Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Balikbayan Box is Here!

The balikbayan box is unique to the Philippines and standard practice for Filipino families living in the United States to stuff a 24x18x24 cardboard box full, ship it across the wide Pacific, to end up in the hands of their relatives living in the Philippines.  Anything can be shipped, as long as it fits.  Weight isn't an issue because the boxes are transported at a flat rate by a slow moving container ship.

On board with this plan, I packed a balikbayan box from Seattle, WA before I left to transfer architecture books, construction tools (for the design build studio), and of course, many of my favorite Seattle comforts.  I shipped the box from Seattle two months ago, and it has arrived today!  Much like a kid at Christmas, I finally got around to busting into the packaging and relish in the joy of being able to taste good chocolate, sip strong coffee, savor smoked salmon, and celebrate with a glass of wine.  One of the unexpected surprises were two bundles of dried sage that I harvested from Eastern Washington.  The smell of the sage was a wonderful impetus to reflect on fond memories of my time spent on the arid side of the Cascades.  Truly a gift touching on all my senses.

As I was unloading my things from the box, I took a moment to read an article Takeshi-san (my Japanese housemate) gave to me because he was mentioned as a Dumaguete resident artist to watch. Reading the art section in, Smile; a Magazine for Cebu Pacific, it highlighted all that Dumaguete has to offer creative types.  The young progressive vibe present here is partly due to being a university town for the Central Vasayan region.  Dumaguete is home to four universities and three colleges; the article states, "a kind of place that draws out this kind of enthusiastic, innovative involvement: small enough to remain personal and manageable, big enough to attract and absorb people from all over and the worldly influence they bring."
This article has shifted my perception of Dumaguete, Takeshi-san, and my potential here.  Dumaguete may be a diamond in the rough. It's virtually a clean slate that has a beating heart to foster creative projects.  Networks are being woven and youthful, innovative resources may be tapped.  This can put a twinkle in a young architect's eye.  

Now that my things have arrived, the transition feels more complete.  The balikbayan box is a convenient option to ship items from the US to the Philippines; however, this service doesn't work in reverse.  Is this an indicator that I'll be staying for a while longer?


Above: Unopened balikbayan box.
Below: Assorted items from the balikbayan box.

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