The Filipinos in Las Vegas, Reno, and Tahoe
LAS VEGAS – We are here in the city of lights and casinos, Las Vegas, Nevada's top revenue-generating city in the middle of the desert. My client owns one of the casino hotels and we are billeted in the penthouse with a 360-degree view of the city. I can see the entire panorama of glitters in a city, not unlike New York, that never sleeps. People from all over the world, Asians, Europeans, Arabs, Latin Americans, Africans, and different races from all corners of the world have one thing in common; they love to gamble, drink, and see half-clad women and men doing the striptease and gyrating in the dais, with Latin music and flickering lights.
We are here to visit our more than 20 cousins on both sides, who are all working in the casinos. Not just in Vegas but also in Reno and South Lake Tahoe. They are card dealers, bartenders, chefs, waiters, and cleaners. Some work as managers and accounting staff, HR and marketing personnel, and even managers and assistant managers. They earn much more than they would if they worked in the Philippines. The Filipinos here are doing well with their own houses and many vehicles. My cousins have multiple houses and rent them out to Mexicans and African-Americans. The Filipinos are a big asset to Vegas, helping make the city more hospitable to tourists.
Some of my cousins are legitimate entertainers, singers, and band members. Some of them are dancers, even hosts and emcees. There is a group of Pinoys who run an event-organizing firm, they manage weddings, debuts and baptismal parties, birthdays and even necrological services - from womb to tomb, they'd tell you. There are insurance agents, pharmaceutical and medical service providers, and even undertakers. There are Pinoy car dealers, transport company managers, and agents. Some are engineers, mechanical, electronic and IT. I am proud of the OFWs and the migrant Filipinos. Americans never look down on them because they work harder and smarter.
I had a formal talk with the Filipino community. My cousin who is a top pillar of the association of Filipinos invited me as a guest speaker. I told them their country is proud of them, and grateful for their remittances that help infuse foreign exchange into our economy. The Pinoys here are sending dollars every month, even oftener, when somebody is sick or dies, when tuition or rent is due. They send medicines and dollars for hospital and medical care, and funeral expenses. They send clothes, shoes, kitchenware, cutlery, and tools. They even send cars, small trucks, and all kinds of equipment. The forwarding companies are earning much because Pinoys send a lot of stuff back home.
Like Tahoe, Reno, and Vegas, the Filipinos all over America may be permanent residents here or even US citizens. But their hearts and souls are left in the Philippines, not San Francisco. These guys are our pride and our assets. We should give them our snappy salute.