The One With The Balikbayan Box

There is nothing wrong in appreciating the good things in life. I mean, I am also guilty of patronizing imported goods, and they are good! I am not saying they are better than local products, I like to think they are different and have their own pros and cons.

As I grow older however, I began to appreciate more about other countries than just the material things. For example, Japanese are known for their discipline and hard work, Americans for advocating democracy and equality, Europeans for their laid back and healthy lifestyles, Aussies for their relaxed and accepting (when it comes to migrants) nature, Kiwis for their kindness and tolerance, to name a few. How nice would it be if we get to learn from other cultures’ values and apply them in our daily lives?

Toyota is well known as a reliable vehicle in the Philippines, so in addition to driving one, how much safer would our children be if we become more disciplined on the road? We love the idea of the American dream, but to achieve success, can we learn how to value other people’s time and be a good role model for our kids? We are so enamored by European royalty, can we use our admiration to be more like them and snack on vegetables instead of fast food (I am so guilty of this) and drink more tea than sodas and start the next generation on healthier habits earlier? When we visit Sydney, we make sure we take selfies in front of the opera house, maybe we can be more involved with art instead of with what the neighbors are up to, and help develop our children’s right side of the brain? When we enjoy milk and honey from New Zealand, maybe we can also discuss with them how to be better friends, perhaps by sharing the butter perhaps?

My dream is to be able to explore many places and show Sophia there are other ways of life. Some better than the others in some ways, but maybe there really is no perfect country, or city, or community. Because just like nobody is perfect but each still have their own unique qualities that make them special, it is up to us to find the right place for us to call home and make it as close to our ideal one as possible.

Disclaimer: I am aware I am generalizing a lot to make my point. Just as not all Filipinos are always late, I am sure there are also those foreigners who are not living up to the standards of their own countries. I have asked my friends who are living overseas for some inputs, so yes, this post is quite subjective, but I like how it is more personal than say Googling information. I do not mean to offend anyone, I apologize if I accidentally did.

Finally, the main objective of today’s blog post is to thank my mother’s siblings and their families for the gifts. Sophia and I are truly grateful! Hopefully, we can see each other again soon! Sending big hugs from Manila. ❤

#ToABetterSarah #RaisingSophia #FindingSarah #FromZeroToHero

Thank you, Lolos and Lolas! 🤗


  1. dyule says:

    The one where I read it all and comment 😅
    Love it! Keep writing 💕


    1. Could I be any more grateful! Thank you, Julie. ❤


  2. ultratane says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post today Sarah.
    As someone who left his country and culture for 36 years, I now appreciate being home.
    For its the little things we take forgranted that make our country significantly our home.
    We all have things that take us back to our childhood, or a place that makes our heart feel content, or hearing a familiar sound or smelling a certain smell that let us know we are home!
    We will always remember where we come from no matter where we roam.
    And that place will always be home.
    I hope your glad to be back in your home, and appreciate the people that make home so great. 🙌🏽💖🙌🏽


    1. I am glad you have enjoyed reading, Jay. You are lucky you are home, and a very nice place at that. Bicol and Manila will always be close to my heart, just seeing the familiar mountains and buildings is comforting, but I know I am meant to be somewhere else.

      I am still trying to figure out where I belong, hopefully the borders open soon, so I can explore. I cannot wait to go out again.


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