I remember reading a book by Alex Lacson named “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” a few months ago. Out of the twelve little things, I am proud to say that I follow or practice at least six of them (well, some rules concern jobs, taxes and the like so I think I’m exempted from them as of now!) If you know me well, you know how “nationalistic” and proud I am to be a Filipino -how high my hopes are for this country; how I want to make a difference in the Philippines and the world; how I want to do this and that for the society. I was somewhat inspired by the book and decided to write my own version. I am writing this in a teenager’s perspective though. I won’t be mentioning things such as taxes, employment, defensive driving -those sort of things. Besides, I might be saying things I don’t even completely understand.
1. Watch local T.V. shows.
And that goes to being fans of Filipino celebrities as well! I wouldn’t deny that colonial mentality is still so evident in our society. It wouldn’t hurt to watch a telenovela, telebabad or teleserye, would it? Personally, I’ve been an avid fan of local dramas since forever and it’s really fun to keep track of a series. Since the setting’s in the Philippines, we can somehow relate to them and not feel so bad about ourselves watching a show of highbrow society living in the posh NYC, with all those designer outfits and clothes. Oh, and Filipino movies aren’t so bad after all. They’re actually nakakakilig, have humor we can genuinely laugh at, family-oriented and a good watch with friends or family. They’re also a good time passer if you see it that way.
2. Listen to OPM (Original Filipino Music).
I read an article in the newspaper about how our music industry’s dying due to lack of support and many other things. As for me, well, I’m not a music person but I do like Filipino songs (such as Bugoy’s Muli, Regine Velasquez’s Araw Gabi, Rico Blanco’s Antukin, Gloc 9’s Upuan, Itchyworm’s Beer, Kundiman such as Dahil Sa’yo and a lot more). There are a lot of OPM songs that are a part of my childhood; when my brothers and I used to watch the Myx Daily Top 10 Countdown a few years ago. Some do have a significant meaning to me, like how I remember something, be it happy or sad, when I hear these familiar tunes. It saddens me how we are actually more familiar with foreign singers, songs, or bands. And no, listening to OPM doesn’t make you “baduy”!
3. Watch the news.
This I have to emphasize, maybe. “Oh, you know the politician who recently committed suicide in front of his mother’s grave?” Well, maybe, some of you know him, while some of you wonder with blank faces, up to today, asking yourself, “Sino ba yun?” Is it actually embarrassing not knowing about the things happening today? If you ask me, well, it is. Open your mind. It is a good thing for all of us to be aware of the reality of things. Step out of your comfort zone. Like what my teacher said, “This generation is too selfish. All what you care about are yourselves, Facebook, Twitter, Glee, and your iPhone!”
It’s not about, “Oh, I don’t give a crap about politics… really.” You are a part of the society, so at least know what you’re part of. Be aware and don’t be ignorant! Doesn’t it feel good to be knowledgeable and aware?
4. Speak in Filipino.
Ito yata yung dapat bigyang diin sa lahat ng nakasulat dito. I may be biased with this though. It’s really, really, really sad that a lot of people speak English more than our mother tongue. Think of it this way: Imagine a Japanese living in Japan, speaking English much better than Japanese, and can’t even pronounce words and construct sentences correctly. That’s what we have to change in ourselves! People say, “What… Filipino… it’s SO hard to understand!” Nothing will be ever hard if we at least try. I can’t really blame them, maybe because they simply grew up speaking in English in their homes.
And I don’t get how some people are actually “proud” to say that they’re not good at the language; how they think they’re “sosyal” if they don’t speak the language. Ewan ko ba, bakit, sa tingin nila, mas mataas sila kumpara sa lahat? Feeling superior?
6. Support local products.
There are a lot of products made in the Philippines -be it in the clothing or food industry. I love Mang Inasal. I love scramble. I love Papemelroti. I love Oishi Beer Match Cracklings. I love Mang Tomas. I love Roller Coaster!
Buying local products strengthens the economy of our country as well. Support “Made in the Philippines” products. Oh, did you know that Bayo is a local clothing line?
7. Throw your trash properly.
Helping the environment is also helping our country as well. One of the biggest problems our country is facing is trash piling and piling up in the landfills. Follow the 3 R’s! Avoid using plastic. If I’m not mistaken, a single plastic takes 1000 years to decay. When I go out, I have this foldable bag inside my bag where I place the things I buy. In this way, plastic isn’t consumed.
Also, in school, I bring a water jug instead of having to buy water bottles everyday. I get to save P15 per day, at the same time, less plastic bottles are used! And speaking of the environment, let’s lessen pollution. Ride a bicycle. It’s the funnest and easiest way to exercise if you’re a dope in sports like me, by the way.
8. Don’t smoke.
As written above, I’m writing this on a teenager’s point-of-view. Suddenly I write about… smoking? Well! Smoking doesn’t give you anything good in return, at the same time, it harms people’s health and harms the environment too. Do you think “risking” others is “worth it”? Think about it.
9. Speak positively about the country itself.
Despite all the negativity going on in our country and the rampant corruption in the government, we should speak positively. Be proud of the people that make the country. Especially when we talk to foreigners. Tell them about the things we as a country can be proud of. I’m not saying we should hide the bad stuff though!
10. Travel the Philippines.
Before traveling the world, travel the Philippines first, whether in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, or downtown Manila. Traveling is not necessarily going to the usual vacation destinations. Go to malls you’ve never been to, churches for Visita Iglesia or have a walking food tour in Intramuros or Binondo.
11. Know our culture.
We have so many things in our culture that we could be proud of! Don’t forget your po’s and opo’s. Read about the happenings of EDSA People Power. Even if you’re not a sports fan, watch Manny Pacquiao. It’s the enjoyment of watching, pride of one’s race and the cheering with family and friends on a Sunday lunch that would matter maybe.
12. Be PROUD!
Of course, be proud of being a Filipino! There are a million reasons to be thankful that we are Filipinos. T.G.I.F.! (Thank God I’m Filipino!)