Feerica Pedregosa – “Home”: the considered Third Option
Feerica Pedregosa was born and raised in the Philippines but moved to Hong Kong together with my family at the age of 14. She is currently teaching high school English in Hong Kong and is also in charge of the school’s cheer-leading team: “Phoenix”.
Feerica explains that “identity” is already a complex subject to many Filipinos. The Philippines is divided into many provinces, each with their own dialect, culture and identity. Feerica shares with us her thoughts on belonging to an elaborate identity and how that become more compounded when she moved to Hong Kong.
What does “Home” mean to you?
“I’ve considered a third option, one that came up to appease myself so I can continue living my life: Maybe home is where I’m happy right now.”
This question has been the heart of my existence since I was a child. Yes, being born in the Philippines is simple enough—when you’re outside the country. But when you’re a Filipino, a simple, “Where are you from?” is just an opening for a slew of questions like:
“Where are your parents from?”
“Where is your ‘real home’?”
You see, my parents are from two different provinces in the Philippines. And so are their parents. So there was no simple answer to that question. It was made more complicated when we moved to Hong Kong. I remember thinking to myself, ‘So which one am I going to say now?’’, in response to that question whenever we travel.
Growing up, I thought it was just a simple confusion that came with a complicated question. Also you feel concerned with how detailed should your answer be. Does the questioner even know of the place I’m talking about? Do they expect such a detailed answer or are they just being polite?!
Looking back, I think the real confusion was internal. I was more unsure for myself, which of these many options was the place I considered, home. And if ever I was really home when I’m there.
Right now, at this point of my life, I’m in an impasse. I’ve stopped asking the question: Is home the place I grew up in or is it anywhere my friends and family are with me? I’ve considered a third option, one that came up to appease myself so I can continue living my life: Maybe home is where I’m happy right now.
What does “being a local” mean to you?
I think being a local goes beyond knowing the language and culture of the people. Being local also means immersing yourself in that place; doing the things its citizens would do. You can live in a place for a long time, yes, but being its local is a different matter.
Do you think it’s important to feel like you belong to a certain place or a group of people?
I think the group of people around us is important for one’s sense of belonging. As long as we are happy with the people we are with, any place can be home.
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