A love letter to the Philippines
June 13, 2009 § Leave a comment
Ever since I was child, I never cared who you were. You were only talked about when we were in a classroom, during a subject called history. I don’t want to hurt you, but I think you’re aware that most of the children who appeared interested in you were actually interested in the grades their teachers would give them. You were never a subject during conversations with friends. Enthusiastically talking about your past was equal to giving a license to other children to call me insane.
After I left high school, there was a minimal change in my knowledge about you. I still hated history. I believed history was for lucky children who had the talent to almost eat the whole history book because of their memorization skill. I also dumbly believed in the adage “Past is past”. That was why I didn’t care about your history. I thought it was so irrelevant to the present moment and to my generation.
Getting to know you
But that was until I had read an article written by Mr. Ambeth Ocampo.
The article was about the Philippine history. Yes, my dear, your history. Mr. Ocampo has this talent of writing about your history without boring his readers. Reading his articles is just like gossiping about someone whose life is so interesting.
I started reading books that tell about the people who defended you from the foreigners who lusted over your beauty. In the beginning it was Spain. Then America came. Then Japan wanted you too. And who can blame them? You were (and still are) so seductive that no one could resist your temptation. Everyone would kill just to have you.
Eventually, I realized your past is not boring at all, and that your past is relevant to our present. Even some things that happened in your past still happen over and over.
The importance of knowing your loved one
I must tell you too that the more I gain knowledge about who you are, the more you appear so gorgeous to me.
My history teacher can explain this better. During the start of our class, he asked my girl classmate “Would you believe if he (a guy classmate) would say he loves you?”
Of course my classmate wouldn’t believe. Anyone wouldn’t. Remember, they barely know each other? Likewise, one cannot say he loves you if he doesn’t even know who you are, if he doesn’t know your past, your present or the future you were fighting for since hundreds of years ago.
Many Filipinos now join the “Pinoy pride” craze. This is a good thing, of course. I just hope they are not using your name, just to be “cool” or “in”. I just hope they really know who you are. Let Bob Ong remind them this: “Kung hindi mo alam kung sino ka, paano mo maipagmamalaki ang sarili mo?”
The country I will love most
Philippines, you are like a mother who unconditionally loves her children. No matter how much some of the Filipinos hate you, you still give us your water, your food, your land, your animals, your heroic people.
I might visit other countries in the next years. I might even love them, but at the end of the day I still know where I should be, which country I should love most. And that is you.