I’m an American and where the stereotypical American is often portrayed as dressed in the colors of our flag and shouting, “USA! USA!” all of the time, I’ve never been that American. My feeling of pride for my country is much more mellow and careful.
I’ve read in a number of places that if anything can be said to be holding back the Philippines, it would be the country’s lack of a “national identity”, the feeling of belonging to one nation.
When a country consists of thousands of islands as the Philippines does, each island or group of islands tends toward it’s own problems, cultural distinctions and desires for the future. It’s difficult to unite so many disparate needs, wants, cultures and opinions into a national identity. Part of this is also the number of Filipinos who work abroad. Millions of Filipinos must feel their sense of “being Filipino” diluted through experiencing other cultures and other ways of life.
It sounds logical but then how do you explain economic, governmental and even criminal activity in the Philippines grinding to a halt when Manny Pacquiao fights? No American boxer has seemingly stopped time with a boxing match.
How do you explain the public embrace in the Philippines of an U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who became the Director of the White house medical staff and the personal physician of Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush? Well, Eleanor Mariano was born in Cavite to a Filipina mother you see…
How do you explain the wild reactions of Filipinos when songbird Charice is promoted by Oprah Winfrey as The Most Talented Girl In The World or when she appears on the American show Glee?
It’s Filipino pride.
Filipino pride is an amazing thing. It can slap down someone who insults the country by shooting off his mouth. It can organize a charity walk in Dubai to help heal cities hit by a typhoon. It can rally around a 16-year old American girl who is half-Filipino and half-Mexican.
And it’s contagious. As the spouse or significant-other of a Filipino, you’ll find yourself gravitating to the support of Filipinos in the popular media and those who serve in all walks of life in whatever country you live in.
Manny Pacquiao photo is © inboundpass and Charice photo is © Dhonsky357 and used under Creative Commons license. Dr. Eleanor Mariano photo is in the public domain and reused from Wikimedia Commons.