Posted by: nastypen | December 31, 2008

Ferdinand is the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Dubai’s Sheik Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has just ordered the cancellation of all New Year Celebration events in his emirate.  This is to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people pummeled by Israel in Gaza.  So, thank goodness, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)-Dubai decided to hold its New Year Party on the 30th.

It was opportunity for me to celebrate with the takas (escapees) or with the wards of the consulate.  These are women who “escaped” abuses from their households.  During Christmas time, the number of wards usually increases.  Tonight, there were 103 women without work and waiting for solutions at the POLO-Dubai.  Again, what better way to celebrate Christmas but with those who are marginalized?  And my good friend from college Ferdinand joined us and provided the night’s unexpected punchline.  

So, there I was taking photos.  I was the night’s official photographer and the wards were hamming it all up.  One yelled, “Kuya, pang-friendster ito ha?”  And of course, there is just a wealth of camwhoring and jologs poses, but what the hell, it was a night to ditch problems.  Even for just a few hours, these women forgot that some of them may have been slapped, hit with an iron, have not been paid for months, screamed at, worked from 4am to 11pm.

Tonight was about mirth albeit muted because the next door lady threatened to call the police if we make any noise.  Wow, a noiseless Pinoy Party?  It’s like Gloria Makapal Arayko without “Hello, Garci.”   Thankfully, the police was not summoned but an ambulance did arrive at the end of the party.

But first, a photo interlude taken on our way to the party:

I think I have seen Paris Hilton‘s wedding gown:


But this is not skanky enough, no?  God, the fashion aesthetic of this part of the world is, I’m sorry, borderline circus kitsch even drag queens shudder to don.

I just love gender segregation that is abound in this side of the world:


Of course, Leadys and Gentlemen, be sure to know where you are going.

Ok, on with the party…..


But, we had to occasionally shush people, but there were still squeals.  The games were fun.  The ironic Trip to Jerusalem was fun because it almost went insane, ironic because we were in country that does not recognize the state of Israel.  The best was the one they had to do in pairs, wherein the MC had to say that one has to connect physically with her partner as indicated by the body parts like your nose to her eyelid.  Ferdinand whispered to my little sister Dang, “Kung ako ito, ililista ko ‘talampakan to mukha.'” (If it were up to me, I’d say “foot to face.”)

Ferdinand…*sigh*…..all these years and little has changed, really.

When dinner was served, I was taking photos of the queue to the buffet line.  I asked my sister where was Ferdinand.  She said he was at the bathroom.  More than ten minutes of taking pictures later, I checked up on my sister and Ferdinand.  He was still at the bathroom.  So, I still took photos.  I saw Ferdinand walking from the back looking exasperated.

“I was locked in,” Ferdinand wheezed.


So, Ferdinand recounted how he went to a bathroom to pee.  Apparently, the door was busted.  He was rattling the door knob for several minutes.  Nothing.  Since he cannot really go screaming for help while everyone was partying, he decided to climb out of the bathroom window.  So he scaled the bathroom wall and popped the window open.  There were some wards at the back eating and almost screamed when they saw Ferdinand climb out.  Ferdinand just said, “I’m locked in here so I will go out here.”

Some of the wards scrambled yelling not for him to jump.  One gave him instructions on how to open the door.  They told him not to jump because there was a gaping hole at the bottom and he might shoot straight through.  So Ferdinand gingerly dangled and hopped away to safety.

Here he is at the scene of his crime:


Whoever thought peeing could muster such frenetic activity?  Only Ferdinand can do it.  So, by the time the party was over, it slowly trickled around that Ferdinand is the “lalaking nakulong sa banyo.” (Guy trapped in the bathroom)

Dang could barely keep the food from coming out of her nose as Ferdinand recalled his ordeal.  Manang Padak was laughing mockingly to his face.  But Ferdinand just gobbled up the food.  I reminded him that this is just nothing compared to his former officemate who fell into an open manhole in a flood.  He was stuck inside neck-down and a burly lesbian was the one who had to pry him out as she scooped him from his chin.

It could be worse is my philosophy when it comes to Ferdinand’s foibles.

And something worse did happen.  Ferdinand went home.  As the party was winding down, an ambulance was called.  Some ward had high blood pressure.  I saw the medics and one guy looked really cute.  I wanted to take his photo but then again that would be weird as they attended to the ward who was propped into a wheelchair. I was just amazed at the equipment they had.  They have this portable monitor and their ambulance looks like the Philippines will have that just in time for the next millennium.

I was just walking around the complex and stumled into the garage.  I saw this:


These are the suitcases of the wards.  The office asked them to place their stuff here because there is simply no space.  I was just thinking of the process of them packing with their families back home, how there could have been tears but more hope as they left.  And I thought how haphazardly they packed as they escaped their situation, tears or lines of fright criscross their face compounding the failure and dashed dreams.

But that night, the sound of laughter outweighed the groan of these suitcases.  Because that is just the way most of us are, we think “It could be worse.”

As the ambulance sped away with the ward, some were worried but they returned to the task of stacking up the chairs.  I could hear some of them saying their night prayers.  I see some of them stashing their presents from tonight into their suitcases.  I see some lumber up to their very crowded temporary quarters.  This is not anybody’s ideal situation, but hey, it could be worse.

My health is not doing so good, but as I blog this, I am watching aliens zap out humans in War of the Worlds.  Yes, it could be worse.

So, we were told to keep our laughter down.  There will be no fireworks over Dubai as 2009 enters.  People are going insane from war and abject poverty in several parts of the world.  I am sure that there are hundreds of OFWs that will lose their jobs in Dubai alone.  No amount of new year resolutions will obliterate corruption from our political system. Doomsayers cry out that 2009 will be so difficult for the global economy.

So happy new year, everyone.  Life could be better.  It could also be worse.  But, new year or not, life is always just is.



  1. hay nako, only in this blog do i get to laugh and cry and reflect at the same time…happy new year !

  2. happy new year, dearest!!!! i miss you and addie, darling… i am back blogging by the way. t’was a very busy year for me. hugs hugs hugs!

  3. Ahahaha…

    Ferdie has never changed… and yung tisura nya sa outfit parang anak sya ni Charlie Chaplin? Sa bigote lang nagkatalo :O

    Happy New Year… and be safe…

  4. happy new year…and hopefully a happy resolutions to the wards there as well …

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