My GF is super, tell me about yours!

Today I met “Ana”. She is a fellow Filipina nurse who works next door to my office. I have been with this company for six months and I never even knew she existed- until the day when my family came to visit. They were waiting for me outside my office, and she overheard their excited chatter in our mother tongue. Just as any homesick kababayan would, she approached us and introduced herself.

“Ana” is a single mother of two. She used to work in the Middle East in an Intensive Care Unit. She moved to Bangkok through the constant prodding of her sister, another “Ana”, who was already working as a Medical Report Nurse in our company.

We talked for about fifteen minutes, comparing our job descriptions, hiring process, day to day responsibilities and a little bit about our future plans. She told me she was recently transferred to her new department because the boss needed help with troubleshooting some issues. She later excused herself when she saw her colleague struggling with communication to a Middle Eastern patient.  She went to the nurse’s counter, spoke to the man in fluent Arabic and everything was fine again. This was Ana “troubleshooting” and kicking a** at it.

Today’s encounter made me remember my experience in Singapore just a few months back. My company sent me to train for an operating room procedure in Singapore General Hospital. On the first day of the workshop, we were supposed to walk around to visit the various stations to practice our skills in performing with a new technology called Transbronchial Needle Aspiration. Manning the booth was Fannie. Clearly and intelligently, she explained to the workshop participants the techniques for equipment preparation. I had more questions in mind so I spoke to her after her demonstration. I wasn’t surprised when she told me she is Filipina. We exchanged contacts and hugged each other goodbye on the last day of the workshop.

That was Fannie, the girl who was chosen to be in charge of representing her hospital amongst her other Singaporean colleagues.

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Fannie (in a gray sweater and white RN uniform) is a nurse in the SGH Endoscopy Unit.

Speaking of the chosen ones, there’s Joan; magna cum laude, student leader, columnist, photo-hobbyist, loyal friend, President of the Philippine Nurses Association of Mannitoba and future Fil-Canadian public servant. Among her many titles is Awesome Daughter to her dad and mom who are surely proud of her. I’ll make it short because when it comes to Joan, her voluminous credentials speak for themselves.

More about Joan: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/filipino-nurses-find-life-sweet-in-rural-rhas-78501942.html?path=/local&id=78501942&sortBy=newest&viewAllComments=y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zXuJRJltds

http://filipinojournal.com/v2/index.php?pagetype=read&article_num=12212009035211&latest_issue=V23-N24

http://winnipeg.filipinojournal.com/m/local-news/philippine-nurses-association-of-manitoba-officers-induction/

http://winnipeg.filipinojournal.com/m4/editorial/pnam-holds-1st-symposium-to-iens/

When it comes to families, I couldn’t think of a better role model than “Saori”. At 25, she is a proud full-time mother of two cute kiddos, an artist-entrepreneur and a loving wife to the man she’s loved since high school. She is a staunch advocate of exclusive breastfeeding and a practitioner of Modern & Smart parenting.  A lot has changed in child care and child rearing practices since and Saori is encouraging all moms to get into this amazing mommy experience.  Together with her mommyhood group, she strongly promotes innovative and baby-friendly techniques.

See:  Attachment Parenting, Baby Wearing, Cloth Diapering

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Saori is the proprietor of LIKHA NI SAOSAO’s custom art services: CLAY WORKS, GRAPHICS DESIGNS, PHOTOGRAPHY, & other ARTWORKS. Contact

https://www.facebook.com/LIKHANISAOSAO?ref=ts&fref=ts

I once met a girl in grade school who I will never forget. Her name is Kristine and she was my brother’s classmate. She once dreamt of travelling the world and now she’s realizing that dream. In her early 20s, Kristine already knows the value of money and saving. As an airline crew, she has been saving and investing her earnings wisely and has secured herself and her family’s future.

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Kristine was recently selected to be part of Saudia Airlines among 1000+ applicants and will be training in Jeddah for 2 months. She has previously travelled to United Kingdom and other locations worldwide.

Interesting stories, right? But why am I listing them?

We meet a lot people in our lifetime; some become part of our lives, and others leave marks, while most just silently drift away, only to become fragments of our memories. Yet there are some very special people, whether we’ve known them since childhood, met them at a summer camp, or during a Basic Life Support training, who manage to touch our hearts and inspire us. They are the women I have named above. To me, they embody the true ideals of a Global Filipina.

Who is the Global Filipina?

The Global Filipina is an inspiration to her fellow women. She is an asset not only of our country but of the world. She excels at what she does, may it be her profession, motherhood, or a vocation. Most importantly, she takes pride in what she does and who she is.

Take Reinabelle Reyes, a 28-year old astrophysicist from Princeton University, better known as “The Filipina who proved Einstein right”. When she was 26, she proved Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity on a cosmic scale. For us non-science geeks, that means she made a really cool and celebrated achievement in her field.

The complete story:  http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/2686-the-filipina-who-proved-einstein-right

The Global Filipina is motivated to succeed. She plans for her future. She saves. She dedicates her time to fruitful endeavors, whether it is climbing the career ladder, taking care of her husband and kids, or pursuing a worthwhile hobby that allows her to express herself.  She works hard while others slack. She strives to make a difference in our world. Whether she is a Filipina who lives in the country or abroad, what’s important is that she is proud to be one.

Meet “Lyn”, a young teacher in her mid-twenties, worship leader at Singles for Christ, and a doting big sister to a brood of 8 whom she helps send to school. She currently lives in Thailand, away from her family.

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Second from Right, Lyn poses with her fellow choir members after the Christmas mass.

 Like Lyn, we know stories of many of our fellow Filipina women who are conquering the world every day, miles and seas away from their families. These Filipinas are everywhere.  They are surviving the daily battle of homesickness to either provide for their respective families or pursue their careers.

Sadly, we also often hear stories about the insufferable conditions that many of our fellow Filipinas have had to endure. I thank God every day that despite my personal struggles, I am healthy and safe. Then I close my eyes and say a little prayer for them.

Amidst these heartbreaking stories, once in a while we hear of our countrymen’s amazing feats internationally and it somehow aids in healing our nation’s broken dreams.

Angela and Mikaela Guerrero, gifted siblings, are truly blessings to our Motherland.   In an article, both sisters were described to have high IQ and were considered child prodigies. Angela Guerrero is 15 years old and a 3rd year undergraduate student, BS Chemistry Minor Music, at Cal State LA in an Early Entrance program for the Highly Gifted, prior to enrolling at CSULA.

Mikaela Guerrero, the younger sister of Angela, was found to be exceptionally gifted, with an IQ of 167, and was assessed by Dr. Sheila Vaughan of the Mirman School. Mikaela is an 8 year old child prodigy who is also a gifted writer and excellent artist.

Read more: http://www.asianjournal.com/galing-pinoy/59-galing-pinoy/3276-gifted-kids-jonathan-malabanan-angela-and-mikaela-guerrero-child-prodigies.html

During my lifetime, I’ve met so many wonderful Filipinas: There’s Race from Bulacan, (now a Singapore resident), Jade from Las Pinas (now travelling the world through Qatar Airways), Rose from my hometown who is now in Middle East, Doods, Dione, Jo, Nina, Chingkai, Gwen, Abi, Regi, Zy, my ninang Marivic, my friend Marivic, Vanessa, Raeca, Kim who are scattered around various parts of the world …..and so many others! Please forgive me if I couldn’t mention everybody.

Personally, my Global Filipina is my mom, Juvy. She is a mother of four and a passionate educator. She was my first teacher. She has dedicated her life to us, her children and to her students. I have never met a teacher as dynamic as my mother. I know this because as a child I would wait for her outside of her classroom, listening as she finished her classes. My mother has been rocking classrooms for 26 years, both in the Philippines and abroad, and I am really proud of her. Off-duty, she is the sweetest mother that can be.

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Flanked by two girls from her class, my mom shows these Thai teens the love she has given her Filipino students. 

As I launch my new website, I would like to pay homage to all of the Global Filipinas who are out there: nurses and doctors who save lives, teachers who inculcate to children the important lessons in life, engineers, scientists and inventors who sustain life, parents who nourish life, and the friends  who make life worth living. My dear Global Filipinas, I salute you all.

My beloved readers, who is your personal Global Filipina? I invite you to nominate your own special lady. Describe her in three sentences or more, and please explain why she is your Global Filipina. Three sentences is only a minimum, you are encouraged to write more. Please post it as a comment under the tagline “Who is your GF (Global Filipina)?” below this blog entry. The best story will be featured in my next blog article.

Thank you very much for your support. I hope to hear from you soon, GFs!!!!

P.S. To my foreign readers, if you know a Filipina who embodies the GF characteristics, you are welcome to nominate her 🙂

TEN FLEETING DAYS and My After-Musings Part 4: Melancholic Reveries

 

February 25, 2013, 9:30 pm. I was back at the same exact station, but this time I was waiting for the train alone.

It felt like only just a few hours ago when the love of my life and I took the same railway going to the city proper.
Ian arrived to visit me again here in Thailand in the evening of February 15th. I met him at Arrivals and led him to the Airport rail link that took us to Ratchaprarop Station, approximately a 7-minute walk from Baiyoke Tower, where we were booked for the night.

As the passengers filled the car, Ian and I were all smiles, chuckling to ourselves in disbelief. We were in each other’s arms again! Our small corner inside the train echoed with our happy and excited chatter and my insistent inquiries about how his flight went. We were both grappling/vying for air time and oblivious to the world.

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Ten days later, as I sat solitary on one of the station benches, there was only silence and the hushed rolling and clicking of my 7-11-bought pen as my companion.

Imagining what I will return to, I was not looking forward to seeing the receptionist’s grouchy face in the hotel which had been our love nest for the past few days. His face could have been in a constant frown but it would definitely look happier than mine.

The PA announced the arriving train in two languages and I stood up to fall in line. As I took a seat, I looked back to our final minutes.

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I went with him to the airport to send him off. Outside the Passport Control (where only passengers can enter), we were saying our difficult goodbyes, exchanging promises and hastily uttered reminders (mine to Ian consisting mostly of repetitions to Take Care, Drive Safely Every day and Keep in touch). Right on cue, just like in the movies, an airline employee cuts in on our desperate last moments with a hand signal pointing to the clock/wrist watch as if to say “It’s time”.

Great! Make it easier for us.

Either he was just doing his job, or grossed out, or jealous of our blatant public display of affection. I was never big on PDA but with Ian and especially right at that very moment, the world around us had ceased to exist and I was shameless.
It was just he and I in our own perfect little world.

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I let go of Ian and he stepped onto the elevator that took him to the final security checkpoint and immigration. He never looked away from me-we kept mouthing our I LOVE YOUs until he was out of my sight.

Wow! So that’s it? Lea, Ian’s sister, was right. Those 10 days flew by so quickly. Of course, we both knew his visit was going to end but it didn’t change anything: the pain of separation is always the same. It’s as if the heart was torn from the chest because it follows the one you love, as Ellena, my future mother-in-law, had put it.
No matter how many times I said goodbye to Ian, I never got used to it. This feeling is only relieved when I see him again.

See him again… I had no idea when the next time would be and that made it all the more depressing for me. But before I could break down for a crying spree, a thought struck me:

Isn’t the Immigration Services right behind the glass wall in front of me? I remember from my recent Singapore trip that the Passport Control Section in Suvarnabhumi Airport was renovated in such a way that passengers have to take the escalator going up to some sort of boarding pass check, and then take an escalator down to appear before the Immigration officer.

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I rushed to see if I could get lucky and actually get a glimpse of Ian. My mind was racing, heart pounding, desperate for that one last goodbye. I positioned myself where there was a good view of the escalator and of the passengers going down. I didn’t want to miss him. Just moments later, he came through- in a hurry and with no time to look around him. He had a mission, to catch his plane. He didn’t bother to explore his surroundings. I was so desperate to catch his attention that I began tapping on the glass walls almost futilely. Then, with a bit of luck, a seemingly cordial middle-aged man behind him saw me and so I signaled to him to call Ian’s attention. He was kind enough to oblige and said something to Ian that made him turn his direction towards me. Seeing me unexpectedly lit his face up and my heart leapt for joy. Ian politely thanked the man and again started whispering his muted I love yous. I silently whispered back. Ian placed his hand on the left side of his chest. It is his way of telling me “Cecille, you’re in my heart”.

I know I am. It makes it seem all the more wrong for me to be sitting on a train back to a hotel room while Ian was set to fly thousands of feet above the ground. Moments ago, I was a woman loved and cherished by my man who was beside me. As I head back to Central Bangkok on my own, all of a sudden, I became a little girl again, caught in my melancholic reveries,and the city felt far too big for me.

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I was now a station away, and as I readied my train pass, I caught sight of the ring on my finger; now, Ian’s words echoed in my brain… “Whenever you feel sad and lonely, look to this ring and know I am always with you. We will be truly together soon, I promise”.
I desperately tried to suppress my sobs until I unlocked what used to be OUR room. As I pushed open the door, the scents of our frolicking filled my nose-remnants of Ian’s loving, comforting and reassuring presence not too long ago. Oh, dear God, I miss him already.

And that’s when the dam broke.

THE PRACTICAL POWER DRESSER : A Smart Girl’s Fashion Secrets in a Bad Economy

Since I started blogging, I knew that one day I was bound to write a fashion entry. Fashion talks may seem petty to some, but I tell you dearies, it’s not just about lovely dresses, to-die-for shoes and sparkly accessories that would make even the most proper of girls drool; I’d rather call it power dressing, or projecting a self-image of success through one’s wardrobe.

Power dressing refers to a style of clothing and hair intended to make wearers seem authoritative and competent, especially in professional settings in business, law and government.
                                                                                                                                -Wikipedia

To clarify, power dressing may revolve around clothes and accessories, but there’s more to it than the parade of labels and what-nots. It is more about the attitude of the wearer towards the clothes and the trend itself. Clothes can be tools we may use to project an image: how we want to portray ourselves and how we want to be perceived – but it isn’t about being pretending to like a style when you really don’t, or sacrificing comfort over fashion. If so, you run the risk of becoming a fashion victim. If I may boldly define it in my terms, power dressing encourages you to look into your inner self, evaluate your own sense of style, and bring it out through accents and/or statement accessories to be then paired with classic fashion pieces that would give a timeless and polished impression. It also helps if you have a fashion icon who can be your wardrobe guide to help you come up with your own version. The goal is to transmit an aura of calm confidence, being comfortable in one’s own body, and possessing undeniable flair that will make people around you think: “Damn, this girl is set to conquer the world! She is dressed to kill.”

As in the above definition, the term was originally coined to refer to wardrobe planning in relation to one’s professional career. Power dressing was viewed as ideal for government officials, corporate executives, and head honchos from all sorts of fields of expertise as well as job applicants. However, I believe that power dressing shouldn’t just be a costume to wear whenever one goes to their respective places of business. It should be a lifestyle, a state of mind. Thus, it may also be applied to our everyday lives. I am not suggesting that you should break your piggy banks, go on a shopping spree and start panic buying for a lavish wardrobe; rather, I’m advising that you invest in classic pieces (some of which may already be in your closets), pick out colors that suit you and accessorize in a way that brings out your unique personality while flashing that confident smile. Also, don’t forget to scour for budget finds. Bookmark places with great discount sales. Surely you can be a fashion Princess for less.

My personal fashion icon is Audrey Hepburn and it is very well reflected in my clothing preferences. Audrey popularized the Little Black Dress, an iconic fashion statement that says: elegant and sophisticated, conservative but not prudish- a true classic. It’s also very wearable. Ms. Hepburn, much like Coco Chanel, invested in timeless pieces (which can be worn anytime, anywhere) and in basic colors that are very easy to match with the rest of one’s outfit. Nonetheless, our heroine here isn’t afraid to add a pop of color such as touches of pink wherever she wants it. I personally like red. Red dress, red lips, red bag, red slim belt over a white or navy dress,  red shoes to match a classic LBD/LWD, red scarf, and red nails. Not at the same time of course, but you get what I mean. A hint or burst of red is a surefire formula to brighten my day and glam up my night.

I guess that’s enough talkin, let’s get dressin’.

The Little Black Dress-an every woman must-have, and my absolute favorite. 50% of my closet is populated by black dresses in all sorts of designs and variations. Here are a few of them:

The strapless black dress for cocktails and drinks

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The long sleeved black lace and lycra dress. I got mine on sale for B200 from Forever 21 last March (2013) and I haven’t had the chance to wear it yet.

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I used to have this version of the black lace dress from December 2010. I got it from Greenhills in Manila for Php350.

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The short sleeved black lace dress. I got this from H& M (on sale for B300). Here, the model definitely wore it better than I did.

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City Triangle open back dress (price unrecalled; adorned with pearls, hand-sewn by Jan Jay Espino ) as seen on my engagement photos.

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Vintage black dress (B150) as seen on my engagement photos.

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Vintage black dress (price unrecalled)

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The casual black top and leggings combo ala Mademoiselle Hepburn.

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The nude pumps. I admit. Just like the rest of the girls obsessed with Kate Midlleton’s style, I am also enamored with the Duchess’ favorite pair of L.K Bennett sledge heels.

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Sadly, at £49.50 a pop, the elusive pair is way beyond my thrifty fashionista budget. So instead I opted for a fashion steal in the form of Charles and Keith nude peep-toe pumps (originally priced B2, 000 here in Thailand but I got it for B1, 350 in Singapore). See actual photo here https://theglobalfilipina.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/cecille-and-ian-488.jpg

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To further satisfy my Catherine of Cambridge craving, I also availed of Payless Thailand’s opening sale and got this comfy and stylish pair at 50% off (B450).

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This version from Dexter is a nod to Kate’s penchant for wedges.

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A girl should never be without a pair of black stilettos. It’s the safe perfect match to any outfit a woman could think of. A Marie Claire- Paris black sling back (on sale for B200) does the job for me. https://theglobalfilipina.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/30.jpg

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Recently, along with my nude wedges, I got this pair from Christian Siriano for Payless, on sale of course! With a tinge of pink, this black number is the ultimate for killing the dance floor (only when out with the fiancé anywayJ). My new baby is still safe inside its box. I wanted to wear them today but I decided they’d be totally impractical for patient’s rounds and for going inside the O.R.

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Be the Lady in Red. Channel your “womanity” in this bright and bold hue…

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Either at the office party… (Bought from Tin Dayao-Tolentino for Php350)

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A celebration night with the girls…

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Or your birthday

Whatever in White. Simply cool, classic, comfy.

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And all of these stolen from my mother’s closet.

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Luckily for me, I am blessed with a quirky and fashion-forward mother too…unfortunately, I can’t bring my mother’s closet to America. This reminds me of what my future father-in-law said before: As a low-cost shopper, I will surely get sticker shock in the US. I am sooo used to cheap shopping in Asia (especially in Thailand which is the shopping capital of Southeast Asia) that I would probably never go out to the American malls.  I find it ridiculous how Asian-made products become way more expensive after being shipped off to North America. Consumerism at its finest.

 I was never a slave to fashion. I do like having nice things but I’ve always had the good sense to get them for reasonable, if not at absolutely low prices.  When I arrive in the US, I know I won’t be working for a while. With no income in a country where everything is practically, to coin Filipino slang, “dollars*”, how will the fashionista in me survive?

*Dollars- adj. (in Filipino slang) expensive

That’s when I thought of buying in advance for cheap here in Bangkok. Also, since I’m still earning here, I would actually have the means.  I used to joke with my cousins that here in Thailand, you can never be without clothes because they sell them as low as B20!!! That’s less than a dollar. True story.

Some of the stuff I displayed earlier haven’t been worn yet because I actually intend to bring them over to my new home. During my fiancé’s last visit, I asked him to carry some of my stuff to New York ahead of me.  It was actually therapeutic to our longing hearts because it was somehow our way of telling each other that my move to the US is definitely happening. How else would I be able to part with my darling shoes if I didn’t know for sure I’d see them again?! Hehe!

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Aside from actually “saving by spending” here rather than over  there,  I am investing in shopping because I am very excited to meet Ian’s family and friends for the first time. I know it might sound silly, but of course I really want to give them a good impression of me when they first see me. I want to look well put-together.  I have a feeling they would be pleasant to me anyway, even if I didn’t put in so much effort. Nonetheless, I still just want to put my best foot forward.

The truth is, no matter what one wears, it’s the overall personality that says more about a person. You may be wearing thousand dollar blings or strutting with all of Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen’s creations, but if you are as fake as a counterfeit Louis Vuitton Speedy from Laos, there’s no way you can charm a crowd. So here’s my advice to every lovely woman out there (advice I also so often give to myself):  Be your lovely and genuine self. And as I said earlier, don’t forget to smile and you will definitely win all of them over, fashionable outfit or notJ. Ciao!