A lasting Journey
Life is a lasting rocky journey. People around the world migrate for different reasons. They leave their homeland and go to a place where they don’t know anyone and start from scratch. During World War II my ancestors decided to leave since the financial crisis in China had gotten worse which led to my relatives to find help from other blood relatives and think of another way to survive. During that time the economy around the world and many people were affected by the war.
My grandfather’s father was one of the known businessmen in their place since they had a big Chinese Herbal Medicine Shop and they traded many products because they were located in “Xiamen Amoy”, China, which is near the seashore, a wealthy place since it was one of the greatest ports in their time. The port handled many import and export products that are transported around the world, but due to the war, my grandfather’s father and other businessmen were banned from trading. Since that time all the ports were being raided and controlled by the government because they were still paranoid of the war. Being an optimist, my grandfather’s father refused to leave China and still continued selling Chinese herbal medicine even though the business was already dying. They also tried starting other businesses, but none worked due to the port being tightly guarded by the government.
Due to that situation, their lives slowly turned around. They sold almost all their belongings and started asking relatives to live with them to sustain the Chinese medicine shop and help with the expenses. However, even given the situation, their father still refused to go elsewhere and saw it as a temporary situation, which was really not the case. Being the eldest of the four siblings and wanting to prove a point, my grandfather’s eldest brother and my grandfather at towed, disobeyed their parents that caused the broken family. They ventured and hoped for a great adventure that might help their family’s situation. With the help of “The Ong- Lim Association”, which was also a long line relatives of the family that are known for venturing and trading products to different countries, They escaped helped them by slipping them with tourist and builders which were designated to go to the Philippines for leisure, work and for low profile.
After venturing to the Philippines, My grandfather and his brother used their remaining packed belongings for collateral and planned to start a small business. Since the currency in the Philippines is much lower compared to China, they were able to have a decent start. The Philippines were known to have bountiful natural resources, so it got my grandfather and his brother’s interest and they start in selling retail spices and grains. They made a small business that slowly started growing. To make it grow even faster, my grandfather’s brother started making bigger business transactions. The business was going well, and they were already planning to get their parents and other siblings from China to help them in the new business when an unexpected business tragedy happened that caused my grandfather to be left alone in a foreign land. His brother was killed over a robbery and business disagreement. Scared but not wanting to go back home to China empty handed, he tried to continue running the business. However, due to his extreme fear of making business transactions and grieving over his dead brother, the business started having loans that in the end cause for it to fall. After my grandfather’s older brother’s death, he went to the association again to ask if they could deliver the news to his family back in China, but he never got any reply. That gesture made my grandfather decide not to go back to China because he assumed that didn’t have a family to return to anymore. Whether they were already dead or just angry with my grandfather is an untold mystery. Struggling to survive, he sold the remaining business and went to the Philippines-China town where he found friends that they met on the ship they rode on the way to the Philippines. With the help of his friends and the association, he was able to get a job as a worker in a famous Chinese company publishing newspaper, which was known as “Chinese Commercial News”.
After working and getting promoted, my grandfather gained many Chinese friends and continued living in the Philippines. He was able to stand on his own and rent a place with his friends outside the Chinatown. In the same neighborhood was where he met my grandmother. My grandmother was half Filipino and half Chinese, which was why their culture was not so different. Their marriage bore four children, three girls and one boy, which is my father. My grandfather continued working for the newspaper company until his last breath. He never thought of starting a business again because of Chinese superstition that he was bad luck in starting his own business, and also he was afraid that he might get the same faith as his eldest brother.
My grandfather lived a low-profile life after his older brother’s death but beyond that, he still was a great brave man since he was able to handle all and stand up from falling no matter how many problems was thrown at him. Life is a lasting rocky journey. He found a new home and lived a contented happy life in the Philippines with his own family.