By Ezra Mayled
The sense of family is an important part of many cultures; the Filipino culture is no exception. From a culture that is often identified as being “hospitable”, the practice of philanthropy is also present. Over recent years there has been an increase of immigrants coming from the Philippines, with Filipinos being the highest number of permanent residents by top source countries from 2010 to 2012 (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2013). A similar situation can be found in the United States.
Also birthed from the migration of Filipinos to the Western World is what Garchitorena (2007) calls “Filipino Diaspora Philanthropy.” Diaspora meaning, “the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland (Collins English Dictionary, 2012). When Filipinos move overseas they tend to “give back” (Garchitorena, 2007) to their homeland country.
Reasons as to why they give back vary from situation to situation; those who have done well abroad seek ways to share their “wealth or talent with their home country” (Garchitorena, 2007). As I took a second to reflect at how this is true in my own (family) life I see that the Diaspora Philanthropy is evident so who better to discuss the topic than my own Filipino family. Upon asking my father, his reply was “the reason for giving back is gratitude, because we are thankful for what our families have done for us, and we want to share the blessings we have received here in Canada” (P. Mayled, personal communication, September 19, 2014). Another reason for the desire to give back to the homeland is “self gratification in knowing that I have helped someone who is more in need” (N. Pantig, personal communication, September 19, 2014). “After giving back and sending Balikbayan boxes or money, I feel comfortable knowing that people who will be receiving the gift will be a little more comfortable in life themselves” (M. Mayled, personal communication, September 19, 2014).
Methods of giving back which have been briefly mentioned include Balikbayan boxes which are boxes filled with non-perishable food, clothing, health-related items. These Balikbayan boxes are sent directly to families usually on trips to the the Philippines where “there is great personal satisfaction when one can actually meet the person who will benefit from a donation” (Garchitorena, 2007) or by shipping it and the recipient(s) receiving it in approximately 4-5 weeks. Another common method is through money transfer. My family every so often sends money over to their families back in the Philippines, especially to help cover ever-so-expensive health costs for a family member. One other method my family gives back is by donating money through our local church especially to help victims of natural disasters such as typhoons, and landslides.
I believe one of Garchitorena’s (2007) reasoning encompasses why I would personally give back in the near future which is the “compassion for the poor and underprivileged”. I was born and raised in Canada, and have only seen a glimpse of living in the Philippines. With just that slight glimpse I know the way of living in Canada is a hundredfold different (and one could say better) than in the Philippines. I can see them as two completely different worlds. To see how my relatives in the Philippines live and how I live here in Canada makes me count my blessings, and even share them whenever I can out of the compassion of my heart.
Garchitorena, V. P., (2007). Diaspora Philanthropy: The Philippine Experience. Convention on Biological Diversity.
diaspora. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from Dictionary.com website:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diaspora