Photo: My dad checking photos his cousin posted on Facebook. He didn't even notice I took this picture. I'm such a ninja. As of last month, Facebook has over 600 million active users. I’ve had my Facebook account since 2006 (when it was still only for college students). My dad got his own Facebook account about a year or so ago. It took me a while to “Accept” his “Friend Request” because my first thought was, “AH! MY DAD HAS A FACEBOOK AND WANTS TO BE FRIENDS!”. I eventually got over my initial horror and “added” him. My brother and I constantly tease our father because he’s on Facebook all the time. He’ll even go on during his lunch break at work and will message me on Facebook chat to remind me to tell my mom something or whatnot. However, Facebook doesn’t mean the same thing to my dad as it does for most of the people from my generation and younger. Facebook is his way of staying connected to the place he truly calls home. He’s able to talk instantly with his friends and family and stay up-to-date on what’s going on with them. My father has eight siblings and he is the only one from his family (besides his mother, my lola) who immigrated to America. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him at times being so far away from your entire family. Since coming to America in 1986, my dad has only “gone back home” a few times. Once, when his father passed away (I was two years old and that was my first time going to the Philippines). We vacationed as a family in the Philippines four more times; most recently, last summer. Twice, my dad went back because of a death in the family - his eldest brother and my lola. I noticed on our last trip back to my parents’ hometown that my dad really made it a point to enjoy himself and have a good time. He works so hard every other day of the year that I was so happy that for a month he could just let loose. My dad would like to retire next year and, perhaps, have dual-citizenship in the U.S. and Philippines. I try not to think too much about how much I’ll miss him during the time he plans to stay in the Philippines, but I know that he’ll be so happy. I would love nothing more than for my dad to be able to enjoy retired life and he can only truly do that if he’s back in the Philippines hanging out with his brothers and friends, singing karaoke, and taking part in sabong (rooster fighting) derbies. Tonight I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed when my dad discovered that one of his family friends from back home uploaded a few pictures of his father and other government officials/employees of the Municipality of Libagon, Southern Leyte from the ’60s. He asked me to help him print out copies and as soon as the glossy photo paper came out of the printer he smiled a HUGE smile. I know my dad loves my mom and the life they built together here in America for themselves and for my brother and me, but I also know that his heart has always remained in the Philippines. Until he can return to his native land for good, I’m glad he has Facebook to ease his homesickness.