Notes on jetlag, freaky desserts and rapping for Filipinos

by Shari on December 10, 2013

Disclaimer: Five full days since my return from the other side of the planet and still delirious with jetlag. Please read accordingly.

I’m starting here because my main reason for writing this post is to find out if anyone KNOWS WHAT THE HECK THIS ANIMAL IS THAT IS SUCKING ON MY NECK.

Watch the position of that tail, Fluffy.

‘Tis a profound mystery as to what manner of giant rodent/monkey/bear this is licking my back and running its paw through my fiery locks. The Baluarte Zoo announcer had such a thick accent, none of the Americans could understand him and the Filipinos were equally lost, as Fluffy is apparently not an indigenous giant rodent/monkey/bear. The good news is that I did not have any open wounds into which rodent/money/bear saliva could flow. The bad news is that I never realized that one of my arms is significantly longer than the other.

Our main purpose in traveling to the Philippines was to celebrate my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary and watch them renew their vows, by the way checkout how to get the requirements of your visa now. Aren’t they adorable? We hire a live band to entertain us. With Bondah wedding music, you can have the perfect wedding music experience.

And speaking of adorable, we actually got a family picture where my husband and son aren’t making goofy male-species faces, my daughter isn’t flashing suburban gang signs, and I’m not sporting a fake “This might end up on Facebook” smile.

Speaking of “This might end up on Facebook” smiles–

After seeing this photograph, I’ve requested that my husband look at me with a worshipful gaze from now on ’til forever. He says he’ll work on it. Of course, it would help him if I could always lounge in such a position as this, with my stomach flab all nicely relaxed and morphing into the deck chair behind me. I’ll work on it.

Speaking of flab, look at this dessert that I ate every single day in the Philippines.

It’s called “Halo Halo”, which means “Mix Mix” in Tagalog and it is supremely delicious, despite being weird as hell (a blend of beans, yam ice cream, plantains, fruits, gelatin, sweet potato, cheese, flan and evaporated milk) and it is the main reason I gained five pounds in ten days. But no one dared call me a fat American, because this is the tour bus we traveled in:

I’m not kidding. My second cousin-in-law, who arranged our whole itinerary and traipsed us around the islands, is the manager of the President’s summer mansion. Yes, the President of the Philippines. So for her protection as our tour guide, this is what they gave her. Sure, it was a little odd to have a bus driver with an uzi strapped to his side, but at least this has confirmed what I suspected all along, judging from my daughter’s personality–I married into Filipino royalty.

Speaking of my Flip princess, she had her first spa treatment in the city of Baguio. And why not, when a 2 and a half hour treatment with scrub, facial and hour-long massage is $25. TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS, PEOPLE. That alone made me want to live there. And trust me, you have not lived until you’ve had a 90-pound Filipino woman climb up on your massage table and do an elbow stand on your sacroliliac. They also have a foot massager.

There were many beer-commercial-good-times moments on our trip:

And a number of so-disturbing-I-need-a-beer moments:

But by far, my two favorite moments were (1.) Volunteering for the victims of the typhoon at Operation Blessing:

I know that packing medicine boxes for one day didn’t go far to alleviate their suffering, but I had to do something. I often think of the scriptural reference in Mark 14, when everyone is criticizing a woman for spending her money on perfume to pour on Jesus’ head right before he is arrested. It does seem a strange gesture, but he sees her heart and motives and says “Leave her alone. She did what she could.” When I get overwhelmed by the needs of others, particularly by something so monumental as what the people of Tacloban are suffering, I always think of this scripture and I do what I can, as much as I can, as best I can.

And my (2.) favorite moment was my rap. Yes. I wrote and performed a rap for my in-laws’ big party. With apologies to my friend Wendi Aarons who feels that white women who have given birth should never ever rap, I happen to be a big fan of rap and seek to beat box and break i’down every chance I get. And what better chance than for a bunch of geriatric relatives who are required to love me no matter what I do?

And so I leave you with my old-school rap, “One Love, Mike’n'Lita style” (with musical background of the Karaoke version of Whodini’s 1994 hit), which was performed in full evening garb with my daughter performing the last verse and my son and husband in barong shirts doing my carefully-selected choreography in the background. It’s the story of Mike and Lita’s 50-year relationship in two verses and a refrain. What can I say, I’m a master of compact storytelling.



One love, one love, lucky to have just one love, One love, one love, lucky to have just one, One love, one love, lucky to have just one love, one love, one love, lucky to have just one…


“Well, his one love showed up on stage,

the “itik itik” was all the rage,

She shook her booty, she waved her arms,

She showed off all her beautiful charms.

Mike and Concho both pointed, “there!”,

but then they knew they couldn’t share.

They flipped a coin and Mike won, “Great!”,

to a school dance she would be his date.

But Lita wasn’t sold, she played it kinda cold,

he hadda do some digging before he could strike gold. 

 He wooed her hard, played the starving student card, she started feeding him and then let down her guard.

At “DNE” he fell in foody love,

this sweet little chef fit him like a glove.

So when he filled the form out for residency,

 “Married” was the box he checked, no dormitory!

To America he was bringin’ his bride,

and Lita took the change in stride.

A honeymoon in Hong Kong, a 20-hour plane,

a brand-new life in Boston with the snow and the rain.

Mike went straight to work and nearly disappeared,

but as their first anniversary neared,

Lita was pregnant, so it seems to me,

they saw each other just enough to make a baby.”


One love, one love, lucky to have just one love, One love, one love, lucky to have just one…


“Five years in Boston, and two little boys,

Lita’s life was filled with noise.

Mike was out poppin’ babies in the middle of the night,

The good news was they had no time to fight.

One more child, would they get a girl

So Lita could buy dresses, have some hair to curl?

“Carlita” was her name, but when she actually came,

She looked to be a fella, no, “Carlito” was no dame.

Mike got another job and the new refrain?

“Massachusetts’s just not cold enough, let’s move on up to Maine.”

Skiing, sledding, “Sugar Loaf”in’,

A cruise in the Caribbean in marriage year 10.

She kept him healthy, kept his arteries clear,

And soon her name was known far and near.

When “Lita’s” came to be, now Mike could really see,

That people paid big money for the meals he got for free.

When he was done bein’ an OB/GYN,

They actually had to see each other and then became good friends,

Tennis, golf, a place in Fort Myers,

Her athletic skills stoked his romantic fires,

Ask them their secret of a long and happy life,

Mike will say, “Pick a strong, forgiving wife”

Lita will say, “Pick a humble man

So he will follow you and be your biggest fan.”


One love, one love, lucky to have just one love, One love, one love, lucky to have just one…


“When I came along, Yaya finally had a lady,

And then came Mig and he is totally crazy.

We’re super happy for our tummy’s sakes,

That Yaya taught Wowo to make crepes and pancakes.

We’re glad they love us and love each other,

They even love our messy mother.

So now we’re gonna shout and scream–




Dusty Notes: Okay, if you made it this far (and many kittens and rainbows to you if you did) and you don’t watch Nickelodeon on a regular basis because you’re too busy watching lame adult programming, here is my Thanksgiving comedy short for NickMom.



{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrin December 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Sloth…no wait Capybara……oh oh oh anteater…..


dusty earth mother December 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm

ANTEATER! That might be it, Darrin! Are they usually that big? I knew I could count on you for answers.


Darrin December 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Anteaters come in all sized….from like donkey size to squirrel size! …and when I first saw the video…I was thinking you brought it home for some good eats!


Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 December 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I thought I knew animals, but I have no clue what that little guy is. And that video? I am dead. Just dead. Lovelovelove it.


dusty earth mother December 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Thanks, Jenn. :-)


Wendi December 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

You get a pass on mom rapping THIS TIME. But only because you’re Philippines royalty and I want to visit the summer mansion.



dusty earth mother December 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

How gracious of you, Wendi.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes December 11, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Love the bus! And actually the video too…
The snake not so much though…


dusty earth mother December 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

The weirdest thing ever to hold that giant, writhing mass of scaly muscle.

And the snake was pretty weird, too.

Sorry, had to do it. :-)


Ann December 11, 2013 at 11:33 pm

You are the best. On rodent! On python! On rapping red-head!


dusty earth mother December 12, 2013 at 3:41 am

Dash away, dash away, dash away all Filipinos!


Julie Shaw December 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I was gonna say anteater, too. Love the blog entry but I’m sad without video or at least audio of the rap! So jealous of your halo-halo eating, love that stuff! Hope you’ve caught up on your sleep. :) Congrats to your wonderful family and in-laws! <3


dusty earth mother December 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I know, Julie, I wish I had thought to have someone record the rap for posterity :-) But since you didn’t see it and never will, I will tell you that Nikki Minaj just better worry about her career because there’s a rap luminary on the horizon… We missed you and wish you could have come!


Nancy Franson December 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm

1. There is a picture of me in my high school senior yearbook with a python wrapped around my neck feather-boa style (get it?) because my best friend was senior class president and she volunteered me to help with an assembly on reptiles. We are no longer on speaking terms.

2. I did not know you were Filipino royalty through marriage.

3. My son is Filipino royalty. My husband and I traveled to Manila and Mindanao to adopt him nearly 20 years ago, and I’m fairly certain he’s a king in Narnia.

4. I have grown to adore you through your writing and the outrageously funny reading you did at BlogHer. And I have mad respect for your lying-about-in-a-lounge-chair abs. But I’ve got all kinds of a new found writerly crush on you because of your relief work in the archipelago. I support a Compassion child there and have yet to hear of his whereabouts since the typhoon. Who knows, you may have been a blessing to he and his family. And I’m grateful.

Rap on Dusty Earth Mother; rap on.

PS–Congrats to the in-laws.


dusty earth mother December 13, 2013 at 1:22 am

Nancy, that may have been the best comment I’ve gotten in 2013. Thank you for your kind words, your simpatico, and your adoption! How cool are you? And the Compassion child… many prayers.


Lady Jennie December 13, 2013 at 7:52 am

There are so many framable pictures in there! And I laughed a lot. :-) Loved this little glimpse into your time in Manila.


Shari December 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I know, Jennie. I think the pic of the four of us will be our Christmas card. Or maybe the snake one.


Annette December 16, 2013 at 5:58 am

Yay – Shari’s still writing. I still love the video and may share it yet again. Before Christmas – as it’s the 27 days of Thanksgiving and today is only the 18th day…still appropriate.


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: