On Being a True Filipino
By Apolinario Villalobos
It takes a lot of nationalistic fervor before one can honestly claim that he or she is truly a Filipino. It is not enough that one is born of Filipino parents on Philippine soil, or in other countries, with either of the parents, a Filipino. It is not enough that one can sing the “Lupang Hinirang” with utmost sincerity or recite the “Panatang Makabayan” by heart.
Nationalism is best seen in times of tragedy, calamity, catastrophe – misfortunes that call for sharing and compassion. Being a Filipino is not the exploitation of the victims who are already neck-deep in distress. It is not the betrayal of trust given by the electorate to the glib-tongued politicos. The more, that it is not the filching of the people’s money by unscrupulous government officials and their cohorts.
A Filipino is one who toils in foreign lands, so that he or she can send money back home to his family who may then be empowered to make purchases, which at the end, benefits the government. He or she is the Green Card holder in the United States who does not cringe in shame due to the bad image of the country. He or she takes time to explain that the Philippine Republic is just a victim of unabated corrupt practices committed by “hardened” members of dynastic political families. He or she never say that the American system is better than what the Philippines is having now, as there are clear indications that Filipinos with good intentions are joining hands to remedy the situation.
There is still a desire in the heart of a Filipino who lives in other countries to go back to the Philippines where he or she had a first lungful breathe of air. A true Filipino misses the fiestas, colorful and jolly Christmas – noche buena, nightly caroling of children, dawn or evening Mass, and noisy New Year. The heart of a true Filipino aches for weekend jaunts and unannounced visits from friends. The true Filipino abroad misses the “bagoong”, “ginamos”, “pinakbet”, “laing”, “lechon”, etc.
A true Filipino who works abroad, never forgets to fill a “balikbayan box” with goodies bought from flea markets and garage sales, such as “Gucci” (kuno), shoes, watches, used laptops, toothpaste, Ivory soap, coffee, bars of chocolate, etc. – symbol of their love for those left in the Philippines. And, a true Filipino does not hesitate to come out in a video to denounce the nincompoop government officials who do not know what they are doing, such as those who occupy the agencies involved in raising funds every time an election is forthcoming.
A true Filipino bravely accepts faults and limitations, as he or she knows that such honesty can give him impetus to exert more effort for the better. Most especially, he or she does not pretend to be intelligent!
And who are not the Filipinos but still insist they are? These are the inept in the government, the heartless and uncompassionate hypocrites. These are the glib-tongued who betrayed the trust and confidence of the poor. These are the “political butterflies”, with the habit of changing their color depending on the party that they think is strong and can help them filch money from the government later on!