I never thought wearing a barong tagalog could accomplish what online queries could not. But that's how I found other Filipinos at the conference. Or rather, they found me.
Grace Villamora, Filipina, followed me when I left a session because she was also looking for Filipinos (more about her in a future post). She told me that I should meet Jose Escarilla. Well, he found me, too! Ramon Curva also approached me after the awarding.
Lily McGovern commented on my barong while I was looking at the exhibits and, since she doesn't look like a Filipina, I had to ask her how she knew about what I was wearing. It turns out that she's half-Filipino and visited Manila before. Then Widharto, an Indonesian who obtained his MLS in the Philippines, surprised me by greeting me in Tagalog.
There's also Cynthia Kutka, who left a comment at the SLA Conference Blog after seeing a photo of me wearing my barong. And, of course, Michelle Amores and Marubeth Ortega—the only Filipinos who replied to my email queries—just recognized me right away when they saw me.
There is not much that Filipinos can be proud of at this time—how exactly can one be proud of a government that has all but gone to the dogs?—but I was proud to have met Filipinos at the conference. And I have my barong tagalog to thank for that.