About This Blog

This is an attempt to be courageous about my writing and production of art. To have it seen and improved. It’s a bukid (farmland) where I’m planting my seeds and hoping to grow something.

The background on this blog was a photograph taken by Christina Hilo on our exposure trip to the Philippines on June 2009.

Note that my the titles on my sidebar are Filipino gay lingo.  It’s my tribute to my nursemaid, a Filipino gay man.

4 Responses to “About This Blog”

  1. daeniel May 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    i’m going to my first BSB trip with LFS this summer. hmm, got any traveling trips? :p

    • melaniedulfo May 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Congratulations! You’re actually embarking on a really exciting and life-changing trip (sounds cheesy, but true. I grew up there and I went, it still affected me deeply).

      Hopefully, you received an orientation already. Really useful tips that people passed on to me include the following:

      1) Do immersions! I don’t know if LFS will have an integration for you guys, but integrations were a really important part of getting to know the community. Sleeping where folks slept, eating what folks in the community ate, and doing the work that folks in the community did. If you do immersions and stay with families, insist on helping with the chores. If you eat while you’re on immersion, accept graciously (if you’re vegetarian or vegan, it will be really hard to get those choices, so try getting used to eating a little meat, or at least fish) Leave something for the community after your integration (there’s usually a point person for your integration, ask them about the nitty-gritty). I swear it’s a beautiful experience. Better than staying in the shopping malls.

      2) Watch out for first-world-isms. Expect that it will be hot, dusty, muddy, and depending on what you’re doing and where you’re going (for instance, going to visit Payatas dumpsite, etc), expect that there will be things like flies, lizards, and cockroaches. Expect that there will be no toilet paper (so bring your own, as well as calamine lotion, your own water bottle and your allergy medicines, etc.). Also, if you’re travelling with folks from the Philippines (and you likely will be), be a sport and buy to share or don’t buy at all. I’ve heard of stories of stateside folks buying things from Jollibee and eating while their kasamas in Phils are standing around. Food is a big deal, so offer to share (according to your budget, of course).

      3) Blend in. Don’t show expensive gadgetry, jewelry, and if you were a girl, I’d advise you to avoid tight skirts and backless blouses and such, and don’t wear branded stuff. People are already going to mark you as state-side, so for your safety, make sure that you don’t do anything to further stand out.

      4) Pack LIGHT! This is kind of connected to the tips above. If you go on immersions and you want to blend in and live simply, pack only essentials. You could get your stuff laundried in the city at service laundromats, and if you’re in the countryside, you might have to handwash your own clothes. So, no heavy denims! Khaki shorts, shirts, slacks and polo for going out nights. If it doesn’t dry fast, don’t bring it or it will stink up your bag. If you can, get your hands on a malong and a sarong. Malong is useful if its cold in the bus (shawl), towel, or as a sleeping bag. Sarong drys faster and better, so that’s more useful as a towel. You
      should also bring ziplock bags for your electronics. My phone got wet once in a mobilization. Had to pay extra to the person I borrowed it from. Oh, and you can get a pre-paid phone in the Phils, with a phone, charger, sim card, and pre-paid load. You can buy it straight at the airport. Get a small body bag for essentials (phone, wallet, camera, notebook and pen) when travelling around the city. And journal. Keep journaling every day. Write what you see, what you feel, what you hear, because this can build into something you can share when you get back to the U.S.

      5) Be open, have fun, prep for a cultural performance: I can’t stress how awesome an experience going on an exposure trip is. Be open to people’s stories, and have fun with kasamas. Also, there might be cultural nights, so have some cultural stuff prepared, whether it’s poetry, songs, or something else.

      I think that’s about it. If you have questions, please feel free to ask.🙂

      • daeniel May 19, 2012 at 7:30 am #

        I cannot emphasize enough how helpful this well thought out reply is, you have made me uber-ly excited for this trip, we have fundraised for a year now and I am sure you are familiar with this struggle. I would like to actually read this aloud to our next BSB meeting. Melanie, are you currently residing in SF? We would love to have your at our reportback.

        Peace & Solidarity,
        D

      • melaniedulfo May 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

        Hi! I actually live in New York. But I do know folks in San Francisco, including BABAE sa San Francisco, PAWIS and Filipino Community Center. I’ll be visiting in September 2012 for a wedding of one of the BABAE folks…soo, if the Reportback happens then, I’d be down to go!

        ____________________________________________________________________________________________Melanie Dulfo, MSW 646-715-6391

        Philippine Forum Bayanihan Filipino Community Center 4021 69th Street, Woodside NY 11375 http://www.philippineforum.org 718-565-8862 Email: mdulfo@philippineforum.org

        GABRIELA-USA: Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE0 http://www.firenyc.org

        Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition for HIV and AIDS (APICHA) 400 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 http://www.apicha.org T: 212-234-7940 F: 212-334-7956 Email: mdulfo@apicha.org

        ________________________________

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