You guys all know just how badly I complain about the Philippines.
Parts of the country are dusty and dirty.
When it rains, it really pours and floods. Infrastructure is bad that medium amounts of rain create temporary swimming pools in a subdivision. This week’s rain successfully flooded 60% of Metro Manila. Here’s a few reasons why.
And the locals try to fleece foreigners as much as they can. Who’s never boarded an airport taxi only to find themselves overcharged?
However, in the midst of my bitching about my own country, I don’t want to discount the fact that I am still proud to be a Filipino.
To cite an example, just today, while driving to the office, our driver wasn’t able to see an uncovered street hole, and we drove right into it.
The front-wheel fit perfectly and was stuck.
My mom and I groaned. We were stuck!
In a mere seconds that we came down the car, a taxi driver parked his car on the side, the driver from the car behind us, and a passerby came closer.
They quickly observed the damage.
“Drive your car in reverse,” the taxi driver ordered our driver.
Our driver did this while the three pulled up the car from the hole.
After saving us, they went back to the car, and they went on their merry way with a thousand thanks from us.
Sure, we were holding up the traffic, and hence, it was to their best interest to help, but mind you, they didn’t really need to help.
And yet they did.
And this is what foreigners don’t really understand about the Philippines.
Despite all the bad things happening in the Philippines, Filipinos still have that unspoken camaraderie of helping each other out, regardless of any immediate benefit to them.
It’s what we call Bayanihan. In English, this word is defined as Communal Work. Wikipedia defines it as “a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective.”
No matter where you are, and what dilemma you are in, more often than not, when in the Philippines or when dealing with Filipinos overseas, total strangers are more than willing to give you a helping hand without anything in return.
This is quite different from many other cultures. Does anyone still remember of the news of a 2-year old kid being ran over by a car but is ignored by bystanders? I DO!
And that is one thing about being Filipino.
How many times have I been upgraded when I meet an airport check-in attendant who is Filipino? Or given special concessions in a five-star hotel because the receptionist is Pinoy? Or given some freebies in a supermarket in Hawaii because the cashier is Filipino?
Meeting a fellow Filipino abroad is always a joy.
They are always very happy to see you, and you cannot return the feeling.
And that’s one of the best things about being Filipino.
No matter what you do, or where you are, meet a fellow Filipino, and more often than not, they will be willing to lend you a helping hand. As if you’re part of a special club.
And maybe it is a special club, being Pinoy. 🙂
Have a great weekend ahead!