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My Journey to the Land of Milk and Honey

My journey to the land of milk and honey is but a dream come true. It’s not because I’m going to work there for a living but because I will be speaking to the different faces of women across the U.S. I will loudly echo our pains and agonies in carrying the heavy crosses of poverty and violence as well as our small victories and aspiration for a better life. I will be also representing the joys and struggles of being a correspondent of World Pulse Voices of the Future. Being an award -winning correspondent of a prestigious global women media network is a more than a dream come true.

The United States is considered a land of milk and honey; a dream home of millions Filipinos. About 1.7 million Filipino immigrants are in US working to have decent lives and send money at home. Filipinos are the second-largest immigrant group in the United States after Mexican immigrant according to Migration Policy Institute. United States is already a home to about 1.4 million native-born US citizens who claim Filipino ancestry.

I was very excited with the thought of my journey but my travel anxieties prevailed over my excitement. The thoughts of strict immigration officers at the airport, the important stuffs I might miss or lose caused me a terrible headache by the time I’ve done with all the interviews and baggage check ups at the Philippine Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

My twelve hours fly from the Philippines to Vancouver was a journey of uncertainty of scenarios to happen. My delicious dinner of rice, chicken afritada and green vegetable salad gave me a wonderful feeling of overnight trip to Vancouver. My tension subsided and eventually my headache was gone.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon of October 11 when my feet touched the grounds of Vancouver International Airport, Canada. I took a short glance of another popular country where Filipinos are taking their fate for a better future. Nearly half a million Filipinos are in Canada as to 2006 Canadian Census. They work as nurses, nannies, service workers, care givers, farm workers, etc.

I found my easy way going through the Canadian Immigration contrary to my expectations. I was so thankful of the Philippine Airline personnel who escorted me all the way.

But as I entered the US Customs and Boarder Protection of the Department of Homeland Security, I felt a high level of tension in the air. I sensed the atmosphere of suspiciousness as I looked at everybody’s faces. Nobody was smiling. I tried to be cordial and polite and had to smile to those who were checking my documents.

The first guy who checked my travel documents asked me if I have some food in my hand carried bag. I said just a few biscuits.

“Then, why did you not declared that you have food?”

“Oh! I’m sorry! I t was an error”, I said.

I was then advised to proceed to the next door. I handed my passport to the person in charge at the front desk. He looked at me up and down and asked me why I didn’t get a new visa. I could hear the pumping of my heart.

“It’s still valid and my travel agent told me so”.
“Is your travel agent the US Embassy?”
“No, but the US Embassy told me it is still valid and it is in their website”.

He gave me back my passport and told me to proceed to the next door. I felt a sort of intimidation but I kept my confidence at the highest level. As I seated waiting for my turn, I asked the woman seated besides me if that was the usual process of US immigration checks. She didn’t know she said.

I entered the next door and got another interview. The officer looked at my passport and visa. He scanned my finger prints and took pictures of me. He asked me if I had the invitation of my travel. I said yes. After which he told me to go to another door and advised me to present my papers.

The guy at the window was in his late forties. He’s brown skinned, around 5’9 feet tall and wearing eye glasses. I didn’t know if he’s a Filipino or not. I’ve looked around and I was the only one waiting on the line. I wondered!

The interview was quite extensive – asking me about my purpose in entering US, why I was in Canada, what is my profession, what is WorldPulse, the last article I wrote and the issues I’m writing about, etc. He was not looking at me while asking; he was busy examining my travel documents. I was answering confidently and calmly by mentioning all my credentials.

“Can I show you my invitation?” “Oh sure!” he said.

I handed to him my World Pulse invitation and the photocopied letter stating World Pulse as a charity organization. He asked me what about the photocopied document. “Maybe that’s a proof that they are a charity organization”, I told him.

The waiting was an agony. I don’t have any hint of what will be the result. I observed he was thoroughly examining all my travel documents. I felt my whole body parts were not connected with each other while sitting far across.

I felt so tired and tensed but I keep on reminding myself to consistently show my level of confidence. So many negative thoughts were playing in my mind. I was worried why it took too long for him to process my documents. I knew that even though I had a visa, it is still not a guarantee that I will be allowed to enter US. Looking far across the table of the Custom Officer, I was trying to get some cues of negative expression from him.

After 15 minutes or more, the Officer stood up and came to me. I stop breathing momentarily.

“Congratulations for the Award! Hope you enjoy your Tour!” giving me a warm handshake and a smile as he handed me back my travel documents.

Click here to learn more about the Voices of Our Future speaking tour and how you can attend an event to see Malayapinas speak!

Comments

Jensine's picture

Hooray!!

I was holding my breath until the last line. You MADE IT!!! We can't wait to embrace you and spread your voice across the land of milk and honey. CONGRATULATIONS!! We are waiting for you my love.
Jensine

Jensine Larsen
World Pulse

malayapinas's picture

Captivating Journey

Hi my dear Jensine! This was such a long wait and my heart is so captivated with this journey. This is still unbelievable for me. It's really amazing here! Everytime I tell this award to people I'm close with , we just find ourselves crying, laughing and hugging each other. Thank you so much for making this all possible for us!

I know you worked hard for this , I hope I can be the best of what you wanted us to be. I talked with my former mentor ( he is a priest based in UK) this morning over the phone surprised why I am here in the US . I told him about my award and he congratulated me. He told me that the he and his religious congregation I worked with before is surely proud and happy for me. This made me cried . He even invited me to come to UK to talk about World Pulse and global women issues. He will shoulder all my accommodation. Oh my God! I will be your World Pulse Ambassador to UK.

On Thursday next week I will be seeing Jeanne my mentor. I'm so excited to be with her and have some fun . I really wish I could visit you there in Portland before leaving for New York but I don't have someone with me to visit you there. I'm really pretty sad!

Are you coming with us all through out our speaking tour? I can't wait to see you and hug you with all my gratefulness! Congratulation for such a great work!

love,
Malaya

Jensine's picture

I will be there

My darling - you are already everything I could have dreamed and more, because you are completely you. UK - imagine! Congratulations!! You will be a professional speaker before you know it!
I will be there throughout the entire tour, nearly every step of the way.

I can't wait to hug you soon!
xoxo, Jensine

Jensine Larsen
World Pulse

malayapinas's picture

Lifetime

My dear Jensine,

Happy to know that you will be with us through out the tour. Thank you for everything before I cry tonight! This I wil never forget in my lifetime .

love much,
Malaya

olutosin's picture

This is Great!

I held my breath till the concluding paragraphs, I am so happy to read the end....WHAOH you are our voices, speak loud an clear and Comrade, you know one thing I trust you and I know you are our great ambassador, so beautiful that all these are happening here on Worldpulse and the dream is falling in place, Jensine's dream come through, is Worldpulse dream and our collective dreams too, every woman's dream comes through at the same time.
Congratulations Dear Comrade, I wish you all the best, one door opens another and this is just the beginning. You are a wonderful woman carrying the wonderful spirit too.
Loads of love,

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

My dear comrade Olutosin, your so dear to me! Everytime you posted for me - you are making me cry and making me smile! Your sweet voice echoed in my ears . Yap, it was a great success for us and for all the women and men behind us!

Thank you for the trust and I will keep that promise to all of you. I will be your voice forever! No matter how high the mountains are, how deep the oceans and how far we are from each other - my heart are always with you...

We must conquer fear in everything we do and raise our voicess with love and courage!

love ,

Malaya

sunita.basnet's picture

Finally, you made!

Hello Malaya,

I was also holding my breath till you last line. Finally it makes me happy when the officer from the immigration came to you and congratulate.
“Congratulations for the Award! Hope you enjoy your Tour!”
I am little curious, why did they do that? I cannot wait to meet you in person.

love much
Sunita

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

malayapinas's picture

Hi Sunita my sister! How's

Hi Sunita my sister! How's life going? I'm also so excited to see you in person and work together as a team. yap, I think maybe it was just normal for the US Customs to behave that way . As I mentioned America is a land of milk and honey for our people who are aspring for a better life. Many people migrates to America and wanted to stay in America even it is illegal.

America is a dream home for many Filipinos and I supposed they are strict because of security issues also. But, I'm glad I made it!

excited to see you,

Malaya

warona's picture

MALAYAPINAS!

Hie Gal

C O N G G R A D U L A T I O N S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.I appreciate your success my dear, you are so honoured.Sometimes things dont just come on a golden plate.Everything happens for a reason and everything has its own season.So this this is your season of greatness receive it with all boldness and power and dominance.Dont even look back.Ahead into new heights with determination my love.

May God keep you safe and healthy even as you enjoy the tour.Dont be dismayed.There in America will be the grounding place for your journalism.You shall be established,unmovable my dear.Be rest assured you ve made,its not an easy thing.

Finally be strong and be of a good courage.

Thank you very much for sharing,you are so amazing.

Wiyh lots of love, and best wishes

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

malayapinas's picture

Keep Holding On

Hi Warona! Nice meeting you here at WorldPulse and THANK you so much !...for reading my post and your inspiring words for me!! Oh my! I wish I could be that great !!!... I just only wish I could be of greater help to women of the world in this journey I never walked in before . I could continue giving inspiration to each and everyone of you and be inspired in whatever I do.

It's not easy I'm sure to be giving oneself totally for a greater cause and I believe being here in World Pulse is a reward for all the sufferings I've been through.

My hands and yours and the rest of the women of the world connect to make changes waves by waves! Keep holding on tightly!

cheers,
Malaya

busayo's picture

WAO, Thank God

I am really happy for you that you could make this journey Malaya. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!. i am so glad that you were successful at last. Once again, i wish you successful tour with others.
It is the Lord's doing.

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

malayapinas's picture

Success

Thank you Busayo my sister! My success is our success! I hope someday we can see each other in person.

I also wish you more success in what you are doing right now.

love,
Malaya

aarsenal's picture

Godspeed on your journey

Congratulations, Malaya! I'm sure you will represent World Pulse well but don't forget to have fun, also!

You make the Philippines very proud. Cheers!

Anna

_______________________________________________________________________
Life is how you Design it.

malayapinas's picture

Hi Anna! Thank you so much!

Hi Anna! Thank you so much! It is an honor to represent World Pulse and the Filipino women here in the speaking tour.

I will make the most of what we can do to be an agent for change here and in the Philippines.

More power to all of us!

love,
Malaya

everlyrose's picture

Hello Malaya

Congratulations!!! We are so proud of you, you represent every single filipino woman from our country and all over the world, and now, you are telling your story to so many other women who will definitely learn and cherish each word that you will share amongst us.

i will see you on November 8 in SOHO... take care and God bless my dear

everly

Solvitur ambulando
(it is solved by walking)

malayapinas's picture

Hello Everly! Thank you so

Hello Everly! Thank you so much! I'm so happy to meet you here at World Pulse . It is my greatest desire and happiness to meet you on Nov 8 - I'm sure we had a lot to share! Yap! My award here herr at World Pulse for all us Filipinos living anywhere in the world. We need to touch each other lives and join hands together to get over the many peoblems besetting our country today - especially the Filipino women - who are forced to leaft our country, por families and friends for us to survived decently.

hugs to you,
Malaya

everlyrose's picture

i will see you then

you are doing a wonderful task representing our country and the women of our nation
take care and Godspeed

everly

Solvitur ambulando
(it is solved by walking)

Kim Crane's picture

Welcome to the US!!!

I apologize that your first moments in my country were cold, stressful, and unwelcoming. I can't wait to meet you in person when you come to Portland and help give you the welcome you deserve!!

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