“No matter where we go, we will always miss the place where we came from.” I’ve been here in England for more than a year now but I still can’t help myself miss my home country, the Philippines.
Today is a bank holiday here in the UK and thought to write this post as I was contemplating of what I’ve missed in my 1 year away from the Philippines.
This is not in order, so here it goes:
Philippines is a tropical country. We don’t have winter, fall, or spring. We only have wet and dry seasons. In the Philippines, we normally get 24-26 degrees Celsius temperature on normal days and higher than that on hotter days.
During winter time here in England, it’s usually minus 1, 2, or 3. And, sometimes it’s 0, positive 1, 2, or 3 if you’re lucky. You’d just prefer to stay at home with your blanket over you and the heating in full blast! Oh dear, this is the time when the gas/electric bill tends to go up! You don’t want to die of hypothermia, do you?
Summer in England is a lot better but some days may still be cold. It varies and temperature is usually 10 degrees onwards.
There are a lot of Asian ingredients available here so it’s easier to make some local cuisine in the comfort of your kitchen. However, it’s usually expensive compared to the local UK products due to, obviously, the shipping costs.
Some kitchen staples make a big difference when you wanted to achieve the authentic Filipino taste. I prefer Datu Puti soy sauce than the common dark soy sauce widely available here in England. The Datu Puti sugar cane vinegar is a lot better than the local vinegar in terms of taste (well according to my taste buds!). In my kitchen, I always make sure I have those 2 Datu Puti products.
I also miss the local street foods like isaw, bbq, pruben, balut and many more. How can you not? They are delish! And I badly miss Bangus, this fish is really creamy! Yum! And how can you not miss Jollibee, Potato Corner, Carmela’s Ensaymada, the cakes in Lachi’s, Piattos, Chippy, etc? Am I making you feel hungry now?
3. Local Jeepneys
Most Filipinos have tried riding a jeepney, unless you’re a part of Alta Sociedad or just a rich kid. This cheap transportation is widely available anytime (no schedules) and it can take you everywhere you want for a few pesos! And who can’t miss the loud horns of those vehicles? And the usual convo between the driver and passenger like ‘Lugar lang ko sa daplin nong‘, ‘Bayad nako nong‘, etc. When you hear it, for sure you’re in the Philippines!
Here in England, they have a very systematic transportation and everything runs on a schedule. If something goes wrong, you’ll get delays or, worse, cancellations. But if they have 30mins or more delays, you are entitled for a refund. Just get in touch with your local train station officers or visit their official website for instructions.
4. Family and Friends
This is a no brainer. People residing abroad, away from their family/friends will surely feel homesickness blues at some point. We can meet new friends abroad but the bond and memories shared will forever linger.
I usually miss my family and sometimes I can’t help myself but ‘make drama’ when I’m alone. Make iyak but after a few minutes I’ll be fine as if nothing happened. Sometimes, you just need to let it out so you’ll feel better.
The good thing about technology is it makes everything easier to contact people back home through Skype and Facebook. With just one click, you can easily call them.
5. Get Together after Work with Friends or Colleagues
Filipinos love Karaoke and inuman sessions! After work, usually on a Friday night, we tend to ask our friends or workmates if they’re free to chill out in a local bar. We like to spend time and talk about anything under the sun, including a bit of chismis (that’s a given!).
Here in England, most people are busy and have priorities. You can’t just ask anybody to go out on the same day as they may have plans already. You need to ask them atleast a few days in advance if they’re free. Most British are organised, and it’s great to ask beforehand in case they have another appointment they can’t miss to avoid disappointments.
6. Local Celebrations/Festivals
There are 18 regular and special holidays, more or less, in the Philippines! And local towns or cities may have a different set of local holidays in observance of the local patrons/saints. There are also local festivities which makes the Philippines an interesting country to visit.
In Davao City, we have a festival called Kadayawan which showcases the thanksgiving rituals of the indigenous tribes. There are colourful street dances, parties, concerts and fruits (especially Durian) everywhere!
7. Christmas Season
Believe it or not, in the Philippines, the Christmas season usually starts in September! When the –Ber months kick in, people will start decorating their houses. Who doesn’t know Jose Mari Chan? His Christmas songs are popular hits during this season as these are regularly played in every malls and shops!
Last September, I told my husband I will start decorating for Christmas. I didn’t expect his response; he just laughed and told me it’s too early for it.
In the UK, most people will start decorating 12 days before Christmas. Well, I think Filipinos are just too excited and love the Christmas holidays.
8. Travelling Cheap
I love travelling around the Philippines, it’s cheap! And I’m the person who likes to see more of nature and do hiking. Philippines has thousands of islands and each islands/regions have something unique to offer.
England is a wonderful country but can be a bit expensive especially the tourist areas. You need to save up for places like London and Lake District (given you’re staying for a week or more). It’s worth it though.
9. The Beaches
There are a lot of nice beaches in the Philippines with crystal blue waters and white sands. What else can you ask for? Some of these beaches are not yet well-developed and you don’t have to spend loads of money to stay in paradise.
However, there are also touristy areas like Boracay, Palawan and Siargao in which I’ve heard a lot of good feedback from people I know. It’s definitely worth travelling to those places.
10. Chibibing, my pet dog
When you decide to move to a different country, it’s inevitable to leave people, things or even pets that are significant to us. As much as you wanted to bring them over, the costs will discourage you. But I know that she’s well taken care of and if I decide to go back home for a holiday, there is something to look forward to.
As much as I enjoy and love living in England, I still miss the Philippines.