In 2016, I was surprised to read an email from Josh Dorado, 26, that he decided to return back to the Philippines for good. Like me, Josh was born in the Philippines and grew up in the US. He co-founded Kaya Ko Collaborative, a fellowship program that mobilizes Filipino diaspora youth in the US to spend time in the Philippines and become long-term partners for social change. “Kaya ko” means “I can.” I said to myself, “Wow, that was so brave of Josh to do.” I was also wondering if Josh’s decision is a unique one or is he part of a growing trend of young Filipino Americans going back to the Philippines for good? The thought has crossed my mind. Like many Americans, I’m terrified by the prospects of a potential president. I’ve recently read a BBC news article pronouncing, “A Trump presidency has Americans looking north” (BBC News, May 2016). So how about also looking east, back to the Philippines? So I started poking around online and I found a whole thread of young Filipino Americans all thinking of going back to the Philippines for good.
Here are some of the comments of young Filipino Americans that have gone back to the Philippines, found jobs and are having fruitful, fulfilling lives back in the Philippines:
“I’m a student that returned to the Philippines after 7 long years. I’ve been here for almost an equal amount of time and am enjoying how much more ‘fun’ everything is in the Philippines (Literally!)”
“I know a couple of friends who returned/returning to PH soon. The positive economic outlook is a big factor in making that decision. So, yes, I don’t think you’re alone and being too idealistic. Living abroad is actually not necessarily easy (nor better) for everybody. I hope we’re all making the best decision and don’t regret it later.”
The Bayanihan Foundation has promoted NEXTGEN Fellowship of young Filipino Americans to discover their heritage and potentially help back in the Philippines. The Bayanihan Foundation has always encouraged “Pagbabalik” (Coming Home) with the long-term intent of return migration. The Philippines government have always recruited Filipinos and non-Filipinos to retire in the Philippines. But encouraging young Filipino Americans in their 20s, 30s to go back home? Then I read one entry online of this reader’s thoughts of returning back home for good, “Why wait half a decade to start a business back home? Your country needs you right now. I too was tempted to pack my bags and leave, but I decided to do business here, and it’s been a great decision. Do it now; waiting 4-5 years for “experience” is wasting 4-5 years of development for our country.”
Will the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte usher in an era of continued growth and peace in the Philippines? Will this encourage more Filipinos in the diaspora to return? Are you also thinking of going back home? Or are you staying put? Leave your comments below or join the conversation on this online thread: http://bit.ly/1R33Wqs