4 seasons in 1 day
Immigration is a topic close to my heart. After all, I myself am an immigrant. Below is an article I wrote for PCI after I interviewed Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. To those parents or grandparents of Filipino-Canadians who are waiting to immigrate to Canada, or to anyone interested in starting their lives in Canada, read on.
Canada, going the way of America—at least in immigration—is the fear of most Filipino-Canadians. In America, family reunification is a farce, or at least the 25 years or so of waiting makes the lives of separated families seem like one. Those who leave have to reckon with their guilt; those who are left behind are despondent and desolate. The tarmac bears witness to their goodbyes.
The long immigration lines have started to appear in Canada as the waiting period for family reunification stretched to almost a decade. It would soon be overwhelmed with the growing numbers if nothing was done, so Citizenship and Immigration Canada decided to freeze the lines in 2011. Very recently, however, they announced that the bars are to be lifted as solutions to the backlog have been found.
But at what cost?
» Read more of "Are Filipino families going to be reunited in their lifetimes?"
The simple things
Who can resist a show featuring a Harvard researcher doing research on—of all things—happiness?
I could not. So despite the many minor interruptions (irritations), like the selling and upselling of Shawn Achor’s books and videos, I kept at it.
Here are some of the stuff I learned (and remembered):
1. Those in Harvard, despite Harvard being Harvard, are not happy. Researcher Shawn Achor says that in his experiment, hapless freshmen are only happy for the first 2 weeks—happy to be accepted and besting a thousand others for the coveted slots, happy to be in Harvard’s hallowed halls and relishing its old world smell, happy to be at the center of the intellectual universe. But when the reality of pressure—ever present, permeating the walls (and their every capillary)— becomes apparent, they get lost into the vortex of competing with themselves, forever justifying (to themselves) that they deserved to be there.
At the end of it all (if Achor is to be believed), the Harvardians are just grateful to be let out alive and to smoke the Harvard pipe (misery, they say, loves company).
» Read more of "Is happiness (or being happy) really an advantage?"
Spark 007: The Bond Girls
This article was published in the Philippine Canadian Inquirer.
There was a long road, winding, rocky. And darkness, the kind that devours. I could hear the gurgling of little meandering streams tipping its silver toes here and then there, and on my right was a great body of lake I could feel but could not see. Deep, I thought.
In the distance, a spark.
It was the warmth that greeted me, of Baldwin house, and of hosts Lorie Corcuera and Aileen de la Torre. PCI once featured Lorie; I met Aileen (who was with Lorie) at an event I covered for PCI. Both women were amazing. Now, I thought, I could see them work their magic.
» Read more of "A retreat-style soul weekend experience"
Apple in watercolor
In recent years the perception of recycling has changed from a lifestyle fad to something of a necessity. With successive governments working on the best ways to “go green” and help conserve energy and waste, it’s no surprise to see alternative energy sources reaching the news more and more.
Solar panels and wind turbines are perhaps the two most prominent developments in personal renewable energy with government schemes providing people with the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to conserving energy; however they are by no means the only options for businesses.
» Read more of "Can Food Leftovers Provide us an Alternative Energy Source?"
Little fall of rain
I just came home from the Philippines when I got the email. “Congratulations,” it said. “You have been selected as a winner of the Soroptimist International of North and West Vancouver’s Ruth Ditto award.” I was awed, and rendered speechless. Soroptimist International is a worldwide service organization for women committed to helping women (and girls) achieve their individual and collective potentials. The Ruth Ditto Award is an award unique to the North and West Vancouver Club. Ruth Ditto is an esteemed and treasured Club member and everyone remembers her for her strength (despite the fact that she was a petite woman), and remembers how unselfishly she shared her talents (she is a painter too) and her time. The award is to honour women who persevere despite challenges (in my essay, I spoke of the travails of being a new immigrant with big dreams). With all of Ruth Ditto’s friends in attendance, I felt empowered, humbled, honoured. Below is my speech.
Somebody looked at my palm to gaze into my future. He smiled but did not tell me what he saw.
I prefer it that way. Not knowing. Because it is enough that I know that my husband and I, we always put ourselves in, well, situations.
In December 2011, we found ourselves in the clutches of winter in beautiful Vancouver.
We were starting a new life, embarking on an adventure.
Until the adventure turned real and the difficulty of finding a foothold in a new country we did not know sank in.
» Read more of "My Soroptimist Speech"
Feet bristling through the carpet in a half hazy world, I make my way to our armchair and seat facing the window.
I could feel the cold leather as steel on my skin, awaking my senses but not so much. I draw the blinds, as far as it would go, and I would look out, as far as my eyes can see. And I see clouds, clarity, blue skies. Eyes half open, I close them again and feel the earth around me.
» Read more of "How do you start your morning?"
As a business, there are a host of insurance costs that you need to suffer, just to keep you free from financial risk should a problem arise. Since most businesses use premises of some sort, they will need to make sure that they insure those premises.
Naturally, if you own the premises, insurance will be an essential cost. Just the same as insuring your residential property from theft, fire, and other risks, insuring your commercial property will be critical in alleviating the financial burden that may arise from certain risks.
» Read more of "Insuring a commercial building you do not own"
Yes, I went back to the Philippines after 1 year of leaving it to settle in beautiful British Columbia. I had no plans of returning that soon but it was a welcome respite to Canada’s winter. I have to say friends made it worth my while – it was an emotional trip (I realized what great friends and work! I had left behind) – and I was even rewarded the portrait here (hubby missed me – thank you, hon). Well, there’s the fact that my little boy asked for me in the 10 days I was gone only once (if hubby is to be believed), and he would now cling to his dad instead of me at nights. Not sure too if my daughter missed me (Danvic is proving to be a very adept dad). Yes, there was a trade off. But all in all I think that trip was a winner (thanks to my boss for making it possible).
The main comment I received, however, was that I had little or no photos to show for it. Thing is, I am not one to lug a heavy (or even light) camera. I prefer to replay everything in the privacy of my memory (where I will be free to embellish as necessary).
Here’s what I wrote in the Philippine Canadian Inquirer about it.
» Read more of "Reflections on coming home"