"Pupusta ko, hindi ka na babalik ng Pilipinas."

This is what my friend told me after we did an almost half-day walkathon at the mall and several shops in the city. But his goal is just to buy fish sauce and bagoong isda, as part of his kitchen condiments.

He has been one of the few people I can talk about how much I seemingly can't comprehend what is going on in the Philippines. From drug war to anti-intellectualism and smart-shaming, I just can't imagine.

He talked about brain drain. People are leaving. Intellects and skilled workers choose to leave the country and work in another one because they can't get enough money in the motherland. The initial plan is always just...... work for a few years, make investments, save more money and come back to the PH for good. Though it happened for some, most people who chose to work overseas, had chosen to come back to PH in their retirement age. The age wherein the society hasn't a lot of gain from them. I told him I will come back. Then he retaliated me with situations of me finding a foreigner husband whom would definitely alter future decisions.

Then, I realized, brain drain is real. Among my friends, only a few chose to work for the government and not even working full-time but on project-based ones because they don't want to be tied up to the government and will still pursue studies abroad. A few of us are already abroad, two among them are taking up Masteral studies in prestigious universities while I work and still pursue distance learning from the flagship university of our motherland.

So far, a few things keep me grounded in PH. My family. My studies. My defiance of the EJK. The Lumads and the minority groups fleeing the war in Mindanao.

All of which, I get to support because I am earning more than I had in PH. And if I come back and work at this current state, I don't know where I will start over again. 

Philippines will always be my home. But then, if home isn't really nurturing me anymore, it's about time to step up my game and put in the bag all the things that inspire me to move forward and keep on aiming to find the better me.

One day, I will come back, hoping that I can make a difference.


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