Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who Wants To Be A Filipino?

...was just a segment of the book, Bakit Baligtad Magbasa ng Libro Ang Mga Pilipino by Bob Ong... My dad gave it to me to read before August, our National Language Month. It's the first time I ever asked myself this question.

It wasn't until Sam and I started conversing about our cultures that I realized how ignorant I was of our country. I admit, my roots weren't deeply rooted. I never totally engaged myself in studying it...

I admire my foreign friends who speak our language. I have a hard time understanding it in written form and most of the times, I find myself short of Filipino vocabulary words to use for the children I assist.(thanks God, I have a six-year old niece who'd talk to me endlessly in Tagalog in exchange for few basic English lessons).

In terms of clothings and products, I'd often find myself preferring American or Japanese products over our own, with the idea that those coming from abroad have better quality.

Who Wants To Be A Filipino? part 2 

It was Herdy Yumul who raised this question in a 1998 forum of students of top schools at the University of Asia and the Pacific...

An excerpt of what he wrote,"When I and fellow Filipinos were walking in downtown Athens, a young Greek approached our group and casually told us that he intended to go to the Philippines to f__k Filipinas. Then he kept on asking us:"How much are Filipinas?"

It irks me to hear that... but it shames me too when I see my fellow Filipinas in indecent profile pictures... let me reflect on this a bit more...

Sharing recent and direct experiences... (because the space couldn't contain all)... In my parents visit to Thailand, a young man approached them upon hearing them speak in our native language...He was happy to see Filipinos around but was quick to say how ashamed he was that "Filipinos" are tagged as "thieves" in the place.

Yesterday, we were all glued on the television awaiting the end of the hostage drama in Manila. the hostage taker, a bemedalled officer who bids for reinstatement... but it ended in tragedy. Some hostages were killed and so was the hostage taker.

We feel the repercussions of this drama.Talking over the incident on the table this morning, my sister expressed her worries for the Filipinos working abroad (that included my youngest sister).What if the Chinese community gets even?

Some have already called us "monkeys"... hmmm...

Am I Asking The Right Question? part 3 

I shared with my siblings that the victories and tragedies of one is carried by all because we carry our nationalities wherever we go... Efren, our CNN hero...Charisse and Arnel to name a few who made it through the international music industry...Manny Pacquiao, in the boxing arena...Venus Raj, who placed fourth in the Ms. Universe pageant in Vegas...

So I have reached part 3 and still have not answered the question,

Do I want to be a Filipino?

If God gave me the choice, I'd say YES and I'm proud of being one. I thank God for the crisis moments I am sharing now with the Filipinos and I'm engaging myself in them now... because we grow as a nation---TOGETHER...wherever we are.

But to reach further, I raise these questions, "What can I do as a Filipino? for our country? for our fellow Filipinos?"


* I wrote this in 2010 in my e-diary in Tagged, sharing my views with my buddhist friend Jimmy, after the hostage taking incident in Manila, 23rd of August.

 I revisited it today, 12th of June, 2011, in celebration of our 113 years of independence from Spanish colony.


  1. YOu continue to amaze me and inspire me!!!


  2. We know so little of your culture. World cultures should be studied in schools, as all we are hearing now is this is a Global Village. Thank you for sharing this bit.

  3. Dear dear Melissa - It always pains me to see Filipinos misunderstood. Having visited your country and interacted with its people - I know what warm and open hearts you have. There is a certain naivety that makes your people open to being used and I think that's where the problem is. If there's ever a country I felt embraced by and completely at home in its the Philippines. You have a very rich and diverse culture and much to be proud of. If any one thinks otherwise, it's their loss.

  4. Melissa it is not only Fillipinos but even here in the North East part of our country we have been tagged as lose, available people outside of our region. When we come out of the north east th moment people know that we are from the North East they have that look in their eyes that they are easy lays. It is very sad and painful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Yay! speechless! I've read almost all the books written by Bob Ong. =)

    Anyways, just recently, I've seen a page where in it says "Go to Hell Philippines". That struck me. And then I told myself, "Who cares? Do Philippines like you too?"

    I've read a lot of comments regarding Philippines .. Some were discriminating but there a lot of people also who were proud and amazed.

    First, there is no perfect country.
    Second, doesn't matter what others think of us. We cannot please everybody.

    I'm proud to be an Asian, a Filipina for a lot of reasons.

    They should stop flying kites, writing on a paper or play Yoyo's. Kites were invented in Asia. Papers were from China. Yoyos were used as fighting instruments way way back in the Philippines.
    And most of all, Jesus is Asian.

    I have a lot of things to say. to brag about but I rather not. Just so you know, FILIPINOS ARE DOWN TO EARTH. =)