The Filipino Spirit

I was given a chance, not many are given, to experience, side-by-side, two completely different cultures.

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I was born in the Philippines, I lived there until I was 18. I grew up there, had my childhood there, studied there, and I was able to work for 3 months there. And then, my whole family emigrated to Australia. I was given a privilege to change my point of view and realign  my paradigms. I was given a chance, not many are given, to experience, side-by-side, two completely different cultures.

There is one thing I’ve observed about Filipinos, about my people, it is that even in the midst of calamities, government corruption, lack of discipline on the road, and even poverty, that our spirit remains unbroken. We call everyone our Ate (older sister) or Kuya (older brother) or Totoy (son) or Ineng (daughter) or Nanay (Mom) or Tatay (Dad). We smile as often as we breath, we laugh as often as we talk, we love parties and fiestas, we are a happy people. Our spirit remains unbroken and unmarred by the harsh realities of our country. Our hope remains unshaken despite our seemingly hopeless situations. And our joy remains unbridled in spite of crippling poverty. We are a hopeful nation. We can laugh even when we are in dire situations, we can tell jokes even if there seems to be nothing to joke about. We are a nation who is unable to remain hopeless in a hopeless situation.

I was watching a short ad from Coke called “The Happiest Thank You” and I think it perfectly sums up the Filipino Spirit.

There are a lot of things the Philippines fall behind in, we aren’t the cleanest country, nor are we the richest. We aren’t the best in implementing our own laws, we do not have a special research team that will aide in the cure for cancer. We aren’t incorruptible, and our history does not boast of conquering new lands, in fact, we were conquered by the Spanish, the Japanese, and the Americans. But through everything, through dictatorship, reform, seemingly endless revolutions, and the first non-violent revolution in history (which I think just adds to my point about the Filipino Spirit), our Spirit, The Filipino Spirit, remains unbroken.

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