Naga City then was our BGC
I remember my Aunt who lived in Manila. She was very hesitant about the idea of my father’s plan of taking the whole family and moving to The City of Naga. Her first and foremost concern was, where will her nieces and nephews go to school?
My father studied at the Ateneo de Naga. He even acquired the accent of the American Jesuits who taught during that time. The likes of Father James Reuter, Father James O’Brian, etc.
I was not even aware while growing up that my mother also went to the oldest normal school for girls in Asia. She studied at the Colegio de Santa Isabel. The yearbook where she had a graduation photo featured was quite a revelation that I only saw much later on.
So, my brothers and I went to Naga Parochial School then to Holy Rosary Minor Seminary or the Ateneo, and CSI for the girls. Only one brother went to Manila to study at Philippine Science High School. For a growing big young family: education is a key factor.
Of course the cost of living was also taken into great consideration. Unlike in Manila which was quite expensive for a big family, Naga was much more affordable. Transportation allowance was much less. Since Naga was a tiny city back then, we would just walk to and from school.
The community spirit was very much alive then. The people that you see in Sunday Mass at the Parish Church were familiar faces. People then exchanged pleasantries.
Until now we maintain our old house in Naga. During special occasions we gather together and celebrate reunions and spend vacations here. Although most of us earned our College Degrees and Diplomas in Manila and abroad, the basic educational foundation that the Naga Schools gave us paved the road for our success.
My parents made the best decision in moving to Naga then. We have no regrets. They are even buried in the local Catholic local cemetery. Is moving to a new place worth it? Well, it depends upon the place.
In the movie Far and Away, Europeans were convinced to try their luck to own and farm vast lands in the New World. That mass migration was through ships. America was the new frontier.
Now, it is interesting that the Philippines has become a new migration destination. When the pandemic happened, people realized that they could work remotely from anywhere in the world. For the Digital Nomad, BGC or Global Bonifacio City has become a strong attraction.
Unlike before when most of the foreign expats were retirees, there is now a varied type of foreigners who decided to move to The Philippines. All sorts actually, there are young foreign men or women with Filipino beaus, then there are single men mostly, and even single women, and surprisingly young families who made BGC or other parts their home. The foreign students are worth mentioning as well.
For some who graduated in the Philippine Schools, they decided to establish their career here. Many business people also find the country a lucrative place to grow their company. Why did these foreigners decide to call Philippines home?
Well, it is very much similar to our personal experience as a family when we moved here in The City of Naga. English is an added bonus. They say that most Filipinos speak good enough English. And for foreigners who would want English speaking employees there is no short supply.
The lifestyle, the food, the people, the beaches like Siargao, El Nido, Bohol, Boracay, the cities like Manila, BGC, and Cebu. Their currency goes a long long way here. And most of all, it is the beautiful people, and they mean the beautiful, friendly, kind-hearted, friendly Filipinos.
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