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What Filipinos Truly Miss About the Philippines

Filipinos are known to have strong family ties. That despite of the fact that we have to leave our families and friends behind to work somewhere far, we still choose to pay a visit them whenever the time allows. In a way, these fiesta tradition, Christmas holidays, holy week, election day, and other occasion days are what brings Filipinos together. During these days, bus terminals, seaports, and airports are full of Filipinos queuing up for their rides heading home.

It’s in a Filipino wish list - to go back home no matter what.


When I got my first job in the city back in 2005, there’s always this feeling that I wanted to go back in my home province and see how things go on there. You know that feeling of missing home and you’re too far away. You really need patience, more of it. Back then, I want to see my parents, my friends, and relatives whom I had grown up with. I want to see the green environment, that place that made me a person that I am today. Since then, I tried making ways on how to go back home at least every 3 to 4 months. Even when the time comes that I am working overseas as an Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), I see to it that I can still pay a visit to my parents once or twice a year. I consider myself lucky enough for I was able to do it, unlike many Filipinos working hard abroad but couldn’t make it to go back to their home town or province for years, even for decades.

A Selfie in Our Home Province


That experience of being there - priceless!

In this post, allow me to share this simple story of mine on how I am spending my few hours of stay in my home province, whenever there is the opportunity. Let me give you the deeper reasons why I want to be in my place, and probably some of these could also be the same reasons of millions of Filipinos out there - like you.

Simply, I want to look on the green environment and everything that is in there – birds, animals, mountains, sky, fruits and people. I want to breathe the fresh air coming from the green grass land. Even the foul odors of pigs and cows, I am fine to smell them for that for me means home. I want to see the bamboos dancing with the wind. These experiences remind me of my childhood, my teenage days. They are good memories that goes with me in good times and in bad times.

A Scenic View in My Home Town

A View of My Clan's Farm

A Green Grass Land Near My Home

During rainy months, I always look for these mushrooms we call here “kabuteng mamarang” and “kabuteng mamunso”. I want to taste that “labong” or bamboo shoot cooked in coconut milk. I am not good in finding these native vegies when I was younger but when my expert uncles and brothers happened to find any in the nearby forest, I am the first one to volunteer to clean and cook them. These dishes are what pulls me back.

Cleaning the "Mamunso" Mushrooms

Adobong Kabute (Mushroom)

I like seeing chickens, hogs, and ducks in our backyard. These creatures always remind me that in times of needs, they are there to be cooked or be sold. I once took part in raising these livestock just to support our education. We build cages and pens for them. Harvesting one or two eggs a day saves us a meal. To these days, my parents are still able to raise a few of them. When you hear their sounds early in the morning, it’s a noise you won’t reject for sure. Sounds in the farm will make you stay, for sure.

Chickens, Ducks and Pigs in Our Backyard

The cows, carabaos and goats in the green fields, seeing them alive, kicking, and jumping is truly a happiness within. For me, it means freedom. My father happened to have sheep too and they are a great wonder. Cows are everywhere in my home town and if you take care at least one, you can earn that money enough to finance your son or daughter’s graduation the moment you sell them. And those carabaos, how I wish I could ride on their back and command them to bring me in the near river or woods.

Cow, Goat and Sheep in Our Farm
A Crow on top of a Carabao Seen from My Place

In the forest is where me and my brothers used to gather firewood so I am used to be in this wild yet calm environment. My good memory of the forest is that it is a place where you can depend on when you don’t have food to bring in your plate. Here is where you can look for fruits, root crops, and if really needed, hunt for reptiles like “bayawak”. We also used to bath and catch fish in the forest’s river. In the summer days, the river is our resort. During rainy days, this is our food bowl. Shrimps, variety of fishes, and floating coconuts are here. The good thing about those foods in the forest is that they are for free. They are nature’s gift.

An Entrance to the Forest

Road Going to the Nearby River

Perhaps the most interesting and exciting part of being home is that chance of speaking with people you grow up with. A short introduction of “Kumusta ka na?” (How are you?) will trigger a longer and more meaningful conversation about how life goes on. Then you will get to find out that this old friend is now like this or lives there and that this lolo or lola already passed away. The simple facts of life, you know. It’s really good to be in such kind of discussion for it will not only get you updated of things around but it will also help you learn the meaning and purpose life.

Me and My Parents

And how can I forget this. I always drop by at my lola’s (grandmother) place every time I pay a visit in my homeplace. This act is always a top priority maybe because I used to grow up with my lola who's always there looking for us her grandchildren. During my elementary and highschool days, I used to help her in making suman (a kind of rice cake) and atsara (sweetened papaya), in cooking ginataang dahon ng gabi (taro leaves in coconut milk), and in almost any chores she required to prepare all her paninda (products). Where is she selling those? In Manila. My lola is truly an epitome of a real super woman for up to this day, she’s still on the same kind of business, the same old-fashioned way of making rice cakes, with almost same strength of getting things done. My lola is nearly on her 80’s and she’s still determined to sell and earn, waking up as early as 2am just to get the first bus trip from Batangas to Manila.

Me and My Lola

I bet many of you whom are too busy at work in cities or overseas these days have this feeling of going back to where you came from. You really missed home, I know. Well, life changes as we go older. We choose to live somewhere else, be with new friends, start a family. But it is undeniable that time and again we feel that heartbeat of being in the same soil, in the same seashore, in the same air, in the same community, in the same town or city, in the same atmosphere where we grew up. We miss our grandmother and grandfather, our aging parents, the friends we once have a fight with. We miss those days when we can live a day even without any meal to be served at home, because the nature is there to provide. We miss the foods – bagoong, alamang, daing, laing, tinapa, chicharon, balut, isaw, ihaw-ihaw, etc. We miss the summer outings or swimming in the beach.Wherever we live now, in a much better place or maybe in a too lonely distant place, we always have this desire to go back to where we came from.



That opportunity to go back home will come soon, don't you worry.

Beach Community in Batangas Province

Ihaw-Ihaw - A Typical Filipino Food During Gatherings


About this Post
What I want to deliver in this message is that if there are people in this world who truly cares about his or her family, among them are the Filipinos. That no matter how far we go, we always want to know how’s everything in the place we departed. Ask the OFWs, even the Filipino immigrants in many countries, and they will always have the same answer: Namimiss ko na ang Pilipinas. Gusto ko ng umuwi. (I really miss the Philippines. I want to go home). May this post inspire every Filipino out there. Don't forget about your "bayang sinilangan".


About the Author
Noriel Panganiban is simply a Filipino who loves to help his country, the Philippines. The intention is to share to the world what Filipinos are really about - the good, the bad, and everything in between. Noriel started this blog as a campaign for changes in this country. You can read a lot of interesting, truth-revealing, and amazing stories in his every post. Noriel also runs an educational website, www.knowriel.com, which also serves as his contribution to the betterment of the Filipinos and everyone in the face of this planet.

For questions and concerns about this post, please leave your comments below or contact Noriel at norielpanganiban@gmail.com.

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