CROW VALLEY, Phillipines -- “Ever since I joined back in 1998, I have been inspired to come back to my country and show, help and teach my people what I have learned, hoping it will influence the people of the Philippines,” said Esguerra, a dental technician with 3rd Dental Battalion, 11th Dental Regiment, currently attached to 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
It has been 17 years since Esguerra joined the Navy and he finally had the opportunity to return home by participating in Balikatan 16.
"Every time I talk to the Philippine people, it brings back memories from when I was young,” said Esguerra. “It was a tough life. In America when you wanted to eat an apple you ate an apple; but here in this country, they can only afford apples during special holidays like Christmas. It is the little things like that we don’t realize, but we take for granted.”
While still participating and doing his duty as a Sailor, Esguerra also helps out in the local communities by communicating between the Philippine and U.S. Forces.
“After being away from this country for more than 20 years, I look out and I see the same thing from when I was young, the same struggle and the same poverty,” said Esguerra. “I am just glad I can help out as much as I can being able to explain to the people why the Americans are here, what our purpose is and why we are trying to help build a better life for them.”
Esguerra has volunteered every chance he can to participate in the community relation events so he can interact and share his story with the Philippine citizens.
“When you go out on town seeing people smiling, and seeing them smile without teeth and with barely a penny to their name, you can still see the positive outlook in their eyes. You can see they still have hope that life will get better … and they never give up that hope,” said Esguerra.
Remembering where he came from Esguerra wants to return to his native roots and give back. He is very thankful for the opportunity to come from the Philippines and return from America.
“I consider America like my adopted mother; she took me in, gave me shelter, food and everything else I needed to live happy and free,” said Esguerra. “That is the vision I dream for this country so they can live the same way I am living now, because this place will always be home.”