Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reclaiming Citizenship

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I think that’s the surest sign that you’re a Filipino: You lay claim to it, and in doing so, help shape its meaning. (Carla Montemayor, Interaksyon

It amazes me how excited he is to receive his Philippine passport. Maybe living in--and being a citizen of--another country for such a long time does that. Claiming once birth right becomes so important that one is willing to go through anything just to become a ‘Filipino’ once again – just like he did. 

We were lining up to have our passports stamped at the entrance to Machu Picchu when I noticed him trying to hide his passport from our fellow trekkers. Later I asked him about it. He said that he wanted to be identified as a Filipino, and not another gringo. That is how proud he is of the country of his birth. Many US citizens can easily go to Peru, but only a few from a developing country like the Philippines can or do. And some Filipinos—both here and abroad—do not fully lay claim to and take pride in being Filipinos.

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