As a Filipino, you might have heard the concept of dreaming way beyond borders just for the sake of the family. The thought of sustaining the lives of each family member, and even the extended ones, by providing for their needs, runs through every Filipino’s veins. It may sound like a big responsibility to the one who will shoulder the challenge, but the urge to help because of love overpowers the big hurdle. Filipinos are fueled by the dream to live a comfortable life, which can only be achieved by living the so-called “American dream.” The dream that every Filipino still dreams until today.

More and more Filipinos are moving to the United States for a better life–an idea that serves as a driving force for Filipino work ethic. Based on Pew Research Center’s analysis, there are 4.2 million Filipinos living in the US as of 2019, making them the third-largest Asian origin group in the country, following India and China. But in the State of California alone, Filipinos cover the largest Asian minority group, with a population of 1.5 million.

Historically, the initial wave of the migration of Filipinos to the US traces back in time after the US annexation of the Philippines in 1899, according to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). In which most Filipinos travel for employment opportunities. Between 2014 and 2018, the American Community Survey (ACS) found that Filipino immigrants were highly concentrated in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego in California. As a result of their increasing population, communities of Filipinos emerged–making the life of their compatriots feel at home in an unfamiliar culture.

Despite the American Dream Ideology motivation–with the guidance of a kababayan, to continue the migration to the US, why do Filipinos still buy into the promise that hard work and success are attainable for everyone in the country?

Employment Opportunities

In countries like the Philippines–where most nurses are produced every year, mass resignations continue to emerge as a result of high-risk work but underpaid service. With those lesser job benefits, most of the produced nurses in the country are going abroad to serve other nationalities, mostly in the United States.

The presence of Filipino nurses in America is not new. In fact, the acquiring of nurses in the Philippines began with the US colonization of the Philippines under the guise of “benevolent assimilation”, and has increased overtime due to the series of the US immigration policies. According to National Nurses United, 4 percent of registered nurses across the US account for Filipinos. In California, nearly 18 percent of registered nurses are constituted by Filipinos. That is why it is no surprise if the US draws Filipino nurses every time it faces a shortage.

Higher Salary

It is no doubt that in the Philippines, it has become a norm that if you want to earn more money, working abroad is the first thing that comes to mind. Finding a job on the other side of the world serves as the driving force of the Filipinos to escape the crushing poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunities in the country. Due to a variety of job openings, Filipinos opt to work to land a job in the US for better compensation and a reasonable salary, which is commonly much higher as compared to what can be earned in the Philippines.

Needless to say, the bright lights from the US continue to reach the Filipinos who want to live the American Dream. While it is a great challenge to take, the will to support the family in the Philippines ignites the passion to work harder. However, considering the risk of travelling and working abroad, Filipinos should manage their expectations, because living in a whole new place is not always as peaceful and smooth as what others have experienced. Everyone has their own dreams to build and the heart of being a Filipino is what "Filipinos" use to achieve that dream, regardless of the distance and sacrifices to make.

Photo credits shutterstock, iStock, pixabay, and Sandigan News

Written by Karisma Primero

Karisma Primero is currently a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise, and a 3rd year Broadcasting student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines - Manila.

Andrei de Guzman

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