Monthly Archives: February 2014

Heart to Heart: My Open Letter to the Single People this Valentine’s Day

LOVE. A simple, one-syllable and four-letter word had a multitude of meanings for all of us. It seems like a word of abstractions yet we could all attest how real and how solid it feels to all of us. We also have many stories about love. There are stories that have some with passion and happy endings. There are stories about getting back together. There are stories with bitterness and pain. There are stories who mistook it for obsession or complete submission.

And then here comes Valentine’s Day.

What actually dreaded me is that after Chinese New Year, single people started posting on how sad and sappy they will be on Valentine’s Day. Others curse that day. Others are just overemphasizing that Valentine’s Day will just be an ordinary date in their calendar. In short, bitterness overloads.

Photo credits from: http://rubyanjel.tumblr.com
Looks familiar?

For the love of God, just stop this.

I understand where the bitterness is coming from. Again you will go on thinking what the hell is wrong with you being so alone amidst the couples whispering sweet nothings, the bouquets and the red hearts on the street. There are questions on whether you are unattractive or not. You would also have that hatred in your past love or how show-off these happy couples are in social media. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to your poor self-esteem.

English writer, John Lyly, famously said these words, “All is fair in love and war.” True, there are some girls who have countless of admirers because of their beauty and there are also some guys which the girls dream about because of how handsome they are. However, that is not love. Probably, it is some sort of sexual appeal or lust. The best love stories do not origin from the most attractive persons. In fact, there are a lot of stories on divorce or annulment of marriages from our celebrities. If having a beautiful face or an attractive body is what you think the key to an everlasting love, then please do think again. Also, I know of someone who is not attractive at all by at least in my country’s standard. He is dark-skinned and a short man. However, he has a fantastic sense of humor and he seemed to be kind to all. Then we discovered that he have six kids from six different women. I can’t really react after hearing that especially because he is my friend.

Then, what is the key to love? I honestly do not know. If it would all boil down to attitude, I really do not understand why men love bitches and women love jerks. If it would boil down to one’s wealth, why do I hear polygamous relationship among the poor? I really do not know what makes one, well, loveable. All I know is that love is the most powerful force in the world. It transcends age, race, religion and anything else under the sun.

Thus, there is no reason to be bitter. I know that in one point of our lives, love will come, as long as we will be true to ourselves and will leave an open heart for it. But in the meantime, can’t we be happy for the people in love? In this great vast world, having someone who will love you for you is a miracle. It is something worth celebrating. And also, just like you, my single friend, they were also once single people, but look how love changes them.

In the meantime, love yourself first. If you cannot do that, what are the chances that someone else will love you first? Engage in activities. Meet new people. Make yourself a better person every single day. And who knows, maybe by April, you will be some love-struck idiot who can’t wait for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

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The “Chinita” Problems

I have a problem that should not even be a problem: Ever since I was in college, somebody often greets me “Happy Chinese New Year!”

You would probably reply, “So, what?”

The problem is how do you exactly respond to such question properly?

You see, it is true that I have Chinese blood. I think it is obvious with my physical traits: almond eyes, round face,  sallow complexion and thin lips. But to how much am I Chinese, the answer is I don’t know. My grandparents from both side of the family are all mestizos or mixed blooded.

That is why I could say “Thank you very much! Same to you!” However, that would also feel so wrong. The reason: I grew up not practicing any Chinese tradition except eating tikoy or nian gao in Chinese New Year. I think all Filipinos are now doing it now, though. Worst, I do not know of any relative who could actually speak and read Chinese.

However, if I said, “No, I’m not a Chinese.” A part of me feels like I’m lying. It is like I’m denying my Chinese ancestors who probably braved through the stormy seas on the West Philippine Sea from China just to be here. Also, how can I explain my physical Chinese traits? How would I also explain my surname which sounds like a decent from the Chinese.

But of course, my body has some other stories to tell because of my other bloodline coming from Spain. First, I am considered a tall girl in the Philippines. I am only 5’5 but you see, most girls here are only 5’0. Also, my body frame is unusually large if you compare my bone structure to other girls. However, the weird thing about having a large frame is having unproportioned hands and feet. People I know wouldn’t believe that my shoe size is only 7! My face is round but you could also notice how prominent my cheekbones are. I have this wavy hair that has a mind of its own. I colored my hair into creamy, light brown now but my original hair color is chestnut brown, another unusual trait for a Filipina. Also, my eye color is almost in the shade of honey; however, regular Filipinas have black to very dark brown eyes.

So who am I?

I am a Filipina.

I don’t think that we are still living in an era where the true Filipina beauty are solely confined to those ladies who are brown-skinned and large expressive eyes.  The Philippines now are considered one of the biggest melting pots in the world. We can now see people that are seemingly from different parts of the world in our school or neighborhood.

Also, we must not discriminate others. Nobody now has the right to look down on others just because one looks different from the others. We must embrace our uniqueness. We are the colors of the rainbow if only we could be one.

I am indeed happy living in an era where we are having this openness in the subcultures of our society. We no longer have classes during the end of Ramadan to give respect to our Muslim brothers and sisters. And now, we are also in vacation for Chinese New Year for us to join them in their most joyous occasion.

Yes, it doesn’t bother me any more being called Chinese or looking like a foreigner in general. I am like a product of the Philippine history by my mixed genes. I am a Filipina purely under these unique traits. And I’ll forever be proud as one.

So, tikoy, anyone?

Cheong
In Red. My mother used to like some Chinese-inspired clothing like the one I’m wearing above. This was taken some years ago. That top was unfortunately destroyed by the typhoon. It does suit me well or does it?