We got home late last night from our brief trip to the Northeastern and Northwestern parts of North America… An hour before departing from our hotel in Seattle, we ducked into the Pike Place Market and loaded up two small boxes with assorted produce to take back as checked baggage. Then we texted some friends in Manila to invite them to Sunday lunch, and on the menu, whatever cleared customs inspection at NAIA (the Manila airport). I was up at 5am with jet lag, and headed to the Centris market in Quezon City to pick up some herbs and other greens and I spotted these unusually stunning yellow birds of paradise (a member of the heliconia family, is that right?). At PHP100 for three blooms, they were a bargain.
I asked the vendor what they were called, and he answered “Sexy Yellow” and that was that. If you happen to know the scientific name, please leave a comment as my gardening skills are almost non-existent. :)
As we were on our final approach into Manila last night, I couldn’t help but think that the city was pretty dark and gloomy, a zoning nightmare, a fairly ugly place. It was an extremely negative viewpoint, I know, but fairly objective I think. We had just come from some visually stunning places, and it was inevitable that I would compare Manila vs. Vancouver vs. Seattle vs. New England vs. any major international city that I would personally like to visit and revisit again and again. I can’t imagine that droves of tourists would come to Manila simply to visit the city (as opposed to visiting family, friends or conducting business) as say millions would do so for Paris, Hong Kong or New York… I suspect if there were direct international flights to Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, etc. folks would bypass Manila altogether…
But we were HOME. And extremely happy to be home. So ugly or not, it is our city, and the place we call home.
Some of these reflections probably hark back to some of our conversations during the recent eyeball in Vancouver. It was wonderful to meet folks who read the blog, but more importantly, Filipinos from all walks of life who have chosen to make a foreign city/country their adopted homes. They have raised their families there, and their children, while identifying themselves as ethnically Filipino, will be for the most part, proudly Canadian, American, etc. as well. There are perhaps more than 10+ million Filipinos who have migrated to various parts of the world in the past 50-60 years, and millions of their children will have been born and raised in a new environment, many of them rarely or never coming back to the Philippines to visit. And yet when you meet them, there is that instant spark, that affinity, that streak of Pinoy that doesn’t fully disappear… And it is wonderful.
But there is that incredible pang of “what if”… what if we simply managed our country better. Making it a place that people wanted to stay in, to live here, work here, raise their kids here? That could provide good jobs, education, etc. What if indeed. Arrggh, it must be the jetlag. My apologies… But I can’t help but think that we have run across hundreds of Filipinos on this most recent trip abroad alone (and thousands on other trips) and it seems they know what it takes to just do it. They follow the rules, they act logically when needed, they are productive citizens in their adopted homes… So is it the management or is it the citizens? And don’t get me started on our “modern day hereos” — say another 5+ million who toil abroad in all kinds of jobs, to literally bring home the bacon, and who support tens of millions of family members back home. I agree they are heroes, but shouldn’t we also take aim at the morons (I mean this collectively) who have led us to the point where we have to see the bright side of this necessary permanent and temporary diaspora? This is what happens when we take a short trip… Now back to cooking lunch. If you live abroad, please answer the current poll. Thanks.
P.S. One pahabol (added) photo of the heliconias in the wee hours of the morning… MM up with jetlag at 3am. I think they are rather striking. :)