MANILA, Philippines–In the past months we have become a nation of critics. Thanks to social media, we were able to express our keen interest in evaluating our fellow Filipinos’ actions and behavior towards issues that concern our citizenry and humanity.
But after scrutinizing all national issues we encountered, what comes next for the Filipino people? Do our acts of patriotism simply remain as virtual scrutiny?
While it is a ‘big step forward’ for the country that more and more people are starting to pay attention to social matters, it would still not translate to progress if we do not practice the ideals we have in mind.
Now how can we contribute to the growth of our nation? What can I really do for my country from here and on?
Simple! Change for the better.
Be more fearless. Be more vigilant. Be more involved. And since we are all aiming for one goal–to add to the development of our country in our own little ways–let us re-visit our roots and revive within us the core values that make us, Filipino people, distinct and united.
Let us remember to be mapagpasalamat (grateful), matatag (resilient), masigasig (hardworking), mapagmalasakit (compassionate), and magalang (respectful).
This is us
According to the study “The Filipino Worldview and Values” conducted by Dr. Mina Ramirez of the Asian Social Institute, Filipinos are by nature:
If the world is to name one nation that nails the concept of “good vibes” best, the Filipino people will be sure to take home the recognition. And that is because we have a positive outlook in life. We always find things to be thankful for, and even in times of calamities and difficulties, we still manage to smile and look at the bright side of life.
This stems from our roots of being faithful in God and our fellowmen, says Dr. Ramirez.
“We are a happy race,” she adds, reason why we can always spread good vibes.
And because we are optimistic even in times of difficulties, we have also become resilient. We stand up to every obstacle that life throws at us, no matter how tough it is. We have learned to adapt and more importantly, we have our loved ones and life’s aspirations to be strong for.
And according to Dr. Ramirez, Filipinos endure everything until we surpass the hurdles because we long for kaayusan (order).
We also work extra hard to achieve our dreams and the inspiring part about this is that, we do not do it for ourselves. We thrive because we want to be able to provide sufficient and stable support for our family and loved-ones.
A perfect example for this would be Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who endure being away from home to give their families a life of abundance, relieved from hardships.
The overflowing amount of love we have within us is not confined within the four corners of our home. We extend it even to our friends, neighbours, and even people that we’re only getting to know. When we interact with others, we do it with compassion. We look not only into the physical façade of our fellowmen, but we also look into their kalooban (character/nature) and their lives.
And because we treat everyone as if they are family, we are able to help other people without asking for anything in return. This is why championing the “Bayanihan” spirit – uniting and helping each other in times of calamities and celebrating together during special occasions – is easy for the Filipino nation.
“We are polite people,” says Dr. Ramirez who reiterates in her “The Filipino Worldview and Value” study that Filipinos have utmost respect for the elderly and that even our language is respectful of sexes given that terms like kapatid (brother/sister), biyenan (father-in-law/mother-in-law) or anak (son/daughter) do not have gender bias.
And our respect is not limited to just these elements. We also respect people’s properties, emotions, and ideas.
Now these core values are found to be innate in every one of us. Some may have turned elusive overtime due to infrequent practice, but it is never too late to revive these values within us.
Once we gain these values back and we sustain it through the years, we can definitely become a stronger nation — a nation with gratefulness, resilience, hard working nature, compassion, and respect for its people, the happenings on its surroundings, and even the continuous collective effort to develop it.
As we welcome the New Year, before we face the big social issues, let us be Bida Changers by making small changes such as bringing out and practicing these five core Filipino values. This, when done together, will help us become stronger and better.
This is what we can do for our country this 2015 and the years to come.
We can change for the better!