What We Know For Sure

Inspirational stories of Filipino special immigrants in America

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
132 Pages
Reviewed on 10/09/2020
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Author Biography

I arrived in the “Big Apple” in July of 2012, carrying two suitcases packed with my necessities: framed pictures of my children, my resume, my favorite clothes, and what I hoped would be enough money to get me through. My decision to leave the Philippines was in some ways very easy, but in other ways challenged me to my core. I had spent 18 years working for the United States Embassy all for the chance to immigrate with the goal of bringing my children with me.

​My vision had always been to create a bright future, inspire others, and make a positive impact on the world. Born and raised in the Philippines, I saw fewer opportunities. And while many accepted this path, I dreamed of a better life for me and my children. I desired greater opportunities for careers, housing, transportation, medical care, health insurance, and overall lifestyle. But I also understood that immigrating to America would take time, hard work, faith, and determination to face the challenges and difficult choices that would come my way. I was more than ready. My journey to America started long before I immigrated. And during that time, I learned to use my two great passions—journalism and photography— to create a voice for myself and for others. I became an advocate for women’s rights, social responsibility, and volunteerism. My eyes and ears were always searching for those positive voices and stories to capture and retell to motivate and inspire those around me.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

What We Know For Sure by Lia Ocampo are the real stories of immigrants who came to the United States through the Special Immigration Visa initiative for Filipinos who dedicate their careers, usually twenty years but in Ocampo's case it was eighteen, in the service of the United States Embassy in the Philippines. Ocampo begins her story on touchdown in the US and details her initial struggles that were managed especially well as she pieced a life together through hard work, sacrifice, faith, and a little help from her friends. The book has dozens of stories written by others who arrived in the United States under the same visa program but with their own experiences, creating a wide-ranging anthology that allows for an extraordinarily diverse collection.

America the melting pot is brought to full life in What We Know For Sure. Lia Ocampo's story is inspiring as really well written, as are those who follow with their own. I admit that when I first started reading I was perplexed by the sheer volume of contributors who formulate a book that feels a little short for twenty-six tales, complete with photographs. This concern was short-lived as I began to immerse myself in experiences such as Fe Sacro who writes, “Leaving a long-time career and comfortable life isn’t easy. But change can be good, especially if it concerns the future of our children.” I was also moved by Cecille Canlas's story in which she initially struggles, working jobs she's overqualified for, but ultimately she builds a comfortable life for herself in Las Vegas. This is a wonderful book that inspires and delights, and I am so grateful to have read it.

Anj Cab

I read it and I instantly got curious as I flipped each page. From the author's story to each of the storytellers, I got hooked as to what to expect when it comes to the nuggets of wisdom. My main takeaway is the idea that to succeed in life, we must not give up.

I have favorite stories in the book. Such as the guy who gave up his last stick of cigarette so that he could buy milk for his kid. Another one is that of a health care worker who saved the lives of the elders he was taking care of from a fire. Of course, I am touched by the author's story as it showed persistence and love for family.

If you want to be motivated in life, read this book. You can see that your situation is just a tiny dot as compared to the experiences of those in the book.