That Innermost Nature

I’ve never given it so much thought. Dad was the one that convinced me to take the final step of naturalization. Two month after, I was called for fingerprinting. And then the interview came, still I didn’t think much about it. But when I set foot inside the Masonic Center in San Francisco. Finally, realization came — that I will soon be an American citizen.

I’ll be brave to admit that I was holding back the tears. The ceremony was huge, but extremely ardent. There was this whole different aura in the building, the melodramatic kind. And maybe that’s the reason why I turned all emotional. After the event, I decided leave the hall right away to meet a friend downtown. A quick lunch and then I headed for home. It was in the train when it finally hit me, I am now a naturalized American.

While waiting for my second train ride, a question came into mind. Am I really an American now? Hmmm, a question I couldn’t seem to find an answer. And then later that night, I called up my Lola in Spain to share the news, as well as my confusion. She laid my puzzlement and doubts to rest. I couldn’t ask for a better response. She said…

” Anak, it is only your citizenship that change. But certainly not the color of you skin! “




  1. Leap of Faith! · April 27, 2008

    Nell, congratulations. Naku, I can’t agree more with your lola. Even if your passport is different, you will always be a Filipino – sa pagkain pa lang ng Pinoy food eh 🙂

    Enjoy this new benefit. At least now you can travel to most parts of the world without getting a visa. Sobrang timing itong post mo, Pinky and I were actually discussing last night that we have to renew our US visas, which already expired a few months back. How I wish we did not have to go through the visa application process since it is such a hassle.

    Another plus to this is that pwede ka nang officially sumali sa Amazing Race since wala ka nang visa problems 🙂

    hello keith, i can’t help but laugh about your last comment hah. hmmm, sige at sasalihan ko yang amazing race. although baka ako ang unang ma-eliminate. bwahaha! my point nga talaga si lola. besides na pwede na akong bumoto, take federal jobs at ang pag-iiba ng kulay ng passport. eh everything else is normal. paborito ko pa rin ang binagoongang baboy, heheheh! speaking of US visas, i heard medyo time consuming nga yong process. but given you’ve been here to the US before, eh di na siguro masyadong mahirap. certified byaheros and byaheras kaya kayo noh! thanks so much for your kind comment, keith. God bless 😀

  2. Pinky · April 28, 2008

    Congrats, Nell! Definitely a celebration is in order 😉

    Your Lola’s right, being a naturalized American doesn’t take anything away from your Filipino heart and soul. God bless!

    thank you, pinky. unfortunately eh we didn’t celebrate, i didn’t feel well after the ceremony kasi eh. but we did celebrate my bro-in-laws birthday the next day, hehehe. and you are right dear, i’m still a pinoy through and through — sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa. ayos ba? bwahaha :mrgreen:

  3. abby · April 28, 2008

    naku ako din naluha nung citizenship ceremony 4 years ago. sa mga kano, wala lang yun syempre, pero may moment of poignancy when you’re finally granted a citizenship. it’s not the be-all and end-all of life in the US, pero pag migrante ka tas you work your butt off para magkaroon ka ng magandang kinabukasan na, unfortunately hindi, or at least mahirap maibigay ng inang bayan mo, it is a bittersweet moment.

    o diba, pang-declamation yung comment ko! 😀

    golly friend, pwedeng pwede ka ng mag speech sa kongreso. hehehe, just kidding hah. ewan ko nga ba kong bakit maluha-luha ako sa ceremony, must be the vibes sa building. paano naman halos karamihan eh nag-iiyakan. and the videos they showed, kakatouch rin. and i so agree with you dear, there’s indeed that bittersweet moment and the realization that there’s so many of us going thru the same situation. maraming salamat sa iyong speech, este comment pala. hehehe, hope all is well with you and your health. God bless, mwaaah 😀

  4. Meeya · April 28, 2008

    i guess yung iba naiiyak kasi parang “finally!” citizen na sila. in your case, parang “kailangan ko ba talagang talikuran ang aking pagka-pilipino?”. iba-iba siguro ang nararamdaman niyo pero in the end, pantay-pantay na kayo ng opportunities dito sa amerika. 🙂

    apply ka ng dual citizenship, dali. hehehe! para naman hindi lugi ang pinas. 🙂

    must be, meeya. i assume that there were people there in the hall who may have a story that’s worth featuring in MMK. hehehe, pero seriously iba talaga ang vibes. kanya kanyang kwento kasi ang mga tao, or this must be the happy ending to there story. dba? and speaking of dual citizenship, i’ll ask more info about it. i’m not exactly aware of the laws concerning naturalization kasi. pero asahan mo, pinoy pa rin ako through and through 😉

  5. bw · April 29, 2008

    In my case I was made to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth or the holy bible and I chose the latter. In fact they had new bibles being passed around to those who opted to swear to it. There were about 30 countries represented in the citizenship ceremony. As our names were called we were handed our citizenship cards and a neatly rolled copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’ve heard of people who didn’t want their citizenship because they refuse to swear allegiance to either 😦

    The feeling is bittersweet, a least as far as my reaction is concerned. You feel thankful for the generosity of the country that wants you and on the other hand you feel sad that you’re no longer a Pinoy on paper. If there was one thing I liked it was that I wasn’t told to denounce my former citizenship because as you rightly said, we can never deny our origin, our skin – we take it to the grave whether we like it or not 😎

    hello bw, thanks for your kind comment. i’m glad to know more about the canadian naturalization. cause here, we had to denounce our filipino citizenship. pero as my lola has said, a paper does not change anything. both my parents are pinoy, i grew up pinoy, i eat pinoy food, so pinoy pa rin ako. dba? sa naturalization ceremony naman namin eh there were about 90+ countries, and the hall was shaking when the philippines name was called to stand. half the crowd was cheering and waving there flags. katouch yong moment na yon, nagtayuan ang hair ko sa katawan, promise. bottom line is, nothing and no one can change who we are. and the passports were holding does not define our substance as a person. dba? thanks again, bw. God bless 😉

  6. weng · April 29, 2008

    congratulations, nell! parang kailan lang you were telling me about the written exam that you had to take, tapos interview, tapos ngayon, me uncle sam passport ka na! hahaha! it’s understandable why you felt the way you felt during the ceremony. 🙂 may mga pinoy nga sa papel na hindi naman pinoy sa pag-iisip at sa gawa, diba? 😀 enjoy the benefits of your citizenship! God bless! 😀

    thank you, weng. time does fly by so fast, parang kelan nga lang when i filed for my naturalization and then voila, tapos na. medyo heartwarming lang talaga yong ceremony, kasi naman ang daming tao na nag iiyakan. tapos yong video na pinalabas nila eh nakakatouch. heheheh! thanks for the kind comment sis, and i’ll definitely be enjoying the benefits. nagpa-register to vote na nga ako eh, hehehe. love yah lots, mwaaah 😀

  7. fortuitous faery · May 1, 2008

    congratulations! who you really are is imprinted on your heart, not on your passport. 🙂

    thank you very much, fortuitous faery. i am very excited to exercise my rights as a naturalized citizen. and i totally agree with you, ang pagiging pinoy ay sadyang nasa puso. naks naman :mrgreen:

  8. dang · May 1, 2008

    uyyy…congratulations! take advantage of the passport but by all means i enjoy mong lalo ang pagiging pinoy sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa! 🙂 isipin mo, pwede ka ng umuwi ng pinas ng mas matagal pa sa 6 mos. ng di ka tatanungin pagbalik mo dito, di ba ang sarap nun? 🙂

    thank you, dang. that was very sweet and kind of you. i definitely look forward to travelling with less immigration hassle this time. at syempre naiisip ko na ang mga dapat kong puntahan, dba? at di ko pwedeng di dalawin ang pinas ulit. sabi nga ni gary v, babalik at babalik ka rin. hehehe 😉

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