“We really are a bunch of exuberant and bubbly people, even in the face of poverty and blatant corruption,” says Cordi Villa, a Filipino-Canadian living in Toronto
It is these exuberant and bubbly people whom Villa wants to reach with her blogging efforts on her website Fine Looking Island People
. Her message? “I want to inspire.”
Villa asserts that the exodus of Filipino
men and women from the country sees many of them settling for jobs as caregivers, rather than striving for something better.
“In the Philippines
, it’s generally thought that becoming a nanny in Canada
is the best way to earn money to send back home,” she says. “It’s also well known that it’s a legitimate way of gaining Canadian citizenship. But too often, emigrants think that’s where the opportunity ends. I want them to know that’s just not true – I have met many Filipino nannies who have retrained since arriving in Canada. Now they have the exciting careers they’ve always wanted.”
Villa, who originally immigrated to New York from Manila in 1992, and who is today a highly-regarded facility manager and digital print media specialist at a Toronto-based firm, wants to empower Filipino migrants – especially women – by encouraging them with stories of success.
“I aimed for something better and I achieved it. So have many others who have had the courage to try. With my blogging, I want to be a voice of hope – I want Filipino men, women and children to know that they can succeed too. It is possible.”
According to Caregiverjobs.ca
, a Canadian-based service for foreign caregivers,
Filipino nannies … are in huge demand around the world because of … the high academic achievements they possess.
To Toronto resident Lourelyn Balanay, who emigrated from Manila
in 1999, this positively-intended statement only serves to support Villa’s claim.
“It’s a sad reality,” insists Balanay. “These overqualified people are settling for nanny jobs because they want a better life. I know women – educated women who are trained nurses
– who have taken jobs as nannies in Canada.”
Of course, that is not to denigrate the many Filipino-Canadians who accept employment in the caregiver industry. For these hard-working men and women, Villa has nothing but respect. In her blog post Shaping the World One Stroller at a Time
, she tells the story of Jocelyn, a graduate of a Manila college who now works as a nanny in Toronto’s affluent Rosedale community.
Though many would consider it a sad story, Villa sees it as a source of pride. She writes,
[Jocelyn’s] accomplishments include sponsoring [the] education of four nieces and nephews who are now successful nurses in the US [and] spearheading a project to finance construction of a church in her hometown in the Philippines ...
Considering her goal, that one post might also describe Villa’s own efforts. Like the nannies about whom she writes, Villa herself is helping to shape the world – one blog post at a time.