Jollibee in New York City

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Filipinos walking along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, New York City will be jolted by the sight of this Jollibee store at the corner of 63rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue (the picture was taken last December 24, 2008).

Although the finished exterior of the store already announces the presence of this Filipino fast food, passers-by intrigued enough to look inside would see work still being done. An announcement taped on the glass wall only points prospective job applicants to the human resources address and nothing on the date of the opening. The company’s official website already lists the store as existing (the only one listed in New York City) but offers no further details.

The warm feeling that is almost immediately triggered by the sight of the jolly face of the fast food mascot signals the imagined commonality that has been named Filipino. And yet, the very structure that identifies the Philippine archipelago as the geographic home of those bearing the name Filipino is also the structure that has driven millions of these Filipinos away from their home. No matter, the structure is global enough to reach anyone, anywhere, whatever your name is.

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