Ah, there is hope

Ah, there is hope

12:30 AM May 10, 2024

I have never meant to look for bad news. It permeates our surroundings, making it nearly impossible to escape without deliberately deceiving oneself into believing it does not exist.

From the outset, it is important to clarify that I am excluding billionaires and multi-millionaires when I say “Filipino people” in this article. Their financial circumstances shield them from the day-to-day adversities that afflict most Filipinos. When I mention “the people”, I refer to 80-90% of the population. When I talk about poverty, I mean the 50% who constantly rate themselves as poor.

The stark inequality in the distribution of wealth and opportunities can subtly bias observers against the elite minority. That is why I would rather exclude them when I saw “the people.” They are always exceptions to the daily struggles faced by the majority, unaffected by issues such as landlessness, homelessness, food affordability and availability, electricity and gas expenses, clothing, school fees and supplies for their children, transportation costs, and heavy medical expenses.

Therefore, let us temporarily set aside the affluent without animosity or bias but with an objectivity that necessitates their distinct categorization from the rest of the Filipino populace. By doing so, we can more accurately generalize when addressing the prevalent everyday concerns that impact our lives. And, after all, I endeavor to provide insightful essays on a weekly basis, not an exhaustive term paper or a doctoral thesis.


Amidst the deluge of bad news, it is challenging for many individuals to maintain a positive outlook towards life and others. The human mind has natural defensive mechanisms in place. Numerous social and medical experts categorize probable responses to persistent hardship into two primary responses – to confront challenges head-on or to retreat, to face issues directly or take diversionary pathways – including escaping into a realm of fantasy.

Reality limits the flights of fantasy. Physical needs and the instinct to survive force us to eventually return from escapism. Accepting meager earnings is preferable to enduring hunger, and enduring occasional hunger is better than starvation. We strive to make the best of harsh circumstances by doing what we know how to do – know, work, work, almost mindlessly.

A few among us are more entrepreneurial than most. This innate talent and determination drive them to establish small businesses like sari-sari stores. Others naturally gravitate to online selling of anything from clothes to native delicacies. These individuals exemplify natural business acumen. They thrive amidst their surroundings and rise as successful entrepreneurs within their communities. Unfortunately, they only represent a small percentage.

Admittedly, I have often looked for the good news among the upper layers of society. I know enough how a few control and own so much; it’s only logical to see them as the drivers of progress, of innovation, of technology, or arts and culture. They have the power, the wealth, and the knowledge to lead well, to lead bravely, to lead with vision, to be the heroes of their people – but did not. They have grand potential, but they also have an almost insurmountable wall called self-interest that they can hardly breach..


Instead, I have been rescued from near despair by scrounging through social media and discovered there is a phenomenon that is overtaking it. Yes, there is still a mass of inanity and great numbers following the trends set by trolls paid by budol kings and queens. However, inanity and a numbed intellect eventually have to be challenged by the intuitive goodness and intelligence of humanity. From the cesspool are emerging points of light, lotuses in the pond, swans from the ugly ducklings.

Something unexpected is happening. It is like a drizzle after months of heat and drought. And it is happening inside the giant platforms we have long blamed as responsible for the proliferation or inanity and disinformation, like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube, I am seeing something that reminds me of Leni’s campaign in 2022, when the youth suddenly erupted from nowhere to inject dynamism and hope in the rallies and house-to-house campaigns nearing Election Day.


For many years, trolls and mercenaries in the digital space have choked facts, twisted truths, and even revised history. We know where they were coming from but, combined with a bloody drug war, it did not seem safe to question those in power. Disinformation cannot be a national threat to our society unless the powerful control the narrative.

Recently, however, I have noticed something different being born in the social media space. It is light, it is noble, it is generous – so opposite from the dark world of political propaganda and trolls. It is not yet dominant but it definitely is making noise, the kind that good news makes.

I am referring to the emergence of non-political vloggers going viral to share stories of hope, of courage, of people who are down but not out and rising again to try once more, of many others who are inspired by them and end up as followers in huge numbers. I see vlogs from the most simple of people, from the very young to the very poor, who now focus on Filipinos helping Filipinos in distress.

There is also a lot of money moving around, from vlogs that are monetized by social media platforms, and much of this money is going to those who really need them, especially individuals who are able to get the attention of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. It is as though the ordinary and the poor are finding new pathways to life their lives, or finding just as ordinary Filipinos who are able to help them in a big way.

There are now many Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube personalities earning money but they are not from the billionaire and multi-millionaire class. Compared to the awesome wealth of the Filipino rich and powerful, the earnings of the vlogs are small. But they are drawing a lot of attention and spreading a lot of good will.

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Ah, there is hope.

TAGS: opinion

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