Taking a stride on my way to my sister’s apartment. I was trying to enjoy my last glimpse of the world’s most vibrant commercial intersection. When you’re there, you would forget that life has its downsides. All you see are glaring and spectacular electronic billboards… the Broadway show… the restaurants and shops.

There I met a group of people. You see them smiling with the Statue of Liberty at their back. They send balikbayan boxes every three months. They send remittances that enables their kids to experience life’s luxuries… a Hilux, the most advanced smart phones, and a weekly dinner with friends. But these are the group of people who have experienced the cruelty of life that they have not experienced before. Their daily routine starts with a bagel and coffee then spend eight, twelve, and even sixteen hours of work. At the end of the day, they go home tired, munching a greasy pizza, take a cat nap on the subway, and wakes up when their station is announced. They cry every night sitting on the stairs outside their apartment and stare on airplanes while asking themselves “when will I see home again?”

Who are these group of people? They are the ones dreaming of the simple lives they used to have. YummyYummy Pizza, the carefree stroll in Divisoria, the jeepney and motorela ride, Friday sing-along nights with friends, Saturday malling at Limketkai, attending Sunday mass at San Agustin Cathedral, photo sessions at Gaston Park or family outings in Opol or Bonbon.

They have been thinking of the place that gave them lots of beautiful memories, most sincere laughter, the innocence of their carefree childhood, and precious moments with their dear friends and families.

Yes, they are the Kagayanons in New York, working hard just to live their American dream. But they have a much bigger dream which every Kagayanon abroad have been longing. To see and embrace the place where it is almost sunny every day. The city they call…. HOME.

“Kalalapag lang natin sa paliparang panghimpapawid ng Cagayan de Oro.” I woke up and smile….

Photo credits to Marc7del