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Proud to be a Filipino

Imagine the consternation on Lauren’s face when I told her that I rejected the immigration papers that Lorna, my sister sent me in 1987.

“Mom , how could you?” I explained to her my reasons.

While reviewing the requirements and the time frame for approval, I figured that in twenty
years, my papers would have been approved. My children would then have the choice of staying in our beloved country or the land of milk and honey. But I didn’t submit the immigration form and instead told my sister that I wanted my children to stay in the Philippines and continue to work for the good of the country. After all, People Power Revolution fever was still high in the air. My heart filled with hope and dreams for the Philippines through my children. As a mom, I felt that my UP student activist and idealistic days can be best transformed in educating my children towards patriotism and nationalism. Yes, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” so I thought.

I was confident that if the kids chose to go to the USA after college, it would be a piece of cake since I had a lifetime US visa (it was lifetime then) and if need be, acquire American citizenship from her dad using that obscure immigration law of Filipinos born to American citizens in 1930. I missed the fact that working opportunities are not open to non-American citizens.

It’s been 20 years and now, Lauren screams Screw Nationalism

I suppose some would say that I’m a horrible person for being aware that our country’s society is shit and instead of getting up and trying to change things, I want to get the hell out. I don’t feel like a horrible person, though. I’m not the asshole killing off political enemies, or stealing from the pork barrel. This is my reaction to the reality I see. Philippine society won’t change, at least not in my lifetime. And I want to live my life the way I want to instead of wasting my time fighting a losing battle.

When I read her entry, I felt so sad that I didn’t pursue the immigration angle . That other obscure immigration law requires my husband to stay in the USA for some period of time. So yes, regrets but I cannot undo that now. I continue to have hope for the Philippines despite the fact that the country has not progressed in ways I imagined it to be.

Funny that I have such a long introduction to this tagged post on “3 signs they see happening now that make them shout out, ““It feels great to be Pinoy!” but I do have a point. My list is not about the current signs but the Filipino traits that make me shout that “it feels great to be Pinoy!” and why I continue to think the Philippines is a great country. It is because of our people.

1. Filipinos exhibit bamboo-like resilience even during the most difficult times. I remember the time when Ninoy Aquino was shot in 1983. Our peso dropped drastically that imports got very expensive. I believe it was the most challenging economic crisis ever. What saved the country? The underground economy. The micro-entrepreneurs. Filipinos find ways to save themselves from their financial rut . During those times, I was able to interview a lot of micro-entrepreneurs who came out with products/services’ subsitutes in place of imports.

2. Filipinos know how to have fun. We can see it in our fiestas and parties. I never appreciated this wonderful trait until that Independence Day party celebration in Laos where various embassies were invited. The function room was bursting with foreign diplomats. A diplomat told me that they look forward to our parties. It’s the laughter, the singing, dancing and eating our sumptuous food which they enjoy the most. There never is a dull moment. Pessimists think “having fun” is an escape from reality or too costly. Whatever. Let’s have fun once in a while, right?

3. Filipinos are creative and resourceful. I see it in the handicrafts, the fashion accessories, and the furniture which is truly a Filipno design. This resourcefulness coupled with the proper investment and marketing strategy will continue to offer us hope for the economic independence of our countrymen. I know it’s taking so much time for the government agencies to speed the process but we are getting there with their new thrust, called the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Program of the Department of Trade and Industry.

These are just some of the traits that will make our country survive and grow. Working and having the right amount of fun will pull us through any challenges.

Other “Feels Great to be Pinoy” Blog Entries


18 thoughts on “Proud to be a Filipino”

  1. Noemi, your post made me smile, as in.

    you see, it’s amazing to hear Filipinos still being proud to be one wherever she/he maybe. and while many are critiquing the govt of being corrupt and all, i’m happy you also share my view that there still are MANY government agencies out there doing a great job, uplifting the lives of Filipinos. i should be proud in espousing because i am a civil servant myself and so fulfilled and proud of it.

  2. I agree with you on #2, tita. For some reason, even when faced with too much difficulties in life, Filipinos know how to have fun. We have the best smiles in the world, right? 🙂

    But I also agree with Lauren. I also want to get out and not waste my time fight a losing battle. But I must admit there are days I can still feel a sparkle of hope for the country.

    Happy Friday, tita! 🙂

  3. Wow. Reading this makes me proud to be filipino too. I think there’s something about being an Isko that makes us feel we owe something to this country, however unfair and seemingly hopeless it looks, and we have to fight for it.

    I want to think there’s still hope.. but well, if there’s none, then let’s all just laugh it off and have fun. 🙂 You said it, we do know how to have fun. 🙂

  4. I’ve always been proud to be Filipino. Even when I didn’t have a reason. Just proud to be, that was it.

    If you can’t be proud of being yourself, then boy, do you have some insecurity problems..

    But in a more concrete and actually useful reason, I think our ability to handle hardships, and show resilience has always amazed me.

    Our arts and our culture itself is so varied and beautiful that the whole of it all is hard to deny being proud of.

    And two individuals always come to mind as to why I am proud to be Pinoy. And that is because I belong to a nation that gave to the world Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino…

  5. As I posted in my own Feels Great to be Pinoy post, the grass is always greener!

    To cite an example, I’m in Israel right now for work. Very nice country in many ways. But while in the Philippines, bad politicians lead to cheating and stealing — over here, bad politicians can lead to the destruction of the State!

  6. Pingback: » It Feels Good To Be Pinoy

  7. We, Pinoys are “mareklamong matiisin.” We keep on complaining yet we’re still here. Hubby got a job offer in the US about 7 years ago, he didn’t push through. Just like LAUREN, my reaction was, WHY?

    The explanation was simple, he goes, “Why will I exchange a very relaxing and simple life here and be a slave and stressed out in another country?” He continued, “Kung magpapaalipin lang ako dito na lang sa bansa ko!”

    Gosh! Patriotism personified!

  8. Good one Sassy mom.. I can understand your husband’s thought..

    Going abroad, is always a case by case basis, not everyone really needs to or wants to get out of the country… Heck, my mama doesn’t even want to get out of the province..

    Simple life talaga… Along with the company of family and friends, who could ask for more??

    So, I think, in the end, kahit saan kaman, pride never leaves you… and in the case of the choice between The Philippine or Abroad, it depends on the person..

  9. @feng- My last employment was dedicated to the government. That was my best job ever.

    @sasha-yes we have a great sense of humor. Nagpapatawa tayo

    @riz- Yeah, we learn how to make jokes out of our weaknesses. Sometimes being too serious can drive us crazy

    @Nick- Being a filipino is basically who we are and if aren’t proud of it, we lose a part of our identity

    @miguel- it goes to show that each country has their own peculiarities as well.

    @sassy mom- Your husband’s reasons are very valid. He has to live with that decision today and not live with regret

    @Pierre- Lauren told me you were very convincing . You made sense actually. Glad you gave her your 2 pesos worth of thoughts.

  10. I’m glad I was born Pinoy. Life in the Philippines is always interesting. As I always say, the Philippines is the new “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” place. =)

  11. It sure is great to be a Pinoy. But there are times when we definitely want to throw in the towel due to frustration with some of the things our kababayans do. You know like littering, overpopulation, unwanted videoke singing and so on and so forth.

    But then there are still a lot of good characteristics: patience,resilience,humor plus a lot more positive traits. We just hope there are more of these traits, 🙂

  12. no matter what, no matter where i am, i have always been proud to be a filipino!

    oh yes, sometimes i lose hope, but the resilient type of people that filipinos are, i tend to bounce back.

    filipinos are inherently good people.

  13. I believe in this post, although it is accepted that there are many other means to show our love for our country, but this post really bring out something new to me, recently, i was thinkimg that im probably too ideal why my thoughts, i want to apply what i have learned, but exposure to reality made me think back… if i am really capable of things i want to do… the post made me reflect… i guess i should not lose hope on my ideals… ill try my best to always develop a posiitve attitude towards being a Filipino…

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