Monday, January 18, 2010

Alive



The December trip to the Philippines is over. I have returned to the US, yet my spirit drifts astray and remains unsettled. This is an ongoing perturbation and tribulation for me--an ambivalence that has been bothering me for several years now. It is a longing to live in the Philippines but not being able to do so.

Understandably, there is a financial sustainability issue. Money is harder to come by in the Philippines than it is in the US. This does not mean, however, that there is not significant money to be made in the Philippines; it's just rarer to find such lucrative opportunities in the Philippines. Thus, why not live in the US and just visit the Philippines from time to time? Herein lies the issue.

I could continue the routine of making a living in the US and then take vacations to the Philippines. Yet, this entails long stretches of drudgery while in the US in exchange for short periods of bliss in the Philippines. Not to mention that these long stretches will get even longer as more permanent employers will not tolerate regular month-long leaves.

Also, there is a difference of taking a vacation in the Philippines and actually living there. Vacations typically involve extreme actions, while residing in a place allows one to unite with the society and environment in a more moderate manner. Let me explain...

My situation right now involves this: In the US, I go to school, and I go to work. I study hard, I put in my hours of work, I sleep, and I eat. And I am not exaggerating when I say that that is mostly what I do in the US. My social life is nonexistent. I can truthfully say that I have no real friends in the US. This, however, is neither the fault of mine nor of my American peers. The reason for the lack of connection is the cultural difference. In essence, we are talking about the difference between dogs and cats; they both walk on four legs and can get along on occasion, but in general they typically do not share the same interests, yearns, and dispositions. I was born and brought up in the Philippines and I have a stronger affiliation with Filipino culture. It is really that plain and simple. Thus, in a way, since I am culturally Filipino, I am not really "living" in the US but merely just making a living. But to convey it to those who have trouble understanding, I shall expound more on this matter...

In the Philippines, I am appreciated. This was apparent to me during my early childhood in the Philippines and also now as an adult. Whether it is because of my Filipino-American features, my fluency and my ability to express myself in the language of Tagalog, my embodiment of the essence of the Philippines, or something else, to me the reason does not matter. In the Philippines, I am treated as something special, while in the US I am seen as just ordinary--and in some ways, even less than average. I sometimes make the analogy that in the Philippines I am treated as a prince, but in the US I am just another peon. So, if you place yourself in my shoes for a moment, can you blame me if I would rather reside in a place where I am a paladin rather than in a place where I am just a pawn?

But setting that aside, there is a balance to life that I seek, which makes it complete and fulfilling. Yes, we need money. So, by requisite, we generally must go to school and work. Yet, this does not constitute a complete and fulfilling life. As the days, months, and years pass... time during my youth which I cannot bring back, I realize what I have been missing. I want to be able to interact with classmates and co-workers on both a formal and informal/casual level. I want to have friends that I can do activities with in the afternoons or on weekends. I want to mix my academics with sports and clubs to build friendships and relationships with compatible and like-minded peers. I want to work with people who I can connect with and talk with during lunch and breaks so that work will seem less like drudgery. I just want a more balanced life, especially in the social aspect of it. In essence, I want to feel alive. These years of my youth continue to tick away never to return and these experiences that I seek are not obtained from a vacation but from truly living.

When my co-worker here in the US asked me the other day, "Why is it that you seem like a completely different person when the Philippines is mentioned? The only time I see you smile is when the topic of the Philippines comes up. It's like night and day...," I could only nod and answer, "It's because I am [a completely different person]."

This is why my spirit continues to drift in a sea of ambivalence. Thus, I plead and make an appeal to any individual, faculty, or any organization with able capacities who may be able to assist me in my endeavor. I also provide my resume to anyone who might have potentially helpful contacts.

Many people have asked me in the past and continue to ask me, "David, what is the 'golden coconut' that you have been searching for?" It is contentment from a life fulfilled. And one major step in that direction is my dream to be able to reside in the Philippines in a way that is acceptable to my loved ones and without any inhibitions.

Below is a slide show of some of the pictures from my most recent trip to the Philippines. I will write individual entries and post more of the pictures as time permits, so stay tuned to the blog.

To view a larger version of the slideshow, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvmJFptgKd8

This slideshow has music, so turn up the volume.

37 comments:

Eric said...

Hi David Eric....I strongly agree with you....leaving Philippines is so hard to describe but I really have to since the grass is more greener than the other side of the world..I think Philippines has been on "Brain Drain" thing the reasons why Pinoy professionals and skilled workers keep on leaving the motherland because as you say:"it's just rarer to find such lucrative opportunities in the Philippines". Just letting you know how painful and tears kept on falling,why I have to leave the country for a living.....hope our government would do something....
I am honestly inspired by your blog the reasoned I am blogging too.

sean said...

u should be given a some sort of a patriotism award...everytime i read ur blog...u just bring back my pride a pinoy...hope u could find that golden coconut anytime soon...also i have never thought of going somewhere else, i'm very much contented to be here...hopefully u could visit davao next time u visit the country...i'm sure ull be smiling the whole day, thinking about the people and the place...

OFW said...

God boy, you move me with your words and artistry. This is unbelievable, you are more Filipino than many pure-blooded Pinoys! ...You should be treasured by our motherland. I hope someone out there can help you. I think you would make a great ambassador or leader of our Pilipinas, among other things!! Mabuhay ka kababayan!

Anonymous said...

i cried reading this,, i wish you happiness coconuter!

Anonymous said...

Although my presence is here in the US, but my heart and mind belongs to the philippines. It is really hard to be apart w/ the family, if I could only have something to start with my former business I would prefer to stay there for good, where life is easy and relaxing. But sad to say we need to work and save a lot of money for the plans we are longing for. David, I can relate on what you had felt , just pray to GOD and HE will listen to your suplications. And thank you for continous posting in your blog.

Jerick said...

got a few comments david:

1.) your resume is amazing! haha!

2.) i'm glad (more like relieved) that you're back there in the US.

3.) may you find life's ultimate purposes.

Anonymous said...

SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS! all these God-given talents and skills, but this young man's dreams cannot be reached :(

broV said...

Wow. ...... I've read blogs, but never have I actually felt or experienced them other than through this blog. This gave me goosebumps. I pray that you can reach your dream as soon as possible. Other than that, I'm speechless.

berT said...

If you used this article and this slideshow right now as your presidential campaign, I WOULD VOTE FOR YOU in a heartbeat. I would actually love to watch your video each time it comes on TV. The difference with the rest? Your intentions are pure, your words are honest, and your feelings are from the heart. You are a rare gem.

lester said...

i hope your readers proactively help you search for opportunities. kasi, with that kind of resume, it's impossible that you won't find a good opportunity...even here in the phils. plus, add your looks and physique...really impossible that you can't find something good here. there are several american and foreign companies here. you just need the right contacts. i hope your readers can help.

Anonymous said...

you will really enjoy college here David! it's a very enriching and engaging experience and i am sure you will make lots and lots of friends (as well as useful contacts). la salle, ateneo, and up diliman are some good ones to look into. i am sure they would be more than happy to work with you in transferring your credits :)

Anonymous said...

uhm.. Hewlett Packard, IBM, Texas Instruments? .. lots of companies here, just let your fingers do the walking!. the key is getting your foot in the door

JEPOI said...

Why don't you live here for good? There are many beautiful islands. Maintain a blog and let it earn for you. Live in an island, and explore more.

Anyway, we are stuck in a capitalist world. It's difficult to escape. But someday...

http://insidemybackpack.blogspot.com/

efd said...

dear david,
i am really sad that you too are experiencing the ofw syndrome. that is, you would rather stay in the philippines if you could only make enough money to make your life financially stable. in my humble opinion, you should follow your heart. the bible says it clearly : for where your heart is, there lies your treasure.
efd

jam said...

You're such an inspiration :) keep it up! I enjoyed reading your blog... I'm also Proud being Pinoy...

aajao said...

you can easily enter show business here (in Manila) and earn more. then you don't have to leave the land you love most :)

PS. of course, your privacy will somehow be affected if you become an actor.

Anonymous said...

You hit it bulls-eye David. I can sympathize with your agony of having to just exist here but not live at all. People repeatedly say that my husband and I are so lucky to have worked here in the U.S. While it is true on the financial aspect it is downright wrong on the social and emotional aspect.
I know a lot of Pinoys who are happy here coz they have all the money they've only dreamt of before and because of that they could be 'somebody' in the Philippines. But that is for them. Some of us here are better off there in the Philippines because without the money to brag about, we know that we can make a difference and still accomplish something for the Filipino community.
I might be living in the greatest city of the world which is NYC but still it can't compare to Cebu City which I call home. People in that city are way happier, balanced and fulfilled than half of the the people who exist here in NYC.

Anonymous said...

David, try to read TRUST ME, IT'S PARADISE blog. It's about this local girl who was raised abroad but decided to live in Boracay to follow her dreams. She made money out of what she can do. She's also inspiring.

On the other hand, why don't you apply/audition for Pinoy Big Brother? I think you are such a catch for them. You already have a following. Think about how you will be able to publicize yourself in that show. You will surely get the job that you want. Just be ready with some solid educ'l background. Our country might be poor but you know how everyone takes educational attainment seriously.

Anonymous said...

Familiar faces :) Being in sort of a small town where there are not many pinoy comunities. You maybe consider relocating to someplace like California or Dallas, TX (Texas Instruments, IBM, etc.) where there are plenty of jobs available. Plus they are always in need of people who are fluent in a second language. And this will help you find peers of your age & young families that you can hang out with that are from the same cultural backgrounds. Sometimes you may have to leave your family for a few weeks to stake out the area, get employed, and then have the family join you a little later. Best of luck I hope things work out for you and your family.

chuva said...

On the other hand, why don't you apply/audition for Pinoy Big Brother?

I agree! You can easily be chosen for it. It's another milestone and a fun one at that. Maybe you'll be discovered as an actor (Sam Milby)?

Good wishes to you and your family.

Chuva

Coconuter said...

@chuva: Pinoy Big Brother and showbiz in general does sound more and more enticing as I realize it takes a considerable amount of money to reach my dream of living in the Philippines...
I have to admit, my patience is growing very (very!) thin. I am thinking everyday about my options and about myself in general (especially the courage to make my own decisions without letting others weigh on them so much).

Coconuter said...

In addition to that, I feel like my course of study isn't really my passion at all--but rather just a learned skill. I feel as if I have so many talents that are going to waste (and talents that I would rather capitalize on--and would enjoy!). I think the key may be to finding and networking with the right people who can help.

czar said...

Yah, your right David! i think you need to look for the right people to help you out for your dreams. Try to find best person that could help you a lot other your friends right now. If they are your friends, why until now still you are clueless and having the hard time deciding. Good idea to network with the right people. Take care David and good luck.

NETworker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rogest_25 said...

ha! after reading your blog & watching your video and read some of the comments ... you made me proud to be a Pinoy and you made me cried men... you touched every Filipinos heart... keep it up! and do more blog... i will share it as long as i can... for info your my friend in friendster.. fan on facebook...friend in youtube...friend in here...in short BIG FOLLOWER...hehehe...thanx...

Coconuter said...

@rogest_25: Thanks for the strong support! Except, I just wanted to let you know that I don't have a Friendster profile so the person you have added there is not me.

Mabuhay ka!

don said...

Wow! good to hear from you again david you went back dito sa Pilipinas and I think you really had fun.

I'm a regular reader of your blog and it always inspire because of your patriotism. Keep it up and God Speed. :-)

chanserrano said...

ei david, aksidente ko lang nabasa yung blog mo pero aaminin ko sa yo, WOW.. ang ganda ng blog, actually dati ko pang gustong gawin yang ginawa mo kaya lang dahil sa kahirapan, hindi ko magawa, pero ngayon may kaonti ng ipon plano ko talagang libutin pilipinas kasi para sa akin, mas maganda pa din ang bansa natin, kaya congrats sa yo.. impress talaga ako sa yo.. regarding sa tshirt, may naoorder ba sa yo? paano ba umorder? dito ako singapore kaya paano ako makakabili at least man lang dito maipakita ko yung appreciation ko sa mga ginagawa mo.. More power ulit...

Robert said...

Maybe the coconut you've been looking for, is only at the top of nose.

I hope you'll find it soon.

Coconuter said...

@chanserrano:
salamat! natutuwa ako na nagustohan mo =) regarding sa t-shirts, magpopost ako ulit tungkol doon... balak ko kasi i-paprint na lang jan sa pilipinas para mas mura ang cost sa mga gustong bumili... siguro within 1 week mapopost ko na ang mga detalye, hintayin niyo na lang... thanks!

matanglawin said...

na inspired ako sa story mo at sa slide show.. ;-) you rock! more of these pls.. thaks for giving us hope.

matanglawin said...

thanks for giving us an inspiration! your slide show and those words--sobrang inspiring! more posts pls. and again thanks for giving us hope.

Anonymous said...

Pinoy will always be Pinoy. We may have left the country but as they always say back home, "hanggang sa muli!"

Anonymous said...

i am unable to watch your photos, its blocked

Anonymous said...

tnx for giving us an inspiration....
ur story touch my heart.....
more post poh uli...

Czaldy said...

great to see Davao(Samal) in the video!

Ranelie Y. Olmos said...

i truly touch by story. napadaan lang kc i am planning to visit Marinduque!
ang galing ng mga shots mo! you're so young yet mature enough to see and feel the situation of our country. God Bless You and your family.

Post a Comment