Tomo 6
Numero 5
December 2004


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The lure of the Philippines

ni Jeannie Pilapil

You can go back home again.

"Howís ĎPinas?" During my travels, this is a common question I hear from the Filipinos I meet. It seems like we canít get enough news about our country no matter what part of the world we live in or how long we have stayed away from home.

For many who have chosen to live elsewhere other than their home country, they feel that maybe now is the right time to finally go back home and complete the circuit they have begun many years ago. They canít wait to savor again the pleasure of total belongingness while basking in the beauty of oneís homeland. And for those who have just left the country and are still experiencing the pangs of homesickness, one of the recourses left is to reminisce the good old times vicariously through the media if visiting is not an option.

Oddly, this avid interest is not solely limited to Filipinos. An American friend of mine is seriously considering moving his family and business from Boston to Manila. Some Canadians who are married to Filipinos also undergo the same malady that the natives experience once they have immersed themselves in the lifestyle of the locals.

Seriously, what is the attraction? Could it be the newest promenade constructed along Roxas Boulevard where one can stroll and gaze at the exquisite sunset at the same time? Or could it be the new Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard that makes us overlook the horrendous traffic of decades ago? What about the restaurant complex, The Fort, that caters to numerous and diverse palates? And my favorite, Greenbelt 3 and 4 located at Ayala Center. This is the home of world class shopping for discerning men and women. As we women say, we can shop till we drop!

Did I mention the string of pristine beaches  from Pagudpud of the North down to the shorelines of Samal Island in the South? These unspoiled beaches paint

a picture of unparalleled beauty that is unforgettable. Even my sister Rowena who resides in Hawaii admits that nothing can compare to the beauty of the Palawan beaches, not even Hawaii that is considered a paradise island by many.

What about the people? What else can we say that hasnít been said yet? My international acquaintances enthusiastically declared that Filipinos always wear a warm smile that exudes their inherent generosity. A gentle lady who hails from Greece once remarked that she loves working with Filipinos because of their professionalism and willingness to help in all kinds of situations.

In this world abounding with technology and automation, it is so refreshing to still find a group of people who value personalization over materialism.

What else does the Philippines have to offer? Definitely, more than enough to last a whole lifetime. Look for my next column. I will take you on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. And remember, "Two roads diverged in the woods. I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

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