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    HAPPY NEW YEAR!  HAPPY THREE KINGS! As we are now in 2019, new year, new beginnings, new challenges and  new opportunities.  Everyone is entitled to make their new year’s resolution for as long as they keep it in mind and make sure that they do it to the best of their ability.  When I was young [...]

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Page added on May 26, 2012

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Pinoy Insights – Juan Masipag

By Romeo Montoya

“Pinoy ako!” is a catchphrase that Filipinos use to express that we are proud of our heritage – that we are simply happy and contented being a Filipino.

When the Puerto Princesa Underground River was declared as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, Filipinos were beaming with pride. Every time Manny Pacquiao punches his way to the international boxing ring, it seems like forever for every Filipino talking, tweeting or posting on Facebook about it. Even up to now, Filipinos have never forgotten how Lea Salonga as Kim in the musical Miss Saigon has made a mark and opened the doors in Broadway for Filipino talents. These are Pinoy achievements that cannot be ignored. They are just too easy to appreciate because they are outright beautiful. They are proofs of Philippine victory. They are testimonies that despite being a third-world country (a pejorative I would call it), the Philippines owns some of the most beautiful places and attractions on earth, that it is the home of some of the biggest talents in the world.

At the end of the day, though, we want to be appreciated for who we are. It is that Filipino character that we want to be known all over the world. It was not surprising at all, but I was still very proud to see, that the Philippines ranked as eighth world’s friendliest country in one of Forbes 2012 lists. Canadians, Americans, Africans, Koreans that I know would always tell me that Filipinos are some of the nicest people they have met. Some of them have visited our country, and they would profess that the most beautiful thing about the Philippines is its people. We are very helpful, most especially to expats, they would say. That is FILIPINO HOSPITALITY, I would tell them. They said they never had a hard time assimilating into our community – That we gladly give them directions, even to the point of accompanying or driving them to their destinations. They also think we always wear those big smiles, which bring them to another Filipino trait – HARDWORKING.

One of the best compliments I have personally heard about Filipinos is that we have work ethics. Such compliment is beyond being told that Filipinos are intelligent because we could easily learn new tasks. It sounds even more beautiful than being tagged as professional workers since many of us are actually doctors, engineers or university professors back home. I would prefer it to being complimented for not complaining about work or for not refusing to work overtime. Yes, we do complain but not over little matters like one-time extra 15 minutes in the office for some extra paperwork.

Now, is there anything about being a Filipino that is shameful, disgraceful or embarrassing at all? I cannot think of anything. That there are tons of corrupt Philippine government officials with some of them being past presidents is a reality that is not uncommon not only in Asia but also in Africa, Europe or even America. Yes, the Philippines is still one of those countries with very high corruption rate, but this should not speak of the Philippines as a nation of dishonest people. It is human nature to focus on the negative characteristics of a person or community, and so I firmly believe that majority or even 99 percent of Filipinos are indeed honest people. Juan tamad, crab mentality, ningas cogon and mañana habit are just some the Filipino mentality they said. They were actually listed on our civic and culture books in elementary, I remember. Now, I realize how discriminating we can be against our own kind, but I think that in every country there is a Juan tamad or someone with crab mentality. When you are willing to work beyond the scope of your job without extra compensation is far from being Juan tamad. When your boss recognizes the extra effort that you exert, and later promotes you or gives you a raise while others start hating on you for the favors that you get, it is not you having the crab mentality. The food you usually eat, the clothes you are ought to wear, and the way you address the elders often speak of your race or ethnicity. The way you deal with others, the way you treat your friends and family, the way you take care of your possessions, and the way you make yourself accountable to your environment speak not of your ethnicity but of your personality.

While an extortionist at a Philippine airport surely does make a bad impression on our country, we can consider it as an opportunity to show to others that Filipinos are actually a community of good and honest people. Let us not dwell on such one ugly incident and finally stop our habit of saying, “Nakakahiya talaga ang mga Pinoy!” Instead, become the responsible person. That will surely give a lasting good impression.


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