Tips & tricks 4 aspiring Pinay GFs/spouses/mates of Kiwis


Not as perfect as this, but it's the love and commitment that counts ūüôā

[ Note : In no way do I intend to demean the romance of courtship, especially between Kiwis and Pinays, with such a blog title; it’s just borrowed from a gaming magazine that focuses on tips and tricks for getting ahead in wins, levels and scores.¬† Sorrys all around for all those unconvinced.¬† Belated happy birthdays to Wilfred Chua (1st Jan), Hilton Ngo (1st Jan), Ong Bun Hua Jr (2nd Jan), and Dr June Tiu-Lim (5th Jan). Thanks for reading ! ]

AT WORK, in the mall, at the Asian store, in church, and everywhere else people gather, you see them.¬† Usually, it’s the Kiwi husband and Pinay wife, but sometimes it’s the mirror reverse, the Kiwi wife and Pinoy husband.¬† They’re not many, but their numbers are rising.¬† The common wisdom is that Asians make good partners because they take care of their spouses, are good around the house, and rate high on the loyalty area.

But the reality is each happy couple is happy in its own way,¬† and it wouldn’t take too much analysis to predict that racially mixed or “blended” families in NZ are the wave of the future.¬† And if the dating websites, dating services and personal ads on mixed media have anything to do with it, that wave of the future will be one that a lot of our kabayan will be riding on, as more and more Kiwi men look for engaging, romantic and loyal counterparts from the Pearl of the Orient.¬† Not just because we come from the same place, but we think our Pinay compatriots, positioned in an array of beauteous Asian candidates, enjoy a decided advantage over many other¬†sisters¬†of the yellow, brown and mocha races.

I won’t¬†get into that, because you and I already know about those advantages.¬† Stay with your strengths, and¬†gloss over your weak areas seems to be¬†the can’t-miss advice for Pinays who’ve suddenly caught the eye of a lonely Kiwi internet surfer.¬† But there are certain pearls of wisdom, tried and true, which if you abide, will jack up the odds in your favor.¬† The odds, that is,¬†of getting here with the greatest ease and the least drama :

Don’t push it.¬† Don’t talk like you’re eternal soulmates fated to find each other in this frozen moment in time, or that there’s not a minute to waste before your bodies are joined in an inseparable embrace and that you can’t wait to bridge the distance between Manila and Auckland, in the first five minutes of live chat.¬† Trust me, that is probably the surest way to never see or hear from him again.¬† This is the best advice I can give you, because while Mr Kiwi Guy is viewing you (or your photo) and trying to come up with something cool and politically correct to say, fate, soulmate or marriage are not in the list of desirable¬†chat words and replies at the moment.¬† So, again : don’t push it.¬† For now.

Learn and/or practice English.¬† Oo naman, I know you already speak English, and good English at that. But two qualifiers.¬† First, iba po ang English spoken with fellow Pinoys versus English spoken with foreigners.¬† Second, Kiwi English is a bit different from American English, the latter being the English we’ve learned from school, absorbed from media, and acquired from the internet.

These two qualifiers will hit you like a bucket of ice water if you’re not ready for it, and it will do you a world of good to be ready.¬† High on your to-do list is to conduct an English-speaking campaign with yourself (if you talk to yourself) and with friends family and everyone else you interact with.¬† Believe me, every little bit helps.¬† Next on the list, and I’m assuming you don’t have many Kiwi friends (yet) is to visit the NZ news websites like or¬† which have newsreaders born-and-bred in NZ.¬† Bottom line is Kiwi English isn’t that different from what we know, but learning it makes a difference.

Get to know him.¬† Making yourself easy on the eyes, ears etc is a two-way street, he should be good enough for you too.¬† I hope you don’t scare easily, but it’s important likewise to know within the first 15 mins if he’s not a crazy; the lights could be on but he might not always be in, if you know what I mean.¬† The good news is the most helpful clues are the most obvious ones, and the best impressions are the first.¬† Whether or not it’s intended, the first virtual date will tell you if he has a tendency to be a womanizer, sex-crazed, or worse, a pervert.¬† And in many cases, tendencies are more than enough.

Learn his culture, faves and hobbies.¬† This isn’t as much a biggie as the others, but they might help.¬† Many Kiwi blokes are DIY and car enthusiasts, I’m afraid I’m not much help there, but I do know that they love to talk about tools, car races and tinkering with their engines.¬† Kiwis love rugby, cricket and sports in general, but are particularly fond of rugby union, as New Zealand recently won the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and are certainly proud of that.¬† These are by the way sports that are hardly followed, much less played in the Philippines, so expect a little disconnect whenever he raves about his favorite players and teams.¬† And that’s why it might pay to look them up, the sports I mean, on Google and Wikipedia and other sites.

Don’t be a hard-sell.¬† You’re not selling encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners or insurance.¬† Which means you don’t have to hard-sell him.¬† You are essentially selling him the concept of a Pinay relationship, which when you think about it, isn’t a hard-sell at all; if anything, he should be selling to you a Kiwi relationship. (I’m just boosting your morale kapatid)¬† This means on your qualities alone you have more than enough.¬† Therefore, it’s strongly advised that you don’t use pity or compassion to go to the next level; don’t talk about invalid relatives, tuition fees needed for siblings or convalescing elders.¬† Don’t insist on a face-to-face unless he asks for it first, and even then make sure he’s serious.

Above all, and I can’t stress this enough, don’t ask for money for any reason unless it’s a life-or-death thing, and even then think many times before doing so.¬† You might not appreciate erring on the side of caution for now, but in the long run it will be worth it.

***         ***         ***         ***         ***

That’s it.¬†¬†I don’t pretend to be an expert on Kiwi blokes, but I am a guy, and I know quite a few Kiwis in happy relationships with kabayan.¬† I’ve also seen two people hook up from day one, so I know a little whereof I speak.¬†¬† The¬†fact that you are chatting and talking at all is a¬†clear sign that he is interested in you, and from there only good things can follow.¬† Not everything ends happily but it’s pointless not to be optimistic at this time.

Good luck, and God bless !


A Pinoy demystifies All Blacks Magic & the 2011 Rugby World Cup

[ Note from Noel : Above is how the All Blacks start every international match, called a “test”. ¬†It’s borrowed from the Maori, the indigenous population of NZ, and the dance is called a “haka”. ¬†It’s psychologically supposed to be very effective, and the opponents are NOT allowed to ignore it, or even turn away. Belated happy birthday to kabatch Dr Peggy Ting! ¬†This blog is dedicated to an Aussie-Pinoy we did a stint at the Philippine Collegian with, Mr Raul Zamuco! ¬†See you in 4 years bro! . PS : Thanks to a new friend, AJ Villarante for pointing out a glaring error ! Daghan salamat bro! ]

I HAVEN’T timed it down to the exact decimal second, but since Sunday, every daily news broadcast starts with at least five minutes of All Blacks news. ¬†Not rugby news, which is suffocating enough, not World Cup rugby news, which is understandable, given that NZ just finished hosting more than a month’s worth of RWC matches, but All Blacks news, from how each member reached the peak of his career, to how each All Blacks game brought them to the finals, to how the finals reached its expected end, in a most unexpected manner.

Three victory parades will be held for the Rugby World Cup champion All Blacks.  Auckland on Monday, naturally (where the finals was won), Christchurch on Tuesday, which because of the twin earthquakes missed its chance to host World cup matches, and Wellington Wednesday, where your accidental migrant currently resides.

Within this whirlwind of emotion, intensity and success, it’s easy to get caught up in New Zealand’s living dream of winning the Rugby World Cup, 24 years in the making. ¬†But for a Pinoy like us, it’s more awkward than anything.

Appreciating a game like rugby does not come easily to a typical Pinoy. ¬†For one thing, close-contact, high-trauma team sports is not exactly popular to a culture more obsessed with basketball, billiards and boxing, the three B’s of both participation and spectator sports in the Islands. ¬†I won’t be making any new friends among kabayan and kakosa , but famously being pikon or poor sports is a trait many Pinoys are known for , and the game of rugby is definitely not for the pikon. ¬†Knee trips and sharp elbows in basketball seem positively kid gloves in comparison to bone-crushing body blocks, head butts and occasional eye-gouging (think Richie McC & Thierry Dusautoir) that rarely elicit more than the cursory groans and grunts from rugby players. ¬†As regards physicality and roughness, the game resembles closely its American counterpart, NFL football, but to this accidental migrant the game of rugby seems a bit more visceral ( no visible body armor or helmets), bloody and relentlessly cruel to bone, muscle and ligament.

But back to the high drama surrounding All Blacks and their recent conquest, the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC).  To grasp the drama of their recent RWC success is to know the misses, near-hits and failures that NZ rugby has suffered.

For a sports tradition where anything less than being the very best is unacceptable, each of the All Blacks selections the last 24 years ( after the first and only RWC won by NZ ) has fallen short of the ultimate goal. There have been spotless performances in regional tournaments (Tri-Nations, Bledisloe Cups), perfect records on European tours (vs. powerhouses England, Ireland and Wales) and unblemished success versus all comers, but in the prize that mattered most, the All Blacks have been found wanting since 1987.

The nearest analogy I can come up with off the top of my head is Phil Mickelson, who for years endured the tag “best player never to have won a major” (0-46 before the 2004 Masters), NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who ended his stellar career after 16 seasons without once winning an NBA title, and the Boston Red Sox of Major League baseball, who waited 86 years between 1918 and 2004 before winning another World Series. ¬†You have to admit though that New Zealand would not want to be part of this tradition of futility.

But make no mistake about it, the undisputed most popular and powerful team in rugby prior to last week hadn’t won rugby’s highest honor since Ronald Reagan was President.

In a country where rugby is without exaggeration almost a religion, winning the Rugby World Cup was no less than the Ark of the Covenant returning to Israel, the Balangiga Bells returning to Eastern Samar, or Odysseus finally returning to Ithaca.  Nothing less than a homecoming, although the outcome remained in doubt until the final moments of the final game of the tournament.

***     ***     ***     ***     ***

After 24 years, the nation’s post-RWC ¬†euphoria was equal parts happiness and relief, relief that surprise finalist France didn’t pull off an unthinkable upset after all the talk of being unworthy finals opponents to the All Blacks.

Caught up as I inevitably became in the maelstrom of rugby fever, my housemates didn’t share my newfound interest. ¬†Kuya Flatmate had loads and loads of OFWs, relatives and long lost loves to chat with, Panganay was constantly preoccupied with his hip-hop routine, and esposa hermosa would rather catch up with much needed sleep.

Onwards from the quarterfinals I had no choice but to follow, by my solitary self, the oval ball stalwarts in their quest to become the best in the rugby world, for at least the next four years when the next RWC is contested.

It wasn’t by any means an easy trip to the finals, as the All Blacks outlasted upset conscious Argentina, blitzed archrival Australia and beat 2007 nemesis France by one solitary point, equivalent to less than a free throw in basketball.

On the team’s broad shoulders rode the hopes and dreams of the “Stadium of Four Million,” the slogan of the NZ home crowd, and though they agonized injury after excruciating injury, they did not falter.

Bucking two major earthquakes in Christchurch (September 2010 and February 2011), the worst mining disaster in years (November 2010), and the all-time worst environmental disaster early this month, and now a humongous natural gas/energy crisis just early this week (losses of NZ$40 million a day), the RWC triumph is certainly a bright light in the darkness of the last 18 months. ¬†Moreover, the Pinoy in me couldn’t help but compare our country with this tiny nation (with less than half the population of Metro Manila) used to punching above its weight (like Manny P), used to bullying, and used to licking its wounds inflicted by overbearing giants. ¬†And emerging stronger than ever.

Pinoys could do a lot worse than internalizing the Rugby World Cup lessons from a similarly sized, newly crowned Kiwis.  Mabuhay All Blacks and Mabuhay Kiwis and Kinoys!

Thanks for reading !

Why Didith Tayawa – Figuracion is my favorite Kinoy*

She will almost surely not be able to read this given Didith Tayawa – Figuracion‘s¬†very hectic schedule for the next few weeks, but she already knows what we will put here : we know of no other Filipino in New Zealand who, with his/her own personal efforts, has done more to promote Filipino arts and culture.

With the rest of her co-members, Didith has funneled her creative energy through the aptly named Filipino Artists in New Zealand (FILINARTIZTS) and they have through sheer talent and force of effort outdone themselves in the Filipino Labour Weekend Reunion,  Philippine Independence Day celebrations, and hosted its own radio programme with Wellington Access Radio.

But deserving special mention is FILINARTIZTS’s participation as actors in the Ati-atihan Festival performances at the Festival of Carnivale, a multi-cultural showcase for visitors and locals alike coinciding with the Wellington schedule of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

We may be exaggerating a bit, but the moving force, vision, logistics not to mention funding for the latter event would be insufficient without Didith and the 101% love and effort she has put into it.

(The YouTube clip above is a sample of what FILINARTIZTS will do during the festival, but it will a little more elaborate ¬†than this, I think. ¬†Thanks and acknowledgment to “damarkez”, who produced the clip.)

The best part of all these is that she doesn’t seek any attention or recognition for all her good works, preferring to let our country and our people take all the benefits that emanate from the positive image that the Ati-atihan production will produce.

As if these weren’t enough, Didith is also a major actor behind the Philippines‘ participation in the Society of Southeast Asian communities (SSEAC), which promotes friendship and understanding between Southeast Asian people and migrant communities in New Zealand. ¬†Among their activities has been the ASEAN Night Market held in Wellington recently, an event that presented the culinary talents of volunteers from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

We wish to emphasize that efforts from the other FILINARTIZTS members are no less awesome, but Didith, with the support of her devoted husband Clark, have been so impressive that we’ve found it particularly timely, with the ongoing Rugby World Cup, to recognize her achievements in our small corner.

Other kabayan may be equally as committed or do as much for Filipino arts and culture in the future, but for now no Pinoy or Pinay shines brighter than her in making all of us in NZ proud of our culture.  We would do well to take off our salakot for her, and say kabayan, maraming salamat po.

And that is why she is our favorite Kinoy.


*Kinoy is a contraction for Kiwi-Pinoy, a non-racial term for Pinoys who live, permanently or otherwise, in New Zealand.”

How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Harry Potter

Guess what they're waiting for? Clue : it's not the Queen...

Dear kabatch, schoolmates, brods, kabayan, officemates, Huttmates and friends :

A FEW DAYS from now, on 14th July to be exact (NZ time), theaters worldwide will open to the general public Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2, the eighth and final slice of the adventures of the boy-wizard. ¬†Across multiple media on various platforms across the seven seas and seven continents, you’ve probably heard more than you care to know about the franchise, so I won’t add any more superlatives, just two observations :

(1) First, that there will be relatively fewer people who will watch pirated, copied or otherwise illegal versions of the movie. ¬†Casual and serious fans alike have waited too long and have invested too much in both emotions and expectations to see an inferior version of what will probably be the most intense, action-filled and (expectedly) climactic episode. ¬†I can only be certain about my own experience, and after being enthralled and captivated by the storyline, imagination and near-perfect pacing of the saga, I wouldn’t want to diminish the experience with a poor picture, shadows of moviegoers flitting across the screen, and an imperfect suspension of disbelief which is de rigueur with all cinema in the fantasy genre.

(2)  But the second observation is where it gets tricky : Notwithstanding the expectation of viewers to very high (literary and cinematic) standards, or at least to that which they have become accustomed (HPs 1- 7), or maybe because of it, I dare to say that better than three-fourths or 75% of the viewing public already know how the story will end, or at least have a pretty good idea how things will turn out (no spoilers nor spoiler alerts here, not to worry).

Whether or not statistics will bear me out, this is impressive.  Movies have been adapted from novels and short stories before (Stephen King, John Grisham, Irving Wallace, J.R. Tolkien, etc.) but so rarely in filmmaking history have movies been crafted to become literally (pun intended) cinematic mirror images of the original work.  As a result of both deliberate design and close collaboration between writer and production/directing teams, important plotlines and character development of key personages are given due attention.  And yet, it is mind-boggling that interest and the box-office groundswell is, beyond already high expectations, at an all-time high.

But you’ve already heard so much of this and that, especially given the Hollywood culture of hyperbole. ¬†Knocking on wood, the entertainment industry on both sides of the Atlantic, the monolithic combine of film and downstream industries (movie merchandise, apparel and theme parks) cannot afford to see a less-than-supernova ending to the Harry Potter film franchise, with the box office gross expected to be between US$500 to 700 million at least. ¬†Anywhere in the civilized world, it is THE movie and box-office event of the year, to say the least.

It seems to require a gargantuan effort, but how to explain how a story about an idealistic, if naive boy wizard against a resurrected and much more powerful wizard captured the imagination of a jaded, desensitized and media-savvy generation of precocious online connoisseurs?

Attempting to just contemplate possible answers to this is daunting. ¬†Harry Potter is many things to many people : reinventing the age-old belief that the world of magic exists; the cutting edge special effects that have been a Harry Potter signature from HP & The Sorcerer‘s / Philosopher’s Stone; the byzantine, multi-layered and symmetrically-perfect storylines in HP & The Prisoner from Azkaban, HP & The Goblet of Fire and HP¬† & The Half-Blood Prince, or simply the world-class acting from thespians like Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and (not the least, heh heh) Ralph Fiennes. ¬†Simply put, there are so many reasons to enjoy the seven-part story.

Again, I can only speak from personal experience (what other kind is there?), while I  put in words why the Harry Potter experience has been so memorable for me.

Before I launch into another few paragraphs extolling the franchise, a public relations exercise that the movie hardly needs, I confess that I bumped into those remarkable books at a very difficult time in my life.  I was trying to pick up the pieces ( if any had remained ) of my life after relationship and career setbacks, and I had little to look forward to.

Without intending to, I absorbed the world in which Harry Potter and his friends inhabited.  So real and yet so different was it from the mundane, impersonal world in which I existed.  Enemies and dark forces awaited Harry at every turn, but his response to these were his emerging magical powers and his inexhaustible supply of gallantry, courage and love for his friends.

On the surface he was treated as an outsider-cum-newcomer to the wizarding world, but on a deeper level being a powerful wizard (and therefore an insider) was his birthright, he had only to assert himself and take what was his by destiny.

On more than one level this appealed to me, then and now.  I had lost a considerable amount of hope and  satisfaction in life, but the books reminded me that beyond the deep, dark forest there was a sunlit clearing that led to my destination.

Fast forward a few years later as a migrant in an unfamiliar land, I’m sometimes treated as an outsider and an unwanted newcomer. ¬†Only hard work and striving for goals will allow me to earn my rightful place as an accepted immigrant in my adopted land.

Yes, Harry was kind and compassionate, but when the moment required, he confronted his foes and vanquished them with love against hate, truth against lies, and good against evil.  Sort of like telling me to confront my real-world problems head-on at full-tilt, the better to smash them to smithereens.

Now, multiply this template of applying Potter-good versus Voldemort-evil a hundred million-fold in everyday events in lives the world over, and I began to see why Harry’s creator and her masterpiece will most likely stand the test of time. ¬†Potter is Everyman, Lord Voldemort is Everything That Is Wrong in Life, and we are limited in our triumphs only by the creativity we use in righting such wrongs.

In the end, in each and every one of us is Harry, and on Thursday a hundred million strong of us will be battle-ready to smack our Lord Voldemorts out of existence.  Now  that is the true genius of J.K. Rowling.

Thanks for reading !


Things 2 Do B4 I Die ( If I’m Mayan)

Waiting for the book Harry Potter and the Deat...

Image via Wikipedia

Dear kabatch, schoolmates, brods, kabayan, officemates and friends :

HAVEN’T seen the movie, but 2012 is supposed to be when the Mayan calendar reaches its last page, life as we know it exceeds its shelf life, and the entire planet hits the proverbial fan.

Now, such a calendar, if it actually exists, hasn’t been used in a couple of thousand years, and apocalyptic scenarios have been formulated and discarded since depressed evangelists, existence-obsessed philosophers and henpecked husbands came into being.

¬†But you can’t be too sure, right? You never know if the universe will just uproot itself from its cosmic foundations, or just hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete after a bad hair day.

On the galactic scale, we’re about as infinitesimal as bacteria on the head of a lice on a hair of a carabao, and we’re just hanging along for the ride. Whatever happens, happens, and there’s not much we can do about it. Which is why before our atoms and molecules split into smithereens or our health and well-being is made redundant, there are admittedly a few things we’d like to do or seen done.

¬†These things or deeds aren’t so much goals as they are mileposts to be reached, to bring to a satisfying conclusion the crazy string of dreams, failures and wild imaginings that have so far made up my so-called life.¬† If at this point in time, we are to call it a day and zoom off into the next plane of existence, here are what we would have wanted done :

Enjoy Part 2 of HP7 : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and/or LOTR’s The Hobbit. This sounds a bit frivolous, especially for someone our age, but when you think about it, both franchises have been a big part of our lives especially in the last decade or so.

During our sad times, the great story line, superb acting and of course, crisp writing made us forget our mundane existence and spurred us to better things. Converting into screen magic the awesomeness of fantasy novels is sometimes a tired formula, but the success of these two movies is practically a sure thing ( knock knock ), and watching them would give us enormous satisfaction that we haven’t had since, well, watching HP7 Part 1 and Lord of the Rings : Return of the King.

Acquire Lolo NOel status without anakis sacrificing career and happiness. Biologically you celebrate being a citizen of God’s Earth twice over : first when produce offspring, and second when the latter produce their own, making you directly and indirectly responsible for two generations. Have you ever heard of a grandparent not proud of his/her grandchildren, unwilling to play the clown for the children’s party, or distribute cash or favors they might have hesitated giving to the earlier generation?

A bit unfair to the kids, but it’s like a crowning achievement, a feather on the cap of every person who participated in giving life to another. Now, we’re not applying any pressure on our brood of three, one of which has finished school and is ready for work, but it would be nice to see how our apo would turn out, in our lifetimes and while we can play with them.

Now, if only Panganay could start a family as soon as he gets a nice job . . .

Witness NZ win the 2011 Rugby World Cup. We’re not the most rabid rugby fan, nor are we a full-fledged KiNoy ( Kiwi Pinoy) yet, but rugby is arguably the preeminent sport here, and the love and unqualified support for the NZ rugby team, known as the powerful All Blacks, is infectious.

Every rugby test (that’s what matches are called), every new player selected, and every All-Black injury are all national media events, and the buildup to the World Cup, namely the Tri-Nations Cup, the exhibition matches, and the European Tour, have all but cemented the thinking that New Zealand will bag the RWC, something that hasn’t happened since 1987.

It will either be a huge countrywide celebration or a national day of mourning after the tournament, and I’m hoping the positive mood in case of a win will turn the tide in my favor, should I apply for permanent residency (wink, wink). Go All Blacks !

Tell them like it is. We got this from Charlie Sheen in a Two And A Half Men episode, certainly not the best place to get role models, but for A, every girl we made misrepresentations to and/or contemplated less than honorable intentions on, B, for every undeclared crush we allowed to pass us by, and C, for every rejection / basted we received, we want to revisit the female in question and declare the following :

For Category A : I was young, I was a jerk, and half the things I said I was just making up as I went along and didn’t even know if they made sense, I wasn’t aware of the consequences of what I did or said, and if I knew such would hurt anyone, least of all you, I would have thought twice.

For Category B : All the time you were there, I was hopelessly in love (or lust) with you, just didn’t have the guts to tell you so, but years and years later, I can now just laugh about it ( really? ) and so just to set the record straight and so you’ll know what could’ve been, had I been a little more confident, I had this humongous crush on you, so there.

For Category C : So you think I could never be good enough for you, and your time was better spent waiting for Mr Right or anyone better than me? I’d like to thank you for that, it kept my feet firmly on the ground and taught me to focus my energies on the reachable and the realistic.

** ** ** ** **

In some way I hope that if the Apocalypse doesn’t materialize, the last good deed will pay itself forward and in a perfect world, lessen somewhat the chances of¬† daughter Ganda getting similar treatment from a guy like me, twenty years my junior.

That’s my bucket list, for sure there are a lot of things I want to do before I die or if the world goes poof ! but it’s a good start, don’t you think?

Thanks for reading !