Thursday, December 23, 2010

What's in Canada? A chat with an old friend

When I was still a young reporter back in 1994, I met a young couple at the Pasay Press club, the first press corps that I ever decided to member with. 

Macon Araneta was, back then, writing and doing editing jobs at the old Manila Times. MT was then with the Roces' and I think Malou Mangahas was still the EIC(?). Anyway, Macon and I hit it off as good friends, along with her husband, Sandy, who was a Manager of Fedex but started as a journalist way back in 1984. 

Pasay Press Corps was just one solid organization back then, with Macon, Jemma (Tempo), Gigi de Vera (Malaya), Mike Frialde (Star), Nick Ferrer (Star), and of course, who could forget Roy Mabasa (Bulletin). James Catapusan and Elena Aben (of the Manila Bulletin) were my friends and mentors then. Aben used to be a member of my organization at UP, the Kabataan Para sa Bayan or Kabayan. Ariel Fernandez was a very young reporter of an unknown radio station and I was then, reporting for Radio Veritas. Glenda Galuno was also there and of course Mario of Pilipino Star Ngayon. Robert Requintana goes there every so often.

We were very big at that time, and whenever one goes, the rest of the group goes with him. When someone from the print group gets a story, we from the radio group reports it as it is. 

As we age, we of course, went on different ways. Most of the people I wrote here, continued on their journalistic careers while I, well, changed my path---from an investigative reporter, to a Marketing and PR manager. But, we managed to keep our ties very close and our communication lines open.

Yesterday, I met my long time friend, Sandy. For more than 10 years, he's been writing for a major newspaper. And he's waiting for his chance to go to Canada.

Why, I asked, when there are opportunities here? He told me that the economy is still bad. The things that we are seeing right now do not reflect the real score. He predicted that the economy will go south by next year. 

I asked why? He said that this new administration will mismanage things and this will impact greatly on the economy. He's apprehensive of the future, and therefore, decided that it's time to leave. 

He has just applied his entire family for Canada. His brother is there, along with his family. Our friend, Mio Cusi, is also in Canada. 

I told him, I have a friend, Geo Aguila who just got married here and migrated to Canada. If I remember, Geo married his girlfriend here and went off to find their future somewhere else. 

My conversation with Sandy struck me. How many people think this way? How many Filipinos think this way but somehow was'nt reflected in the surveys? Is there an undercurrent of hopelessness, that somehow, the media and the survey firms did not identify or failed to identify?

My friend has been with the media for decades, and opportunities abound in the area of business. But, no. He says there is nothing to hope for any longer. He lives comfortably with his family and his daughter and apo in Las Pinas, and he has no financial trouble. Yet, he, along with his wife, are thinking of migrating to Canada. 

I experienced living abroad, and yes, the economic situation there is better than ours. Yet, it is still best to live in one's country. There are certain things that we treasure here that you'll only find here, not anywhere else. 

Anyway, that chat kept me thinking--why not? I give myself one year. If things will not improve here, then, off to Canada I go.