Two, three years ago, I made a firm declaration in front of some friends that I was never going to leave the Philippines in this lifetime. That’s not to say that I don’t want to travel and explore the world, I do, I’d love to travel as much as my resources would allow me, but leaving Pinas for good to settle somewhere else was, to me, non-negotiable.

And then New York happened in this life of mine. Shortly after, Sydney.


That’s me with my cousin Dots and my godson, Jonah,
on a hill overlooking the Sydney Harbor. November, 2008.

Just now I came across this post Ala Paredes wrote on her tumblr:

In the mornings, when I join the mad rush of people commuting to work, and I’ve been on the train for an hour on my long journey from Western Sydney to the North, I feel uplifted when my train makes its slow crawl across the Harbour Bridge as if it were holding it’s breath.

I see the metropolitan sprawl beneath me, see the Opera House, the ships coming in, and wide expanse of sparkling blue ocean kissing the horizon and think,” Wow, I live and work in this city. You’ve come a long way from day one, baby”.

..and I can’t help but siiiigh and wish I could write the same expression of love.

I fell in love with Sydney when I was there in 2008. I can imagine how it’s like, the morning that Ala so eloquently described, walking around Circular Quay and seeing the Opera House and Darling Harbour as part of a normal day and not just some tourist-thing to do.

I just.. *sigh*, I want to live in a city I’m in love with and constantly falling in love with. And no, please don’t look at me like I’m betraying my own country. I don’t like feeling this way too.

I wish I’m not struggling to choose between loyalty to this city God placed me in and the curiosity that maybe He planted this aching desire in my heart and I’ve got to at least do something to pursue it. It’s a constant struggle that’s tearing me apart every single day.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way. /rant



  1. I feel exactly the same way. If you can, grab a copy of Richard Florida’s “Who’s Your City” and it will reinforce everything that you’re feeling now. The soul needs to connect with the place, and there is something to be said about being inspired and empowered whenever one walks in a place he or she identifies with. I need/want to fall in love too.

  2. You are not the only one, Riz. I still am gathering the courage to move my ass out of Manila. Even the thought of expatriation to Hong Kong (nearer to me than some provinces in the Phils) scares me out of my wits. What more to move to NYC or Spain or Italy?

    I am puzzled. And terrified.

    1. You know what they say, the things that are terrifying are the ones that are worth taking. :) Will be watching you, T, WE can do this. ;)

  3. I can’t get myself to love Manila. But maybe that’ll change when I start living in it. I have only been working and studying in it to judge it too quickly.

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