Published: October 18th 2008October 15th 2008
Victorian Inspired Houses
Filipino’s Diaspora in America
Two days after jubilant celebration of Philippine Independence Day last June 12, we bid farewell to our family, friends and native land. We packed our lives in boxes weighting not more than 50 kg each, and crossed the seas to a neighboring land in Taiwan, Taipei airport via Eva Air for a connecting flight. We saw Taipei airport was really advanced, organized, clean and modernized. We had fun at their duty free shops, got fascinated with the toy shops where Mazinger Z originated. I suddenly reminisced my “Made in Taiwan” toys, Voltron and Voltes V(ah). Made in Taiwan though was not the favored place of production due to its fragility. Before we go on dreaming of toyland and airport terminals leading to Hello kitty world we were called to our plane to the foreign land they say the land of dreams, America.
Sixteen hours after, we arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport, previously the capital of New Jersey as my dad and I was arguing over as I report our safe arrival. It’s was no longer the case it’s now Trenton. Val and I were picked up by Val’s uncle Tito Chito and were welcomed
Ellwood H. Stokes, Statue, Ocean Grove
Behind it is the Historic Great Auditorium
by wife and daughter Tita Angelique,and Katrina at their cozy home at Edison. It was like a vacation in Baguio, Philippines, like Camp John Hay. The houses were made of layered white wood like that of the high ranking government officers at the camp. The smell is like the one that comes out of the “pasalubong” boxes we used to receive, fresh like Tide-laundry powder with a piney cool sent. And yes the squirrels and crows mesmerized me all over. Val first thought it was rats running around the corner. It sometimes preoccupied me watching them, they move so jerky, skippy and in a controlled motion. I realized why American movies have so much to tell about them. It so part of a typical westernized window view. So common that they want to get rid of this little rabbits (yes, I’ve seen them do censored stuff) by putting up owl figurines to scare them off.
We spent like a week with tito Chito and family as we acclimatized ourselves with the cool environment. Weather is so significant to tell you what to wear. We never cared about this back home since its always hot. We found comfort from Tita
The longest-active camp meeting site in the United States since 1869.
Angelic’s sinigang (Filipino tamarind based beef stew) which felt like home. We were visited by the sisters and brother of Tita Angelique, Tita Donna,Gina and Tito Renan and enjoyed our Filipino “inihaw” BBQ- chicken. I by the way did the marinating with soy sauce with lime instead of our citrus fruit “kalamansi”. I’m so amazed how many of us Filipinos have clustered in the US.
June 19 is the day of commemoration of our national hero, Jose Rizal also our move in date in our own apartment at Brighton Arms, Neptune City. Tito Chito gave us a hefty load of things essential for our survival. A 32” Panasonic TV, a microwave, a day bed care of Katrina, bed mattress from Tita Donna, whom we went door to door to pick up from. It was a good collection, One man’s or woman’s trash is another’s treasure.
Equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) and passing through Garden State Parkway, the 45 minute road trip from Edison to Neptune was a breeze. It was the first time I traveled like 40 miles in such a short time. US roads are made so efficient. Compared to that of the Philippines, even though
we have some roads wider like 14 lanes like Commonwealth avenue, it seems like theirs have exiting lanes that make swift turns possible in exits. And yes, I remember they don’t share their road with our notoriously famous jeepneys and buses who are like kings of the road. I admire the scenic view of a well-forested roadway appropriately calling NJ, the Garden State.
Living 10 minutes from the beach is like a dream come true. Situated between Asbury Park, Bradley Beach and fronting the Jersey Shore and Atlantic Ocean. Ocean Grove beach is like a Victorian inspired community. In the center of the neighborhood, they have a historic site called the Great Auditorium, founded by the Methodist church under Ellwood H. Stokes. He has a statue there.
It is said to have the longest-active camp meeting site dating back to 1869. This explains the peaceful, God- oriented community and also a retiring public. This is so contrary to the image of Asbury park, the town beside it.
Sometimes when I feel separated from my family and friends in the Philippines, somehow I feel refuge in the beach. I feel that the waters somewhat reach the tip of Philippine
Horse Driven Carriage at Ocean Grove
Just like ours at Intramuros, Philippines.
soil. I still dream of going home but sometimes just think we need to move out and view things from a different perspective so that we would understand more about living. And just like Jose Rizal, I hope we could bring back something to our beloved land. I just wonder how 11% of our Filipino population is scattered in many nations and just like sand somehow still united under one body of water.
There are more photos below