Thursday, March 15, 2012
Why the Philippines?
Well, back in 2003, Yahoo Messenger allowed people to create their own chat rooms. One was, apparently, created by people in the Philippines. Given that English is used so much -- taught in school, used in business and legal documents -- all over the Philippines, and given that many islands and neighborhoods in the Philippines are very small and very rural, it should be no surprise the Filipinos from all over would want to reach out and make friends with people all over the English speaking world. Not only that, but many, many, many Filipino sons, daughters, husbands, wives, etc, ... perhaps in as much as half the Filipino work force (I'm guessing), work abroad, not only in the USA, but in Germany, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, Central America, Africa, South America, Japan, China, and etc. It makes perfect sense that Filipinos would use the internet as a major means of communication and, even, socializing. And, it should be no surprise that English speaking people would end up chatting at length with Filipinos. That I did.
I knew NOTHING about the Philippines. I knew NOTHING about life there. I knew NOTHING about immigration procedures and problems. That's not to say I never saw anything on TV nor read anything about the Philippines. I had had friends in the USA who had lived a few years there, as families in the US Air Force. My father had been there. But now, I was chatting with real live Filipinos living in real places in the Philippines. That openned a door to a whole new world and gave birth to a whole new journey, a journey upon which I had never imagined myself embarking.
In the picture above, I am standing next to a friend I met in that chatroom. To this day (March 16, 2012) we have remained good friends.