It is no secret that many Filipinos have this “American Dream” of completely parting with the Filipino way of life in exchange of greener pastures somewhere else. It no longer surprises us when friends, classmates, and even relatives go abroad and you suddenly have to bid them goodbye for good.
Meanwhile, for American blogger and mother Amber Folkman, the Filipino way of life and culture is something she strives for. Born and raised in a small town in Northern California with American values, it is surprising how she chose to raise all her three sons the “Filipino” way.
“A Filipino’s commitment to family and community is incomparable. My heart soars when I hear my sons refer to any adult as ‘Kuya’ or ‘Ate’ – it is so endearing. It has been such a comfort to be enveloped by neighbors, friends, and yayas who treat you as part of their family. Since we live so far from our relatives, this has been instrumental in our happiness and growth in Manila,” Folkman wrote in a post in Smart Parenting.
It all began when Amber, along with her husband and her then one-year-old son, transferred to the Philippines from Seattle due to the nature of her husband’s work. After a few years, Folkman gave birth to two more children.
The whole family has been in the Philippines for 8 years now and their children have since grown up in a Filipino environment. Amber is proud of the fruits of their Filipino upbringing. As far as she is concerned, there is nothing to hate about the country.
“Besides having an endless summer, the best mangoes in the world and the most fun modes of transportation, the Philippines is where my boys have learned valuable life lessons that I hope will guide them through the rest of their lives. We predominantly have an American culture in our home, but outside we embrace everything that is Filipino,” Amber added.
Amber divulged she completely agrees with the slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. More than anything else, she is glad about the kind of family values her sons grew up with. After all, strong family ties are some of the best things that make Filipinos stand out from other races.
Folkman also shared that her eldest son can now speak with a Filipino accent and can easily adjust in conversations. “I never imagined that the Kuya of our family could switch his accent like a light switch,” she said. Meanwhile, the youngest first learned the names of body parts not in English but in Filipino.
“One of my most tender memories is my bunso learning his body parts in Filipino before English. These lessons have taught us all that there is no one “right” way to live.”
Despite being a full-blooded American, Amber considers her family as Fil-Am citizens. She said her wish is for her children to learn that there are many cultures outside their own that they can always explore.
“I wish my three Pinoy boys will always remember that through our humanity we are all connected,” she said.
Netizens are of course impressed with Amber’s family and their high regard and respect with the Filipino’s simple way of life.