Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have been Filipino all my life and I thought I understood what, who and why Filipinos do the things we do and act the way we act. There are already many blogs discussing the ills of Philippine politics and I thought to myself, discussing them...will not solve anything.  The things happening to the country, the diaspora of the people, the political instability...all these I thought can be explained by the very nature of the Filipino.  A nature corrupted by years of colonialism and exploitation by Spain and United States (as well as the British and the Japanese occupations)...simple enough...or not?  So began my on-line research on the origins of the Filipino and to my consternation, the data I find tells me that what was taught when I was in school based on our Filipino history books were not completely accurate and some were eventually revealed as hoaxes!  For example, we were taught that the first Filipinos were the Negritos...well, surprise, surprise...not anymore.  I discover that the original Filipinos are actually Austronesian people specifically Taiwanese aborigines and that this fact is evidenced by a Stanford University study conducted during 2001 that revealed that Haplogroup 03-M122 (labeled as "Haplogroup L" in this study) is the most common Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup found among Filipinos. This particular haplogroup is also predominant among Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese. Another haplogroup, Haplogroup 01a-M119 (labeled as "Haplogroup H" in this study), is also found among Filipinos. The rates of Haplogroup O1a are highest among the Taiwanese aborigines and Chamic-speaking people.  Overall, the genetic frequencies found among Filipinos point to the Ami tribe of Taiwan as their nearest genetic ancestors. [1] These findings are consistent with the theory that ancestors of the Filipino people have originated on continental East or Southeast Asia before migrating to the Philippines via Taiwan (source: Wikipedia).  And this is just the beginning...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mabuting Pilipino

Last Thursday, I went together with family and some friends to a symposium featuring Live! Senators Nonoy Aquino and Mar Roxas. Earlier, we had a chance encounter with them at the Bishop's palace where my mom had a meeting, and had the opportunity to shake hands, exchange a few words and wished them luck. Anyway, this entry is not about them, or what they said or the questions thrown at them or their answers...I am writing about the song that was sung during the symposium by none other than its writer, Greenpeace supporter, activist, idealist and acoustic artist, Noel Cabangon. The song's message is straightforward and I'm sure hit home even for many people in the audience...people in yellow professing to be "good citizens" of the country. Listening to it made me remember what has been written before by Alex Lacson, author of the local bestseller, "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country". Here they are in summary -

1) Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.
2) Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt.
3) Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino.
(Or, at the most buy 50-50).
4) When you talk to others, especially foreigners speak positively about us and our country.
5) Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.
6) Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.
7) Support your church.
8) During elections, do your solemn duty.
9) Pay your employees well.
10) Pay your taxes.
11) Adopt a scholar or a poor child.
12) Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.

Simple enough?...but knowing how Filipinos living in the Philippines are...these "little things" are not as simple as it seems to be. This book was written in 2004 and by all accounts is a bestseller and is now on its 8th printing, due to many companies, schools, organizations and individual orders of the book. So if it is so popular, so widely read...what is the relevance of Noel Cabangon's AKO'Y ISANG MABUTING PILIPINO now? This time, the answer is simpler...because inspite of all the best efforts of people like Alex, Filipinos living in the Philippines are one of the most undisciplined group of people in...dare I say...the world! So undisciplined that a song like this needs to be sung in rallies and concerts for people to get the message... na kailangan natin maging mabuting Pilipino para sa ikauunlad ng bayan. The Marcos era was a time that brought the country to it's lowest point, so it is with a sense of irony that I recall the martial law slogan "Sa ikaaunlad ng bayan, Disiplina and kailangan" perhaps because this is the only statement of that era that I would give credence to...indeed to this day, disiplina ang kailangan! To Noel, I say...don't stop singing...sing it loud, sing it clear and I promise to help bring the message across. Mabuhay and Pilipinas!


Ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino
Minamahal ko ang Bayan ko
Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkunin
Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin

Tumatawid ako sa tamang tawiran
Sumasakay ako sa tamang sakayan
Pumipila at hindi nakikipag-unahan
At ‘di ako pasiga-siga sa lansangan.

Nagbaba at nagsasakay ako sa tamang sakayan
‘di na makahambalang parang walang pakiaalam.
Pinagbibigyan Kong mga tumatawid sa kalsada
Humihinto ako kapag ang ilaw ay pula.

‘pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino
Minamahal ko ang bayan ko
Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin
Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin

‘Di ako nagongotong o nagbibigay ng lagay

Ticket lamang ang tinatangap kung binibigay

Ako’y nakatayo dun mismo sa kanto
At ‘di nagtatago sa ilalim ng puno.

‘Di ako nagkakalat ng Basura sa lansangan.
‘di bumubuga nga usok ang aking sasakyan
Inaayos kong mga kalat sa basurahan
Inaalagan ko ang ating kapaligiran

‘Pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino
Minamahal ko ang bayan ko
Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin
Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin

Lagi akong nakikinig sa aking mga magulang
Kaya’t pag-aaral ay aking pinagbubutihan
‘di ako gumagamit ng bawal na gamot.
O kaya’y tumatambay at sa eskwela’y di pumapasok.

Pinagtatangol ko ang aking karangalan
‘pagkat ito lamang ang tangi kong kayamanan
‘di ko binabenta ang aking kinabukasan
Ang boto ko’y aking pinahahalagahan.

‘pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino
Minamahal ko ang bayan ko
tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin
Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin
Ako ilang tapat at totoong lingkod ng bayan
Pabor o lagay ay ‘di ko pinapayagan
Tapat ang serbisyo ko sa mamamayaan
Di ko binubulsa ang pera ng Bayan

Pinagtatangol ko ang mamamayang Pilipino
Mga karapatan nila’y kinikilala ko
Ginagalang ko ang aking kapwa tao
Pinaglalaban Kong ang Dangal ng bayan ko.

‘pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino
Minamahal ko ang bayan ko
Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin
Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin.

Pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino

Pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino

Ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino
Minamahal ko ang bayan ko
Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin
Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin
Pagkat ako’y ilang mabuting Pilipino

Panatang makabayan
Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas
Ito ang lupang sinilangan
Ito ang tahanan ng aking lahi
Ako’y tkanyang kinukopkop
At tinutulungan upang maging malakas
Maligaya, at kapakipakinabang
Bilang ganti diringin ko
Ang payo ng aking mga magulang
Sunsundin ko ang mga tungkulin ang aking paaralan
Tutuparin ko ang mga tungkulin
Ng isang mamamayng makabayan
Paglilingkuran ko ang aking bayan
Ang walang pagiimbot at buong katapan
Sisikapin ko maging isang tunay na Pilipino
Sa isip sa salita at sa gawa

Saturday, October 3, 2009

raison d'ĂȘtre

Yesterday I was having a really interesting discussion with some people about the state of the nation...or more specifically, the state of the Filipino people. You could say that this conversation is the inspiration for this new blog...although for the longest time now I have been mulling the idea of writing about the many things on the Philippines that interest me...specifically, it's history, it's culture and it's no, that short talk is not entirely the reason, but it sort of got me going because one of them, a Scot, said something really interesting. He apologetically called it "being nasty" but I think he was just being very observant. He said that the Filipinos instead of absorbing the good values of our colonizers, learned their bad habits instead. So that these learned aberrations met at the middle and produced the present day Filipino culture. That statement made a lot of sense to me...we have become a people who have no concept of national identity, no sense of accountability for the future of our country. We lack of direction, discipline and unity...this last calamity, the epic flooding caused by Typhoon Ondoy had glaringly shown this lack. It was pure chaos! Rescue efforts were uncoordinated...each and every agency from the NGO's, the government, the media were moving on their own...and the NDCC (National Disaster Coordinating Council) which was the lead agency supposedly coordinating the whole thing suddenly became just one of those agencies helping out. Why is that? Why are we so polarized as a people? Why have we become like this? What happened to us? As the days go by...I will attempt to answer that. God help me!