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!)