Carmelita Agag

Born: Lanipao Narvacan, Ilocos Sur

Migration Date: November 1981

I was 12 years old when I moved to the United States. My father and three older siblings were already living there, trying to support one another. They moved to the States to have a better life, just like everyone else who didn’t have anything in the Philippines. They worked in the plantation fields, earning $0.10/hr. It wasn’t much, but that was their only income. It was my choice to leave. I was young and wanted to follow my family. Life in the Philippines was very hard, no electricity, no clean water. I was a farmer and had to learn how to survive on my own since my mom died after giving birth to my youngest sister.

It was really difficult to adjust to the American lifestyle. I was scared to migrate. Coming to America, I had to adjust myself, learn the American way. I had to learn on my own like how to turn on the stove, use a washing machine, how to use a telephone and microwave. We had none of that in my home, so it was very new and different.

If I had stayed in the Philippines, there will be no opportunities to thrive and prosper because it is hard to get a job and live a decent life at a low wage. My life has changed so much since I migrated to Hawaii. I do not regret anything because all six of my siblings are here, even though they have their own family to take care of. All that matters is that I am here with my family and living a better life than I would be in the Philippines.