Going Back To Your Roots Can Be A Humbling Experience

Going Back To Your Roots Can Be A Humbling Experience

Growing up in the Philippines as a young boy, I learned the importance of family and home in my own life and my own culture.


When I was six months old, my mom brought me over from the U.S. to live with my dad in the Philippines. I grew up in Iloilo, one of the many cities in the small southeast Asian country made up of over 7,000 islands.

There, I went to school, played outside in the streets, and grew up alongside all my cousins and relatives. In 2006, my dad and I moved to the U.S. to live with my mom and younger brother in Philadelphia, where I have been living ever since.

Since moving to the U.S., I immersed myself into American culture, but I began to compartmentalize my Filipino culture. Many times, I felt out of place in school and in my community, because it seemed like I was the only Filipino there. I was an outsider, a foreigner.

In summer 2016, I returned home to the Philippines for a month-long family vacation after ten long years away. I visited my old house in Iloilo and walked through familiar streets where I played with friends as a small child. Everything was smaller than I remembered, which made me realize how much I had grown up.

During that trip, I was reunited with my relatives, whom I haven't seen in a decade. Everyone was older, bigger, and it felt surreal to see them after such a long time.

I thought things would be different, but to my surprise, they all greeted me warmly and happily - I was home with my family again.

Since that first trip back home to the Philippines, I looked forward to the next time I would be coming back. Little did I know that it would only be within the next 3 years.

In March 2019, during spring break, my aunt and I took a trip back to the Philippines, to pick up my grandparents who were returning to the U.S. While the trip was short and hectic at times, I was able to go around Iloilo and revisit old sights, as well as see my family again.

One of the highlights of the trip was when my cousins took me out into the city to eat and drink, and afterward, they drove me around in the back of a pickup truck going back to my hotel, with the wind blowing in my face.

I felt freer, happier, and more at peace than I'd been in a while.

Going back to your roots, your family, and your home is always humbling, and it reminded me of how my culture and identity as a Filipino-American has shaped who I am today.

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I'm Not 'Spoiled,' I Just Won't Apologize For Having Great Parents

Having supportive parents is one of the best things that ever happened to me.


When I tell people that I am the baby of my family, there is always a follow-up question asking if I am spoiled. As I was a child, perhaps the situation was a little different because I did not receive material things but instead got my way or rarely was punished. I was most likely spoiled rotten in that sense, especially by my grandparents. Fast forward to the age of 19 and I can say that my parents give me everything that I need, not necessarily everything that I want.

But I still don't think I'm spoiled.

I might legally be an adult, but my parents still provide for me. I may live at school during the semester, but my parents don't charge me rent or utilities when I am at home. My mom still does my laundry. They pay my phone bill monthly. When my mom goes grocery shopping, she doesn't have me chip in to help. She will make sure the bathroom is stocked with tampons or shampoo so I don't have to worry about it. The both of them make sure I have the sufficient needs to not be hungry, cold, or without shelter.

They do all of these things because they want what is best for me.

While they pay my student loans, I give them money to cover it as well as a little extra each month for different expenses. If we go out to eat, I do offer to pay but often get shut down and end up leaving the tip instead. I help around the house and sometimes make trips to the store for food or cleaning supplies, not asking for money to be paid back.

I have a job that gives me decent hours, but my parents understand that money for a college kid is tough.

I pay for my own luxuries such as makeup, cute clothes, even to get my hair cut. Spoiled is typically defined as "damaged by having been given everything they want." Do I want another dog? Yes. Do I have one? No. Do I want a swimming pool in my backyard? Yes. Do I have one? Again, no. That is because both my mother and father still believe in working for what you want and even their daughter doesn't get a free pass unless it's her birthday or Christmas. Do I still have everything I could ever need? Yes.

My parents do the exact same thing for my brother and sister who are older than I am.

I know if I have a problem, whether it be financial or crucial, I can turn to them for help. A lot of people my age don't have parents like I do and I am extremely grateful for them and everything that they do. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

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To Satisfy My Nostalgia...

Here's a list of older games I used to play that are still up and running!


I was obsessed with computer games as a kid, so here are some online favorites that are still up! The nostalgia is real!

1. Club Penguin

Everyone loved Club Penguin as a kid! Now, it's new and improved! Membership is free! You heard it--free! The game works the exact same way as the original does. Now, there are more parties, celebrity appearances, and options to choose from in catalogs. You can collect stamps for double the coins in games. Parties feature limited edition clothes, hidden pins, and backgrounds. Puffles can be hoarded or cared for individually. I forgot how much I missed this game and starting at my screen intently for hours while my penguin mined and racked up coins. Club Penguin Rewritten saved my nostalgia!

2. Webkinz

Webkinz used to be SO expensive back in the day! The stuffed animals were ridiculously priced and soon forgotten once their unique code was entered on the site, unlocking the animal online. Webkinz made a ton of money off their target, but is now online free of charge. That's right -- Webkinz is free! I made a dummy account for laughs just to test it out and the rumors are true! You don't need a unique stuffed animal code to have an account anymore. Granted, some of the pet options are limited, but isn't the concept of the game still cherished? Along with its free membership, Webkinz sports trendy and annoying ads on its page, more now than ever before!

3. Purble Place

I remember this game was on the first laptop I ever owned. I used to play it all the time, but I vaguely remember the purpose of the game. Apparently, it is available for download to this day, but the websites look kind of sketchy and virus-y.

4. Rollercoaster Tycoon

This game used to be on a disc. Now they made it downloadable on PC for about $1! They also made different versions of the game, but the overall premise is still present.

5. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Following the creation of the hit computer game from the early 90s, the American TV show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego began to air. Now, there is word about an upcoming Carmen Sandiego film starring Gina Rodriguez! The game itself was based off Detective Sandiego's career while successfully completing crime-stopping adventures. It was thrilling, addicting, and sure to pass the time.

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