It’s been quite awhile since I spoke about patriotism and somehow while checking friends at Facebook, I got strucked with a friend who just got her Australian citizenship! Well, I am happy for her since I have known her way back during our high school days and she deserves it after all! She’s been living and working in Australia for years now together with some of our classmates and getting a life out there is something that many of us willl surely be greatful to have.

Team FilipinasAlmost 3-5 years ago, I thought of leaving the country as well. I sent some Expressions of Interest to New Zealand and Australia  for the very reason that I have always believed that it is always greener elsewhere except here in the Philippines. We have witnessed both the best things and the worst things in this country and I am sure that it would be a great relief for anyone to be elsewhere especially in this time of hardship. So I cannot blame most of my classmates settling in other foreign lands and perhaps intending to live there for good.

I grew up with my father working abroad. Being young, I thought that working outside the country will make you rich – that is was indeed the key to financial heaven. My uncles and aunties went to live in London and some settled in California. Whenever they get to visit the Philippines, I cannot help but dream of having the same life as theirs. Who would not love the smell of “state-side” or the “reddish skin” without having to exert so much effort like having to apply too much astringent! Hehehe.

proudly_pinoy_logo_smallI worked so hard to have this dream. Soon, I found myself working in the IT sector and having the opportunity to travel abroad. The first time was really a very exciting experience. I almost wished of having to stay there. That was just my reaction anyway. Soon, I got used to being away from home and from the Philippines. I was so deeply buried on the fantasy that being in a foreigh land was the culmination of one’s hardships, dreams and ambitions until I felt that  something is missing… I felt that the glory is not complete.

I felt the state they called “HOMESICK”. At any rate, the realization came to me in small packages. First, I remember my family and all the relatives and friends. Second, I have seen the usual comparison that in the Philippines, whether you are employed or simple a bum, you will get to survive each day anyway unlike in other country where you need to work and work and work. I have seen how true that can be. More so, you have only yourself to depend on once you get into a crisis stage whereas being home in the Philippines, you have the entire family and even the clan and the neighborhood to support you. Those are just some personal thoughts I had way back then.

On a more high level thinking, I have realized that the country has been losing great talents and brilliant minds. If all of us would get to dream of living the country as soon as we get a degree, then someday, this country will merely be a vacation land or a nation with less citizens. While other nationalities would loved to retire here due to the low cost of living and the caring values of the Filipinos, we as professionals are seeking citizenships elsewhere.

philippinelogo2I wonder if the government can do something about this. If it’s all about career and remiuneration, I may say that anyone can find a 6-digit job here even at the age of 25 since I have some colleagues before who raked so much. Perhaps, it’s the social security system and the environment that drives people to seek greener pasture in other countries. It is just that I believe that if we want to have a better place in this country, we all have to work for it and that would entail professionals like us staying to make a difference. But that is a difficult proposition right now for all. Even as I write something about this, part of me still longs to move my family elsewhere.

I know that this summon may be futile but I do hope to see someday that every Filipino will be too proud to stay as Filipinos! It pains me to hear and see people rejoicing about having to receive a new citizenship but then again, we cannot blame them. They have worked hard for it and they have their own good reasons for such. I know that in this time of globalization, nationality is a concept that is not as strong as the times of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. I know that what matters to most of us is having a to provide better future to our loved ones and making it bigtime with regards to our careers. I cannot contest that objective.

At any rate, I do hope that each and everyone of us will get to consider as well that it is us that forms this nation and it is us who can make it better. No one can make a big difference in this country except us. Thus, please do consider that even if for the meantime you may want to settle elsewhere, you may include going back to the Philippines once in a while or as soon as you retire just to complete the country that has long been calling for your presence. Anyway, I have the same plans as well. Perhaps, I can use a decade or two in working and saving so I can invest and make a difference in my homeland but if opportunity is present here, the Philippines will always be my home and I will always be a Filipino… in my mind, in my heart and in my soul! This is me.

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