Oh Canada! So grateful to be here!

Going abroad is an obsession to many Filipinos

(First Part of the Series)

And this obsession was too high in the middle 60’s when fear of martial had been embedded into our consciousness. Many Filipinos would like to move and escape the consequences of the pangs of a military government.

In our clan, while we were staying together in Sampaloc, Manila, we did challenge ourselves. My cousins who were still in the university, myself, my cousin Irene L. Angeles and Daisy had a usual chat after dinner and out of the blue we said: “Let us apply to work abroad, anywhere!”

Irene and I were both teaching at UST and Daisy was working in an office.

During our free time, Irene and I would score some embassy offices, Ethiopia, Australia, USA, United Kingdom and Canada. Canada was the last choice. We would like to follow some of our colleagues who applied and got accepted in Ethiopia, Australia and USA.

We went to Canadian Consular office at Roxas Blvd., a small office decorated by many job posters and inspiring narratives to immigrate to Canada. We got some pamphlets for more information.

Canada? We never discussed this country in our history classes. We were bombarded by American publicity and the majority of the Filipinos would like to go to America! Not so much about Canada nor Australia or United Kingdom. All I knew about Canada was the Canada Dry Ginger Ale which was my favorite soft drink aside from 7-Up. And all we knew, there were igloos and Canadian Indians! And the image of snow and ice plastered into the canvass of our minds. And one of our relatives was a member of the Philippine consular corps based in Vancouver. Never I had contacted our relative who would provide more information about Canada.

With so much work at UST -both as an employee and an instructor, and with the plan to start a family business, I decided not to go abroad.

Irene and Daisy went ahead. “Why a change of mind, Insan?” “Mas kailangan ako ng ating bansa,” I said. Raw nationalism and family’s interests prevailed.

Both Irene and Daisy started communicating with some schools and offices in Alberta, Canada.

Irene applied as a teacher to the private school outside Edmonton, and Daisy in a community agency. Less than a month, Irene received cable letters from two schools welcoming her to be a teacher. And Daisy to work in a community agency. Both went ahead to Canada with all benefits and attractive offers.

So much work at UST and our family business, snack food productions and tie-dye t-shirt shop at the Republic Supermarket, close to the National Bookstore in Rizal Avenue. Got more sideline as Goya advertising consultant, Loyola Memorial Park Counsellor and resort real estate agent promoting Caliraya Resort owned by Sixto Roxas of Bancom and the Kalaw Family and writing in Liwayway and Komiks magazine.

To go abroad with so much work at this time? With so much excitement and challenges in the Philippines? I was doing well under the regime of Marcos? Marcos did his own and I did my own.

To have a family came into my mind until I met Rosalinda Linsangan Natividad, a Theresian ’65 and an instructor and a psychometrician at Siena College, run by Nuns of the Order of the Preacher and the same time, in the evening, taking up her masteral degree at UST.

The wind of change was coming. The lure of going abroad was not my priority. My wife wanted to follow her officemates in the National Testing Office in Manila, under the office of the President, who left the Philippines for Winnipeg?

My wife insisted: “Let us try and if you do not want to stay, you can go back!”

(to be continued: “I Swallowed My Pride And I Got Constipated”)