The United States of America, for me, is a place for visiting family and loved ones. If I had really wanted to stay there, I would have done so ten years ago, when I set first set foot on the US mainland and had all but one kid. If I had really wanted to stay there, I would have acceded to my mother and sister’s requests to petition me for the Green Card. In all instances, I’ve said NO because silly old me wishes to make my home in Manila where I feel comfortable with the smog, the dirt and the ‘flying’ jeepneys.
I am sure this sentiment is shared not only by me but countless other Filipinos who have OPTED to stay in the Philippines. Because living in the Philippines is a matter of choice, not desperation. Some of us have been the world over, in places more beautiful than
some parts of America, and came back like a prodigal child because in our hearts we feel there’s simply no place like home.
Home for us is the Philippines and Asia, a world blessed with eternal sunshine, resplendent beaches. al fresco cafes and cities that never sleep. This is my comfort zone, a queer place where some houses are separated by clotheslines, not white picket fences; where malls have ‘midnight sales;’ drivers pride themselves of road shortcuts; and pot-bellied men drink San Miguel Beer or Ginebra in roadside stores.
True, millions of Pinoys have ventured to foreign shores to have a sense of normalcy and to search for a better life. What is ‘normalcy’ and what is ‘better?’ A place, perhaps, where the air is fresh, the trains run on time and there are no beggars knocking on your car window.
Sometimes I am tempted to scratch my head and pronounce myself silly for putting up with the polluted air, the crowded trains and the beggars knocking on my car window. I actually say a prayer every time I go out into Manila’s streets because I believe too much of what is highlighted in the newspapers. But I guess this is also a risk in whatever part of the world you’re in.
Wala namang mangyayari sa atin dito.” Nothing will happen to us here is the oft repeated reason of my kababayans in opting out.
To these friends of mine, I wonder how they are now. Has being in the First World made them happier, better, fuller? I cannot judge their choices in the same way that I don’t want them to judge me for being foolish enough to stay.We all have our own definition of what comfort is. To you, it may be a eight-bedroom mansion that you can show off, to me it is our three-bedroom house that is easy to clean and full of the laughter of my children.
I really don’t know where heart and home leads me someday but am staying because I feel comfortable in this country’s own skin, because I have affection for this sun-kissed, sometimes typhoon-battered islands. Just think: if all of us talented people flew out of here, what will happen to this Philippines? We are after all NOT one of those who choose to stay here because ” there is so much money to be made from the public coffers, let’s raid the treasury dry!” Some of us, particularly the doctors in the barrios and public school teachers, are staying out of hope for this country, love for the Motherland and the desire to serve.
Going back to my beginning statement, it is amazing how a rejection by those “shitlomats” at the US Embassy in Manila can make you reaffirm your roots. Wake up gentlemen, the world is fast changing! If your high and mighty Embassy should reject us poor Filipinos who merely want to visit your “overrated” country (after robbing us of $131, of course) , it wouldn’t be any loss. There are 244 other countries who’d be willing to welcome us with open arms, as if our visa-peppered passports aren’t proof of that.
The map has shifted. These days if we want to gamble, we wouldn’t even have to fly all the way to Las Vegas, bigger and better Macau is just nearby. Golden opportunities are opening up, not in recession-hit, terrorist-paranoid, tornado-battered America, but in the Middle East, Asia, and God knows where else. So what are they being so arrogant about??
Wanted: A New Breed of Filipinos
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.
The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
*Am sure this is familiar. It’s a poem by Christopher Marlowe.Hope you like it*
I disagree I really want to go to the US no matter it takes!
I have to agree with you. It’s still a mystery why they still reject visa applications when we’re actually doing them a favor visiting their country. (And aye on the recession. My Pinoy friends who are in the states are having a hard time getting jobs and are planning to fly somewhere else. Filipinos just dont want to work there anymore).
Mr Z says
I have to agree with Riz – the recession has caused difficulties for everyone in the United States. If you have family counting on remittances from you, and you can’t find good employment, how can you survive and stay in the States, as well?
However, I have to disagree with the “we’re actually doing them a favor” part of your comment. If only because NO ONE at the NIV Section will ever see things that way, I guarantee you.
Imperial U.S. of A! Sorry, couldn’t resist. If I knew how to write that in Tagalog, it would have been funnier, I think.
so a US visa is not assured if one has had previous travel to the US? Maybe another try? I heard it can work a second time around depending on the consul.
I so agree with you Annalyn. I was also offered immigration application by my sisters back in the 80’s. I refused because I had so much hope for my country. Still do! I only want to go to the US to visit my 3 siblings.
Amen to that, sister!
For some reason, I never felt the urge to visit the US, even when a lot of my relatives are already there. Maybe if my favorite sibling was there, I might reconsider, but just to visit. I love Manila to much.
It maybe chaotic, but it’s *my* chaos. And it’s this chaos that makes it so endearing 🙂
I like the “doing them a favor” part Riz. The Embassy guys overestimate their country, & themselves 😛 with the recession, those who risked going to the US must be learning their lessons.
Just say “IBAGSAK ANG IMPERYALISMO!” Mr. Z with clenched fists, that should do it. Heh. 😀
It’s almost a game of Russian Roulette Noemi. Malas mo lang kung natapat ka sa mga epal. 😛
I empathize with what you’re feeling Nina. Life is more alive, more colorful here in the Philippines…and in Asia!!!
It is a disservice to one’s self if you close the doors of opportunity for whatever reason. Give it a shot and go from there. That is my philosophy and so far its been working well for me (maybe I’m just a lucky s.o.b.). I’m always willing to try anything as long as it is reversible and not a one-way street and, more importantly, it is not going to cause me permanent damage, physically and/or mentally.
There are so many assholes in this world but that should not cloud your decision making processes. Pull back, take a deep breathe and if you still feel you want to kill the s.o.b’s – DO IT! (Just kidding, but that is how I feel many, many times over LOL…so far they are still alive but nature will take care of them. They don’t know the dying process starts at birth LOL.
I like your opening line Bert. Don’t worry, your advice won’t go unheeded;)
I used to think likewise. In fact, never dreamed of living in the US. I was quite content with my life in Manila. I also, honestly didn’t have a good impression on Americans. I thought they were too proud and arrogant. Until I got married and lived here (US) and realized I was generalizing it’s people. I was being a bigot just like those that are at the US embassy.
Surprisingly, many Americans are not as bad as I thought they are. Most of the ppl I’ve met are respectful and private. They are well mannered. Frank but sincere.
I wouldn’t say an average person living in the US isn’t pinching their pennies with the recession going on, because they are. Americans are now learning how to live frugally or atleast try to moderate expenses.
We may be in a recession, but things will surely bounce back after a while. Hopefully with a new president, the economy will find some balance again.
Highly demanding jobs are still under Computers/IT and healthcare. If you are under that league you’ll get by alright. Graduate with a degree does still pay more and gives you more options in this country.
In my heart, home is still Philippines. Nothing will change that for sure.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Superwool. No, I wasn’t making generalizations about the American people.. I am saying that the goodness and greatness of the American people stopped with SOME assholes in the US Embassy Manila. Ironically, they represent their country and that’s a shame.
Wow, really quite fascinating and interesting comments.
So what exactly makes us here in the West the First World? (I am grouping the UK in with the USA as I find it quite hard to see any real difference after so many year’s of Tony Blair licking G Bush’s arse!!!!!!!) But really, this is a serious issue as we in the ‘First World’ do have somethng of a ‘superiority complex’. But i suppose that could be down to our wealth and the fact we have no poor people or beggars on our gold lined pavements. Maybe it’s just our ‘better’ culture, or maybe we are just naturally superior to the rest of the world. If anyone has the answer then please tell me…….
try one more time 🙂
you’ll get approved 🙂
First World: When do I get the new iPhone?
Third World: When do I get my next meal?
no wheyyyyyy! 😀
Nonsense reply. Spend some time in the UK and you will see plenty of poverty. This may be one of the world’s richest nations but there is poverty here that would put the Third World to shame. For example, every winter thousands of old people die as they cannot afford to put their heating on…….
I believe that it depends on the person.
Many people from around the world want to go to America to live. Lets face it America in my opinion is THE best place in the world. The system here in the states works well. It really does. The system is overall FAIR. Fair for all people no matter who you are. Civil rights, due process of law, equal opportunity, human rights. People have power here, to speak up, if something is wrong, and the power to change things for the better. No where else in the world do people have the rights like they have in america. America might be going thru a difficult time as of now, but america will make it thru just fine. Lets rememeber immigrants are what made this country what it is. America is the only country that admits the most immigrants in the world. No other country admits people like america. Anybody who goes against America, should not be here. In my opinion if you come to America, than you should try to become American. Being American is not just becoming a U.S citizen, but it is a way of thinking, of ideals, values, morals, beliefs. You know you are a true American, when you look at the U.S flag and cry.
I am a Bi-racial American of Asian and Italian descent.