What Are We Filipinos Like?

Manila – We Filipinos are famous for being hospitable. Sadly, we are also major-league nitpickers so “hospitality” can sometimes mean “spit” and “hostility.” The Philippines, Pearl of the Orient Seas, a gathering of 7,107 fiesta island (when it’s low tide) – the nation symbolized by the Three Stars and The Sun – is…strange. The Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists in Indonesia want to live in Mindanao. The people of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon want to live in Manila. And the people of Manila want to live in America. We Filipinos have no racial discrimination. But there are those of us who, when we see white (Caucasians), we see green ($$$!). But then again, some of us are really color-blind, like that fellow who painted the National Museum a ghastly yellow. We Filipinos say, “We would rather die than become a U.S. colony!” Americans say, “And who on earth told you we want you, hmm?” We Filipinos love music. We express ourselves by singing, so much so that “Birthday parties” now means videooke and Red Horse beer ‘til the sun rises. Ask us, “Hey, what about the people who want to go to sleep but can’t because you’re too noisy?” We’d answer you, “What about them?” Naturally, we have public sound systems in our park. An American friend asked me why Rizal Park – the national park of the Philippines – always play American music. I said that’s because the first Filipino who wins a Grammy Award will become President. This partly explains why there are rumors flying around that IBO Junior Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will run for President. (A note about Manny: we Filipinos love him but we don’t trust the people around him – the politicians who are using him for media mileage and his advisers who tell him to sign two contracts simultaneously.) At the same time, we Filipinos hate silence. That’s why we have radios even in libraries. I remember finishing Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code at the National Library with Guy Sebastian’s “Angels Brought Me Here” in the background. I’m writing this at the Manila City Library, and the song is “Desert Moon” by Styx.

National Museum of the Philippines photo courtesy of Travel.Yahoo.com