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Welcome Amba!

Newly minted Philippine Ambassador to the United States Manuel “Babes” Romualdez made his debut townhall meeting with the Pinoy community in Washington, DC last Friday December 8 at the new Embassy building. Days earlier, the Ambassador hosted a reception for the diplomatic community, congressional staffers and local VIPs at the old chancery building.

What’s the difference between the two social events? Parehong masarap and pagkain, kaya lang tunay na plato doon sa mga hindi marunong magTagalog at paper plate doon sa mga Pinoy. Okey lang ang paper plate sa mga Pinoy para pag nagbatohan ng plato ang mga anti-Duterte, walang masaktan.

This one is a first. Attending an Embassy reception now is like going through TSA airport inspection process. You are now subject to a security check using a portable metal detector. Kung may kiliti ka, huwag ka nang pumunta. Who recommended this bright idea to the Ambassador? Hanggang sa DC ba ang Maute threat? Susmaryosep!

Are the security officers hallucinating that what happened to the Ambassador named Romualdez in the martial law days of the 70s could happen again in the Philippine Embassy to another Romualdez 40 years later? Remember the hostage taking?

According to a Kano married to a Pinay who attended the forum, Romualdez was impressive, very good at public speaking and friendly. Another said, this Romualdez is night and day different from Kokoy who was in DC one score and 12 years ago.

Tsismoso’s interest was however magnetized by a certain Pinay who represented herself as a reporter connected with London Times and Wall Street Journal. She named herself, Contessa Bourboun. Parang royalty ang tunog ng pangalan at suwabing inumin.

This Tsismoso immediately asked Mr. Google for a backgrounder of Ms. Bourboun. Lo and behold, Mr. Google spit out a few news articles involving a certain Contessa Bourboun. The Washington Post and New York Daily News reported that the New York Times recently filed suit against Contessa Bourboun for impersonating a New York Times reporter in the last few years. It appears that the NYT demanded Bourboun to cease and desist in further representing herself as a NYT reporter but Bourboun ignored the warning.

When this Tsismoso asked Bourboun if she was the Contessa Bourboun who is being sued by NYT, she answered, “That’s fakes news.”

Another Tsismoso says that Bourboun’s real name is Rita Villadiego. She was a real journalist in the Philippines and formerly worked for the Philippine Inquirer. After she moved to the U.S., Lord knows what happened why she promoted herself to some exalted professional titles. She was able to attend press conferences and think-tank forum, asking questions while claiming affiliation with major media.

***

Saan man tayo mapadpad, hindi pa rin nawawala ang kaugaliang Pinoy. Before the banking system took root in the Philippines, paluwagan ruled the country. Here in the U.S. of A, paluwagan among some Pinoy groups is alive and well.

In Metro DC, there is a group who used to meet in the Starbucks in Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC on weekends for their paluwagan session.

For the elite or burgis who pretend not to understand what paluwagan is, it is not a prayer group. Every member periodically deposits money and draw lots to take their turn to receive the deposits of all members.

The group got so big that their sessions at Starbucks got the attention of the Manager who complained to the Police because of the noise. The group changed their paluwagan venue to Wholefoods.

One disgruntled member told one Tsismoso that this paluwagan is supposed to help people in need, but it is looking like it is being used to make money for certain people. How? Sabi nang nagreklamo: Kung minsan gipit and miembro at walang ma-ideposit. Sabihin lang ng organizer/operator, hindi problema, pahiramin kita basta five/six sa isang buwan. Ang $50 ay maging $60 sa isang buwan?

Naku, sa dami nang five/six na umuutang, maganda ang kita diyan. Good deal, para kanino?

 

 

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