Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why I Love My Country - The Philippines

While an opinion can shape the esteem of any person, it can also deform one's honor when given out without restraint. I do not have control over what other people may believe in, but I can definitely rouse to demonstrate. My husband and I have much insight to share, especially to our son. Since he is still quite young he may not be able to take in everything in one go. Hence, as we move along, we opted to gradually enlighten him as early as now and allow him to pop us some questions he may not understand. So that when he comes of age, with all things said and done and no spared room for more questions, it will just be his bout to share his testimony. He may readily listen to our many ethical instructions now, but in the end, with rectitude as his utmost foundation, emulating the admirable deeds of his parents will be my greatest consolation.

It can also be calming to know that our son is aware of what we, his parents, stand for as regard for our country. I know now that I love my country - The Philippines. No amount of theories alone bolstered my understanding and adoration for my homeland. It was culminated by my series of childhood and adulthood experiences, and was reinforced by what I've seen, read and heard. My fervor for my country is so profound, with much dignity and pride, I am determined to always let our son appreciate its worth and equip him of my sentiments, so he will be able to carry on that same awareness to the next generations to come. 

Even though people from all walks of life vary in opinions, what matter most are the truths and lessons learned from them, moreover, the conviction of taking part in doing something positive out of them. Many may disagree, and others may find some negative reports as turn-offs. To me though, I consider  my observations invigorating, in turn, have constantly impacted me with great moral sense.

Quite honestly though, my fervor for my homeland did not happen overnight. I qualify it more of a painstakingly slow, yet, convincingly steady process. No child is borne with inherent ardor for his/her country. Love for country, as I gradually realized, has to absolutely be admonished, comprehended, and most of all, nurtured constantly to the children of future generation. For the most part, parents play a noble and vital role as teachers of it. A noble teacher therefore, is the one who mirrors himself/herself as an epitome to his homeland. I didn't experience most of these fundamental techniques, but my longing for independence may have paved the way.

Which brings me down to my main objective of apprising our son of love for country. Philippine History, when taken into its full context, can leave devastating setbacks to children of minor ages.  I therefore should be more discreet in disclosing information as this to our son. What I needed to do therefore, to reinforce our son's appreciation and zeal on such a homeland as ours, is to allow our son to learn the way his parents  did. Simply put, help him to focus on the following two main pionts: 1). Treasure the external beauty of the country, and 2). Follow suit on the internal beauty of its people that care about it deeply. 

I am fifth among the six children in our family. Being in that kind of framework limited my authority to select, hence, had always succumbed myself to the jurisdiction of my elders. Now that we only have a son, it is our call of duty to him to develop that sense dignity in himself to balance power and humility.

As opposed to way back then, when computers were not known yet and were still out of reach, getting affirmations from other fellow Filipinos were quite expensive and taxing. Good thing too, my husband is a computer expert, the internet has become my virtual library. Extracting attestations from a handful of people from all over the world through the web is quick and effortless. Vital facts of variety of topics can now be drawn in an instant.

Because of this, and just to ensure that I am not flimflamming on our son, I googled on the subject in order to extract adequate reasonable comparisons, and figure out level of consciousness for the Philippines. I was just expecting a few thousands from some Filipinos with the same stance as mine. Much to my pleasant surprise, I got a staggering 219 million plus results, and counting, from various comments, blogs, articles and videos professing that same conviction as I have.  As I have only randomly read some articles and watched few videos, I was already immediately convinced. That headcount of 219 million plus is substantial enough for me to join the bandwagon.

I come from parents with elaborate cultural descendants. My paternal ancestries are entirely from Pampanga province and my father basically grew up in his hometown in Arayat until his adulthood. My mother's ancestries are combinations of Bulacan and Bicol provinces. However, she was fully orphaned at just the age of seven, and forcefully lived under the care of her maternal aunt and siblings in Manila until her adulthood. Despite these rich cultural backgrounds, I was born in Manila and brought up within Metro Manila by my parents. My father, though very much accustomed to his roots, very rarely brought us back to Pampanga for a vacation, even for just a brief visit. Moreover, because of past circumstances, my mother didn't have much of the chance to introduce us to her lineage. As a result, I came of age adapting mainly the Manila culture.

I grew up in my toddler years with my paternal grandmother whom we call as "Mamang". Life with Mamang was pretty much intense and restricted. The four corners of our 2-bedroom apartment, with no toys and playmates around, were my only haven and playground. Which was why, even as early as 4 years old, I already yearned for freedom. Although there were hardly any chances, I have ceaselessly tried to find a way to get out of my shell. Until one time, when I was 4, despite Mamang's strong disapproval, my persistence made her to finally let me go to Iloilo with my paternal uncle's common-law wife.

I had tremendous childhood limitations, but my intense desire to know and quest for answers never stopped me from building my dreams. It took me quite a long while before I had to achieve that dream though. But for the time being, I had to make do of the minimal resources at hand, and survived in life exuberantly. I may have met many challenges along the way, but all have been my motivations, to create opportunities for myself instead, have that positive perspective in life, and look at success more differently. And now, I am all the more relishing in the prestige I am already reaping, together with my own family.

My first experience of leisure was when I was four on that brief stay in Iloilo. It was very much exhilarating and momentous. Lifestyle in Manila was nothing quite compared to it. Ways of life in Iloilo were so simple, spared from the guiles of the urban city. Every day to me was literally and figuratively a smell and breath of fresh air. Our foods were mostly fresh-fresh livestock, poultry, carabao milk and native chicken eggs right from my aunt's very own backyard. I felt peaceful hearing the roosters simultaneously crowing at dawn and the sounds of the crickets at night. It was also my first glimpse of the colorful butterflies, grasshoppers and dragonflies during the day, and watching intently on the fireflies glooming at night, by the bedroom window of our nipa hut. I was not yet going to school then, so I had much of the time for myself, mostly playing until dusk with the genuinely friendly children in the neighborhood and the public school nearby. 

My journey in Iloilo was the beginning of my thirst for freedom. Subconsciously, my desire to embark was slowly building up inside of me. Not long after my stay in Iloilo, my siblings and I joined our parents in Vietnam for more than a year or so. Although there was civil war going on in some regions in Vietnam in the 70s, to me, it was my ultimate sense of "liberation" from Mamang.  

Having been married to a Filipino husband who is steadfast and resilient is a blessing too. He comes from a large kin. He is fourth among the nine children in his family. He grew up in a humble town of Rapu-rapu, Albay, in the province of Bicol. He was named after his late father. As diligent, decent, scrupulous, and prayerful as his father was, my husband's traits quite resemble his. Having my husband around allowed me to regularly put my acts in check with our son. This kind of setting made it a lot easier for our son to adjust and did not have to learn the hard way as I did. He'll just need to adapt to what is fitting to any kind of environment. 

To add to my advantage, my siblings and I married Filipino spouses of diverse cultures. This eventually paved the way for us to explore some of the 7,107 islands of our country, and our son can now enjoy the rich culture we all embody

My approach to adventure before was to travel many parts of the country. After a long wait for my moment to come, without dilly-dallying on that rare priceless break, however chances I may have had, I have visited as many regions in the Philippines as I could. To date, I have already ventured places quite considerably, and have returned in some places at least twice or so. Despite my travels, I sensed there were something still lacking, I wish to go back, if necessary, over and over. Now that I have my own family, travelling can be more fun and meaningful when I do more of that with them.

Of all the destinations I have reached, the landmarks I have seen were typically distinct because of their history, geographic location, and breathtaking sceneries. One of which are still existing old churches constructed during the Spanish Colony way back in the early 1500s. These edifices not only are remarkable in structures, but they also symbolize the breakthrough of Christianity to my country. We can find many of the churches all over parts of the lands, but the ones I saw quite breathtaking are in Ilocos and Visayas Regions. Other religions were introduced to my country way back years before Christianity. Arabs and Chinese traded resources with the Philippines, and most emigrated in Mindanao Island and introduced Islam and Buddhism. Ancestral homes dating back Spanish and American eras, are still preserved and upright in Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Laguna, Bataan and Cavite.

All the more stimulating and mind-boggling are one of God's finest gifts - the alpine mountains of Cordillera, Cagayan and Bicol Regions. Intricate landscapes of the hills and valleys are imminent displays of Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Visayas Regions. The fascinating spectacle of all active and dormant volcanoes remind us of past events they unfolded. The comforting reverberations of the undefiled waterfalls I have seen are mostly in Cordillera, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Visayas Regions. The grandiose complex caves and natural tunnels are plentiful in Cordillera, Cagayan, Mimaropa and Visayas Regions. The pristine white sand beaches, sandbars and small bodies of waters are all over Luzon and Visayas Islands. Lastly, the preserved mountainous and coastal territories of the country are sanctuaries to the forest and marine animals. I have yet to see many parts of Mindanao Island though. If time and opportunity permit, I will. Meantime, It's best to just settle on seeing this equally beauteous island through pictures shared on the net.

Combinations of these magnificent mountains, caves, waterfalls and beaches can be seen particularly throughout Palawan. As attested in April 2012 being one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the World, the underground river in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, is to die for. As my husband's 46th birthday treat for me, my family and I had the chance to visit Palawan for the fourth time. It may seem quite ironic, but it never ceases to enliven me as if each visit was only my first time. 

In addition, in the recent poll of 2011, being chosen the second best beach destination in the world and the No. 1 in Asia for 2 consecutive years, according to travel website TripAdvisor, can be seen in my country, that is the 4.5-mile long Boracay Island of Aklan Province. 

Equally fine white sand beaches, majestic mountains and islands are abundant in the Philippines. Some have become frequent destinations and settings for the popular reality TV show "Survivor" franchises of Europe. I am proud to say also, that Survivor US chose Philippines as their next plot this fall of 2012 entitled "Survivor Philippines". And all the more exciting, Manila was single-handedly chosen as the main plot by the Producers of the action-packed american movie "Bourne Legacy" shown in August 2012. Philippine Economy, I believe, is now beginning to emerge from its deep slumber.

The lists of admirable destinations in the Philippines go on and on. Appreciation of physical beauty of my country is immeasurable. The rest of recognition is welcome for those who have not seen it yet and wish to come again and again.

Much is being said about the natural physical charm of my country. Many tourists come and go and consistently flatter us with words about it. I am almost convinced! On second thought, is it just the physical appeal or are there more to it than meet the eyes? The essence, I believe, has no actual secrets, but merely honorable people genuinely typifying it. In the entire places I've gone to over the years, only one thing I see common in most Filipinos, which brings me to my second main point, people with innate exemplary traits. Since I represent the same country, it makes me all the more proud to be a Filipino.

Philippines is indeed fascinating, and in it are people that complement it. Way back countless thousands of years ago, Philippines had no unifying political state encompassing the whole 7,107 islands as one sovereign country. These islands were so divided among competing native rulers as datus, rajahs, or sultans. History showed that Philippines experienced diverse cultural crossroads, where Malays, Arabs, Chinese, Spaniards, Americans, Japanese and its other neighboring countries, have interacted to forge a unique cultural and racial blend to my country. From diverse cultures lead off to 175 official and auxiliary dialects combined. Although each provinces have distinct sub-languages (dialects), Filipinos have embodied a unified exceptional traits.

Patriotic

Patriotism is not a fad nor an uncontrolled outburst of emotion, but an aftermath of powerful historic event that marked a peaceful and steady dedication of a lifetime. A certain leader of a country may become great for his notable contributions, but a country is made great because of the loyalty and togetherness of its people.  

"Filipino Pride', as patrioteers commonly put it, but for some who have opposing views of the term find it more condescending. A trait that is quite different from the norm but is always very likely among Filipino achievers. Although it's never been imposed as an obligation, but Filipinos all over the world choose to own that responsibility of returning the gratitude and honor to their homeland.

One best example would be when Filipinos around the world have achieved quite considerable amount of notable accomplishments, they always have the habit of giving the credit to their country. Moreover, with the aid of today's technology on the net, Filipinos everywhere tend to reconnect and reunite online in support to their present fellow Filipino go-getters. 

I believe this kind of passion was brought about by our yearn for freedom and longing to have that unique identity. Come to think of it though, this kind of passion that we Filipinos embody is already unique in itself. 

History was never my favorite subject; it was my initial notion of just being interested in physical attractiveness and momentary euphoria. The significance of my awareness and convictions were all untapped and in my subconscious. Or maybe yet, I was too afraid to actually know and relive the underlying truth of History, and how it may affect me personally. Until I became a wife, a mom, and a woman of substance, everything seemed to  unravel and gradually take shape. God has reasons to everything that happens in the world, be it great or small. Overtime, I have finally learned to understand them now. Reasons, therefore, is how God comforts and delivers us, effecting life as being more delightful, and most importantly, returning the favor by making a difference in the life of others.

USA, China, Europe and Arab nations have all one thing in common, huge, in many sense of the word. For one, all have invaded my country and have been influential to shaping the character of every Filipinos today. Secondly, these nations are huge in their land areas. The size of their country commensurate their population, enough to outnumber and topple down the abilities of the ones smaller than theirs, like mine. Thirdly, these countries have huge resources that were put to good use to boost their own economy. My homeland has also its equally rich natural resources, but I have yet to see all Filipinos revel on them. These were possibly the reasons why many Filipinos chose to suffer in silence for many thousands of years. Even until now, Filipinos remain to pick up the pieces over and over.

Nonetheless, our wartime heroes and Filipinos from all walks of life have constantly mimicked the clear-cut value of self-worth, never entertained inferiority and self-doubt. They have constantly risen in the midst of adversities. They fought the best way they knew then, even until now. Even when it meant giving up their lives, still, they did not choose bloodshed as their option  for their independence . They fought not with their fists, but with their reasons. 

Dr. Jose Rizal, 19th century hero, and Benigno Aquino, Jr., modern day hero, are epitomes of no nonsense and valiant characters. "Philippines is worth dying for", that was what they both said. And so, as both hung on to their faith, did not die in vain reasoning with our dictators to make a change for our country. They both bravely gave their lives inspiring fellow Filipinos, so that those who live shall remember, be challenged, pass down to the many next generations the good lessons, and they themselves can be an inspiration to others. These selfless acts paved the way for many Filipino pathfinders all over the world today, to gain enough justifications to keep going, enjoy life and never cease on empowering others. My heroes' death made a lot of sense to me now, value time and know that we have so much to live for. Indeed it is true, Philippines is worth living for.


When I attended a four-day seminar for SMEs in late 2011, not only have I learned about technical management of a business, but the four(4) successful Chinese-Filipino businessmen/speakers have given me more of spiritual gratification and fervor for my country.  Although these speakers are apparently Chinese but eventually got permanent residency, and succeeded in their respective businesses in the Philippines, they were all fired up and their esteems personify that of a pure Filipino. 

I was hesitant to ask each of these speakers why they still chose to stay in the Philippines, when China is now emerging, leading in Asia and booming in its economy. I am sure every Filipino audiences were curious to know, but no one dared to ask why. Even then, as if these speakers read my mind, but they consistently said that they love Philippines and their utmost desire is to share the knowledge to fellow Filipinos. All these four speakers admitted as if it is their very own, but they said they did it because this is the country that adopted them. If these Chinese men openly admitted they love my country, then undoubtedly, all the more I should, as choosing my homeland as their very own is priceless.

There is one more uplifting revelation that is also worth noting. While most Filipinos speak in English fluently, foreign countries as China, South Korea, Russia and Japan, took the liberty and much interest in our own dominant native language which is Filipino. In fact, they went to the extent of even establishing a Filipino Language training school in their own country. How cool is that?! Odd as it may seem, but when asked why, they were quite elated and certain to say that they adore Philippines and are willing to go the extra mile to learn Philippine culture. Although most of the students attending the training have not visited my country just yet, but it was how their mentors/teachers described Philippines and its diverse culture, that motivated them to learn and see for themselves.

Another case in point, unknown to many, China invested substantial amount of money for Chinese schools and education in the Philippines. They sponsor and train many Filipinos to be brought back to China in the future, to serve as mentors to Chinese children. On the contrary, my homeland being frugal and financially challenged, has not invested even a single peso for these said countries I mentioned previously, to establish a Filipino subject in their respective cities. The actions of these foreign countries were purely voluntary that was solely impressed by Filipinos' demeanor to their own homeland, the act that is contagious, effortless yet genuine. 

If other countries feel these sense of loyalty and zeal for my country, then, all the more, I should make myself apparent to my many foreign friends, fellow-countrymen and my family.


Patient and Enduring

Many misconstrue Filipino patience as complacency. Patience is in fact a virtue, and all Filipino achievers I know, past and present, with their own life story to tell, commonly made clear patience as the key and their virtue. All defined patience as someone who is unwavering, but rests in God's perfect will and timing, and sees all challenges as his/her groundwork. Patience is further developed and strengthened, even in the face of mishaps. I can see why most Filipinos have these unique qualities because of this belief that is fortified by their past experiences. 

I thought Philippines was totally liberated in the late 19th Century, or so I thought. As I put it, being free from all vicious dictators for over two centuries now, should have already shown concrete remarkable success of my country by now. Yet I saw little progress in my country's economy and remains to pick up the pieces. I felt that my country will go nowhere. These thoughts of mine lingered for a while, I was beginning to feel a little frustrated. Until one fateful night, before the summer break of 2012, I was helping our son in his Sibika at Kultura subject, and the topic was about the profiles and accomplishments of all Philippine Presidents during their tenures. As I was reading my son's textbook, one specific pressing information dawned on me, the Philippine Independence. It came as a surprise to me that Philippines was  liberated from the Americans only in 1946. If others felt that that year was too long ago, in my opinion, it was not that ancient. I was very much dumbfounded, I had to prove that what I read from my son's textbook was accurate. So I researched further and compared facts on articles regarding "Philippine Independence". All articles supported my query, and as a result of course, I was disheartened by my ignorance.

United States of America, again, is one precise example of a country that had endured many centuries of struggles before it attained a powerful position it is in now. It suffered atrocious wars against the Europeans for many centuries, and even almost a decade more of battles when USA declared its independence from the British in 1776. After its independence, civil wars and conflicts followed due to ethnic criticisms in the North and slavery in the South. Overall, beginning from its discovery in 1492, more than five(5) centuries have gone by, of exterior and interior bloodshed, and gradual economic and social reformations had to take place before USA became a powerful sovereign nation. 

According to the 2011 world statistics, the age-mortality of every person in the world is around 62 years old. Of more than five centuries of restructuring USA therefore meant passing more than eight grueling generations in order to achieve its glory. Abraham Lincoln was already the 16th president when the whole of USA got united. But it took them 148 years more and 28 more presidents to recognize equality with black americans, and allow black american president like Barack Obama to sit in office. America is a melting pot due to so many emigrants, yet is "United" as a country.

My homeland has been colonized for many centuries. Even when the Americans seemingly have granted Philippines its independence in 1946, it still came with numerous strings attached. Thus, my country remained succumbed to the jurisdictions of the US dictatorship. Moreover, after our independence, Philippines still was faced with enormous challenges from unscrupulous local dictators and various natural calamities. Although I can now gradually see favorable changes in my country's economic condition because of the backbone of my present leader, complacency and greed may lead to my country's downfall again. We therefore need to be more aspiring, vigilant, optimistic, and forthright as our present leader. Together, with one goal in mind, seeing my county soar is not that far-fetched. Despite all this, which what makes me so determined as well, one fine quality generally all Filipinos have, as I intend to increase awareness to our son and for him to emulate it, is that virtue of not losing hope. 

My country may scarcely be reaping its fruits today, but I am still hopeful in prayer. Moreover, when one squander on senseless bickering and blaming, time wears out for nothing. Time is of the essence here. Filipinos need to finally put their minds and acts together through productive brainstorming, earnest collaborative responses, and contribute to conscientious and consistent efforts. In time, I know it will bear much fruit. We were once the greatest nation in Asia, I believe we can still be. No amount of bigotry can ever put down the esteem and dictate the destiny of the Filipino people, wherever they may be in the whole world. 

I was tagged by many as a patient woman. The truth is, my patience was neither acquired overnight, nor  passed on or inherited. Clueless to some, I almost gave up at some point, but I'd rather choose to be unperturbed by my limitations and challenges, than be bullied by an immature unhappy and resentful person. Even when opportunities were hard to come by, that was the best time for me to create one for myself, as I have done when I was still four years old. Nothing deterred me from being focused in reaching my destination ahead. All the more, it helped me brush-off all winding roads along the way. I can not pass on or bestow these abilities to our son, but I can definitely inspire him to be one. 

Bottom line, anyone who opts shortcuts to success can be prone to a clear cataclysmic downfall. But a steady way up through the steps will likely become of a patient and enduring person, whose competence to success cannot be deterred lightly. 

Some may find my comparison to USA being unfair since it is huge in all. I guess not, but knowing that can be calming too. It only means that my country doesn't have to agonize that far because my homeland is smaller in size. Which leads me to see my country in place of other small Asian nations as mine and with stable and strong economy as Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. All these literally small Asian nations were able to stabilize their economic standpoint in only a span of 30 years, more or less. Therefore, my best consolation would be is nearness to possibility, making my country great again is no longer that far-fetched.

I envisage now that my country can become great again. But making a powerful  nation takes time, and of course, resilience brought about by patience, dedication and concerted effort of its faithful people.


Happy, Welcoming and Endearing

How can anyone be so happy when he/she is surrounded with blighted hope? The answer, I believe, is faith. This I have to thank my European, American, Asian and Arabian ancestors, who introduced God Whom my hope now clings to. Without faith I am nothing.

I have seen and witnessed these innate qualities in many Filipinos with my own eyes. Most of these qualities are evident among those living in the provinces. I have always noticed that their simplicity has kept them all well-grounded. These are also why I married my husband. I love going back to the Bicol region. People there, despite the outlook of their humble abodes, are always smiling, friendly, humble and welcoming.

People from the Ilocos Region also put that to a test. My sisters and I had the chance to see that for ourselves in our brother-in-law's hometown, when we, together with other parties, 9 in all, went to visit their hometown in Ilocos Norte in late 1990s. It was quite rainy then, we all enjoyed the trip nonetheless, thinking that the rain will die down soon enough. However, rain intensified later that week, we were unaware that a strong storm was actually coming in our direction. The tornado resulted to paralyzing all main thoroughfares in the region that thwarted our trip back home, got us stranded in a desolated place somewhere in Ilocos Sur in the middle of the week. 

All 9 of us were packed in an SUV, waited for hours to figure out what to do next. But as the storm grew stronger, fear and frustrations slowly crept on us. A good Samaritan, a native from the nearby town, saw us, approached and offered timely his home for us to stay until the storm calmed down. 

The house of the Good Samaritan appeared rustic and musty, but he and his family exuded a very welcoming aura. They treated and served us like valuable guests in a 5-star hotel. In fact, they've consistently served us breakfast, lunch and dinner all throughout the duration of our stay. They constantly declined each time we paid them back for all the favors they gave. As a form of our appreciation, we instead filled their kitchen with groceries before we left their home. 

These kinds of quality are apparent in every provinces. The locals are consistently friendly, especially with tourists or out-of-towners and back-packers. Many visitants corroborated my personal experiences in my domestic travels.

Hardworking, Adaptable, Creative and Talented

A patient man is tantamount to being a hard worker. Creative and talented Filipinos, through hard work, have put my country in a better place. These are where Filipinos excel the most, being the best in what they do. Some are learned workers by mere observations only. Filipinos are versatile, willing to learn and able to do things at hand. These qualities are so much like my husband too. My better half, who is a licensed Mechanical Engineer and Computer crackerjack, is also a handyman of sort. He can do plumbing, carpentry, and be an electrician all at the same time. Have I mentioned too that he can invent or re-invent a machinery or any gadget?

These are also warranted by many of our Filipino go-getters that are recognized around the world. We have these Executive Chef of the White House, actors and artists of "Miss Saigon", most talented kid in the world as discovered by Oprah Winfrey and David Foster, lead singer of the Journey band, world champion in boxing, world champion choirs, world renowned fashion models and fashion designers, beauty queens, eloquent speakers, cartoonists, professionals, skilled workers and many more. 

Other More Innate Qualities

The first four main qualities are just some of the finest qualities Filipinos are generally blessed with. Unknown to many, Filipinos have other fine qualities they embody. They are risk takers as well. They see failure as not being it, but they only mean not having succeeded yet. 

Filipino families are also very closely knit. The success of one relative is the success of the rest of the family members. My country, being closely knit, may have contributed to the steady low suicidal rates due to its strong moral and spiritual support systems. Morbid as it may seem, I searched the fact for my own contentment, my country ranked only 90 in the recent 2011 list of top 100 suicidal rates worldwide, only having 1993 as its record high.

In summary...

Life begins at 40, so they say, but now that I am in my 40s, I couldn't agree more. I thought I have already known so much to live for, but when I reached 40, I realized I still am a work in progress. No wonder life begins at 40!

Apart from my extended families, friends, mentors, as well as oppressors, my husband and son have been instrumental to my whole well-being. As opposed to what I perceived my life having no directions then, all encounters turned out to be as greatly rewarding now. It is true, as God has promised, that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. Therefore, no amount of words could ever express how grateful and appreciative I am of them. Most especially, give back the glory to God and thank Him for all His greatest teachings. 

Because I have finally seen the key to a genuine understanding, I have learned to be more tolerant of my country. Like I said before, it is not polished, like I am, it is still a work in progress. But the thing that one can be assured of, I will never forget nor abandon my country and my roots. Instead, all the more I will cherish them and pray for them, and strive to make a difference however way I can. Many of our heroes died defending for our country. Filipinos today do not have to go through that same process. We just need to relive their experiences, and make their dreams come to life. After all, they died so that all of us can live.  

To our son, apart from constantly letting him know that we love him, it is our sense of duty to make him always know that his parents love the Philippines, this we promise. This way, our son, his children and his children's children, will never doubt even the slightest tinge in their minds, but instead, to carry on living their lives to the fullest to make their country a better place. The future generations truly deserve it all in all.



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