A Personal Take on the Philippines from a Fil-Am

SM Aura Premier

SM Aura Premier (Photo credit: Roberto Verzo)

After being fortunate to have visited the Philippines on multiple occasions, I have come to really see how the country has grown (and how it hasn’t). But, that is not to say that these are some very exciting times for the country. There is something unfortunate in all this though.

Let’s not forget the poverty that still blankets the country – but that is not what I’m trying to get at with this particular blog post. I will tend to it in a future post. My point is that Filipinos, abroad, who have been born, or have left to live and work elsewhere and have not looked back; are missing out on something very promising about the very country they left behind or fail to come acquainted with.

For those of you who have not peeked at what is going on in South East Asia, not just the Philippines – now is the time to take a look at it with an dose of optimism. Lets start with specifics i’d like to cover:

  • GOVERNMENT: Whats very bright about the Philippines is that the government is finally showing signs of determination to fight corruption. As a person looking outside in, reading the news and keeping up to date with the current affairs of the country (What 20 something Fil-Am does that?) it really does look like things have been improving. President Aquino III has been going after corruption on different levels, especially with politicians and law enforcement. Don’t take my word for it, several prominent investment firms have already donned the Philippines investment grade. Which leads me into:
  • ECONOMY: The economy of the Philippines has always been the laughing stock of South East Asia for years. But from the reports I’ve read, things are looking up for the country. The middle class is growing larger and stronger each day. More people are spending more. With the remittances of OFWs that come in constantly more Filipinos have the opportunity to spend and that in-turn fuels the economy. World renowned brands are entering the Philippines. But, what still needs attention is the lower class, and aid and support is slowly tricking down with regards to heath benefits and government services. I really do hope to see things continue to improve. All of this is a start.
  • PEOPLE: One of the greatest assets of the Philippines is its youth. Most of the population who are part of the Philippine workforce are young, energetic, determined and best of all – hungry. Hungry for change. With a forward looking society ready to bring about change to their lives and the Philippines

Let’s face it, I’m not an economist in any sense. But what I do know is that change is happening. As a Filipino-American, I’m excited for the Philippines to finally get out of the rut it is in. And that is why I started this blog. To bring about the news that things are happening, and the world needs to see it.

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4 thoughts on “A Personal Take on the Philippines from a Fil-Am

  1. I just came across your blog and i find it fascinating reading a perspective of a FilAm. Please don’t take this as a knock as it’s not really. I see much of your point here and I’m especially in agreement with you as regards an energized youth driving things forward. Government, I’m not so sure. I, like you, am not any kind of economist and i stand to be corrected, but the impression I get is that booms are only benefiting the usual benefactors, the elite. Graphs and figures have been manipulated grossly by a government PR department. Yes, they need to project a positive image I know but I’m not really seeing at street level any changes. I still see rampant poverty and no means for them to climb out of it. A prosperous elite does not offer anything that appears to be trickling down and no real jobs appear to be forthcoming. Millions of those who are in work are earning 100 peso a day in provinces, maybe 150 a day in Metro Manila. This admin has used corrupt means to undermine democracy and been heavily focused on crushing rivals and exercising historical vendetta throughout. The police are still extorting, The military are still involved in scams and government agency officials are still having there palms greased. OK just an impression, but i say don’t be fooled by meaningless graphs and overstated success, little of which is credible, Just words. All I see is the same old problems and corruption at grass roots level not even spoken of, Just corruption of those that the admin in power want damaged. I want to be optimistic but I’m only seeing hollow self congratulatory mumbo jumbo speak like upgrades that are far less significant than is claimed. I hope that things are bubbling and a trickle down is coming but no signs yet, Poverty is worse from where I’m looking and I don’t even hear anything said about inflation, which is the true measure of whether people are becoming better off. PR is good right now, trickle down and fighting corruption, i don’t see it. Corona was convicted via using corrupt means for example. The straight path I’m seeing is a very twisted one. If the source of information FilAms rely upon is TFC, then don’t forget that they themselves were instrumental in putting this present admin into power for their own benefits. So therefore, can hardly be relied upon to be accurate.

    • First and foremost again, thanks for reading my blog it really is an eye opener to read different perspectives and opinions of others who write about the Philippines! Please do not get me wrong, I will be some of the first to tell you that a lot of the rhetoric coming out of the PR machines that run the Philippines must be taken with a lot of fact checking and cross referencing. Even triple checked. But from my perspective, the good news, when confirmed must be taken and ran with. And trust, you are not the first person to tell me that all these events occurring only benefit the elite. But what caught my attention (and one of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog) was from a mutual friend of mine who I met on my recent trip to the Philippines. I wore a shirt that said “Thank God i’m Filipino”. But his first reply in reference to it was “why are you proud, i’m not” I honestly was shocked but, I also get why he would have those sentiments. I see the poverty (my parents are from Mindanao), but I also have family who also came from humble beginnings and are now finally seeing some of the changes trickle down to them. Albeit the changes are slow, changes won’t happen over night. For me, its hard to not stay optimistic. Who else will be proud of their heritage but the people themselves. I’m tired of hearing the rumblings. Let’s focus on the good AND the bad. But with that, let’s get off our butts and do something about it. That’s why I love reading about these social organizations comprised with developing cities and the low income to middle class working to help these small towns and kids with nothing to have something. With industry, development, and investment on the rise, to me that spells economy which turns employment. My cousin who was unemployed for years has finally found a job after high school working for a small start up. The provinces are in dire need. And the civil unrest that has been there for ages happening in Mindanao doesn’t help either. But what gets me going is the knowing that there is opportunity just waiting to be grasped with infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and more importantly jobs for these people. The youth and formally educated need to push for this change and continue to do it. My cousin who i quoted earlier is one of those people who I hope to have change and make proud of the country again and gather with fighting youth and young adults to make changes, because they are essentially the future. With the power of social media today – it has given a voice to the voiceless. There is more outrage than ever. And that’s a good thing. More information to those who will go look for it. And more people to contact to fact check and more importantly TALK about these issues and formulate a plan. These social gatherings, million people marches, are all in part of creation of social media and I just want to be part of that spread of news and opinion. It makes me break my heart every time I visit, but I just can’t ignore seeing the changes I see each time I come back. It shocks me even here, speaking with other Fil-Ams my age, even significantly older, about events that are happening back there and to see they have absolutely NO idea. I guess in closing to this very long comment is that, I totally agree with you – but change can only be fueled by *correct* information – and just a little but of optimism.

      • Eat, i cant fault your words at all. Yes things are changing but those changes are being steered by the people who at last are realizing they vote elitist self serving dogs. That realization is the best hope. Sadly the president is among the self serving ones and his using corrupt means himself and its undeniable. I want these elitist’s out of office as till they are then people here will remain at the bottom. Its policies that suit the elite and constitution rewrote to benefit the elite that are a major factor in keeping people down and breaking up families as the constitution guarantees no work as its protectionism for the elite. Sadly this presidents family has everything to do with that and show no wish to reform that evil.

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