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Mga Damdamin at Kuro-kuro sa
Pagiging Pilipino
...................(Feelings and Opinions on Being Filipino)
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Ang sumusunod ay koleksyon ng mga pahayag na natanggap namin nang sunud-sunod sa pamamagitan ng Internet sa loob lamang ng iilang araw at nagbunsod sa amin na simulan na agad ang proyektong ito para sa lahat ng Pilipino. Idinagdag namin ang sumunod naming mga natanggap at ang tatlong pahina mula sa dating  website ng Kamalaysayan (Kampanya para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan). Hindi namin iginawa ng pagsasalin ang alinman sa mga ito. Unang mababasa ang huling dumating.
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Following is a collection of declarations that we received via the Internet within a few days, and pushed us to hasten the start of this project  for all Filipinos. We have added the succeeding messages we have received on the subject, plus three pages from the old website of Kamalaysayan (a campaign network for sense of history). We did not translate any of these. They are arranged in the reverse-chronological order.
HANDED TO SANIBLAKAS FOUNDATION PRESIDENT DING REYES
SPECIFICALLY AS A CONTRIBUTION TO THIS WEBSITE FORUM 
'Good Take' on the Filipino Spirit
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By Chin-Chin Gutierrez
Movie and television artist Chin-Chin Gutierrez is into Deep Ecology and Spirituality and is active as an Executive Board member and Treasurer of the Saniblakas ng Inang Kalikasan (SALIKA).   The title above is taken from her new program aired over IBC-13 every Monday night at 11:30, with replays every Tuesday morning at 8.   Ms. Gutierrez is also a member of Mother Earth Unlimited and Artists for the Environment, working on projects like the Zero-Waste Management program.   She also facilitates  symposium/workshops with earth renewal topics, inner-outer ecology, etc. 
WHAT IS  the Filipino Spirit? Where is Home? What is Beauty, Truth, Love, Life and Light? Who am I?  Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I get there?
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..........These are some of the most fundamental questions I have lived and live my life for as an individual soul, in my relationships with others, in my work or chosen activity and well, yes, including the times I find myself between a fault and a grave mistake. In short, it is no easy process when a journey honestly traveled brings one to such awesome heights and then to desperate depths and yet, my visions of freedom and experiencing the mysteries and richness of one's life keeps me asking these questions over and over again.
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..........And like planting rice, these seeds of questions have given me a 
harvestful of gifts that I willingly use to hopefully pursue a well-lived life. Nothing one does in life are made from illusions, only choices. One chooses to live by his fear or one chooses to live by his love. One chooses ignorance or one chooses wisdom. One chooses greed or one chooses freedom. I believe that the world we see outside and what I do with my life is a translation of one's national and individual consciousness or that "inner will" that is present and alive in one's thoughts, words and actions - moment by moment. We create or destroy ourselves and our world moment by moment depending on what is present in our will at the moment of action. 
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..........This "inner will" or consciousness is so powerful it can make or dismember a man's spirit. From the political unrest and the Payatas tragedy I hear the sounds of a Filipino's impoverished spirit. I see it as everyone's blindess, yours and mine not to have seen a five story heap of garbage and not to have done anything to  prevent it, or better yet, for letting it exist at all. My brothers in the south reflect what I too am suffering, though they deal with it differently. When a part of our body is sick, doesn't the whole body suffer? Isn't it everyone's reponsibility?
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..........Today, what the Filipino is experiencing is perhaps the "Cancer" full blown that Dr. Jose Rizal had already diagnosed in our culture more than a century ago. How does one heart heal a dying culture? 
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..........People, and I mean each person, create the human environment with his thoughts, words and actions - moment by moment. With all that what we think, feel and do, how do we reflect the light of an inner will to a blind and broken   people? How do I find my light amidst my own blindness? 
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..........Where is Truth? and if there is an ounce of it somewhere inside, how do we use it to nurture back our sight and receive strength from the truths awakened in our souls? But what is the Truth? What is the struggle all about? What direction does one take to realize and obtain a true and absolute freedom? Both heroes and traitors have their own visions of freedom. Furtheremore no one sees himself as a traitor of his own truth - his reasons for thinking and moving stem from what he knows about himself and in this case, the kind or level or dimension of freedom he desires. Does he know and want absolute freedom or does he simply want to be more comfortable in a jail? does he prefer the power of an imprisoned voice or that of his own? Everyone justifies the sound of one's inner will.
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..........But what is the Filipino soul? Just like a mangoes and rice can only thrive in its bio-region, a Filipino must know the soul of his land that he may use his inner will for it. Every race contributes to the bio-diversity of the human spirit. Our universal goal is to be ourselves! To know ourselves is to be free, for the universal spirit is free. 
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..........Every race has a distinct and characteristic gifts or force. The Americans may have a gift for mercantilism, the Jewish people have the gift of Will and so on. Amidst our clumsy, childish insecure and terrible reputation today I see  that the Filipino soul is a force of creativity. It is one that is full of life and love and light. It is found in an archipelago of smiles. It has a  God - seeking soul. Because it has a God - seeking soul it is connected with the Universal Creative Force. 
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..........Our creative gifts have been so mismanaged and displaced in "systems and -isms" that have plugged and blocked us so long and so much that we've seemingly become a culture of "bad news", of American clones, of genetic-culturally modified Europeans, of the brown Afro-Asians. From dismembering ourselves from our Filipino identity we are left open and vulnerable, being captive citizens of the world and of ourselves once again. Yet Progress could be good if it sustains the Filipino. 
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..........I believe that to really know if one is free and moving with freedom, one must look at what moves him from within. Ignorance is a state that is not free.  When one does not know himself and his world, there is fear; and fear begets greed. If one thinks, feels and moves in ignorance, fear and greed, then one is not free and cannot usher others to freedom.  When one does not know himself and his soul, one betrays himself and his actions and even the very ideology or belief system of values he uses to obtain his freedom.
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..........I don't know what my generation has to offer ( we're called the generation of forget ), but I believe it is not about pointing fingers and continuing the DISmembering. It is REmembering. In school for example, we should focus more on the Filipino identity rather than the identity the Americans or the Spaniards created for us. Remembering the light will give the "inner will" its light. How can I paint a picture of a unique light if I do not see it first? And really there is so much remembering to do to. 
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..........As an actor/artist, I find that because we are a peace-loving and gentle creative race, a vital tool would be to tap into our creative Filipinosouls individually and synergistically in approaching and in reckoning with our "social cancer" in order to experience a gentle shift of consciousness rather than a cataclysmic purging in our country today.  Ang Pilipino raw ay Pinipili at Pinipino; Pinili+Pinino = Pilipino, kaya naman masasasabi nating Pinili ng Ina = Pilipina. Ngunit bago tayo makakaabot dyan ay kailangan na nating magsimulang maalala ang ating mga ugat at maghilom ng ating kaluluwa, bago pa nating matutunton ang sayaw ng kalayaan. 
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..........Mother Earth's abbreviation is M. E.    If you hurt Mother Earth, you hurt ME.  If you heal Mother Earth, you heal ME.  Mother's Law is an eco-system. We created the "akin-system". Akin nang akin, maraming sinasayang, maraming itinatapon, maraming basura. Tuloy, pati ang pagtingin natin sa isa't isa ay basura (crab mentality). 
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..........Our ancestors knew themselves very well, they knew the Filipino soul but most importantly and urgently, they expressed it. They kept their covenant with nature and therefore had a grounded, rooted way of life that respects LIFE it all its diversity and those yet to live. The ordering principles that they lived by are awe-inspiring. We must practice inner and outer ecology. Ang Pilipino ay pinili ng Ina dahil siya ay maka-Diyos, maka-Kalikasan at maka-Tao. How do we translate and express this and create progress that sustains Life? 
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..........Our true and real Filipino consciousness or "inner will" is found present and alive in all our individual achievements big or small, today - moment by moment - it is found in the processes of bringing ourselves to work within limitations and to go beyond them, whether doctor, student, housewife, child, social worker, businessman, farmer, babaylan, lawyer, politician or police, Datu, Muslim or nun or Lola - ALL.  Life is creation, creation is freedom. Or we're killers. When we kill the Filipino Creative Human Soul we kill our WIll - our "inner will' that creates a culture for a Home of freedom, love, life and light. We dismember ourselves from ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our culture, our land, our planet and ultimately the Universal Spirit.  ..
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..........Like a "Mumbaki" (soul doctor) let us see with our ears and listen with our eyes. let us start remembering and look at all our links and the relationships between events - from the colonizations to the bloodless revolution. What revolution are we listening to now?... It is between man and himself... We must start healing ourselves. Filipino souls, let us turn on the Light NOW!
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..........Here's a poem was intended to be a direct and concrete sharing of what happens when we tap into our Filipino creative souls:
MGA LALAKING USA  ( MEN OF THE DEER )
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Mga lalaking usa, nasaan kayo
Kayo ba'y tinali, hinuling lahat 
At binulag ng gabi
Kung kaya't 'di  makatugon
Sa tawag ng lahi
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Sinong mamimitas ng mga dalagang hinog
Na binuo ng buan, ng dugo at ng karagatan
Nakabalot sa mga aninong naghihintay 
Ng may  karapatdapat
Upang matupad ang ginintuang pangako
Ng unang tawag ng lahing 
Katutubo
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Itong lupa ng pagasa ay lumulutang
Sa lungkot ng panahon
Ang ating mga ina ay sinumpa ng tadhana
Mga nalalantang mukha ng mga amang nalunod
At ang mga anak ay nanghuhuli
Ng mga kababalaghan
Sa mga aninong natutulog sa gabi
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"...Gumising ka, giliw ko
Naghihintay ang buhay ko 
Sa dilim ng iyong lungkot
Sa anino ng iyong mundo
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Apoy ng Pagasa
Gumising ka
Nais kong malunod 
Sa kanyang mga mata..."
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Mga lalaking usa
Kayo ba'y nasugatan
Kayo ba'y babalik
Mga dalaga'y hindi nakakalimot
Sa inyong mga iniwang luha
Na ngayo'y umaapoy
Sa pinili naming landas
Na binuo ng buan ng dugo at ng karagatan
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Habang ginugunita ang nakaraan
Isang malinis at magiting na panahon
Kami'y maghihintay sa araw ng katwiran
Na sisikat sa inyong pagbabalik
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"...na sisikat sa inyong pagbabalik..."

Iyong kadiwa't kaibigan,
Chin-Chin




 
SUBMITTED IN HANDWRITTEN FORM DIRECTLY
TO THE WEBMASTER AFTER VIEWING THIS WEBPAGE

Pagpupugay sa Aking Inang Bayan
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By Ed Felipe I. de Vera
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Mr. De Vera was formerly the Assistant Executive Director of Kamalaysayan (Kampanya para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan) in charge of the Manila site of the monthly ceremony cantered on the Kartilya ng Katipunan from 1993 to 1995. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of SanibLakas ng Taongbayan Foundation.
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....................Kung ako'y ipapanganak nang muli, ang pagka-Pilipino ay sa akin pa rin. Hindi ko ikinahihiya ang kalagayan natin ngayon dahil sa ito'y kagagawan lamang ng mga banyagang nanlupig sa atin.  Ang Pilipino ay may napakagandang nakalipas na hindi na alam ng nakararaming Pinoy ngayon. 

....................Ako'y sinadya ng Maykapal na ipanganak na mahal na bayang ito ng aking ninunong Datu Lapu-Lapu. Tinatanggap ko nang buong paggalang, pagmamahal, at utang na loob ang kaloob Niyang ito sa akin. Hindi ko makakalimutan ang nakalipas na mga taon ko rito na puspos ng saya at lungkot, lubos na kaligayahan at kasawian, kadiliman at kaliwanagan, ang pagkamulat ko sa katutubong  spiritwalidad.

....................Marami pong salamat sa inyo, Inang Pilipinas! Hindi kita kailanman makakalimutan.


 
RECEIVED BY DING REYES OF SANIBLAKAS & KAMALAYSAYAN
VIA E-MAIL MESSAGE FROM A HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE IN OHIO
Knowing We Are a Poor Country
is a Step Towards Prosperity
By Ernest Tatad
Mr. Tatad sent this to his high school batch e-group as an response to the question "Why Are Filipinos Poor?" in connection with views aired by writer Francisco Sionil-Jose, which is also carried below.
....................May I add my two centavos worth kahit na matagal na rin akong nawala sa Pilipinas.  The poor man has nothing but despair if all he sees is the poverty around him.
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....................The poor man has hope if he sees his fellow man rise above his ranks through diligence and hard work. The poor country will remain poor for as long as its spirit is impoverished. Its spirit will remain poorer each day that its leaders feed selfish motives - ahead of the desire to lead this country in the direction of a better future.    By leaders, I mean those who hold power, not just in government, but also in finance, in business, in monopolies and oligopolies, in agriculture, in service industries, and in all other aspects of the economy.    .
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....................Leaders also include those in the churches, the schools and other institutions. The poorest country can hope for a better tomorrow if its leaders share a vision, not much of greatness (which is the ultimate goal), but that of being able to feed, clothe, house, educate and serve each and every member of society (our penultimate goal) under a discipline which surrenders personal and individual goals in favor of national goals and interests.
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....................May pag-asa pa rin ang bayan nating umangat sa kahirapan. Kahit na naubos na ang lahat ng kayamanan ng inang bayan dahil sa pangungurakot ng ating mga pinuno, kaya pa rin nating bigyan ng pag-asa ang kapwa nating Pilipino.    The change has to start from us, from within us, and from our very soul.
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....................We need not dwell in Malacanang to institute change.     Matagal na nating alam na masyadong nagiging inutil ang sinumang tumuntong sa palasyong iyon. Malacanang changes the desire of  the guy in power from that of serving  his fellowman to that of serving himself, his family and his cronies. We need not serve in Congress, the Senate or the Supreme Court. Too much talent is wasted there. 
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....................We can start at  the grassroots level. We can start from our very own positions, in our own businesses, within our smallest organizations, and in our basic unit - the family.    We can start today by changing the emphasis from our personal welfares to the welfare of the society that has fed and educated us.
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....................We can stop the corruption by refusing to dance to the tune of "Ang lagay, eh....." We can stop the yabang by learning to live as simple as the poorest of our society.    We cannot ask the rich to give up their wealth for they deserve all that they have.    But we can possibly ask them to refrain from flaunting their wealth.    Rather, they should make their status in  life as one which any Filipino can hope to attain with diligence and hard work.
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....................We need no firearms or armies to overtake the government in its turtle pace. The idea is to "overtake", not "take-over".     We can make the lot of our fellowman better by socializing the delivery of goods and services when it involves our kabayan.    We need to offer him a wage that is liveable by the current standards of living.    We need to encourage local production and export ventures while reducing imports to basic commodities, machineries and tools for production, and raw materials.   This is the true meaning of "Filipino First."
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....................I disagree with Mr. Francisco Sionil Jose's acceptance that the Filipino is lazy.    That is not his inherent trait.   He is seen to be lazy because he is not given the opportunity to demonstrate his worth.   He does not have the opportunity that his counterpart has in other countries.     The Filipinos you find in the United States are the exact opposite of "lazy".
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....................Many work as many as three jobs (one full-time and two part-times), leaving a few hours of sleep as their means of regenerating energy in their minds and bodies.   Ito ba ang tatawagin mong "lazy"?   He is not lazy.   He just lacks the opportunity.
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....................If only our businessmen re-invest their profits into employment generating ventures, rather than salting these to their offshore accounts; if only the dollars earned by our Filipino expatriates are re-invested in the country rather than smuggled out of the country, we could easily overtake the progress experienced by our Asian neighbors.   Ultimo Japayuki, pinakikinabangan ng bayan ang kinikita nila dahil sa pinapadala nila ito sa Pilipinas.    But we rob our country of the opportunity when we salt the dollars offshore to buy all that feed our "kayabangan". 
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....................Many try to convince us that, if we want to speed up progress, we would need the assistance of the World Bank.    Just be watchful of those funds which might line up the pockets of so-called "commission agents" (another description for influence peddlers).    The Bataan Nuclear Plant is one example of money wasted for the mere benefit of a powerful few.
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....................If a poor country is managed the way a poor family wisely manages its finances, that poor country will be hesitant to take any loan which could dig itself deeper into debt.    A poor wise family depends on its savings and its positive net worth,  plus the incomes of its family members,  to survive and prosper.    Shouldn't a poor wise country do the same?
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....................Huwag tayong pumares sa mga mayaman na bayan, kuno, pero lubog naman sa utang.     Napaso na tayo sa pamamalakad nina Apo Ferdie, Madam Corazon, Kuya Fidel at Erap.
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....................Are we proud of being called a poor country?   Certainly not!    But knowing that we are poor is one step towards prosperity.    It is the driving force that should make us work harder than our neighboring countries.
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....................What is it that we can do to give back to the country that has given us so much?    It will take a lot of soul-searching.    I know that my kababayans, smart as they are, will seek wisdom from the Almighty One and will come up with brilliant solutions, suggestions, something - all good in the eyes of the Lord.  Tayo ang tinutukoy nilang kinabukasan ng ating bayan.
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....................May the Spirit of the Lord be your guide.

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RECEIVED BY DING REYES VIA E-MAIL MESSAGE 
FROM A HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE NOW BASED IN CALIFORNIA
Were We Trained to be
Our Own Greatest Asset?
By Carl Viegelmann
Mr. Viegelmann sent this to his high school batch e-group as a response to the question "Why Are Filipinos Poor?" in connection with views aired by writer Francisco Sionil-Jose, which is also carried below.
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....................I have been away from the Philippines for so long it is dangerous for me to comment. But briefly:
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....................1.  I think Ninoy Aquino should be mentioned along with the other heroes like del Pilar, the 48 Filipinos, and Jose Rizal. I also think Lapu Lapu's independent mindedness against a foreign oppressor should be touted.
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....................2. We are our own enemy, the article writes. I think we need a Lacson or a Magsaysay in Malacanang. Is there one among the list of Ateneo alumni? .
....................Were we trained to lead our countrymen so that we would be our greatest asset, not our own worst enemy?
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....................I would be interested in other thoughts/ideas.

RECEIVED BY DING REYES VIA E-MAIL MESSAGE 
FROM A HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE, JAIME GENERRAL 
Why We Are Poor
By Francisco Sionil Jose
Mr. Jaime General shared  this with his high school batch e-group. It comes from a paper read by writer Jose in a recent lucheon with clients of the Rizal Banking Corporatioons hosted by Amb. Alfonso T. Yuchenco.

....................Why we are poor. In one of the luncheons he hosted recently for clients of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco asked the writer Francisco Sionil Jose to share some of his observations of the current scene.  This is the paper Mr. Jose read on that occasion.

....................What did South Korea look like after the Korean War in 1953? 
Battered, oor - but look at Korea now.  In the Fifties, the  traffic in Taipei was composed of bicycles and Army trucks, the streets flanked by tile-roofed low buildings.  Jakarta was a giant village and Kuala Lumpur a small village surrounded by jungle and rubber plantations.  Bangkok was criss-crossed with canals, the tallest structure was the Wat Arun, the Temple of the Sun, and it dominated the city's skyline.  Rice fields all the way from Don Muang airport - then a huddle of galvanized iron-roofed bodegas, to the Victory monument.
Visit these cities today and weep - for they are more beautiful, cleaner and prosperous than Manila. 

....................In the Fifties and Sixties we were the most envied country in Southeast Asia.  Remember further that when Indonesia got its independence in 1949, it had only 114 university graduates compared to the hundreds of Ph.D.'s which were already in our universities. Why then were we left behind?  The economic explanation is simple.  We did not produce cheaper and better products.

....................The basic question really is: why we did not modernize fast enough and thereby doomed our people to poverty.  This is the harsh truth about us today. 

..................Just consider these: some 15 years ago a survey showed that half of all grade school pupils dropped out after grade 5 because they had no money to continue schooling.  Thousands of young adults today are therefore unable to find jobs.  Our natural resources have been ravaged and they are not renewable.  Our tremendous population increase eats up all of our economic gains. There is hunger in this country now; our poorest eat only once a day.
But this physical poverty is really not as serious as the greater poverty that afflicts us and this is the poverty of the spirit. 

....................Why then are we poor?  More than ten years ago, James Fallows, editor of the Atlantic Monthly came to the Philippines and wrote about our damaged culture which, he asserted, impeded our development.  Many disagreed with him but I do find a great deal of truth in his analysis.  This is not to say that I blame our social and moral malaise on colonialism alone.  But we did inherit from Spain a social system and an elite that, on purpose, exploited the masses.  Then, too, in the Iberian peninsula, to work with one's hands is frowned upon and we inherited that vice as well. Colonialism by foreigners may no longer be what it was, but we are now a colony of our own elite.

....................We are poor because we are poor - this is not a tautology.  The culture of poverty is self-perpetuating.  We are poor because our people are lazy.  I pass by a slum area every morning - dozens of adults do nothing but idle, gossip and drink. 
We do not save. Look at the Japanese and how they save in spite of the fact that the interest given them by their banks is so little. They work very hard too.

....................We are great show-offs.  Look at our women, how overdressed, over-coiffed they are, and Imelda epitomizes that extravagance. Look at our men, their manicured nails, their personal jewelry, their diamond rings. Yabang - that is what we are, and all that money expended on status symbols, on yabang.

....................How  much better if it were channeled into production. 
We are poor because our nationalism is inward looking.  Under its guise we protect inefficient industries and monopolies.  We did not pursue agrarian reform like Japan and Taiwan.  It is not so much the development of the rural sector, making it productive and a good market as well. Agrarian reform releases the energies of the landlords who, before the reform, merely waited for the harvest. They become entrepreneurs, the harbingers of change.  Our nationalist icons like Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tañada opposed agrarian reform, the single most important factor that would have altered the rural areas and lifted the peasant from poverty. Both of them were merely anti-American.
And finally, we are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we don't ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst.  Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good.
We can tackle our poverty in two very distinct ways. 

....................The first choice: a nationalist revolution, a continuation of the revolution in 1896. But even before we can use violence to change inequities in our society, we must first have a profound change in our way of thinking, in our culture. 

....................My regret about EDSA is that change would have been possible then with a minimum of bloodshed.  In fact, a revolution may not be bloody at all if something like EDSA would present itself again.  Or a dictator unlike Marcos.
The second is through education, perhaps a longer and more complex process. The only problem is that it may take so long and by the time conditions have changed, we may be back where we were, caught up with this tremendous population explosion which the Catholic Church exacerbates in its conformity with doctrinal purity.

....................We are faced with a growing compulsion to violence, but even if the communist won, they will rule as badly because they will be hostage to the same obstructions in our culture, the barkada, the vaulting egos that sundered the revolution in 1896, the Huk revolt in 1949-53.

....................To repeat,  neither education nor revolution can succeed if we do not internalize new attitudes, new ways of thinking.  Let us go back to basics and remember those American slogans: A Ford in every garage. A chicken in every pot.  Money is like fertilizer: to do any good it must be spread around.

....................Some Filipinos, taunted wherever they are, are shamed to admit they are Filipinos.  I have, myself, been embarrassed explain for instance why Imelda, her children and the Marcos cronies are back, and in positions of power?

....................Are there redeeming features in our country that we can be proud of? Of course, lots of them.  When people say for instance that our corruption will never be banished, just remember that Arsenio Lacson as mayor of Manila and Ramon Magsaysay as President brought a clean government.

....................We do not have the classical arts that brought Hinduism and Buddhism to continental and archipelagic Southeast Asia, but our artists have now ranged the world, showing what we have done with Western art forms, enriched with our own ethnic traditions.  Our professionals, not just our domestics, are all over, showing how an accomplished people we are!

....................Look at our history.  We are the first in Asia to rise against Western colonialism, the first to establish a republic.  Recall the Battle of Tirad Pass and glory in the heroism of Gregorio Del Pilar and the 48 Filipinos who >>died but stopped the Texas Rangers from capturing the President of that First Republic.  Its equivalent in ancient history is the Battle of hermopylae where the Spartans and their king Leonidas, died to a man, defending the pass against the invading Persians.

....................Rizal - what nation on earth has produced a man like him?  At 35, he was a novelist, a poet, an anthropologist, a sculptor, a medical doctor, a teacher and martyr. We are now 80 million and in another two decades we will pass the 100 million mark.  Eighty million - that is a mass market in any language, a mass market that should absorb our increased production in goods and services - a mass market which any entrepreneur can hope exploit, like the proverbial oil for the lamps of China.

....................Japan was only 70 million when it had confidence enough and the wherewithal to challenge the United States and almost won.  It is the same  confidence that enabled Japan to flourish from the rubble of defeat in World War II. I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge.  But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse than the intransigence of any foreign power.  We are our own enemy.
And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves.


 
RECEIVED BY DING REYES OF SANIBLAKAS & KAMALAYSAYAN
VIA E-MAIL MESSAGE FROM A CLOSE FRIEND FROM THE ACADEME
I Chose to Be Filipino!
By Anna S. Torres
Ms. Torres sent this message from Miriam College after viewing this website a few days ago .
....................I have always taken being a Filipino for granted.  Three of the best friends of my youth are based in the US West Coast, another is in London.  This exodus from my own personal circle has gone on up to the last two years, as co-workers who had become close to me have left, so definite that a new life abroad was what they wanted.   But it never occurred to me to go the same way. 
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...................Even when I was going in and out of the country, in the first half of the past decade, it was inconceivable not to come back home to the "Far East," "the Philifynes," the "GRP," or whatever it was called out there.  It was only a matter of pulling the rug under them with our amazingly "flooent eengleesh," or by graduating at the bloody top of the class. 
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...................Until lately. 
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...................I think that when things happen to you to test your unquestioning belief in yourself, you also at some point wonder why you’re sticking it out here anyway.  At a recent farewell party of a friend immigrating to Canada, he described the life he dreamed of there, and I, who am also into life-dreaming these days,  wondered for the first time if it were actually possible for me to pursue my dreams in a country I was not born in. And still live chin up. Is this a trial? 
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...................These are trying times for us all and no one would blame anyone for wanting out.  But (being from the mystic East) I happen to believe I had a choice of nationality before I was born into this world.  And I chose to be a Filipino. 
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...................Which is the only reason I could think of why a stubborn part of my dreams is a Filipino nation of peace, justice and prosperity, with nature’s gifts intact, or at least a nation where there is enough love to at least try for all these.   Which is also why there is really no story here.  So I pass the trial.  But not without storing away this glimpse of life with winter, spring summer and fall.  And this acute feeling of oneness with all those who are just as in love with nationhood as I am. 



 
RECEIVED BY DING REYES OF SANIBLAKAS & KAMALAYSAYAN
VIA E-MAIL MESSAGE FROM ERMIN GARCIA JR. OF SUNDAY PUNCH:
.Who Wants to Be A Filipino?
By Herdy L. Yumul
Herdy L. Yumul, 21, is a Philosophy and Human Resource Development graduate of San Beda College. April 27, 2000
....................If you were to be reincarnated and given the choice, would you opt to be Filipino again? It was in 1998, at a forum of students of top schools at the University of Asia and the Pacific, that I raised this question. As expected, everybody, except me, gave a resounding yes for an answer. 
....................
....................Hypocrites! I could see from the way they talked, from the clothes they wore, from their ideas of what was good and beautiful, that even in this lifetime they were dying to camouflage their being Filipino. Thanks to Ralph Lauren, a colonial education and a "trying-hard" American accent.I told them that I want to be European, a Frenchman more specifically. Yes, Europe-with its rich history, solid identity and all the luxury and elegance this world can offer. I have been there once for the world debates in Greece. But being Filipino, I was a disaster then. 
....................
....................During socials, I would befriend the Jamaicans so I would stand out. But it was a wrong move because Jamaicans, notwithstanding their darker skin tone, are very secure with themselves. 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?" Did he expect us to adore him because a fine European like him wanted to visit a country whose people they officially defined as domestic helpers? Or was he simply being mean? I wish he were just referring to the controversial brown biscuit. Hellish traffic, hellish climate, hell-sent politicians, gangsters in uniform, hoodlums in robe, massive unemployment, inhumane poverty, identity crisis, a tradition of mediocrity.Get real. Who would want to be Filipino? Maybe the Cojuangcos, the Sys, the Tans and the other demigods whose surnames do not sound Filipino at all. But this Yumul, no.
....................
....................My Uncle Jessie is lucky: he and the whole family migrated to the United States in the early 1970s to graze where the grass is greener and live there as second class-citizens but occasionally come home like gods crowned with sparkling dollars.
....................
....................Then there is Me-Ann, one of the tinderas (store keeper) in our small business. She thinks that her main purpose in life is to go to Taiwan and earn money she will never earn in a lifetime of labor in the Philippines. I feel sad to know that Me-Ann and millions of Filipinos have to leave the country just to live decently. Some say though that despite our material poverty, we should take pride in our spirituality since the Philippines is the only predominantly Christian country in Asia.
....................
....................But it continues to puzzle me why this Catholic nation has produced only two saints so far while Thailand, Japan and China-all non-Christian countries-have more. Maybe, unlike Filipinos, people from those nations have more sensible things to do than creating miracles by desperately looking for images in the stains of tree trunks and forcing statues to shed bloody tears.
I have always been pessimistic about the fate of the Filipino. But there was a break. I gave in to the nationalistic spirit during the Centennial celebrations. When fireworks, worth millions of pesos, lit up the skies over the Luneta, I had high hopes that the Philippines would be better and I decided to junk my pessimism. I thought a new era of Filipino pride had dawned.
....................
....................In my college years, I was also influenced by San Beda's thrust of molding young men in the image of a true Filipino like some of its alumni whose ranks include Ninoy Aquino, Rene Saguisag, Ramon Mitra and Raul Roco, who should have been the president of this country.
....................
....................Yes, for some time, I was deluded into being proud of being Filipino. But thanks to President Erap, I have recovered my senses. His Excellency has betrayed the people's trust so many times that I need not elaborate. Erap has become for me the symbol of everything that is bad in the Filipino. In his administration, corruption and chaos have become the norm so that writing about it would only bore the reader. It's just too bad for the nation, but good for me since I got back my precious pessimism.
....................
....................Now I am firmly convinced that Erap has to resign to save what is left of our dignity as a nation and what is left of my optimism as a young man. But I guess he will never do that. Congress is dominated by honorable galamays (tentacles) so impeachment is an impossibility. A military coup could save the day for the country, but, in that case, Uncle Sam is sure to defend his friend who handed him the Visiting Forces Agreement. Now, we are left with assassins to play heroes. If someone saves the lives of millions, would he not go to heaven?
....................
....................But then Erap need have no fear about an assassination plot. Imelda Marcos, despite all the crimes her family committed against the Filipino people, has never been hurt. Not even a strand of her regal hairdo has been touched. But of course, there are always firsts.
....................
....................According to Hindu philosophy, what you sow in this life, you will reap in the next and whatever you are now is a reaction to your past. Could it be that all Filipinos were crooks in their earlier incarnations? If there is any reason I try to do well in this life, it is in the hope that in my next, I would be a Filipino no more.
....................
....................If it isn't too much to ask, I would like to be a Frenchman or a Jamaican, before Jinggoy Estrada (son of Erap) becomes president of this wretched land.
 
Response by Felipe de Leon Jr.:

"Sa palagay ko ay hindi kailangang isama sa mga mensahe ang kay Herdy L.Yumul. Walang batayan sa katotohanan ang mga pinagsasabi niya, malinaw na kulang sa pananaliksik at hindi pinag-isipan. Kung imumulat niya ang kanyang mata, makikita niyang ang mga kapintasan na akala niya'y bukod-tanging Pilipino ay mga negatibong katangian ng lahat ng tao sa daigdig. Kung kakailanganin, maibibigay ko sa kanya lahat ng datos para ituwid ang kanyang likong pananaw, lalo na ang tungkol sa kabuktutan ng la [message truncated; we request Jun de Leon to send his complete response via e-mail.]


I Am A Filipino
By Carlos P. Romulo

Carlos P. Romulo, a journalist before the Second World War and leading Filipino  diplomat afterwards, became the first Asian president of the United Natiions General Assembly, and also Foreign Affairs Secretary , Education Secretary and President of the University of the Philippines. This material from CPR is a Filipino Pledge.  A note before the pledge reads: "Filipinos are proud of their glorious history and noble heritage, especially as, like other liberty-loving peoples, they have shed blood in their struggle for freedom. This pledge should infuse more love and loyalty to our country and people. Note how the author assures himself of 'the blossoming of the seed of democracy that has been sown in the hearts of our people.' "   Ermin acknowledges Rev. Anthony Ranada, SVD, as the source of this material. 
........................................
...................."I am a Filipino -- inheritor of a glorious past, hostage of the uncertain future. As such I just prove equal to a two fold task - the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future. I am sprung from a hardy race, child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. 
....................
...................."Across the centuries the memory comes rushing back to me; of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I saw them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope-hope in the free abundance of the new land that was to be their home and their children's forever. 
....................
...................."This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation; every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promised a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is hallowed spot to me. 
....................
...................."By the strength of their hearts and hence, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereto-the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forest with their inexhaustible wealth in wild life and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals-the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them and in trust will pass it on to my children and so on until the World is no more. 
....................
...................."I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes - seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapu-lapu to battle against the first invader of this land, that nerve Lakandula in the combat against the alien foe, that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor."

....................
RECEIVED BY DING REYES OF SANIBLAKAS & KAMALAYSAYAN VIA E-MAIL
MESSAGE SENT OUT BY FRANK WOOLF AND FORWARDED BY THE  ATENEO 
HIGH SCHOOL '70 E-GROUP, AND RECEIVED AGAIN FROM OTHER SENDERS:
.
An  Expat's Interesting Observation 
By Barth Suretsky
.
The unedited article below was written below by an American friend, Barth Suretsky. This will still be edited but you will get the gist. I find his observations interesting. I hope this will make an impact on the Filipinos who read this article as I greatly lament the worsening situation of our country. These are not oversimplifications. On the contrary, these are the root problems of the Philippine inferiority complex referred to above. Until the Filipino takes pride in being Filipino these ills of the soul will never be cured. If what I have written here can help, even in the smallest way, to make the Filipino aware of just who he is, who he was, and who he can be, I will be one happy expat indeed! -- Frank Woolf, Vice President for Development, I-Quest Corporation, 6th Floor, World Center, 330 Sen Gil Puyat Avenue Makati City 1200 Philippines 
.
....................My decision to move to Manila was not a precipitous one. I used to work in New York as an outside agent for PAL, and have been coming to the Philippines since August, 1982. I was so impressed with the country, and with the interesting people I met, some of which have become very close friends to this day, that I asked for and was granted a year's sabbatical from my teaching job in order to live in the Philippines. I arrived here on August 21, 1983, several hours after Ninoy Aquino was shot, and remained here until June of 1984. During that year I visited many parts of the country, from as far north as Laoag to as far south as Zamboanga, and including Palawan. I became deeply immersed in the history and culture of the archipelago, and an avid collector of tribal antiquities 
from both northern Luzon, and Mindanao. 
.
....................In subsequent years I visited the Philippines in 1985, 1987, and 1991, before deciding to move here permanently in 1998. I love this country, but not uncritically, and that is the purpose of this article. 
.
....................First, however, I will say that I would not consider living anywhere else in Asia, no matter how attractive certain aspects of other neighboring countries may be. To begin with, and this is most important, with all its faults, the Philippines is still a democracy, more so than any other nation in Southeast Asia. Despite gross corruption, the legal system generally works, and if ever confronted with having to employ it, I would feel much more safe trusting the courts here than in any other place in the surrounding area. The press here is unquestionably the most unfettered and freewheeling in Asia, and I do not believe that is hyperbole in any way! And if any one thing can be used as a yardstick to measure the extent of the democratic process in any given country in the world, it is the extent to which the press is free. 
.
....................But the Philippines is a flawed democracy nevertheless, and the flaws are deeply rooted in the Philippine psyche. I will elaborate... The basic problem seems to me, after many years of observation, to be a national inferiority complex, a disturbing lack of pride in being Filipino. 
.
....................Toward the end of April I spent eight days in Vietnam, visiting Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. I am certainly no expert on Vietnam, but what I saw could not be denied: I saw a country ravaged as no other country has been in this century by thirty years of continuous and incredibly barbaric warfare. 
.
....................When the Vietnam War ended in April, 1975, the country was totally devastated. Yet in the past twenty-five years the nation has healed and rebuilt itself almost miraculously! The countryside has been replanted and reforested. Hanoi and HCMC have been beautifully restored. The opera house in Hanoi is a splended restoration of the original, modeled after the Opera in Paris, and the gorgeous Second Empire theater, on the main square of HCMC is as it was when built by the French a century ago. The streets are tree-lined, clean, and conducive for strolling. Cafes in the French style proliferate on the wide boulevards of HCMC. I am not praising the government of Vietnam, which still has a long way to travel on the road to democracy, but I do praise, and praise unstintingly, the pride of the Vietnamese people. It is due to this pride in being Vietnamese that has enabled its citizenry to undertake the miracle of >restoration that I have described above.
.
....................When I returned to Manila I became so depressed that I was actually physically ill for days thereafter. Why? Well, let's go back to a period when the Philippines resembled the Vietnam of 1975. It was 1945, the end of World War II, and Manila, as well as many other cities, lay in ruins. (As a matter of fact, it may not be generally known, but Manila was the second most destroyed city in the entire war; only Warsaw was more demolished!) But to compare Manila in 1970, twenty-five years after the end of the war, with HCMC, twenty-five years after the end of its war, is a sad exercise indeed. Far from restoring the city to its former glory, by 1970 Manila was well on its way to being the most tawdry city in Southeast Asia. And since that time the situation has deteriorated alarmingly. We have a city full of street people, beggars, and squatters. We have a city that floods sections whenever there is a rainstorm, and that loses electricity with every clap of thunder. We have a city full of potholes, and on these unrepaired roads we have a traffic situation second to none in the world for sheer unmanageability. We have rude drivers, taxis that routinely refuse to take passengers because of "many trappic!" The roads are also cursed with pollution-spewing buses in disreputable states of  repair, and that ultimate anachronism, the jeepney! We have an educational system that allows children to attend schools without desks or books to accomodate them. Teachers, even college professors, are paid salaries so disgracefully low that it's a wonder that anyone would want to go into the teaching profession in the first place. We have a war in Mindanao that nobody seems to have a clue how to settle. The only policy to deal with the war seems to be to react to what happens daily, with no long range plan whatever. I could go on and on, but it is an endeavor so filled with futility that it hurts me to go on. It hurts me because, in spite of everything, I love the Philippines. 
.
....................Maybe it will sound simplistic, but to go back to what I said above, it is my unshakable belief that the fundamental thing wrong with this country is a lack of pride in being Filipino. A friend once remarked to me, laconically: "All Filipinos want to be something else. The poor ones want to be American, and the rich ones all want to be Spaniards. Nobody wants to be Filipino." That statement would appear to be a rather simplistic one, and perhaps it is. However, I know one Filipino who refuses to enter a theater until the national anthem has stopped being played because he doesn't want to honor his own country, and  I know another one who thinks that history stopped dead in 1898 when the Spaniards departed! While it is certainly true that these represent extreme examples of national denial, the truth is not a pretty picture. Filipinos tend to worship, almost slavishly, everything foreign. If it comes from Italy or France it has to be better than anything made here. If the idea is American or German it has to be superior to anything that Filipinos can think up for themselves. Foreigners are looked up to and idolized. Foreigners can go anywhere without question. In my own personal experience I remember attending recently an affair at a major museum here. I had forgotten to bring my invitation. But while Filipinos entering the museum were checked for invitations, I was simply waived through. This sort of thing happens so often here that it just accepted routine. All of these things, the illogical respect given to foreigners simply because they are not Filipinos, the distrust and even disrespect shown to any homegrown merchandise, the neglect of anything Philippine, the rudeness of taxi drivers, the ill-manners shown by many Filipinos are all symptomatic of a lack of self-love, of respect for and love of the country in which they were born, and worst of all, a static mind-set in regard to finding ways to improve the situation. Most Filipinos, when confronted with evidence of governmental corruption, political chicanery, or gross exploitation on the part of the business community, simply shrug their shoulders, mutter "bahala na," and let it go at that. 
....................
....................It is an oversimplification to say this, but it is not without a grain of truth to say that Filipinos feel downtrodden because they allow themselves to feel downtrodden. No pride. One of the most egregious examples of this lack of pride, this uncaring attitude to their own past or past culture, is the wretched state of surviving architectural landmarks in Manila and elsewhere. During the American period many beautiful and imposing buildings were built, in what we now call the "art deco" style (although, incidentally, that was not a contemporary term; it was coined only in the 1960s). These were beautiful edifices, mostly erected during, or just before, the Commonwealth period. Three, which are still standing, are the Jai Alai Building, the Metropolitan Theater, and the Rizal Stadium. Fortunately, due to the truly noble efforts of my friend John Silva, the Jai Alai Building will now be saved. But unless something is done to the most beautiful and original of these three masterpieces of pre-war Philippine architecture, the Metropolitan Theater, it will disintegrate. The Rizal Stadium is in equally wretched shape. When the wreckers' ball destroyed Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and New York City's most magnificent >building, Pennsylvania Station, both in 1963, Ada Louise Huxtable, then the architectural critic of The New York Times, wrote: "A disposable culture loses the right to call itself a civilization at all!" How right she was! (Fortunately, the destruction of Pennsylvania Station proved to be the sacrificial catalyst that resulted in the creation of New York's Landmark Commission. Would that such a commission be created for Manila...) 
....................
....................Are there historical reasons for this lack of national pride? We can say that until the arrival of the Spaniards there was no sense of a unified archipelago constituted as one country. True. We can also say that the high cultures of other nations in the region seemed, unfortunately, to have bypassed the Philippines; there are no Angkors, no Ayuttayas, no Borobudurs. True. Centuries of contact with the "high cultures" of the Khmers and the Chinese had, except for the proliferation of Song dynasty pottery found throughout the archipelago, no noticeable effect. True. But all that aside, what was here? To begin with, the ancient rice terraces, now threatened with disintegration, incidentally, was an incredible feat of engineering for so-called "primitive" people. As a matter of fact, when I first saw them in 1984, I was almost as awe-stricken as I was when I first laid eyes on the astonishing Inca city of Machu Picchu, high in the Peruvian Andes. The degree of artistry exhibited by the various tribes of the cordillera of Luzon is testimony to a remarkable culture, second to none in the Southeast Asian region. As for Mindanao, at the other end of the archipelago, an equally high degree of artistry has been manifest for centuries in woodcarving, weaving and metalwork. 
.....................
....................However, the most shocking aspect of this lack of national pride, even identity, endemic in the average Filipino, is the appalling ignorance of the history of the archipelago since unified by Spain and named Filipinas. The remarkable stories concerning the Galleon de Manila, the courageous repulsion of Dutch and British invaders from the 16th through the 18th centuries, even the origins of the independence movement of the late 19th century, are hardly known by the average Filipino in any meaningful way. And thanks to fifty years of American brainwashing, it is few and far between the number of Filipinos who really know - or even care - about the duplicity employed by the Americans and Spaniards to sell out and make meaningless the very independent state that Aguinaldo declared on June 12, 1898. A people without a sense of history is a people doomed to be unaware of their own identity. It is sad to say, but true, that the vast majority of Filipinos fall into this lamentable category. Without a sense of who you are how can you possibly take any pride in who you are? 
 
Response from Flor Caagusan (E-mailed to Gil Quito and shared shared it with the Plaridel e-group)
.
Hello, Gil! Hi, Lee! I intend to mail this to all my other friends. Tell me what you think. Cheers! -- Flor 
Recently I received an essay written by Barth Suretsky, an expat who in 1998 decided to live permanently in the Philippines. It was forward by two friends of mine, one in Baguio, the other in New York. I'd have let it pass as freedom of expression but for the fact that it's circulating in cyberspace with this snooty-foreigner's stereotype:  The average Filipino's "inferiority complex" or "lack of national pride" is the root cause of the country's flawed democracy.
.
......Suretsky  gropes in a dark alley with his limited notion of  democracy. Sure, press freedom is an important benchmark. But, lest he's forgotten, all sectors of our society fought hard during the Marcos dictatorship and even last year against President Estrada for this freedom.  As for a legal system that "generally works" compared to others in Asia, that's according to an expat's own interests, not for the poor who need it most. The 
democracy he loves is a more complex political and developmental process than he imagines.
.
......Worse, presuming to know "the Philippine psyche", he blames and criticizes the Filipino "patient".  By any psychological school, that's a no-no if he really wants to help cure so-called ills of the Filipino soul, "even in the smallest way", as he says. To illustrate the Pinoy's "inferiority complex", he presents a litany of mixed impressions-facts:
.
......--negative behaviors and social ills ad infinitum; sweeping comparisons between Manila's post-war deterioration and Hanoi's reconstruction after the Vietnam War, and against the architectural achievements of Tokyo and N.Y.
.
......-- totally ignoring country conditions and global politics. His critical stance on our flawed democracy, therefore, rests only on his own short-term observations and biased standards as a jetsetter.
.
......What does he mean by "the average Filipino" whom he diagnoses as afflicted with inferiority complex? I suppose, the people he mentions: street people, beggars, squatters, rude taxi drivers, pupils and teachers; colonial-minded Filipinos, rich or poor. Symptoms of inferiority complex: they want to be anything but Filipino and have no sense of history.
.
......Citing simplistic examples (a friend's cynical opinion, a museum  incident) do not necessarily apply to all the people above. And what is his own sense of Philippine history besides touring the archipelago and collecting tribal heritage? If he hasn't listened to the stories of community folk or of activists/advocates involved in various causes, then his notion of history is merely academic.
.
......I prefer intelligent political analysis, even if only with a basic understanding of  the conflicting forces in Philippine society. And, at least, with a recognition that the democracy he loves was fought or by countless "average Filipinos".
.
......Suretsky's essay demeans our struggles and even the cultural achievements he himself mentions by judging Filipinos, especially the poor and powerless, as afflicted with "a static mind-set in regard to finding ways to improve the situation" and "doomed to be unaware of their own identity".
.
......Get down from your ivory tower, learn that Filipinos have political and ethnic identities far richer than whatever homogeneous image in your fantasy, and make up your mind -- whose side are you on?


From Gil J.L. Quito (E-mailed to Flor Caagusan who shared it with the Plaridel Papers e-group)
The article had immediately struck me as short-sighted.  It didn't address the reasons for the so-called "inferiority complex" of some Filipinos he's met.  Perhaps his exposure to Filipinos has mostly been among the elite who want to be Spaniards.  Neither did his essay include the rich variety of Filipino attitudes that he has perhaps not encountered.  The essay seems hearfelt to me, and if this is so, I hope it will make him meet 
more Filipinos like you!
Regards, 
Gil

THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THIS WAS SUBMITTED AS A COMMENT 
IN THE GUEST BOOK OF THE SANIBLAKAS FOUNDATION WEBSITE;
THE SECOND ONE WAS RECEIVED VIA E-MAIL
....................
I Have Remained A Filipino

....................I have remained a Filipino all these 20 or so years of my absence from the Philippines. I have always intended to come home someday -- when all my children are grown and living on their own.

....................I do take pride in being a Filipino and I am still determined to return home when the time is right for my family and me. I am certainly interested in your project and would like to know more. 
Best regards, 
Antonio 'Tony' Figueroa

DOWNLOADED FROM THE  WEBSITE 
OF THE MALAYA NEWSPAPER:
....................
Self-respect
By Prof. Bernard Karganilla
.
Bernie, Board of Trustees Member of Kamalaysayan (Kampanya para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan) and of Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers, teaches Philippine History subjects at the University of the Philippines in Manila (UP-M) and writes a Sunday column for Malaya.  The following is his his column item for Junw 11, 2000.
....................
HOW proud are we that we are Filipinos? Let us count the ways. 
The Filipino is a real trouper, a ready performer, a raconteur without peer. He is always swaying and alert and his movement is his milieu. Edilberto N. Alegre, who is a full-time cultural field researcher and writer, has said that the Filipino is most himself when moving, for his elan is in the flow.
....................
....................The Filipino has a complex personhood (pagkatao) associated with body parts contrasted in binary opposition, namely: (1) panlabas and (2) panloob. In his book, Larangan (Seminal Essays on Philippine Culture), the eminent anthropologist Prospero R. Covar explains brilliantly that the Filipino pagkatao enables him to relate warmly to people in myriad situations. "We do not consider people as others. Unlike in the West, the Filipino considers people as kapwa. The way we deal with people is pakikipagkapwa."
....................
....................The Filipino is spiritual. He is a mystic whose life is characterized by simplicity. What little he has is, therefore, easily shared with others, said Susana R. Reyes, formerly the executive director of the Manila chapter of the Movement for Muslim-Christian Dialogue.
....................
....................Sister Letty G. Kuan is proud to be a Filipina because:
a) A Pinoy is full of faith, hope and love despite miseries in life and even amidst poverty and injustice;
b) Of EDSA and what it represents;
c) Of litson, bagoong and kapatiran while socializing;
d) There is strength and solidarity in times of needs and emergencies; and 
e) It is the preferred nationality of nurses all over the world: the "tatak" is caring which cannot be taught in one course, it takes a nationality that is honed in caring and compassion right from the womb of the mother like Genny who loves her children, Mikko and Nicole.
....................
....................Donna Bautista, art studies, says: I am proud to be Pinoy. Period. I don't need too many reasons to be proud of that. Proud to be Tagalog. Proud to be not just Pinoy but Pinay.
Raymond Ciriaco believes that we Filipinos still have so much to offer humankind. "So far, much of the world's history has been written from the Western viewpoint. The global community, if it truly becomes a great `equalizer,' will pave the way for Pinoys to shine. We have had so much impact on the world and we also have our story to tell. It is a story that we can all be proud of. There are Pinoys all over the world and they have a lot of untold stories about their quiet triumphs. And their silent successes are about the things that matter most in life." Ciriaco is the vice president for marketing and sales of the Center for Leadership and Change, Inc. of the Franklin Covey Organization Services.
....................
....................Maria Paule, who is studying in Canada, says: I am proud to be a Pinoy because the Philippines is the land which nourishes my roots and no matter where I am, it remains the country that I call home. Happy Independence Day! Mabuhay ang Pilipino! 
Arturo M. Pesigan, M.D., is proud to be a Filipino because:
I was born in an ecologically and culturally diverse country;
I see facets of the good and bad;
....................
....................I am able to discern what we can still change and make beautiful; and
I am in the health field where I am still proud to be with other health professionals who have the heart to heal for public service despite commercialization and materialism.
....................
....................Engineer Rene N. Sumodobila, Executive Director, Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative, says: "Pinoy" was for the last millennium. "Filipino" should be for the new Millennium. Why? Because "Pinoy," in the duck egg industry, is an infertile egg. Here in America, it connotes "bagong salta," someone who is naive, innocent, and worst, dumb.
....................
....................Raul Clemente, a stock analyst, sent me an e-mail on the "100 Best Things About Being Pinoy." In this list, twenty entries are food and drinks and ten are festivities. Sixteen items are personalities and six are language peculiarities. And five are related to economics. Other items include Pinoy humor and irreverence, the whole underworld of Filipino mythology (aswang, manananggal, kapre), hospitality, the yoyo, resiliency, Pinoy games (pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok), and style.
....................
....................Item number 59 is the Press -- still the liveliest in Asia. If you want to add an entry, visit this website: http://bayani.com/kuta/.
So there. Ten living Filipinos share their pride in their nation. The same pride that was deeply felt and the same nation that was fiercely defended by our heroes and heroines.
....................
....................Antonio Luna, signing as Taga-Ilog in La Solidaridad, Year II, Number 31, May 15, 1890, wrote: "The Philippines should be congratulated...It is a country offeeling; feeling is brother to art; it is thus that many artists develop there."
....................
....................His comrade in the Propaganda Movement, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, exclaimed, "The Philippines is not a country of slaves," in La Solidaridad, Year II, Number 33, June 15, 1890.
....................
....................But another Reformist leader, Graciano Lopez y Jaena, bewailed: "Poor Philippines which is always left in the hands of inept officials who convert the Islands into a servile instrument of low passions, of machinations, of intrigues, of avarice!" [La Solidaridad, Year II, Number 38, August 31, 1890]
....................
....................Then there's Jose P. Rizal who clarified in "The Truth for All," La Solidaridad, Volume I, pp. 81-85, May 31, 1889: "We agree that there is much immorality in the Philippines, much confusion, much intrigue, and much misgovernment. But we are not going to blame the people for it; we do not always hold it responsible for another's deficiency and our own."
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....................Finally we have Andres Bonifacio who provided the resolution in "Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog" -- "Kaya! O mga kababayan! Ating idilat ang bulag na kaisipan at igugol sa kagalingan ang ating lakas sa tunay at lubos na pag-asa na magtagumpay sa nilalayong kaguinhawaan ng bayang tinubuan."
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....................So if you are confident that there is something splendid in the Filipino character, please complete the sentence: "I am proud to be a Pinoy because..." and send it to bernard.karganill@malayanews.zzn.com. I will appreciate your prompt response. Maraming salamat.

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