CEBU

Baumgart: Boy Bawang

Inkblots

IT’S amazing to find myself still in the midst of Filipinos, even after traveling over thousands of miles.

I’m currently in Canada and the familiar chatter of Tagalog had me curiously craning my neck several times.

On my second day, my resolve broke and I had to chat up one of the cashiers at Tim Hortons.

She was from Las Piñas and currently resides in Canada. She asked what I was doing here and was surprised to find out that I was only here for vacation.

“You should live here,” she said. “It’s nice here!”

I couldn’t argue with that. Living here would be nice. Everything is more efficient, transportation is excellent, urban planning was nicely done, chances of you dying from stray bullets will likely never happen (sh*t just doesn’t happen, eyes on you, senator) and the people here are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

It makes a lot of sense why a lot of Filipinos and other nationalities end up making a life here. It’s wonderful to experience the diverse culture of different nations packed into one country.

At the 7/11, my boyfriend Rob and I bought some snacks. Much to my amusement, we found a shelf filled with different flavors of Boy Bawang, Nagaraya and packs of dried mangoes. To many Filipinos abroad, familiar flavors are missed and it’s nice to have a familiar taste of home within reach.

At the Calgary Stampede, one of the biggest rodeo and exhibition festivals in the world, you’d hear the distinct chatter of Filipinos as they travel in groups. Rob had to pull me to the side and point out excitedly at a group of Filipinos, with one wearing a distinct Sinulog shirt.

“It’s Sinulog!” he laughed excitedly.

At the food truck serving only Filipino food, a group of Filipinos were debating what familiar tastes to order. The truck offered an array of meals, including lumpia, halo-halo, and barbecue sticks.

While life for many here is wonderful, one must not forget the struggles overseas Filipino workers go through. The work they put in to send money back home, the thousands of miles of distance they put in between them and their families and the pains of missing their families and homes.

Here’s to celebrating and honoring Filipinos who live and work hard around the globe to provide for their families back home. If you have a relative who lives and works abroad, take time to honor them—and not just think of them as cash cows with your pasalubong of branded shoes and chocolate. They work hard, away from family like you, to give you a better life. Honor them.

Here’s to family away from home.


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