Blogiversary: 10/2/2013

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Monkey and the Turtle

I have always been very proud of being a Filipino descendant as well as French-Canadian and Korean.  Having a grandfather from the Ilocos Sur region of the Philippines fascinated me, for I was different.  Most, if not all, the Filipino people I had met spoke Tagalog.  My grandfather spoke Ilocano, and didn't understand Tagalog.  It was as foreign to him as Russian is to Spanish.  The problem about being proud is I couldn't really relate.  I didn't speak the language, never been to the Philippines, haven't really eaten the food, do not have any Ilocano friends, so I could only hold on to the sprinkle of Filipino I have in me.

I wanted to learn about the culture, and so I started from the beginning, checking out children's stories and fairy tales.

The story of the Monkey and the Turtle is a popular Ilocano fable with a moral at the end of the story.  In short, the story begins with a crying monkey.  A turtle comes across him and asks him why he's crying.  The Monkey tells him that the other monkeys ate all the squash and he didn't get any and was very hungry.  The turtle tells him about a place where there were bananas, and that he loved bananas and was hungry, too.  He shows the monkey the way.  The monkey climbs the tree and promised to send down bananas, but instead, stays in the tree and eats the bananas, throwing the peels down at the turtle.  The turtle gets upset and brings bamboo spikes, and stabs the ground.  He then yells to the monkey that a crocodile is coming and so the monkey is startled and falls to his death, where he is impaled by the bamboo spikes.  The monkey's family finds out and persecutes the turtle by throwing him into the ocean to die.  The turtle comes back to the monkey village eating a lobster.  They asked him how he got the lobster and he said he tied a rope around his waist with a large rock tied to the other end.  When he went down to the water, he hit the lobster with the rock and that's how he ended up with lobster meat.  The monkeys thought that was a great idea, tied ropes and stones to themselves and plunged into the sea where they never resurfaced.

On August 24, 2014, I went to the tattoo shop and had a monkey and turtle tattooed on my back, over my right scapula.
Immediately after I was tattooed.
Tattoo created by Phillip Alcala of Bad Influence Tattoo in Fountain Valley, CA.

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