This section is getting even more exciting and intriguing. May mga kuwentong nakakain-love, may nakakainis at may nakakaawa rin. (Some of our kababayans' stories make our hearts beat faster, others are annoying, and some tug at our heart strings.) Most of the time however, I find the letters inspiring!
This section helps me relax or de-stress. This prolonged separation from my family is no joke. I try to strengthen my resolve by looking at the brighter side of things. I have read some disturbing news in your "brief news" section. After reading them, I told myself, "Magulo pala sa atin at naghihikahos. Mas mabuti pa pala dito. Kumikita pa ako" (I am better off in Taiwan where I am gainfully employed. There's too much poverty back home.) I challenge myself at all times.
Initially, I was tempted to break my employment contract. My place of employment is in a very remote location. You would not even see stores or people in my neighborhood. This feeling of isolation could be overpowering sometimes. We all need someone to talk to, right? The need to connect to and communicate with people is stronger for migrants since in a foreign land like Taiwan, we do not have the support network that we have back home - family, friends, neighbors.
Fortunately, I was able to overcome my loneliness. Most of us have gained friends through the Pinoy Text Club. May nagkakatuluyan at isa ako sa imbitado sa kasal nila! (Some even found their life partners through PTC. In fact, I have been invited to their wedding!) They will soon be returning home. May nag-aaway dahil nag-aagawan ng boyfriend. (Some end up fighting over some guy!) May "nakikiboses" din. Kung maganda ang boses, hindi bale ng ilang Nice cards ang maubos, may makausap lang at para unti-unting mapawi ang kalungkutan. (Some are blessed with pleasant voices. Many willingly spend dough on a few Nice cards to speak with those people. It's money well spent since it helps ease one's loneliness. At least, you have someone to chat with.) Of course, one should not take those things seriously. It is a welcome distraction from one's daily routine.
In my case, I occasionally spot a neighbor in the huge vegetable farm next to my employer's residence. I do not even hear the roar of motorcars. Most of the time, I only hear the chirping of the birds.
I am quite blessed since my employers and I get along very well. I have never felt discriminated against. In fact, my Taiwanese family treats me as if I were one of their own.
I have been hired to look after a comatose patient. During my first few days in Taiwan, I thought I did not have what it took to fulfill my tasks. I have overcome that though. I have adjusted to my environment and mastered my chores.
I thought everything would be smooth-sailing from there. Unknown to me, fate had another challenge in store for me.
I am a married woman. I got pregnant when I was still a minor. I had even thought of terminating my pregnancy. My boyfriend - now my husband - did not even want to marry me. I was afraid of what my parents would say and do if they learned of my unwanted pregnancy. Something however told me to keep my baby. Eventually, my boyfriend told me he would step up to the plate and marry me. He said he would do all that he could to give me and my baby a wonderful future.
My husband however turned out to be a great disappointment. He was totally dependent on his family. He also abused me physically and emotionally.
When I gave birth, I was all alone in the hospital. My husband was at work. He did not even file for paternal leave! That was fine by me. Hangga't kaya ko, kakayanin ko. (I would endure it for as long as I could.)
Months later, a friend invited me to spend a few hours with her at an Internet cafe. We had a lot of catching up to do. When I got home, my husband slapped me hard. He kicked and punched me. By the time he was done beating me, I was covered with bruises. I was tempted to leave him but I felt I had to stay for the sake of my child. Whenever my parents checked on us, I pretended that everything was fine. I did not want them to worry.
My husband lives in his own world. He seems to be angry all the time. He hates even his own family. Magaan ang kamay, mahilig manakit. (He is abusive.) He hits even his own child. Is this my fate? Hindi ko ba pwedeng pakawalan ang nakagapos kong puso?
We were not financially secure at the time. Yes, I was employed at a prestigious company in Manila but our expenses were astronomical. My wages were insufficient to meet our child's needs. This prompted me to seek employment abroad. Masakit mawalay sa anak pero tiniis ko. (It was a difficult choice.)
As I have said earlier on, life had been good for a while. Until one day, I learned from some of my relatives that my husband has a mistress. In fact, they are now living under one roof. He has left our child under the care of his family.
I called my husband. I asked him if those rumors were true. He admitted that he has a mistress. "She's not yet pregnant," he added. Sobrang sakit noon dahil hindi ko siya mapagsalitaan personally. (Since I am working abroad, we could not discuss our marital problems face to face.) I wasted thousands of NT dollars on phone cards. Kahit ganoon pala kasama ang ugali ng asawa mo, manghihinayang ka sa pinagsamahan ninyo at masasaktan ka rin. (Regardless of how cruel or abusive your spouse is, you would still feel broken up by his or her infidelity.)
I struggled to keep my sanity. I pretended to be brave. I experienced difficult days and sleepless nights. I forced myself to eat. I kept on talking to my comatose patient. I needed someone to talk to. I shed buckets of tears.
Kabayan, I do not want him anymore. I have to put an end to that chapter of my life. I would rather be alone than be married to a man like him. Whenever I think of the years that we had spent together, I realize that he had hurt me physically and emotionally. Dila ko lang ang walang pasa.
Lately, I received a text message from him. He was apologizing for his indiscretion. What for?
There are many mysteries in life that we cannot explain. Many things are hard for us to understand since we are seeing things from our earthly viewpoint and not from God's viewpoint.
My priority right now is my five-year-old son. My baby is a gift from God. Last year, before I flew to Taiwan, GMA-7 (one of the major television stations in the Philippines) was trying to convince us to enter my son in a talent contest. My baby refused. Ayaw niya at malikot kasi.
A photo shop in SM South Mall, Las Pinas even named him "Baby of the Year" because of his sweet smile. In fact, you would see his huge picture displayed in the shop.
There's only one thing that I am sure of right now. I will give my son a bright and promising future.
I am happy to hear that you are slowly recovering from your heartbreak. However, I still believe it would help if you seek the counsel of Eva Salazar-Liu of the Community Services Center in Taipei or Father Joy (0930-44-6060). Eva, by the way, is a marriage counselor. You may reach her at 0927-350-972.
Kabayan Book Club
If you want to receive books and magazines (don't forget to enclose the appropriate amount of stamps), just write Kabayan Ed at:
Dr. Eduardo M. Leano
Department of Aquaculture
National Taiwan Ocean University
No. 2, Pei-Ning Road,
Keelung City 202
Kabayan Ed has forwarded us these letters from club recipients and donors.
I am returning the books you lent me. I was wondering if KBC have some of Grisham's works like "The Street Lawyer," "The Last Juror," "The Rainmaker," "The Broker," and "The Bleechers," or perhaps S. Sheldon's "Tell Me Your Dreams." If you do not have those titles, any book will do. (We do have some of those novels in our personal collection and we are more than happy to lend them to you. - Ed and May)
DEAR DR. ED AND MA'AM MAY,
A blessed day po sa inyong lahat! Eto na po ang mga hiniram kong pocketbooks. Maraming, maraming salamat po sa pagpapahiram nyo ulit. Sana po ay makahiram ulit ako. Nakakawala talaga ng homesickness ang pagbabasa. Hindi mo namamalayan ang paglipas ng oras o araw. Sana'y hindi kayo magsawa sa pagpapahiram niyo sa aming mga OFWs, lalo na po sa mga katulad kong walang day off. Sige po. Hintayin ko po ulit ang mga padala ninyo. Thanks again and may our good Lord bless you always. More power to KBC! (More pocketbooks are in the mail. - Ed and May)
DEAR DOK ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Good day! I would like to say thank you so much for the books that you lent me. I am returning them and I do hope that you could lend me another set of books. Dok, thank you so much for helping my friend, Leonidas. Thank you for listening. I hope you won't get tired of helping us. Keep it up Dok and Ma'am May! A million thanks, and may our Almighty God bless you more! (You're welcome Denia. We've mailed you two more English novels. - Ed and May)
DEAR SIR ED,
Thanks for the books! I enjoyed reading them. I hope to receive more books from you. (We have mailed two more novels for you. - Ed and May).
SIR ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Thank you very much for lending me some reading materials. I enjoyed them a lot. I hope I'd receive more books and magazines from KBC. Could you also include some booklets on tourist spots in the Philippines? I want to share it with my employer and their workers since some of them are interested in visiting our beautiful country.
A friend of mine (Richell) who is staying in Taipei visited me and I shared some of your reading materials with her. She gave me money for the stamps and asked me to request you for books on her behalf. (You're welcome. We already sent you and Richell some reading materials. I am sorry but we don't have any booklets or brochures about the Philippines. Your boss however could easily access such information by logging on to tourism sites. - Ed and May)
DEAR SIR ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Thank you for the articles that you gave me and the reading materials that you lent me. Again, could you please lend me some English magazines, Reader's Digest and cookbooks? (We have sent you English magazines and Reader's Digests. We don't have any cookbooks available. - Ed and May)
DEAR MR. ED AND MRS. MAY,
Thank you very much for the books. May I borrow more books? Any book will do. (We mailed you two books. We hope you'd enjoy them. - Ed and May) By the way, I took the "return letter" to RBC inside the Our Daily Bread. Now, they will be sending me a copy of each edition. I am so sorry for not asking for your permission first. (No problem Susan. - Ed and May) May God bless you always.
Kabayan's Listener's Corner, a Pinoy program produced by Radio Taiwan International, is aired every Thursday night from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at AM747 and AM927. This informative program is replayed every Saturday. To win prizes, just e-mail Paula at email@example.com or send your letters to:
c/o Radio Taiwan International
P.O. Box 24-38 Taipei, Taiwan
Send your letters to:
Kabayan c/o Taiwan News
No. 88, 7F, Xinyi Rd., Sec. 2,
Taipei City 10641
Our Web site: www.taiwannews.com.tw
Letters should include your full name, address, and telephone number. Names may be withheld upon request. Letters may be edited for length or clarity.