When one writes about the Philippines—no matter how apolitical the post may be—it will strangely, somehow become controversial. Nothing seems to be a safe topic if it is about the Philippine culture, lifestyle or society. I haven’t blogged about Pinoy food yet but it had been a topic of conversation one time and somehow, still led to a gripe session about how we don’t know how to market our food abroad when it definitely can compete with other countries’ cuisine! Oh well...can talking about the weather be safe?
You know what they say about the thin line between love and hate? I guess that basically sums up how many of us feel about this country: I love the fact that it has such breath-taking sceneries.I love the hopefulness of the Filipino which may make them sad and even heartbroken about tragedies but seldom bitter. I love how easily people flash a smile even to strangers and how a laugh can just bubble up at any moment—and not just amongst children! I love the Filipino ingenuity and creativity. I love the musicality and artistry.
But for every single thing I love, there are things I don’t love. The corruption that seems to have stained the very fabric of our government and society. The desperate poverty that is so in-your-face and yet the privileged do not seem to see. The big companies, international or Filipino-owned, who cunningly find creative ways of squeezing every single centavo from us. The undisciplined way we conduct ourselves-whether in driving, crossing the streets, throwing trash or handling money.
I could go on—but I don’t want to be sad on the eve of the Philippine Independence Day. So what should I do? Concentrate on the good things and shut my eyes on the bad? Face the harsh realities and drag myself around like a victim?
I guess I should find the balance. I can pick up my trash. I can tell people of the beautiful sites they can visit. I can refuse to pay “under the table” even if it would speed up the process. I can buy products made by small Philippine-owned enterprises. I can pray. I can stick it out and insist on loving the country where God has placed me since birth.
Dear Philippines, I do love you. Despite the warts.