My family history
by Rizaley Patio
Rizaley Patio was awarded the ANAK Liwayway Scholarship for Leadership Excellence last June based on her high school GPA, a group interview, and an essay based on an oral history interview she conducted. The following essay was her submission.
If you were given the chance to choose your family, would you pick your own? I would. Despite our imperfections, I take pride on being part of a simple, yet, happy family. I have witnessed how my family has been bonded by the values instilled in my parents’ minds by my grandparents, which has helped us survive our toughest times in the Philippines and most especially here in Canada. From generation to generation, my parents have passed on a legacy that I believe I ought to keep and preserve.
Both my parents belonged to a well-bonded family, undeterred by the challenges that came before them. My father grew up in a simple household where he lived with his extended family. According to him, “in spite of hardships, financial need, and economic problems, my parents gave importance to education, kaya nagpakapagod lola at lola mo sa palengke para lang makapagtapos kami.” (Patio). Meanwhile, health issues in my mother’s family led to financial problems. As a way to lessen their financial need, “[her sister] decided to go abroad,” (Patio) and be away from her family at a young age. When I asked them whether they consider their families happy and successful, they replied with a big “yes.”
Sacrifices have been part of their successful family lives and both my parents were ready to continue that legacy. Even though living in the Philippines was a more comfortable option for them, they decided to go to Canada because they believed that we would have a better future in this country. Our family’s history of immigration to Canada started with my grandmother’s brother who helped my uncle immigrate to Winnipeg. When opportunity came for my uncle to help his siblings, he offered to sponsor us so we could immigrate to Canada as well. Starting a new life in a new country was more difficult for my parents than it was for my brother and me. My father told me, “para kaming bagong kasal.” (Patio). There were times when they thought of going back to the Philippines because life in Canada was not as easy as they thought it would be. I asked them, “what made you stay?” Without hesitating, they replied, “kayo” (Patio). And that is when I truly realized what my family history means to me.
My family history makes me who I am today and who I will be in the future. What have I gained from their stories? Keys – keys to a happy family life, keys to success, and keys to happiness. I have learned from them how doors would not always be opened for me; how keys would not always fit in. My family history makes me stronger and braver to face challenges that may come my way. I want to continue their legacy of love and determination. I may not belong to a perfect, famous, or influential family, but all of my family members’ experiences and sacrifices will forever influence me. I consider my family history as a treasure passed on to me, and treasures are kept and preserved; not thrown away. It heightens my desire to preserve our Filipino family values despite being surrounded by other cultures. Bilang Pilipino at bilang anak, masasabi kong tunay kong ipinagmamalaki at patuloy na mapagmamalaki ang aking pinagmulan.
- “Oral History Handbook.” Aksyon Ng Ating Kabataan (ANAK) Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.
- Patio, Aris, and Lea Patio. “My Family History.” Personal interview. 20 Apr. 2016.
Rizaley Patio is a recent graduate from Sisler High School and currently in her first year of studies at the Red River College. Visit www.anak.ca to learn more about ANAK’s 2017 scholarship program and upcoming opportunities.