Nostalgia is the unforgiving curse of nationalistic Filipino immigrants. These immigrants are prone to periodic bouts of longing for their home country. They dream of sandy beaches and clear blue waters, warm sunny days and bright green rice fields with young rice plants swaying in the breeze. They could almost hear guitar music and singing as young folks entertain farmers planting or harvesting rice. They could almost smell and taste the rice cakes the farmers eat when they take a break from their back-breaking chores even though these memories of their youth seem so far away now and long ago.
During holidays, especially Christmas, they miss the colorful lanterns and joyful caroling, the shopping malls turned into Christmas wonderlands, church bells ringing in early dawn to announce the traditional early morning Mass and the reward of sweet purple rice cakes for breakfast. Or they would suddenly develop a craving for tinapa or lechon and other favorites found only in a Filipino kitchen.
Even though they have progressed in their adopted home far away and done well in a foreign land, they are constantly reminded of their native land and the chances afforded them by their Philippine heritage. When asked what they miss most about the Philippines, Canadian Filipinos listed family and friends, customs and traditions, food, touristic spots and sunny days.
It had been estimated that if Philippine society had “invested” about $6,000 per year, on average, in feeding, housing, clothing, educating, training and nurturing every Canadian Filipino before they migrated to Canada at age 42, it would have invested approximately $252,000 per person of working age. It is money well spent because when these immigrants arrive in Canada, they hit the ground running because they have education, language capabilities, professional competence and technical skills. Their contributions to Canada, aside from salaries earned, taxes paid, investments made, and goods consumed, is the quality of service rendered by people who are competent, industrious, smiley and caring because of their Philippine values and upbringing.
Majority of Canadian Filipinos who came to Canada to seek better opportunities had no problem finding them. Life in Canada has been good for them and their families. How do these Canadian Filipinos who have done well in Canada show their love and gratitude to the home of their birth and nurturing that prepared them to succeed in Canada?
In just 6 months, on May 9, 2022, Filipinos will be electing a new president, a vice president, 12 senators and an assortment of government officials. Over 90 have officially filed their certificates of candidacy for president alone making what used to be a serious and highly respected and significant process a mockery of democracy in the country.
In this coming circus of an election, how can Canadian Filipinos save their Bayang Magiliw from the graft and corruption of greedy trapos, incompetent celebrity-politicians and dynastic families wanting to continue in power to enrich and fatten themselves at the public trough?
Eleanor R. Laquian for the CFNet Editorial Board