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Twelve years

October 21, 2011

Twelve years ago my parents told me that I was moving to the Philippines to attend Secondary School.  I was in Primary 6 that time and at twelve years old I though my Dad was only joking and didn’t take the news seriously until my flight to Manila was arranged.  To tell you frankly, I hated the idea.  It’s not because I don’t like the Philippines, in fact, I usually go back to visit my relatives during summer vacation.  But the thought of living there was a completely different story.   I could speak tagalog because it was the language used at home, but I couldn’t read nor spell properly. I remember crying myself to sleep during the first few months.  I missed the bright city lights outside our apartment window.  How I could simply go down to buy a snack anytime of the day because 7-11 was just around the corner.  Things were simple, fast, and easy.

Twelve years since that turning point, I am now in my twenties and back in Hong Kong.  Looking back, I have no regrets.  I actually have my parents to thank for sending me home to our beautiful country.  It’s not perfect, but I can’t think of any other place in this world that can better educate me about being Pinoy.  I have to admit that I did experience some level of culture-shock, but nature had to take its course.

I’ll never forget my first day in school.  I came in the middle of the school year and there was a flag ceremony.  We were suppose to sing the National Anthem… and not knowing a single line, it struck a chord in my heart.  Somehow that made me determined… and with the help of my understanding teachers and great friends, things slowly fell into place.  I graduated from high school and was fortunate enough to study in a university that I had never in my dreams thought of going to.  My experience in the Philippines helped me reconnect with my roots and form my own dreams and aspirations. I had a lot of memorable experiences but if I were to list them all down, I’d probably end up with a pretty long post.

To make this simple, I wanted to write this entry because of a cause that I, along with a few childhood friends here in Hong Kong, have committed to uphold.  We are a group of Filipinos who grew up in Hong Kong but went back to the Philippines to finish our education.  At one point in our lives we have questioned our identity as Filipinos, and as my good friend Jan shared, it is sad to hear that today, the Filipino youth in Hong Kong continue to ask themselves the same question.  I believe that through education we will be able to gain the knowledge and experience needed to reach our full potential.  And in return, use what we have learned to help others reach theirs.  With the UPAA-HK and the support of the Philippine Consulate in HK, representatives from 9 schools in the Philippines will be joining us this weekend, giving our Filipino youth here the opportunity to finish their studies and a chance at experiencing our heritage firsthand.   Join us this Saturday and get to know more about what it’s like to study in the Philippines.  Yes, this as an official invite and I look forward to seeing you this Saturday. ‘Til my next post! 🙂

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