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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mission: Why I Heart the Philippines

GK Expo 2006Dearest friends, new and old, here and abroad, Filipinos and foreigners alike:

I’d like to enlist you all in a mini-mission I’ve set up for us to do.

That you’re reading this means you’ve signed up- whether you like it or else hehe

I have a friend from medical school who is due to leave the Philippines in a couple of weeks. The latest entry in his blog as well as the comment he left in my earlier post regarding my Bicol experience, prompted me to set up this mini-mission. (I posted his name and the link to his online journal in an earlier version of this blog entry of mine but he requested anonymity. So late as it may seem, his request is granted.)

My friend is not the first person to feel that the Philippines is going to the dogs. Neither is he alone. From the number of people leaving the country, to the foreigners and locals who bash everything Filipino, to the gory news on primetime TV, to ordinary people who feel that their life here is getting nowhere or worse plummeting ever so rapidly, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that something IS wrong with the country and/or its people. That is a fact. God knows how often I just want to jump-ship and be rid of the maelstrom that is the Philippines.

In His infinite wisdom, though, I find myself constantly reassured that there is still something good in the Philippines and among Filipinos. That we do not live in a God-forsaken place, eternally damned for our collective stupidity. That all is not lost. That there is reason to hope and to stay. I get this from my daily interactions with people, especially in connection with my GK and UP work.

But that's me.

This is where you can come in. Please share any personal experience, a detail, a news item, any tidbit that is worth celebrating as a symbol that the Philippines is still a great country. A friendly crew in a fast food joint, a policeman who refused a bribe, the Christmas attraction previously at the COD now in Greenhills- anything uplifting is worth sharing. Just add a comment to this post please.

Maybe you can even enjoin your friends and family to think about what makes this nation still great, why are you still living here despite opportunities that abound in the US, relate the stories of everyday heroes. Links to online articles are welcome, too.

This mission is not set-up to vilify my friend or the hundreds among us who choose to find greener pastures elsewhere. We have our roles to play; maybe his role is to be a physician who’ll save lives in another place. Let’s just think of this as a mission to sustain us who choose to stay in the country, encourage those who have left to come back, or just to proclaim to everyone that it’s great to be a Filipino and the Philippines is a great country.

‘Nuf said.

Let me begin, at least in the realm I am in. This is by no means complete. Do visit often to see what others see as reasons why hope springs eternal for the Philippines.

**, thanks for the inspiration to do this one =)

1) Gawad Kalinga – bringing Filipinos together to uplift the lives of those who have been marginalized for the longest time
2) The dedicated teachers and staff of the UP and the health professionals and students in the PGH and most other government hospitals, especially in the provinces– their service to the nation is has no monetary value
3) Christmas lights along Ayala Avenue, especially the giant bow atop Rustan’s Makati
4) The MMDA crew whom I saw firsthand work at the height of Milenyo’s fury
5) The MERALCO crew who worked days on end to restore power after Milenyo hit the metro, requiring their wives and family to just bring food and change of clothing over to the MERALCO office in Ortigas, while their own homes are destroyed and/or powerless
6) Jollibee and the others with 24-hour delivery service
7) Manila Bay sunset, Lamon Bay in Quezon, the Banawe Rice Terraces
8) The Apo (Hiking Society) and the Eraserheads
9) Vilma, Sharon, Maricel
10) My Lingkod Manila Action Group + brothers and sisters, my Gawad Kalusugan teammates, my high school and college friends =)
11) My sister and my brother in law and my parents =)

Your turn!

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Blogger Dorothy said...

Mabuhay ka Ian! Sana maraming pang Pilipinong kagaya mo...

I will think of stuff to say for this mission! I'm already excited! :O) In the meantime, I will link your blog first! hehehe...

Saturday, December 16, 2006 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Grace said...

I stayed with a Filipino doctor here in the US who inspired me so much. He plans to return to the Philippines in 2-3 years.

What struck me most was his comment “hindi naman totoong tamad ang Pilipino dahil dito sa America, they always excel. There isn’t anything wrong with the Filipinos. The system is the one that has problems..” His goal in to learn what he can from the US and bring it to the Philippines when he gets back. Actually even now he is spearheading a lot of projects in the Philippines just by using the internet. Ang galing! May pag-asa pa tayo! =)


Sunday, December 17, 2006 7:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian. Pag-asa ka ng bayan.

I heart the Philippines because:
1.) my parents, sisters, relatives, friends at work, schoolmates, basta everyone who make me smile & laugh, are here!

2.) of MINDANAO --- it is the best place on earth... experience it so you'll know what I'm saying.

3.) Maraming mabuting tao sa Pilipinas. Kailangan lang natin pansinin at tingnan ang mga maliliit na bagay na ginagawa ng bawat isa para makatulong. Mahirap talaga baguhin ang sistema if we want to start from the bigger things, pero kung umpisahan natin sa maliliit na bagay gaya ng pag-light ng hope sa katabi mo or kasama mo sa bahay o sa trabaho, kakayanin natin ito! May pag asa. At naniniwala ako na nasa tao ang pagiging financially secure. Dati, natatakot din ako, sino ba naman ang may gustong malugmok sa kahirapan?? Pero kahit saan tayo pumunta at kahit gaano karami ang ating pera kung hindi naman natin alam kung paano ito gamitin sa tamang paraan, I think mauubos at mauubos din ito. Haay, tama na ito. Bahala na, ganyan ang buhay, walang STABILITY or CERTAINTY na tinatawag. Kahit gaano ka kayaman ngayon, anytime pwedeng mawala yan. Buhay ka ngayon pero mamaya hindi mo alam...

Ang importante alam mo na tama ang ginagawa mo, wala kang nilalabag na batas ng tao at ng Diyos. Duon natin simulan. Susunod na yung iba. Sabi nga nila, sa buong buhay natin, kung meron tayong KAHIT ISANG TAO lang na na-inspire na magbago, sapat na iyon. Kung mas marami, e di mas masaya hehe :-)
Yun lang po ang sa akin. God bless & maligayang pasko sa inyong lahat :-) - Mai Mai

Sunday, December 17, 2006 9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Mai Mai said...

"There is such a thing as doing your best in the present and letting life unfold -- that often life will present us with greater rewards than we could ever have imagined." -- Andrew Matthews :-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ian!

uy, I really like what you are doing.

Ni-link ko sya sa ha, sa forum na may thread na nagtatanong kung gusto pa bang bumalik ng mga UP grads abroad sa Pilipinas.

Tama kasi ang officemate ng mommy ko, loss ng Pinas ang every UP grad na umaalis, gain ng another country.

Marami talagang debate tungkol sa issue na ito. Pero for now, I'm still hoping for the best for our beloved country.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 2:01:00 PM  
Blogger ivy said...

i'll link this po muna. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger PePPeR_MD said...

This is great Ian!

I was just thinking of the same thing. The main problem why the Philippines is the way it is because Filipinos DO NOT love their country... Hence the mindset becomes 'to each his own' or survival of the fittest :(

Aside from the stuff you, MaiMai, Gracie etc.. have already said..
I heart the Philippines because..
1. There's no other place in the world where I can call HOME. I was born here, I grew up here, and although I may have been to so many countries, I always look forward to coming HOME.

2. There's no other place in the world where we can live like THIS. We enjoy the firstworld comforts of Powerplant, Serendra, Greenbelt and the like, yet we can still enjoy Divisoria, 168, tiangges -- the third world culture. There's no other place where we can have a grand meal in Spiral, or have tapa at Mang Jimmy's, all in the same country..

3. UP. Enough said.

4. Health Care professionals here who work with so little, yet still provide the best possible care around.

5. Boracay. I've fallen in love with the place, and NOT even because of the white powdery soft sand. AND Baguio. Because of what it means to me and my family.

6. The BIG Filipino Chinese community here and Greenhills. I am still and will always be half-Chinese. I love my culture too.

7. Lechon, Barbeque (Aristocrat, Alex III, Aling Nene, Bonnie's), MANGO, Cassava, Tapa, Tilapia, among others.

8. The LONGEST Christmas season in the world. I always loved Christmas ever since I was a little kid.

9. You can always find a 'cheap' yet practical way to fix/make something... You can find 2nd hand car spare parts, you can have an expensive piece of furniture copied, you can even have an expensive looking gown made with so little.

10. Friends and family who will always have time for you, despite the traffic, and the busy schedules, and the stresses of life. Filipinos always find the time to care for people they love.

I'll link this up too :)

IAN! We heart you :)

Monday, December 18, 2006 5:50:00 PM  
Blogger ian gomez said...

Amen to all of your posts, friendships and fellow Philippines-fanatics =)

Marami pa talagang dapat ayusin sa Pilipinas at mga Pilipino pero the point is meron pang magagawa at meron pang nagmamalasakit =)

Game na! Hope to hear from more of us =)

Friday, December 22, 2006 9:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dorothy said...

May list na ko! hehehe...

Monday, December 25, 2006 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doc Lek said...

I heart the Philippines because:
1. of our strong family ties - now that i've seen how families work here in the US, I have to appreciate the close ties we have with our family members. i am so glad to be born a Filipino and not of a different nationality
2. of our predominantly Christian faith
3. of our "conservative" morals and values
4. of our traditions - fiestas, Ati-atihan, Flores de Mayo, Santa Cruzan, Simbang Gabi's
5. of our food!!! - nothing (NO american food) can and will beat kare-kare, dinuguan, ginataan, etc!
6. of our innate happiness - yes, despite the poverty and everything worse a country could ask for, we Filipinos are among the happiest people in the world!
7. of our literature - we really have some of the best short stories, novels and poems written by world-class writers
8. of our malls! walang sinabi ang US sa mga malls natin hahaha!
9. and the list goes one :-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger ian gomez said...

Grabe, hindi pala enough yung ikahon sa ten reasons lang why I love the Philippines (goes without saying, duh!). With all of your posts, napapasabi ako na- Oo nga 'no! Ako rin, I heart the Philippines because of that!' And that! And that, too =) Keep 'em coming! Encourage more to think about this still =)

Saturday, February 10, 2007 6:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Hello to my fellow Filipinos.

I am one of those OFW kids who grew up in the MidEast, studied there, and spent most of my life there. I am an honor student in my high school batch back there and my father (an engineer, La Salle diploma holder) has enough money to make me study there for Grades 11-12 and also for college life there. If I have chosen to study there, no doubt I have a prosperous (financially) future life. But then I chose the Philippines, why? Like Ian, I have hope for the Philippines. Our nation is not going down to pits because of what is happening now, rather it degrades because of people who lack hope for the Philippines and migrate permanently to a foreign nation. I remember someone saying, "Why be a second-rate citizen of another country, if you can be a first-rate citizen in your own?" I have not known the Philippines as it is for my whole life, but I want to know it more. I want to be a true Filipino, not some OFW simply giving money to charities simply to see their names written on an ignored TV advertisement. I pray that God will open the hearts of our people and show them what they MUST do to help our nation, a nation that will be in the future better than first world nations today. More power to the true Filipinos!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love the philippines because of the all you can eat mangoes in all shapes colors and sizes. have you ever tried frozen mangoes? you scoop out the mangoes put it in a jar, boil water and sugar and pour it over that then freeze the whole thing. HEAVEN on a hot day.

i won't leave the philippines because there is much to be done. our business is in creating jobs that allow people without degrees and diplomas to be financially secure through specialized skills.

i love the philippines because we are put in an opportunity to become better persons almost automatically.

Sunday, May 13, 2007 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger ian said...

If we love our country enough, it will spur us to do things that will make our current state of affairs better. Positive action will convert what is sour and unpalatable into things which will nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits. Thank you for all your insights! Please keep them coming!

Monday, May 14, 2007 9:06:00 AM  

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