Adrienne Mae Huyo-a Perez
Simple Musings By A Filipina
Yes, I am a Filipino. Not only because of my parents’ roots or the passport I hold and definitely not just the looks I possess. Even though the aunties and the uncles in the hawker say otherwise, I know in my heart that I am more than just a natural-born, plain and quiet Filipina.
I have been working in Singapore for almost four years and I cannot help but build some thoughts over time about my race and nationality. In my mind, I suddenly wondered, “how do you stay Filipino even when you are not in the Philippines”. I guess that’s what you can make out of when people from different cultural backgrounds speak to you in another language as they assume you of another race aside from Filipino. It gets you deeply, in a more significant and different approach. But really, how do you raise that Philippine flag in another country?
I guess the best picture is looking through the lens of other Pinoys who have stayed abroad for much longer than me. Each has their own story to tell on why they left the Philippines and came here to Singapore. And though they left, one similar thing has happened and that is they were able to build their own OFW community. I also learned that most of our fellow kababayans know how to stay relevant. No matter what job profession they hold, I must say they know how to incorporate the ‘Pilipino’ in everything they do. Honestly, it was nice to learn from them especially when I was just starting off, too. It made work so much lighter especially in a company of mixed races, cultures and ethnicities. Individually, the Pinoy hard work and dedication has always helped us to be more successful in our line of work. Our faith and family values have contributed greatly to our job evaluations and performances making us climb the career ladder. Nonetheless, our resiliency has led us to survive any difficult working day amidst being away from loved ones.
On my side of the lens, I believe being an Overseas Filipino Worker today is a different kind of challenge compared in the past. With the advances in digital technology, it’s refreshing but at the same time overwhelming to be a Filipino and an OFW. New themes have emerged from this, such as leaning towards acknowledging our so-called toxic cultures and on the opposite, making improved subcultures that are healthy for the home grown Filipinos. In the end, I am just trying to say that these online platforms have actually impacted us one way or the other and maintained the Pinoy in us. Hence, it did give us the chance to raise the flag with the stars and the sun up in the sky with so much pride and joy even in other shores.
I feel that social media has always placed an important role in connecting Filipinos all around the world. In my case, I used a lot of online messaging applications to contact my family and friends. It’s easier to talk to them this way especially when you are in another country. It helps combat the homesickness and keeps you updated of their whereabouts. Communicating with loved ones has become a better experience compared back in the day where the internet was not yet around.
For the past years, the world has become a rollercoaster adventure especially for us. No matter if we are abroad or in the Philippines, we continue to strive and work on the things we love most—our dreams, passion and family. The little things we do as Filipinos such as always going back to our roots and at the same time paving way to improve the Philippines’ culture is a great way to keep the Filipino experience on the right track and on the same road to success. With the new era of social media usage, I bet a new challenge waits for us and I am personally so excited because I know I will raise our Philippine flag for this, like what I learned to do today.