Wednesday, March 28, 2012


In the bliss of writing about my experiences during this bright, sunny and happy Springtime, I decided to take time off from writing my paper due three days from now to share an unexpected afternoon with Pinays in Darmstadt.

From my German language course, I headed to Rewe to buy talong and saging (Aubergine+Banane). I was happy to see some Filipinas hanging out in the food court near Rewe. So after buying what I need, I decided to approach them. I had met already a couple of them, and some of there are new faces, but no matter how long I have known them, still I belong (irregardless of age too!). The usual short "Hi, I am here to drop by, bye" extended to more than two hours - hanging out and "Noynoying."

As usual with Filipinos, we are so flexible and always find time to stay, chill and relax. What I get from discussions and kamustahan is that some of them will meet to exchange some goods (abutan), and others will roam around Darmstadt city center to find flowers and colorful dresses for the Hawaiian party to be hosted by another Filipina on Friday. So while hanging out in the foodcourt, with plates in front of us as props to say that we are customers, our group grew and grew! We talked about a lot of things, whatever, wherever and whenever applicable! Guess what we talk about?

Indeed, you are right!
'What's going on with.... (insert name of a particular Pinay/Pinoy)?'
Exciting moments in the Filipino teleserye entitled... wait a second, I am googling about Cristine's and Piolo's new show... Dahil sa Pag-ibig (oh, so there's a new show)
Looking for afternoon extra work
Sharing what we think about one's new hairdo
I asked about what detergent I can use to make my used-to-be-white clothes white again (Suggestion: Ariel, and there is also a product to make your used-to-be-black black again)
Dream to put up our Filipino merienda store in the food court (which ended to our wishful droolings and remembering Pinoy deserts: halo-halo, sago't gulaman, turon, banana-Q, siopao, kakanin, etc...)
Preparation for Saturday Hawaiian party (Tip: bring a decent bag with plastic for take home tupig and siopao made from the Philippines)
Jokes and funny experiences in their work
Facebook photo tagging (Oops, sorry Tita I don't have one)
Urlaub (vacation) plans and
Politics/ Noynoying.

Healthy choice: Kiwi Yoghurt at chika station 2. Gut geschmack!
Yes, Noynoying. When we shifted discussion to what's happening in the country, some of us decided that we are also 'noynoying' that time - term coined to the current president's alleged inaction to all the important issues in the Philippines. Some refer to many crime incidences that increased in the country with today's administrative term.

Seriously, coming from urban economic development perspective (as this is one of the main issues about the government's situation), it is really hard to juggle every aspect: which one should be prioritized? where should we start? we have limited budget, we have inherited a lot of problems from previous presidencies, and a lot more. In my studies, we are given sample cases on how to manage and develop the complexities and interwoven concerns of cities especially from the South (or developing country) experience. And it is really a tough job to propose alternatives with all the constraints. Thus, our interdisciplinary composition in the class helped a lot in coming up with decisions and manage an hypothetical urban scenario. But running a country should not be equated to a class case. The people of the Philippines do not just need a clean and transparent government, but one that acts.

Good thing to know about how (at last! after almost two years) the government's directives to fast track public infrastructures. I may have no factual data but my guess is that the last highest public spending was during the election. What would have we achieved if these pump-priming activities where initiated earlier? Simple economics say that investing and pump-priming activities will dictate a livelier economy, more people spending, more economic activities and opportunities. Are we too conservative of keeping our money 'safe' and postpone developments? Did the Filipino stop paying their taxes that development has to be held back from them? I had a thought when the Pinays in Darmstadt had a quick discussion about our government - how these hardworking Pinay are contributing to the gross national product, but then their efforts (thru remittances) are not translated to concrete actions perceivable by their families in the Philippines? Pump-prime the government and the leadership. Sluggishness will put as to the tail of the Southeast Asian countries. Maybe statistics prove that our economy is growing, but then, is evident even to the lowest-earning Juan?

Moving on..
Even though it is not yet holy week, we had stations already! From food court, to a short pause after seeing another Pinay, to Eis Café (ice cream bar, where we had round two of chitchats), up to finding Hawaiian stuffs I tagged along. I was with them in two shops, then decided to go home to write my paper and do my German class homework.

It is just a great experience to be surrounded with these wonderful people and talk in meine Muttersprache (my mother tongue). Oh well, we are talking primarily in Tagalog with English and German words interspersed all along. And I am very glad how my German understanding progressed that I can get along with their stories in German words!

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