Pilipinas eNewsletter

Volume 2, Issue4

January - March 2024

Kalayaan 2024: Let the Good Times Roll

By: Arcie Gemino

Filamcco’s Kalayaan Celebration will return in its second year at Southfield Pavilion on June 1, 2024. The event garnered more than 2,500 guests last year, its yet largest attendance in more than 25 years. It promises to attract an even larger crowd this year.

Grand preparations are in full swing with social media promising an even greater promotional opportunity for enticing program participants to its cultural entertainment, extending beyond the community to ethnic friends in various populace. Last year was an array of presentations that kept people’s fancy throughout the event’s entirety.

As part of the tradition, the day-long festivities will commence with the parade of Filamcco member organizations bearing their banners, donned in their colorful organizational shirts. Government officials, the majority of whom are from the city of Southfield, along with other dignitaries will be addressing the crowd to share their congratulatory greetings and messages at the opening ceremonies. Leaders from other Asian groups and corporate sponsors will also be in attendance. Tables will display food varieties representing the different regions and provinces of the Philippines. The day will be filled with other exciting activities consisting of arts and crafts and games for children, fashion walks, live band performances, and dancing to the DJ’s enticing music.

Also lined up are several vendors showcasing and promoting their enterprise, craft, and other merchandise with lots of giveaways. Don’t miss out on additional surprises and attractions on our menu. Our list continues to grow even after the publication of this newsletter so stay tuned!

Filamcco President Ryan Rosario, Kalayaan chairperson Ceasar Sumanting, Co-Chairs Ruth Rush, James Santos, and the entire Filamcco team are ecstatic at the prospect of seeing hundreds of revelers come out of the woodwork to savor the pleasure and company of friends and families in a most relaxed and freewheeling atmosphere at this gigantic gathering.

PACCM Gearing Up for 41st Anniversary Celebration

By: Arcie Gemino

The Philippine American Cultural Center (PACCM) will host its 41st Anniversary Celebration at a Spring Ball celebration to be held at the Larsa Palace in Warren on April 13. 2024. The principal motivation for this event is to generate donations from various sources including corporate sponsors, contributions from community organizations, businesses, advertisers, and private donors.

Last year in the fall, the center found its new home in Lahser Road in Southfield where structural renovations are currently being completed to pave the way for the eventual occupancy of the new building. Relative to these constructional repairs, the community is being appealed to help fund the restoration and help with various jobs to get the place in order before its occupancy

This year’s celebration highlights the theme Walang Hanggang Pag-Ibig (Endless Love). With this in mind, an invite to both married and unmarried couples commemorating their love for each other has been sent out to those who want to celebrate their love anniversaries without reference to the number of years they’ve been married or had been together as boyfriends and girlfriends. A table of 10 can be reserved by sending out the request to Ruth Rush at rushruthp@gmail.com. Amenities include special seating, unlimited premium drinks, special table decor, a video presentation, and a personal introduction.

The Spring Ball will also feature an entertainment program composed of songs, dances, and musical presentations by participants from the Paaralang Pilipino students as well as a few community organizations. The focus is on the aesthetic learning the students derived from their dance classes under the auspices of Leny Juco and their musical instruction under the tutelage of Gean Almendras. Not to be outdone will be the performances from the classes of the Hula Dance Group under the lead of Flor Penner and the Heartstring Band under the direction of Romy and Evelyn Alip.

PACCM is home to the Pilipino School where children learn their language, history, and culture through dance and music. Funds earned are set apart to maintain the center’s yearly operations, continue with its community services, and fund the educational needs of the school. The center owes its continuous gratification to all members of the community and donors beyond for their unselfish support.


Circulo Pampangueno’s Food Mission 2024

By: Alex Sitchon

You always feel overjoyed when you give back to the community and I could attest to that.

Packing was a family affair: my siblings and first cousins were all helping hands. It was held at the site of the ancestral home. The old house was destroyed by the lahar in 1991. One hundred fifty families were selected by an independent barangay panel on a need-based criterion.


Funds for the mission were derived from fund-raising events in 2021-2023, mainly jam sessions and gala. I was overjoyed when we had a budget of $5,000 for the mission. We were able to generate 150 food packs consisting of 5 kilos of high-grade rice, 1.5 kilos of fresh chicken, canned sardines and meat, condiment packs (fish sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce), 3-in-1 coffee,

and sweets. All these goods were procured from local suppliers to support their businesses.

January 27, 2024 – Food distribution was held at the San Agustin Chapel. Current MCP President Theresa Carbonell, along with Flor Sitchon and Tony Kho (MCP Past Presidents), Mercia Kho, and Efren Balancio from Michigan were present to assist and witness the joy on the faces of the recipients. We realized that we did not reach all the intended people because there were a few individuals still knocking at our door three days after the event.

Barangay San Agustin in the town of San Simon, Pampanga was where I spent my childhood. It is famous for its indigenous name Tulaoc.


January 31, 2024 – More than three hundred elementary school students from kindergarten through grade six were the recipients of basic school materials including paper, pens, pencils, and crayons in a clear plastic envelope. After the distribution of school supplies, the students were treated with arroz caldo with chicken and eggs. We also donated P20,000 to the school administration and maintenance. It was the first of its kind for the school.

A Certificate of Appreciation and a letter of gratitude from the local district of the Department of Education were presented to MCP. We were overwhelmed by the reaction of the students as well as the teachers.

Check out what’s going on at PACCM - Paaralang Pilipino

By: April Karl, Paaralang Pilipino Administrative Assistant

Hello from Paaralang Pilipino! We have had a busy start to 2024!

Last month, we had a visit from Philippine Master Artists Carlo Ebeo, a producer, educator, researcher, and board of trustees of the National Museum of the Philippines. With him was Al-Raffy Alnado Harun, a performing artist who was born and raised in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi. They showcased indigenous Filipino dance performances and partnered with our music teacher Gean Almendras. It was a great experience for all the students and families. PACCM Education Chair Arcie Gemino and Paaralan Director Ruthy Rush presented a recognition certificate to Ebeo and Harun at World Medical Relief for showcasing the Filipino indigenous dance performance and lecture. Thank you, Teacher Gean for connecting us to these Master Artists and coordinating a visit. 

In March we have plans to spread the awareness and pride of our Filipino culture by participating in various international fairs throughout the Metro Detroit Area. On March 7th, we will be at Pierce Middle School in Grosse Pointe from 6-8 pm. On March 8th, we will be at the Cultural Exchange in the Sterling Heights Community Center starting at 6 pm. On March 28th, we will have a table at the Schoolcraft Multicultural Fair from 10 am-3 pm. The Philippine Arts and Cultural Ensemble of Michigan led by Gean Almendras will be showcasing their talents during this event. We are excited to share traditional attire, and food, as well as perform traditional songs and dances. Thank you to our dedicated teachers, Jocelli Paluay and James Wilson for connecting us to these various communities. 


Students have started rehearsing for the PACCM Spring Ball happening on April 13th. We are planning to showcase Filipino traditional dances and songs during the event. We appreciate Dance Instructor Lenita Juco and assistant Cathy Javier, ukulele instructors Romy & Evelyn Alip, and Music Instructor Gean Almendras for sharing their talents with the students. 


Our school continues to thrive under the care and guidance of our PACCM Board, amazing teachers, volunteers, and families who are committed to passing down the Filipino heritage to the next generation.  We are excited about what the rest of 2024 has in store for our Paaralang Pilipino community!

Unveiling Filipino Heritage: Preserving and Celebrating Cultural Treasures

By: Joyce James

The Philippine Master Artists in Residency event, in collaboration with Kularts, a California-based nonprofit organization, lit up the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan (PACCM) celebrating Filipino heritage with a series of workshops, community interactions, lectures, performances, showcasing the rich tapestry of indigenous Philippine cultures from Southern Mindanao.

As part of the program for February 2024, PACCM hosted an event highlighting the vibrant tapestry of indigenous Philippine cultures from Southern Mindanao. Attendees were allowed to meet master artist Carlo B. Ebeo, a renowned researcher, producer, educator, and festival organizer.

This immersive experience provided Paaralang Pilipino with a unique opportunity to engage with master artists exploring into richness and diversity of Filipino culture. It is a full experience of festive celebration of Filipino identity, unity, and pride, highlighting the importance of preserving and nurturing our beloved country’s cultural history for generations to come.

The event started with an informative lecture presentation from Master Artist Carlo B. Ebeo. Joining him was Al-Raffy Alnado Harun, a performer and preserver of Sama culture, he gave workshops and demonstrations on Igal, the traditional dance of the Sama people of Tawi-Tawi.

Ebeo’s enlightening perspectives emphasized that our heritage is not merely a compilation of objects or practices; it’s a vibrant testament to our Filipino identity. Every element, tangible, or intangible, carries a fragment of who we are, awaiting our appreciation and protection.

The Paaralang Pilipino students took part in Q&A sessions and interactive dance sessions after the lectures and demonstrations. Musical Director and Paaralang Pilipino music teacher Gean Almendras arranged the special presentation. Almendras devoted meticulous efforts to depict Filipino culture through every detail, ensuring authenticity and richness.

The event served as the school’s pre-Valentine celebration, adding an extra layer of warmth and festivity to the event. The occasion was well attended, with guests treated to a sumptuous meal that delighted the senses and enhanced the sense of community.

Paaralaang Pilipino Director & PACCM Education Chair Arcie Gemino presented Certificates of Appreciation to Carlo B. Ebeo and Al-Raffy Alnado Harun, acknowledging their invaluable contributions to the celebration of Filipino culture and heritage.

The Philippine Master Artists in Residency event was a great success. The occasion left a lasting impact on everyone present, who felt a deep sense of connection and unity as members of a flourishing community. This notable event instilled in the participants a deeper appreciation for indigenous Philippine cultures. It emphasized the idea that regardless of where we are, Filipino heritage is a steadfast anchor of strength, inspiration, and celebration for all.

Thinking about the future and the preservation of the cultural knowledge shared by Ebeo leads one to question and think about the future. Who will carry forward this legacy? Who will continue this legacy and pass it on to future generations? This realization becomes a call to action, urging us to take up the responsibility of preserving cultural heritage.

The continuous efforts of our community should fill us with hope, reassuring us that we are on the right path. This resonates deeply with the vision and aspirations of Paaralang Pilipino. Through storytelling, language lessons, and cultural events, we have the power to mold and influence the cultural identity of future generations. It is not only a duty owed to ancestors but a gift that ensures the continuity of cultural traditions for the children of our future.

In closing, let’s respond to Ebeo’s call to action by actively preserving the diverse cultural heritage of the Philippines. Our collective efforts can ensure the survival of a vibrant, lively Filipino legacy for future generations.

PACCM Updates as of February 2024

Rick Cruz & Tony Kho

Let us give you a recap of how PACCM utilizes every cent that you wholeheartedly donated. The PACCM building is currently located at 23800 Lahser Rd., Southfield.

As of February 12

  • The school flat roof is 95% completed, flashing, and minor touches up remain.
  • Church and school roof leaks have been repaired.
  • The school boiler is installed, and the school radiant heating system is 100% operational.
  • The church still needs a boiler installed; however, the church’s Radiant heating system is repaired.
  • Bids are being taken for the flooring of the fellowship hall
  • Applied for Lowes Hometown Project Grant, Joseph Tibudan, who works at Lowes, nominated the PACCM (Rick Cruz contributor of PACCM information and list of projects); if anyone knows of any grants or funding sources, contact Rick Cruz or PACCM via email at paccm@comcast.net
  • Some spaces are ready to start unpacking material and setting up rooms.
    • Teachers’ Office – Ready for material unpacked or put in drawers and setting up the room
    • Costume Room – Ready for material unpacked or put in on hangers
    • Music Room      – Ready for material unpacked or put in the room
    • Nurse’s Office – Stop by and figure out what you’d like to do
  • Phones and fax (248-443-7078) are connected and monitored; voicemail is not set up as of today.
  • The main entrance gate is being worked on to remove the heavy steel chain and replace it with a swing gate which will look better and be easier to open and close

As of February 14, and 16

  • The costume room rack is up and ready to hang costumes
  • The main gate south post has been up righted to correct vertical alignment
  • The roofing contractor finished work on the school and church flat roof
  • The roofing contractor is scheduled to return on 02/16/2024 to work on the church stairs flat roof.
  • The roofing contractor repaired the church stair’s flat roof; one section of flashing needed to be completed. Scheduled to return next week to finish.
  • The church roof is 100% completed; the church lobby flat roof is 100% completed; the school flat roof is 100% completed,
  • Please contact Rick Cruz at 248-841-6321(temporary number) to schedule and know how you can help. 24-hour notice is required to allow us to ensure that we can accommodate your request.

UPAAM Announces 2024 OYM Competition

By: Roy Coloma

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Michigan (UPAAM) has announced the competition for the 2024 Outstanding Youth of Michigan Awards (OYM). According to UPAAM President Noel Santos, the OYM competition is open to 2024 high school graduates of Filipino heritage residing in Michigan, who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in academics, community service, and leadership, performing arts and letters, visual arts, and sports/athletics.

Each candidate’s application should include the following:
1. A letter of application with one digital headshot photo in jpeg format (to be used in the Souvenir Program)
2. Personal information including address, phone number(s), email address, date of birth, parent’s names, and other pertinent information
3. An official copy of the high school transcript of records, which should include grade point average (GPA), graduating class rank, and AP courses, if any. A minimum GPA of 3.5 is required.
4. SAT and ACT scores
5. A summary of achievements in any of the categories listed above
6. At least a letter of recommendation from a principal, schoolteacher, or counselor and one non-academic recommendation to show that the applicant excels in a non-academic pursuit
7. Copies of certificates of awards and recognition, if any
8. A 250-word write-up on the applicant. The essay should be written in the third person (e.g. Mark Cruz, a 2023 graduate of Northern High School, plans to be a psychologist as he starts his college career at Rockford University …”) The essay will be edited and published in the Souvenir Program at the Awardee Recognition event scheduled to be held at the Macedonian Cultural Center located at 43133 Ryan Road, Sterling Heights on June 30 at 3:00 PM. Attendance at this event is required to receive the award.

The application documents must be submitted online to Roy Coloma at rcoloma24@hotmail.com no later than May 8, 2024. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Each awardee will be officially informed by the Awards Committee. Selection of the awardees is expected to be completed by May 31.

For any question, please call any member of the Search Committee: Eden Alfaro 586-979-2032, Jean Tarun 248-525-1484, Lavinia Mateo 248-318-5897, Delia Rayos 313-303-6544, and Victoria Bryan 313-378-9337.

Now Accepting Proposals for the 2024 FILAMCCO Kalayaan Grant Award

By: Meriam Caboral-Stevens

Got proposals? We encourage you to submit them!

Current FILAMCCO President, Ryan Rosario, is proud to announce the 2024 FILAMCCO Kalayaan Grant Award to support member organizations for the work they do.

The grant is the first for this organization to express its appreciation and to provide support for its dedicated member organizations.  FILAMCCO is now accepting applications from any member organizations that actively participated in any FILAMCCO activities in the past year.

This award is intended to provide small financial support to the organizations for any of their program activities, such as educational, research, and website development to name a few, that are relevant to Michigan residents only. FILAMCCO will be awarding ten (10) member organizations during the Kalayaan Event on June 1, 2024.

More information about the award and the proposal form can be found here. The deadline for application is May 1, 2024.  Please send your organization’s completed grant application to FILAMCCO’s recording secretary, Meriam Caboral-Stevens, at msteve37@emich.edu



By: Sofia Espada Bole, BSN, RN, CCRN

Growing up in a rural area in the Philippines many years ago in Miagao, Iloilo allowed me to learn the good things in life. Although our house is along the road with easy access to town, the ambiance of rural living is still heavily ingrained in my memory of the good old days of simple living. There were several elementary schools in the whole town, but only one High School at the time.

Living in a rural area, many times, the Bayanihan Spirit is an integral component where people need each other, and coexistence is a must to survive the ever-challenging nature of life especially when the majority of the population lives in the prongs of poverty-stricken environment.

By today’s standards, my hometown is now a first-class municipality with two universities: The Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U, Miagao Campus) and the University of the Philippines, Visayas. In addition, our church the Sto. Tomas de Villanova of baroque architectural design was declared as a UNESCO-designated structure built in 1797 during the Spanish era. With this progress, Miagao became one of the tourist destinations, enhanced by the town’s cottage industry with a specialty in Hablon weaving products, in addition to the Fishing Industry being a coastal town.

While here in Michigan for several years now, there is a need for the Filipino-American community to band together towards a common goal: Raising funds for the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan (PACCM). The newly purchased building requires and needs renovation before occupancy. More financial assistance is imperative to make the place habitable to accommodate several PACCM activities.

 To donate, please contact: PACCM Becky Tungol at 248-443-7037; paccm@comcast.net

New PACCM address: 23800, Lahser Road, Southfield

Altruism at its Best

We all have deeply ingrained tendencies to act, ranging from altruism to egoism. The challenge is learning how to lean toward altruism without sacrificing our self-interest. How can we find a healthy balance between the two? Altruistic behavior prioritizes the welfare of others. What lies behind our good intentions?

Altruism is an unselfish behavior intended to benefit others, involving self-directed action that helps improve someone else’s welfare. You are altruistic if you are doing things out of kindness and a sincere desire to help, not because you feel obligated. Your motivation stems from a genuine concern for other’s well-being, even if that means putting your own aside.

Altruism Psychology refers to behavior that benefits another individual at a cost to oneself. E.g. giving your lunch away is altruistic because it helps someone hungry but at the cost of being hungry yourself. (APA, https://www. apa.org)

 Four types of altruism

  1. Reciprocal, involves reciprocity. You help someone because one day, they may be able to help you too.
  2. Genetic altruism, also called nepotistic altruism, is behavior that benefits family members. This type is common in parent-child relationships. Parents sacrifice their time, money, and energy for their children’s well-being.
  3. Pure altruism, also called moral altruism, is the most unselfish kind, it involves helping people without the expectation of reciprocity or rewards, even if there’s great risk involved.
  4. Group-selected altruism, this kind is based on group affiliations. For example, you would rather help your close friends rather than strangers through a charity. Or maybe you support a cause that is specifically important to you like raising money for PACCM.

 Why are human beings altruistic?

Altruism can stem from having a deep sense of morality and generosity, but there are other explanations:

  1. Compassionate empathy draws people to help others they have connected to socially. This connection creates emotional and cognitive empathy. This is called kin selection. By understanding someone’s situation, seeing their perspective, and feeling what it is like to be in their shoes.
  2. Feeling good – altruism can activate pleasure centers in the brain is performing an altruistic act can induce feelings of happiness. Scientists have concluded that altruistic behavior can relieve physical pain.
  3. Modeled altruism – research has shown that parents who model altruism can influence children to become altruistic. E.g. When a neighbor agrees to watch your children when you come home late from work, you may feel obligated to do the same when needed.
  4. Instincts – In the 1960s, W.D. Hamilton explained that people are more likely to help others who are genetically related to them. This is called kin selection, which that explains altruism can increase the chance of gene transmission.

 Is altruism innate?

Hamilton’s theory suggests that altruism is innate for both humans and animals (meerkats study). A study at the University of Ontago, New Zealand found that altruism boosts well-being and resilience after a tragedy.

True altruism is the epitome of selflessness, it is done without expectation of reciprocity, and in some instances, it can even create greater risk for the giver, e.g. volunteer firefighters.

 Warm glow effect of altruism

The warm glow effect of giving is a behavioral economic theory. It questions people’s reasons for philanthropic giving. It also posits that altruism is often motivated by the desire to experience the “warm glow” of doing something for others. Giving stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain. When giving, you want to feel the contentment of having done something good, i.e. the warm glow effect.

 Why is altruism important?

It brings more meaning to our lives when we see people helping others, it inspires us to do the same, reminding us that we are not alone.

  1. It creates a harmonious society. Bryant P. H. Hui, Ph.D., lead author on the study of altruism by the American Psychological Association, said “Prosocial behavior altruism, cooperation, trust, and compassion are all necessary ingredients of a harmonious and well-functioning society.”
  2. Fosters better physical and mental health, that same study above stated that spontaneous acts of kindness contributed to overall well-being.
  3. Supports eudaimonic well-being. The study also reported a higher level of eudaimonic well-being in younger givers and female givers. Eudaimonic well-being is a state of well-being that comes from: Finding meaning in life, self-actualization and self-awareness, and realizing one’s potential.

 How altruism can benefit organizations

  1. It contributes to employee’s well-being. A study found that helping colleagues makes people happier, contributes to increased job satisfaction, and can reduce stress.
  2. Helps motivate employees at work. When employees feel that their work matters, the human drive to help others is innate and keeps us motivated by connecting to something greater than ourselves.
  3. It creates an altruistic company culture, and it starts with oneself to connect with co-workers.
  4. Increased productivity. Employees happy and motivated and feel well cared for by their organization, are naturally more productive, less prone to absenteeism, and likely to stay late to get work done. Decreases employees’ turnover.

 Four tips to cultivate altruism

  1. Practice gratitude. When you are grateful, you tend to be more generous.
  2. Cultivate compassionate empathy – understanding other people’s perspectives and feelings.
  3. Fight injustice – stand up for marginalized communities, confront hateful speech, and pay attention to what you say.
  4. Discover needs and learn about where your giving can make the most impact. Where do you see the greatest need?

Thank you all for your support of PACCM, our Home Away from Home! 


Retrieved: 2/20/2024, https://en.wikipedia.org

Retrieved: 2/20/2024, https://www.apa.org

Retrieved: 2/20/2024, better up.com/blog/altruistic

Personal experiences growing up in the Philippines

Focus on the Family

By Roy Coloma

In the last issue, I wrote about the many challenges of being an immigrant in the United States. I also shared those Filipino cultural traits like being deeply spiritual and family-oriented have helped me navigate life in this adoptive country. I discussed Filipino spirituality last time, I will focus on the family in this issue.

Filipino families are very closely knit. Parents provide unconditional love and support to the children and children love and respect their parents. Parents work very hard to provide a comfortable home and provide for their children’s education.

This does not mean that there are no conflicts or differences in opinion between parents and children. Conflicts are expected and can be more pronounced for Filipinos because of cultural differences, different values, and beliefs, and changing norms in society. I experienced this firsthand when my children were growing up and it was a challenge trying to communicate with them, especially during the teen years. A family environment that is based on love helps open communication, mutual respect, and understanding.

When my eldest daughter finished college and started working, she continued to live at home even when her peers were eager to fly away from the nest and have their apartments. I shared with her that in the Philippines, unmarried children are expected to live at home and that is what I did when I started working. I also mentioned that when I received my first salary (and every time after that), I treated the entire family to dinner in a restaurant, to the movies, and went grocery shopping. She took the hint and offered to pay for our monthly communications bill that covered cable TV, internet, and phones, which I readily accepted. Now that she has a place of her own, she would come and drop by the house often to eat a Filipino home-cooked meal – she loves chicken tinola and pakbet and my specialty, Jamaican pot roast.

Our eldest sister’s children/grandchildren continue the family bonding tradition, first in the Philippines.

Family for Filipinos includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins (the Western term is extended family). My wife and I come from big families (eight children each), and it was a lot of fun having a huge extended family and celebrating special occasions like birthdays and holidays together. Cousins are your earliest and closest friends. Many of my cousins also migrated to the United States and because we were very close when we grew up together in the Philippines, we would get together whenever we were in the states where they live. We wanted this closeness for our kids, so my seven siblings and our families had annual vacation trips together when they were growing up. Because of this, the young generation cousins are very close and get together often in person or via Zoom.


Filipinos treat others who are not blood-related as family members. We address our elders as Lola and Lolo (grandparents), friends of our parents as Tita and Tito (aunt or uncle), and our contemporaries as Kuya, Ate, Ading (big brother, big sister, younger brother, or younger sister). We also call anybody Pare or Mare (godparents of our children). I am very glad that other Filipinos especially our children continue this tradition. I get a warm feeling when I am addressed as Kuya Roy by friends and Tito by the younger generation. When I travel anywhere in the world, I see and meet Filipinos and they seem very glad to see other Filipinos. Just last summer when we were in Banff, Canada, a Filipino who resided there and several other Filipino tourists just came up to me, called me Pare, and started a conversation. I read in the papers that Filipino crew members of a merchant ship that was detained by pirates in Africa were treated well because they treated the pirates as you would treat others.

Filipino family celebrating Christmas.

Artikulo 3: Magtanim ay Di Biro

By Ruthy Rush

Filipino-American Widow/Widower Grief Support

Bata pa lang ako, naririnig ko na ang kantang ‘Magtanim ay di Biro.’ Sabi pa nga ng kanta, ‘maghapong nakaupo.’ Isa sa mga usong libangan ng mga Pinoy dito sa Michigan tuwing Spring season (tagsibol) ay ang pagtatanim ng iba’t-ibang klase ng mga gulay at makukulay na bulaklak. Taon-taong tradisyon dito sa Amerika. Mapapansin ang iba’t-ibang klase ng pananim sa bandang likod-bahay o di kaya sa harapan ng porch o gilid ng garahe pati na rin sa maliit na lalagyan.

Kung nasubaybayan ninyo ang kwento ng buhay ko noong taong 2014, alam nyo ba na ang pagtatanim ang isa sa naging libangan ko habang ako ay nagluluksa? Base sa sarili kong karanasan, ang pagtatanim ay magandang gawain o libangan sa buhay. Masasabi ko na ito ay therapeutic at relaxing sa pakiramdam. Nakakatulong itong magpakalma ng pag-iisip.

Tuwing nakararanas ako ng biglaang pagbabago sa buhay o di kaya ay nakakaramdam ako ng pagod o stress sa trabaho o sabihin na nating nabo-bored lang ako, nagpupunta ako sa likod ng bahay para bisitahin ang aking mga pananim dahil pakiramdam ko, ito ang epektibong lunas sa iba’t-ibang klase ng emosyon.

Napakagandang gawain ng pagtatanim, bata man o matanda ay pwedeng magtanim. Sa ganitong klaseng libangan, baguhan man o betenaryo, dapat meron passion. Kung interesadong matuto, lahat ng di alam sa pagtatanim ay kusang matututunan sa pamamagitan ng pagsasaliksik. Kapag meron kang passion sa pagtatanim, tiyak ang masaganang ani.

Naaalala ko tuwing darating ang Spring season, ang unang hakbang na ginagawa ko ay inihahanda ko ang lupa sa likod ng bahay kung saan nakapwesto ang aming maliit na hardin. Ginagamit ko ang rototiller at cultivator machine para pinuhin ang mga lupa. Tapos tinatanggal ko ang iba’t-ibang klase ng mga damo para di tumubo o kumalat. Inaayos ko din ang bakod na gawa sa metal para hindi makapasok ang mga squirrel o rabbit. Kahit anong klase ng bakod ay pwedeng gamitin basta sapat lang sa badyet.


Ang susunod na gagawin ko ay ang pinaka-paborito kong Gawain, syempre ang pagsa-shopping!  Pumupunta ako sa iba’t-ibang nursery o tindahan ng mga halaman at gulay. Bumibili ako ng iba’t-ibang klase ng mga panamin na makakain namin pagdating ng anihan, at syempre kakasya sa aking maliit na hardin. Bumibisita ako sa Meijer, Kroger, Nursery sa Gratiot o Hall Road o di kaya sa bandang Rochester, dumadayo din ako sa sikat na  Detroit Eastern Market.

Totoo nga ang sikat na kantang “Magtanim ay di biro,” dahil sa katunayan, ang pagtatanim ay may dulot na magandang benepisyo sa ating kalusugan. Ito ay pang-pisikal na gawain at magandang ehersisyo sa katawan. Nakakalibang din ng pag-iisip at nagpapasaya sa ating sarili. Nakakagaan din ito ng kalooban at madali rin tayong makahanap ng bagong kaibigan na mahilig magtanim, at higit sa lahat nakakalunas sa iba’t-ibang klase ng emosyon.

Kung mahilig kayong magtanim o may DIY garden ideas ka at nais mong ibahagi sa akin, maaari lamang na ipost ninyo ang mga litrato o video ng sarili ninyong Facebook at i-tag ninyo ako sa #RuthyRushGardening o di kaya ay ipasa ninyo sa email ko  rushruthp@gmail.com. Maraming salamat!