The Philippine Dream

May 26, 2008
By Monica Climaco, Union, NJ

I cried when I left
Wept harder when I learned
I wasn't going back anytime soon

I sobbed when I landed on the tarmac
Of the Manila International Airport in the summer of 2006
And I know I'll be bawling again
When I return this summer

Yes, I complain
About the corruption
About the poverty
About the malnourishment,
So painfully apparent on the streets

Yes, I wish
That the government was different
That the officials were more competent
That the leaders were fixing problems
Instead of creating more

Yes, I left
The Philippines
All those years ago
How dare you say I do not love my country?

The Philippines is what I
See when I dream at night,
Hear when I speak to my parents,
Taste when I am at my aunt's restaurant,
Touch when I scratch my skin,
Smell when I go to any Filipino gathering.

Leaving wasn't my choice
But I am making the most of it.

Essays, projects,
Speeches, presentations,
And other toils and troubles:
They're all so that I can return home-
So that I can initiate a change.

So, please
Don't tell me I'm not patriotic
Don't feed me your line about my "abandonment"
Because I didn't leave the Philippines behind (it forever remains in my heart) for America
And I'm not in America
To live the "American dream"
I'm here so that when I go back,
I am equipped
To create a new dream,
The Philippine Dream.

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