A couple of months ago, I found myself in front of a panel whose objective was to dissect my vision and my 10-year plan (which, by the way, did not and still does not exist). It was like a thesis defense on steroids.
"Would you say that the environment is your passion?" one of them asked.
"My passion is the Philippines," I replied. "Conservation just happens to be how I show that now. My dreams for myself, whatever advocacy I’m in or work I do, are tied to my dreams for the Philippines."
Oh ha. Pwede na bang pang Miss Universe?
But I meant that to the core of my bones, even when I feel like my love for country borders on ridiculous (like when our Senators sing or play Candy Crush during senate hearings).
Bakit nga ba ang #SarapMagingPilipino? Here are just 10 of the many reasons I can think of:
1. Kasi kahit saang bahagi ka ng mundo, merong Pilipino na mag-aalaga sa ‘yo. I travel by myself a lot, and it’s always comforting to see other Filipinos. Nakakapagod din mag-English noh! I once had a 12+ hour layover in Dubai and the Filipino staff in the airport let me in the lounge for free so I could eat and use the shower!
2. Our languages are so beautiful. I can only speak 2 out of the 14 (Bisaya and Filipino) (and I don’t write well in either). My favorite Filipino words are “hanapbuhay” and “paliparang pandaigdig.” Hanapbuhay means “work” or “job,” but when literally translated, it means “to look for life.” Not money, but life. “Paliparang pandaigdig” means international airport, but there’s something about the consonants that sounds fierce.
3. We live in the center of biodiversity.
Dauin, Negros Oriental. Photo by Steve de Neef.
Nipa Foods: dips, spreads, snacks, and wine—all locally sourced!
5. It’s one of the best places for women to live in. Even though the Reproductive Health Law just got passed, in the grand scheme of things, women in the Philippines are much better off. We can vote, go to school, and hold high positions in the government and workplace.
6. FILIPINO FOOD! When I was out of the country for two months, the first meals I ate when I got back was Jollibee’s C3 (chicken and spaghetti meal) and sisig from Manong’s.
7. FILIPINO COFFEE! All coffee varieties can grow in the Philippines (Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa and Liberica). I have 1-2 cups of black, homegrown coffee a day.
8. Because we are generally the best singers and dancers in any crowd (pero suko ako sa dancing pag may taga-South America or Caribbean). Yung tipong walang effort sa karaoke tapos, “You should be on American Idol.” Ngi.
9. Ang sarap din maging Pilipino dahil sa mga kasama ko sa Global Shapers Manila Hub. My home team. Their passion and respective endeavours never fail to inspire me.
10. The crappier the situation, the more innovative the solutions are. There are so many exciting things going on—more people are starting to care and do bold things to uplift this little archipelago of ours. A friend described it as being in the “sweet spot” in history.
For you? Bakit ang #SarapMagingPilipino? Tweet me your answers @annaoposa using this hashtag!