The Coconuter, or David Poarch, is a half-Filipino, half-American famous online for his insightful, meaningful posts of his escapades and adventures in the Philippines. His story revolves around his personal quest to seek out his roots and identity, even if it means leaving all the admirable achievements and opportunities abroad. Each entry of his blog echoes his love for nature, his simple sentiments, his reflections that ultimately mirror his love for his Filipino heritage and motherland.
From making a living to actually Living
Anyone would have loved to fill David’s shoes and live his secured life that embodies the American dream.
But in 2006, this high school valedictorian, Ivy League scholar, MENSA qualifier, Triple Degree scholar and NASA employee decided to leave all the offers and deals for a "good" life and suddenly leave for another country. His destination? The Philippines.
With nothing more than US$200 and a couple of boxes of personal belongings, David fled from the stable but complex and detached life in the US to the Philippines, a faraway yet familiar place, a distant land but whose culture had always been intimate to him.
“Having been born there (Philippines) and having spent my childhood years there, in my mind the Philippines was a safe haven I could run to, and so I did,” he says.
“Its culture had always been embedded in my soul; its land warm, motherly and enchanting; its language personally connective and powerfully expressive; and its people socially cohesive and receptive of my being.”
With a strong feeling that his journey to the Philippines would change his life, David decided to document all his adventures through his blog: The Coconuter. He says that rediscovering the Philippines exudes the same thrill and excitement of rediscovering himself in the process.
Upon arriving at a provincial part of the country, he immediately began to draw the line between his life in the US and in the Philippines. And until the end of his stay, it seemed as though the Philippines never failed him.
“Life in the US has its comforts and stability, but it can oftentimes lack heart, purpose, meaning and spirit, which can lead to gradual desensitization and disconnection with the natural world around us,” he explains. “DOT's current slogan is that it is 'more fun in the Philippines'; while this is arguably true, it is actually just the tip of what I believe to be the underlying reason — and that is the Philippines makes one feel alive.”
But in March 2011, he decided to go back to the US with his new family (his Filipino wife Liza and two children) to pursue his Master’s degree in the University of Alabama while working for one of the top defense contractors in the country.
One of the more recent posts in his blog, aptly titled “Static” tells how much he longs for the free-spirited lifestyle, but he needs to amass enough savings to start a business in the Philippines or other self-sustaining means to make his family’s life secure and comfortable while living here.
Journey as a father
David unexpectedly bumped into his wife-to-be on a jeepney ride to town on a perfect sunny day. “It was really a unique time in my life,” he recounts. “They say first love never dies, and this may very well be true, as my love remains undying for both my wife and the Philippines.”
Now blessed with two children, David shares how is it like to be a father. “To have children is a joy and a fulfillment. There is a part of you in all of them; so naturally, there exists a special and powerful bond between a parent and a child.”
It was in the Philippines however, where David received the greatest blow of his life: losing his 2nd child after premature birth.
It was an experience that left David with much anger and regret that continue to haunt him until now. In a way, his son’s death brought about by unsanitary conditions in the public hospital and the physicians’ poor decisions (as well as graft and corruption, crab mentality, theft and panloloko) eventually destroyed his romantic perception of the Philippines.
But David continued to accept her flaws and imperfections, replacing his naivete with the wisdom and belief that we are the controllers of our lives. How to lead it and keep on is our decision.
David hopes to return here sooner, for his kids to experience and embrace the Philippines while growing up, just like he did.
In the end, despite all the struggles and pain, his unwavering loyalty and appreciation of the country remains. He is calling for other Filipinos to do the same.
“To lose something is a regretful and heartbreaking way to realize appreciation,” says the Coconuter.
“Love your motherland and truly take care of it, as it has birthed and nurtured you. She is just as a part of you as you are a part of her. Lose her, and you lose a precious piece of yourself that will lie empty forever.” - Rappler.com