Currently sat in a café, right in the centre of the hustlin’ and bustlin’ city of London, just reflecting on life, as you do on a very chilled Sunday morning. The thought of the day is somewhat lingering over what I imagine life would have been like if I lived in the Philippines (my home country) all my life and never moved across the (big) pond to England.
My friend recently gifted me with a beautiful handmade bag from the Philippines and made me miss home so much! It’s got me thinking about some of the things I miss about being home.
- Family – I have a lot of extended family that live in the Philippines, especially from my mum’s side. I especially feel the FOMO when it’s Christmas time, knowing that our relatives are all gathered together eating a lot of AMAZING food and having such a good time, enjoying each other’s company.
- Food – now I’m just keeping it real here, food is life for me and I know that the homeland is overflowing with a lot of good cuisine that I always miss. I kid you not, it’s actually the most common everyday food that I miss like: hot taho in the morning, Tender Juicy hotdog with rice, isaw and suka, tapsilog, longgsilog and of course – Jolibee! The list could literally go on and on.
- Beach days – Philippines is made up of 7,100+ islands which means a beach is always within reach. During the long Easter break, families would come together and go on little beach escapades. Each household would be responsible to cook up a dish to bring along to the beach picnic. Adobo (chicken or pork marinated in vinegar, soy sauce & garlic) tends to be the favourite in our family because it’s delicious even when eaten cold!
- Getting to wear tsinelas (aka. flip flops) all the time – I miss the luxury of not really having to worry about what shoes to wear because the weather is always hot, so you bust out your trusty ‘ol pair of flip flops for both comfort and staying cool in super warm weather.
- Late night shopping – shoppings malls there be stayin’ woke till late y’all! So good. Especially on Fridays when you just want to stay out and hang out with friends without migrating over to a super loud bar. I mean what if you just wanna talk? And sit. So yep, definitely miss that a lot.
- Nature – I must admit, despite the fact that I was born here, I’m actually not very well travelled around the Philippines and I know for sure I am missing out big time. So far I’ve only managed to see Palawan but watch this space for more travels around the Philippines
- The Filipinos – there are many Filipino communities here in the UK and all over the world to be honest, but there’s nothing quite like being home HOME and just be so immersed in the culture and the people. Sometimes I just find myself taking a moment to reflect on what life would have been like if we stayed in the Philippines all this time and never moved overseas…
I find home so rich in culture and there is so much more to see and learn. The bag I was gifted with is actually made of macramè which is a type of textile produced through knotting techniques. The beautiful design was intricately knotted using a 4mm nylon cord and I just love the colour they’ve chosen for this particular style. This bag is one of the many stunning creations of Barangay Tabao Proper Macrame and Weaving Women’s Association, a group of women from an impoverished community in Negros Island, Philippines. This group of exceptionally talented women was formed in 2014 through the Learning to Livelihood program of NEW Pathways to Enterprise.
The amazing work that NEW Pathways to Enterprise has done to date has enabled the creation of a wide range of products such as purses, belts, baskets and placemats. These are all products made from the heart, filled with their unwavering dedication to make lives better. My bag took approximately half a day to make so every time I carry this on my shoulder wherever I may be, I know I am proudly carrying the creation of my fellow Filipinos, like I am carrying a piece of the culture with me.
These bags are offered at a retail price of Php 250 (around £10) and by purchasing one of these, your contributing to the lives of these women and the livelihood of their families.
I actually have an upcoming trip to the Philippines in a few weeks time and I am just so excited to be back home again. It’s going to be my grandad’s 80th birthday and I just can’t wait to be with the family again. I know it’s going to be a perfect opportunity to learn more about our culture and see where I can contribute to the community in any way I can.