Q: We learned that you are from Philippines, isn't it?
A: Yes, I am from Philippines, a well-known country in Asia. I was born there in Caloocan, Rizal on April 23, 1970. My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents are also from Philippines. I grown-up there and finished my studies until I migrated to United States on November 11, 2000.
Q: We observed that Philippines is the only country in Asia that is Christian, why?
A: Well, Philippines is the only country in Asia that is Christian because when Ferdinand Magellan visited our country, he contributed the Christianity on March 16, 1521 in Cebu, a southern part of Philippines. Not all the parts of Philippines are Christians, there are still parts of Philippines that are not Christians like in the southern part especially in Mindanao.
Q: We also observed that Philippines has the same culture of Spain and other Latin American countries, why?
A: Well, Philippines has the same culture of Spain and other Latin American Countries because our country was colonized by Spain for almost 400 years since when Ferdinand Magellan visited our country. Our culture is similar to Spain and Latin American countries when it comes to religion which is Roman Catholicism, festivals or fiestas, politics or government, conservativeness of people especially the women, foods that we eat, the clothes that we wear, attitudes of people, and so on.
Q: How do you distinguish physically that a person is Filipino/Filipina?
A: Well, I can distinguish physically that a person is Filipino/Filipina by the following: the skin complexion is brown, the hair is black, the eyes are dark brown and black, their face is similar to other Asians countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The people in Philippines are approachable, hospitable, industrious, helpful, friendly, family oriented, brave, intelligent, and physically fit. There are some Filipinos/Filipinas that their faces are similar to Spain and other Latin American Countries because of our country was colonized by Spain and some of the Spaniards were married to Filipinos/Filipinas. A Filipino/Filipina that has a race from Spain, Latin American countries, and United States is called "Mestizo".
Q: We also observed that Philippines has many islands, isn't it?
A: Yes, Philippines has many islands about 7100 islands. Our country is also a tropical area like in Hawaii and other Caribbean Islands. There are many foreigners and tourists there always and they like to visit in Philippines because of the islands, seafoods, resorts, and beaches.
Q: How many provinces/states that Philippines have?
A: Well, Philippines consists of 72 provinces plus Manila, its national capital. Philippines is classified into 12 Regions. Each region consists of provinces and cities. Philippines is also classified into three major areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Q: How's the weather in Philippines?
A: Philippines has a temperature of 90°F to 100°F during the summer period. You will sweat a lot there because it is also a humid place. In the winter period, the temperature ranges from 70°F to 80°F.
Q: What is the unit of measurement in Philippines?
Q: We heard that in Philippines, the people there like games, outings, and parties, isn't it?
A: Yes, mostly Filipinos like games, outings, and parties because most of the people in Philippines are happy persons. After their work, most of the people there will go out for shopping, watch the movies in the cinemas, sing thru videoke, drink a beer or other alcoholic drink with their friends or "barkadas", visit their relatives, and neighbors, go out for outings during the weekend or vacation period with the family, friends or "barkadas", or relatives, go out for the party especially in the birthdays, weddings, baptismal, graduations, promotions, fiestas or festivals, and other occasions. Filipinos are also sports minded. Usually, Filipinos like basketball, golf, volleyball, soccer, marathon, tennis, chess, and so on. Most of the sports that Filipinos like are came from United States.
Philippines was also colonized by United States from 1898 up to 1946.
Q: We heard that Philippines has many languages, isn't it?
A: Yes, Philippines has many languages because there are many cultural minorities or tribes. Before the colonization of Spain, Philippines has already many languages. The people there are speaking Tagalog, Ilocano, Pampango, Ilonggo, Cebuano, Waray, Chavacano, and so on. Tagalog is the national language in the Philippines. Because of the colonization of Spain and United States, the people in the Philippines are speaking Tagalog, English, and Spanish.
Q: We heard that Philippines has already a woman president, isn't it?
Q: We learned that Filipinos like cockfight or "sabong" and horseracing or "carera", isn't it?
A: Yes, Filipinos also like cockfight or "sabong" especially in the provinces and horseracing or "carera" in Manila or other cities in Philippines. Cockfight and horseracing were also contributed by Spaniards. These are also considered as gambling because the people there will spend their money in the bet. These are also bad hobby when you are very serious in these games.
Q: We heard that in Philippines, the people there are very devoted to their religion which is Roman Catholicism, isn't it?
A: Yes, Filipinos are very devoted to Roman Catholicism since Spanish period. Filipinos are very active to the church activities especially in the festivals, Holy Week activities, and Christmas activities. Filipinos are church goers and they go to church with their family always every Sundays and participate in the church activities. Filipinos are usually attending the masses, novenas, and, praying the Holy Rosary.
Q: Since you are migrated to United States, do you miss Philippines, your country?
A: Yes, I miss Philippines so much because I stayed there since my birth and I grown up there. United States is also a good place but I like to visit in Philippines because I like everything there like food, traveling, and visiting my friends and relatives. If you are very busy here in United States and spending much of your time in your work, you will get homesick, sad, and bored. I will save some money in order to travel to Philippines for vacation if I have a time. Thanks God that we have TFC (The Filipino Channel) and GMA Network here in United States. TFC is operated and managed by ABS-CBN while GMA Network is operated and managed by GMA Network, Incorporated. Because of having TFC and GMA Network here in United States, our homesickness and sadness here are already healed. I am now watching the TV shows and news of ABS-CBN and GMA Network here in United States. There are many Filipinos here in United States that's why we have TFC and GMA Network.
Q: When did you visit to Philippines and with whom?
I stayed at my cousin's house during my vacation for three weeks only because at my work, I had only three weeks vacation and I have to go back to work immediately after I used all my vacation days. I did a lot of traveling with my relatives, family friends, college friends, and sometimes with my myself only. I went back to United States on December 8, 2002 by airplane via Philippine Airlines from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila International Airport)at 10:30 pm arrived at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on December 8, 2002 at 6:30 pm. My parents were picked me up at the airport. My visit in Philippines was very memorable to me. I will plan to visit in Philippines again if I have a time and money as well.
Second, on November 7, 2009 by airplane thru Philippine Airlines. I left San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 9:30pm. My mother and brothers were helped me in packing all my baggage. They bought something for our relatives in Philippines at Walmart and Costco. My brother gave me a ride from my parents' house in Suisun City, California, USA to San Francisco International Airport. Thanks God that I arrived at exactly time around 7:30pm because the flow of traffic along I-80 West thru I-280 South is so congested. Also, thanks God that the flight schedule was changed into direct flight and no stop-over at Agana, Guam for refueling. I arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) on December 9, 2009 at 3:30am. Because of passing or crossing the International Dateline, we skipped two days. The speed of the plane is 450 miles per hour and we flown opposite to the earth's rotation that's why the total time of our fight is 13 hours. Anyway, the good news is that it is a direct flight. I bought some chocolates at Duty Free Philippines inside the airport for my mother's best friends. My cousins from Baliuag, Bulacan, Philippines were picked me up at the airport. We went to Baliuag, Bulacan, Philippines to visit and stay with my relatives there particularly my mother's siblings and cousins. They helped me in distributing all the items that my mother and brothers bought to all my relatives there. They were very happy with all the items that they were received. I stayed there for three weeks during my vacation period. Philippines is 16 hours ahead from San Francisco during standard time while 15 hours during the Daylight Saving Time.
During my three weeks vacation in Philippines, I did a lot of tour there with my cousin, Mark Anthony Tan. I visited all my relatives, friends, and family friends. Also, I met all my classmates and teachers in elementary, high school, and college during our class reunions. Our class reunions were very memorable and fun because we were restored our memories during our schooldays. I would like to give thanks first to God because he guided me very well during my stay in Philippines for three weeks. Second, I would like to give thanks to my cousin, Alvin Alvaran Magtalas for his generous help for giving us a good and nice accommodations. His wife, Filipina Mercado Magtalas has a condominium unit at Oxford Suites Hotel along Durban and P. Burgos Streets in Makati City, Philippines. We stayed there for three weeks together with my cousin, Mark Anthony Tan. Filipina Mercado Magtalas is a daughter of Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto S. Mercado who owns the whole Oxford Suites Hotel. I gave thanks to the Mercado family very much because they gave us a good and nice accommodations for three weeks so that we don't have to travel to the places that we want to visit. It is hard to travel if we will travel from Baliuag, Bulacan because of heavy traffic especially in Metropolitan Manila Area. Third, I would like to give thanks to the City Government of Makati City, Philippines because the city is clean, peaceful, and the flow of traffic there is well-organized. Lastly but the least, I would like to give thanks to all my relatives in Baliuag, Bulacan especially the Magtalas family. They gave me a nice accommodations there although they are living in a simple family. I went back to United States of America on November 30, 2009. My relatives helped me in packing all my baggage especially with my parents and my brothers requests. My cousins gave me a ride and drop-off at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). I left at the airport via Philippine Airlines at 10:30pm and arrived at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on November 30, 2009 at 5:30pm. Because of passing or crossing the International Dateline, the departure night is the same as the arrival night and so the date is the same. The speed of the plane is 600 miles per hour and we flown along earth's rotation that's why the total time of our fight is 11 hours only. Anyway, the good news is that it is a direct flight also. Philippines is 16 hours ahead from San Francisco during standard time while 15 hours during the Daylight Saving Time. After I got all my baggage from the Baggage Claim Area, my brother picked me up from the airport and gave me a ride to my parents' house in Suisun City, California, USA to distribute all my things inside my baggage to my parents and brothers. Thanks God that all my things inside my baggage are all passed in the two airports. My visit in Philippines was very memorable to me. I will plan to visit in Philippines again if I have a time and money as well.
Q: Did you collect Philippine money?
A: Yes, I collect many Philippine money when I went to Makati City to exchange some of my US Dollars into Philippine Pesos. I collect many notes and coins. My father was a former branch manager at Bank of Philippine Islands in Vito Cruz Branch in Malate, Manila but I went to the Head office along Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas. 1000 PHP is the highest note so far and it is hard to find it even in the banks.