Over the past 40 years, many people from the Philippines are choosing to move to the United Kingdom for more work opportunities, especially in healthcare and technology. As a result, several larger towns and cities have become quite welcoming to newcomers who want to call the U.K. home.
The Manila Times’ 2007 estimate of the U.K.’s overseas Filipino community was at about 200,000, and at that time, more were becoming naturalized British citizens each year than from any other foreign country (except for India)!
While the largest part of the Philippines’ overseas community lives in the greater London area, social and cultural pockets have sprung up throughout the U.K.
If you’re thinking of moving to the U.K. from the Philippines, here are the top three regions to move to along with what makes them so exciting.
The U.K. capital is home to 70% of the U.K.’s overseas Filipino community. The district of Earl’s Court is home to many Filipino cultural and economic activities, and there is much to see and do year-round in the area.
- For a delicious and authentic taste of homestyle food from the Philippines, try Lutong Pinoy, a well-known family restaurant that has been around for over 20 years.
- The Filipino Women’s Association, founded in the 1980s, promotes a positive and strong image of Filipinas in Europe, and organizes charitable projects both in the U.K. community and in the Philippines.
- The Embassy of the Philippines in London provides necessary government support for the Philippines’ overseas community in the U.K., and they sponsor cultural and information sessions throughout the year.
- One of the events sponsored by the embassy is the city’s first Filipino Food Festival, which started in June 2018. They promise to add even more variety to the city’s culinary offerings in years to come.
- Barrio Fiesta sa London, now in its 34th year, offers a festival weekend of cultural entertainment from the Philippines and the European Filipino community, capturing the spirit of the Filipino fiesta.
Here’s a sampling of the delicious food featured at the Filipino Food Festival:
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“The (Philippine) native cuisine proved itself strong and resistant to fraternization with the foreign invaders. The original dishes have retained their ingredients, cooking methods and spirit. Foreign dishes have been Filipinized, but Philippine dishes have not been Sinicized or Hispanized. The cultural interaction has been one of borrowing whole dishes, then adapting and indigenizing them, rather than borrowing elements to impose on native dishes. The result is a cuisine enriched rather than bastardized, its integrity kept, its dynamism that of judicious response to change.” From Culture Ingested: On the Indigenization of Phillipine Food by Doreen G. Fernandez #filifooduk #filipinofoodmovement #filipinofoodfestival #filipinofood #pinoyfood #pinoyuk
Birmingham, the second most populated city in the U.K., is located in the West Midlands county of England.
This city has a large and diverse overseas community, including many people from the Philippines. Several community associations and annual cultural events have strengthened the presence of the Philippines’ overseas communities in Birmingham and West Midlands:
- Birmingham British-Filipino Community Volunteers is a group resource that shares information about area events, businesses, and opportunities that are pertinent to the Philippines’ overseas community.
- The Birmingham-Sandwell-West Midlands Filipino Festival is a yearly family event featuring games, raffles, and musical performances for two days of fun.
- Birmingham Barrio Fiesta, hosted by the Filipino Association of Birmingham, also celebrates Filipino culture in the area by featuring Filipino vendors, music, and a huge weekend-long celebration.
- For authentic ingredients for Filipino dishes, established Pinoy Food imports staples from the Philippines and provides home delivery to customers.
As an example of how active these organizations are, the Filipino Association of Birmingham is already advertising next year’s Barrio Fiesta:
As more Filipinos move to the U.K., cultural communities in other areas have also grown. A thriving Filipino center now exists in Leeds, which is in the county of West Yorkshire.
Here are a few examples of key places that are important to the overseas community within the Leeds and West Yorkshire region:
- The Filipino Leeds Association keeps the community informed on cultural and religious events, charity fundraisers, and community-specific employment opportunities.
- The most established foods and dry-goods store in West Yorkshire, FilFoods Filipino store offers a variety of foods and services to and from home.
Check out the Facebook page for the Filipino Leeds Association for more information on their activities!
Moving Abroad to the U.K.
Moving to the U.K. from the Philippines enriches both the European economy and its culture, and there are now so many pockets of Filipino life and commerce in most major cities of England, Scotland, and Wales!
When an overseas community puts down roots far from home, the ability to send money home for special occasions or to help family is so important, but you can easily use Remitly to send money to your loved ones.