I’ve finally returned to the motherland after almost a year and a half. I’m telling you, the Philippines is growing so fast, sometimes I can’t even believe it’s still the same country I visited years and years ago when I was a kid!
My aunt, as usual, picked me up right when I got off the plane with her lovely staff members to help me. Then we hopped in the car with Ric (her driver for almost as long as I can remember, he’s literally watched me grow up!) and headed over to the condo we’d all be housed up in for the next 3 weeks in Makati.
After settling in, we passed by my aunt’s office at the DOT (Department of Tourism) to grab a quick bite to eat – of course I requested bangus lmaoooo! There I finally met DOT’s social media/marketing guru Brian who helped me figure out how to connect to the internet and put minutes on my phone – WHICH by the way loves to turn on and off every 10 minutes…. it’s AWESOME. . . . . . lol.
I was exhausted from the long flight and decided to call it a night early so I could rest up for the next few days of Philippine Fashion Week! After my aunt left for work the next day, I hit up Banj and Sarah and they let me know they were getting some work done and CoLab, which was really close to our condo. I looked at Google Maps and sure enough, it was, so I opted to go for a walk. A few turns later, I was definitely not where I needed to be LMAO. Luckily, Rosario called me and asked where I was and where I was trying to go and told me to stay where I was so she could come to my rescue. I waited in front of the Mc D’s and heard her call out my name and I hopped in the car. We did a quick stop and then headed over to CoLab which was nearby. Got to the office, looked out the window, and low-and-behold, my condo was DIRECTLY across a parking lot in front of us. FML.
CoLab Manila is a collaborative workspace and studio for creative folks to work, be inspired, and to make shit happen! It is a beautiful space and reminds me of a loft we would find in NY!
Taking a photo of R and Banj while Sarah comes out of her hiding place lmaooooo!
R had to run and prep for Fashion Week activities and I hung out to have some lunch at the office – we had um…Kenny Rogers?! I think that’s what it was called?! Oh wait, is that a singer… Anyway it was gooooood – rotisserie chicken, cornbread, fruits – deeeelish. Unfortunately, I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo.
I also was introduced to a lovely lady named Margaux (not pictured in this post) who offered this amazing chocolate dessert! NOM NOM NOM! I ❤ Margaux and all of the new people I’ve been meeting!!!!! More to come!!!
I’m at the condo feeling under the weather so you can expect a few more blog updates today/tonight! Woot Woot! Enjoy!!!!
Oh wait – check this out… CORNED BEEF FILLED PAN DE SAL?!?!?!?!
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.
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.