Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mitch, a visiting immigrant

A climbing colleague Mitch, in town billeted at the premier hotel at the corner of EDSA and Shaw was available for a night out on the 26th May arriving from the U.S, the day before. So was a climbing buddy, Bernard working in Pasay.

As I am the resident of Metro Manila, where to go that night was at my discretion. Fortunately, on the way to EDSA Shang-rila via C5, I spotted at the Tiendesitas the Juan De la Cruz concert for the night. The 2 did not object to the proposition.

Mitch Soria was in our expedition to Halcon last 1999 along with TJ Gonzalez and Jo Ramos. That was our final major climb before he immigrated to California as an IT specialist. He  married a Filipina resident and has returned back to Manila several times for a visit. It was my 1st time to see Bernard again who has raised a family as well but was in the U.S. several times as part of his IT advanced education.

In a comfortable section far from the Tiendesitas main stage where the Juan de la Cruz Band was performing, talk was neither about climbs nor the music of the performers. It was about life in the U.S. While lifestyle there is more down to earth and not as rewarding, the message I picked up was “We are happier here given the economy in the U.S., the mortgages on devalued properties, loneliness . . . ” Given a choice, given the limitation, settling in the Philippines is still the preference.

Mitch then declared, he valued my point of view then when he was weighing his option to migrate to the U.S. or not. He decided to try his luck in the U.S., short of saying, he wished he didn’t.

Ako’y nag-iisa at walang kasama di ko Makita ang ating pag-asa
Ang himig natin ang inyong awitin upang tayo’y magsama-sama sa langit ng pag-asa
Ako’y may kaibigan at s’ya’y nahihirapan handa na ba kayong lahat upang s’ya’y tulungan
Ang himig natin ang inyong awitin upang tayo’y magsama-sama sa langit ng pag-asa
Ang himig natin inyong awitin ang himig natin inyong awitin ang himig natin inyong awitin . . .

Listening to the lyrics to Ang Himig Natin sang live by Pepe Smith, I could not relate to the message of the song, “I do not see hope. Let us help our associates.” Because while working here and have been living comfortably I sensed I could not help. The circumstances are beyond control.

At that point, I wished I was listening to another Pinoy folk singer Florante siniging Handog, “Tatanda at lilipas din ako Nguni't mayroong awiting Iiwanan sa inyong ala-ala Dahil, minsan, tayo'y nagkasama.”

5 June 2010

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