the adventures of yoshi

on the Manila MOVEment…

Posted in Food for Thought, People, Travel and Trips by yoshi on May 6, 2011

ever since my eye-opening homecoming trip to the Philippines last may with the bf, and having full length discussions with my aunt, who’s also my ninang, about the Philippines’ future and tourism, i’ve absorbed a new kind of pride… not just “pinoy pride,” more like… social, or maybe even generational pride. nevertheless, the fact that i see young balikbayans and true pinoys/pinays working together to make a social change in the Philippines, is a movement that i want to be a part of.

now of course this kind of social change has been going on for years and years – i know this because my aunt has worked at the  department of tourism for as long as i can remember – a very important leg of Philippine government as tourism makes up a huge chunk of the country’s weatlh.

now, not only did my aunt take the bf and i to some of the best beaches and towns of the Philippines, but she also showed us how much the country has grown the past few years. introducing us to eco-friendly establishments like the el nido resorts in palawan. seeing and experiencing these places and people first-hand, struck a chord in me. the last time i had been to the Philippines prior to this trip, was when i was about 15. back then, poverty was on every street, every corner, EVERYWHERE.

there is still poverty, and yes, the Philippines is still considered a 3rd world country. however, there has been an escalation in social and economical activism – you can see it everywhere. the streets are cleaner, new housing developments, even MORE malls. i don’t believe i even encountered children knocking on our car window begging for money. i was very shocked – in a good way.

not only has the Philippines grown economically, but they are no longer a nation that is “behind the times.”

you see, growing up my friends and i would make fun of “fobs” (fresh off the boat folks). we, being 1st or 2nd generation filipino-americans, saw ourselves apart from our fellow pilipinos living in our homeland.

to us, the Philippines was the home of our PARENTS, our GRANDPARENTS, not us. it was a land so different than what we know.

we were americans, they were fobs.

our parents watched tv patrol and tfc. all we saw and understood was crime, death, corruption in the Philippines. never did i recall filipinos glorifying the accomplishments they received in, say, advertisement, fashion, or culinary arts. hell, even anthony bourdain’s Philippine adventure was a let down – did you guys watch this episode?! the guy they chose was a total misrepresentation of us! BLAH!

this is why tourism in the Philippines has suffered for so long! filipinos have struggled with their identity, forfeiting all the majestic glory of their islands, and focusing their efforts on the destruction of their own people.

WE are the reason we are too scared to visit our homeland! “be careful, you might get kidnapped!”

this NEEDS to change. it HAS to change.

some of the people leading the way to “healing manila,” are people like sarah and banj, my aunt, rosario, teresa, nante, vicky, and so many others.

THEY ARE THE FUTURE OF THE PHILIPPINES.

they are slowly breaking through the mold we’ve created for ourselves. they are making us PROUD to call ourselves filipino.

so thank all of you, wherever you live, for promoting our homeland in a positive light – “Together, we can Heal Manila.

PS. Round 2 of #ManilaMinds is had a discussion at co[LAB] about tourism –CLICK HERE

Arriane also gives a great recap HERE.

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