Feels Great to be Pinoy

11:27 pm PHT

I’ve been tagged by Rico over a week ago with Marc’s meme and I’ve finally decided to write my thoughts about the topic down. Despite many things that are embarrassing about this country, I’m still proud to be a Filipino and I’m still not considering migrating to “greener pastures” despite others saying that my talents and intellect would be wasted here.

So here are my three answers to the question: “What are the 3 signs you see happening now that make you say, ‘it feels great to be Pinoy’?”

Gawad Kalinga. This Couples for Christ-initiated international grassroots movement is not just another Habitat for Humanity. Gawad Kalinga builds more than just houses, it builds communities. In particular, Gawad Kalinga gives the poor and needy something more important than shelter or money: dignity. GK volunteers not only help the poor communities build colorful homes, they also engage the residents in community improvement, livelihood projects, education, health care, and the like.

Because of the efforts of Gawad Kalinga and its volunteers, the organization has been awarded the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the first time an organization, and not an Asian person, was awarded in that category. (The Ramon Magsaysay Award is widely considered to be Asia’s Nobel Prize.)

Filipinos as Global Citizens. While it’s a sad fact that many Filipinos are forced to look for jobs overseas, on the bright side, it provides us a perfect opportunity to spread the positive values that makes us Filipino. Anywhere you go in the world, it’s highly unlikely that will not run into a Filipino somewhere. Did you know that 28% of all seafarers in the world are Filipino? (Russians come at a distant second at 7%.) Filipino nurses and care-givers are sought-after worldwide and sometimes the demand is too high that foreign governments resort to putting employment caps (e.g., Japan vs. the Filipino nurses.)

I’ve been to Canada and Japan and I’ve got interesting stories of running into fellow Filipinos. While ordering at a McDonald’s in North Vancouver, we were surprised to see a Filipina greet us at the counter, and this was at a place far from where Filipinos stay. In Japan, while I was trying to communicate with an Internet cafe attendant, I was bemused to hear the man beside me speak in Tagalog, translating what the attendant was saying. And you should read my post where I said that I was amused to hear mostly Tagalog songs during the only English-scheduled mass at a Catholic Church in Tokyo’s suburbs.

Filipinos are spread out all over the world and in most respects, we are the most migrant nation in the world. You know, if Filipinos all over the world all have the collective will to do something, I think we can actually shake the world economy and hold it hostage.  :)

Improved Electorate and Depoliticized Economy. While allegations of election-rigging is enough to make one’s blood boil, I am heartened to know that Filipinos are slowly learning to think more clearly when voting. Hopefully gone are the days when you can throw lots of television ads and bank on name recall to get you elected (e.g., Pichay ads vs. Trillanes’ word-of-mouth campaign), gone are the days when being a celebrity gets you into position (e.g., Gomez and Montano), and gone are the days when you need a party or even an wide election machinery to secure the seats (e.g., TU vs. GO and independent Pangilinan). These are hopefully a better sign of things to come.

In addition, the economy is starting to be depoliticized. Hopefully gone are the days when a rumor of a coup or some political scandal will send the stock market and the peso reeling to the dumps. The economy is stable (and not particularly because of GMA, I must emphasize) and has weathered the past year quite admirably.

I won’t do any more tagging since I can’t think of 10 people to tag that haven’t already been tagged. So I’m opening this meme to all of my untagged readers and tell me what three signs that are happening now that makes you proud to be Pinoy.  :)

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