Online Newsletter Nr. 207
Philippine Community

    Cover article:

“Luksong Tinik” sa Berlin

Our featured cover photo shows some Filipinas playing “Luksong Tinik”
lifted from the Ministrantentag of our altar servers and their parents a few weeks ago.

    THE IMAGE was lifted from among the pictures taken during Ministrantentag, the annual gathering of our altar servers and their parents. Some parents introduced some of the popular Filipino barrio neighborhood games to our young ones. They played Luksong Tinik, Luksong Baka, Piko, Patintero, Tumbang Lata, Trumpo, among others. The kids were so amused by these games, which they have never experienced here in Germany. What especially amazed them was that they did not need any expensive toy at all in order to have fun. It was simply being together and designing their own games creatively.

    ONE SUCH GAME is the Luksong Tinik, Tagalog for jumping over thorns. All it requires are two players per team. The “taya” or “it” couple would sit on the ground facing each other, then to create the hurdle, they make a pile of tinik or thorns by piling their feet and adding the hands with fingers spread out on top of each other as the game progresses. Members of the opponent team make the rounds jumping over the pile of tinik without any part of their body touching it to remain at play.

    THE IMAGE of Luksong Tinik sa Berlin could as well become a metaphor for the Filipino way of life as a migrant in Germany. And being one ofthe first Filipino migrants in Berlin immediately brings to memories the historic Berlin wall before it fell in November 1989. Back then, in order to reach the West, people from the East, had to cross over walls and fences topped with sharp barbed wires, which resemble thorns or tinik.

    LUKSONG TINIK SA BERLIN mirrors the Filipinos trying to make a living in Berlin. Marami siyang tinik na luluksuhin. There are many hurdles to jump over, barriers to cross, trials to surmount, and risks to take.

    DIE DEUTSCHE SPRACHE is quite a hurdle for one who wants to work-to-earn-to-send-home in Germany. For a Pinoy not used to straight forward way of talking, it could be a tinik to jump over.

    EVEN THE FOOD HERE, which we can buy in all its freshness and abundance, could not be satisfying for the Pinoy taste without the patis at suka, daing at kanin, etc.
FINDING WORK is actually easy if one is not choosy. A Filipino with a degree or titled job in the Philippines often goes abroad and does not mind doing menial jobs here and there because the salary is much better than what they left at home. Two hours of Putzen here and two hours babysitting there. Scheduling multiple mini-jobs is also not a problem because here Alles ist in Ordnung. The U-Bahn and the busses are reliably pünktlich so we can report to work on time for sure. Many Filipinos take cleaning and babysitting jobs from several employers, too. Only a practical and humbled person will set aside his or her former status and education in order to earn a living abroad to provide for his or her loved ones. As we often say, “Kung gugustuhin maraming paraan, pero kung ayaw maraming dahilan.”

WE, PINOYS, are very clear about our life goals wherever we are. We are also very capable of surmounting whatever challenge that stands on our way to achieving our goals. Just like in the game Luksong tinik, we would jump over thorns and overcome obstacles that come our way in order to help our family defeat poverty here and in the Philippines. To a certain extent wherever a Pinoy finds himself or herself, the Pinoy is successful, because Pinoys are good at Luksong tinik sa buhay, at jumping over thorns in real life.

LUKSONG TINIK is the Filipino migrant’s way of coping up with all situations, in all places he or she finds himself or herself. We crossed over to Germany carrying with us our Pinoy tastes, our humor, our religiosity, our culture and practices, our accent, and our sense of fun.

HOW DO WE COPE UP with our Christian faith while living in a highly secularized Europe? Again, the Luksong tinik style of coping. Of course, it depends on one’s religious upbringing at home in the Philippines. The kid of faith that was instilled in us since childhood lives in us and seeks expression even when we are surrounded by non-believers.

THANKS to the Philippine Community Berlin, now on its 32nd year since its foundation here in Bayernallee. Thanks also to the Heilig Geist Parish for giving us a spiritual home where we can gather regularly and are given not only the Church for worship services, but also the different rooms for prayer meetings, events and for sharing our Filipino dishes. Bayernallee has become a refuge and shelter to Filipino migrants making their daily struggles and thorns less painful.