Reaction to Why are Filipinos so Poor? by F.Sionil Jose

My mom and I hate seeing poor people begging for money and food while their body condition seems healthy or able to work. Mom always says, “Malalakas pa naman sila. Bakit di sila magtrabaho? Masasanay mga yan pag laging binibigyan”. She’s right. We, Filipinos, are usually emphatic that we always have this soft heart for people in need. But most of the times, we need not only be empathic but be rational and stern to prevent and save the depressing state of our country and fellowmen.

F. Sionil Jose’s article, Why are Filipinos Poor? raises a logical point why we are truly poor yet at the same time may appeal negative for others’ understandings. The article calls for a rational and stern treatment for Filipinos. And for me, that’s the reason why strong words and statements were used by the author. Though for some his points may sound off, I would agree on some of his stated points—Filipinos lack determination and drive, condone corruption and greed, care for their sole good. I agree but do not generalize these traits as for all Filipino and I will try to develop a balance side of why we are like such.

We lack determination in honing and using our fullest potential to raise our current condition. Not all of us have that drive to be their best and give their best. Most are satisfied at working in a big company or even foreign companies then just earn big amount. In that case, what we make prosper are the foreign investors not us, Filipinos. Just look how many tycoons here in the Philippines are of different blood—Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, Ayala and Zobel. Most of us dream to work in their group of companies but not to start our own business, to create employment to Filipinos, and promote our culture in our ventures. Through that, we learn to stand up on our own at the same time help our fellowmen raise their level of living and enrich our culture. But of course, it’s not that easy albeit Filipinos will have that desire to be an initiator of progress. Our government seem to be not supportive on Filipino investors, potential businessmen, and promising Filipino resources and finished goods. They don’t fully exploit these chances and possibilities to be able to compete globally. We even have a poor funding on Science and Technology which nowadays a big boom globally. Who would really have a heart to give service to the country having such unsupportive government while a bigger support and offer welcome them in the hands of foreigners?

The kind of government mentioned in the previous paragraph is also the type of government which is hungry for power, money, and fame. Ever since Marcos’ regime, Filipinos all became aware of this hungry government. At first, we were all outraged to stop this anomaly but selfish desire and personal motive keep on extinguishing this desire. And that’s evident in our politicians/leaders lifestyle. Instead of us, ceasing such acts, we let them perpetuate because we are forced to be voiceless. We are scared and no big person in position can protect us. I believe that we all have that desire to stop these hungry beings feed what’s supposedly ours. But we prefer to live silently and peacefully though oppressed and taken advantage of rather than fighting for what is right but live always close to our grave. What we can do is to meticulously scrutinize the people we put into position and start molding our youth to be faithfully in true service for the country and fellowmen.

Finally, we tend to not realize the need and betterment of the totality. We often miss to consider others’ concern and situation. We don’t see things in a bigger picture. Look how many graduates aim to work abroad. Look how most dream to migrate because of the promising future awaiting them in foreign lands. Sounds selfish I know. But that could be the better case than to see their family starve and be locked in the vicious system we have in the country. It’s really easier to just leave and start a new life in a far place than to try to repair and save the country. But if we will all think that way, there will really be no chance at all. Not even a dot of chance.

F. Sionil is right to call us that we are our own enemy. We truly are and conquering ourselves will be the hardest fight of all. Filipinos are talented, intelligent, positive, and resilient. We just lack a stronger force that could push us to not give up in our situation—that’s consistent hope and untiring love for the country and its men. If we’ll keep the burning hope and love, there’s no way but up. Out of those two intangible things, miracles can happen. If each of us has it, we ourselves will change our values, exploit our potentials and knowledge, decide wisely, and counter the vicious system we have. 

I say go for apartment over dormitory.

I opened my laptop to make a reflection paper on the article we were required to read but before I fully condition myself to be in a serious “writing mode”, I just like to share some daily thoughts with you–the apartment life.

It’s really hard to save money especially when you’re not used to budgeting your allowance to cover all the expenses of each day. I study in University of the Philippines Los Banos and I stay in an apartment inside the campus with my three diverse friends, diverse in terms of personality and perspective ;). But before I became one of the more-free-students here in LB,  I used to board and lodge at St. Therese Ladies’ Dormitory wherein curfew is early, restrictions are drowning, and management are sort of inconsiderate. My parents really placed me there to “keep me safe” and to ensure I’m under “good hands”. In the dorm, I got no worries about food, water, electricity bills, etc. We just had to pay a fixed certain amount for each month. Then, my parents just gave me allowance for each week’s other expenses–fare, photocopy, and merienda. It was easy budgeting my money then since there were just few things to consider. A big factor was that my 3 meals per day were already covered by the dorm’s monthly payment. And now, I’m proud to say that with sincere determination and temptation resistance, I am becoming thrifty! Hooray! haha. I usually buy what I want. My mother always tells me not be thrifty on food–that I should allot bigger amount for my daily meals as long as I buy the considered “complete meal”. But now, I’m challenged to find cheap but healthy and delicious food. I sort to finding alternatives though. Well I really should save for the following reasons: for future emergency needs, Maroon 5’s concert on September and Big Bang’s concert this October,  org expenses,  added expenses in the subjects, and of course to train me to be wise on money handling. 😉

Moreover, being able to stay in the apartment gives me the opportunity to prove to myself and my family that I can handle myself, in a more matured way. Though my parents are still always reminding, I have already developed this mind-set that I should take care of me and be responsible for my security and wellness. It’s like, no one should be more concern of me than myself so now, I take extra care of myself in all things. I felt growing up (figuratively). I felt that this is my chance to integrate everything I learned and gained ever since childhood to pre-adolescence. I even put into application the principle of “pakikisama and pakikisalamuha” (they are considered principles in my major subject, DEVC70: Interpersonal Communication). I leave with 3 others who already are my dorm mates in Therese and friends. Of course we have to adjust since we are on a new setting. It’s like we own this apartment and we have to manage everything just like we really own it. We also watch out for one another’s safety. We even give warnings or paalalas of the things we should do and not do. I enjoy it. Albeit the extra house chores to do and the extra effort to budget things, I am having fun. I like the way each of us grown in sensitivity and concern for one another and how this all new context matures us an individual. 😉

Ok. Students, parents, guardians, and all the possible concerned, the bottom line is that don’t be afraid to let your valued kiddos stay in an apartment just because you’re scared. Let the students grow. Let them learn. Trust them. And there’s no reason for you guys to be afraid or not trust your children if you know in yourself that you were able to instill them with values, principles, and guidelines for life. Give them the chance to learn from their own experience and not just from your experience. Theory is good but it’s best if they are put to application. Let us discover, explore, make mistakes and regain ourselves. In that way, we can also share our true to life stories with our future children. They’ll pick up something from them. We’ll guide them. Let them make their own experiences. And there. The cycle of growing up goes on. 😉

Not our friendship.

Sorry for bashing you. God knows how we value our friendship that’s why He didn’t allow things to get worse. Though still hurt, I am very much comforted and grateful by the fact the it’s not you who said those. I forgive your girlfriend because I love the people you love and I know you’ll be hurt to know there’s still a conflict between us. I forgive. But I can’t promise to forget.

Thank you for fighting for our friendship. Thank you for leaning on my side. And I’m sorry for not confirming things first. Because of what happened, I just trust you even more, I just valued our friendship even deeper.

Now, this post just expresses what I felt then. In case you already knew the initials, again, the person addressed in the post was not the one who bad-mouthed me. It’s someone else who tried to break our friendship.

Late. But still, here’s what I did last summer.

When I was a kid, I swear I had a very boring and lame summer. I oftenly just stayed at home, no playmates, no frequent swimming or out of towns. It’s because my parents were too busy at work that they didn’t have time to enjoy summer and they were strict to me that they didn’t allow me to go out without them or my older relatives around. But this 2012, that kind of summer ended. I went to a number of places and learned many things too.

I’ve been an office girl. Well, technically, not really an office girl but a volunteer assistant. I assisted my mom and brother at their office. Since my mother’s secretary resigned, they needed me to accomplish some things. Given that I am not an accounting graduate, I just did some clerical work–sorting, filing, and typing. My mom once in a while also sent me to the bank to do some transactions. Aside from that, I did some cleaning as well. Though it wasn’t my field, I enjoyed spending time at the office. I am thankful to learn some clerical work and of course I am very happy to help my mother and brother. From that short glimpse of office life, I learned to be more organized, energetic, careful, and witty. For sure, that short exposure may help me in my future work.

Shopping! Who does’t want that? Last academic year, I saved certain amount so I can shop this past summer. I am not a big fan of branded clothes and shoes. As long as it fits my style and it’s comfy, I go for it. I shopped at Alabang Town Center, Landmark, and Glorietta. I love the feeling when I shop using my own money. It’s fulfilling for me. It’s my own little way of helping my parents: not asking money from them. By the way, I used some of my earnings from my English tutorials for shopping. I work at Rarejob Philippines as an English tutor to Japanese students. I also just started my job last summer. As an English tutor, I don’t only earn money, I earn experience, gain additional skills in the English language, and discover and appreciate the culture, morals, and perspectives of my students.

Lastly, what made this summer extra special and fun are the places I visited: Zambales, Bicol, Quezon Province, and Batangas. First stop: Zambales. This trip was a birthday treat of my cousin at her 30th birthday. It was the first time my cousins and I went on a trip with no adults around. Asking for permission for the said trip was no joke. Even several of us are already at middle to late twenty’s, our parents were too scared to let us bring the cars and go to a far place alone. To cut the long story short, we succeeded at pleading. Our overnight stay at Crystal Beach Resort was awesome! The company we shared that night was incomparable. Second stop: Bicol. My mother’s native land is Bicol. We used to go there every year since I was a kid but we failed to do so for the last two years. This summer, we were able to go back because the Cathechists, a  group of church volunteers where my mother belongs to, planned to have their outing in the province. Even though there were only few teens present, I enjoyed my three days stay there because the people I was with were so excited and eager to tour. Adding to that positive vibes is the breezy weather, green surroundings and the impeccable beauty of Mayon Volcano. The places we visited in Bicol were Cagsawa ruins, Kawa-Kawa, Legaspi City, Hoyop-hoyopan cave, Ligao City, Camarines Sur Water Complex, and few churches which I forgot the name. I learned that having fun is not about going out with the people of your age or your choice, but seeing the fun and uniqueness of mingling with people you least expect to be with. Third stop: Lucban, Quezon. Television is the only way for me to see Pahiyas festival back then. Every time I see it on the screen, I just can’t help but be amazed by the array of colors and native decorations. But this summer, through my aunt, I was able to go to Lucban with her family. The heat was at the peak but the food in Quezon and the glam of Pahiyas were my payoff. Fourth and last stop: Batangas. My father’s dream is to have an animal and fruit farm when he retires. And now that he’s nearing to his retirement, they (my parents) are already for an ample land. We heard that in San Juan, Batangas, there are still cheap land so we checked on it. Luckily, my mother’s client has a farm there. We had a free tour in their farm and at some parts of Batangas as well. The farm and the other places I visited brought me a laid back feeling. They made me realized that we people still need to have a break from our busy world and take time appreciating the beauty of nature and culture and for me that’s the best way of spending summer.

Get a life.

My deemed best friend just fooled me, betrayed me, and took advantage of me. To a guy with the initials EJF. Fuck u. You used me. You used me when I was so vulnerable. You took advantage of my kindness. You just don’t know how I valued our friendship. After all, this is what you are going to repay me?! You’re an asshole. Do you think you;ll be happy?? Naaaah. With that kind of attitude? Where’s your manners? Your values? I couldn’t believe you even tried going to the seminary. Tama lang na lumabas ka dun. You don’t belong there. People so impure like you need true repentance.

Your girlfriend thinks that she is the luckiest girl in the world for having you. Pity her! You are the only one I’ve seen so ungrateful and pervert. I used to brag you cause I thought you were a true and loyal friend. Kaya nga tayo mag bestfriend diba. Ikaw pa nagsabi niyan. Then what, everything was a fake ever since or did you just change? Did that woman change you? True love should make a person grow better, you grew worse. I even prayed hard for you before and offered mass intention. I was there whenever you needed me. Then, this is what you repaid me. What?! You threw to my face that I am nothing; that I am a pitiful, weak, and gullible girl. Fuck you. Tuwang tuwa ka pa na nauto mo ko! Tuwang tuwa ka pa sa ginawa mo! Your laughing your ass out because you hurt the hell of me. You are an asshole not to appreciate me. I’ve been kind and helpful to all my friends, not only to you. Excuse me. Don’t assume that it was because “nahihibang ako sayo” kaya ako mabait and helpful sayo. I am just kind and helpful in nature. I don’t regret the good things I’ve done; what I regret is that YOU ARE UNWORTHY OF MY KINDNESS. I’ve given my wholehearted and sincere goodness to someone so ungrateful and immature. And hey, I’m not a bitch or a slut or a whore or whatever you want to call me. I was just girl then who had fallen head over heels for you, a fucking pervert and asshole. Sweetie, if I am nothing, what do you call yourself?? You more than nothing for saying to me that I am nothing. I make a lot of people happy. I make them feel loved. But you, your world revolves around your girlfriend. You can even turn down your friends for her. What the hell? Pag iniwan ka niya ano ka na? You’re so desperate and you blame everything to me. You’re too coward to accept that fact that you are an asshole. What you’ve done are the ways of an asshole. Your miserable for thinking that I am not over you and for saying that I’m just creating scenarios. I never created scenarios, those were what you did that you couldn’t even swallow to accept. FACE THE TRUTH. You’re so coward that you want to escape from you shitty acts and want them to hide from your girlfriend. The only solution in your mind is to escape from it by blaming me and hiding it from her. WHAT A COWARD. I’ve been a lot better after you left me. I’ve been far than ok even if you treated me as a trash. LOOK AT YOURSELF. Don’t pity me. PITY YOU. How dare you look me down like that. You have just become the person you were so afraid to be. Tssss. I don’t need someone like you. And I never wanted you to need me. I was just too kind to still help you then even after all. And now my kindness is killing you. The truth kills you and all you can do is to bounce it back to me because you’re a loser and too lame to accept that fact. And please don’t think I’m still not over you because I can remember everything that had happened. Of course I will remember everything! Those were the things that hurt me the most. Who the fuck can forget something so painful?? Are you even thinking? Not because I remember means I am not over. Think deeper dude. UP student ka pa naman. You’re too shallow.

You know what, you can’t bring me down. I don’t feel any less because of what you have said. I am way way better than you think I am, way way better. Not someone like you can bring down someone like me. How dare you belittle my identity. You just made me realize how little of a genuine person you are. Look ahead. You’ll face your consequences. You words and statements will find its way back to you. I don’t wanna wish you karma or curse you so bad in life because I’m not that pathetic. God sees everything and in God’s eyes, you can’t escape the truth. I wish you TRUE HAPPINESS AND PEACE. May your conscience let you sleep for what you have done to me and what you have said.

And oh. Thank you. T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U for leaving me. Thank you for not choosing me. Thank you for degrading my spirit. For the record, you failed honey. You just made me wiser and stronger. I don’t deserve a loser and pervert like you. Go get a life.