Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pride Boost

I was once a believer that hope is still beaming somewhere for the Philippines. Despite what had happened then, I never lost hope. I even negatively reacted to an article written by someone who by blood belongs to my race despite residing in an alien territory. I just hated the way she maligned the brown race and our country. It was like she had nothing to do with us all. That time, I was contemplating of throttling her if ever I saw her.

For a while, my belief for my country waned. For a while, I lost hope. I got tired of listening to the daily news. I lost interest in reading the daily broadsheets where every headline implied bleakness and utter misery. I was drained by corruption in all levels, nonstop threats of coup d'etat and the hell with future Edsa-counting 3, 4 revolutions, inflation, jueteng, bombings, fare hikes and so on and so forth.

So I started searching for work opportunities & scholarship grants overseas and even immigration possibilities. I was even disturbingly encouraged by these 2 men who were high-ranking officials from separate multinational firms when they decided to seek greener pastures somewhere far from this land. I could not blame them. Nobody could blame them. They admitted that they were ashamed of it but they were only pulling their roots from here to the greener meadows for the mere sake of their children and the entire family.

I really felt so sad and could not believe that it was happening.

And then recently, this jueteng scandal which tagged the President's family. Now, it seems that the entire First Family is wallowing in their own pits. President Macapagal-Arroyo is being accused of committing election fraud in 2004; that she was not the rightful occupant of the Malacanan Palace; that it was supposed to be the deceased actor-presidentable FPJ. All these that involve the Madame President was due to a beta tape that caught the President and controversial COMELEC Commissioner Garcillano in a very guilty conversation pertaining to the ongoing election. The beat tape was released to the public by Atty. Samuel Ong, a former high-ranking director of the National Bureau of Investigation. The tape was allegedly acquired through a wire-tapping operation which is basically against the law.

I could accept that the lower house of the legislative body were prone to such; but not the Senate. But then, I was very disillusioned with the entire legislature when the entire Senate got a questionable character during former President Estrada's impeachment trial. Next, the judicial system got tainted as well. When Erap was relieved from Malacanan, I thought that President Macapagal-Arroyo would deliver the Filipinos and the Philippines to a higher level that would wash away the soiled impression of this great nation. I really do not want to point a finger at her for I have seen her efforts to strengthen and bring back our tattered dignity. The scandal involving her and her family is so great that even my rational side cannot acknowledge.

As I mentioned earlier, it was only for a while that my belief for my country waned; and that for a while, I lost hope. I have read this article by
Rome Jorge who I think is a co-member at Pinoywriters. His writing has uplifted my morale as a Pinoy. Please read on.

By Rome Jorge
*Defending the Fatherland*

Last Independence Day a foreigner asked me if there was any pride left in being Filipino. She complained her Filipino laborers were lazy and her Filipino relatives were dependent. She challenged me to name one decent politician, site examples of progress and define something purely Filipino.

It was the exhibit opening of Wawi Navarroza's photo exhibit Polysaccharide: The Dollhouse Drama at the Blacksoup Project Artspace at the Cubao X (formerly the shoe expo and now the latest Bohemian enclave complete with galleries, bookstores and boutiques). The irony of her prejudice couldn't be more apparent. Here we all were celebrating independent artistic efforts. Here in attendance were such valiant artists as indigenous lullaby singer and actress Chin-Chin Gutierrez, jazz crooner Isha, photographer Marlon Despuez, contemporary dancer Gio Respall, writer Karen Kunnawicz, award-winning film editor Tara Illenberger, to name but a few. To anyone looking for heroic Filipinos, here they were all around us.

I told her she was looking at the wrong places if she was looking for good men in politics; criminality attracts criminals and you can't expect any better from such a profession. The heroes of the day are busy sending remittances from abroad or forging a Filipino culture here. More important than politics, it is culture that needs attention. Corruption and lack of nationalism are cultural problems that cannot be cured solely by changing political paradigms.

I told her such generalizations were prejudice; the world abounds with sloths, cheats and traitors of every color and creed. To notice only those from the Philippines so as to validate her own preconceived notions was racism.

I told her she was part of the problem if she came here looking for cheap labor; you get what you give, whether it is with wages or with trust. Besides, her office was not the whole Philippines and her eyes were not those of God's.

I told her it was an exciting time in a young nation's life; we are witnessing a culture under construction. Either pitch in or get the hell out of the way.

I told her that Filipino culture is essentially inclusive; one cannot define it by purity. Every influence enriches it.

And I told her being half-Filipino is no license to put down her own people; no one should mess with our country, least of all ourselves. The essence of being a Filipino is that it cannot be denied. Some may switch citizenships when convenient, but the true Filipino carries the burden of representing his country whether he likes it or not.

*Dysfunctional, but family nonetheless*

It is hard being a Filipino these days. Rigged elections and tiring revolts, politicians of every stripe that lack ideology and morals, militants and military that have both proven themselves corrupt fratricidal failures ­--all do not endear love of country. A history of colonization and invasion does not foster pride either.

Loving the Philippines is like a loving an alcoholic father. He is a self-destructive and potentially a lost cause, a shameful load of emotional baggage and a burden that can drag you down. But he's the only father you've got. You can run away, change your name or opt for adoption, but you cannot change the childhood of your memory or the blood in your veins.

The Philippines is family. You don't choose your family. You love your family not because of what they give you, but because they simply are. You cannot change fate, but you can take responsibility for it. You do the right thing because no one else will take care of family but one of its own.

Fate is more than history just as family is more than heredity. Regardless of the circumstance we are born into, we carry the burden of uplifting ourselves. We curse no one but ourselves when we use our past as excuses for failure. We hurt no one but ourselves when we deny our own heritage. It takes a family to save a family. It takes a nation to save a nation.

/E-mail Culture Vulture at or log on to and



  1. what a very nice article! I have never viewed my citizenship that way! Maybe it would be good for all Filipinoes to read it and then maybe they will have more pride in becoming Filipino! :)

  2. Yeah, it is. I hope our countrymen will realize that.Just too sad to think about it..:(

  3. There are so many reasons to love and defend our country.

    Despite the many negativity that surrounds our Philippine society, there are also so many things happening that further the Filipinos to hope and do something about it.

    Join me and the rest of those who still see GREAT future for the PHILIPPINES. :)


It is always refreshing to know what is in your mind. Thanks!