[Note : if there’s one thing I’ve learned the past two weeks, it’s that fatigue and blogging don’t go along well. thanks very much tugang Aline Parrone for the video above, Waray-waray is a popular folk tune that originated in Tacloban and the rest of Eastern Visayas region. Waray is also the common term for the ethnic group in the region. Let’s continue praying for both the living and the dead there. thanks Kevin Ayson for the video below! Mabuhay po! ]
I HAVE excellent sources for this blog post’s research : word-of-mouth, urban legend, and tall tales. Seriously, tidbits and morsels of anecdotes here and there are probably the only thing/s I can share with you, given that everything else is already on the internet, that I’m relatively so isolated from both homeland, family and friends, and finally that my life and schedule are governed by my hours at work (not that I’m complaining).
But you and I have seen on the world stage how the international community has reacted to the death and destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan : an outpouring of love and generosity, in both aid and effort, from nearly every country on the face of God’s Earth. You and I know the reason/s for this. the unshakeable spirit of humanity and the fact that this was probably the strongest storm (on record) to ever hit land.
Last but not least, I have to believe that the groundswell of altruism also has to do with the fact that Pinoys are so visible on the world stage, whether as skilled workers or tradesmen, artists, performers and athletes, or what have you. We can count ourselves as one of the most charming, visible and engaging people on earth, and that’s not just because I’m a Pinoy. You can see it everywhere.
But like anyone else, we’re not perfect. Here are some things our foreign brothers and sisters (foreigner is actually a rude term, when I am in NZ the word is never used on me, it’s always guest or visitor) find simply inexplicable about us, given the general positivity we generate :
we smell and look like roses, but live in generally dirty surroundings. This is one of the most hurtful comments I’ve heard, but it’s true. A Scottish prosthetics specialist I know told me once, how can you observe such good hygiene, yet live next to a dead, polluted river? How can you dress so immaculately, yet walk casually among rubbish and filth? At first I took offense, but I realized that it was true. We do pay scant regard to how our rubbish and waste are collected. We do see our countrymen spit and urinate everywhere. And yes, we do live in an environment of dead rivers, streams and lakes, for so long now that it looks like it hardly matters to us. (And does it, really?),
It looks like an incongruity because Filipinos in general are so clean and neat in their appearance, we bathe and take showers like water was running out tomorrow, and use perfume and colognes liberally, no matter what our station in life is. If we showed half the concern we do on ourselves as we do our environment, how different it might be for the health of our environment.
we are politically correct when it comes to recognizing women, but not among the poorest of our poor. Ahead of the US and some older democracies we have had our first lady president, Supreme Court chief justice and senior lawmakers, we honor and lionize our beauty queens for leadership roles, and give prominence to the role of women and society. All very good. But we don’t bat an eyelash when our kababaihan are forced by poverty and hardship to prostitute themselves at home and abroad, turn our heads away to the willing (and unwilling) exploitation of our women on the internet, and shrug our collective shoulders when Pinay workers get a raw deal abroad.
We pay lip service and say the right things when it comes to recognizing our countrywomen, but accept it as a fact of life when women are objectified and become victims of white slavery wherever criminals and unscrupulous governments take advantage of our women. It’s almost become a curse. Our Filipinas are among the most beautiful in the world, defer to male elders and menfolk by force of tradition, and are taught early in life that it’s better to be seen and not heard. Because of these perceived virtues, our sisters are preyed upon by those who earn blood money in the flesh trade. And you know what they say : all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing. I can just hear commonsense asking: Is there a shortage of good men in the Philippines?
Groundhog day. we experience a dozen plus typhoons every year, a dozen plus major and minor earthquakes in the same period, and a couple of volcanic eruptions every now and then. But we still scramble to save lives, property and reduce suffering everytime the wrath of God comes in various shapes and forms. It’s like a foreigner saying, you know what’s gonna happen, you know what it’s gonna do when it happens, and you know what to do to avoid it, so why don’t you do it???
Granted what happened in the Visayas region was beyond the anticipation of even the most prudent government effort, but given our experience with such similar and parallel events, I can’t help but wonder if more lives couldn’t be saved. It is so much water under the bridge, sumalangit nawa ang mga kaluluwa ng ating mga kabayan, but if Haiyan doesn’t change the way we face disasters and relief efforts, I guess nothing will.
As mentioned earlier, this is all a simplistic compilation on how people overseas see us. Whether or not it helps, it’s just food for thought.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, and thanks for reading!
- Pinoys Praised for Resilience Amid Super Typhoon Haiyan (seekersportal.wordpress.com)
- 197. The Strength of Pinoys (toinspirefromwithin.com)
- 8 Full-Blooded Filipinos Who Make You Proud To Be Pinoy (filipiknow.net)
- Our Pinoy Paisanos: 16 Ways You Can Help The Philippines (keitochansays.com)
- Pinoys Will Bounce Back After Yolanda Onslaught (filipinismo.wordpress.com)
- Ten Reasons this Three-Minute YouTube Clip Shames RP’s Tourism Dept’s Multi-Million Dollar “It’s More Fun” Hype (vincenton.wordpress.com)
- y da pinoy & da new zealand boss r good 4 each other (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- 5 Pinoy Historical Figures Who Died in Shocking Ways (filipiknow.net)
- 10 Amazing Pinoy Trivia That Will Blow Your Mind (filipiknow.net)
- Urban Legends & Myths Explained (costumesupercenter.com)