Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's More Fun In The Philippines

I went into a 2-hour meeting yesterday (not a boring one, mind you) and when I checked my Twitter timeline, it was flooded with tweets about the Dept. of Tourism's new slogan.

There was a mixture of reactions from everyone. I, however, will have to say that I totally agree. You see, I've seen relatives and close family members leave the homeland in search of greener pastures abroad since I was a little girl. My earliest memory of people packing their bags is that of my Mom's eldest sister. This was sometime in the 1970s (I think). I can still see myself standing in my grandfather's huge garage, near the swimming pool, saying goodbye to her, my uncle and their daughters who were both in my age range. They lived in Bulacan since the girls were born and decided to migrate to California. They've been there eversince and haven't looked back, not once. Since then, all of my Mom's 8 siblings have moved. We were the only ones who stayed put. Except for a handful of cousins who were already overaged and couldn't move together with the rest of their families, we were the only ones here. It was really sad, seeing my first-degree cousins go. I grew up with them and we spent many weekends and summers together. Even my one and only first cousin on my Dad's side decided to pack her bags sometime during her college education here, married and gave birth to my niece in the US.

I guess you could say I was fortunate that my family didn't have any reason to move out. But still, it was sad. Everytime I went to visit them, it would break my heart each time I had to say goodbye and fly back home. It was only when I got older and after seeing them regularly that I realized ... I would never want to leave the Philippines. My decision to stay where I am stands to this day. Not even when I'm constantly disappointed by people in government, or even if I have to spend hours sitting in the car in terrible traffic. Really, there is no place like this one.

I still get asked sometimes if we have any plans of living elsewhere. My standard answer is NO. But I change my mind somehow if it's one of my Singapore-based friends who ask me. I love Singapore and I love the thought of raising kids in a disciplined and super clean (almost antiseptic!) environment. Then again, I have no reason to think about doing it. I'm happy where I am and I would never ever trade the perks of living here.

Where else can I get 2-hour home service massages at only P250 an hour?
Or a full makeover for the price of just a haircut in the States?
What about household help? My relatives have had to import theirs from here and pay them tons in basic salaries, or hire other nationalities to clean and maintain their homes on a weekly basis. There is nothing like local household help, especially the loyal ones like mine (she's been with us for almost 16 years).

Most of all, I can't bear the thought of taking my kids away from my parents who adore them to death. While the prospect of being so much more financially capable is always attached to the idea of living in another country, I don't think it can ever compensate for the absence of immediate family. That's really what the Pinoy is all about, right?

So ... BBDO, I think you guys have come up with a really appropriate slogan for the country. Atleast that's how I feel about it. We may be 3rd world in the eyes of many foreign nationals. That's their opinion and they're entitled to it. I really could care less.

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