I was gone for 25 days. Almost totally abandoning every single work back home. I have not computed the total amount I have spent, I’m quite afraid of doing so. For 25 days, a lot of places were seen, been to, a lot of things were done. A lot of questions asked, a lot of answers, a lot of puzzles solved and a lot created.
From London to the south of France, to the old central Italy, to lower Germany, to the capital of the land below sea level and to the city of lights, one can reflect what we don’t have back home and yes, what we do have that they don’t anymore. As a friend would say, “Manila is like London a hundred years ago,” and another, “there are no fishes anymore in the mediterranean.”
Comes with development is the fact that something has to be lost. Comes with urbanization is the rape of what has been fertile and natural. Europe is a perfect example. But yes, the sensibility to preserve the salvageable (natural and most especially, man-made) is strongly felt and encouraged. It is with utmost efforts that these places or what is left of it, be preserved. Something that needs a lot of support back home.
One thing also that was most disturbing was the treatment of our kind abroad- treatment from the ones coming from the arian race and from our own kind. Yes, it is possible that a Filipino can actually go to such region just as a tourist if one perseveres and yes, it is possible that to some of us, it is still better to work in the country of our birth, regardless. It was in my train ride to Amsterdam coming from Munich that I strongly felt the discrimination. I was with a Korean whom I met in the train when we were stopped by border officials to check our passports. We were on our way to get coffee at the first class canteen. It took them ten seconds to check the Korean’s passport and mine for ten minutes and only after a series of questions, they gave me my passport. The inevitable question coming from the Korean asking what’s wrong right after was asked. I know the answer but it was very painful to explain. Brings me back to the questions asked in London, “Saang hospital ka?” “May balak kang mag-TNT dito no?” “Di talaga, nagbabakasyon ka lang?” My friend in Italy suffered the same, being a student in music. Stereotyped by stereotypes.
On the other side of things, I want to ask why am I born in my country? Having to carry the green passport with all the disadvantages that go with it. Why am I born to a country where my concept of money can actually be translated to just pence and pennies? Why am I born to a country which can boast of almost nothing to the field where I am working? And I actually don’t know the answer. Or maybe we can rephrase the questions into statements- I can be proud of my passport regardless. I can earn more than these people earning in pounds and euros if I try harder. I can work where I am most familiar with, with what we already have.
It is easy saying it actually. Well, its easier saying it now than before.