What Filipinos need to be told about life away from the Philippines

There’s nothing more pathetic than a voluntary immigrant constantly pining about her emotional attachment to her homeland. Yeah, I’m talking about you Shakira Sison and the emotional diarrhoea that is your Rappler article, What they don’t tell you when you leave the Philippines. If you are going to spend an entire lifetime suffering from acute separation anxiety from your homeland, you just open yourself to that simple but confronting question: Why don’t you just go HOME?

Filipino immigrants who only see their host countries as a place where stuff works are the worst sorts of resident aliens. They remain fixated on the society they left behind and their never-ending buntong hiningas (melancholic sighs) about the quaint experiences of life in the Philippines — consisting mainly of romanticised memories of the wretchedness of life there — that they “miss” betray a failure to fully embrace and appreciate the deeper substance in and of the societies that so graciously host their foreign residents.

fil-am_community

America, for example, is not just a place where nice cars, nice houses, and nice clothes could be bought. It is not just a place where most public spaces are clean, orderly, and safe and where things work efficiently. A person who habitually takes stock of all that superficial stuff then uses it as a backdrop for lyrical numbers on the social and cultural nuances that made growing up in the Philippines so memorable is cheating herself out of a life of possibilities in their adopted homeland.

All possibilities lie in the future. Your future includes, as a significant part of it, the place and environment where it will unfold. To regard the place and society that will host your future as no more than a collection of conveniences is setting one’s self up for a future of mere compromise. It is understandable for immigrants in the first couple of months living in, say, America to regard their situation as a compromise. But one would reasonably expect some effort to evolve. Those who do not evolve choose to live out their lives in their new country as a sad living with that compromise.

What a sad lot.

Life, like any journey, is about consuming the experience of living it as it unfolds. We acquire new experiences that shape our character as we go through life. Our characters today were shaped by these past experiences and future experiences will continue to shape us. Thus, the fear that Filipino immigrants who embrace the society and culture of their adopted homelands will “lose” something — their home, their cultural roots, even their very identity — is unfounded. Nothing is ever lost when one acquires new experiences. On the contrary, there is always something to gain from new experiences.

More importantly, it is worth emphasising that there is even more to be gained by facing new challenges. Sometimes the future you face takes you away from your comfort zone (such as the smells, sounds, faces, voices, and tastes you are familiar with). Those are the best types of challenges. An ability to face those kinds of challenges with grace is what separates the men from the boys — the whiners from the courageous explorers.

So then it’s simple, really: Immigrant Filipinos should fear not. Your identity is defined by what you achieve — by how you use the experiences you gain in the course of stepping up to the challenges you encounter along the way. Your identity is NOT defined by “how much” or “how less” of a “Filipino” you are on the basis of someone’s presumptuous assessment of much or how little of the society that hosts you you’ve embraced and soaked up.

For that matter, nobody — NOBODY — is given the authority to judge how “Filipino” (or not “Filipino”) anyone is.

[Photo courtesy VoltaireYap.com.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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40 Comments on "What Filipinos need to be told about life away from the Philippines"

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d_forsaken
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Knowledge evolves, understanding matures and wisdom progresses. Don’t be so hung up on what you think you know.

Cezar
Guest
NOBODY has the authority to judge how a Filipino anyone is..Is exactly right . The one who judge is only himself. And Benignoo. By what I experienced and see here in America is, immigrant Filipinos are not happy alone as long as he or she has family left behind in the Philippines. They whined and yell because they missed their family NOT THE PHILIPPINES…That’s why every Filipino immigrant in America , they, life long goal is to bring everybody in here…once in a while they will missed the country of birth if something remind them of pictures or image of… Read more »
Dark Kamote
Guest

“It’s human nature, like salmon.”

Lol sorry had to get that out of my system.

Cezar
Guest

You did not get it I guess. Sorry if you can’t pick up the meaning .

d_forsaken
Guest

There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keep moving, changing… They are fluid. They keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive. You must be constantly on your guard against congealing.

ChinoF
Member

Part of an administration-paid effort to demonize OFWs, since the careless liar of a president said Filipinos went abroad just because they want to, not because they have to? But what does he know anyway?

33Hayden007Toro999.99
Guest
33Hayden007Toro999.99
“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan, ay hindi makarating sa paroroonan…” my late mother used to tell me. It is hard to leave your country. Friends, family members, relatives, acquaintances. However, like cows, we have to go in search for “greener pastures”… Thanks God, I applied to a good university, and was accepted. I was just looking, to further my technical knowledge. This lead to working part time ; and studying at the same time. More studies, more hard work, more sacrifices (true sacrifice, not the “political sacrifice” ,that Aquino, Roxas & the LP (“Libog Party”) , are talking about.… Read more »
Grimwald
Member

That’s not always the case, Hayden. Sometimes its just a case of stiff neck. Just slap Salompas on your neck and you’ll be able to look back just fine.

19Hayden007Toro99999.99
Guest
19Hayden007Toro99999.99

@Grimwald:

I sometimes look back; but, I don’t use “salompas”, for stiff my neck remedy…I don’t like the smell of “salompas”…

Grimwald
Member

Yeah. It is kinda strong. Warm compress also works but it tends to be a little slower.

Ricardo_Diaz
Guest

A thing to remember is that the prime reason Filipino ofws miss the motherland because of the good memories they have there. Not the reality of it. In fact, most ofws who return there immediately miss the country they stayed at because things work there. And Even the countries that are war zones, they will miss the fact that they had money and a job.

7Hayden007Toro999.99
Guest

Just remember the Filipinos, who do not want to leave Libya; inspite of the war going on. They rather die from the bullets; than die from starvation and “kunsumisiyon” in the Philippines.

Vincent
Member

“than die from starvation and ‘kunsumisiyon’ in the Philippines.”- I’d like to add: to avoid being mistakenly accused of taking part in and/or enjoying the stupidities of most Filipinos. Personally, I’d rather leave than “be identified as one of them.”

T
Guest

Admittedly, i do feel nostalgic when i think of my childhood/adolescence. but i’ve been back to those places and have realized that everything has already changed – not just the environment, but the people too – and those places painted in my memories are all that’s left. So i do agree with benign0, it is all best to move forward.

Cezar
Guest

That my friends are the real problems in the Philippines . LACK of GOOD OF GOOD PAYING JOBS.. all this politicians are promising you everything except talking about how they going to attract jobs to the country????This GRP blogs site should be focusing on that jobs creation put pressure to this government and politician . Coz with out jobs and money for the people ,,, education or whatever nonsense subject you bringing up here is not helping a bit.. My own personal opinion.. I care for the Filipinos .

Cezar
Guest

“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan, ay hindi makarating sa paroroonan…” my late mother used to tell me.
I do not understand the meaning of this famous Filipino phrase. Kung Hindi ka pa nakarating sa iyong paroroonan, ano ang purpose mo bakit ka lilingon sa iyong pinanggalingan,,,, unless you giving up na Hindi ka makarating,,, kaya ka Lang lilingon kapag nakarating ka na … Only my opinion..

11Hayden007Toro9999.99
Guest
11Hayden007Toro9999.99
Innovative people create jobs and industries. The trouble of us is: Politics is the primary industry, in our country. Followers like the Aquino’s YellowTards, become rabid political followers. If their candidate wins; they are placed in good government jobs. Do” kurakot” , and get rich. This is the reason , people: die for politics; kill for politics; hate each other for politics. Take for example, the automotive industry. A car has many parts. Each part is manufactured by a manufacturer. And, the manufacturer employs people. If a country industrializes; it could have many jobs for its people. What we do,… Read more »
77Toro007Hayden7777.9
Guest
77Toro007Hayden7777.9

Industrial revolution began in the 18th century. We are now in the 21st century. Yet, the Philippines has not industrialized.
We are two (2) centuries behind any industrialized country.

zaxx
Member
Totally agree Hayden. esp. with your example. Actually, the Philippines can still create a real automotive industry – it isn’t that hard. Look at Elon Musk who established Tesla Motors just recently. He is just one man. If I could call the shots in this country, I would pool all these dying Jeepney manufactures to unite and transform them into a serious force to reckon with. I will allocate billions into automotive R&D; manpower? – no problem. we don’t have a shortage of talented engineers. I will have a program to attract foreigners with key technological know-how in engine &… Read more »
44Hayden007toro
Guest

South Korea’s Hyundia was created, only a few years ago. Look at the company now. Same as the electronic Samsung company. We have to remove feudalism , also. It is a hindrance to progress.

Add
Guest
They don’t want to industrialize because there is more money in technical smuggling. In this admin of PNoy, Ochoa controls and manages the three kings at the Custom who control a virtual toll gate that collects the toll from all smugglers. At a trillion, 10% toll is 100 billion Pesos. No wonder these cabinet secs and smugglers could afford to build 200 to 300m peso houses for their respective #2 or mistresses, not to include the Ferraris in the garages. In the meantime they killed the manufacturing sector. Same goes for why they don’t want to improve the agriculture sector.… Read more »
marius
Guest

What he said.

marius
Guest
>> Actually, the Philippines can still create a real automotive industry – it isn’t that hard. It’s a bit off-topic, but it absolutely IS that hard, Zaxx. Elon Musk is not just one man. He’s supported by thousands of suppliers and innovators, not just in the US but abroad as well. The Philippines has no chance of building an automotive industry for several very good reasons: they have no national experience (it takes decades to get good at something like that), they can’t import reliable components (very few car companies make their own engines), and they can’t even tool up… Read more »
Cezar
Guest

Now now you guys are talking with sense and very important purpose,,, do not tell that to each other ,,, yell that to the damned politicians and the upcoming politicians who wants to be president , isak sak ninyo yan sa mga utak nila,,, if they don’t do something about creating jobs in the Philippines ,,, all hell will break lose I guarantee that..

38Hayden007Toro9999.99
Guest
38Hayden007Toro9999.99

@Cezar:

Most of the political leaders skulls are thick; and most have no brains…some have barely a clue of brain. They are elected by Filipino people of the same species.

Are you one of them who elected them?

Cezar
Guest

I do not vote on a candidate that do not have a solid plan to change the living condition of the unfortunate poor Filipinos..if you cannot change them , join them they said…why bother..Not me i don’t even want to join them in fact I have to go away from people I cannot learn anything from and no sympathy for the unfortunate poor.

Dale Jose Gozar
Member
R VANDROSS “I’d rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else I’d rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself I’d rather have hard times together, than to have it easy apart I’d rather have the one who holds my heart ” I spent 3yrs in Malaysia and 5yrs in Japan (every 6 month 1week home visit). But I still choose to stay for my loveones – family anf friends. 1. I can’t bring all my family – parents, friends, places, foods, drinks and people I like. 2. Discrimination and 2nd/3rd… Read more »
marius
Guest
Good article, Benigno. >> One would reasonably expect some effort to evolve. Those who do not evolve choose to live out their lives in their new country as a sad living with that compromise. That right there sums up the whining article in the link (“What they don’t tell you when you leave the Philippines”), which I’d like to rip into: >> Nobody tells you that you’ll miss the noises of home – the blaring of jeepney horns, the takatak of the cigarette vendors selling Winstons by the stick. I’ve often wondered if Filipinos make such a godawful noise because… Read more »
marius
Guest

Sorry, palate, not palette.

Cezar
Guest

Most Filipinos do not have those food , you are talking about. That’s why they leave the country , how can you a country that makes you hungry and in survival mode…I surly don’t.

Add
Guest

On Sundays, OFWs in HKG converge in Central around the Star Ferry, in SGP, in Lucky PLaza; in Korea, in Anyang. They spend whole day just gossiping among themselves. What a waste of time.

Travel actually affords one something equivalent to a full university course. It shouldn’t be wasted.

Cezar
Guest

There you goes again , they sit around and gossips because they cannot afford to travel…geeeseeee…if they can afford it why will they leave their homeland the Philippines…geeeseee get real…..your advice is we’ll out of line…..they are poor and no jobs in the Philippines…periodddddd.

Add
Guest
I am talking of OFW in Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea respectively converging in one area by the thousands spending entire Sunday every Sunday gossiping. They are already outside of the country, so they traveled already. They are already in a different culture, so why waste that travel by spending some time learning a different culture, instead of gossiping whole day on their day-off. Now, I am giving an advice, not in my ear!ier comment where I just made an observation. Apologize for the earlier comment made in haste; hope this one makes things clearer for you, Cesar.
Add
Guest

Correction …so why waste that travel by spending… should read …so why waste that travel; they should be spending some time learning a different culture, instead of…

ChinoF
Member

Simply put, the Rappler article confirms what I said in my earlier article. That some Filipinos’ minds are addled and they have made dysfunction a part of their Filipino identity. That article says, if you don’t long for the dysfunction of Manila, the poverty, pollution, traffic and all, you’re a traitor. And what a sad sight to see someone consider efficiency as something bad. Basically, what the Rappler writer did was to make the good look bad, and the bad look good. Same old tactic of twisting morality and values.

marius
Guest

Exactly my impression.

Noise=Good. Peace and quiet=Bad.

Rice=Good. Varied, affordable, tasty and nutritious food=Bad.

Uncritical consumerism and warehouses full of Chinese tat=good. As long as it’s not in Abroadland, in which case it’s bad.

I mean, if you just miss your family, fine. Cold weather is horrible? Fair enough. But if you genuinely miss the dystopian failure that is the RP, there’s something wrong with your head.

ChinoF
Member

I’m also pretty sure the article’s contrived. Probably given an assignment: “make an article that makes Filipinos pine for home, no matter how broken it is.” So the writer does it. But most likely, she doesn’t feel what she wrote in it genuinely. It was just an assignment.

marius
Guest

Ah, another prostitute. Mom and dad must be proud.

It’s possible I guess. Writing lies for money would actually be slightly more honorable than writing with a genuine desire to defending the indefensible, IMO.

mr.E.A.Eisden
Guest
Sison is right about all the issues she wrote about in her article. I am living in Europe for over 40 years and it is like she has described ; without a proper education recognized by the western countries and you come to the west without it, you are nothing more than a finacial and economic burden to the westerners. You can assimilate and intergrate as much as you want, you will never be fully accepted. And folks stop praising the West as being a paradise; in fact it is real hell. Stop degrading your own country and origin as… Read more »
victoria
Guest

Cool off folks, Sison wrote something about her experience, tutoo naman yung feelings niya, bakit kayo nagagalit? ganoon din ang feelings ko at some point pero nabago din. at some point magbabago din ang feelings ni sison, and then isusulat niya kung ano yung nabago. hindi naman yun nakasulat sa bato. she is writing about her current sentiments not her final will!
note: hindi ko kilala si sison fyi.