In this blog entry, “Halo-Halo in
In my Filipino blog entry, “Pinoys Around the World” – I was obviously so homesick and showcased here my small encounters with my “kind” But looking back, I think I missed a lot of stories!
In Sierra Vista and in Coos Bay, Oregon - I received some pocket money from very generous Pinoys who I just met. In both instances, these people also traveled the world with a youth group and knew how fun it was to be able to have ice cream on travel stops.
There was 14-year old MJ Magtanong from
I also remember this blog entry from
Of course, I also wouldn’t forget friends and friends of family who sacrificed some of their time to see me (and even host me!). My high school best friend Romilee who’s now in Tucson, my good friend Tiffany who drove alone for two hours to see me in Corcoran, California, my Tita Miriam and Tito Conrad who saw the show in Corocoran AND Las Vegas, my Tito Bobot and Tita Maria who hosted me in Las Vegas and my fun stay with Tito Eric, Tita Vivian, Noelle and Lola in Portland.
Probably the most touching encounter I had with a Filipino came during one of our Internal days in
Thinking about home and my family, I went for a bathroom break and found out that half the stalls were closed because it was being cleaned. An old man was mopping the floors quietly. I studied him closely, he was the kindly, grandfather type with tanned skin and gray hair. I sneaked a glance at his name tag and sure enough, he was Filipino! I was just overcome with emotion and homesickness that I just blurted out,
“Hi Manong, Magandang Umaga po!”
His head snapped up and he stared at me and asked carefully, “Pilipina ka?”
With tears in my eyes, I answered, “Opo, Pilipino po ako!” – and without thinking, I hugged the lolo who was cleaning the bathroom. Soon he had tears in his eyes, too. Two of his daughters married Americans and convinced him and his wife to live with them in the
“Gusto ko nang umuwi. Ang hirap dito, may trabaho ka nga pero mahirap at malugkot pa din. Buti sa atin, kahit minsan walang pera, pero masaya tayo! Dito, kayod ka ng kayod, wala naman makuha. Pero mahirap naman basta-basta umuwi kasi mahal ang pamasahe”
It’s funny how easily we forget that some people really don’t have a choice when they go abroad, and that they don’t have complete control of their time and resources because of extreme need. Just like what I felt when I met the family at the food pantry in Winston.
We were performing a mini-show at the
That same evening I joined them for their Wednesday novena. It was the smallest Catholic mass I have ever attended! There were ten of us all in all, including two priests who both celebrated our small mass. We just gathered around a small table with a cross and some Bibles. I read the First Reading.
In my conversation with Malou, she told me that she was looking forward to the time that our media would start highlighting Pinoy achievers overseas and stop dwelling on mail order brides and abused domestic helpers. Apparently, the
Filipinos in Abroad already form a world and a culture of their own. It is a world with its own language, hierarchy, beliefs and values. Their experiences are so rich and very different from each other – that it is hard to generalize or stereotype them into one mold.
However, as Pinoys spread out all over the world, I hope they never forget their roots, be not ashamed to be Pinoy, and to always do what is right wherever they may be. This will be a perfect reason for us to celebrate our Filipino brothers and sisters around the world.