Fly the flag
Cruising along Commonwealth Avenue at 60 kilometers per hour, fortunate to be a passenger, I happened to chance upon a vendor holding several Philippine flags in his hand. It was a sharp reminder that June 12 was fast approaching and we needed to get one quick. My late father had always made it a point to have one in the garden on Independence Day and reminding my brother about it brought back fond memories of our home always being mistaken for a government office because of it.
Of the several responsibilities that we hold, one of the most important is our duty to teach ourselves, our families, our children, and our communities love of country. Lawyer Alexander Lacson wrote a book titled “12 little things that every Filipino can do to help our country” and it became a national bestseller for several reasons. One, he spoke about respect for people, the environment, and of the law. Two, our civic and our Christian duties as parents, members of the church, and as citizens. Three, of being walking ambassadors by always speaking well about the land of our birth. From my point of view, the last is meant not to acknowledge what is imperfect but encourage us to dwell and better appreciate the inherent beauty of the Philippines and capitalize on our strengths as a people.
With due respect to Lacson, please allow me to add to the number.
No. 13. Believe in your capacity to contribute by embellishing the positive qualities that set us apart.
Love for family. Of the many who leave to work abroad, when asked as to why, the immediate answer is to be of help to their parents, provide for their family’s needs and, if fortunate, invest in a possible future for their children. One foreigner on hearing this dished out one word that was an apt description and could even be on the same plane as selfless … noble. Anything can be endured, everything can be sacrificed, all for the love of family, unmindful of the price paid.
Being resourceful. Ang Pilipino ay “maabilidad at madiskarte.” These are two words that defy an English translation for there is none that can fully grasp its true meaning. Congenitally acquired, these qualities speak of our ability to create, most often in response to a deficiency, serving as the very impetus “to think out of the box,” in order to survive trying situations.
Capacity for empathy. We are blessed to inherently be a nation of compassionate people. If asked to name one inspiring act that got replicated many times over and one that proves that indifference is not in the vocabulary of a Filipino, it was the establishment of a community pantry through the efforts of Ana Patricia Non. Her selfless deed not only reawakened the bayanihan spirit but was a lesson on how one should live. Tweaking her words, “to give according to one’s ability and take according to one’s need,“ is how one can truly show love for neighbor by ensuring that there is enough to go around.
Recently, I had one of those soulful conversations with a dear friend who spoke about how her love for God, for country, and for her fellowmen has become more pronounced as she advances in age. While it is true that certain realizations come about from ”having been there and done that,” largely because of time, exposure, and experience; for her, those feelings are continuously nurtured from knowing that no one can truly love the country of our birth apart from us Filipinos. It should be the inspiration and the reminder that we should always do what’s best, what’s good, and what’s fair for all.
Today, June 12, I encourage all of us to pause and place our right hand over our hearts to honor our Philippine flag. Take time to honor the men and the women who fought valiantly for our freedom.
Happy Independence Day!