Home Grown

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Returning volunteer writer, Meg Jocson Ong, shares how where she grew up influenced her life and who she is today.

My time in the Philippines was cut off too short when my dad was expatriated to Malaysia. I’ve never cried so much until I was in the car to the airport – driving through this bustling city I call home. Manila has a special place in my heart, and although I moved out when I was 12, I can confidently say that it has influenced how I live my life greatly and is a major factor to who I am today.

Manila is a busy city to say the least. It’s endless traffic along the major highways and skies filled with skyscrapers are inevitable. Filipinos are also known to be very hard workers. Being surrounded by others who are down to earth and have to work to get to where they want, instead of being handed what they want, is something I’m thankful for. It taught me that hard work and perseverance, no matter what the circumstances are, are the key to success in life and the solution to happiness. It’s guaranteed that every Filipino you meet, rich or poor, will greet you with a smile and welcome you with open arms.

I was taught the value of friendship and family after leaving Manila, as I found out those who are my true friends and those who aren’t. It’s influenced the way I let people into my life now and how I should value my time as well as theirs. I’ve grown respect for my peers and maintained the same respect for my family who I don’t see as often anymore. This has made me more grateful in general and more thoughtful of others around me.

Lastly, my home has taught me to be brave. Being in a city like Manila, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t stand up for yourself and face whatever life throws at you without courage and honesty. When I moved to Malaysia, I used the same bravery I learned at home to get through bullying and unjust treatment I got from my classmates when I first arrived. Thinking about going back home was all I had in my mind the first few years away. I can’t stop thinking about Manila. It’s had such an influence on my life and I’m glad to say that I grew up in a place like the Philippines.

Featured Image By: Omeiza Haruna

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