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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Blog Rounds (TBR) 7: Mission I *HEART* the Philippines 2008 ed.

There’s something about being outside the Philippines that triggers a certain “nostalgia” for all things Filipino. As the cliché goes, you‘ll never know how valuable something is until it has escaped your grasp, temporarily or forever.

Mission: I *Heart* the Philippines was formally spawned in December 2006 while I was coping with jetlag in a hotel in San Francisco. I got an enthusiastic response from friends and strangers alike who came up with lists of everyday things, events, places, and personalities that often escape appreciation due to their “ordinariness.”

A year and a half after, I’m revisiting this “mission” and encouraging colleagues from the healthcare profession to journey with me. Here's what they have to say-

Doc Joey narrates how her Chinese connection has led her “home.”

Doc JA shares how the secret of Filipinos’ coping mechanism to the most dire of situations makes them lovable.

Doc Tes presents a nifty illustration of the things simple yet precious that can be best availed in the Philippines.

See how closely connected Bambang and Balut and Manny Pacquiao and the Madrigal Singers are in Doc Mel’s interesting inventory.

It is difficult to NOT find yours in MerryCherry MD’s list of 101 favorite details she likes about being Filipino.

On her third attempt to write *something*, the Pinoy Megamom has created a sumptuous litany of *everything* that makes her see the Philippines in a category all its own.

All that Hong Kong is is no match to Filipino mangoes, music, and Moalboal, if it were up to Doc Gigi to decide.

Doc Ness loves the Philippines because of, in spite of, with the hopes of...

Doc Abner maybe Down Under but he still has a lot of love for the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

Using just three reasons, Doc Emer proves the point that loving the Philippines is not the least bit foolish.

QC Councilor Doray, MD share her personal take on who and what makes her proud to be Filipino.

Swim into the Bone Doc’s collection of photos and emerge loving the country more.

Operating on the premise that we have no other option but to love the Philippines, Doc Martin reminds us WHY we need to love the country while
Doc Carl offers one simple advise on HOW to show our love for the nation.

This fantastic group of people has created a powerful must-read for any Filipino who suffers from an acute or chronic bout of lack-of-love-or-hope-for-the-Philippines-itis. They have put together timely and timeless reminders on why the Philippines is such a great country and why Filipinos have a great nation, worth dying for and living for.

And as for me? Here’s why I *heart* the Philippines, in no particular order-

I love the Philippines because it is the only home I will truly have. I may transfer residence or pledge allegiance to another sovereign; the Philippines may even reject me, eject me, and have nothing to do with me. But at the end of it all, it will always be my only home, the land of my birth. Nothing will take that away from the Philippines.

I love the Philippines for its unbelievable abundance of unique natural resources, evidenced by such amazing sites like the Banawe Rice Terraces, Tubbataha Reef, and Boracay. Yet it features a lot of Philippine places that makes you blurt out- this looks like Paris or New York or D.C. It’s a happy incunabula of wild city living and tame country roads. I love the Philippines because it’s the whole world by itself.

I love the Philippines because of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; or more accurately, who and what she represents. Women are human beings in the Philippines, equal, if not greater in stature, than the males of the nation. Women in our country enjoy rights and privileges unheard of in many places. They walk ahead, behind, beside anyone, at any time; they even walk alone. They study in universities; the universe is theirs for the tinkering. They drive cars and jeepneys; they can even drive an entire nation. Yes, to *some* extent, I love the Philippines because of Gloria.

I love the Philippines because we are an opinionated country. We are almost always free to think, act, speak, look, taste, smell, feel in whatever manner we wish to do so. We can complain, we can protest, we can praise, we can laud, we can be loud. I love this country because of it has a 88 million presidents. I love this country because people here care enough to make their voices hoarse and their skin burnt and their index finger soiled by the so-called indelible ink and their thumbs sore from texting to support their chosen candidate from all shapes and types of contest. I love the Philippines because we have options and we can choose not to choose at times.

I love the Philippines because we are a land of hardy people, able to think of a thousand and one uses for the coconut tree, how to make a living by feeding people stuck in traffic with fish crackers, and converting advertisement tarpaulins into chic bags. National resilience has been forged by successive typhoons and colonizers; tough countenance and a matching faith molded by political hazards and perennial restless fault lines. The Philippines is inhabited by a population made stronger by nature and its own pitfalls a species.

I love the Philippines because the wonder and beauty of its parts exceed the grandeur of its entirety. From the gustatory delights like adobo, sisig, and balut to the massive nation-building efforts of Gawad Kalinga; from the amazing beaches of Amanpulo to the amazing musicality of the Philippine Madrigal Singers; from the resolute physicians of the Doctors to the Barrios program to the highly-adaptable business process outsourcing companies to the underappreciated Filipinos working abroad; from high school students of rural secondary schools who top international sci-tech competitions to low-budget independent films that wow the world; from the historic churches of Miag-ao and San Agustin to the grand temples of Binondo and enduring mosques of Mindanao… The list just goes on and on.

I don’t think I will ever complete this task, enumerating why I *heart* the Philippines.

I thought this task will be easy, me the eternal optimist and guy forever in love with the Philippines. I thought I would just be churning out one great Philippine item, person, or place with great ease and fulfill this task in no time at all. However, many negative socio-political issues muddle our view of ourselves and our country.

It is so easy to give in. And give up.

But as Filipinos are wont to do, we don’t easily give in and give. So far, I see, feel, taste, smell, hear enough goodness- much, much goodness- in the Philippines and among Filipinos for me NOT to give in to the temptation to abandon ship, and give up the country as a lost cause.

To give in and give up, methinks, is characteristically un-Filipino.

(Many, many, many thanks for the overwhelming response of The Blog Rounds MDs. Thank YOU for the inspiration to continue being in love with the Philippines and putting that love into action. My apologies for the uber-late posting of TBR 7. God bless us all. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doc Ian, I agree with all of the above except for the Arroyo part - IMO she represents CORRUPTION!!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 2:16:00 AM  
Blogger ian said...

hahaha i agree with you actually, she is the poster child of corruption =]
what i was gunning for in my post is a hyperbole, if only to underscore how powerful women are and can be in the Philippines, to the point of condoning lying, cheating, and stealing billions... i know she's not the best of examples to portray but... *shoulder shrug* =]

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger MerryCherry, MD said...

Uber-late? Hmmmm. Better late than never.

Ian, come on! Pres. Arroyo?!? Ok, ok, binawi mo naman by categorically saying, what she represents. :)

Nice round up.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous gigi said...

You are really an optimist, Dr. Ian :) Optimism is something we really need these days. I am glad you finally came up with this fine round-up.

Also would like to invite you to submit an entry for TBR16 which I am hosting. My theme is Unsung Heroes. I do hope you could squeeze in a post. Thanks very much.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger ian said...

hi doc gigi =] i'm already working on my entry to your TBR =]

thank you for patiently waiting for the roundup. i hope in a way it helps change at least one person's perspective and spurs him/her to action and be a better Filipino =]

Saturday, July 12, 2008 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Emer said...

Wow! Uber-late with no explanation at all?

As Filipinos, should we also be proud of "Pilipino-time?"

This would have been better if you posted it as scheduled. Tsk!

Sunday, July 20, 2008 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger ian said...

Thank you Doc Emer for making realize another TBR7 oversight. I apologize again to you and to everyone who contributed to The Blog Rounds 7: Mission – I *HEART* the Philippines for the late posting of links to your entries.

Numerous family, professional, technical, personal events and commitments have emerged in the last two months. I chose to prioritize them, setting aside for the moment blogging and the TBR posting. I made several attempts to post TBR7 at opportune times, eg commemoration of historic events or moments of national crises or dire headlines, but some other pressing commitments always rammed its way in my schedule. Yes, some procrastination on my part is also involved and is a culprit for the extreme delay. I apologize once more.

I honor all of you for joining the “mission” I set for all of us and I am extremely pleased with the response it garnered from MD bloggers. I would like to thank you again for taking time from your busy schedule to post in your blog why and how you love the country. I‘m sure it was an exercise in soul-searching that hopefully lead/led to a better appreciation of the Philippines, not only by yourself but by your blog readers as well.

May your love for the country intensify further and may you translate this love into concrete action that will benefit a lot of people.


For the record, no, I am not proud of the so-called Filipino time. It is one thing I am still struggling with also. Slowly but surely I am trying to exorcise it out of my system.


If we are talking about commitments, yes, my TBR7 roundup would have been best posted during the time it was scheduled to be up. A commitment is a commitment.

But if we are talking about posting a blog entry encouraging love for country, its timing is as good as any, in my opinion. It shouldn’t be just espoused during June 12th or December 30th or August 21st or thereabouts. Love of country is always timely and timeless.

Sunday, July 20, 2008 6:44:00 AM  

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