Its just 30 days from now when I hope to be in the Philippines. This trip I will be taking my children Jessa (16) and Rich (11) with me. This will not only be their first trip outside the United States but also their first trip to the Philippines.
I can’t help but wonder how they will react, what will their feelings be. The Philippines is not like the America the have grown up in, there they will not have the comforts and conveniences that they have become so accustom to in America. For them it will be a whole different world, a world where they will have to adapt to a lifestyle and customs they are not wholly familiar with. Even the “Mano” is foreign to them and I can see in their faces how awkward they feel having to perform it. I keep telling myself “I should have” I should have taken them sooner, I should have made the Mano a part of our lifestyle here in America, I should have learned not only our dialect but Tagalog as well so that I could have passed these things to my children.
Growing up an ABF (American Born Filipino) you are not really exposed to everything Filipino, even less in my case because I am half Filipino and half Anglo American. My Anglo American side didn’t promote the Filipino culture with me at all, but that’s a whole other story. My lolo, lola and barkada are the ones that helped me learn and know what its to be a Filipino. They are the ones who promoted growth in my Filipino heritage and culture. But even then I wasn’t fully provided all of my Filipino culture because my lolo and lola tried to assimilate in to America and in to Americas culture. They came to America at a time when Filipino’s were treated and looked upon as no better than dog’s, discrimination of Filipinos was much the same as how Black’s of that era were treated. It’s ironic when you think about it; Filipinos were in North America long before the First Anglo’s yet, America discriminated against them and called them foreigners, even those born here.
I am a 2nd generation ABF and my children 3rd and now in these, my later years in life I realize just how much of our culture has been eroded away by distance, time and the American lifestyle.
Still, even though my children and I don’t follow the some of ways of our culture, I have worked to keep the history, pride, love of heritage, culture and the Philippines in our family. Most 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc… ABF’s know only that they are “Filipino” but lack the basic knowledge of what a Filipino is or should I say what it is to be a Filipino, I guess both really. My Children know what it means to be a Filipino and I hope that our trip to the Philippines will instill even more of it in them. I hope it will help answer all those questions a child asks when he begins to wonder “Who Am I”
No matter what I know this will be an awakening for them. If nothing else it will show them just what they have in America. So many people take the simple freedoms they have here for granted, so much so everyday they give up rights to some simple freedom without a second thought. They will finely understand what we as parents mean when we say “Eat all your food, there are children going hungry today,” they will understand our family, history being able to see places and ways of life we have talked to them about and they will understand how fortunate they are to have the things and freedoms they have here in America.
I’m going to video tape our journey there and edit it in to a documentary of sorts on our return and recorded to DVD. Since recently been laid off it will fill my idle time and give the kids and their kids a view in to the Philippines and our family. Each place we go will be a different experience for them. From Business and shopping areas of Makati to their mothers barangay and family in Sampaloc, to my families barangay on island of Bohol, to Janet’s and our new families barangay and region of Bicol. From Volcanoes, to waterfalls and lakes in-land to deserted island camping trips and ferry trips offshore.
I hope it will be a trip they will remember and cherish for the rest of their lives.