Home » Columns » Tsismis » The ‘underground’ workers

The ‘underground’ workers

One difficulty faced by Filipino Americans trying to develop an outreach program for Filipino workers, documented or undocumented, is that many are reluctant to take part in any survey. Many, particularly those without papers, would rather suffer in silence than expose themselves to possible deportation.
Here’s the problem faced by those who want to help bring Filipino workers out of the darkness: “Because we do not a have a developed outreach capacity in the Filipino community, many workers we approached were hesitant to take part in the survey project, as there was no level of mutual trust there. I remember approaching groups of 6 -15 Filipinos at parks or on their days off, but they were generally skeptical of me, my group, and the project. We don’t have exact numbers for the domestic worker population as a whole, but the Filipinas have been particularly difficult for us to access.”
The underground community is abuzz with talks about how workers, particularly domestic helpers who are being abused by their employers, can obtain a shortcut to an extended stay in the US and possibly a green card. They are closely following the story of a former maids of Filipino diplomats in the US who have turned their maids into slaves because to break away from them would mean instant deportation. They have kept files of published cases of Filipino maids who have won large sums of money and allowed to stay while their abusive employers faced trial.
The case against filed by a domestic helper against former Philippine Ambassador to the UN Lauro Baja is drawing the attention of hundreds if not thousands of undocumented Filipino maids. Under the human trafficking law, the aggrieved party may remain in the US until the case is resolved and may eventually apply for permanent residence.
One of the most read movie columns in the Philippines and around the world last month was the Funfare column of Ricardo F. Lo of the Philippine Star titled “It’s hard to be a mistress.” It is a quote from actress Gretchen Barretto who is playing the role of a mistress of a town mayor in a teleplay Maalaala Mo Kaya. For those who know it, Gretchen is known as the “kabit” of businessman Tony Cojaungco. Here are excerpts of Lo’s column:”It’s hard to be a mistress,” admitted Gretchen with a suppressed smile, speaking about her three-day reel life and not exactly real life. She continued: “Ang tawag natin sa Tagalog sa mga katulad ni Margarita ay kabit. Ang pangit pakinggan, di ba? It’s not easy to be a kabit; hindi madali, hindi masaya,” adding with a serious tone, “many people think that if you are a kabit, you are a bad woman, na masama ka nang babae. People shouldn’t be judgmental; they should be more understanding. There are many reasons why some women choose to be a mistress. Money, for example. Nagiging kabit sila dahil sa kailangan nila ng pera and in the process they forget to put heart into the relationship.”"When they watch Maalaala, people will realize why some women become mistresses,” assured Gretchen who’s so convincing in her portrayal that, you wonder, did she draw from, ehem, real life (you know, observing women she knows who are in a similar situation)?”Ah, basta,” she blurted out, laughing (as if the joke was on somebody else), “ayokong maging katulad ni Margarita, ayokong maging kabit!”In real life, Gretchen is the beloved “queen” of Tonyboy Cojuangco’sheart (no matter if some people say otherwise) and home (in a posh Makati subdivision) , still hoping to march down the aisle in awedding put “on hold” indefinitely by Tonyboy. In the case ofMargarita, what bugs her life is mainly financial; in that of Gretchen, “emotional – and legal – insecurity.” The MMK people sent Gretchen three scripts and she chose the Margarita story without neither second thoughts nor reservation.Asked why, Gretchen broke into her characteristic, naughty laughter,”Hulaan n’yo kung bakit.”
Do you know of any Kretchen in our midst?
Mrs. Tanoy is a very kuripot Ilocana. When her husband died, she
inquired with the newspaper classifieds/obituaries, asking the price for
the obituary.
Ad taker: “300 pesos for every 6 words.”
Widow: “Pwede ba 2 words na lang?
“TANOY DEAD” para mura ?”

Ad taker: “Sorry Ma’m. 6 words is the minimum.”
After thinking for a while, Mrs. Tanoy said: “Ok, para sulit ang aking
pera, ilagay mo, “TANOY DEAD, HIS TOYOTA FOR SALE.”

Kano: (trying to speak Tagalog):
Meg-kanow isang kilow neng mang-gow?

Tindero: One way.

Kano: Meg-kanow?
Tindero: I sed ONE WAY.

Kano: Aynowng ibig sabeyhin ng one way?
Tindero: Isang daan. Understang?!


Boy: Nanay, anong ulam natin?
Nanay: Tignan mo na lang dyan sa ref, anak.
Boy: Eh wala naman tayong ref, di ba?
Nanay: O, e di wala tayong ulam. Konting common sense naman dyan!
Caloy: Tay, di ba sabi mo bibigyan mo ko ng P100 pag pumasa ako sa Math?
Tatay: Oo. Bakit, pumasa ka ba?
Caloy: Gud news, tay! Di ka na gagastos ng P100,
bumagsak ako.
Man at 33 quits smoking. That’s Will Power
At 43, quits drinking. That’s Will Power
At 53, quits gambling. That’s Will Power
At 63, quits having sex. And that’s Power Failure!
Erap: Kalokohan! Di ako naniniwala! Walang taong ganun kataba!
Loi: Saan nangaling ang balitang yan?
Erap: Dito sa dyaryo. Sabi; “British tourist lost 2000 pounds.”
———— ——— ——— ———

MMDA (with pen and ticket to a traffic violator):
Name please ?

Foreigner Driver:
Wilhelm Von Corgrinski Papakovitz.

Ahhh okay…(sabay tago ticket)…Next time be careful, ok?

———— ——— ——— ———
Boyfriend: Sunduin kita mamaya ha. Bubusina nalang ako pag nasa harap
nako ng bahay nyo.
Girlfriend: Sige. Anong kotse ang dala mo?
Boyfriend: Wala ako kotse. Busina lang…

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.