Day 105: November 7
Now that midterm season is over, I am going to take this opportunity to update my lovely followers, friends, family members, colleagues, etc. on some of the stuff I have done this past October. Plus, just going through some random facts about myself.
- [REFLECTION] Lately, I have been questioning about my time studying abroad in the Philippines and whether or not I have been making the most out it. After sometime reflection on my experience and chatting with a lot people, I recently learned 3 lessons:
- I am American in Asia and Asian in America: One of the biggest realization that I had to face was understanding my identity as a Filipino American or rather an American Filipino. Born and raise in the US, my life have been focus on understanding my “Filipino” identity within an American society. It was not until coming to the Philippines when I started realize and accept the other half of my identity: being “American.” My mind during this whole trip was fixated on reclaiming my Filipino heritage. Yet, there was this weird repulsion everytime I made the effort in connecting to my roots. It was not until various series of unfortunate events which lead me to be aware of the discrepancy of my power, privilege, and experience as an American citizen compared to Filipinos in the Philippines. Gaining this perception made me question about my concept of home and what it actually looks and feels like. I guess I was foolish in attempting to reclaim something that was out of my league. Yet, in the other hand, it was eye opening to learn this insight as it helps contextualize who I am, where I am, and what I can do.
- Traveler vs Tourist: Focusing on a more economical perspective, money have always been a limiting factor throughout our lives. As I was understanding my Filipino and American identity, money have been shaping a lot of my experience. The value of a piece of paper and coin allows me to have the power and accessibility to travel and site see. In witnessing the Philippines following some of the trends of a capitalist system, a lot of what I have to spend my money on is mostly commercialize. Tourism is one of the many ways commercialism appears in the Philippines where famous hotspot and historical sites become a commodity for consumers who have the money to indulge upon. As people have to pay for their experience, sometimes what they get to see might not be as “authentic” or “real”. When I came to the Philippines, I wanted to see the “real”. So it became an issue for me to find a more genuine experience when I have to be spending my money … well if I have the money. This external (the captialist system, how places are commodified) and internal (my class status, getting money from my parents, budgeting my money) dictated a lot my experience which made it difficult for me to determine how I can make the most out of my time here in the Philippines.
- Balance: It seems that an overarching theme that I saw was how everything was sorta of like a balance. From understanding my identity to dealing with money, there was always some sorta of pros and cons. In trying to make the most out of my time here in the Philippines, it was up to me making the decision and sacrifices. I believe as long as I am learning something from my actions, then I would be happy with what I am doing.
- [ANIMAL] My spirit animal (declared by a friend): Sea Otters … which is now my favorite animal
- [LUMAD] On Oct 26 and 28, I had the opportunity to witness some awesome organizing at my college that was spreading the awareness of the militarization and killing of the Lumads taken place in Mindanao. Here are some photos I captured during the Salubungan sa UP Diliman (Oct 26) and Unity March (Oct 28). It was very enlightening and empowering!
- [PLANT] My favorite plant/tree is a cherry blossom
- [ACADEMIC] Sometimes, it is best to make sure you are to not only academically doing well but you are also physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Always prioritize yourself before anything else.
- [BICOL] Rather than spending my time partying during Halloween weekend, I took the opportunity to visit my mom’s province in Santa Magdalena, Sorsogon.
- I went down memory lane
- I met up with relatives I have not seen in years or became my first time.
- Instead of Halloween, I celebrated All-Saints which is a Catholic/Protestant holiday on Nov 1 that remembers the passed away loved ones. Cemeteries would be packed with families gathered together bonding, eating, and laughing. At night, the whole place becomes lite with candles. How I saw it, the whole place becomes a beautiful sea of warm, bright lights with people having a good time.
- My last day was spend at one of my relative’s small beach resort.