Feeling At Home In Los Angeles

(my Jollibee meal at Los Angeles Airport)
As a migrant Pinoy, I always find myself gravitating towards anything that reminds me of home, or anything that's from the Philippines. I believe this holds true as well for most OFWs, if not all of them. During my days as an OFW in Saudi Arabia, going to Balad in Jeddah - the epicenter of Pinoy rendezvous - was the order of the day whenever I'm not working. Balad is where we find ourselves at home: eating Kare-kare at Shawly Restaurant, sending money home at Al Rajhi Bank's Express Padala Center, buying Silver Swan Soy Sauce, Patis, Bagoong, Hakone sardines and a 3-day old Philippine Daily Inquirer at Star Supermarket, or just malling around Al Mahmal like any Pinoy cooling off at an SM mall in Manila.

What I'm saying is that Pinoys in Jeddah, or even here in Los Angeles, are just as typical of Pinoys anywhere else in the planet: yearning for a taste of home in any way we can. It's part of our collective gene and I'm sure even Jose Rizal, ever peripatetic during his most idealistic years travelling through Europe, America & Asia, must have felt homesick along the way. If Rizal was in Los Angeles right now and he happen to visit the first floor of Eagle Rock Plaza on Colorado Boulevard, then these might have made him feel like he's stuck in one of Manila's big malls:
He'll be thinking whether to eat Chicken Joy here:
or eat Pancit Bihon here:or eat Ube Ensaymada here:or buy shirts for his next trip here:Alas, Rizal the Traveller didn't really have much this choice when he was still alive as the 19th-century version of Globe Trekker's Ian Wright. I'm even feeling the same way actually, knowing New York, where I'm flying back today, doesn't have any of the above Pinoy icons. Well, it's gonna be back to my usual haunt in Queens. Or Elvie's Turo-Turo in Manhattan. New York at least knows how to point point now.

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