Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good News -- not for the balikbayan only

In the 1960s and 1970s, migrating was so easy. Back then, one didn't have to part with an arm or a leg in order to work and live in a rich country. Consequently, half of my high school batch are now prosperous expats living the good life in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

When I meet some of them online or face to face in one of their balikbayan sorties, they frequently ask me: "Why did you stay?"

My patent answer is: "I didn't dream the American dream," with its prideful undertones.

But nearer the truth is: "It never occurred to me to leave." So I say that too.

"But why not," some would insist with great curiosity.

Such probing has led me to an exercise in introspection.

I probably lacked the daring required for someone to leave warm home and hearth to venture to a foreign land where nothing is certain except cold strangers and colder winters. Plus I happened to be so ginawin.

I probably lacked ambition, easily content with the tiny professional niche I managed to build here which brought me much in psychic income but little in material rewards beyond a small home and no-frills amenities. It must be the gift of shallowness, as in mababaw ang kaligayahan.

I probably lacked foresight to think in terms of "next generations" and pro-actively secure a good life for my children and my children's children. Tutulog-tulog -- that's me, to a T.

Could it be, on the other hand, that I define the good life a bit otherly than the Pinoy-everyman does?

Is it possible I have inherent faith in my country and people and by extension in my God. A God I cannot imagine --when pouring out His beneficence -- to distinguish between east and west and between white and brown and black.

This is a faith that is often severely tested by biting realities in this otherwise fair land -- including an economy that wouldn't take off, a body politic that refuses to mature, graft and corruption that have grown endemic. keeps faith with this faith.

This new website invites Pinoy OFWs and expats to come home to Pinas -- virtually or actually, for a while or for good. And come home not only for the umbilical and sentimental ties, but also for more practical reasons.

Like for prospects in real estate, entrepreneurship and other investments. Or for enjoying the spectacular sunsets, culinary feasts and nature trips the best way they can be enjoyed -- in the company of a warm and welcoming people.

And also for connecting with other Pinoys in common passions and advocacies that will burnish the Filipino identity and label. sends out the wishful message that the good life need not be sought elsewhere but rather lived right here in our country.

( is edited by Noemi Dado, with Dine Racoma, Annalyn Jusay, AJ Matela, and Annamanila, as sub-editors.)


Mitch said...

Uy basahin ko nga po yan!

soloops said...

Mabuhay ka, Annamanila, for believing, just as I do, that despite EVERYTHING that this country deserves our faith.

I'll say it again, ikaw ay bukog-tangi.

Anna said...

i, too, have mababaw na kaligayahan that's why i have no wish to work or live elsewhere. but i have to admit that the filipino diaspora is felt in our family as well. half of the family are in different parts of the world, and hellos and goodbyes have been fairly common.

myepinoy said...

Ako din, noong una wala akong balak at di man lang sumasagi sa isipan ko na umalis ng bansa.

Pero heto ako ngayon.

What started as a short-term friend's offer has become a "way of life."

Gina said...

I've been over to the new site a few times and have been doing some reading.

It is a very interesting 'e-magazine' , and with the collective effort and brains behind it, it will surely take off.

Here's to the advocacy!!! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Very well said. In my case, it was just that there was so much hype in going abroad, as if it was like sure-ball for every one who ventured to go live in foreign lands. I was also lured when I visited relatives and friends abroad who seemed to be content with their comfortable lives.

Living in another country also makes you understand the mother country more. In my case, it is an experience for me to see how a government can be run effectively and although far from perfection, I feel rather envious as to how some cultures can be so many light years ahead of others in terms of enlightenment, in calling a society to collaborate and make the government work for the good of all.

True I live a good life here but I feel like I'm a foster child well loved by his foster parents but still longing to reunite with his real parents someday.

kathy said...

Congratulations Anna for this new venture! I wish you and the other editors the best.

On a different note, I never believed in the so-called "American Dream." I believe that everyone has the right to strive to live comfortably, but not to the point of excess and certainly not just to impress relatives and friends.

I'm out of the country now, but I'm still considering Pinas as my place of retirement someday. I wish I could be so lucky. :)

Gypsy said...

I have spent time reflecting on why I stuck around as well, but for whatever the reasons, I think it is great to encourage our kababayans to come home whether permanently or temporarily--and not the ties completely as some have sadly done.

pining said...

as I always say, this is only temporary, we'll go time :-)
nice and interesting site Anna, and I'm not surprised.

Belle said...

Actually, i am currently looking for a huge piece of property in the province that I can turn into plantation/farm for my part-time future abode. I have 10 more years before I retire, so I have plenty of time to get the place ready.

I love the site. You guys can do just about anything. Awesome!

sheilamarie said...

Anna, this country may not be perfect, but it's still home sweet home than no country can ever replace :) we plan to settle here as well, pag nakaipon na ng konti.

Gypsy said...

Hey Anna! You've been tagged. :)

Nyl said...

i like this post. lamigin din ako, kaya di ako pwede sa buhay America. like you, mababaw lang din yata kaligayahan ko.

Rudy said...

Were it not for those thieving politicians and stupid public utility drivers, this is still a great place to live in... but that's just me.

julie said...

I'm with you on the arm or leg because teachers like me can go teach foreign students at the cost of an arm AND a leg, siphoned by fellow Filipinos who run agencies.

On the other hand, if this money is invested in business, is it going to flourish and earn? Or will it just go down the drain?

katcarneo said...

Oh, we're quite the same! (I'm also very ginawin.) Just recently I met up with my high school friends and one of them encouraged me to apply for a job in Canada. I politely declined, saying I have no plan of leaving the country and one of my friends reacted like I was crazy or something. They can't understand why I want to stay when so many want to leave. My life right now is okay, I gave a good job (actually two good jobs) and I enjoy everything about being here. I can't imagine myself anywhere else. I want to visit other countries on vacation, but not live and work there. I feel that I'm more needed here, and I don't feel the need to go abroad to earn more money. Not that I'm raking in lots of dough here, but just enough for myself and my finacial responsibilities to the family. Okay, I'm checking this site now. Bye!

Heart of Rachel said...

I wasn't able to join my family when they migrated to the US several years ago because I was over 21 at that time. Perhaps, I've always been meant to stay in the country. I love the Philippines and it's hard for me to picture myself adjusting to a new country and culture.

Congratulations on the new site. I'll check it out.

rhodora said...

Truth to tell, I did dream the American dream but hubby did not share this dream with me. So we stayed. Well, in a few years, we just might go. Whether or not we will stay there for good will depend on the circumstances, or on how we will take to the weather as you know, hubby and I are no spring chickens anymore. hehehe.

Will visit the site. With you as one of the editors, I'm sure I'm in for a good read.

Take care, friend. :)

katcarneo said...

The last time I met with some high school friends, one of them urged me to apply for a job in Canada. I politely declined, saying I have no plans of going out of the country. One of my pals looked at me and reacted like not wanting to leave the Philippines is the craziest thing in the world. My friends couldn't understand why I want to stay when almost everyone else wants to go.

Like you, I have never really imagined myslef anywhere else. I'd like to visit other countries on vacation but not live and work there. I guess I'm lucky enough that I'm living a pretty okay life here and there's no need to go. I'm sure many are forced to go because of necessity like my mother.

It's nice that you came up with the idea for this website. I'll be checking it out.

raqgold said...

we have plans to go back to the philippines. if the opportunity comes immediately, we'd be there in a second. i still believe pinas is the best and my husband agrees, too

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