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Wanted: ‘DIs’

Many have been asking why Ambassador Willy C. Gaa was relegated to the background when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was in Washington D.C. late last month. In most of her official functions it was Ambassador Jun Paynor, the consul general in San Francisco, who was seen directing the President’s official movements in DC. In her meeting with President George W. Bush at the Oval Office, it was Paynor who was mentioned by the media as accompanying the President to the meeting.
Many are now asking: Is this the reward Gaa gets for absorbing criticisms for hiring a highly paid lobbyist? Is this what he gets for going out of his way to endear himself to the Filipino American community so the latter could give her a “warm” reception in DC?
It was probably the shabby treatment that Gaa got that prompted one community leader to praise the ambassador during the community reception and to urge her to retain him in DC.
It turns out Gloria has a close attachment to Paynor. During President Arroyo’s welcome of the participants in the Ambassadors/Consuls Tour in Malacanang this month, the President awarded Paynor with the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Bayani.
Incidentally, it was former Ambassador Albert del Rosario who initiated the tour in 2005.
***
Are there DIs (Filipino Dance Instructors) in town who can partner with lonely matrons on the dance floor in the DC area, just like it is in Metro Manila? Are there a lot of unattached Filipino matrons in town who desperately need the services of DIs?
Recently some Tsismosos heard a desperate SOS call for DIs. A Filipino American helping make preparations for the wedding of a friend issued this SOS to some members of the community. “I was wondering that with your many contacts in the Filipino community in the DC area, do you know of any dance instructors (DIs) I could hire to help out at a wedding reception? The bride’s and groom’s parents as well as many of their friends are widows and would like us to hire some DI’s so they will have dance partners!” Susmariaosep!
Calling all DUIs… rather DIs. Please help the matrons in town.
***
This is not tsismis. Former Consul in the Philippine embassy Grace Valera Jaramillo excitedly emailed the Manila Mail editor to say that her mother who is deaf can now hear again, thanks to healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez who was in the Virginia area July 22-23. Others who attended however did not experience any healing from their ailments. Maybe they are unbelievers.
***
The economic slowdown has given birth to new words in the American media. Because of the high gas prices, many families, they say, have opted for “staycation,” instead of a vacation in far away places. Many are now labeling those who complain about the high gas prices as suffering from “mental recession” and belonging to a “nation of whiners.” These remarks were made by former Republican Sen. Phil Graham of Texas, the economic adviser of presumptive presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. Graham has become the subject of jokes among the Obamans. “That’s what he gets for getting old rather than young advisers,” said one Republican.
***
Here’s a query from a Tsismoso:
“Where is Napoleon “Nap” Lechoco, the political nemesis of former Maryland assembly delegate David Valderrama? I saw the program schedule for the 25th anniversary of the Zambaleno Association and there was no mention at all of Lechoco as one of the moving power behind the Mrs. Philippines Home for Senior Citizens in Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County in Maryland.
***
In Daytona Beach, Florida, Lt. Major Garvin, a 15-year veteran of the police department, has been fired allegedly because he demanded free coffee and tea from Starbucks. He threatened employes with slower emergency response times if they refused. In the Philippines, policeman don’t have to threaten owners of restaurant or bars. They don’t even have to ask. They just help themselves with food, coffee and other drinks. They don’t even say ‘thank you’.
***
So desperate is the need for doctors in the Philippines that there is now a new group that offers a Patriotism award for doctors who decide to stay instead of going abroad. The prize for the Patriot of the Year? P500,000 (about 12,000 dollars), a drop in the bucket of what many doctors get in the US.
***
And because of population growth and food shortage, Philippine officials are desperate. An official who is a doctor suggested during a major food conference in Davao recently that a law be passed to “sterilize by law” all Filipino men!
***

Philippine Daily Inquirer’s hard-hitting columnist Ramon Tulfo said in his recent column that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s recent junket to the United States reportedly cost $1.5 million (or about P63 million of our people’s money) and lists the names of the members of Congress who splurged it.
Filipino Americans have been distributing Tulfo’s column via the internet so they would know how much Arroyo more or less spent during her visit that included a meeting with President Bush, the Filipino American community and other events.
Tulfo says “these privileged people were lodged in the best hotels and
enjoyed the most expensive amenities like meals at $ 207 per cover.
They hired 30 cars, not jalopies but most likely air-conditioned limos
for touring Manhattan and the ghettos of Harlem. Nothing but the best,
of course! I hope their private shopping was not also at public expense.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them had wangled their inclusion in
the junket so they could stay behind later and watch the Pacquiao fight
as a patriotic duty for which they might also claim official compensation.
“Why were they so many gratis et amore from the spendthrift President
Macapagal-Arroyo as if there were no tomorrow? Tulfo’s list included
more than 50 truant legislators whose only paid function as junketeers
was to be a dutiful claque for their president’s deathless utterances.
“And what especially was their leader doing there in the United States,
where she insisted on remaining despite the tragedies caused by Typhoon
“Frank” and the sinking of the Sulpicio vessel with its hundreds of many
still missing victims? Other heads of state would have rushed back home
to alleviate the sufferings of their countrymen but not Arroyo who was
not as concerned for her own fellow Filipinos.

***
The Filipino culture is rich with superstitions about anything and
Everything, says a Tsismoso contributor. He said:
“A few weeks ago we attended a baptism and even the Filipino priest made
mention of that strange superstition of how the parents and the newly
christened child should rush out of the church ahead of the others. I am
still befuddled about the whole significance of this action, but I do
remember my mom urging us out of the church with our firstborn on his
baptism. We ran like mad for the door leaving our puzzled friends behind.
“Most of these seem laughable and founded on the most ludicrous notions,
but I recently found out that their roots were at least interesting.
According to Dr. Sonia M. Zaide, author of The Philippines: A Unique
Nation, one country that was very influential on Filipinos superstitions was India.
“She made mention of a few such superstitions:
1) as mentioned above though a variation, a maiden who sings while
cooking will marry a widower, 2) a pregnant lady eating twin bananas
will give birth to twins, and 3) (the most commonly heard) when one
dreams of teeth falling out that means a loved one will die.
“I have no doubt that China would be another culture that greatly added
to the list of Filipino superstitions. Remember wearing polka dots and
filling up your pockets with coins during the New Year? I also met a
Peruvian doctor a while back who was horrified to see me dumping my
purse on the floor. “Pick it up, ” she exclaimed. “Or you’ll go poor!”
***
Here’s a query from a Tsismoso:
“Where is Napoleon “Nap” Lechoco, the political nemesis of former Maryland assembly delegate David Valderrama? I saw the program schedule for the 25th anniversary of the Zambaleno Association and there was no mention at all of Lechoco as one of the moving power behind the Mrs. Philippines Home for Senior Citizens in Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County in Maryland.

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