Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love of Country

What Alvin Gale Tan started with 7107.com is commendable! I love his project of finding 7,107 reasons why he loves the Philippines!

It's funny how other nationalities find more reasons than Pinoys themselves why they love the Philippines. Yes, there are a lot not to love about the our country, but hey! Every country has its own problems. The story that Alvin shared on how he was inspired to started on this project shows just that!

I have a similar story to tell. I was riding the jeepney from Bontoc to Sagada. It was half full of foreigners and half by the locals. A group of tourists were talking amongst themselves. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop but I did hear what they were saying. Afterall, they weren't talking in whispers. It turns out that two of them, who look like bestfriends if not partners in life, have been going back to the Philippines every year. The guy they were talking to is visiting for the first time. So the two guys talk about how each year they allot a month to travel to the Philippines. They've been to Cebu, Palawan, Boracay etc. And this year, they're going to Sagada and then to Batangas. I was amazed at how much they've travelled. But I was even more amazed at how they made a comparison and observation of how pig's blood stew (that's dinuguan!)is cooked depending on the locality. They said that as you go down the Philippines, dinuguan gets more "soup-y" (yup, i invented that word, sorry)!

I think the perception that every other country is better than the Philippines still stems from our colonial past. Ambeth Ocampo even wrote once that Filipinos do not refer to us natives, but to the Spaniards born in the Islands.

This video will show the indio-Filipino relations better...

(I'm sorry, I just had to! I lurv Cherie Gil!)

Three hundred plus plus years of being told that we are second class citizens will no doubt take root in our psyche. This is not counting the time when the Americans "benevolently assmilated" the Philippines, which is just a new term for colonialization.

If we understand this part aof our history, we will understand why Pinoys today find it hard to feel good about themselves. We do love to flagellate ourselves. We tend to bring ourselves down. Ang Pinoy kasi ganito-ganyan (fill in with self-deprecatory remarks).

On the other hand, this also explains why Pinoys tend to play up Philippine prides such as Cong. Manny Pacquiao, Charice Pempengco, Lea Salonga and many others who have made the international scene. To us, being related to these very talented and successful Pinoys makes us feel proud to be Pinoys too. Note too, how we tend to hitch our wagon even on one-half or one-fourth, (or less) Pinoys whom we see on TV. Yes we should be proud of them! But that's not my point. Do we really need some extraordinary person, an extremely talented and persevering individual who made a name for him/herself to make us feel good about ourselves?

Even the "nationalisic trend" today where people go about bearing the Philippine map on their shirts makes me want to puke. It's so hypocritical! I hate to ask them why they're wearing that and hear a "HUh?" answer.

Alvin's project is badly needed! It's about time Pinoys learn to love their country inspite and despite of all its bad. The reasons to love your country need not be profound. The reason can be as simple as an Iloco empanada or the jeepney.

Thanks Alvin, for that vigorous shake you gave us!

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