I must say that it means a lot to me to be a Filipino. Being a true-blooded citizen of the Philippines, one must be able to serve this country with all his heart, mind and soul. Not only that, he must be a law-abiding citizen, and a good follower of the government. Most of all, a Filipino is God fearing who believes and trusts in Him.
There are so many characteristics that can define what a Filipino is – hospitable, helpful, cheerful, industrious, optimistic, etc. We have proven these characteristics from people in our history. Would you believe that until the present times, we still have our modern day heroes who showed what it is to be a Filipino?
Take a look for example the recently ended show Pinoy Big Brother, wherein twelve people had to stay in one house for one hundred days with video cameras all over the place. The said show depicted the typical characters of Filipinos on a day-to-day basis. Some may be good and some may be bad, but that is what we really are – determined, resourceful, sensitive and sometimes insensitive.
Nowadays, I still believe that it is important to be identified as a Filipino because it gives us our identity as a human being. It gives us the privilege to enrich our tradition and culture. I believe that when a person is identified as a Filipino, the first thing that comes into people's mind is "he's great!"
Filipinos are different in unique ways. That is what, we Filipinos must be proud of. We view things in different perspective. We live our lives the way we wanted to. We have the determination to fight for what we believe is right. We are not scared to face the world and tell them that we can. Just like what the song said, "Lahat tayo'y mayroong pagkakaiba. Sa tingin pa lang ay makikita na. Iba't-ibang kagustuhan ngunit isang patutunguhan…Nais mong ipakilala kung sino ka mang talaga.."
Growing up in a different country has made me appreciate my birth country less. I always thought that, for something to be beautiful, it has to be the obvious. I thought I'd always be the, "I'm not proud to be a Filipino" type of person. Well, I was wrong.I was born in the Philippines, but raised in Dubai. For me, Dubai is the city where almost everything is perfect. It is my happy place, my comfort zone, and my home. Philippines, however, was the opposite. It made me so sad and homesick when I had to spend my entire college life here in the Philippines. The amount of things that I can do in Dubai is nothing compared to what I can do here. I can't go out and walk without inhaling pollution in the streets, without fearing that my valuables might get stolen, or that I might attract too much attention by the brands that I wear. When asked to define Philippines, my answer was always corrupt, polluted, dirty, uncivilized, and possibly all the other not-so-good things I can think of. But then, my professor once asked,
He's right. If I can't see the beauty of my own country behind its flaws, how can I learn to love the different sides of what life has to offer? I have to learn to look beyond the imperfections to appreciate how beautiful one is. For two (2) years of living here in the Philippines, and counting, I realized just how blessed I am to be born in such a rich, happy, and God-fearing country.
"How can you appreciate other things when you can't even appreciate your own country?"
In the Philippines, there are always different sides of the story to tell. It can be action-packed with jeepneys, pedicab drivers, taxis and even buses, when they try to squeeze in-between lanes to avoid heavy traffic jams. On the other side, Philippines can also be romantic and serene when it comes to spending nights in white sandy beaches while enjoying the calm breeze and the sound of the crashing waves. I can go on and on about how beautiful and diverse Philippines really is. But for me, what I love most about my country is the Filipinos' spirit of "bayanihan" (when Filipinos become one to help and to achieve a common goal), and optimism. Through whatever storm we may face, we would always find reasons to stay happy and thankful. That's the kind of attitude that differentiates us from the others. That's what makes Philippines one of a kind. Then, I realized, that is what makes me proud to be a Filipino.
To find real treasures, you must be a hunter. You must have the courage and the passion to explore. Understanding the richness of a country's history, its culture, its way of life, its people, and how they differ from the other countries, will open your eyes to a whole new perspective. Always try to look beyond the modern infrastructures, the mainstream country must-haves, and be open to new learning and discoveries. A country will always be more than just a country. You might find things that are not admirable and pleasant. But then, what is a country without its flaws?
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