Balikbayan: The Overseas Pinoy’s Ultimate Dream
Skip first saw the light of day in Sarangani Bay. The clear waters allow the golden rays of the Southern Philippine sun to penetrate the depths, enabling Skip and his buddies to see down to the very bottom of the sea. Skip knew how fortunate he was to live in such a beautiful… well, body of water.
But Skip had to leave the sea of his birth. It’s just a natural thing for him and other Skipjacks (Katsuwonus Pelamis, a major tuna species in the Philippines) to journey and explore the seas. They follow a migration path that has been established since the very first school of Skipjacks began the journey they were destined for. So like clockwork, batches of Skipjacks leave Sarangani Bay, not just for a field trip, but a journey of a lifetime, to venture to the unknown and experience what may be termed as pakikipagsapalaran (adventure or, more literally, fortune-finding).
Despite the length of the journey, the wonderful experiences of enjoying life in some seas of plenty, and all the struggles that his kind has to go through—like swimming full-speed to escape some hungry sharks—Skip knows instinctively that he has to go back to his sea of birth, to do the final act: to spawn. Spawning would see to it that his kind survives and thrives for a very long, long time!
What have Pinoys in common with perhaps the most abundant Philippine tuna species? Well, they, too, migrate thousands of miles to anywhere in the world, eventually returning to their land of birth.
Like their counterpart in the sea world, the Filipinos are also endowed with a homing instinct. And like the sea creatures, Pinoys experience all the struggles and the dangers they encounter in an unknown world. But like that legendary warrior who often sailed across the bay named after him, Sarangani, and who gained the respect of the Maguindanaos because of his courage and friendship, overseas Pinoy are also admired for their willingness to take risks and their natural friendliness. So although scarred, most of them return to their land of birth alive and well. This is especially true of the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers).
Normally, the word “balikbayan” is used to refer to those that immigrate to the United States and other so-called first world countries. At Philfortune, however, balikbayan takes on a new and inclusive meaning. To us, balikbayan is the overseas Pinoy's ultimate dream: to go back to his land of birth for good and help ensure the future of his kind. We realize, however, that the latter is not as simple as the former. Thus, among Philfortune’s goals is to assist the overseas Pinoy in getting ready to become balikbayan who is both psychologically and economically ready to “spawn”--engage in business and other community-building activities--in his native land so that he, his family, and his kababayans do not just survive but thrive for generations.