Settling back in the Philippines: My homecoming
AFTER LIVING ABROAD FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS, I decided to go back to the Philippines and embark a new phase both in my private and professional life. I left the Philippines in September 2005 to pursue a postgrad program at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (UK) with a scholarship grant. After my oral examination in 2009, I finally submitted my revised final draft copy of my PhD thesis few weeks ago, and hoping that my examiners will approve it, consequently will confer my degree at the middle of this year.
Briefly, my thesis focused on the performance level of mixed-use schemes (MUS) in urban regeneration areas using multiple regression analysis (MRA). I included 10 cases of completed projects in the UK and Republic of Ireland, including Northern Ireland. The thesis has 8 chapters, 421 pages and unlimited number of people to acknowledge for their help and moral support during the duration of my study.
My residency in Belfast (Northern Ireland) brought wonderful things to my life. Despite some disappointments towards my thesis submission, overall was a worthwhile undertaking – to be wiser and stronger in facing challenges in life especially now that I am one of the Filipino jobseekers since the latter part of 2010. I did try to find job opportunities in the US last year but it was difficult to seek for sponsorship from American companies. Unfortunately, it was not meant for me and I have to accept that Uncle Sam is not welcoming for my skills/expertise in the current economic recession.
Deciding to settle back in the Philippines is not an easy decision. However, I do believe that this decision will bring new positive outcomes especially in my career. Of course, being close to my family and friends is another thing that persuaded me to go home! Indeed, it is a big challenge to face with enthusiasm to embrace which brings a big change to myself, my family and to my home country, the Philippines. As being tagged as a ”balikbayan”, Im very optimistic that I could share my skills and expertise gained from abroad, eventually instrumental in bringing change and making a difference in the Philippine society as a whole.
This homecoming is not new to me considering that 17 years ago I also decided to return to the Philippines after spending more than three years in Bangkok, Thailand. My decision was triggered by my interest to be involved in the redevelopment of the former military base, Subic Bay under the administration of Dick Gordon. I was a volunteer for months (without salary but free accommodation) with the organisation, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) as an Urban Planner. Unfortunately, I did not stay long with the company for personal reasons. I moved on with my life and stayed for a while, until another overseas study grant came along in 2002 and I also became again a part-time OFW (oversea filipino worker) in Australia. Actually, in my personal experience, it is a cycle being a balikbayan considering that I always go back to the Philippines after spending years abroad…
FOR THIS LATEST HOMECOMING, Im praying that it will bring prosperity and fulfillment to myself and family especially to my professional career. Im hoping that I will be more generous to my family and friends and for the people I work and meet during my stay in the Philippines. Im also looking forward to bond with my nephews and nieces who are growing up too fast and I will be able to guide/support them in their college education. Finally, Im optimistic that I will find a job that will really bring out my best qualities as an engineer and planner and to be able to share my knowledge and expertise both in academe and industry sector.
IT IS A GREAT FEELING TO BE BACK HOME…serving my countrymen/women with hope, courage and optimism!