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USA -- The Final Destination Ever since the means to emigrate became available, Filipinos had been traveling and living all over the world. They form a large part of the work force (Technical, Management and Medical) in the oil rich countries of the Middle East. They scattered throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. This skilled and educated group has managed to blend into the working class of almost every major city. Pinoys have this in common with the Jews and the Chinese. As they say that Philippines spent 400 years in the convent and 40 years in Hollywood. Philippines was a colony of Spain for over 400 years, sold to the United States 1898 upon the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Since then, the Filipinos had been enthralled by the idea that the United States is all frazzle and dazzle as the life  portrayed in the silver screens. People anywhere in the world go to the movies to escape reality. What is seen on the screen is what is usually perceived. The Filipinos are not exempted. Colonial mentality, or the idea that the other countries have so much more to offer than their own, remained in the minds of the majority of the population. This is not to imply that these seafaring Filipinos are less patriotic than those who stayed. They have more valid reasons to leave the country other than to see Disneyland, Hollywood, and snow. More importantly, Filipinos immigrate to join families and to seek better opportunities in which they are more likely to succeed and be rewarded than to stay in the Philippines. The Philippines is often branded as the only turtle in the school of fish. While the other countries in Southeast Asia, like Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, are becoming shining stars of the international market, foreign investors are still hesitant to establish their business in the Islands. Despite the improvement on the Political scenario and crime control (confiscated about 50,000 illegal firearms and over all crime record is the lowest among most countries 13.8/month as compared to 471.7/month in the US) the majority of the population still long for the greener pastures. Even though there is a wide variety of places where Filipinos venture to, the United States remains to be the favorite and the final destination for most. In the early 1900's, agricultural workers could make the astonishing sum of two dollars a day. At the time, the Philippines was a US possession (an out come of the Spanish-American War) and Filipinos could enter the US with few restrictions. There was also a high demand for skilled agricultural workers in California. In this respect, the dynamics for Filipino immigration have been little different from those that have existed for the Chinese, Japanese, and the Mexicans. They came equipped with skill, experience, and education. But why to the United States? There are some special conditions that make the US a desirable destination for Pinoys. The Philippines is second only to England in the size of its English speaking population, a decided advantage for anyone coming to America. Every Filipino is required to learn English. For the educated/professional Pinoy that consisted of the "Third Wave" of immigration (1965-), coming to the US is a lot easier than going elsewhere. Since the early twentieth century, the Philippines has had a very close cultural, political, and economical relation with the United States. Filipinos come from an education system that was largely founded by the Americans. Under US "rule" the Americans began a massive educational effort where they introduced the American education system in the Philippines, including the induction of English as a national language. With such strong American representation in the Philippines, it seems only natural that they would want to come here. It is what seems and feels most familiar and most close to home. Many Filipinos admire America and want to be like Americans because of that influence. These things make the shift much easier for Filipinos than for many other emigrants. Since Filipino immigration to the US has been going on for some time and on a large scale, despite the interruptions brought on by WWII and post-war restrictions, Filipinos who come to the US can connect with established Filipino communities, if not family members who have preceded them. They have an established network. "It's like a viscous cycle; families come to the States, and invariably they leave behind other members that hope to someday come and join them stateside. When those family members come to the US, they leave yet others that want to come. And so on. Family ties tend to be strong in the Philippines, and in some cases, so strong that members desire to stay a family, not only in blood but in location. Consider my friend. His parents moved to a town in northern New Jersey in the early stages of the "Third Wave". Now, a large part of his extended family lives in that TOWN (not just the state!)."- Aris Esguerra Again, the promise of more money, a better life, more opportunities. The US was founded on that unique concept, which is the same reason Filipinos want to come here. Here are a few responses from the Internet Survey: "Opportunity, better living conditions, things you see on t.v. like Baywatch, the chance to give your family a better life, to live the "American dream"-- Linde Lantion "Economic opportunity, equal opportunity, I America if you have a profession and willing to work hard you can be successful." -- Albert Santa Romana "My parents came here in the late 1960s to get their master's degrees, and they decided to stay because they wanted their children to have opportunities they never had. A lot of people come here for that reason: it's the chance at a better MATERIAL life. By material, I mean a better standard of living, money to send home to the Philippines, opportunity for advancement in companies." -- Aristotle Aure Esguerra Contrary to the old adage that Philippines is "Juan Tamad (John the lazy one), they are very hardworking. They are the few people who would volunteer to work double shifts and overtimes, keeping in mind the welfare of the family back home and looking forward to the next visit to the islands. Pasalubong , the Balikbayan Box, foreign exchange and telephone bills are the most familiar words in a typical Filipino home. The United States is still the famed land of milk and honey and melting pot of the world. Opportunity is still big in this country. Meaning, hard work and patience are still the key factors to better standard of living. The funny thing is, the Filipinos in the Philippines think that "money grows on trees in the States." Im not sure how true, but if it is, Filipinos will be picking trees. For as long as the torch of Liberty glows and as long as the American Dream live, the Filipinos will keep on coming. While other countries serve as mere stepping stones, the States is the final destination for majority of emigrating Filipino. Note: To the retiring kababayans, the ultimate destination is going back home. This paper reflects the personal opinion of the writer and the respondees of the survey and not necessarily that of the general population of the Filipinos.


Before Anne came to the United States she was voted one of the most outstanging young leader in the Philippines. She reflected our current situation well. Our biggest export is human labor and in the process made our country the number 1 exporter of human resources in the world. Our gross national product (GNP) depends on this precious commodity that carried us throughout all the natural disaster that the country has suffered. The dollar flowing back to Manila from the overseas workers ... Nestor Palugod Enriquez

Anne Paulin has a website in tribute to her grandfather. I will post the URL as soon as I verify. Nestor Palugod Enriquez