to stay or to go

not too long ago i was dismayed to find that blogger caffeine_sparks was In a Benigno State of Mind, Benigno referring to blogger benignO, once of Filipino Voices, who is pinoy but based in australia and a notorious pinoy-basher.   no, sparks hasn’t turned into a benignO.   but she was on the road to?

I returned to the Philippines a year and a half ago full of hope, my mind filled with notions of right and justice. I had not been gone that long, but I was far away enough to have forgotten what it was like, the chaos and the madness. In my mind’s eye, home was a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. And there I was, her gallant knight. Not all believe themselves to be heroic. It takes a certain kind of conceit and delusion to believe that what one does matters in the larger scheme of things.

Since my return I made a conscious decision to climb down from my ivory tower. Ensconced in the private spaces we inhabit, we can afford to tune out the undesirable public. What we all possess in our private spaces – our families and friends, work – we have in our immediate control. The public – that jungle of common rules, common values and common spaces – are owned by no one and everyone. Here it isn’t easily discernible who are responsible, where our interests lie, what we have at stake and what we can and cannot control. Because the rules that dictate the public are arbitrary and because enforcement itself is arbitrary, it is easy to feel helpless. In such a system it often seems it is each person for herself.

A year and a half ago, I climbed down my ivory tower, afraid of the ugliness that I would see. Called to duty, the knight errant wanted to come to the rescue anyway. And here I am, a year and a half later. I have not quite earned my battle spurs. All I have are a few scrapes. I have had but a glimpse of what teems underneath our public skin. I am at once amazed and disgusted. This is my country. This is my people. This is me.

With one eye to the horizon, I ask myself these days whether these exercises in fruitlessness truly matters. Or that they work in bringing the normative in fruition. I am but a gnat, cowed by the mountain. Perhaps it is me who needs rescuing.

sparks is one of my favorite bloggers.   she was in australia taking (if i’m not mistaken) her ph.d. when i discovered her blog in 2007 and it was great when she returned, started teaching in a sosyal university in qc, and blogging on political issues, even attending debates in congress, keeping track of, among others, the RH bill.    academic but engaged, how rare, so i couldn’t help commenting and expressing my alarm over the prospect of losing her to another country.

me: i hope you don’t do a sheila coronel. that would be so sad.

sparks: i admire sheila for having stayed so long, despite all she has seen. the last nine years have been tough on many filipinos.

me: i admire more the ones who stay who don’t stop trying, just because it’s the right thing to do. when the good ones go, it makes things worse.

sparks: being filipino is costly, unfortunately. we cannot all afford to stay. if it were only me, i can manage. but i have others to think of who depend on me.

i don’t know what drove sheila to leave. perhaps her heart has been broken one time too many. or because of who she is and her work, it could be she got could no longer carry the burden of death threats.

yeah, not to speak of libel suits.   but isn’t that par for the course?   anyway sheila left in september 2006, she who founded the philippine center for investigative journalism in 1990 that played a huge part in the downfall of joseph estrada in 2001.   she left barely a month after the inquirer broke the news of apo’s jim paredes “giving up on RP” and migrating to australia, which was masalimuot because paredes denied giving up on RP and demanded an apology, even if yes, he was migrating.   in contrast, the media did not report sheila’s exit (what does that tell us about mainstream media of which she was a leading light) which was noted only on the internet.

here’s my reaction to both departures that i posted soon after in pete lacaba’s e-group plaridel papers, unedited:

—–Original Message—–

From: [mailto:] On Behalf Of stuartsantiago
Sent: 27 September 2006 16:03
Subject: [plaridel] Sheila’s (not quite) goodbye

Seems like only bloggers have heard that PCIJ head and Magsaysay awardee Sheila Coronel has left RP for greener pastures. Manolo Quezon’s blog of September 12 had a one-liner about it: “Sheila Coronel becomes an OFW. She will be terribly missed.” and a link to PCIJ’s blog with Sheila’s email from New York.

Jim Paredes migrating to Australia, I didn’t mind much; in fact it
offends me that he’s back already just because biglang me raket na daw uli ang APO, and nandito na rin lang siya, pinatulan na rin niya ang offer ng Pinoy Dream Academy. Ano yon? He did say in that Inquirer article that “I felt I’d already done too much in Manila. I experienced political fatigue. Nothing new was being discussed in Manila. I told my son: ‘There is polarization. There are no new ideas.’ People have become cynical. I had to leave. I needed to recharge. I had a good life. I want to do things in a foreign country. I told my wife I wanted to leave before I got too old.”

But no, someone convinced him that he could make a difference, and naniwala naman siya, I suppose nag-ego trip, Pinoy TV needs him (never mind that showbiz politics is no less toxic than national politics, and nothing has changed since he left). Kaya pala siya nag-hair-splitting ng katakut-takot over that headline. Kung give-up na pala siya sa RP, ano pang mukha ang ihaharap niya sa Pinoy public, ano pa ang credibility niya? Indeed: what might he inspire the youth to dream of, migrating maybe, APO style?

Sheila I mind losing. She’s not the usual OFW, she wasn’t a struggling Pinoy here with a family to feed clothe and shelter. She is a highly-regarded, highly-appreciated, highly-awarded journalist and writer. She had a good life here, she is loved here, she was close to a national treasure in my book. If she was bored na with PCIJ and wanted to move on, surely she did not lack for challenges or new arenas here. She wanted to teach, she could have taught here, opened her own school here…

Yeah yeah I know, iba na ang stateside, iba ang prestige, and besides, she says that RP will always be her home naman (sounds like a migrant to me) and that she hopes to bring back here what she learns in newyorknewyork. It troubles me that she doesn’t say how long she’ll be away. Obviously not for just a year or two, no?

Like I always say when I see precious brains draining away: (batobato sa langit) at least their values and politics, their true colors, which is a large part of the Philippine problematique, are revealed for what they are, and we can do without them for the nonce. Until they see the light, of course, and we can welcome them back with open arms and a heartfelt ‘mabuhay!’

i didn’t get a single response (typical of plaridel) except for a private email from one fil-am member who used to be my brother louie’s student in la salle greenhills, now a history professor in an american university, who defended sheila’s move.   emails flew back and forth between us until finally he conceded:

… immigrant guilt: this is a crucial point. I think guilt is a constitutive element of immigrant consciousness. As the old saw goes, you can take the Pinoy out of Pinas, but you can’t take Pinas out of the Pinoy. Even in the most pathetic expressions of disaffiliation (often caricatured in the figure of the balik-yabang who turns his or her nose up on everything pinoy, only to reveal a deep attachment to the country), there is still an abiding love for the nation. But as I said, this love can show itself in many different ways. People like Sheila perhaps are more valuable living there. But who’s to say what effects she’ll have in her temporary exile? (Can you imagine, for example, if Rizal and his generation hadn’t travelled and lived abroad for a while, what a vastly different course our history would have taken? But then again, there’s Bonifacio and Mabini who never set foot outside of the Philippines, though it’s arguable that they wouldn’t have become the revolutionary they were without the influence of people likeRizal).

As for people like me, well, who knows… All I’m saying is that from the point of view of the migrant Pinoy, there is always a moral anxiety about being elsewhere. And it is this anxiety that constantly connects him or her to the country. So when I invoke the “global” or “cosmopolitan” nature of the Philippines, it’s not a salve to immigrant conscience. On the contrary. It’s a symptomatic inflammation of immigrant guilt (and you might grant that the vernacular equivalent of this is good old fashioned utang na loob/hiya).

All of which is to say that I may have spoken out of turn by responding to your note and should have realized that I cannot possibly adequately address the sense of loss you and others must feel from losing someone llike Sheila and others like her. I should have been the one to give you the benefit of the doubt especially since I have a wealth of doubts of my own, no doubt too much to hoard for myself.

last year sheila was home for the u.p. centennial celebrations, but i found out only by accident, can’t even remember how, and she left again with nary a word or foot of coverage by the media.

in contrast jim has been around quite a lot.   i’ve seen him on tv taking part in rallies, e.g., with the national artists, and with cnn hero efren penaflorida, and of course the apo was part of the cory’s last rites.   i haven’t heard him saying much though, mostly because i’ve stopped listening to him, but apparently he has been tweeting a lot and carlos celdran found his tweets negative and depressing which is why he called paredes a “negatron” on media in focus, and raised the question of why the aussie citizen is back if he doesn’t have anything good to say about the philippines.   and so began the twitter catfight:

jimparedes: @carlosceldran I don’t have anc but ppl seem to be tweeting you claim I am an australian. If u did. Take it back.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes OK. No sweat. I take it back. And hey, If you didn’t back out from show @ last minute, you could have clarified it yourself. :o)

jimparedes: @carlosceldran Yes, you are wrong. Am not Aussie. And I’ve spent more time here than in Aus.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes Of course you have lived here longer. Duh. But do have residency in Australia? Can you stay there for as long as you want?

carlosceldran: @jimparedes I was under the impression that you mostly live in Australia and have residency? Am I wrong? So sorry for that if I am.

jimparedes: @carlosceldran When speaking about others especially when they are not present, strive for accuracy of facts.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes Of course, I agree. But with you being in Sydney a lot, it’s easy to have impression that you have Aussie residency/citizenship.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes Besides, why didn’t you go? The producers were really upset that you did it at such the last minute.

jimparedes: @carlosceldran So it was your spin that I backed out last minute?

carlosceldran: @jimparedes And let it be known, ANC came up with the subject about you. NOT ME. That’s why it was important for you to be on the show.

jimparedes: @carlosceldran And so as historian, you felt you could speak about me with authority?

jimparedes: @carlosceldran I have lived here longer the past 3 years than there. Double DUH!!

carlosceldran: @jimparedes And let’s not start again. The show was shot days ago. Before I acknowleged that you were a good guy. Peace out.

jimparedes: You always want to quickly end what you start in the first place.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes Was that last comment about ending stuff quickly for me? You forgot to add my @ name?

jimparedes: @carlosceldran YOu probably made peace because you knew there was gna be a fallout abt what you said in the show.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes OF course I want to end issues and arguments quickly. What’s the point in dragging it on? And I didn’t start it. ANC asked me.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes What fallout? Dude. Speaking of doing research before talking. How about watching the show FIRST then get back to me.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes If you think it was a jimparedes BASH fest, you are wrong. The topic was about positive and negative images in media etc.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes It’s not my spin that you backed out. It was told to us by producers and announced at beginning of show.

carlosceldran: @jimparedes Before you keep tweeting. Watch the show first. Then get back to me. And as for the fallout, as if I care what your fans say.

carlosceldran: At the end of the day, I apologize ONCE AGAIN to @jimparedes for offending him. I am sure we have more in common than not.

jimparedes: I dont need to be right or say the last word. Nuff said Peace carlos! It s christmas

jimparedes: @carlosceldran it s christmas. Lets drop this. We are bigger than petty stuff. Peace. Sincerely!

carlosceldran: @jimparedes Yes! Peace man! But glad we got to talk. I really wish we met face to face. I’m sure we would have gotten along at end. Cheers!

jimparedes: Sorry to disappoint d crowd. There aint gna b a thrilla in manila. Show’s over.

petty stuff?   nothing petty about the migration issue.   in effect, jim paredes trivializes the momentous life-changing act of migration.   he migrated, but not really.   he’s a man with two countries, eating his cake and having it too.   and feeling entitled, like most visiting balikyabangs, to behave like, and think that, he is still one of us, nothing has changed, he still belongs.

excuse me, but not in my book.    that kind of special regard i reserve for struggling pinoys who are forced to work abroad as a a matter of survival and remit their hard-earned dollars home to keep their families alive.   pinoys who would come home for good in a heartbeat if only there were jobs to be had here.

for all others, specially public figures, role models, like jim, or sheila, who had a good life here naman (relatively speaking) but who left anyway because it’s not enough or it’s too hard (how NOT zen), well, something changes.   sheila no doubt knows this, that’s why we hear nothing from her; she spares us her opinions, even when she visits.

again, in contrast, jim the negatron spares us nothing except an explanation of why he’s spending more time here than in his beloved australia.   so what’s up?   we don’t deserve to know?    it’s his private business?   but he feels free to rub it in about what a basket case we are?   why the arrogance?    it’s not that the criticism is unwarranted or baseless, but that, hey, alam na namin ‘yan, we don’t need you, who turned your back on the country, rubbing it in.   as guest, if you have nothing good to say, say nothing na lang.

well, maybe he doesn’t consider himself a guest but still a full-fledged citizen.   if so, then what’s stopping him from saying so?   dapat kaya niyang sagutin ang mga tanong ni celdran.   dapat kaya niyang i-defend his double-life.   who knows?   we might even understand, give him the benefit of the doubt.   but to refuse to explain, as though we have no right to ask, as if we should just be happy he’s back, after all the nega stuff he said three years ago to justify his migration, is simply unacceptable.   lalo na’t he has more than 12,000 twitter followers who hang on to his every word and think he is one great pinoy.  what a drag disaster!


  1. Caloy Conde

    on Sheila Coronel “becoming an OFW,” you make it sound as if she left the Philippines under circumstances similar to the hundreds of OFWs who leave the country every day, as if she has given up — like Jim Paredes perhaps — on her country. As far as I know, she is in New York because she was invited to run Columbia’s investigative journalism program. Knowing how hard she and her gang at the PCIJ has worked to promote investigAtive journalism not just in the Philippines but in the whole of Asia, it was a logical move. She comes homes quite often (just saw her a few days ago).

    This “becoming an OFW” thing may just be splitting hair but I never got the impression that Sheila left to seek greener pasture abroad or that she has given up on the Philippines. She is OFW perhaps only in the sense that she is now based in New York. But in this day and age, does this distance really matter?

  2. I totally agree with you. Hearing (this late) that Sheila Coronel has migrated saddens me. We’ve lost another good one. Every time I hear of an intelligent, well educated, healthy, and fully-functioning Filipino leaving for “greener pastures”–it sucks. Is it really that unbearable in the Philippines? And how will it ever get better if the good ones keep jumping ship?

    I’m all for broadening horizons through education and the experience that comes with travel–I mean, Rizal did it and look at what he accomplished–but I’m also all for coming home. At the rate things are going, it is our duty as Filipinos to help rebuild and heal the country. Otherwise… Afraid.

    This is a great blog, by the way. I hope 2010 is a great year for you and for the entire nation. Cheers!

  3. John Silva

    I’ve been back twelve years after being away 25 years. It’s been up and down and since I’m an optimist, I give the ups more discussion and leave the stupid downs for private conversation.

    I have had no regrets coming back. The pay is less but the difference I make here is ten thousand more times than there. I would have been just one of a thousand curators.

    When I was there, I missed this country and so I became, like many abroad, obsessed with everything Filipino. Then as luck would have it, an opportunity arose to come back and I’ve had the best time to work, enjoy and love this country, warts and all, at near senior stage. That’s one insight. Go travel and live anywhere you want, but think about coming home when the frenzied pace of the first world no longer is as exciting as when you were young.

    This whole thing of here and there is moot in a world that really has to get it together. We are now one global economy. Greedy traders in NY almost brought the whole world economy down last year. A whole world that has to respond to climate change. Where are we with reproduction rights when the birth of one child is equal footprint wise to 620 roundtrip airline flights between London and New York?

    I feel sad when people leave. So I make it a point in all my work to write persuasively why we should CONSIDER staying too.

  4. hi caloy ;) teka, it wasn’t me who called sheila an ofw, it was mlq3. sa akin ang ofw ay yung umaalis para kumita ng ikabubuhay ng pamilya nila dito. so yeah, sheila doesn’t fall in that category. does distance really matter? of course distance matters. if she were here, what a difference she would make in the struggle that pinoy journalists are dying for.

  5. I think that among the younger generation there is an increasing trend of “those who would stay”. The idea of greener pastures and the land of milk and honey was much more powerful in our parents’ generation. How could it not be, with America having ruled us for half a century and then leaving Manila in tatters after WWII?

    But the playing field has leveled somewhat. I’m of the opinion that the grass is not greener on the other side, just a different shade of green. And what encourages me to stay is the excitement of being a part of the change. I won’t lie, if we manage to get our act together within my lifetime I can’t wait to turn up my nose at those who left without really needing to.

    Of course there will always be opportunities abroad, and I have to admit that if there was a position in my field (video games) open for me in a big company outside the country, I might be tempted to take in on for a short while. The kind of knowledge you gain when working in entities that are at the top of their game can be priceless.

  6. i think benign0 left under very difficult circumstances, perhaps something to do with his family. i can’t think of any other reason why his malice seems so deep-seated.

    i was actually working in congress.

    oh, and i was only doing my masters. if i were to follow a walden bello-esque trajectory, then the philippines is only one site of struggle among many :-)

  7. Iit’s easy to understand Sparks’ waning hopes for ‘change’, admittedly it’s sometimes tough to love a people who have such a penchant for self destruction.

    I see nothing wrong with leaving, esp. if your heart is in the right place. I believe those who’d attack Mr. Paredes for choosing the best environment possible for his family (I don’t understand how any of you can judge the guy, have you been his in shoes? Do you know his family circumstances?) are ridiculously judgmental and closed minded. If the Philippines cannot provide the safety and opportunities for your daughters you’d want for them, and you as a father had the means to give them an alternative, wouldn’t you?

    I had no choice, having had no say in the matter when I was a child, but I have never lost love for my mother country, it was even strengthened when I made the decision to come back to reside for a few years. True it is incredibly frustrating having to witness daily the thieves in public office, the abysmal depths that corruption has reached, and the ‘to each his own’ attitude prevalent and obvious in everything, in even as simple as traffic, but in each ‘taint’, I am also given reasons to fight for a better Philippines: The poor but honest cab driver who returned a laptop left in the backseat of his cab, that nameless guy I never got to thank who jumped in 4 feet of flood waters to help push my stranded truck, the hungry yet bright-eyed children who found reasons to smile in the worst situations…

    There are worse things to do than leaving. I know Mr. Paredes ‘left’, but his heart is there, no matter what you accuse him of. He doesn’t stop trying to make the Philippines a better place, if not for himself, then for his countrymen. Whereas one could stay I guess, for lack of a choice or otherwise, but to lose hope, to succumb to complacency, to stop trying, even in your own little way, every single day, now THAT is the bigger sin.

    I say to Sparks: Go! Thank whatever divine entity you believe in (or not) and grasp the opportunity that it has given you and expand your horizons, make the most of your widened world view. But don’t forget to look back, because no matter how badly your heart has been hurt by the sins of the faithless few, the reasons you fought will always be there.

    Let me end before I get too sappy. The part of me that never stops trying: It’s not the part that’s left, it’s the part that has SEEN in other cultures and in other countries, what COULD BE – what the Filipino can achieve – if just given the chance.

  8. @chris: but heart, and love, are always immeasurable and invisible — even imagined. it is easy to imagine that we all have love for the nation and serve it in the ways that matter, and that these are enough, regardless of whether we are in the philippines or elsewhere.

    but jim paredes can’t just speak of heart here. he is a public figure, a self-fashioned intellectual, someone who sells himself as a credible filipino (being principal for the Pinoy Dream Academy house for example, where he mentors young artists), singing about american junk and being pinoy.

    without a doubt, jim’s moving away, saying he has given up on Pinas — the Pinas that was good to him and his family by the way (his daughter was already beginning a TV career when they left, etc.) — affects his credibility. without a doubt, moving away puts into question all these things that jim has said he believed in about this country, puts into question the kind of image he has created for himself as an artist and individual who is purportedly BY and FOR the philippines.

    the fact that jim IS a public figure obviously comes into play here. this is also what makes it problematic that after having left, he has come back for work here periodically (living here more often he says, than australia), and has felt invincible — no one should question his presence here, no one should bring up the issue of his citizenship, or his loyalties. even as he decides to continue to speak about this country as if his geography and his heart aren’t elsewhere, or haven’t been split between here and elsewhere. as if he hand’t left at all.

    this is the height of hubris. when you leave your nation in the throes of despair, and you’re of the economic status and cultural position as jim paredes, you have got to explain some things before you demand for your credibility back. unless of course you do it another way, which sheila coronel has shown everyone to do: leave quietly, and stay pretty quiet while away. and when you come back, the first thing you do is give us all an explanation — and a reason — to see you as credible again. you don’t presume credibility. you earn it.

  9. Ina, again, like all the others, you speak as if you know the guy. I am not defending him, merely stating I see nothing wrong with what he did. Unless you happen to be a close friend of the family, you don’t know what circumstances prompted the decision, so whatever judgment you make will definitely be tainted by your personal biases without regard for what truly is behind the move.

    That’s the problem with being a public figure I guess: bits and pieces of your life is laid out for the world to see and judge, and as much as you’d like everybody to understand each of your actions, to do so would require you give up more of the dwindling privacy each person cherishes. A double-edged sword?

    To question the man’s motives and integrity, however inclined you are in your beliefs, is to question his whole life. Paredes has spent decades of his life (longer than I was alive) giving the Filipino reasons to love their own, and yet when he does something he felt he needed to do for his family (surely you don’t think he went there to find fame and fortune?), you question his credibility?

    Do you think can use the same “you abandoned your motherland, you have no credibility” argument on all the OFWs?

  10. Never heard of this, about Jim Paredes, I mean.

    As for Sheila Coronel. It’s a good move being at Columbia. She gets more kudos for less effort. The only way she gets her due here is if she sweats blood. Our people rely too much on second-hand opinion when they judge others. Let her have her years at Columbia. The position is quite impressive as well. Maybe she is writing an important book–that will make her stay there truly worthwhile.

  11. Besides, Angela, what’s stopping Coronel from helping change the Philippines when she’s there. Isn’t it a fact that a word from abroad carries more weight than a word spoken here in Pinas?

  12. People, please understand that Jim has his own reasons why he decided to migrate. It is really for the future of his family. But that doesn’t mean he lost his love for his country. As to why he returned to Pinas? Because he’s an artist and he still wants to contribute.

    So let us just respect what a father and a husband will do for his family. Remembering also that until his last day, he will be a Filipino artist. Sa puso, sa salita at sa gawa.

    There are more than 100,000 Filipinos here in Australia. We might have the Australian citizenship but we never forget being Filipinos.

    Re: Sheila Coronel. Pagbalik-bakitarin man ang mundo, she will always love Pinas. Please don’t make it difficult for Pinoys leaving our country if there are valid reasons. And there are hundred reasons. Hindi porke umalis kami diyan ay tinatalikuran na namin ang bansang Pilipinas. We return in so many ways the rewards and benefits we are getting here.

  13. hey ina, musta? discovered your blog while searching for news update on sarah raymundo’s tenure.

    about sheila coronel, kung ka network mo isa sa mga writers sa pcij perhaps you can get a scoop. sheila left for reasons that do not involve death threats or her “giving up” on rp and and all that jazz. media’s silence about her is conspiratorial. i wanna think it’s actually a form of respect for what she’s done for philippine press.

    about jim, obviously may silbi pa ang philippines sa kanya kaya siya bumalik. but i don’t agree that just because he emigrated to australia and came back for a second chance at his career he now doesn’t have the right to say bad things about the philippines. his changing of citizenship should have nothing to do with his diatribes against the philippines. his nega moments should be criticized for what they are, and not because of his citizenship. i get the sense that you feel he’s less filipino for leaving the country and therefore has less right to criticize it. nationalism/patriotism has nothing to do with being nega. besides, he is no-less filipino for being middle class and emigrant to Australia than mang pabling who can’t leave the country. surely, there’s more to being filipino than class status and migration.

    sabi nga sa kantang anthem (from chess the musical) “my land’s only border lies around my heart”. char char

  14. You guys give too much credit to Pinoys for saying they were “good to Jim Paredes”. There is nothing good about Pinoys’ admiration for Jim’s music. There is nothing bad about it either. In fact it is morally irrelevant. Jim’s delivery of good music to Pinoys and their appreciation of it is no more than a COMMERCIAL transaction. Jim and Apo developed and sold a good product and their fans paid good money to avail of it. Try to spin romance around that simple and UNIVERSAL commercial transaction and you simply come across as the sort of fool that falls for the empty campaign rhetoric of the politicians you presume to critique.

    By the way Ms sparks, to set the record straight, I didn’t leave the Philippines “under difficult circumstances”. Life there in those islands described in history books as “the Philippines” was ok as it usually is for people who grew up in the right family and company, who enjoyed the right connections, and studied in the right school (i wouldn’t be able to write as brilliantly as I do if it were any other way). But unlike most Pinoys, I don’t enjoy succeeding under such circumstances. I’d rather slug it out on a LEVEL playing field (such as what one can find in a more egalitarian society like Australia) and claim my success as an adult as truly my own (unlike some “presidential” candidates there). I am eternally grateful for my folks for giving me much of the upbringing and education that gave me such a HUGE headstart in life. But then that’s really nothing too different from what ANY decent parent would try their darndest to give their kids. And for my part, that is something i am now doing NOW. It’s not any more complicated than that (certainly not in the way other “migrants” like Jim make it philosophically complicated for themselves).

    But do keep on guessing. ;-)

  15. I hope you don’t mind me butting in but I saw the link to your blog from Benign0’s reply through UMFV.

    I think it’s pretty lame for some Filipinos to think that just because someone has already migrated elsewhere, they don’t have the right to criticise the Philippines anymore. Filipinos in living in the Philippines do not have the monopoly of love of the country. More often than not, Filipinos who have been in the country far too long are the ones who have been desensitized and are already lacking empathy towards people who are suffering. I was even laughing at a friend who said that because of Efren Penaflorida’s work, the plight of the poor has been highlighted. I said to him “Does that mean Filipinos are blind or something?!”

    People have different reasons for leaving. Migration is not a new phenomenon. It’s not even exclusive to Filipinos. Even animals migrate to greener pastures.

    Please check out my blog Between Poverty and Ignorance.

  16. Die_Hard Noypi

    i am an ordinary OFW whose sense of nationalism is to eat “chicken adobo” and drink “buko juice”. If public personality like Jim Paredes and like hard=knocks Sheila leaves the country to professional enhancement and pursue greener pastures for peace of mind and family interests, thats all inconsequential to us who only economic interest is to help philippine economy float from the savages of greed and global manipulation.