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Mar Balcos

Mar Balcos

The Lost Charm

My late Tiyo (my father's brother), had some vivid memories of his father, Paulino Barcos, Sr. who was my Lolo (grandfather). He once mentioned that Paulino and his...

Great Expectations?

Lyn was referring to Shirley*, whom she has employed as a part-time domestic helper for years already. Shirley came to Austria as a tourist in early 2000 and her three months visa has since expired. She left her village in the Bicol region in the hope of finding a better job in a foreign land no matter what it took.

Those Loony Toons and Mutations

The Cambridge Dictionary explains mutation as 'the way in which genes change and produce permanent differences; the permanent change of an organism or the changed organism itself'.

Badodoy and the Onion

My wife and I continued this beloved practice of my culture with my son. When I first held him in my arms when he was two days old, I whispered in his ears his pet name Badodoy. It felt really good. We made it a rule in our home in Vienna that our son from his infancy would call his mother “Nanay” and me, “Tatay,” names that felt closest to our hearts. They remind us of our grandmothers and grandfathers who were saop (land tenant) probinsyanos. We did not consider “Papa/Mama“ or “Daddy/Mommy“ suitable for our status; they are alien words.

It’s Not a Nut

Edible nuts abound in Central Europe-Hazelnuts, Chestnuts, Walnuts can be found in many public parks and greeneries. (But no coconuts of course!)

Memoirs of a Terra – A Sonnet in Perth

In 2002 as I was given another working visa I made it my goal to migrate to Terra Australia. This time was in an orchard in Donnybrook, Western Oz.

Memoirs of a Terra – Escapade in Adelaide

Meanwhile, a family friend who married an Irishman invited me to come over and live with them. As it turned out, they 'adopted' me. The family took me in as they knew me since birth. I became 'Kuya' to two beautiful mestizas and semi-owner to a Persian tomcat I called 'Ming'. I even got to drive their red sleek Chrysler sometimes.

Memoirs of a Terra – the Melbourne Journ

It all sounded exciting and promising. The dream of finally meeting roos and koalas or any odd-looking marsupial face-to-face in dreamland Terra Australis was to fulfill at last. And perhaps, I might fall in love with Victoria and settle on her shores permanently or so I thought. It was a chilly cold wet April morning on the southern hemisphere, when a huge bloke named Craig, a farmer of Scottish descent, approached and asked if I were 'Balcos' -- I was muddled up with uncertain emotions as he wasn't sympathetic at all. But I was sleepy-eyed from the tumultuous journey so tarrying along was the best thing I can do. We had to drive about 3 hours northwestwards to a tiny town called Minyip.

Invisible to the Eye

Healthy food is crucial for one's well being. And good food means it should look sumptuous. (Culinary connoisseurs would confirm - we eat first with our eyes.) And don't Pinoys love to eat or find it essential to eat three, four, even six times a day?


I embarked on a series of German Language courses, met nice Viennese fellows and forged long-lasting friendships, engorged books inside Vienna's public library, discovered the scenic routes via tram and railways, retracted the Sound of Music film locations, saw for the first time the majestic Alps, explored the local Viennese coffeehouses, and indulged in different Austrian wine reading methods.

A Healthworker’s Plight

It's a gloomy yearend for the tourism industry but most of all a nightmare for those working in the health sector. There are, of course, many FilipinX working in hospitals, sanatoriums, clinics, or hospices around the city.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Chinese officials kept silent about it until the 31st of December when they alerted the World Health Organization, reassuring that the disease was controllable.