I am a Filipino, proud
…yet suffer, too
By Apolinario B Villalobos
“Let us not lose hope…”
This I have to say first
For if I won’t, but instead
Put that line at the end
I will be stirring your anger
That I will just regret later.
When foreign people
Set foot on our sacred shore
Our ancestors welcomed them –
Not just with smile
But warm embrace
Showed them kindness
Showed them love –
The way of Filipinos
As the whole world knows.
The Chinese brought pots and silk
Gave names to our islands and islets,
The Japanese brought their skill
And goods of steel,
Spain sent forth Christianity
Tainted with gracious civility,
The Americans brought more-
More than what we could muster
And all of these-
Supposed to enrich our culture
But instead, defiled our identity
Stained much of it with sheer gravity!
I hear Filipinos speak English with a twang
But should not be, when they speak our language –
Filipino, the rich language of every Juan.
I see Filipinos enjoy foreign food, every bit of it
But should not be, when they push aside
Our own sinigang and pinakbet.
I hear Filipinos sing foreign songs so soulfully
It’s just nice, but not when they despise
Our own that should be sung with dignity.
Deep inside, I suffer as I see and hear them
I know that just like me, others out there
Are gritting their teeth but can’t do anything;
Proud as a Filipino, yes I am
But so many things are left undone –
Things that our heroes in the past have begun
They who put color
To the vivid pages of our history;
Things that should have been done
By our heroes of today
But who died just when a new light
Started to shine on our democracy.
Leaders, policy makers, lawmakers…
They who warble promises
And steal the people’s money?
Paid with lofty sum from the coffer
Where money for those who suffer
Should have come
Should have been done
But only the few – these warblers
Enjoyed no end, they who are supposed
To be brimming with wisdom!
After the father, comes the wife
Then the daughter, and the son
Not contented, the cousins and in-laws
All in the family, to power they strut
With a taunt in their face that says:
“What are we in power for,
And you with money has none
Eat your heart out, here we come!”
Rain that used to bless the earth
Filipinos now desist
Especially those who live
Along the river banks of the cities
For with it comes the flood
A curse that only the Bible says
Shall wipe out sinners
From the face of the earth;
But why…the floods?
Simple: the money for saving projects
The conscienceless –
Innocent lengths of asphalted roads
That for long defied the trash of nature
Helplessly wrecked by greedy contractors
So that low-grade fresh overlay can be spread
Later giving up to rain’s patters
And treading of cars, trucks, and all…
Even the precious school books are not spared
By purported educators blinded with greed
Seeing to it that new ones, yearly will be printed
Exam questions, at the end of every chapter
Are cleverly printed!
So then, closing school years would also see
These books so dear, become useless –
Thrown to the garbage, not to be used
By aspiring younger brood of the family.
I am pained by the sight
Of plates at restaurants
and food stations of the malls –
Half –finished food left with pride
By those who seem to say
“I am rich, I can squander money”
And who never thought
That out there in the dumps
Some brethren try to salvage morsels –
Precious food that could be stuffed
Into their guts so they can live
Better than nothing, or they’re dead.
I said in the beginning of this:
Let us not lose hope…
But wish for the best
If we strive together
And do what is right
Then new life for us
Will be in sight!