By the time I had come across the site, there were 140 comments made on that article, most of which followed the template "I am proud to be Filipino because [enter quaint platitude here]." Me being averse to following templates, I simply couldn't resist putting in my two cents on the matter which as it turns out, was more a request for a bit of clarification on the matter of some of the terminology used in the issuing said challenge (apologies in advance for the dodgy writing as the comment was posted in a rush)...
We all want to be "proud" to be "Filipino". But I've got a couple of questions that, perhaps will help us reflect on what exactly it is we are claiming to be "proud" of:
(1) What exactly does the "Filipino" STAND for. What specifically does being Filipino mean? Do we stand collectively for an IDEA that defines us? For that matter, what is it exactly that defines us?
(2) What SPECIFICALLY are we supposed to be proud of? Is there some kind of COLLECTIVE achievement that can be attributed to Filipinos AS A PEOPLE? Sure there are lots of great INDIVIDUAL Filipinos. But is there something that can be attributed to our COLLECTIVE character -- an ACHIEVEMENT, say, at a NATIONAL or SOCIETAL *macro* level that can be truly attributed to us AS A COLLECTIVE?
Perhaps many Filams seek to somehow rub off much of the success they have achieved in the U.S. on the rest of Filipinos who are languishing in wretchedness back in the motherland. But then I believe that much that was achieved by Filams were achieved DESPITE being Filipino rather than BECAUSE they are of Filipino descent. The U.S. is a great nation that brings out the best of people who embrace what it has to offer. In contrast, it seems the Philippines fails to harvest the talent that abounds in Filipinos who live within its borders. Perhaps it can be said that Filipinos have a better chance of achieving great things when they are AWAY from their country and governed by a foreign society rather than all together in a country they call their own governed by their own people.
That, for me is the REALITY of the Filipino Condition.
Any schmoe can wear a shirt bearing the flag of the Philippines and shout to high heavens how "proud" he is. But to be OBJECTIVELY and CONVINCINGLY proud of something demands more than just an expression of said pride. Pride in a nation requires that said pride be SUBSTANTIATED by REAL evidence of ACHIEVEMENT.
What have Filipinos AS A PEOPLE *achieved*?
That is the REAL question that we need to ask ourselves.
For some quick answers on the question of what exactly the Filipino stands for, look no further. This is me, benign0, after all. And I have written about this paradoxical question a long time ago which blogger Rom Sedona had been kind enough to cite here.