Philippines to the U.S.

Solguin moves across world for senior year

More stories from Ellen Garrett



Diane Soguilon and her extended family pose for a group picture before Soguilon, her parents, and her siblings left to move to the U.S.

Stepping out into a flurry of snowflakes, senior Mary Diane Soguilon sees her new home for the first time. For months, Soguilon and her family had been planning on making the 8,098 mile move from the Philippines to Newton and finally on April 13, 2018, they arrived.
“My parents want me and my sister to have a bright future and they said that here in America, teachers are good at teaching. That will help me and my sister for our goals in life,” Soguilon said. “I had been praying about this since I was a little kid. When my mom told me we were going to the U.S., I was crying. It’s an answered prayer.”
When Soguilon was young, she heard stories from her family in Los Angeles about playing in the snow. Since then, she has associated being in the U.S. with flurries of snowflakes. Late winter weather gave her the perfect first experience in the U.S.
“It was snowing and that was my first time seeing snowflakes. That made me so happy but also so sad because I was freezing cold. We don’t have snow in the Philippines because it’s very warm,” Soguilon said.
Despite loving the snowball fights and snow angels, Soguilon misses the warm weather that came with living in her home country.
“I miss it because it’s really warm there, and my place is surrounded with beaches, the people, my neighborhood, friends and stuff. I really miss the weather and the beaches,” Soguilon said.

Soguilon left more behind than just beaches and sunny days, she had to tell her close friends that she was moving across the world.
“They [her close friends] cried. They were like ‘Why are you leaving us? We’re going to miss you.’ and they told me ‘No Diane, no fun.’,” Soguilon said. “There were so many things that we did in the Philippines. We would go to beaches and hike together as friends and I really miss that.”
Three years ago, Soguilon’s mom and step dad met over social media. Her mom’s church in Palaui and stepdad’s church in Newton were praying for each other, allowing them to connect. In 2018, they decided to get married and Soguilon and her sister’s family of three became a family of six living in the Philippines. This marriage prompted the family to move to her stepdad’s hometown Newton.
“Before they got married we were watching Peter Pan and that movie inspired us. There’s a question in the story that says ‘Do you believe in fairies?’ and then you answer ‘I do. I do,’” Soguilon said. “So we did that at their wedding. They were like ‘Do you take this person…’ and me and my sister and my step sister said ‘I do. I do. We do believe in fairies.’. It was so funny and we were all laughing.”
While all together in the Philippines, they bonded and took on parts of each other’s culture and became a whole family.
“I remember when I taught my stepsister to sing a kinder song in my language and she sang it to my grandma, and my grandma was crying. She was like ‘Aw you’re so sweet,’ Yeah so my stepsister is the favorite in the family,” Soguilon said.
While she misses her extended family and friends, Soguilon is grateful for the friendships she has made and the experiences she has had while living in the U.S.
“I do have a lot of friends here, they’re so sweet. I feel like I’m in High School Musical and I’m Gabriella Montez,” Soguilon said.