Just two weeks after getting back from Las Vegas I found myself packing once more, this time for the Philippines, where I’ve been for the past two and a half weeks. A month from now I’ll be packing yet again for my first experience travelling to Korea. Three very different cities in the span of just three months, each with their own unique and fascinating stories to tell. Stories of extravagance limited only by one’s own imagination, immense progress, and of course, the ever-enduring strength of family and love.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the Philippines, land of my ancestors. I’ve been content to be immensely proud of my heritage from a comfortable distance, keeping numbers of years in between each visit (my last trip being seven years ago). This was however, perhaps the first time I’ve been able to sit down and reflect and investigate what it is about Manila that just wouldn’t let me call it ‘home’. This was perhaps the first time, since I was six and traveled to the Philippines for the very first time ever, that I caught a glimpse of what could make me love Manila once more.
In the coming days and weeks I’ll explore this more in detail, but until then, I wanted to share this song about the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, a song, as its writer will explain, is more for the vast numbers of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, yearning for their home. For the city that has always held its arms out for all the sons and daughters of the Philippines, no matter where they come from or what shore they call home.