Love our country

Published March 17, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

Having run out of new books to read, I picked through dusty shelves for something to rediscover. And there it was, a slender little book in sunset shades of orange and gold.

During a black period of deadly assassinations, character assassination, attention-calling crimes, political divisiveness (elections bring out some of the worst in us – why?), and escalating inflation, I found Alex Lacson’s 2012 book, 12 Wonderful Things about the Filipino and our Motherland.

Immediately running through the 12 chapter headings, I was momentarily interrupted by a TV ad coming out loud and clear. Sara Duterte’s commercial for her vice presidential bid, in which she announces the message, “Mahalin Natin ang Pilipinas.” Swak, I thought, a swell aha! moment.

Author Lacson’s 12 beautiful things that underpin what he calls faith in the Filipino (with minor revisions for reasons of style and space):

  1. We are blessed with a home, a country naturally rich and beautiful.
  2. We are compassionate human beings.
  3. We are the happiest, friendliest in the world.
  4. Heroes and good Samaritans, that’s what we are.
  5. We respect other people’s beliefs; we are open-minded.  
  6. Our people have great talent.
  7. Honest, hardworking, resilient, respectful, we have heart.  
  8. We’re global citizens.
  9. With a wonderful sense of family, we care for young and old.
  10. The Filipina is beautiful, free, and accomplished.
  11. Peace-loving, we are innately nonviolent and freedom-loving.
  12. As a people of faith, Filipinos lead others to God.

Sometime around the publication of Lacson’s book, a young Korean studying in Manila was quoted as saying that it seemed to him – and perhaps other foreigners – that Filipinos do not love their country. Maybe not enough. In 1987, an article in a US magazine concluded that ours was a “damaged culture.” Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew opined that Filipinos have too much democracy and too little discipline, a remark that drew a rebuke from then President FVR.

From the list, nos. 3, 5, and 11 appear to be the most relevant as the political campaign goes into high gear. High means hot – tempers are short, words are hurled to hurt and divide, civility is out the window. Are the candidates even respectful of the positions they aspire to fill?