The Kingdom I Came to Love

Non-Fiction - Memoir
256 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2021
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Author Biography

The award-winning author won a Finalist Medal in the recently concluded 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He was born in Manila, Philippines to a Chinese immigrant father and a Filipino mother. At the age of two, his family moved to the northern city of Baguio where he learned his second language of Ilocano. At the age of nine, his family moved to the town of Tarlac where he learned his third language of Pampango. Due to financial difficulties, he did not go to college after finishing High School. Instead, he opted to slog through casual jobs. Eventually, by God's will and sheer determination, he broke into overseas work when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia opened up job opportunities to international workers. Thereat, he completed his learning and understanding of life through careful observation at the workplace and also picking up some Arabic words in the process. He found time to court and later marry his fiancee, Lucila Espinosa Muan. They were blessed with a daughter they named Hannah. The family immigrated to the United States in 1998 and settled in the beautiful city of Anchorage, Alaska. He found a job as a housekeeping supervisor in Barratt Inn and later as airport custodian at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport after joining the Local 71 Union.
After fifteen years, he retired in March 2013. He and his wife resettled back in the Philippines for six years before moving back to the States to be with their daughter and her family in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

The Kingdom I Came to Love by Fernando G Ting is the author's story of his journey from his upbringing in his native home in the Philippines to his transition to life as a worker in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ting begins with a brief introduction to his promising academic accomplishments of youth in the Province of Tarlac and his familial lineage as a Tsinoy, in a nod to the experiences of his parents which further complicate his plans. Ting finds himself in a precarious situation both professionally and personally when the Philippines is cast into a state of martial law under Marcos. With persistence and faith, Ting is successful in obtaining a contract to work in Saudi Arabia. The culture clash and early loss do not diminish Ting's optimism, although return trips prove strenuous on his health and marriage but, ultimately, not at all on his faith.

I felt an immediate connection to Fernando Ting from the first page of The Kingdom I Came to Love. He is profoundly honest in both word and deed and there is a refreshing, natural conversational tone to his style of writing. The grammar is not always perfect but the story truly is and he is able to paint a sweeping portrait of what it means to be a son, a husband, a father, and a friend when the balance of responsibility and his desire to live a meaningful life converge. There are losses that are heartbreaking and, while not conveyed with any regret, some milestones his time in Saudi Arabia forced him to miss. Ting's extraordinary buoyancy is a force to behold and as a Muslim man who is married to a woman who is half Pinay, this book was a fantastic fit. Very highly recommended.