Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I'm working on getting Philippine passport. Technically, because my parents were still Philippine citizens at the time of my birth, then I am automatically a Philippine citizen, but to get a passport I have to track down a whole lot of paperwork in triplicate. It only takes a day or so to get it once you find all the necessary paperwork.

It also will mean that once we have kids, they too will automatically have dual citizenship.

Part of the reason I want dual citizenship is that I'd like to one day own property in the Philippines, some place in Mindanao perhaps, maybe even Camiguin.

Another reason is that I like traveling and I like traveling around the world. And as much as I enjoy my American passport, there are times and situations where it's better to not let people know you are American in which you are advertising a blue passport. A friend tells me it sounds very Bourne-esque, but it's not like it's a fake ID, ala Bourne. While I can travel to a country with a blue passport, I can walk around the country using a Philippine passport for ID. Grant it because I'm not of the fair and Anglo complexion, I'm not really going to be targeted as being an American which means I can blend into the landscape of most countries. It's not like I'm planning to travel to Iraq or something, but in these changing times, I like flexibility.

An interesting thing about the globalization of labor is that Filipinos are everywhere and just about every country lets Filipinos in and out fairly freely. And while there are numerous issues regarding how Filipinos are regarded in different countries, there is still an aspect of the fluidity of identity that allows Filipinos to do this so readily.

And I start to think, what does it mean to be bound to a country, to an identity, to declare one's nationality? And what do these borders mean now? How does the world see me with different passports? I'm sure I'll have plenty of existentialist notions to ponder when I finally get the passport even though I started out getting it for practical reasons.

I heard at one point there was a movement to create a kind of citizen of the world passport, but none of the political countries honored it, and so even in the free-wheelin' 60s, a guy could be stuck in that no man's land of a man without a country. Almost like the story of my French teacher who lost her passport and got stuck on a bridge between the US and Mexico with neither country letting them in. You can't live on a bridge. Eventually you have to get some country to acknowledge you. I didn't make that game, but those are the rules.

I think this brings my journey of searching my Filipino vs American identities to some kind of strange end. I belong to both yet to neither. I am who people see me as. I am who I tell them I am. Just because there are borders doesn't mean I must be contained in them. Kind of funny.

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