There are many things about Filipino culture that are anchored in emotion: family-centeredness, utang na loob, hiya, even bayanihan – all of these things find their roots in empathy, in putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, in not wanting to cause other people harm or hurt or shame.
But it’s not only that. There’s also a sort of solidarity that is fostered in these values, a sort of coalescence of morals and emotions that makes one inherently Filipino.
Filipinos, we protect our own, and when it comes to Filipinos, if you mess with one, you mess with everyone. We’re one. There’s a bond that ties us together that’s deeper than blood and stronger than ancestry. There’s history and everything we learned and didn’t learn from it.
In a way, this could be seen as one of the greatest things about being Filipino. One can always ride on the coattails of other Filipinos and feel pride at another’s successes. We’re proud to be Filipinos! Manny Pacquiao is a great boxer, and even though I can’t box my way out of a blanket, I am also great because Manny Pacquiao brings glory to my country! Jessica Sanchez, Jasmine Trinidad, Bruno Mars, they’re all wonderful singers because Filipinos are naturally gifted singers! The victory of one Filipino is the victory of all! – assuming, of course, that it’s a victory warranting international acclaim. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter.
But. But but but, it goes the other way too. Shame one Filipino, and Filipinos from all corners of the globe will come to defend them. In fact, say something negative –anything negative – about Filipinos or the Philippines in general and you will have a lynch mob at your feet in moments.
This has been true since the internet became accessible to this poor country. You can try it out for yourself. Go to any random message board or discussion thread (even a Facebook comment thread counts, most of the time) and say something negative about Filipinos. You could say something as simple as “their feet smell” or “Filipinos are barbaric because they eat balut”, or go the extra mile and write and post something like this little thing you’re reading right now in a public forum.
Filipinos are fierce, passionate, and at times, feral. If you bait them, they will come. It’s inevitable. We’re everywhere, and we will find you.
It won’t matter if you post something satirical, or if you’re trying to trigger the wonders of imagination and fiction, or even pointing out the truth in an effort to effect social change. If you say something wrong, you’d better be prepared for death threats and excommunication from the Catholic Church.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from. You can ask Dan Brown, Pol Medina Jr., and most recently, Katherine Ryan. In fact, you can ask everyone else who’s gone before them, like the Beatles, Carlos Celdran, Claire Danes, and Taylor Kitsch. Insult a Filipino or an aspect of Filipino life and you will have hate mail coming in in droves. Heck, if you’re lucky, you might even get a government official to send you a personally-signed letter stating that, oops dipshit, you’re wrong.
Yup, you’re wrong, the Philippines is a beautiful country with a rich heritage.
It’s a beautiful country with a rich heritage and millions of devout Catholics who are honest and hard-working and have enough faith in the Lord Almighty to be happy-go-lucky, my-god-will-get-me-through-these-hard-times-even-if-I-just-sit-here-and-wait-for-food-to-fall-out-of-the-sky-like-manna-for-the-Israelites people. We have so much faith that we participate in block-voting and teach our children to block out everything that doesn’t adhere to the Christian faith.
It’s rich in resources, which explains why our government officials can afford fancy cars and fifteen estates all over the country. This also explains the ever-present group of farmers outside the Department of Agrarian Reform – they’re just so happy with how resources are treated here.
We have a wonderful culture. You can come by and see for yourself. Entertain yourself with dog fights and cock fights, because in the Philippines, it’s not just legal, it’s encouraged! It’s a legitimate source of income! Enjoy the very young men and women who are more than happy to keep you company, the cheap alcohol that everyone has access to.
There are no limits to the things you can do here! Just make sure you know the right people, and have enough dough to spread around. We value everyone here! That’s why you never hear of people suddenly disappearing for having opposing beliefs, or people getting shot at point-blank because they dared to challenge the status quo.
You see, we care about each other so much that we don’t have time to care for much else! Never mind that we’ve just about lost 97% of our rainforests – let the future generations deal with that! Animal cruelty? What in the world is that? We have people keeping Bengal tigers as pets here!
Filipinos are great people. We’re brave and we stand up for each other. We trust each other so much that all one needs to do is apologize and we’ll be good with forgetting anything ever happened. Never mind that there was election fraud. It’s all in the past.
We may be emotional, but we sure use this to our advantage. Look at how many Filipinos shared that Facebook photo of that kid with the tumor growing on his neck. We care, see?
Filipinos are great. We take care of our country so well. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong, and there’s nothing that can change that, not even fiscal crises, flash floods, 4-hour traffic jams, child trafficking or police brutality. So don’t you ever advocate your basic human right of freedom of expression to joke about the Philippines, or the 105.72 million people living in the country. We’re the 12th Most Populated Country in the World for the second year in a row now!
See, you never run out of things to be proud of when you’re a Filipino! Filipino and proud!
Wikipedia contributors. “Deforestation in the Philippines.”
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 29 Mar 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation_in_the_Philippines>.
"Total Population of the Philippines 2013 - Philippine
Government.” Affordable Cebu. 13 Apr 2013: n. page. Web. 18 Jun. 2013. <http://www.affordablecebu.com/load/philippine_government/total_population_of_the_philippines_2012/5-1-0-3004>.
Originally posted on Tumblr on Jun 19th 2013