I love this country
Let me say it: I love this country.
I love that there are still public servants who are sincere and genuine in fulfilling their duties as elected officials. I love how our fellow Filipinos try to make a difference by going to the precinct polls, no matter how far, just to cast their votes for the candidates they think they deserve. I love it when our countrymen refuse to sell their votes, because they have so much to begin with.
I love how our leaders continue to take advantage of the people, their skills and abilities to produce businessmen and professionals who will help build a better nation by paying their taxes truthfully. I love how this country produced thousands of leaders after Typhoon “Yolanda/Haiyan” devastated parts of the Visayas. I love how Filipinos have realized the importance of mangroves along coastlines, which saved hundreds of lives from the deadly storm surges unleashed by Yolanda. I love how natural calamities make Filipinos aware of the extreme effects of climate change and push them to implement measures to protect themselves and the environment.
I love how our taxes fuel the education sector by giving deserving students the opportunity to obtain a college diploma from state universities. I love how ordinary Filipino workers serve as the screws of the economy. I love that we are still a proud and strong race. I love that we are servants of our country. I love that we have brave souls like nurses, caregivers and domestic workers. I love that we want to work hard so we can have a better future.
I love the Filipino way of life. I love riding in the cramped trains in Manila that are filled with dreamers like me. I love to stand in a bus, especially after I had offered my seat to an elderly, pregnant, or physically disabled person.
I love being in the company of my loved ones as we endure endless traffic. I love making detours and seeing the inner city when roads are under repair. I love engaging in domestic travel, even if I have to pay more, because it boosts local tourism. I love to go to the wonderful places this country has to offer even if the traveling conditions are less than ideal.
I love that people know there are other places in the Philippines aside from Metro Manila. I love that there is a continuous promotion of the must-visit places in the country. I love the products of love who are added to the growing population. I love that people from the provinces are being recognized as contributors in the improvement of the economy. I love that privileged students from top universities have ideas on what life in the provinces is, because they come from one.
I love those Filipinos who are generous to street children begging for food. I love to see children selling sampaguita garlands near churches on Sundays. I love how many of our countrymen help in building Gawad Kalinga houses. I love that there’s an emergence of doctors as leader-managers who serve as driving force and building blocks of the healthcare system.
I love that we have become more supportive of pre-evacuation plans, more alert in times of disasters, and more aware of the importance of zero casualty. I love how we have learned our lesson that we need to save our lives before anything else. I love how the social media are used as platforms to voice and call for reforms in the government and for the quick dissemination of public information.
I love that I continue to meet brilliant Filipinos who choose to stay in the country because they want to share their skills and talents in developing a better way of life for their fellow Filipinos. I love it when mothers and fathers who need to work abroad take pains to explain to their children the reasons for their temporary absence. I love it when these parents, the country’s modern-day heroes, come home for good to resume family life, having saved enough for themselves and their loved ones.
There are so many things I love. I love the food, the fiestas, the flora and fauna, and most of all, I love it when my family and relatives tell me to never quit. I love it that I don’t need to entertain the thought of leaving this country. I love the possibility that I can help make this country a better place to live in.
I love it that I have found words of inspiration and motivation to stay and fight for this country from fellow Filipino youths. I love meeting foreign volunteers and exchange students who fell in love with the Philippines and its people. I love it that as each year passes, I find myself more and more inspired to help in nation-building. I love how I developed my strong idealism after being exposed to realities after graduating in college.
I love that the small and simple efforts I make can slowly change and inspire other people to do the same thing.
There will be so much change if we love instead of hate. Let us tell good stories of Filipinos and the Philippines. Let us start a purposive campaign of nation-building; it doesn’t have to be big. Let us develop people’s collaborative abilities. Let us strive to be the best with others. Let us be an inspiration to one another.
Finally, we can say it to ourselves: We love believing that there is still so much hope for this country to turn around. To quote from “Hunger Games”: Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear.
Billy A. Chan, 21, of Legazpi, Albay, is in his first year as an MD-MPA student at Bicol University College of Medicine.