By Marlou Colina
We are Filipinos, which means that were are from the beautiful country of the Philippines. We aren’t just Asian, dark-skinned or light-skinned, nurses, accountants or restaurant owners. We are Pilipino. The United States is where we live, work and play, but there are 7,107 islands just across the ocean – our islands. We must never forget what we have been through and from whence we came. Too often, spoiled by western comforts, many of us donâ€™t want to look back or to even visit the homeland once we make our way abroad. But we must.
When I first sat down to write this article, I had no idea whether I should start off with something positive and inspiring, or to jump right in with the facts. What inspired me was my recent trip back home. My organization went to my home village in Cebu, where we donated food, clothing and of course make-up to the families there. And, you may think that it was heart-breaking, or even devastating; and that was the emotion I had expected as well. But, the emotion I felt as a Balikbayan was immense pride. I myself had re-discovered the beauty of the Philippines. The smiling faces, the simple pleasures and joyous lifestyle that I had almost forgotten. Not to mention, the esteem I felt knowing that as a simple stylist my efforts were truly appreciated.
The fact is that we as kababayans successfully living in countries all over the world must take the lead in re-building the economy of the Philippines. President P-Noy hit the ground running, and has passed dozens of laws to promote investment and tourism, Singer Super Star Arnel launched a pro-entrepreneurship tour to inspire financial freedom amongst Filipinos and even boxer Manny Pacquio launched his trail-blazing foundation that promotes hope and literacy in the Philippines.
Right at this moment, the US Dollar is worth over 40-times the Philippines Peso making it one of the most attractive investments for savvy investors around the globe. Scores of articles have been written celebrating the Big Boom in the Philippines; other research has named our country as the worldâ€™s leader in employment of female top executives. With all of the praise, headlines and accolades there is no reason for so many of our brothers and sisters to still live without opportunity. Let’s not become so westernized that we forget our generous heritage. If the world sees our country as up-and-coming, then so should we.
God has blessed so many of us, we are making more money than we have ever made in our lives, we have more opportunity than we ever hoped for and as a nationality, we are beloved all around the world. As we all know, what we in the States sometimes spend dining out in one month can pay for food for an entire family for a year or fund the start-up cost for a small businesses back home.
For everyone that has supported my salon’s Never Forget Campaign or for all who have donated to Mannyâ€™s Foundation, thank you. But for those that haven’t, please remember you donâ€™t need to be a celebrity, rich or a corporation to help. All of us know how easily life can improve for those back at home with just a small opportunity. So please, join us in support of our fellow Pinoys who are still back home.