Has this expression always had a bad connotation? More importantly, do we say it in exasperation; or worse, in total resignation like the rest of them?
I don’t know about you, but it is my fondest wish to hear it spoken with pride. Do you think this will ever happen?
A guy uses the wall as his toilet. Someone says “Only in the Philippines!” A jeepney cuts in front of you; at a stoplight, a taxi makes a U right in front of you as if he had right of way. And yes, you hear it again.
Where are the rules of the road? Are there any, and is there a Mr. Manners for traffic etiquette?
On the other hand, here’s a different story.
A balikbayan in line at a breakfast buffet was disappointed there was no sinangag for her tapa. The chef said, “Sorry, it’s not in the menu. But I can make it for you.” And it was the best garlic fried rice she ever had.
I like my food hot, straight from the fire if possible. In an Italian restaurant, half of my pizza had turned cold and I asked the waiter if he would warm it up. He did! Don’t try this anywhere else in the world. It happens, you guessed it, only in the Philippines!
My ceiling fixtures had a burned-out bulb. The cable guys happened to be outside servicing our Internet. I asked. Of course they did! And they wouldn’t take a tip.
No matter the cost, we aim to please.
I read somewhere that we don’t like strangers; so we make friends. Can you say that about any other place you have visited?
Did you see the picture of a young boy in Tacloban going to class for the first time since “Yolanda?” His smile clutched at my heart and got me teary-eyed.
We are a happy and hopeful people. Where else can you find the happiest best-natured people with the brightest smiles in any kind of weather?
Yes, say it loud and say it proud. “Only in the Philippines!”
Where are my photos?
It’s panic time. Homecoming is in a couple of weeks and I am still looking for my high school photographs. Faded or otherwise, I can’t find any.
Was I careless and lost them? Or have I just forgotten where I stored them? Have I moved so often in my lifetime that they were left behind and forgotten? All scenarios are possible. The only albums I remember giving away were of pictures from a past life that I wanted to forget. And, of course, I couldn’t.
In the photos I am looking for, I am wearing my high school uniform, the daily drab or gala white; receiving my diploma from an archbishop, and dancing at the ball with one of the handsomest (even to this day) men I’ve ever known, his corsage of roses around my wrist.
Nothing has turned up.
I called classmates. One does not remember where she kept the pictures. Sadly, another one can’t remember anything at all. And then there’s my one friend who can’t get her walker up the attic where she saved her keepsakes.
Where are my photos? Who has them? Were they stashed away in the trunk I sold in my last garage sale in Honolulu?
In my frantic search, I did find a few, not from high school but taken several decades ago.
What a surprise it was to see what we looked like in that once upon a time. Was that I? Where did the waistline go? I did have a jaw line. When did my neck start to drop into my shoulders? Was I taller?
There’s a picture of me with the children trudging home after a beach picnic. I could trudge then.
There’s another one where I am doing the boogie with my favorite partner. Oh how he could dance! By the way, for our grand homecoming on Feb. 2, we are going all out and have hired a choreographer. No not to boogie; just to swing and sway. Yes, time has flown.
In several shots, I am trying to look sophisticated, holding a long cigarette. Ugh. Glad I’m not doing that anymore.
I suspect that our old cook Manang Juanita, now retired, kept my treasures in her baul. I remember once she returned an 8×10 glossy of me in a white satin gown holding a bouquet of baby’s breath. Memories!
Could she also be hiding the one of me at 16 taken by cousin Bob Razon, in the typical graduation pose, wide smile, head tilted to one side, and chin resting on a diploma?
And as I choke on the dust and wipe away the cobwebs of the years, I suddenly realize that I may be looking for more than just old photographs.
In my mind I try to figure out how much material I need for a video presentation. But in my heart do I wonder what happened to the girl in those old pictures? Is she missing as well? Am I looking for the girl I used to be?
Life and time change us. We must embrace those changes. Who cares if there are lines on your face? So, you can’t run or dance like you used to. Does it sometimes hurt to walk?
Relax! You are in great company! Remember the lessons. And continue the journey.
I love the scars in my heart. I love the marks on my soul. These are the fingerprints of my awesome Savior.
“Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life, and it was you. It is not too late to find that person again.”—Robert Brault