By Apolinario Villalobos
We, Filipinos are a God-fearing people. Despite differences in faith, we are bound together by this fear. While other countries are reeling from suicide bombings, nothing of this sort has yet, been used by “local” terrorists in our country to send a strong message. But we have Abu Sayyaf kidnappings, a ragtag band of former Moro separatists that are just moving around in pockets of small areas in Mindanao, despite which, the military cannot suppress. There must be a reason for that…a “big” reason.
We, Filipinos are a forgiving people. We welcomed back from their exile, the family of the once-hated Ferdinand Marcos, our very own dictator, even allowed them to run for government posts. We are not even consistent in hating erring government officials, because that small spot of pity in our heart always prevail at the end. Our “ningas-cogon” culture that makes us excited at the first salvo of hideous issues, make us indifferent after several days of gaping, thereby, preventing us from sustaining violent reactions. Even the EDSA People Power is no more, as it has become an image of shame in the eyes of the serious Filipino revolutionists, who consider it as a movement of the rich and the political turncoats, a sad realization, and unfortunately, late in coming.
We, Filipinos are a neighbor-loving people. We allow even the unscrupulous hauling of black sands from some shores of northern Luzon, leaving gaping holes reminiscent of moon craters. Our enterprising neighbors from China are nonchalantly hauling off part of our beloved land, as if it is their own. Is it a sign of what is forthcoming? We even let our foreign neighbors denude our forests of precious hardy trees. We welcome with open heart the junks, especially, the electronic waste of our high-tech neighbors. We welcome their pre-worn clothes. We welcome with excitement the sub-standard gadgets assembled by their factories that employ cheap labor. Their cotton buds and toothpicks even fill big spaces of shelves in shopping malls and groceries! Practically, malls are filled with their stalls and manned by our pretty girls whose take home pay is not even enough for three meals a day. By the way…they also own the malls! Our being considerate is such that, we allow them to earn in our country and let them remit their earnings to their savings account in their beloved homeland. Thanks to the guy who pawned our country in the globalization chess board!
We, Filipinos do not want to quarrel. Our president says so, that is why, whatever our neighbor China does to our territory will just be lodged at the international arbitrary court. Our government does not want to quarrel with China, a reason why, it freed the Chinese poachers of turtles based on the provision of the international law of the sea that China does not even recognize. Yes, we are that considerate. Instead of quarreling with China, our leader showed graciousness by just talking and talking and talking…..endlessly. Yes, with eloquent orations, he preaches about international laws that China does not recognize, about his trustworthy support staff, about the improving economy, about the completion of school buildings and sufficient books for students, about the fast moving construction of relocation bunkhouses in Tacloban for the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Oh, by the way, among those that his mother did first and foremost when she replaced Marcos as President, was retrace the steps of their Chinese ancestors that led to a province of China known for its authentic Chinese cuisine, a show of goodwill that the Chinese loved! This gesture must have been embedded deeply in the consciousness of the present leaders of China, qualifying their thought, that indeed, the Philippines is part of China. That is why, they started filling up atolls in the western seas purported to be within our territory, for their airstrips. We just gawk – with our big American brother, his hand on our shoulder!
We, Filipinos adore the white skin. We allow the Americans to use our bases at our expense, despite their non-committal stand to favor the Philippines on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. This adoration blinded us from seeing the truth about the one-sided agreement with them that could turn the northwestern shores of Luzon, as well, as Palawan island, into battlegrounds. Not only are the white Americans do we adore. We also adore the Korean novelas and Korean boy and girl bands. Our teens scream wildly to express their admiration during the performances of these bands. The mothers of these young Filipinos even patiently toe the line for tickets to K-band concerts many months away, yet, never mind losing sleep while waiting for the ticket booth to open the next day. The Koreans are, without question, white in complexion unlike the brown Filipinos, and our teens adore their cross-dressing, orange hair, yellow hair, get ups as colorful as curtains. We love the white-skinned singers from America, the likes of Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift, while world-class brown -skinned Filipino singers are left on the sidelines unnoticed.
We, Filipinos are a happy lot of people, that is why we find happiness in seemingly endless texting, in browsing the internet. Yes, we love gadgets that give us high-tech happiness. We love to flaunt them around, especially those whose costs are equivalent to at least two months of our salary. We love to drive cars, though we can barely afford the rent of the small apartment that accommodates our family. We love to fill our small abode with electronic gadgets purchased using the plastic money – credit cards, practically, leaving us with almost nothing for other basic expenses every end of the month. And, when due dates for settling accountabilities come, we love to wonder why we failed to set aside something for the electric bill, water bill, etc.
We, Filipinos are a resilient people. We can withstand the onslaught of calamities, a character that made those in the government think with a wicked smile that even without the tax money that should have been spent for our rehabilitation, we can still manage to survive, so they diverted the money instead – to their pockets. Their smile became bigger with the thought that billions of donations are still lying around, waiting for their taking.
We, Filipinos love dogs, cats, pigs and bacteria. We always leave spoonful of food for them on our plate every time we eat in public places. And, we are proud to show this kind of love to those who eat at tables next to ours, hoping that they will do the same. This act of love is also being done by some considerate Filipinos at home.
Yes, we are a unique people…the Filipinos!