I think we can all agree that 2016 is the worst year of the decade yet. In the Philippines, we just had ten stressful months where friendships and loyalties were tested.
Conversations on social media felt a lot like a GE class where you had to listen to petty arguments by your know-it-all classmate, and watch your more intelligent peers fail to get through to him. (It still feels that way.)
I’ve read many posts by members of the intellectual elite, saying how they’ve given up on the Philippines after all the drama and the embarrassing display of stupidity. They’re very persuasive. But I refuse to give up on my fellow Filipinos. I still want to believe that we still have in us what Bonifacio saw when he chose Maypagasa as his nom de guerre. Besides, our solidarity with other human beings should not depend on where our national borders rest.
Today, I’m going to share photos I’ve collected over the past two years that remind me of why I’m proud to be a Filipino. 🙂
For three generations, this family has been cultivating coffee beans. They still plant, grow, harvest, and roast the beans in the traditional way. (I still have some ground coffee beans I bought from this family. I keep it where I can see it every morning at home.)
These kids were waving at us before I took this photo. We were on top of a jeepney on our way to Batad, and they waved when they saw us. I thought Ifugao kids were friendly only to foreign tourists haha.
In 2014, I joined an outreach/immersion program in Benguet where we helped coffee farmers in harvesting beans. We also had a storytelling session for their kids in the afternoon. I know that at any time of the year, there are many ongoing efforts such as this, and it makes my heart swell.
(No reason for this. I just like this photo because I took it during a time when I was overwhelmed with work. That trip convinced me that I don’t need to complicate my life. I can always pack up and leave the city behind. Life in the province is so much less stressful.)
We met these children when we visited Lake Sebu in South Cotabato. I’ve never met kids like them who are proud of their heritage and culture.
I took this photo last summer in Masinloc, Zambales. My mom and our family’s close friends were having dinner in a park while watching the sunset over the West Philippine Sea. It was an unforgettable moment for me.
How about you? Are you still proud to be Filipino?
I’m a person of simple tastes and wants. All I’ve ever wanted since I was 12 was to have my own room where I can display my notebook collection. When I was 16, I was content to stay in bed and write in my journal. At 22, I thought I needed nothing more than classical music and a bowl of spaghetti.