Are you proud to be a Filipino? I am! There are many reasons to be. In this country, many still respect the elderly. We have our unique traditional practice of “mano po” – giving respect to the elders. Most of our children still listen to us parents – yes they “dabog” and pout when we send them to do chores and errands, but they still obey! We have “pamanhikans” where a young man who wants to marry a daughter presents his parents to the would-be bride’s parents to formally ask for permission to marry. In other places and cultures, the engagement normally involves only the sweethearts – the parents from both sides are just invited. No, not in the Philippines – not for Filipinos! Moreover, most of us Filipinos attend Church, whether we’re Catholic, Protestant, Born Again, Islam, LDS, or others.
Think about what we have – a very beautiful archipelago composed of 7,107 islands. We have the best beaches in the world – white sands, pristine crystal clear waters. Then we have sweet Mangoes and tasty Durians; we have Adobo and Kare Kare; we have Jose Rizal as our National Hero; we have Tinikling and Singkil; and we had Lolong, the biggest crocodile captured according to the Guinness Book of World Record.
Just like everything else in life – things have good sides and bad sides. Filipinos have so many good traits, but we as a people also have a few negatives. One of this is the very famous “Filipino Time” which suggests being absurdly late. Filipino time is equated with tardiness or not starting on time. Most Filipinos are not punctual … well, not all.
For the positive traits of Filipinos, there are so many! For one, think about the fun we have when we see pictures posted in social networking sites about the overloaded plane with the caption “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”. Isn’t it true that many of us laugh at the famous “Skylab” – an improvised motorcycle where 9 to 12 passengers can sit and take a ride, with the driver almost unrecognizable being “sandwiched” by so many people? The sight may be funny, but think about those people who are enjoying the services of these “skylabs”. One fact that many of us do not probably realize is this: if not for these motorcycles-turned-into-circus-like-transportation-machine, people will have to walk kilometers after kilometers in these areas where no other public transportation ply … Maayo na lang kay dunay naka huna huna sa Skylab!
Then there’s the word “Filipino ingenuity” where some people make fun of how as a people we have the talent and ability to turn anything – even the trash – into something usable and valuable. Have you thought of the “motorized sikad” plying most highways in Mindanao? These motorela-like cabs powered by motorized engines normally used in bangkas? Genius, right? If only they will not ply the National Highway and be a threat to public/passenger safety.
How about the statement ligid nga gi rebond? That’s only in the Philippines (and maybe in most 3rd world countries). Do you know that in the US or in other developed and urbanized countries, when their tires are used up, they buy new tires and dispose of the old ones? Filipinos, maybe for the want to economize, have their tires “vulcated” (does this word even exist in the dictionary?) or “re-bonded” … and these tires are used again until they, with finality, retire. But that does not end the life of the tire or rubber. When the tires are finally declared non-fit for transport purposes, they are turned into pots for plants, for children’s swings, the inner tube into salbabida (floatee or swim ring), as slippers, even as floor mats …
Only in the Philippines can one see junks shops here, there, and everywhere! These junk shops sells 2nd hand bolts of all kinds, tires, tools, nuts, shocks, coil, ball joints, radiator, carburetor, body parts of cars and trucks like heads, doors, camper shells, even under chassis!
Well, only in the Philippines!
Topping all that, there’s something very rare about Filipinos – we are an epitome of resiliency, long suffering, and optimism. Through good times and bad, we manage … and we manage with a smile on our faces.
I saw this yesterday when we visited the different evacuation sites in Cagayan de Oro. I saw people trying to make the most of their tents … beautifying them … making them as comfortable as possible. And to think they have lived in these tents for more than 6 months already. They have gone through so much in life. All of them lost all of their earthly possessions, while some of them lost loved ones. But the one thing that they have until now is hope … hope for better things to come! Hope for a better tomorrow!
Filipinos … we may lack so many material things in life … but we have what matters most … a grateful heart, a happy disposition, a ready smile for everyone, and faith in God – even amidst trials and challenges.
A delightsome people – we are Filipinos!