Thursday, May 29, 2008

In a world and time of shifting constants

It's been said that there are two inevitable in life--death and taxes. The rest of what happens to our lives are contants--they happen steadily, repeatedly, regularly, continually. Nonetheless, these constants are swinging to the left, to the right, up, down, at an angle.

One example is the rising costs, albeit prices, of everything. It's been said that prices of goods depend on the supply and demand. Nowadays, prices could go anywhere at the whim of speculators, hoarders and by those who want to conquer the world. (It's been two weeks since we heard our very own president commanding her minions to go after hoarders but we haven't heard from them again.) So even if prices constantly go up, still they are further modified according to self-interests.

One constant that has shifted is our food and eating habits. We used to hurry home and eat heartily what Nanay cooked. Now Filipinos are eating out and liking new cuisine. Restaurants and food outlets are sprouting everywhere. In fact, in malls, there seem to be more food outlets than other shops and there are more people in food shops than in things shops. Many have adopted the chopsticks as eating implements. Although, we seem to have acquired the taste for other foods like Indian, Mediterranean, French and others, one thing constant is our love for Filipino food, original or fusion recipes.

That is why here in Carson, California, there are many restaurants, e.g., DJ, Manila Lechon, Jollibee, Manila Sunrise and others, serving Filipino foods. One thing notable though is that they also offer chopsticks. And, of course, nobody eat with their hands. Not anymore, not even in Filipino homes anywhere.

Food is constantly a good business proposition. Many Filipinos made their first million in the food industry.

I used to shop to death whenever I am here in the U.S. of A., but now I have to constantly ask myself, "Do I need this now?" Or if there is something I really need, my next questions are, "Is there something cheaper?" "Are there better substitutes?" "Are they available in the Philippines?" One constant about things is that they are invariably modified and improved especially with the use of nanotechnology. Even Americans are not shopping that much and that often.

Comfort is prime reason I buy some things, so I only buy branded shoes and I get them cheaper at Marshalls, TJ Max, Ross and Target. Even if they are made in China, they must conform with the standards of the brand. No shift in quality here, except for the use of manmade materials--only the uppers are leather in most cases. And there are now shoes that breathe, that you could wade in floods, that use recycled materials, and others.

Some constants do change for the worse or worst. I took PAL from Manila to Los Angeles. Four hours from take off and the lavatories had become messy. I went in twice after two flight attendants and I found the lavatory as soiled as anything. Aren't they supposed to clean the lavatories? Likewise, some fixtures are non-functioning. And, I don't know why, Filipinos who take PAL are constantly uncaring of others, they leave the lavatories messier than they found it. They are better behaved in other airlines. I pity the American seated beside me, he had to hold his food tray while eating because the tray holder is broken. The crew just shrugged their cold shoulders and offered not even a feeble apology. My flight from Manila to South Africa and back recently via Singapore Airlines was a bliss compared to this PAL flight.

The present flight stewardesses are not as beautiful and sophisticated as the stewardesses of before. And they are not smiling. They look so ordinary and plain; many salesgirls at the malls are more personable.) The SQ stewardesses have maintained their Singapore Girl looks and bearing. Well, in this time of shifting constants, who needs to fly PAL?

Happily, some good things in life remain constant, though shifting in some ways. Like my BFF Gina Camacho and her family who have migrated here in California since 17 years ago, but remained Filipino by heart, and Adrian whose birthday was May 28 and Ronjie, June 20--older, wiser and achieving, but the same loving sons.,

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