Hospitality – This is said to be among the core values of the Philippine society. Another treasured core value is the Bayanihan, where collective action and the sense of community are put into action.

Just think back to the last fiesta you have attended and surely you will recall these core values in action. “Magandang araw tuloy kayo,” is one greeting you can hear during local festivities sometimes even inviting strangers to eat in their homes. And surely the whole community pitched in to make decorations for the event.

There are actually a lot of core values upheld by the Filipinos. However, with the reality of migration and generations of second degree to third degree Filipinos born abroad, these values along with the ties to the Filipino cultural heritage is threatened to be lost.

According to Republic Act 8044 or the Youth in Nation building Act of 1995, the youth “is the critical period in a person’s growth and development from the onset of  adolescence towards the peak of mature, self-reliant and responsible adulthood comprising the considerable sector of the population from the age of fifteen (15) to thirty (30) years.

Nationalistic devotions to the Philippines are said to diminish among immigrant children as they look upon their parents adopted country as their homeland.

Youth and Migration

According to the book “On the Subject of the Nation; Filipino Writings from the Margins 1981 to 2004” migration has existed in the Philippines even before the Second World War. Majority of the migrants then were composed of working class males. 72 per cent of overseas contract workers were found in the United States of America. In fact, 120, 000 workers were contracted to work in plantations in Hawaii in 1934 that they eventually made up 18 per cent of its population.

Fast forward and decades after, more countries became a migration destination for Filipinos.

In a 2003 document of the National Youth Commission (NYC), they stated the concern on Filipino youth abroad. They identified migration as one of the major issues of the youth. According to their data in 2002 there are around 20, 567 young Filipino emigrants.

During the Youth Forum on the Second Global Filipino Networking Convention in 2003, seven issues were cited to be faced by the youth sector. These issues are access to quality education, providing alternative education, youth unemployment/underemployment, alternative livelihood opportunities, strengthening participation of youth, promoting adolescent health, mobilizing youth in the preservation and protection of the environment

As stated by the National Youth Commission, the participation of the youth is a major area of concern. With this in mind, it is something particularly to be concerned on how Filipino youth abroad can partake in their identified sectoral issues.

The Filipino youth abroad includes the following categories:

1. Filipino youth who are born of Filipino parents abroad

2. Filipino youth who are born of inter-cultural / inter-country marriages

3. Filipino youth adopted by foreigners

4. Filipino youth who are born in the Philippines but migrated with family

5. Filipino youth who have come to study or work abroad

6. Young Overseas Contract Workers

7. Filipino youth who have joined their parents as political refugees

8. Filipino Youth who are married to foreign nationals

9. Filipino youth who are irregular migrants

They face varied issues but share similar experiences with discrimination, confusion on identity, culture shock and difficulty in adaptation and integration among many others.

New Media in the Age of Globalization

As the infamous saying goes, “the youth is the hope of the nation” thus, active participation and cultural awakening is crucial.

The concern is how to involve the young population abroad on their stake to their cultural heritage. It is a task to involve them to concerns in the country in which the culture also flows in their veins.

Across the globe this concern has been materialized by various youth groups. From Canada, to the United States and across Japan, ties were rekindled and networks built all made possible with help from cyberspace.

The new media is said to have opened doors for networking and real-time communication across borders. With its accessibility, this platform’s use have been stretched and maximized.

According to Digiactive.org, a site that promotes usage of digital tools for activism, the Internet and mobile phones as tools makes it possible if not more powerful and effective “[to] communicate with other people who share [similar] concerns, to disseminate a message of change, to organize and inform, to lobby the government, [and] to take part in activism.”

The new media facilitated the link of youth with their cultural heritage. From social networking sites, to blog sites and video or photo sharing platforms, New Media has made it possible to establish your presence and project your message for everyone to see.

Real People, Real Stories

Different youth organizations across the world have been able to use new media tools for various reasons such as expansion of membership, connecting with networks, posting messages of solidarity or voicing their advocacies. The New Media made possible what geographic limitations have hampered before.

With the recent devastation left by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in the country, different organizatoins manifested their concern on their kababayans in the Philippines.

Two youth groups based abroad – in Japan and the United States – have been among many which lead relief efforts to help those in the Philippines.

One is the United Japanese-Filipino Children (UJFC) association composed of Japanese-Filipino Children (JFC) from Japan and the Philippines. The UJFC membership managed to collect goods from other JFC as well as supporters and partners in Japan to support relief efforts for identified communities in need in the Philippines.

According to Yasuhiro Tominaga, committee member of UJFC in Japan, “with the use of internet, we can maintain the spirit of bayanihan even if [abroad].” He also, admitted that the Internet allowed them to communicate their cause easily.

Some platforms they used included social networking sites like Facebook and Friendster as well as chat platforms for making their cause known as well as allowing communication among the membership and between partner organizations.

Also, they posted the cause on the Youth Japan online magazine (http://youthjapan.net/). The said magazine is a publication of young JFC and Filipino migrants in Japan.

Another initiative was formed by youth group Anakbayan New York/New Jersey. Where they held a youth Pulong Bayan in their chapter in which the agenda is to help out fellow Filipinos who fell victim to typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng’s wrath.

They have similarly made use of social networking sites like Facebook as well as microblogging platform Twitter. They also posted information, messages of solidarity and updates on bayanihan activities on their website found at http://anakbayan-nynj.blogspot.com/. Communication was also established with local partner organizations through the employment of chatting tools.

The employment of New Media on advocacy allowed youth organizations abroad to explore, create links and build bridges with their Filipino cultural heritage and rethink nationalistic practices from its previous geographically-confined definitions. Bayanihan is alive and prospering within the young Filipinos abroad.

Sources:

Castrodes, Marc Fabian. (2003). An Overview of the Filipino Youth Here and Abroad. [Powerpoint]. http://www.youth.net.ph/download/Overview%20of%20the%20Filipino%20Youth.ppt

Hau, Caroline. (2004). On the subject of the nation: filipino writings from the margins 1981 t0 2004. QC: Ateneo de Manila Unversity Press.

(1995). National Youth Commission. Republic Act 8044: The Youth in Nation-Building Act. Retrieved from http://www.youth.net.ph/about/ra80044.php.