Korean Invasion in CDO
It may seem like Koreans have made their presence significantly felt here in Cagayan de Oro. Commercial establishments, schools, restaurants, dormitories, apartments and even a Church are owned and operated by Koreans here. They stay here in the city to establish businesses, learn English, teach the word of God or settle down.
Many Cagayan de Oro residents have strongly felt the presence of these Asian foreigners in the city. Some students here, for example, have Korean kids as classmates. Others also see Koreans shopping at the mall, hanging out at party places and eating at local restaurants.
Although it may seem that they started coming here just recently, Koreans have been around in Cagayan de Oro for a long time. In fact, the trend of South Korean students coming to the Philippines to achieve university education started in the 1960s.
History of Korean Migration
Historical records have shown that Koreans migrated to the Philippines since before the Spanish era. However, it wasn’t till the 1980s that the migration began to take on a more economic character. With the growth of the South Korean economy, manufacturing companies that depended on manual labor responded to increasing wages by relocating their operations to other countries like the Philippines. Consequently, managers of enterprises – big or small – along with their families, began to move out of their country. And by the 1990s, the Philippines saw a significant increase in its South Korean businesspeople, all of whom operated in various industries, and not just in manufacturing. These industries include trade, construction, dining and other service-oriented sectors.
Then, around the start of the 2000s, Filipinos once again saw a massive arrival of Koreans as more students wanted to study here and more Korean associations became influenced by mainstream Philippine society. Many Koreans were also encouraged to stay here because of the attractive costs of English language learning and housing, both considerably cheaper than those offered in their home country.
It may seem that all things Korean have invaded Cagayan de Oro. Even Korean television programs are being widely aired in the city. And whose attention would not be grabbed by the increasingly popular K-pop (Korean pop music) revolution?
Some have said that Korean invasion is currently underway in the country. More South Koreans are showing their faces in the Philippine entertainment industry, and more are studying in local schools and universities. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time till they become the heads of local companies and even surpass the success of Chinese businesspeople in the country.
Cagayan de Oro has witnessed an influx of people from different countries all over the world, from Koreans to Americans to Europeans. This migration has translated to further growth and development in the city. With more establishments operated by these foreigners, the city’s range of services and facilities has expanded. With more Koreans coming here to study English, take a vacation or settle down, more jobs are created. Welcoming them with arms wide open will surely improve our urban landscape.
-by Gillian Abonitalla-
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