I’ve got so many reflections while spending the holidays in Sydney Australia with my family and Rezza.
I’ll make this a mosaic of random thoughts about the Philippines and being Filipino.
It includes some of my facebook status messages from the past days.

Ka Edong Reflections in Sydney
Ka Edong Reflections in Sydney

Masaya sa Pilipinas

Two days before the launch of the tourism campaign,
my brother-in-law told me he visited the Philippines every year when he was a bachelor working in Australia.
He preferred travelling to the Philippines more than US or Europe.

His reason:”Masaya sa Pilipinas, eh.”

And then the launch of the tourism campaign:

I just thought: “DOT read my brother’s mind (and thousands other’s minds and feelings)! They hit it right!”

Let’s support this campaign. Many things are indeed more fun in the Philippines!

Big Philippines

I realized today: The Philippines is bigger than it’s geographic borders. The Philippines is it’s people, spread around the world.

Claim it, Philippines!

Barely 36 hours since launch, I therefore declare the tourism campaign #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines … A SUCCESS!
I claim it for the Philippines, a country and people infinitely blessed by our good God!

– Amb. Edwin Ka Edong Soriano
Philippine Ambassador to all he meets

More fun indeed

In a family gathering, I was talking with pamangkins in Sydney, ages 16-19.
Grew up in Australia, with visits to the Philippines.
More than three times from different people, they told me in various ways “It’s more fun in the Philippines”.
Indeed, the campaign slogan is something that resonates with people, unites Filipinos. Sarap maging Pinoy!

New Pinoy Thinking

We attended Sunday service at Hillsong, Australia.
There, we met Nadya, a Filipina who migrated to Australia in the early 1980’s.

She shared the sentiment that “It’s more fun in the Philippines” especially during the holidays, with all the family members in the Philippines, food, festivities. She shared that here in Australia, to have a feel of the Philippine Christmas, they would gather Pinoy family friends and celebrate together. I told her: “There’s a patch of the Philippines here in Australia!

She described how back then they had a “brotherhood” of Pinoy migrants. But through the years, many more Pinoys came to Australia and she no longer felt the brotherhood. I explained to her that the Pinoy brotherhood is still there,  it’s happening many times more than before, but it’s happening in groups outside her circle.

She commended me, told me: “I like how you think.”

Thank you. I like how I think too :D .

Easy to help

Nadya also encouraged my brother and I to migrate to Australia. She explained that it’s so much easier to help our countrymen when earning in Australian dollars. One pound of sweat in Australia is paid many times more than the same effort in the Philippines.

That was Nadya’s way of helping. And it’s all good. I realized that for many Filipinos living abroad, it’s important for them to help the Philippines … and that one of the easiest ways is to send money back home. I see.

I feel this is why Fil-Ams are such a big fan of Willie Revillame’s show. Because they see right before their very eyes how Willie is able to help people, right there and then. That act, that gesture of giving money to a fellow-Filipino in need — that is an act that many Filipinos abroad want to do. (I don’t agree with how Willie does it, but I do understand why he’s big with Filipinos abroad).

Helping the Philippines abroad

On the other hand, I felt that there are many more ways to help the Filipino. This thought has helped me become more creative:

The Philippines is bigger than it’s geographic borders. The Philippines is it’s people, spread around the world.

For instance, while in the car here in Australia, I heard a Filipino radio program. They were playing a radio drama spoken in Filipino.

I also found Filipino publications for the Filipinos in Australia, published here in Sydney.

I started to think: The people behind this radio program and these publications — they are serving the Philippines. They are serving the Filipinos in Australia, a patch of the Philippines here in Australia.

Buy low, sell high

I’ve also been thinking about what’s affordable in the Philippines that’s valuable in Australia. Buy low, sell high.

Labor is one. For the same amount of work, we earn, say for example, 10 times more in Australia than we earn in the Philippines.

Tourism is another. Australian dollars go a long long way in the Philippines, much more than in Australia.

Oneness once again

I’m utterly delighted when Filipinos are drawn to become one. I feel it when Pacquiao has a bout. I felt it in Cory’s wake. I felt it in the bayanihan of Ondoy and Sendong.

That’s why I’m so excited about our tourism campaign “It’s more fun in the Philippines”.

Finally here is something that brings Filipinos together as one, and with fun!

And it’s bringing us together not based on tragedy (Ondoy, Sendong) or death (Cory’s passing away) or ousting a leader (EDSA revolutions).

This tourism campaign is bringing together Filipinos all around the world with one resounding voice, saying “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

I love it that we’re all coming together, and with fun!

The Filipino Abroad

OFWs are Filipinos working abroad to earn money to send back home. I feel the OFW segment is highly evolved. There are products, services, programs that cater specifically for the OFW.

But it’s not the same for the Filipino families who reside outside the country. This segment is under-served. We don’t even have a commonly used term to refer to this group. What are they? Overseas Filipino Families (OFF)? Or maybe Overseas Filipino Migrants. How about Filipinos Living Abroad (FLA).

Let’s start with that, can we? Let’s have a name for this group and then we can start serving them better. And we can start empowering them better. Or should I say, we can start empowering us better. ;-)

ka edong
sa Australia 

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