What breaks my heart?
August 2008, I wrote this essay for our D12. 3 years have passed but this still breaks my heart.
I love the Philippines. I love Palawan. I love Boracay. I love Miriam College’s mini forest. I love the Filipinos and Filipinas. I love the Philippines.
Growing up with an environmentalist for a mother, I was exposed to the wonderful, and some sad, facts about this country. At an early age, I learned that out of 500 species of coral reefs in the world, 98% or 490 species can be found in the Philippines. I also found out that Mindanao hasn’t reached its agricultural potential; that Mindanao can literally feed the world if the government chose to do something other than resort to violence in resolving the crisis there. Oil is also available for drilling in our Kalayaan group of islands; can you imagine what will that do to our economy? The Philippines is also rich in coconuts and in a few years, if there is political and social will, we will be able to compete with Brazil in producing Biodiesel and we will be less dependent on imported oil from the Middle East; thus lowering our foreign expenditures. Not only that, the Philippines abundant in natural gases. I also learned that for us to make 1 ton of paper, 17 fully grown trees are needed to be cut in our virgin forests. However, mama told me that we can barely protect our forest from illegal loggers because there is only one forest ranger patrolling every 10 hectares of land.
Despite all of these, I still believe in the Filipino nation’s ability to compete globally. I found out that it was a Filipino who first to made a vehicle run using just water, however due to the lack of support of the government to this wonderful invention, this Filipino sold the invention’s rights to Germany. It was also a Filipino who invented the moon buggy that was used for the Apollo missions. A Filipino invented the florescent lamp but also sold it to G.E. for the same reason as the water-powered car. A Filipina teacher from Silliman University was considered the best teacher in the world and NASA named a minor planet after her. Filipinos were sought after during the earlier World Cups because of their agility and speed; and it was a Filipino who brought victory to Spain during those early years of the football.
We have innovative, intelligent and athletic people. We are a blessed race, a land full of potential. But what breaks my heart is that we don’t dream big for ourselves. We don’t think long term. We are shallow (and yes, I am aware that I am describing myself). We don’t see our talents and abilities but what we see is the opportunity to earn big and earn it fast; like our doctors who become nurses, teachers who become international maids! We are satisfied to study care-giving for six months for us to be able to leave the country right away. We train 2 years before the Olympics and wonder why we can get the gold while other countries train their athletes even before these athletes were in elementary.
What breaks my heart more is that wala tayong bilib sa sarili natin. We tend to hide in our shells when foreigners are around us. We want to be friends with them because we see that there is an advantage being with them or be just like them. We hate our culture. We hate our language. We hate our colour. We hate being called a Filipino just because of the unwanted strings that go with it.
But what breaks my heart the most was when the world or specifically the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defined Filipinas, “domestic helpers”. We are more than that! We are 85 million strong and intelligent people! We may be a young country of 70 years, barely able to run the country by ourselves but we are learning. Just wait and see when the next generation of Filipinos and Filipinas rise to take their stand. Just wait and see when the Lord uses the next pair of hands to hoist the Philippines out of the dump. Just wait and see when it’s our turn to lead. Just wait and see.”
How about you? What breaks your heart?