The Deterioration of Filipino Nationalism


by Apolinario Villalobos


If nationalism is about standing in attention upon hearing the National Anthem and ability to sing it, as well as reciting the Pledge (Panatang Makabayan), patronizing local products, interest in the nation’s history instead of “learning” it haphazardly just to have passing grades in school, familiarizing oneself with the historic heroes, and being proud of the national language instead of the Queen’s language…then something is wrong with SOME of us, Filipinos.


The SM chain of stores is commendable for playing the National Anthem in time for the opening of their doors, but many shoppers don’t give a damn, as if what’s being played is just another Christmas song – so they keep on walking and do not stand up in attention. In some school campuses, I observed that even while the flag ceremony is going on, students keep on walking and running.


In one of the TV shows, the naughty host called a student as shown by her uniform, on stage. She was surprised when asked to recite the “Panatang Makabayan” and painfully tried her best to no avail as she was good only for the first four lines. Another student was called and asked to sing the National Anthem, in exchange for a certain amount as the prize. She dismally failed and even mispronounced some words.


There’s also a TV show in which the hosts called on the participants from the audience and who were asked question about the Philippine history. When one was asked who Tandang Sara is, she answered, “ street in Caloocan”. Another was asked who was the “sublime paralytic” about which he loudly wondered, “meron ba noon?”. And, still another was asked who the mother of Jose Rizal is, for which he answered, “Gabriela Silang?”


Obviously and sadly, nationalism is continuously deteriorating, and I would say that the youth of today are victims of the country’s educational institution’s irresponsibility. From preparatory or “kinder” up to the elementary level, the Filipino youth are pitifully loaded with workbooks. They go home with assignments that their parents do for them, while their eyes are glued on TV. They are given projects to be done at home, but which “loving and caring” parents do for them, even going to extent of clipping photos from books and collectible magazines….but nothing much is done to educate them about the history of the country.


Many students who were born many years after the Martial Law are wondering today what the leftist groups meant by not allowing the remains of Ferdinand Marcos to be interred in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Many still, do not have a hint at what the People Power was all about. So many years have been wasted by the administrations that over took the reins of the government after Marcos was booted out of the country, as not a single book used in school today contain chapters that seriously deliberate on the dark years under the Marcos dictatorship. There are “mentions” but unfortunately, nothing of extensive dissertation exposition.


As the country needs to survive economically, the government has allowed the flooding of the local market with foreign products particularly those from China. This phenomenon has aggravated the already deeply-rooted “stateside” mentality. The once-prosperous jewelry industry of Bulacan has become a thing of the past as Italian silver and Saudi gold jewelries became the “in” thing. The durability of the Marikina shoes is overshadowed by the western-sounding-named products. Local factories for sweets closed shop because raw products are exported to China to be processed and sold back to the Filipinos as “made in China”…so at the supermarkets, we see sweet tamarinds made in China, mango products still from the mainland, even dried tapioca or cassava, sweet potatoes, etc.


At the rate our culture which is the foundation of nationalism is overshadowed by the intruding  “giants” , we might as well, learn their language to be competitive at all cost….as we have no choice in order to survive. On the other hand, I know that there are some who try their best to steadfastly uphold their being a Filipino, be they are living in the archipelago or abroad.