My Love Letter to the Filipina series made it on Cosmo Philippines’ April 2012 issue! While many of my other friends weren’t able to get a copy, I’ve published the unedited article below. The photo here is the image used on the actual article.
Now that I’m back in California, this article is my official thank you and farewell to the life-changing experience of Manila.
Hi, my name is Ruby. I was proudly made in the Philippines, but raised mostly in California. Three years ago, I transplanted myself to the place I’ve dreamed of living my entire life: New York City. New York, the city of notorious glamour and electrifying allure (or so it seems). Well sis, let me be the first to admit- as I trudged through Brooklyn in all that dirty snow and shivered through my first snowstorm in a dirty subway, I found myself wishing the A train would take me back to the the Philippine Islands.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love New York City. I mean where else could you wear siren red lipstick, a fabulous leopard coat, and over the knee boots- on a Monday? But while it does live up to all its glamour, it can also be a crazy whirlwind of a place. Ironically, I came to New York only to find that I craved to come home to Manila- even if just to escape the cruel winter for just a little while.
Well, indeed, I packed my bags and headed to Manila. And here I am, six months in, and I’ve seen and learned so much. First off, man, this country really loves the dougie. (For the sake of being a true Modern Pinay, I promise to learn it immediately!) And besides the fact that I find fishballs, buko juice, and tricycle rides to be the best things ever, it is through getting to know this country through your eyes that has proven to be the true treasure of this experience.
I’ve found so much beauty in this place, and I thank you for teaching and showing me the strength and resilience of Filipina women. From stiletto wearing fashionistas to women in the farms in Cavite to aspiring University students to the young girls in my LitWorld Girls Club*, I’ve been a granted the privilege to hear your dreams and hopes for the future. You readily share with me how hungry and ready you are for change, and how, even with little, you are willing to give. You’ve let me in on your courageous declarations of power rooted in your faith, and your brave voice reminds me that there is a God and a Universe radiating in all of us.
I hope you remember to love yourself and honor your worth every day, because you show me possibility for this country to thrive and triumph through your individual aspirations. Honor your worth by celebrating yourself on the things that you’ve accomplished, even when there is still some ways to go. Don’t be afraid to dream and be “delusional”, because the biggest visions are often a sign of your greatest purpose. If you don’t like your job, be fearless about taking the risk to pursue what makes you feel alive. But although I must warn you, if you do in fact take the risk, you must, by any means, hold strong to the conviction that you will make it happen. Honor yourself by believing and trusting in yourself wholeheartedly.
When you are living in your greatest purpose, you are changing the world. When you put your energy into the things that make you happy, your positivity becomes contagious, and you affect others. Never forget to ask yourself how you can contribute to making the world better. Honor yourself by knowing that you are significant enough to make a difference. The more generous you are, the more blessings you receive. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Most importantly, do not forget to honor other women. Often, we are taught to compete with each other instead of loving each other. As women, we receive enough reasons from the world to doubt ourselves. Are we pretty enough? Skinny enough? Sexy enough? Let’s find time to congratulate other women and commit to building a sisterhood instead of joining the slew of world’s critics that attack our esteem every day.
And with that, I thank you infinitely sis, because you teach me to be selfless because of your conviction to put your families first, no matter what. You teach me to be humble because confidence doesn’t need to boast, it just is. You teach me to love myself because through your beauty, I see my own reflection.
Most of all, thank you, because you remind me that no matter where a Filipina woman goes or where she grows up, she will always and forever be a proud Pinay. Thank you for welcoming me home.
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