Despite travel warnings and countless threads of advice on traveling to Southeast Asia (!!!BE CAREFUL!!!), that feeling of home/comfort hit when I was in and around metro Manila. I felt comfortable partially because I wasn’t explicitly pointed out that I was Asian, which I would have forever checked off in the States. At the very least, people were familiar that I was Korean – with a smile, Ann yung ha seyo? – by ethnicity because there is a growing Korean population in the Philippines. Koreans are generally acknowledged – most of the Filipinos know at least 안영하세요 – because they are everywhere. The archipelago is cheaper to live and provides definite opportunity to learn English. That said, I’m curious to know what Koreans represent for Filipinos: Invasive? Neighbor friendly? Pop-cultured? Money-grubbing?
Ultimately, the overwhelming beauty felt from being immersed in complex, non-Western cultures (despite colonization) is a response to what I’ve been wanting in my life for the longest time.
Just visiting? start from the beginning.