I can already hear the protests from the millions of Filipinos claiming Pinoy Pride.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the Philippines. No, I love the Philippines. There are so many things about this country that we could be proud of: the food, festivals, tradition, biodiversity, rich history, and pieces of paradise on many of the 7,107 islands.
But Pinoy Pride?
That, I don’t like, and that I don’t have.
Because Pinoy Pride nowadays meant claiming every single person on the international stage with Pinoy blood, even though they never even identified themselves as Filipino. “American Idol” alums Jasmine and Jessica what’s-their-faces ring a bell?
Because Pinoy Pride meant political dynasties and nepotism. His term is almost over, but come on, did anyone with half a brain actually think President NoyNoy Aquino had what it takes to turn the country around? He played the poor-boy-with-dead-parents card when he ran and people ate it up because this country runs on blind faith.
Because Pinoy Pride meant indignant reactions to every person who says anything remotely bad about the Philippines and its people, never mind the fact that at some level, those criticism actually turn out to be the truth that the Filipino people refused to admit. A website even made a list of foreigners declared persona non grata in the country. For the record, I found Alec Baldwin’s mail-order bride comment to be spot on. We see them everywhere in the malls. There’s even a place I call “hipon center” in Ayala Cebu simply because I see pokpoks meeting their DOMs there all the time.
I am not proud being a Filipino in the Philippines.
Because truth be told, Filipinos are an undisciplined bunch. People throw trash out their car windows, or on the streets even though there are trash cans a few feet over. They pee absolutely everywhere. The daily commute is a grind because people cut and shove. The cities smell of shit and urine, and rats and cockroaches don’t have the decency to even hide in the dark anymore. They think they own the cities because these places are THAT repulsive and repugnant.
Because truth be told, Filipinos are so afraid of change and openness that they censor absolutely everything. A Hollywood Film has tones of anti-Christianity or little love for the country? You can bet it will be banned from theaters. Witchcraft? Banned, of course! I remember a time the Church banned the first Harry Potter films because it “promotes witchcraft” only to recommend it later on because it is “about love and friendship and family.” Don’t even let me touch the fact that the Philippines is among the most dangerous countries for journalists.
Because truth be told, Filipinos are a conventional brood who lack ambition. Yes, there are those who work their asses off to provide for their family. There are those who work day and night to make their dreams come true. We even have a lot of rags-to-riches stories. But collectively? Collectively, people say “gusto ko umahon sa kahirapan, kaya bibili uli ako ng itataya para sa Lotto.”
Because truth be told, Filipinos are happy being stupid. Yes, there are thousands, even millions of very smart Filipinos. Unfortunately, their brilliance are overshadowed by the millions more who are happy being ignorant and silly and uneducated. This is actually very noticeable during the annual Metro Manila Film Festival. The past few years, films like “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “Tanging Ina” in their Nth Installments are still the ones that get most ticket sales. People just want to laugh to crude jokes and uneducated opinions. Do you even remember which serious, thought-provoking stories people went to see?
Because the truth is, Filipinos can have and deserve much better, but they either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t bother.
So, Pinoy Pride, anyone?