Friday, January 26, 2007

Why I Wanna Stay Home

No, I don't mean I want to go out of my house. What I mean is I don't want to work outside of the country. I don't mean offense to Filipinos working abroad. My brother and sister are abroad and have been there for over a decade already. It's a choice, and my choice is to stay here.

I remember sitting beside Michael, an American based in Texas, on a plane ride to SFO last September. I was on my way to the US for a training and we had a long chat about why a lot of Filipinos are going abroad. I told him it's because of better opportunities. My sister keeps telling me that her kids are getting a lot of things that we didn't have here at home. Aside from regular academic work her kids have been experiencing a lot of after-school training that we don't have here.

BUT, I still want to stay here I told Michael. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself and if I really like the job then that's the only time I'd consider moving. I think though my calling is to stay here. Michael was very surprised at my answer. He said I'm the only Filipino he met who doesn't want to migrate.

Joel Alarilla of said in his article, "I'm just saying we have alternatives. If people want to go abroad, that's fine. But if people also start to realize that the jobs can migrate to them instead of us having to migrate, what's wrong with that?"

I certainly agree to his admonition - "And while I'm sure my friends who have chosen to work abroad mean well, sometimes I get sick of some of them asking when I'm going abroad dahil sayang lang ang talino mo diyan sa Pinas... " I get a lot of that as well, and yes, it is a choice and whatever choice we make should be respected.

I have been a lot of entrepreneurs, technopreneurs and people in the IT industry lately and it amazes me how talented Filipinos really are. founder Jovel Cipriano started his e-commerce business with just PhP10,000. He left a very stable job with IBM to sell Filipino food products online a few years ago and now his business is very successful. Janette Toral of started out the club a few years ago through a mailing list and she now provides a lot of useful trainings to her club members. Charlie Gaw of the Wedding Library sells butterflies. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado earns from her blog. My best friend managed to buy a truck (in cash) from his siomai business. The list is endless. What's important to note is the fact that Filipino entrepreneurs are good businessmen and we have a lot of opportunities. We just need to discover them and make it work.