A Letter to an Expat

Hello M. This letter might reach you, or not, but the things I have to say would certainly reach some of your people, and they will act as your ears.

It’s been maybe a couple of years already since you came to this country. You were the boyfriend of a distant cousin of my mother, whom, back at the province, she did not like very much as a child. I am sure you know that the feeling was mutual.

But somehow, my mom and your girlfriend got to reconnecting again, and upon hearing of your arrival, my mom had volunteered to facilitate showing you around the place. I don’t know if I recall correctly, but I believe that on the day we met, we were supposed to show you around Tagaytay, but I went home because I didn’t see the point of celebrating the fact that some American had taken interest in our family. I heard that you had served in the US Army for a short while.

You were tall and white, and walked really funny and limpy, which led me to wonder how it was that you even served in the army at all.

The next thing I heard, you were staying for free at a very, very small condo unit that we owned, which was one of the “investments” that my mom made with the money that came from the 4-house apartment compound we sold. I was fine with that, but honestly, I really didn’t see the point of pampering a foreigner who is capable of wiping his own ass.

We only really got to hung out at this resort in Cavite, when my mom had persuaded me into coming because it was so-and-so cousin’s birthday celebration.

You were pretty weird, you were into UFOs and shit. Which was right up my alley, as you have found me to be a conspiracy nut. i believe we hit it off extremely well.

You introduced me to Zechariah Sitchin’s books and you even lent me some of them. Do you remember the time when you came to the house and my mom told me to deal with you because you talk too much and she couldn’t understand shit? You rode your beloved bicycle and brought along this metal rod thing to our house. Not a metal detector, but a plain fucking rod as I recall.

You explained to me that you were using it to detect gold, or water, or some shit like that. You expressed your desire to go gold-hunting at the mountains, and when I told you that you would probably need a shitload of permits for that, not to mention a lot of money for bribery, you looked at me funny. And the neighbors looked at you funny, because you were a foreigner holding this metal rod. And, well, because we spoke in English the whole time. So I looked at them funny for thinking that funny.

In our debates about different things, I found that you were more pragmatic than I. Overall, I found you to be a pretty cool guy, and I was happy to have a buddy that is decades-older than me, who might teach me a thing or two about life. You were always about “a higher understanding” and you should know that I respected that very much. There is simply no other way to be.

When my mother confirmed that you were one of those penniless foreigners, she started feeling very angry that you were staying at the condo unit. There has been little reciprocation of “goodwill” from you, and a lot of bad vibes. Because you speak your mind, M, because you remark on things objectively, and directly. Because the whole “showering of pleasantries” gimmick isn’t working on you, and you express your gratitude ONLY appropriately, when my mom is used to my relatives fawning at her feet.

My mother then asked you and your girlfriend to move out, and you have found yourself a nice little shithole townhouse in Cavite, within a complex where all our immediate relatives are lumped together. When people found out that you weren’t exactly loaded with cash, their smiles turned to frowns and they started talking about you behind your back. It didn’t help that your girlfriend had pretty much a whore reputation back in the province, and a murderer for a first husband, and so the people in that compound saw you as eccentric devils. The general consensus was that you were a great hassle to everyone.

I started to hate you too. My mom would give me reports of your this-thing-or-that activities back in the complex.

I heard that you were ordering your neighbors to treat their dogs properly, or at least leash the vicious fuckers.

I heard that you threw away stones that had accumulated on what little lot you had bought over the hollow block fence, one of which had almost nicked the head of the son of a Barangay official, a bumming bum who was bumming around on the other side.

I heard that you would clean your surroundings like an autist, and would clean the neighbors’ property as well. She would regularly tell me of the progress of your shunning away by the community, and I would smirk in glee.

I heard that you got very pissed when my mother wouldn’t release your beloved bicycle from the condo, because you have not settled the electricity bills yet. She said that you should learn how to travel using public transpo like everybody else. How I concurred.

Because my mom is right. She would love me if she is right.

The end came during my brother’s 5th birthday celebration. We celebrated in that complex in Cavite, where my mother’s narcissism gets its fuel the most. During one of the dumb clown’s tricks, you came out of nowhere, carried your mug over to the front of the kids, and snatched the microphone from the dumb clown. I think you were saying something to the kids about borrowing my mom for a discussion, perhaps about your bicycle, but I really can’t confirm that now because I was seeing red and was on my way to confronting you.

I remember the first thing I said to you.

“Hey, this is my brother’s birthday thing. You should fuck off!”

To which you replied with a legitimate blank stare.

You then got very irate at me too, and started to bait me, saying, “oh, so you think you’re a big, tough guy now, huh?”

I told you many hurtful things about your reputation, and I think you were really trying to keep your cool. You told me that you liked me as a person, and that you understood why it was that I was defending my mother, but that I should step aside. That didn’t work on me and I told you that you had no future. Which you reversed by remarking that I was the one locking myself up in my room doing nothing, something which you had doubtless heard from my relatives.

And my mom kept chiming in, enumerating the times she had taken you out and the expensive restaurants she had treated you to.

When you mentioned that your girlfriend knew some epic dirt about my mom, and that you were going to reveal it, I completely lost my shit and that’s when I decided that your fate was sealed.

I’m sorry, M. I couldn’t stomach to hear whatever that was. I saw her get very nervous, and that is why I decided that you had to lose. That is why I threatened you with the law, which my mom found to be an especially delicious idea. When we got to the Barangay Hall, I had little problem pinning you down because the officials there have already heard of you and your antics; in fact, that was your second time to be reported. And I steamrolled you with the divine powers of a lunatic high on the god of Illogic’s very turds, just to keep you from saying that thing you swore to tell. I believe I impressed my mom that day.

And they all bought it. Game Over. A few days later, I heard that you have pissed off the Chinese in the area, because you complained when they parked their trucks right beside your home. Both the boss and his wife supposedly did “karate” (the relatives’ words, not mine) on your ass. You left your girlfriend and fled with your child, and that was the last I heard of you.

Buddy, when you said in the Barangay Hall that “you have nothing on me, because i’ve got nothing to lose”, you were lying. Because you have your daughter. I heard that you were very much neglected as a kid as well, and i figured maybe that’s all you will need to push yourself to be a great father for A. She’s a very adorable kid. Keep her the fuck away from her Fili-prosti mother.

Times change and time changes everything, M. I know that I am a better person now than I was back then, I have a firmer grasp on the identity that my mother and my relatives had strived to warp and take control of my whole life. I still love conspiracy theories, though, but more for amusement now than anything. I never did get the point of the rod, by the way.

If you ever get to read this, know that I am wishing you and A well on life. Know that you have the right to hate me or be indifferent to me, but know also, that I am sorry. And I deeply regret losing somebody I’ve made a genuine connection with.

And thank you for not revealing that thing you have on my mom.

Published in Expats, Filipino Hypocrisy


  1. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
    Captain PFB

    Pitch, thanks for being so real and heartfelt and sincere. I think I can speak for all the community here in saying that we really enjoy your honesty, wit, and intelligence. You are a very special Filipino who really does have MUCH to be proud of. Just rising above the cultural mindsets and becoming who you are today is an ENORMOUS PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT relatively speaking.

    I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Profile gravatar of TheD

    And there you have it. Well earned Pinoy Pride.
    I am sure there are other examples of upstanding citizens, but they are just so hard to come by. My neighbor is another example of someone who has well placed Pinoy Pride. The odd thing I find is that those with Genuine and earned Pride never boast about it. Those who never even attempted to earn any form of pride are the ones who endlessly talk about their Pinoy Pride.