For the past several years, I’ve been continuously thinking about these 3 questions:

What do Balikbayans care most about in the Philippines? 

What do Balikbayans want to know and learn? 

What do Balikbayans do when they come back to the Philippines?

The topics we feature in Balikbayan Magazine are so much more than places to go to, destinations to discover, inspiring personal stories, food to taste, events to experience, and investment opportunities to capitalize from. The magazine is about the triumphs of our growing nation. All of these breathtaking structures and brilliant businesses and personalities are things we are proud of—because this is who we are—brilliant, analytical, and imaginative people.

We hope to connect the Philippines with not just Filipinos throughout the world, but all people from all walks of life. It’s quite the lofty goal, but it matters to us—it’s what drives us. Everyone who works at Balikbayan Magazine and the Asian Journal Publications share a mission and advocacy to empower, inform, and promote the Filipino culture and the Philippines—it’s actually a requirement—because simply put, our work matters to us and each publication is a testament to this notion.

When we created this company almost 24 years ago, the world was so different then. The overseas community was not even close to the 10 million it is now worldwide. Today, the Filipino-American population is nearly 3 and a half million making it the 2nd largest Asian-American population with even the 2nd highest median income in the entire nation. It is no longer uncommon to see American corporations curtailing their advertisements in Tagalog with the sincere hopes of building a relationship with this vibrant, successful community.

The other day I was at Island Pacific and Seafood City (both Filipino owned supermarket chains) in the US and I saw non-Filipinos walking out with their groceries and taking along with them a copy of the Asian Journal newspaper. It was interesting. I thought to myself, “What is their connection to the Philippines? Why do they shop here? Why do they read the Asian Journal? What is their experience with Filipinos? Have they been to the Philippines? Are they looking to retire there?” A host of questions continue to race in my mind.

Our vision and company goal has never once changed. I can’t help but correlate the growth our company has made with how the Philippines is growing. Like the Philippines, we too have to push ourselves and modernize, innovate, and look ahead. It is not something that we fear or are apprehensive about, but rather, it is something that we embrace—something that is both very exciting and challenging as we continue to serve our readers.

Indeed, there is value in struggle—to turn those struggles and tough times and to use it as motivation to create something beautiful and meaningful. That is why, in this issue, we offer you the stories of three of some of the most beautiful resorts in the country, Huma Island in Busuanga, Palawan, Balesin Island in Quezon, and Amorita Resort in Bohol. Read and see why these 3 resorts in 3 different islands embody the Filipino essence of triumph and beauty.

So when I think about what Balikbayans care most about, I’m really thinking, how can we better serve you? When we feature a luxury resort here in the Philippines—don’t think about how we are featuring this luxury resort in the hopes of encouraging you to go and vacation there. Instead, think about how it is a must see 10-star, world-class, and once in a lifetime destination in the world. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of beautiful hotels and resorts throughout the country. But how can we make a foreigner choose the Philippines over Thailand, Japan, or any other country for their vacation? I suppose first and foremost, we must think, how can we make you, the Balikbayans, choose the Philippines over any other country for your travels? —And that is our goal. If we can make 1 person choose to invest, retire, or explore in the Philippines, then we have succeeded. And I hope you continue to join us in this goal of challenging and pushing the Philippines to reach new heights in the next 24, 50, and 1,000 years.

Roger L. Oriel

Publisher & CEO

Asian Journal Publications, Inc.

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