10 September 2015
Porchester Hall, Bayswater London
EUROPEAN NETWORK OF FILIPINO DIASPORA (ENFiD)
10 September 2015
Porchester Hall, Bayswater London
Appellation of Origin: The Philippines is organised to celebrate the Philippine artistry and imagination in the form of crafts unique to Philippine culture.
Appellation of Origin: the Philippines is a project of WELL (Work, Environment & Lifelong Learning) Trust; Ajos Trust; ENFiD: European Network of Filipino Diaspora and ENFID UK.
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Article written by Rachel Hansen Photos courtesy of JJ Formento
The 1st ENFiD Essay Writing Contest was launched to coincide with the 2nd European Regional Overseas Filipino Conference in Malta held last July 31-August 3.
An overwhelming number of entries from 44 Euro-Pinoys were submitted and the first three essays which garnered the highest points were proclaimed the winners. The announcement and the prize-giving ceremony took place at the ENFiD Cultural Evening held at the Catholic Institute Auditorium in Floriana, Malta last August 1st 2015.
The purpose of the Contest was to engage as many Euro-Pinoys as possible in ENFiD objectives as well as to examine their roles in Europe’s multicultural environment. The essayists were asked to provide an entry on the following topics:
1 My cultural life before and after being an Overseas Filipino
2 My profession, work habits/ethics before and after working in Europe
3 How much do I know about Europe (or my adopted country)?
4 Am I am better individual as Euro-Pinoy (i.e. living, studying and working in Europe)?
Four judges were handpicked meticulously to choose the winners based on a selection criteria such as Creativity, Structure, Adherence to Topic, Grammar, Length and “Wow!” factor.
The top 10 essays that received the highest points were subjected to a second reading, and the judges engaged in a measured discussion of the essays content and value, before finally voting on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winning entries. It was a tough task for the judges to say the least.
The 1st prize went to Jaye de la Cruz-Bekema from the Netherlands, the 2nd prize to Marj Akil of the United Kingdom and the 3rd prize to Richelle A. Craw from the Czech Republic.
The 1st prize winner received 700 EUR cash, one week stay in Tagaytay Condo for 2 and weekend stay in a 5-star hotel for 2 in Manila with breakfast.
The 2nd prize winner received 500 EUR cash, weekend stay in Tagaytay Condo for 2 and weekend stay in hotel for 2 in Manila with breakfast
The 3rd prize winner received 300 EUR cash, weekend stay in hotel for 2 in Manila with breakfast.
ENFiD is planning to hold an Essay Writing Contest annually on different themes.
“Sharing a site that contains everything that absentee voters, overseas workers, seafarers, expatriates, Pinoys with dual citizenship, Pinoys who have re-acquired or retained Filipino citizenship under RA 9225 need to know to be able to vote in the May 2016 national elections.
The deadline for registration is October 31, 2015. Time is of the essence.
Please share with your friends and groups.
Comprehensive info for Filipino overseas workers and expats about how to register and vote in May 2016 national elections.”
Moreover, here’s a video about overseas absentee voting: http://enfid.org/overseas-absentee-voting-information-campaign/
We, the 92 Filipino diaspora delegates and guests coming from 13 countries in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, Malta, Sweden, Norway) and joined by guests and delegates from the Philippines, United States and Israel, convened in the Second European Regional Overseas Filipinos Conference with the theme “Overseas Filipinos (OF) for Transnational Development Make a Self-Assessment (Ako ay Pilipino, Ganito Ako Ngayon, Paano Ako Bukas / This is how I am today, how will I be tomorrow?)” on August 1-2, 2015 in St. Pauls Bay, Malta hereby state the following:
1. Social Remittances(#1) as drivers of change equal the value that 1 financial remittances carry. Social remittances include also the psychological-emotional-cultural-social (PECS) aspects which OF’s contribute to the Philippines.
2. The effects of financial remittances and social remittances, including PECS, mutually reinforce each other. While financial remittances can effect a change in the Philippine economy, social remittances have the power to positively influence Philippine culture and society.
3. Therefore, social remittances should not be treated as a separate issue but as a cross-cutting element of issues of all migrant concerns.
4. Euro-Pinoys are engaged in various forms of coping strategies while giving content and gestalt to our hyphenated identities(#2). We recognize the merits of cross-cultural/transnational identities in the integration of Euro-Pinoys in the host countries.
5. Due to feminization of Filipino migration in the 80’s and 90’s, Filipino women now hold a crucial role in diffusing the PECS remittances.
6. Poignant issues such as the unfounded Chinese territorial claims in the West-Philippine Sea and Trafficking in Persons have impact on the lives of Euro-Pinoys.
7. The situation of the Filipino youth including 2nd generation and 1.5 generation have special particularities which require specific attention from the Euro-Filipino communities.
8. A lack of gender equality within many Filipino migrant organizations continues and was discussed with concern by the delegates.
9. The Uníted Nation´s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to be endorsed in September 2015, provide an important policy framework to address concerns worldwide and are recognised as a valuable guidance for the future priorities of ENFiD and partner organizations.
10.The delegates exchanged experiences in being serviced by personnel of the Philippine Embassies and Consulates in Europe. It was noted that in some cases the attitude of personnel in dealing with OF’s was sub-optimal and in need of improvement.
Based on the discussions and agreements, we recommend the following:
1. For ENFiD to take the lead in initiating seminars and meetings about the social remittances, including PECS, at country levels in coordination with other Filcom and other ethnic communities in Europe.
2. For Philippine government institutions, especially the CFO, PhilHealth and other relevant institutions to integrate attention to the social remittances in their policies, programs and projects.
3. For all OF’s to be conscious of the potential positive and negative impacts of their attitudes, behaviour and mind-set (through the social remittances) diffused to families and friends back home and their host countries.
4. For the delegates of this conference, to share with their own organizations the knowledge and consciousness gained from the sessions of this conference as well as the knowledge and insights gained during their daily interaction with fellow delegates.
5. For ENFiD, to function as a platform for coordinating advocacy work at the European level and to establish within the ENFiD structure a special committee to support and assist in streamlining the contents of local and national initiatives like the lobby against Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
6. For ENFiD, to further promote social-economic development in the Philippines, to partner with various NGOs and institutions and to support efforts to mobilise Diaspora initiatives for local investments. In addition, to assist in providing financial education and highlighting the role of social remittances in development.
7. For ENFiD, to advocate with other overseas Filipino communities globally for setting up opportunities for on-line registration and on-line voting in order to strengthen ties of the OF’s with the Philippines and to further the democratic process in our home country.
8. For the Philippine Government to address the portability of medical health care of Filipinos living in Europe and for ENFiD to initiate a review of various health care systems in European countries to inform the Philippine Government on various options to address this matter.
9. For ENFiD, to promote gender sensitivity concerning issues of migration and development.
10.Explore the possibility of having direct electoral representatives/participation of OF based in the US, Europe and the Middle East in the Philippine Parliament.
11.For ENFiD to conduct a baseline study of Filipino identity, type of remittance and investments made to the Philippines which includes not only financial remittances but also social remittances. The survey questions presented by Ms. Anny Hefti from Berne can be used as a reference.
12.For the DFA, to pay more attention to the selection and performance review of personnel working in Philippine Embassies and Consulates in Europe so that OF’s are treated with more earnestness.
(#1) As defined by Peggy Levitt (1998) social remittances are usually defined as the ideas, 1 practices, identities and social capital that flow from receiving to sending country communities.
(#2) Baubock (1998) talks of additive identities and additive assimilation, which is retaining a 2 previous cultural membership while acquiring a new one.
The Delegates highly appreciated the warm welcome of ENFiD by Malta President Marie Louise Preca. She stressed the positive contribution of the Filipino community in her country and expressed full support to their concerns. Her commitment strengthens ENFiD in further pursuing its goals. We thank the Tourism Ministry of Malta in facilitating the successful hosting of this conference.
The delegates hereby thank all Filipino and Maltese individuals for their warm reception. To the dedicated organizers and secretariat members, our endless gratitude!
This statement was signed on 2 August 2015 in Malta by 92 delegates present.
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I walked into my corner shop and scanned the produce in plastic and wooden crates. Not immediately finding what I was looking for, I discarded my habit of not asking and came up to the shopkeeper.
“Hello, do you sell eggplants?”, I asked in a tone firmly suggesting that his shop should have them.
“I’m sorry, say that again?”, replied the shopkeeper whose facial expression painted of hearing something he normally wouldn’t on a daily basis.
“Eggplants?”, I repeated with hesitation, thinking that my slight American twang was the culprit as to why eggplants were nowhere to be found among the shop’s array of vegetables.
He then proceeded to go through all the vegetables and fruits, checked their names one by one, and began shaking his head. After a thorough inspection of all the greens, he eventually apologised for not carrying eggplants.
I was about to leave disappointed that my kare-kare may not make it to our dining table when I spotted something very purple of which the stalk and distinctive crown of leaves looked familiar.
The hand-written label read ‘aubergines’.
I had an inkling, picked up a couple, paid, and left the store without further giving away my fresh-off-the-boat status.
That night, I was complimented on how I cooked to perfection the fresh eggplants, locally known of course, as aubergines.
Ten years on, I look back at my first brush with lessons in assimilation. The eggplants have been pushed, but not relegated, to the recesses of my immigrant vocabulary.
I eventually learnt, rather than learned, that chips are what I have always known as French fries; American chips are British crisps; braces are not only worn on the teeth, but also to hold one’s trousers, which I’ve always called suspenders, but now mean something else in the lingerie department; trucks are lorries; tank tops are vests; sweaters are jumpers; cell fones are mobiles; cookies are biscuits; cilantro is coriander; band-aids are plasters; a private school is public; and Zee (letter Z) is Zed.
Beyond the language nuances are the socio-cultural customs and attitudes that make up the essence of my integration. I have grasped sarcasm as second nature as my acquired taste for fish and chips and builder’s tea. I have developed the habit of jumping into queues, or starting it when I don’t see one. I am culturally raised in melodrama, but have since leaned towards my more natural inclination to have a stiff upper lip and to keep to myself. I have always favoured assertiveness and confidence over the more deep-rooted subservience; my sentiment has found its home. Over the years, an overdeveloped politeness has rubbed off me, that I pander to political correctness. Must I apologise for that while I discuss the weather at length?
Despite my conscious efforts to adapt, I didn’t abandon quintessential Filipino traits ingrained in me: my sense of community and ability to see the upside. We collectively gravitate towards togetherness and familial atmosphere whether in merriment or in dire need, but most especially, over food. I have swapped eggplants for aubergines, but my culinary language will speak of tortang talong over ratatouille or caponata. Giving an analogy to an English friend, Filipinos never cook for two; it’s always for at least a good few.
Being a Euro-Pinoy in a multicultural and multiracial society gives me a binary perspective on differences and diversity that shape and reinforce my tolerance and acceptance. I’m liberated from some inhibiting cultural and non-secular beliefs I have been brought up in, being pigeonholed to certain roles at specific stages in my life, and harbouring bigoted views. Being part of a society of different ethnicities and social backgrounds gives me the privilege to achieve beyond material gains, but rather, to become worldly-wise as I have challenged myself to not be that fish out of water and refuse to live up to the stereotypes thrown at my ethnic origin.
On a very recent trip to the Philippines, a friend observed and commented on my direct manner, “Di ka na nga Pilipino, di ka na paliguy-ligoy.” If that’s a classic Filipino trait I’ve shed throughout the years, then my naturalisation wasn’t just on paper.
I’m occasionally asked if I’ll settle back to the Philippines one day. It’s a tug of war between my sensibilities and instinct. One thing I know is that family is family. A love-hate relationship, time, distance, and physical absence do not change that fact. Home has been redefined: it’s not necessarily where the heart inherently is; it’s where the heart chooses to be.
Author: M Akil from United Kingdom, 2nd Prize Winner of the 1st ENFiD Essay Writing Contest Marj Zaraspe Akil wrote and sang for a living in the Philippines. Now based in the UK, she pens her travels, cultural observations and essays, and hones her amateur photography skills through her blog called Chinwags and Tittle-Tattles. She pays the bills and the taxman through her day job in the luxury fashion business. When knackered and stressed, she believes in the power of Nespresso Ristretto, power nap, ‘me’ time, and red lipstick. Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons/Sources: (1)http://www.frugal-cafe.com/public_html/frugal-blog/frugal-cafe-blogzone/wp-content/uploads/ 2012/12/eggplants-senegal-market-GlobalHort-Image-Library-flickr.jpg (2)http://foodschmooze.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/eggplant.jpg
Please DOWNLOAD the presentation materials used in the 2nd ENFiD AGM and the 2nd European Conference of Overseas Filipinos:
Contents 1 (Download JULY 31 Presentations Only):
ENFID MEMBERSHIP 20150731 (Marison Rodriguez)
Proposals for change in ENFiD Constitution and By Laws 20150731 (Gene Alcantara)
Contents 2 (Download AUG 1 Presentations Only):
MALTA PPT FINAL Welcome Remarks AUGUST 1 2015 (Mely Nicolas)
MALTA delivery FINAL Welcome Message august 1 2015 (Mely Nicolas)
SOCIAL REMITTANCES KEY AGENT IN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT (Martine Cassar)
Presentation MALTA 2015 (Monsi Jerry Bitoon)
CHALLENGE-MALTA CONFER (Monsi Jerry Bitoon)
Social Remittances in Gender and Generational Dynamics that Benefit Women (Berta Fernandez)
Bayani A Theological Anthropology for Filipino Migrant Communities (Lawrence)
Trafficking in Persons International_ Philippine and European Perspectives (Senen Mangalile)
What is wrong with Overseas Filipinos 20150801(Gene and Rohlee)
Contents 3 (Download AUG 2 Presentations Only):
EURO-PINOY IDENTITY ITS IMPORTANCE FOR INTEGRATION IN EUROPE (Anny Misa)
Rizal Trail in Czech (Jed Dayang)
Rizal Trail in Litomerice in English (Jed Dayang)
Rizal Train in Litomerice Filipino (Jed Dayang)
The 1.5 Generation ppt (Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot)
WP&S_Malta_1 Aug 2015_short (Volker Hauck)
AGM Minutes including Election Results Minutes (doc)
ENFiD Annual Report 2013 to December 2014 (doc)
WPS Complete Video (3GB) – (will be uploaded in ENFiD Youtube/Vimeo Channel)
Philam Paaralan ENFID-Central Italy (video)
Students_Proud Filipino (video from Asuncion)
Western Union 25 YEARS MOVING THE FILIPINO FOR THE BETTER (video)
Western Union THIS IS OUR HEROES celebrating our migrant workers (video)
Reports from Documentation Team
Courtesy of Commission of Filipinos Overseas
Courtesy of Sec. Mely Nicolas
Content Editors: Mr. Rodrigo V. Garcia, Mr. Frencel Louie T. Tingga