400 years of Spanish Rule, 45 Years of American and 5 years of Japanese, 450 years of foreign occupation, was there anything left of what really is a Filipino culture, or was there any in the first place.
Philippine Archipelago, said to be composed of 7107 islands, likewise is composed of numerous Indigenous Communities who were never united before, never lived in one community until foreign powers came to gather us, but in gathering the tribes they also used other tribes against the others.
Thanks to the foreigners a sort of high breed Philippine dwellers came into existence, a product of inter-tribal marriage as well as cross marriage between natives and the foreigners.
So much so of history, that we need to move on to present time, we now live in a Republic called Philippines with its inhabitants called Filipinos.
Philippines, in July 4, 1946 took off as a newly liberated young democracy. Full of hope its pioneer pilots aimed towards the skies of endless possibilities. At first the take off is slow but is gaining momentum, and the countries surrounding us looked up in awe, some in admiration some enviously. We are second only to Japan for so many years. But before the Philippines reached the desired altitude, the aircraft encountered some troubles, a new pilot steered the aircraft dangerously. His name is Marcos. Philippines while supposedly still in the take off process, started to take a deep dive. There was social unrest, corruption plague the land. Public funds are transferred from the national coffers to private banks accounts.
We were successful in throwing away that crooked pilot, but then we never had real pilots. Everyone would want to hold the steering wheel not to drive us towards the safe altitudes but only to get what they wanted.
Most leaders of this country from the lowest in the town level to the Presidency have little regard for national interest. They all look forward in getting the most in the pie instead of equally sharing it to all the people.
But then was it the fault of the politicians alone? Not at all. We are all complicit in this sordid situation we are now stacked into. Many Filipinos today have little love for this country. At a young age, idea of getting a better life is to migrate in another country. The idea of intelligence is how well one would speak foreign language. The idea of quality product is anything made outside the Philippines. The idea of beautiful or handsome is how white the skin is or how high the nose bridge is. People never mind the long cue to watch Hollywood movie, or foreign band concert.
We complain of what sort of country we have, what kind of economy we have, when we are all murderers of our own economy. We do not patronize our own so that local products do not find favour even among Filipinos, not that they are of low qualities but simply because of our colonial mentality.
We cannot take pride of what we produce. We think we look better when we wear signature clothes or apparels. Of course our local companies and their products cannot be perfect at first but that will happen only if we help them.
Common Filipino mentality now is focused outside the country. Our hearts and minds do not dwell here. We all are asking what our country can do for us, without us asking what we can do for our country.
We should learn at least from our neighbours that nationalism is an important ingredient of progress and development. Japan took 2 atomic bombs, plus thousands of incendiary bombs burning many of its cities. After the war they are made to pay, until they are compelled to pay in kind (Philippines owns a land in Japan as part of war reparations because they have no more money to pay). Japan was reduced to ashes, more devastated than the Philippines, yet the people work hand-in-hand, setting aside their personal interests knowing that if they could rebuild a strong country everything will return to them, and they were right. Japan in few years surpassed the Philippines. Japan now transports its people with bullet train while Philippines was stucked in its old choo choo train. Another example is South Korea, after the Korean war it has no functioning industry but the government together with the people worked together in rehabilitating their country’s industries. And not long they have succeeded.
The truth is, these two countries are not free from corruption. They have corrupt officials just like the Philippines, the difference maybe is that, they never totally set aside national interest. And for the People, they did their part in building their nation. They did not rely on the government, but everyone made sacrifices to make their country better, to which they now reap the fruits.
It is a fact that one cannot prosper without nationalism. One has to love his own first before others will. We have to really ask what is my fair share in the development and progress of this country? Let us for a while stop our dreams of becoming somebody else. You cannot be truly an American or European by bleaching of your colored skin. Let us learn to love this country and work together to make it better. Let us cultivate it, nurture it so that it may bear fruits that will inure to our own benefits.
Let us love this country for regardless of how many passports you have, regardless of how many cosmetic surgeries you undergo you cannot drain out your Filipino blood, and no matter what, this is our best place under the sun, and as the old quote states “there will never be another place like home”. Let us work to make this home, a good home, for all of us.