Filipino Mom Weapons

I remember playing with my cousins in their garage with a Balisong (butterfly knife) someone had recently brought back from the Philippines. We didn't even know how to open and close the knife so an aunty from Leyte showed us how to use it. I was surprised at how fast and precise she was opening and closing the knife. I'm sure she was concerned about us hurting ourselves, so she showed us the right way to handle a Balisong. She handled that knife like an expert, and I know she probably knew a lot more but just wanted to make sure we didn't cut ourselves. I cut myself anyway. That was my first encounter with a weapon from the Philippines.

The first time my mother brought me to the Philippines was in 1969, I was nine years old. Getting off the plane at the airport the first thing I noticed was how hot it was and made me miserable, irritated, and being a brat. My mom was the sweetest mom you could meet and would put up with my crankiness. There were some moms that looked like they wanted to smack me upside my head giving me a nasty stink eye. If looks could kill I'd already be dead.

As soon as we were settled in and had the chance to go shopping, she brought me to a store with a lot of wood carved souvenirs. My favorite was the Moro Shield with all the cool weapons on it. She bought a few wood carvings for the house like a candy carousel for the dining table and a man riding a caribou but she didn't buy me that shield. I was whining like a bratty kid again and the lady behind the cash register with an annoyed smile on her face, pulled off her slipper and was waving at me saying "oh you want dis" and her and my mom were chuckling at me. I didn't think it was funny, but I wasn't about to find out, so I shut up.

There's always a joke about how quick Filipina moms can take their slipper off and throw it with such precise accuracy when they're upset. Remove slipper, aim, and fire! POW! 

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As my mom retired and went back to the Philippines, I visited her many times. She always referred to the Philippines as home so I figured I could assimilate easily into the culture. Everyone was welcoming and treated me well, but I still felt like a foreigner.

My mom didn't realize how difficult it was to retire in the Philippines. At first, she was generous with everyone then the cost of living was getting expensive so she had to cut back on her expenses. It was a struggle and after a while she got accustomed to it and was able to get by. I love the culture and history but to live in the Philippines as an American born Filipino just didn't seem desirable for me. I realized my heart was back home in California. I'm not a Philippines national I'm an American of Filipino descent and that was fine by me.

I bought one of the Weapons of Moroland Shields to bring home. Every time I look at it, I remember the feelings I had back in the Philippines. Some memories were funny like the cash register lady who jokingly waved her slipper at me. Some were a bit disappointing. Personally, I feel the Philippines has a definite crab mentality problem and the only way to solved it is to be more worldly and educate themselves of how life really. Education is key and after visiting the Philippines I realized how valuable it really is, so I went back to college and finished my degree. 

I still have that shield and one time my friend's mother was upset with her daughter at the house. She took that wooden slipper off so fast and beaned her in the head from clear across the living room. I thought it was funny, but that must have hurt. That's when I came up with the weapons of a Filipino mom shield. I posted it on Facebook and the meme went viral for over three years. I commented on several groups where it was posted multiple time and kept updating it with new mom weapons at their requests. Someone commented that it went all over Hawaii and the Philippines. That's why I chose this meme to go on the book cover. I'm hoping people will recognize it with fond memories and buy my book.