Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    Dear Readers, Finally we can it seems that spring is almost in the air.  Weather wise it’s not that cold anymore and it looks like Mr. Winter is going to say goodbye. Soon you have to start cleaning up the yard and the flower beds.  And the trees in the backyard will start to have leaves [...]

    Read full post »

Visitors to Pinoytimes

Page added on December 27, 2011

Email this to a friendEmail This Post Email This Post                      Printable versionPrint This Post Print This Post

Pinoy Insights

by Romeo Montoya Jr.

Things You Wouldn’t Know as a Filipino without Having to Live in a Foreign Country

Because I miss our motherland so much, mainly because of the loved ones and friends I have left there, I discovered truth to a lot of things since moving here to Canada – just general things, mostly about Filipinos or Philippines.

1.      Summer is fun. Terrible Philippines for its humid climate, not to mention the frequent brownouts (Yes, it’s our version of blackout. My wild guess, it’s because we belong to the brown race.). It’s normally +28 to +30 in the Philippines, but without an electricfan, one could die of heat stroke. By far, -17 or -19 is the coldest that I experienced here. I know. People are telling me to expect the worst of winter season by January and February. But as early as fall season, I already realized that hot weather is not a terrible thing at all. I already miss Philippine summer. I couldn’t remember the last time I was sweating. It was summer here when I first tried jogging, and not a drop of sweat came off my body.

My body easily adjusts to changing weather conditions, but what I do not like about winter is the dry feel that it gives you. And the snow? It is pretty to look at, but messy to walk on.

When I go home to the Philippines, I’ll make sure it will be March to May. I want to re-experience genuine summer heat.

2.      We’ve got it all for you. Truly, Philippine malls are the best. I am such a mall rat, so one thing that excited me most in coming to Calgary is the shopping mall experience. Since I stay in a downtown apartment, The Core at TD Square was the first mall I was able to visit. It reminded me of Greenbelt though a lot smaller, but I couldn’t see the shopping spree experience from the people around. It’s definitely a beautiful mall, but I thought it’s too quiet. Probably I just miss the giggles and chitchats of Filipino shoppers.

Finally, I get to experience shopping at the world-famous Wall-Mart where you can find most of the contents of the balikbayan boxes you received from your parents, aunts and uncles abroad during Christmas season in the Philippines. While you get to buy varieties of chocolates, cookies and a lot others from stores like Wall-Mart and Canadian Superstore, I still prefer the SM kind of mall because you don’t need to get out of one big store and cross an highway intersection to go to another big store to buy clothes. The famous SM supermalls have never been my most favorite malls back home. They are too crowded, too much happening. If, however, one day Henry Sy decides to open its first SM mall in Canada, I wish it’ll be built in Calgary.

3.      Bida ang Sarap. Jollibee is always not my first choice of fastfood back home. I love its burger steak, but I thought everything else is too sweet particularly its spaghetti. Working in an Italian restaurant, I realized thought that I still prefer our own version of pasta or of any food of foreign origin such as burger, cheesecake, donuts. I miss the fine meat patty of Jollibee’s Yum with cheese, Greenwich cheesy meat lasagna, Calea cheesecake of Bacolod, and Arique’s penne pasta and bacon and cheese pizza of Iloilo. Donuts are expected to be sweet, but I was surprised to have tasted a very dry glazed donut of a famous local coffee shop here. Now, I’m craving for Gonuts Donuts.

4.      Juan Tamad. It was either my second or third day here while having lunch at a internationally famous fastfood when I approached its manager if ever the said fastfood has a job opening. I had the guts to inquire about a possible work for me because I realized that all the staff and crew were Filipinos. It is never me getting discouraged to apply for a job because of a cold and intimidating hiring personnel. The fastfood manager was far from being cold and intimidating actually; she was rather bland. However, what she said to me surprised me a lot – “Kaya mo ba trabaho dito? Kasi dito pagtrabaho, trabaho. Di tulad sa ‘tin.” While I gave my word that I will comeback to submit my resume, I decided otherwise. It’s very unfair for me to say that that manager is such a negative person, but I wouldn’t mind saying that she thinks too low and too negative of her own kind. I may be too young in the labor market but as of my latest professional experience in the Philippines, handling numerous kinds of disciplinary actions of over 3000 employees all over the Philippines, I am proud to say that only one percent of them were truly guilty of misdemeanour particularly slacking off from work with not even half of this one percent I recommended for dismissal. Filipinos, whether working abroad or in the Philippines are genuinely hardworking.

For us, Filipinos abroad, the fact that we choose to live alone miles away from our loved ones is hard work itself. The fact that as much as possible we do not let our loved ones back home to sense the loneliness in our voice over the phone or the sadness in our face through Skype is hard work itself.

For those Filipinos back home who wish to work abroad, let me tell you that it is not a terrible but rather noble idea. While work situations in different foreign countries vary, I’d like to say that in my three very short months of work experience here in Canada, labor is not hard labor but rather true labor. It’s true labor because your hard work is compensated.

Admittedly, I am not a nationalistic Filipino but I am neither anti-Filipino nor anti-Philippines. In fact, I never dreamt of living or even just working here or in any other foreign country. I always thought that Philippines is good enough for me and my family notwithstanding the hopeless case of the Philippine Government. There are a lot of blog writers express their dismay over Filipinos blaming the government for the country’s poor economic situation. Others including a few foreign bloggers agree that it is our being unpatriotic, such as working abroad without coming back home that hinders Philippine progress. But I beg to disagree. While every ordinary Filipino must start doing the right thing for himself, his family and ultimately for his community, he cannot do much without the government providing the right system. With all the resources a government has, it surely can do miracles for its struggling people. At the same time, with all the powers a government possesses, it surely can worsen the situation of its already struggling people by not doing the right thing.

Maybe, the children of my children’s children will have nothing but good to say about Philippines. Maybe, despite its tropical humidity, they will opt to stay for good in the Philippines. Maybe, they will get to say that the country has got it all for them – and that would include a vast array of job opportunities.


  • No Related Post



RBC Royal Bank recognized for its work with newcomers to Canada thumbnail RBC Royal Bank recognized for its work with newcomers to Canada
Featuring a Filipino Community leader of Calgary thumbnail Featuring a Filipino Community leader of Calgary


These are the Two Filipinas Included in the World’s Billionaires List thumbnail These are the Two Filipinas Included in the World’s Billionaires List


HAVE YOUR SAY Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, dolor sit ipsum.


PROMOTIONAL BLOCK Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, dolor sit ipsum.