What makes me proud of being a Filipino
Being back from my months of absence, my head is once again filled with thoughts that need to be poured out. Because I only have a blog and not a Pensieve (Harry Potter), I have to make do of what I have.
With a pending application of immigration to Canada, I just cant help thinking of what I will answer once I am asked the question- "What makes you proud of being a Filipino?"
I have given it much thought and the first thing that came into my mind were the pretty things in our country that our government promotes. Then came the things our thinkers have come up with. Then our fellow countrymen who have brought honor and glory to our country. But then the bubble bursts.
But honestly, do you really feel proud of our natural wonders? Do you really think that the accomplishments of others are the ones you should be proud of?
Why are we supposed to be proud of our natural wonders if we are slowly destroying them? Why should we be proud of the structures in our country when they clearly depict the architectural styles of other countries who have occupied us in the past and in the present?
Why should we be proud of what our "thinkers" have come up with? Where are these things that they have come up with? Were we able to use them to help our country? Where did the fluorescent lamp go? The water-powered car?
Can the accomplishments of our countrymen even go near what the Americans did when 9/11 happened? Should we be proud of our very close family ties which most of the time is the cause of problems in our community? Should we be proud of all these? Well, of course, the obvious answer is no.
But then, you hit me back with the questions- "Why don't you cite the positive things in our country? Why take an anti-patriotic stance? Why bring up the things that make our country look bad?"
Here is my answer: Why not?
Why not? Because that is what I am proud of being a Filipino. Amidst all those negative things in our country, the problems in our community and government, our personal problems which never seem to end and all the crap we have to live with each day, we still manage to stay alive- not only simply to stay alive but still live happy lives.
We still have time to relax, unwind and do things for fun. We still have time to laugh at the negative things around us. We can find what's good in the things other people think are crap. We manage to live a good life even when the conditions in our neighborhood seem to be unlivable.
Well, you can also say that what I am saying is full of crap because I live in a semi-exclusive subdivision, with 24/7 internet connection, electric and water supply, eats more than thrice a day and studies in a known school, so how come I say all those even when I don't experience them first-hand?
True, but not quite.
I have friends who live blow the poverty line; the type of friends that if you introduce to your parents, you'll be grounded for life, and I say to you that they are the ones that I want to be with, most of the time. I know the condition they're living, the things I enjoy that they can only enjoy their dreams, and all the things that money can buy that they have no access to. But I envy them because they know how to enjoy without spending money. They even seem to be happier than me, to some point.
But you don't need to experience these things first-hand to know that even the ones living below the poverty line are still living livable lives. Just try to pass though the "depressed areas" in our cities, like the squatter's area along the banks of the Manggahan Floodway. You'll see that people are not malnourished, people are still carrying-on with their daily business and people are still smiling and having fun; looking like they are contented with their lives. How can you even call it a depressed area if the people in there are not even depressed that they live there?
And so, that is what I will say to the people who'll ask me that question once I leave this country. I am proud to be a Filipino because I am able to live a happy life amidst all the bad things in our country. I am proud that I can survive even the worst of the conditions; conditions that people in other countries see as unlivable or even tolerable, be it natural or economic.
Now I think I have and idea why God made me a Filipino: to have a better chance of surviving in this world. Why? Because I can live in my country. What can be harder than living in a third-world country where everything is controlled by the superpower countries?
But still, I can always say the line that should do the trick; "Tang ina mo, ano naman kung sa Pilipinas lang ako galing at nabuhay? Kaya kong mabuhay sa bayan mo, pero kaya mo bang mabuhay sa bayan ko?"