by Attorney Kristine Tungol Cabagnot and Virgel Lamdagan Tungol, Tuesday May 27, 2014
Fresh in our minds like it was just yesterday, the Tungol family of five huddled together at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL, on a bright and sunny Sept. 1, 1988. Father, mother, and three children arriving with only two luggage full of our bare necessities and bottomless dreams and goals, as we left our home country of the Philippines for a chance of attaining the American Dream. We have left a simple, sheltered, and somewhat carefree life in our beautiful island of Bohol to bravely face a foreign, unforeseen future and a very challenging yet exciting life ahead in our new country, the United States of America.
There was a role-reversal in the family that went on for some time. The main breadwinner was now the mother, a Registered Nurse who covered countless overtime shifts while the father worked his way up from part-time jobs to a paralegal position in a big company; a far cry from his former profession as a corporate lawyer. The children saw how hard our parents worked, how much they had sacrificed to make sure that we were well provided for, and we prioritized our education. They instilled in us the value of hard work, of visualizing our dreams, and making them into a reality. They taught us that we can achieve anything if we are willing to put the work in without any shortcuts. This realization kept us in check every time we may have wanted to rebel or been consumed with adolescent angst.
Like any family from a foreign country, life in America for us oftentimes came with a price that was harsh and difficult to accept. Yet, we faced it all with firm determination and strong belief that we would all make it through with prayers, hard work, dedication, perseverance, faith and trust in each other.
We finally realized our dreams and had our first big achievement with the opening of our first Tungol Law Office in Saint Joseph, MI, in January 1999. This meant so much to us as we have ventured into the legal world with small steps that turned out to be so fulfilling and rewarding.
Principal and managing attorney, Renato Tungol, built this firm from the ground up, starting with obtaining an LLM (masters in law) degree while holding a full-time job, and taking the risk to walk away from a big-company management job to start his own firm. From that moment on, our family has made a commitment to help other families and individuals who come to the USA with the hope, vision, and hard work to turn their American dreams into a reality.
The people who come to us for help do so because they could relate to us; people who left their home countries to build a better life in the great U.S. of A. They came with their own luggage full of dreams and hopes, and have been met with equal challenges. We are here to help them transition into this new life by taking care of all their immigration needs and ensuring that their status remains legal, from nonimmigrant visa, to permanent residency, to finally becoming a U.S. citizen. We are with them every step of the way, much more than just a law firm. We are there as their coach and cheerleader, as their guide, and as proof that the American Dream is not so elusive. We’ve been there! So we can safely and honestly tell our clients that So. Can. They. We’ve Been There; this has always been our family’s mantra. We can empathize with our clients because we have walked very similar paths to theirs, and when we say, “Everything will be alright,” we are living proof that everything will turn out alright.
This legal service to others has become a family affair. While Renato started the law firm, daughter Kristine has joined to ensure that this legacy continues in the next generation. What started as a seed of dream has blossomed into a law practice with two offices: a branch office in Woodbridge VA, within the Metropolitan D.C. area, and the principal office in the Chicago suburb of Darien, IL.
Our doors remain open, and as long as we have people coming to us for help and guidance, we hope to continue this service for a very long time. At Tungol Law Office, you are more than just a client; you are a part of our family. We welcome you with all our other family members, former and current clients, who gladly say, “We’ve been there. Trust us, everything will be ok.”
From our Tungol Law family to yours, we thank you for your business and friendship!
Renato and Virgel Tungol
Donald and Kristine Cabagnot
Karlos and Danielle Tungol and children