mga healthy adults the disease is usually self-limiting with good medical care, but it is more serious sa younger generations, the old, and those with underlying medical conditions; the case-fatality ratio can be as high as 5-10% in nurseries and nursing homes. Isolations of Salmonella causing gastroenteritis in humans have increased in recent years in developed countries, primarily because modern methods of animal husbandry, food preparation, and distribution encourage the spread of Salmonella.

So be safe......refrain muna tayo from eating peanut butters anyway I think na pull out na sa market yung mga suspected peanut butters so fasting muna sa mga peanut butter and instead coconut jam muna tayo.......

On to more cheerful things.....Ang dami palang celebrities that are into the wellness business? I found out about the following:
Tessa Prieto-Valdes is into franchising Urban Spa
The former Zamboanga del Norte lawmaker Jalosjos who was recetly freed has a spa and wellness center inside the National Bilibid Prison compound

Some famous Filipino celebrities are also into the salon industry and these includes:
Fanny Serrano- Fanny Serrano Salon; Rev'lation
Drew Arellano- Grupo Barbero
Arnel Ignacio- Creative Hair Systems
Vina Morales- Ystilo

The Beauty Industry is also another business ventures that celebrities are getting into:
Cristalle Henares- Belo Essentials
Vicki Belo- Belo Medical Group and Belo Essentials
Joyce Jimenez- Private Joyce

Plus there are a lot of Philippine celebrities endorsing wellness including Marianne Rivera and Piolo Pascual are endorsing Blue Water Spa. Manny Pacquiao was also at the recent unveiling of the Philippine Oncology Center Corporation (POCC), The Philippine Oncology Center Corporation (POCC) aims to provide the highest quality and affordable health care services in the spirit of equality to promote wellness and relieve suffering. POCC is located at the Basement, Marian Medical Arts Building, Dahlia St. West Fairview, Quezon City with tel. nos. 935-8946 to 49. KC Concepcion who was recetly featured as the cover girl for Women's Health magazine advocating wellness.

Sabi nga nila na ang business of health and wellness will not be much affected by the economic turmoil, if you know what and how to do things in this industry of course. The Department of Tourism (DOT) endorsed more than P20 million worth of tourism-related investments for 2009 that are expected to generate some 3,000 jobs for Filipinos.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said these investments will also create more than 2,000 rooms, boosting efforts to promote tourism.
The tourism projects include nine resorts, six hotels, two theme parts and one condotel or condominium-hotel.
Durano added that for the first quarter, the establishments that opened were Park Bed & Breakfast Hotel and Restaurant (48 rooms) in Pasay; Sugihara Villa Resort, Vauban Villa Resort, Salamanca Villa Resort, Almonavides Villa Resort, La Galice Villa Resort, Kapangyarihan Villa Resort, and La Pucelle Villa Resort-Amanpulo group in Pamalican Island, Palawan (28 cluster villas); Oakwood Serviced Residences (232 rooms) in Pasig; Imperial Palace Water Park Resort and Spa (616 rooms) in Cebu; and Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa (217 rooms).
To open in the coming months are Discovery Bay Misibis, Manila Ocean Park (additional facilities), Picasso Serviced Residences, Newport Marriot Hotel, Maxim’s Hotel, Microtel Inns and Suite Puerto Princesa, and Silang Wakeboard Park.
At present, the DOT is processing the investment of Bella Roca Island Resort and Spa in Marinduque. You should see this place, its a Moroccan inspired place, napaka ganda.
According to DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque Jr., the jobs that will be generated from the projects is seen to augment the rise in unemployment in these challenging times. As a policy, tourism-related businesses can apply for income tax holiday for four to six years and duty-free importation of selected capital equipment needed for the operation upon registration with the Bureau of Investments. With this being said, there is a lot of money pouring in huh?

I believe that this is just a bump in the road and that things will get better. Just observe malls and shopping areas especially during a sale, who says the Philippines is a third world country and that we are experiencing hard times? Well, jokingly, as some say about this economic hardships, "sorry, we are not participating". Truly, we are an optimistic and resilient breed.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Client, Patient, Customer, at Iba pa; Masseur, Masseuse, Massage Therapist atbp.

Client, Patient, Customer, At Iba Pa
Masseur, Massagist, Massage Therapist, At Iba Pa
By yunesa@yahoo.com
(you can view, read, download and print this article for free, see below for details)

Client, customer, guest, patient, patron……ano ba talaga kuya? Alam niyo hindi ko lubos maisip kung ano talaga ang itatawag sa kanila. (You know, I really don’t know what to really call them) So, for me to sound politically correct we will dissect the words. Minsan nga nagiging topic pa ito ng mga diskusyon di ba? (Sometimes this has been a topic of discussions, hasn’t it?).

Let us differentiate a client, from a customer, to a guest, patient or patron. I am writing here with the focus of how the terms are used from the viewpoint of someone in the spa, massage therapy, bodyworks, beauty and wellness industry. Remember I am writing here not to be politically correct but to present each and every word within the context of how we view it in our industry and how it is perceived and used by others in different fields.

According to several online dictionaries that I have compared, a client is someone who uses and pays a professional or a specialist for goods or services. So if a person is not a professional this means the person seeking his/her goods or services is not technically a client? Ganun ba yun? (Is that it?) So let us say for example you are not really a professional spa or massage therapist, you don’t have the right to call your clients…clients? Normally, the word client is heard in a lawyer’s, solicitor’s, accountant’s, advertising agency’s office, etc.. But in the spa, massage, beauty and wellness industry we have also been using this term instead of the perennially hated word “customer”.

Let us go to the word customer. A customer on the other hand, is an informal word that refers to an individual buys/ pays for goods or services. Commonly this term is used in the retail industry. Because the word customer, has been tainted badly by people who promote sex other than purely professional massage therapy. People in the industry have been embarrassed to use this and instead used other terms which will not create stigma for the professionals. So kung wala namang bibilhin na product sa spa ang isang tao, dapat huwag siyang tawaging customer or if you cringe when you hear that word from fellow massage/ spa therapists then do not use “customer” at all.

Guest is a term used to refer to any individual or visitor who received hospitality from a home or a business entity. Generally, this is used in the hotel industry or any facility whose business is in accommodation, travel, holiday and tours industry. To be too technical about the term, in the spa, massage clinic or your wellness business, you can use the word guest if:
1. They are not regular visitors, meaning, to be technical about it, guest lang talaga sila. They do not come often.
2. You and your staff are really giving them the best service and value. What do I mean by this? How do we treat guests in our homes? I think the best example of treating guests is in the abode of Filipino homes. We treat them with utmost respect, honor, full-hospitality and accommodation. There are even times when the master’s bedroom is offered for the guests. We would tour them around even if that means being absent from the office or taking a half-day off. We would eat out with them from our own pocket and at our own expense not theirs, at marami pang iba. In short, they are treated as royalties and a distinguished part of the family.
3. To be again too technical about the term guest, guests are guests and they are not expected to pay. Naku! Hindi yata maganda ‘to…. if we are to be too technical about this term sa business natin…ang guest ay hindi natin ine-expect na mag-bayad. (Whew! This is not good because if we are too be too technical about this term, in our line of business, do you expect your guest at home to pay? Of course not, isn’t it? ) A guest is not expected to pay (?).
So meron na naman tayong sabit sa paggamit ng term na yan. So again, we will have another technical issue if we are to use that term.)

Let us go to the word patient or pasiyente in Tagalog. The word patient is generally used in the health and medical field naman because this is a person who requires medical care. So if you are in the premises of a medical setting, you are called a patient. Likewise, this term might be used also as an adjective meaning, someone who is fore bearing and one who embodies long-suffering or briefly, a patient is someone who endures. In Tagalog, mapagpasensiya. Which is correct in its context because when you are a patient, you are enduring some trying circumstances or situations. An ailment, disease or sickness. Before, the word patient is exclusively used by doctors, physicians but medical spas nowadays, use the word patient even if you do not have any illness, as long as you are in their premises and a receiver of their services they can call you a patient instead of client, guest, customer or patron. The word patient hooked two similar yet different denotations and connotations.

Last but not the least, the word, patron. The word patron means someone who is a regular individual who champions your business and some one who defends you. This person recommends you and your spa services. Patron is generally used by artists, in the restaurant, service industry or any institution where repeat business is high. The meaning of this in a technical concept, is wonderful because we really want people like these who are loyal and zealous of what we do and what we provide for them.

Before I end this brouhaha over these terminologies there is another set of terms that has been a controversy in the realm of spa, massage therapy and bodyworks. And these are the words: masseuse/masseur, massagist, massage therapist and bodyworkers.
Obviously a masseuse is a female and a masseur is a male, both of which professionally practices massage therapy as a source of income. Again, since these words have given some form of stigma for the professionals because of its other implied meaning regarding sex.

Massagist, is a neutral term, which may mean a female or a male, a term I have not found in the Webster’s dictionary but I have first encountered in Chapter XIII of PD 856 which is the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Massage Clinics and Sauna Bath Establishments of the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines, Section 2, Item Number 10 on the Definition of Terms, massagist refers to a trained person who has passed the masseurs examination and is a holder of a valid certificate of registration for masseur issued by the Department of Health. The word massage therapist has not been mentioned in the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Massage Clinics and Sauna Bath Establishments of the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines but has been mentioned in the Rules and Regulations of the Department of Tourism (DOT) governing the establishment of spa facilities. The DOT defines a massage therapist as someone who is a certified licensed massage therapist who has undergone extensive training either locally or internationally regarding anatomy, physiology and multitude of massage techniques.

Bodyworker may mean someone who is making or repairing vehicle bodies or someone who is engaged in the profession of bodywork. Bodywork is a broader concept than massage therapy because bodyworkers may include other forms of somatic bodyworks not only massage therapy and this includes: Yoga, Rolfing, Alexander technique, etc. Sometimes massage therapy and bodyworks are used interchangeably but to be technical about it, while bodywork includes all forms of massage techniques, it also includes many other types of touch and healing therapies that additionally incorporate vast assessment techniques and tools that may for example, allow a client to benefit their posture and/or aim to enhance their awareness of the 'mind-body connection'. Any activity which involves touch, energetic stimulation or the application of pressure or vibration to tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissue, joints, tendons and ligaments may be termed bodywork.

So in my personal opinion, whatever word we use, whether that be: client, customer, guest, patient, patron or masseur, masseuse, massagist, massage therapist, bodyworkers or whatever upcoming terminology that may arise, the basic principle is we use terms with value and dignity. Hindi na natin pag uusapan dito kung sino ang tama o mali. The issue here is about adding value to the industry. If you think, the term that you will use will add value to a person’s dignity or an industry’s dignity then by all means use it. But if, in the deepest recesses of your heart, you think that this term has become obsolete or needs some fresh new start then change it for your peace of mind.

We can argue on the uses of these words over and over or we can use any of these terms with malice or indignation or with love and respect. Remember, words are very powerful. God created the universe with words. Words became flesh. Words do become flesh.

Since I am not writing to be politically correct, as stated earlier, all definitions have been definitions found from different online and offline sources like dictionaries like Merriam Webster, thesaurus, Google, etc.

I will end this topic with a little twist to tickle our funny bones, but certainly not to degrade any language. Please bear with me.

After all these heated discussions and arguments which is right and which term is wrong, the English language is a crazy language and here are some of the reasons why: There is no egg in an eggplant, nor ham in hamburger. There is neither pine or apple in pineapple. French fries were not invented in France nor English muffins in England. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which are not sweet at all, are meat. There are a lot of paradoxes in the English language and we will find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a Guinea pig is neither a pig nor an animal from New Guinea. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing? Hammers don’t ham and grocers don’t groce? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why then isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? Gets confusing….right?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? That you can comb through the annals of history but not a single annal? Or an anus? If a vegetarian ate vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Have running nose therefore they run? and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise guy and a wise man are opposites? How can overlook and oversea be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell in one day and cold as hell the other?
One has to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.
As I quote Pastor Ed Lapiz, from the Special issue of Light Touch Magazine, vol. 8 number 3,Copyright 2004, Glad Tidings Publication “Filipinos are linguists. Put a Filipino in any city, any town around the world. Give him a few months or even weeks and he will speak the local language there. Filipinos are adept at learning and speaking languages. In fact, it is not uncommon for Filipinos to speak at least three: his dialect, Filipino, and English. Of course, a lot speak an added language, be it Chinese, Spanish or, if he works abroad, the language of his host country. In addition, Tagalog is not 'sexist.' While many "conscious" and "enlightened" people of today are just by now striving to be "politically correct" with their language and, in the process, bend to absurd depths in coining "gender sensitive" words, Tagalog has, since time immemorial, evolved gender-neutral words like asawa (husband or wife), anak (son or daughter), magulang (father or mother), kapatid (brother or sister), biyenan ( father-in-law or mother-in-law), manugang (son or daughter-in-law), bayani (hero or heroine), etc. Our languages and dialects are advanced and, indeed, sophisticated! It is no small wonder that Jose Rizal, the quintessential Filipino, spoke some twenty-two languages!”

English, Tagalog, Spanish, Norge, Nipponggo and all the other languages were invented by people and not by computers. Language is a blessing in the hands of responsible people. We can bless with words and we can curse with words. We can express our love with words or scar a person with words. Words can be used both as a positive influence and a negative one. Language embodies the creativity of the human race (which, of course, is not a race at all…ay sus!). That is why when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. Any why, when I say I would wind up my watch it means I would start it and when I say, I would wind up this talk, I would end it.

May we always have words that are encouraging, helpful, nurturing and loving to everyone around us.


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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Francis M and A Closer Look at Leukemia

Francis Magalona and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia with Mixed Lineage

Another very talented and an asset to the Philippine music industry passed away, Francis Magalona or Francis M. Often hailed as “the Pinoy King of Rap” and “Master Rapper”. Nakaka-lungkot at nakakapang-lumo.

His battle with leukemia kept me digging and asking information on how this may/could affect us all. Although I am a medical technologist and we have a subject called hematology or haematology. This includes the study of blood diseases. I need to refresh myself again with the disease and its intricate details.

Ano ba ang leukemia? Leukemia is a form of cancer na yung ating katawan ay nag pro-produce ng napaka-raming white blood cells. Ano ba ang ginagawa ng white blood cells sa ating katawan? Blood contains three types of cells: red blood cells, white blood cells (soldiers ng ating katawan), and platelets. Each type of cell has a special function in the body. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. White blood cells fight invading organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Platelets are involved in the process of blood clotting. So pag dumami ang ating white blood cells ibig sabihin meron tayong infection sa katawan na kailangan sugpuin nitong mga soldiers na ito. Pero kung sumobra naman ang dami ng white blood cells at nakaka disrupt sa pag produce ng red blood cells- dito na nagkakaroon ng imbalance.
Napaka raming type ng leukemia. They are divided into two general types: acute and chronic. An acute condition comes on fairly quickly. A chronic disorder develops more slowly over time. Yung kay Francis M ay Myelogenous Leukemia with Mixed Lineage. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a cancer of the myeloid line of the white blood cells, characterized by the rapid proliferation (o pagdami) ng abnormal cells which accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal red blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age.

Generally, leukemia is caused by the overproduction of white blood cells. (Ito ay may dalawang epekto sa ating katawan) This has two effects on the body. First, the white blood cells may not mature properly as they develop. They may lack the ability to kill foreign bodies in the bloodstream. This defect seriously damages the immune system and the body loses its ability to fight off infections.
Second, so many white blood cells may form that they pack the bone marrow until there is not enough room for red blood cells and platelets to develop. Without red blood cells, the body's cells do not get enough oxygen, and the condition known as anemia (ito yung low ang count ng red blood cell sa katawan natin) develops.

Ang leukemia ay may generalized na mga sintomas, ito ay ang fatigue (madaling mapagod), shortness of breath (hirap sa pag hinga), easy bruising (madaling magka-pasa) and bleeding (pagdurugo), and increased risk of infection. May mga risk factors for AML pero yung specific cause of AML remains unclear. As an acute leukemia, AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.

No one knows what causes leukemia. Researchers have strong suspicions about four possible causes, however. They are radiation, chemicals, viruses, and genetic factors.

Radiation. The term "radiation" refers to various forms of energy, such as X rays and ultraviolet (UV) light found in sunlight. Radiation can tear chemicals apart, thus damaging or destroying cells. Some researchers believe that exposure to radiation can cause some forms of leukemia.

Chemicals. Some types of chemicals are known to be carcinogens. A carcinogen is anything that can cause cancer. Chemicals can cause cancer by damaging cells and the substances within them.

Viruses. Some researchers believe that some types of leukemia are viral infections. A virus is a very small organism that can cause a disease. The link between viruses and leukemia is strong in some cases, but it has not been proven.

Genetics. Leukemia tends to occur in some families more commonly than in others. This suggests that at least some forms of leukemia may be hereditary.

The symptoms of leukemia are generally vague. A patient may experience all or some of the following symptoms:
Weakness or chronic fatigue (madaling mapagod)
Fever of unknown origin (walang dahilan na mga lagnat)
Unexplained weight loss (hindi naman nag di-diet pero bigla na lang namamayat)
Frequent bacterial or viral infections
Headaches (pagsakit ng ulo)
Skin rash
Bone pain with no known cause (Masakit ang buto-buto na walang dahilan)
Easy bruising (madaling magkapasa)
Bleeding from gums (pyorrhea) and nose (epistaxis)
Blood in urine (hematuria) or stools (melena or hematochezia)
Enlarged lymph nodes and/or spleen
Fullness in the stomach (feeling busog)

Pag may combination ang isang tao ng ganitong mga sintomas ang first step is to see a doctor. The doctor must then try to find the cause of these symptoms. The doctor first performs tests to rule out other medical conditions. The first specific test for leukemia is likely to be a blood test. A blood test shows the relative amounts of red and white blood cells. An unusually large number of white blood cells might suggest the possibility of leukemia. The first clue to a diagnosis of AML or any type of leukemia is typically an abnormal result on a CBC or complete blood count. While an excess of abnormal white blood cells (leukocytosis ang tawag dito) is a common finding, and leukemic blasts are sometimes seen, AML can also present with isolated decreases in plateslets and red blood cells, or even with a low white blood cell count (leukopenia naman ang tawag dito).
Next pag nakitang may abnormality sa blood count results, mag re request ang doctor ng presumptive diagnosis via examination of the peripheral blood smear when there are circulating leukemic blasts. Ang presumptive diagnosis as the word implies ay presuming lamang hindi pa talaga 100% sure. So to be sure, a definitive or specific diagnosis usually requires an adequate bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. A bone marrow biopsy is conducted with a long, thin needle that is inserted into the marrow of a bone. A bone in the hip or chest is usually chosen for this procedure.

If there is still doubt, an additional test may be performed. This test is a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). In a lumbar puncture, a thin needle is inserted into the space between vertebrae in the patient's spine. A sample of cerebrospinal fluid is withdrawn. Cerebrospinal fluid is a liquid that surrounds the tissues in the brain and spine. The presence of abnormal blood cells indicates that the patient has leukemia.

Papano ba ito ma cu-cure, may cure nga ba? at anong mga options ng isang taong merong leukemia? Treatment of leukemia takes place in two steps. The goal of the first step is to bring the disease into remission. Remission means two things. First, no symptoms of the disease remain. Ibig sabihin walang nararamdamang sintomas ang pasyente. Second, dapat wala ng makitang white blood cells sa bone marrow.
Two forms of treatment are used in this first step: chemotherapy and radiation.
Chemotherapy involves the use of certain chemicals that can kill cancer cells. These chemicals may be given orally (by mouth) or intravenously (through a vein in the arm). Some people ask what would happen if they did not have the treatment. Treatment can be given for different reasons and the potential benefits will vary depending upon the individual situation.The decision about whether to have chemotherapy treatment can be a difficult one and the patient may need to discuss it in detail with your doctor. One of the biggest drawbacks to chemotherapy is that it can also affect healthy cells. So hindi lang cancer cells ang pinapatay niya kung hindi pati na rin ang healthy cells. Temporary side effects include: hair loss, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, bleeding, susceptibility to infection, loss of appetite, changes in the way food tastes, et marami pang iba.

Many alternative treatments are available that may prove helpful in combating the side effects of traditional cancer therapies. These alternatives, however, should not replace prescribed cancer treatments; rather, they are suggested to work in conjunction with conventional treatment.

Body work therapy such as acupuncture (Chinese therapy involving the use of fine needles), acupressure (Chinese therapy that involves applying pressure to certain points in the body), reflexology, and massage may help calm the patient and reduce stress. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may relieve nausea and discomfort. An exercise program, designed in consultation with a physician, may help promote physical and mental strength. A well-balanced diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and low in fats, sugar, and alcohol is suggested for overall well-being.

The prognosis (this term denotes the doctor’s prediction on how a patient will progress, and whether there is a chance of recovery) for various forms of leukemia varies widely. Three important factors are the patient's age and general health, and the time since diagnosis. That is, younger patients who are otherwise in good health have the best chance for survival if their leukemia is diagnosed early.

Prognosis also varies depending on the form of leukemia. In general, patients with chronic forms of the disease tend to live longer than those with acute forms. The average survival rate for patients with chronic leukemia is about nine years. By contrast, only about half of all patients with acute myelogenous leukemia survive five years. For acute lymphocytic leukemia, the survival rate is even less.

Medical progress has greatly improved the prognosis for leukemia over the past thirty years. Surgeons are becoming much more proficient at bone marrow transplantations. As a result, more and more patients face the possibility not only of remission but also a cure.

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is more common in men than in women. The difference is even more apparent in older patients. Some have proposed that the increased prevalence of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in men may be related to occupational exposures.

For patients with relapsed AML, the only proven potentially curative therapy is a stem cell transplant, if one has not already been performed.

Until the cause or causes of leukemia are found, there is no way to prevent the disease. Since wala nga talagang pinpointed na cause ng leukemia. It is better if we all take better care of ourselves para mas ma-less yung probability natin to acquire this disease. Lifestyle check is always a good way to start.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why Filipinos are Special by Ptr. Ed Lapiz

Why Filipinos Are Special
by Ed LapizFrom the Special issue of Light Touch Magazine, vol. 8 number 3,Copyright 2004, Glad Tidings Publication

Filipinos are Brown. Their color is in the center of human racial strains.This point is not an attempt at racism, but just for many Filipinosto realize that our color should not be a source of or reason forinferiority complex. While we pine for a fair complexion, the whitepeople are religiously tanning themselves, whenever they could, underthe sun or some artificial light, just to approximate the Filipino complexion.

Filipinos are a touching people. We have lots of love and are not afraid to show it. We almost inevitably create human chains with ourperennial akbay (putting an arm around another shoulder), hawak(hold),yakap (embrace), himas (caressing stroke), kalabit (touch withthe tip of the finger), kalong (sitting on someone else's lap), etc. We are always reaching out, always seeking interconnection.

Filipinos are linguists. Put a Filipino in any city, any town around the world. Give him a few months or even weeks and he will speak thelocal language there. Filipinos are adept at learning and speakinglanguages. In fact, it is not uncommon for Filipinos to speak atleast three: his dialect, Filipino, and English. Of course, a lot speak an added language, be it Chinese, Spanish or, if he worksabroad, the language of his host country. In addition, Tagalog is not 'sexist.' While many "conscious"and "enlightened" people of today are just by now striving tobe "politically correct" with their language and, in the process,bend to absurd depths in coining "gender sensitive" words, Tagaloghas, since time immemorial, evolved gender-neutral words like asawa(husband or wife), anak (son or daughter), magulang (father ormother), kapatid (brother or sister), biyenan ( father-in-law ormother-in-law), manugang (son or daughter-in-law), bayani (hero orheroine), etc. Our languages and dialects are advanced and, indeed,sophisticated! It is no small wonder that Jose Rizal, thequintessential Filipino, spoke some twenty-two languages!

Filipinos are groupists. We love human interaction and company. We always surround ourselves with people and we hover over them, too. According to Dr. Patricia Licuanan, a psychologist from Ateneo andMiriam College, an average Filipino would have and know at least 300 relatives. At work, we live bayanihan (mutual help); at play, we want a kalaro(playmate) more than laruan (toy). At socials, our invitations areopen and it is more common even for guests to invite and bring inother guests. In transit, we do not want to be separated from our group. So what do we do when there is no more space in a vehicle?Kalung-kalong! (Sit on one another). No one would ever suggest splitting a group and waiting for another vehicle with more space!

Filipinos are weavers. One look at our baskets, mats, clothes, andother crafts will reveal the skill of the Filipino weaver and hisinclination to weaving. This art is a metaphor of the Filipino trait. We are social weavers. We weave theirs into ours that we all becomeparts of one another. We place a lot of premium on pakikisama(getting along) and pakikipagkapwa (relating). Two of the worstlabels, walang pakikipagkapwa (inability to relate), will be avoided by the Filipino at almost any cost. We love to blend and harmonize with people, we like to include themin our "tribe," in our "family"-and we like to be included in otherpeople's families, too. Therefore we call our friend's mother nanay or mommy; we call afriend's sister ate (eldest sister), and so on. We even call strangers tia (aunt) or tio (uncle), tatang (grandfather), etc. So extensive is our social openness and interrelations that we have specific title for extended relations like hipag (sister-in-law'sspouse), balae (child-in-law's parents), inaanak (godchild), ninong/ninang (godparents), kinakapatid (godparent's child), etc. In addition, we have the profound 'ka' institution, loosely translated as "equal to the same kind" as in kasama (of the samecompany), kaisa (of the same cause), kapanalig (of the same belief), etc. In our social fiber, we treat other people as co-equals. Filipinos, because of their social "weaving" traditions, make for excellent team workers.

Filipinos are adventurers. We have a tradition of separation. Our myths and legends speak of heroes and heroines who almost always get separated from their families and loved ones and are taken by circumstances to far-away lands where they find wealth or power. Our Spanish colonial history is filled with separations caused by the reduccion (hamleting), and the forced migration to build towns, churches, fortresses or galleons. American occupation enlarged the space of Filipino wandering, including America, and there are documented evidences of Filipino presence in America as far back as 1587. Now, Filipinos compose the world's largest population of overseas workers, populating and sometimes "threshing" major capitals, minortowns and even remote villages around the world. Filipino adventurism has made us today's citizens of the world, bringing the bagoong (salty shrimp paste), pansit (sautéed noodles), siopao (meat-filled dough), kare-kare (peanut-flavored dish), dinuguan (innards cooked in pork blood), balut (unhatched duck egg), and adobo (meatvinaigrette), including the tabo (ladle) and tsinelas (slippers) all over the world.

Filipinos are excellent at adjustments and improvisation, managing to recreate their home, or to feel at home anywhere.

Filipinos have Pakiramdam (deep feeling/discernment) . We know how to feel what others feel, sometimes even anticipate what they will feel.Being manhid (dense) is one of the worst labels anyone could get andwill therefore, avoid at all cost. We know when a guest is hungry though the insistence on being full is assured. We can tell if people are lovers even if they are miles apart. We know if a person is offended though he may purposely smile. We know because we feel. In our pakikipagkapwa (relating), we get not only to wear another man's shoe but also his heart. We have a superbly developed and honored gift of discernment, making us excellent leaders, counselors, and go-betweens.

Filipinos are very spiritual. We are transcendent. We transcend the physical world, see the unseen and hear the unheard. We have a deep sense of kaba (premonition) and kutob (hunch). A Filipino wife will instinctively feel her husband or child is going astray, whether or not telltale signs present themselves. Filipino spirituality makes him invoke divine presence orintervention at nearly every bend of his journey . Rightly or wrongly, Filipinos are almost always acknowledging, invoking or driving away spirits into and from their lives. Seemingly trivial or even incoherent events can take on spiritual significance and will begiven such space or consideration. The Filipino has a sophisticated, developed pakiramdam. The Filipino,though becoming more and more modern (hence, materialistic) is still very spiritual in essence. This inherent and deep spirituality makes the Filipino, once correctly Christianized, a major exponent of the faith.

Filipinos are timeless. Despite the nearly half-a-millennium encroachment of the western clock into our lives, Filipinos-unless on very formal or official functions-still measure time not with hours and minutes but with feeling. This style is ingrained deep in our psyche. Our time is diffused, not framed. Our appointments are defined by umaga (morning), tanghali (noon ), hapon (afternoon), or gabi (evening). Our most exact time reference is probably katanghaliang-tapat (high noon), which still allows many minutes of leeway. That is how Filipino trysts and occasions are timed: there is really no definite time. A Filipino event has no clear-cut beginning nor ending. We have afiesta , but there is bisperas (eve), a day after the fiesta is still considered a good time to visit. The Filipino Christmas is not confined to December 25th; it somehow begins months before December and extends up to the first days of January. Filipinos say good-bye to guests first at the head of the stairs,then down to the descamo (landing), to the entresuelo (mezzanine), to the pintuan (doorway), to the tarangkahan (gate), and if the departing persons are to take public transportation, up to the busstop or bus station. In a way, other people's tardiness and extended stays can really beannoying, but this peculiarity is the same charm of Filipinos who, being governed by timelessness, can show how to find more time to benice, kind, and accommodating than his prompt and exact brotherselsewhere.

Filipinos are Spaceless. As in the concept of time, the Filipino concept of space is not numerical. We will not usually express expanse of space with miles or kilometers but with feelings in how we say malayo (far )or malapit (near). Alongside with numberlessness, Filipino space is also boundless. Indigenous culture did not divide land into private lots but kept it open for all to partake of its abundance. The Filipino has avidly remained "spaceless" in many ways. The interior of the bahay-kubo (hut) can easily become receiving room, sleeping room, kitchen, dining room, chapel, wake parlor, etc. Depending on the time of the day or the needs of the moment. The same is true with the bahay na bato (stone house). Space just flows into the next space that the divisions between the sala, caida, comedor, or vilada may only be faintly suggested by overhead arches offiligree. In much the same way, Filipino concept of space can be so diffused that one 's party may creep into and actually expropriate the street! A family business like a sari-sari store or talyer may extend to the sidewalk and street. Provincial folks dry palayan (ricegrain) on the highways! Religious groups of various persuasions habitually and matter-of-factly commandeer the streets for processions and parades. It is not uncommon to close a street to accommodate private functions, Filipinos eat. sleep, chat, socialize, quarrel, evenurinate, nearly everywhere or just anywhere! "Spacelessness," in the face of modern, especially urban life, can be unlawful and may really be counter-productive. On the other hand, Filipino spacelessness, when viewed from his context, is just another manifestation of his spiritually and communal values. Adapted well to today's context, which may mean unstoppable urbanization, Filipino spacelessness may even be the answer and counter balance to humanity's greed, selfishness and isolation.

So what makes the Filipino special? We are brown, spiritual,timeless, spaceless, linguists, groupists, weavers, adventurers. Seldom do all these profound qualities find personification in apeople. Filipinos should allow - and should be allowed to contribute their special traits to the world-wide community of men- but first, we should know and like ourselves.

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