Amanda is a graduating student going into her final year in college. She just attended a seminar on preparing herself for the young professional life. She now sees the world without borders. Everybody is in fierce competition with one another, so each one should have the skills in order to thrive, survive and be at par with the best countries in the world.
She thinks that the Filipinos can stand up to the challenge. They have a strong work ethic as they value honesty, commitment and hard work. They are respectful, warm, friendly and hospitable to the people around them. They possess a deep sense of creativity and survivability. They manage to have courage and resilience when obstacles come their way.
But she couldn’t see this impact brought to the rest to the world. The Filipinos are being intimidated and called “monkeys”. They are being stereotyped as domestic helpers. They have even become a brand of a chocolate bar. She felt ashamed as a Filipino when the Manila hostage crisis happened.
Some of her countrymen see the current situation as a hopeless case and she couldn’t blame them for that. But she doesn’t want to lose hope. She saw reports of the country’s economic progress and its potential to be one of the strongest in the future. She hopes for a total change to happen. She looked at her watch and hurriedly headed home to prepare for the next day.
The next day came and she just finished her History class. She made an appointment with her professor Melissa Gubat for lunch. Miss Gubat was the teacher she admired. She wasn’t any ordinary history teacher. Unlike those who teach for the sake of duty, she teaches with passion. She takes heart every account of the country’s history and hopes to pass this on to her students.
Miss Gubat understood the sentiments Amanda talked to her. She suggested her to look at history in a new light. She suggested references to read about Philippine history and asked her insights on her next planned appointment. Amanda took note of them so that she could read them in her free time. From then on, she devoted all of her free time to finish the reading materials. Here was how her learning journey went.
She was amazed to learn how the country then was an advanced civilization before they were colonized. They were great and well-respected people. She also had a deep appreciation on why Lapu-Lapu had to fight against the colonizers. He didn’t fight because of simple resistance but because of the colonizers attacking the people.
She was emotional when she understood how the Spaniards discriminated the natives. She could feel their cruelty and oppression towards them. She learned of revolts made against them within that period and could only cry for every failed attempt. She admired every brave soul willing to give up his life for a cause greater than theirs.
She deeply appreciated Jose Rizal when she understood why he was deemed the country’s national hero. His great personal achievements and great contributions to the country point out to one purpose- to lift up the brown race from their inferiority. He sets himself as an example to inspire his fellowmen that they, too, can be great. She could now see that he died an honorable death.
She was in high spirits when she learned about the Philippine Revolution. She respected the heroes who fought with their lives in spite of using bolos to fight against the guns. When the Americans came to dethrone the Spaniards, she looked up to the heroes who fought the former until their last breath.
When the Americans ruled the country, she discovered that they even discriminated the Filipinos and nothing was done about it. When World War II came, she intensified her hate towards the Japanese as she remembered stories from her grandparents in this horrible event. She learned to pay tribute to the heroes who fought with valor during that time.
After the war, the country picks up the pieces in order to stand on its own. Though the view of Americans towards the Filipinos has changed, she felt something problematic. Instead of using this freedom to bring renewal and hope, it brought a string of events that lead to the country’s long-term devastation and damage.
She could feel the impact of the Martial Law through the stories from her parents. She felt refreshed when she learned of Ninoy Aquino’s courage and bravery in facing such dark time in the country’s history. She could feel his legacy brought out when his assassination lead to the People Power Revolution. She was awed by the people’s courage and bravery to bring democracy back to the country.
After days of reading, she asked herself if there could be a historic event next to the People Power Revolution. She reads of life after the Revolution but it seemed like it didn’t make any impact. The problems faced before are the same ones today. She was fully convinced that the country wasn’t totally free. It still looks up to their colonizers who did harm against them. Their historical amnesia has corrupted the people’s true identity. She could still see them as colonized- physically free but mentally enslaved.
The Filipinos today have become lazy, selfish, undisciplined, and most of all, racist and onion-skinned. They have become half-committed or procrastinating. Some would become gossipmongers, freebie hunters or social climbers. When it comes to national concerns, they become short-sighted or pessimistic. Worst of all, they have become unpatriotic.
She now sees the giant to be defeated, the self. It was from there that she decides to be a hero. She heard one man said that change can start from himself. She believes that if she can model the true Filipino, she can influence many to be the same. She hopes that the true Filipino will be manifested in the next generation. She was more than willing to die to herself in order to get rid of the enemy. She wants to fight for her Motherland and show the world her true worth.
She looks at the times and sees a wide opportunity for her to engage in the battle she’s entering. She eyes the current technologies as key to show the world what the Philippines is truly made of. It will be a long and grueling one, but it will be worth it once the goal is reached. Now, she is ready to set an appointment to her professor and express her thoughts.