Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Philippines, My Philippines

Remember my uncle who visited sometime last month?

He's a columnist for an online newspaper, and wrote about his recent trip to the Philippines here, here, and here.

I understand where he's coming from. He's been staying in the States for almost a good four decades or so. Chances are, his memories of the Philippines are frozen in time. And I don't blame him if he sees what he left all those years ago radically changed. That's putting it mildly.

It is true that many places in the Philippines, especially in the highly urbanized centers, may not be pleasing to the eyesight. It is also equally true that the socio-political system in the country is skewed to favor those who have the money and those who have the power. Everywhere, there is graft and corruption. Everywhere, there is filth, squalor, and poverty.

That is the life for most people living here in the Philippines, and may take several generations to undo the damage we ourselves have brought upon the country. For if we have not remained apathetic and indifferent to the system, then we might have not found ourselves in the mess that we are in. If each and one of us asked, "What can I do for my motherland?", perhaps we would not find ourselves being apologetic for the ills and conditions of our society.

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My Tito was here for a scant two weeks or so, and most of the time, he was staying in Metro Manila. But Manila is not the Philippines, and the Philippines is definitely not Manila. Sure, Manila is just like any other big city in the world,: fast, rude, noisy, and polluted. However, if he only ventured out further than the city and its surrounding environs, he would've had a better grasp of what the country is all about. He would've experienced the serene white beaches, the breath-taking vistas of mountains and plains, and most especially the genuine character of the Filipino people. Tell me, who would not be charmed by generous hospitality offered to you in the countryside? Who would not be touched with if they share with you the meager resources they have? Who would not be charmed by the warm reception and the casual conversations you encounter in the provinces?

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I am lucky to have been around the world. I, too, am lucky to have gone around the Philippines.  My mom always said, "Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan." She made sure I familiarized myself with my own country even before I stepped foot on foreign soil.  Too bad my Tito, in many instances, experienced the bad part of the proverbial two-sided coin.

So at the risk of sounding defiant, I will say it out say it aloud.

There is no place like the Philippines. I am proud to call it home.

13 comments:

  1. i agree. never kong ipagpapalit ang pilipinas sa kahit anong bansa. i love this twisted, corrupt, dirty country.

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  2. Agree. I have such a love hate relationship with my country. In so many ways it makes me angry, annoys and sometimes even saddens me. But on the flip side, there's so much about it that I love. I only wish others would learn to appreciate it as well :( It really is a beautiful place.

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  3. hindi man ako nakalakbay pa sa ibayong dagat pero proud ko na masasabi na halos naikot ko na ang buong Pilipinas, and I love it!

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  4. Engel: it's not perfect but it's home :)

    PKF: it is a beatiful place, indeed :D

    John Stan: apir!

    Xtian: apir din!

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  5. John Stan: ay jusme. e ano ang gusto mo? hihihi

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  6. It's always a matter of perspective. It's unfortunate that your uncle had such a negative experience. I agree with PKF, having this love-hate attitude for it. When I change my mind about things, it surprises me how a delight this country can be.

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  7. Bon: but i swear my favorite memory of was seeing you drag your lurvely maleta through the side streets of milan! ahahahahahahah

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  8. definitely! there's no place like the Philippines.

    Reprezzzent homies! filipino pride!

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  9. Max: ay. tumambling naman ako sa hommies comment mo lolz

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  10. @Ternie: ibang homies yan, hindi yung nasa isip mo, gangster/hiphop effect, hahaha.

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  11. Max: kaya nga ako napa-tumbling sa thought.

    max doing yes-yes-yo.

    gawd.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHA

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