After living in the Philippines my whole life, I’ve had the opportunity to live in the USA for almost a year. They say America has everything and that there would be nothing to miss from the Philippines but I beg to differ. While the US is a great place to live in, apart from missing my loved ones back in the Philippines, it is also usually the small mundane things from my country that I find myself missing. Now that I’m moving back to the US after more than a year since I came back, there are a few things I’m not taking for granted again.
While California, Florida, and Hawaii definitely have these, anyone who’s lived in the US and PH would know they’re just not the same. Two major examples would be bananas and mangoes. The US has Cavendish and Indian Mangoes. While these fruits aren’t particularly terrible, if you’ve eaten PH bananas (especially lakatan among the 10+ varieties we have) and carabao mangoes from Guimaras (this especially!) or Cebu, what America has to offer are pale in comparison. While I always got the opportunity to eat other fruits not present in the PH, I definitely missed Philippine bananas and mangoes.
Cheaper Cost of Living
When Filipinos go to the US, their mindset is always to automatically multiply the price by 50 since this is more or less the peso to the dollar exchange rate. One of the greatest culture shocks I got in the US was how people there saw USD 20 almost as loose change. Its PH equivalent is PHP 1000, a big amount that can buy a week’s groceries for a single person. No wonder, OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and foreigners would live like royalty whenever they are in the Philippines! However, this is not a valid reason to leech off their money! Another small but notable example is how a Jollibee Chickenjoy is US$6.00 in the US, while in the Philippines, it only costs about US$2.00! Although Jollibee Chickenjoy fried chicken is considered to be one of the bests in America, I’d argue the Philippine blend is a lot better (trust me, they’re not the same).
In foreign media, we see a lot of beaches like Lummus Beach in Baywatch and Miami Vice and in the US, people visit or move to California to live closer to the beach. As a Filipino, the beaches were not up to my standards (Sorry!) Not especially after I grew up seeing the likes of Boracay and other virgin beaches out in Cebu where the waters are clear and blue and the sand feels like sugar. While I’m not a beach person, I definitely came to appreciate them more when I came back to the Philippines. I even dedicated a whole month to go tour the different Philippine beaches!
There’s a charm to Filipino culture that I’ll definitely miss. While the Filipino community is the second largest Asian community in California, it’s just not the same. The simple Filipino humor, authentic foods, and laidback way of life are some things that cannot be brought abroad. I know that as I move on to the next step of my life I won’t forget where I came from.
A medical student who is passionate about writing and loves to travel in her free time.