Thursday, July 28, 2011

# 18 filipino pacing !!

the invitation says five o'clock in the afternoon;  a filipino guest arrives at six. the ticket says the concert starts at eight o'clock in the evening; you guessed it right, it is nine o'clock and the concert has yet to start.  the meeting is set at eight o'clock in the morning;  no one is in the office at eight except for an assistant who is busy setting up the room.   that is filipino pacing.  it can be described as a deliberate disregard of time.  it is the filipino way of life.  do not even attempt to debate its merits and demerits. 

the only time filipino pacing is not observed is in the matter of the balikbayan box.  balik means return, bayan is country.  when a filipino goes to foreign shores, the very first thing she asks is where she can buy an empty balikbayan box.  she then combs the malls for sale items so she can fill this box up with an assortment of goodies for everyone back home.  there is no weight limit. one can just imagine canned goods, toiletries, toys and gadgets, bed linens, clothes, towels and shoes all crammed into the box.  she wants to send the box at the soonest time. within four months of her arrival, she has shipped out the box by sea travel through a cargo forwarder. it would take 45 -60 days for the much-awaited box to be at the recipient's doorsteps.

one cannot get on a philippine-bound plane without seeing piles of balikbayan boxes waiting to be checked-in.  that is trademark filipino. a returning overseas filipino cannot go home without one. a filipino who can't go home is expected to send one.

tatti is the kids' aunt, their mommy's sister.  she left to work in the US in 2005 and has not been back for a vacation ever since. tete, yangi and, especially, gugud remember tatti quite clearly. wawa, who was just two years old back then, have fuzzy memories of her. skype keeps them connected.  when tatti gets on the webcam, the kids all chorus 'hi tatti !!'  she checks her appearance first on the video screen, makes a series of left and right angle checks, runs her fingers through her hair to fix it before she says hi to the kids. tatti sent her first balikbayan box in the early part of 2010. you do the math.  it took her five years !! if that is not filipino pacing, i do not know what it is. when tatti started filling up the box, hannah montana was new, young and sweet. the kids were still agog over her and asked tatti for hannah montana stuff. by the time she sent the box, hannah montana was old news and the kids were embarrassed to be seen with anything hannah montana.  the box took that long !  

tatti's favorite picture is one that shows her (several years and pounds ago) romping with mamam on the white sands of a beach resort in bohol , truly a poignant hallmark moment preserved forever.

on special occasions, she issues checks as presents. the checks are hits and misses. it may or may not be illustrative of filipino pacing.  just keep your  fingers (toes and eyes, included) crossed that she wakes up on the right side of the bed and remembers to issue a check for your birthday on your birthday and not weeks after. 

you know it is going to be a good day when tatti gets on skype and pledges an early birthday check.  no filipino pacing this time -  isn't that awesome?


  1. Tatti!! In other words..Nanna's time to send another box na! hahahaha..either that or you come home na! :D

  2. Oh yes, I would agree an early birthday check is very awesome. Those boxes are a sight to see as well. My colleague Gloria and I were quite amazed at the number we saw in the airport-we wondered if the plane would get off the ground. We learned very quickly about filipino pacing-I think it was "interviews are to start at 8" it was 10 and we were thinking ano ba yan??? A phrase I learned much later :) now filipino pacing is old news and when I go to an event here in Kansas, I know I don't have to be there "on time"

  3. Na, you are amazing!

  4. If I could like Tatti's last comment, I would..haha :D