By Jay Bolusa

MARCH 3, 2009 – When I woke up Monday morning to go to work, New York was buried in a 10-inch of snow. It was nice and beautiful as always after the snowfall, but today it was deep freeze, wind chill is zero degree and the snow has frozen on the streets, making it very dangerous. If you do not have the proper sole in your shoes or boots, you surely will slide commuting and instead of getting to work, you will end up in the hospital.

But you have no choice… you’ve got to work and at this point, you will think of how it is back home, where there is no snow and there are no frozen streets.

No matter what I say, people back home will never realize the reality of the hazards of snow and frozen streets. They never hear of this from balikbayans. The usual notion is we are earning dollars and that means forty times to fifty times over the peso. They never realize how hard it is for us to earn them and save them. My laptop has not arrived so I have to go here at Kinkos and go on line, hopefully I’ll have the new computer by March 19. It takes a month to get it as it was customized.

So far here are the updates from the Palaweños back here in the east. Bing Sabando is back in circulation and back to work. YP is going home for a week; at least she will have a reprieve from this freezing temperature. Margie Beof Wisotsky is very busy preparing for the Pageant and Grand Ball of the Mrs. Philippines America this March 14 at the Sheraton Newark. She is one of the five finalists. This is the first time that we have a Palaweña vying for this brains and beauty pageant covering the Northeastern States. I really wish her luck. She has a great chance of winning this contest.

I have invited 11 very close friends of mine to attend this ball to show our support for Margie. Her parents are coming all the way from California, and so are her three brothers. It will be a grand reunion for Palaweños. We are still negotiating for other kababayans to attend the affair: Aveline Abiog, Ellen Agbisit Sullivan, Leah Bungalso, Tina Macolor and Edwin, Belle Sabando Sanchez, Juliet Payabyab and Ava Colongon Shaw, and Veronica Escalona and Rico. I hope we can get some more of these Palaweños to give support to Margie. It will really be a pride for Palaweños for Margie to win this Pageant.

My dear friend Juliet Payabyab just came home from a balik-Mindoro sojourn and a four-day visit to Puerto Princesa. All I can hear from here is the beauty and cleanliness of Puerto. She is all praises for Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn. She now saw for herself what she has been hearing about Puerto Princesa. Juliet is very active in the Filipino Community here in New York. She is currently the Chairman of the Philippine Independence day Parade here on June 7, 2009.

Life is still hard. Layoffs of employees still abound here. I guess there is still hope at the end of the tunnel but how far the end is, one never knows. Even in supermarkets you will see that people just buy the basics. Bloomingdales is almost empty on weekdays. I was there this afternoon, and there were only very few shoppers. If there were any, they’re tourists and mostly Europeans.

There are a lot of sales going on — the end of season sale and prices are marked down up to 75 per cent off. I had a grand ball getting those scarves I always wanted to have.

They were marked down from forty dollars to four fifty. How can you beat that price? I’ll just have to keep them for next winter. Well… anyway, I still have two weeks of winter and spring time to use them.

I just got the basic colors so I can use them for the three cold seasons — winter, spring and fall. At least, I have the consolation that it is only three
months in a year when I can’t use them — the summer time, which are July, August and September here.

For Palaweños who cannot attend Margie’s affair, I will surely see them at Carmen Ledesma‘s place on March 21, 2009 for the 2nd birthday of Hannah Ledesma Garcia, Ambel’s daughter and Carmen’s apo.
Until next week, ciao and God bless!