MANILA - Any Filipino who has migrated and called Canada their home for many years would definitely attest that the quality of life fares better in the Great White North.
From the healthcare system to the efficiency of the Canadian government, it’s just so hard to ignore all the many factors that make Canadian living world-class. But for some Filipino-Canadians, there might still be something that calls them back home.
For me, it was family and that glimmer of potential underneath all that traffic and corruption in the Philippines that brought me back. There are indeed so many reasons to account for, but for whatever reason it may be that brings anyone back to the motherland, settling back in will not be easy.
For those who have been toying with the idea of leaving Canada to move back home, here are some tips to help with that big adjustment.
Learning and practicing patience will always be a powerful tool to have in anyone’s life’s toolbox, but this will definitely come in very handy when faced with the inefficiency and no-urgency culture in the Philippines. Unfortunately, time is not of the essence in our well-loved archipelago, so everything takes twice or even thrice the time here.
You might find yourself having to constantly follow-up to make sure your requests are being taken care of or you might have to allocate a lot more time doing simple errands because things just move slower here. Take a deep breath and once you have accepted that this is just how it is in your semi-new environment, it will be a lot easier to adjust.
Most likely you have grown accustomed to the low crime rate in Canada and having not to think twice about your belongings in a crowded area, but you definitely have to bring back that Third World street smarts and hyper awareness. Don’t just trust anybody; don’t entertain those shady phone calls. If you have helpers at home, have a talk with them about “budol budol” scammers because some of them do a good job in scamming people for several thousands of pesos. Park somewhere safe because even car stickers can be stolen from your windshield, the list of things to do to avoid scams and petty robbery can go on but as long as you are cautious, double check things, and question things around you, I think you should be fine.
Going back to the culture that you are quite familiar with brings back cozy feelings of home.
There is indeed a lot of warmth and friendliness in the Filipino culture, but just like any other culture, it still carries toxic traits that you are most likely aware of having moved away from home. You don't have to operate the same way as you did before. You don’t have to listen to gossip and you can let that gossip die when it reaches you. Don’t say yes if you don’t mean it and just be completely honest about your feelings.
Anything in our culture that doesn’t resonate with you, you don’t have to embody that. Yes, you need to adjust, but adjusting doesn’t mean changing who you currently are to fit in. You can even be a role model for people to follow. Be that person who is always on time; call people out nicely if needed. You can be that change, but make sure you are being true to who you are.
The world is also quite fresh out of the pandemic so pretty much all countries around the globe are still figuring out how to embrace the new normal. Online shopping and online meetings will probably stick around for a long time, especially in Manila where traffic is the bane of any local’s existence.
I think the best way to approach settling back in the motherland is just to be open without any kind of expectations. Imagine how you were when you first moved to Canada, it will be quite a similar experience because you have grown and changed so much as a person that you have to look at the Philippines with fresh new eyes.
The country has evolved and so did you, so you can’t expect to have the exact same experience many years ago when you were still calling the Philippines home. Be open to new experiences, explore as many places in the Philippines as you can, make new connections and if old connections seem harder to maintain, let go with grace.
Also, support local products and be proud of your own country.
There is a reason why you want to move back home and whether you know this on a conscious level, your love for your country is still very strong and it runs through your veins, embrace that.