I consider myself privileged never to have considered migrating to another country. In my lifetime, the Philippines was never perfect, it was never first world, it was never the best; but I never stopped to imagine what it would be like to uprooting myself and my family and start all over again in some other land.
That is why my wife and I built the best and most comfortable home we could afford. This was a decision and investment that paid for itself during this pandemic when everyone had no choice to be stuck at home.
For the last 20 years, we built our home, lives and careers with migration out of the question. While we raised and educated our kids with the dream of giving them the best education and opportunities we can afford, outside this country if necessary, we didn’t consider it for ourselves. As parents, we thought we’d just visit them every now and then if they did decide to spend their lives or settle down in another country. We figured that since our kids’ world is more borderless than the one we grew up in, they should take advantage of the opportunities that come their way, wherever that may be.
But what has happened to the country over the last 5 years has led us to seriously reconsider our future, especially as we start thinking about the worst case scenarios that could befall our nation in the next 10 months that could seriously affect the rest of our lives. I’m 45. My kids are in their teens. We cannot afford to waste 10 of the potentially best years of our lives in a country if it becomes a shithole.
Thanks to where we are now and the very distinct possibility that the Philippines is doomed for more of the same terrible brand of small town leadership, my wife and I are now at that point that we are seriously thinking about leaving everything here and starting over in another country.
We are currently looking at New Zealand, Australia or Canada as our top three choices in case the change that we desperately want for this country we love does not come by May 2022. No decision has been made yet at this point, but for someone who has never ever considered migrating, the sad decision to start seriously thinking about it is mind blowing.
To be clear, we still do not want to migrate but we are now seriously thinking about it. We have thought of what to do with our house. We have discussed the idea with our teenaged kids. We are looking at the options for employment at our age. Between my wife and me, her current position at a multinational company gives her a better chance of being the breadwinner in the family so I can either be a househusband or a part time Uber driver. I wouldn’t even mind being a grocery bagger or utility boy in a first world country, especially if it means not having to see a public official or government employee do that ugly fascist fist gesture ever again.
It is sad to think that just six years ago, I had confidence in this country and its future. Now, I’m seriously considering leaving it. It is terrifying how quickly things can go terribly wrong and even stay terribly wrong.
If you come to think of it, the only way to ensure that my family does not end up migrating out of frustration is to fight for the country I really want to stay in. Our reason for migration, if ever we do go ahead, is loss of trust and confidence in this country and the reason for that is the current leadership whose values, standards and principles do not align with mine. If that is changed for the better, we will surely stick around.
So I guess that’s it then. The coming months will be critical for our family. While my wife and I do the research and preparations to migrate if necessary, we will also have to fight tooth and nail against the powerful forces of mediocrity so we don’t have to. It looks like it is time to make my last stand in this country.*