Map of the Philippine Islands
Okay, there was a time when people all over the world did not know a thing about this tiny country in the Pacific called the Philippines. A few may have heard of Manila, this nation’s capital city but other than that, any other facts and figures would have eluded most people.
But that time is almost all gone by now.
For since the last 50 years or so, Filipinos (the people of the Philippines) have increasingly become global—travelling, studying, working, migrating and even inter-marrying. But that is not to say that before that time, they haven’t, they have but not to the extent, to the degree and to the frequency as it has been since the 1960s.
Wherever you are, if you still haven’t met a single Filipino or Filipina, then you might be living under a rock or you might have mistaken them for other Southeastern Asians, Eastern Asians or even Mexicans or other Hispanics. Of course, Filipinos who have a parent or a grandparent who are White, Black or of another color, you would definitely have a harder time to identify.
Why do I mention this?
Because for some reason, a big number of Filipinas who travel the world end up having a relationship with and marrying foreign men, a majority of which end up in happy marriages.
So much so, that for years now there have been not a few foreign men who pursue Filipinas as potential life-long partners.
And the end result they beget children who might not look at all like their Filipina moms.
Filipinos (The People of the Phillipines -- the island Nation's Gift to the World)
For many decades now, the Philippines have been the undisputed leading supplier of maritime workers (mariners/sailors/seafarers/whatever you call them) worldwide.
They work on board on all sections of many types of ships and other water vessels including US Navy ships. Filipinos also work in cruise ships working in a variety ways, such as in the kitchen, in the dining area and in the lounges--as piano players, singers, waiters, servers, cooks and many others.
Of course if you can find them out in the open seas, you can also see them on dry land as they do the same kind of work in major hotels, casinos, restaurants and other similar establishments worldwide. You can even find one in the White House, as a chef there has been the same Philippine-born Filipina, since the time of President Clinton, to George W and now even with Barack Obama.
Of course we will see them working up in the sky as well, working for many of the more well known airlines in the world.
If you can afford it or of course if you really need one, Filipinas are also among the world’s top choice for nannies, housemaids, domestic help, caregivers, nursing home workers, hospital workers and nurses.
I’m thinking not only because they need the job but also because they have that unique blend of skills and qualities that make them excel and make them sought after in this line of work.
Filipinos have always been known to be naturally caring, hard working, trust worthy, gentle, soft-spoken, patient, sensitive even subservient and easily trained. They are easily a happy people who have a good disposition, who smile, laugh and sing all the time. And many of them are naturally great singers. They speak good if not passable English and many of them are already multi-lingual so it wouldn’t be that hard for many to learn a third, a fourth or even a fifth language. There is also many other characteristics that makes many foreigners scratch their head at, but these are all true.
- A great majority are college or university graduates, bachelor’s degrees and not AAs or two year courses either but graduates of four and five year degree courses.
- Many have the uncanny compulsion to be clean and well groomed. So even though most have very little money for anything else, you will be hard pressed to find a Filipino or a Filipina who aren’t clean shaven and who doesn’t have the latest hair style or hair cut and who do not take a shower at least once a day (I said at least once for many do it 2, 3 or 4 times a day).
- And many are more American than many other Asians, Europeans and even Americans themselves. Many are so much into the latest Hollywood films and goings-on and into American music, sports, news, fashion and modern technology.
- There was a time when many Filipinos would take the same college degrees, so for years the Philippines were churning out thousands and thousands of teachers and so by the time the local education system could not accommodate them all, they had to go out into the world to work, some as educators but most as nannies, domestics helps and other similar jobs. So imagine having a personal teacher/tutor/helper for your kids staying in your household but paying them as domestic help.
- There was a time when many countries in Middle East Asia who do not have skilled and construction workers and engineers turned to foreign countries such as the Philippines for competent and English speaking workers and they went there for decades, and they still are going. Of course the hotels, casinos, restaurants, amusement places and hospitals that these Filipinos have built are then filled with the next batch of Filipino workers as we have mentioned earlier.
- There was also a time when Filipinos were studying to be nurses, therapists, medical technologists, pharmacists, dentists and the like. And they are still doing it today. And so you see many of them all over the world, working in hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. It is also not uncommon to find Filipinos working as nurses and caregivers anywhere in the world who have graduated and practiced as medical doctors in the Philippines, strange but true.
- At the same time, the Philippines are again churning out information technology/systems professionals as well as Engineers and so if they cannot be employed by the local IT/IS market, they get employed by the emerging Call Center Industry in the Philippines which does Tech Support for Western countries (so you may already spoken with one but may have not known about it) or they again have to go abroad to find work.
- And a little known fact, before Miss Saigon premiered in the West End in the late 1980s, when they opened up auditions for all the cast members, they were obviously looking for Vietnamese or at least Vietnamese looking or Asian looking cast members for the Vietnamese roles. The auditioners were surprised that all of the most notable auditions were Filipinos. They even went to the Philippines just to open up auditions over there. Lea Salonga, the first Miss Saigon and the first of many Filipinas who were to play the lead role even until today, was even prevented to play the role as she was not British nor American as mandated by their Actor's Union, but of course the production fought for her and rightly so as Lea rewarded them by not only giving them outstanding perfomances everytime she performed but also winning for them the Tony Award for Best Performance. Miss Saigon went on to Broadway and duplicated the same effect there and many other Filipinos being cast in many of the Asian roles.
Yes, so many Filipinos going in and out of their country in the last 50 years. So many Filipinos having contact with peoples of the world for decades, so many Filipinos migrating and inter-marrying abroad, truly, they have come up with the apt term, Global Pinoys (Global Filipinos).
So, the next time you look at those who work at your hospital and pharmacy, the next time you go out to a hotel, a restaurant or a casino, the next time you take a cruise, the next time you visit your child’s school, the next time you visit somebody in a nursing home, or the next time you call for technical support ,look for somebody who might be soft-spoken but may be overly helpful and they might just be a Global Pinoy.
They’re out there!
[Just tell them "sa·la·mat" (thank you) for their hard work]
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