THEY say there is a Filipino in every part of the world. If this is so, the world is blessed to have them.
I traveled to the US alone, with no immediate family to fetch me at the airport or be with me through the day and night. But I was assured that my friends, who are Filipinos, would support me. True, indeed.
I did not only receive support. I received love. I received a rare warmth of accommodation from friends, families, and even people I just met.
The traits, culture, and values of Filipinos, passed on from one ancestor to another, are always alive. They are still so visible and true, even with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution.
Even if there is a rapid change in technology, industries, and societal patterns and processes, Filipinos have maintained close family ties, flexibility, adaptability, and hospitality.
Filipinos are naturally hospitable. We extend a warm welcome to our guests. We provide them with food and, if there’s time, a tour around the local destinations.
We do not leave our guests with an empty stomach. Sometimes we treat them with pasalubong or souvenirs. We make sure they create beautiful memories.
All these are the same treatments I received from Filipino friends and families. They are excited to meet friends from the Philippines and take them out.
I needed to be in California, USA, to fix the personal belongings of my brother Joel, who died here. My journey was full of mixed emotions.
The excitement of traveling to the US is paired with sadness over the death of my brother. But all these were wiped off because the same people who helped us during those times when we needed it most at the time of Joel's death are the same people who are helping me now.
Most of them we just knew in our miserable times. Until now, they have never left the family. They never left us.
Grace Napoles-Ohannessian, who did most of the work to bring the remains of Joel back home, has shown the same support to the family until now. She did most of the hosting.
Jovito C. Galaura, a former brother, never left our side and extended all his support to make sure I am safe here in the US and could pack things easily.
Fidel Japos, a retired supervisor in DepEd Davao Region, and his son, James, found time to bring me to the most unforgettable places in Fresno.
Yes, I found the most amazing scenery in the world: Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, where we can see the giant and ancient sequoia trees and the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Johnny Villones and his children and mom took time to cook delicious foods and tour me around San Diego.
Leah Diez, my mom's classmate and a retired teacher in Davao City, shared her beautiful apartment with me. She would even prepare breakfast. Really a loving mom.
The new friends from Davao, Julia and Ernesto Cuabo, helped me pack some personal belongings for Joel. Despite their senior years, they shared their energy and time to be with me. They are the epitome of humility and kindness.
My classmates, Nilda Carumba and Pamela Joy Pasno, who knew that I was in Los Angeles, excitedly communicated with me to treat me out to dinner.
Another friend, Dorena Villabroza-Robert, will treat me to another state so I can discover more places.
Other invitations are also coming in, like blessings from God. All these come from Filipino friends whose traits and values are anchored on respect for themselves and others.
How do Filipinos living in another country treat Filipinos when they visit the place? Amazing. Just amazing.
They are full of kindness and generosity. Filipinos are naturally like that.