A Filipino in Milan

Tin Bartolome

Posted at Oct 16 2015 10:48 PM

Seeing new places and meeting people could be stressful. But experiencing the warmth of kababayans abroad is truly heartwarming and inspiring. Let me introduce to you Engineer Domingo Borja, Jr.

Engr. Borja, as he is referred to, has lived in Milan for over thirty years. Originally from Capiz, he moved to Manila where he worked while earning his degree. He met the love of his life Rose who was then on vacation and followed her to Italy.

He currently works for an accounting firm, doing liaison work. He has not only mastered the language of his adopted home, he has also learned to do business there. He has successfully put up businesses and owns real estate. But he continues to work, as does his wife Rose.

Over dinner one night, he told us what he had to go through when he first went to Italy. He said Rose happened to be out of her usual address as she was vacationing in a different part of Italy when he arrived. Still, he found her.

Together, they built a life that is comfortable and meaningful because they have opened their hearts and their home to many Filipinos in need. Clever and insightful, the couple is persevering, hardworking and earnest. Engr. Borja does whatever it takes to reach his goal. He enrolls in courses required by the government to acquire whatever certifications are needed for endeavors he chooses. And Rose supports his decisions even when she does not totally agree with them.

They have two children, Kathleen and Mark. Kathleen is a designer and has since gotten married. Mark just finished school and is preparing to start his own business. Both children were born in Italy, yet they speak fluent Tagalog and English. Like children raised by conservative parents, they are mindful of their “po” and “opo” and never fail to kiss the hands (nagmamano) of elders.

They only knew us for five days, yet they invited us to stay in their home. I can only imagine how much more helpful they have been to others. To this day, Engr. Borja thinks of ways to help his family as well as other Filipinos. That is not to say that he does not serve his adoptive country well. “Pag kaibigan, kaibigan. Pag negosyo, negosyo” he said.

They may be out of the Philippines, but being Filipino cannot be taken out of them. These days, we seldom come across people like the Borjas: humble and simple but very thoughtful and generous. Engr. Borja, a Filipino in Milan deserves all the recognition he has received, most especially, the Bagong Bayani Award!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.