By : Araial Ilustre
After living half of my life in the Philippines, migrating in a foreign land is not a Laissez Faire adventure. More often than not, I always long for my own native land. As i boarded the airplane to travel to the United Kingdom, My mind is overloaded with the incessant list of things that I will surely miss. Like, the warmth of the people, a country where people are always happy and smiling, where there is no occasion too dull with all the singing and dancing. The shopping malls you can go not only to shop essentials but you can cool down and watch free entertainments. The natural beauty of the country where the sea sand comes in variety of colour and the sea side comes in all shapes. Our native cuisine like the carabao mango dip on a shrimp anchovy, the adobo, pakbet, sisig, pancit, balut etc all mouth watering and can blow away anyone who is looking for a gastronomic adventure. These and among others are tasters of the inexpensive earthly pleasures that I left behind.
The thoughts of these ineffaceable markings of my roots give me vigor to overcome the feelings of desolation in an uncharted territory. As the saying goes, “You can take Filipino out of the country but, you can’t take the country out of Filipino”. Yet these things are thousand miles away. In reality, we have been a wash from these traditions due to the sanctions of political and social misfortunes of our country and landed in countries like the United Kingdom for greater opportunities.
There is nothing wrong about that. On the other hand, we as foreigner need to be integrated to the wider society. Integration to the host country means adapting to the way of life and opening a window towards the appreciation of other cultures and mentalities. Luckily for us Filipinos we don’t have a difficulty of fitting in because of our familiarity to the English language. When we integrate it doesn’t mean that we forget our roots. The idea isn’t to become someone else and to agree with all of the local behavior, but to embrace your host country’s culture. We should also be able to share our rich cultural and historical heritage with respect to the larger community that we now exist at the same time.
It is essential that Filipinos abroad should join Filipino communities, whose purpose is not only gathering together Filipinos but to have a community that will nurture and spread the Filipino cultural heritage in their host countries. This will be beneficial to the young Filipinos to stay in touch with their cultural background and the history of the country they came from. This will also give us a chance to rekindle our attachment to our distant traditions and culture. It is reassuring that we are not alone in a foreign land, we have people that share the same language, share the same values and of course eat like you do. We keep the patriotism and loyalty to the Philippines alive in our hearts and in our mind where ever we are.
Image by : Olivier & Pascale Noaillon Jaquet