The Filipinos in Las Ve­gas, Reno, and Ta­hoe

The Freeman - - OPINION -

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.

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