Watching the news a couple of nights ago, I realized once again that I come from a country of resilient, resourceful people. With many of the classrooms still under waist-deep water to remind us of typhoons Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma), teachers in Laguna came up with creative solutions to push through with their lessons. Billiard halls, garages, and even their own backyards and homes were cleaned and transformed into makeshift classrooms.
As cities remain flooded, the traditional banca (rowboat) has taken to the streets. Alongside it are pedicabs (bicycles with a passenger cab) attached to inflated tire interiors to make them work the way pedal boats do.
Just last week, farmers attempting to salvage their crops headed for the fields, which seemed to look more like the Pacific Ocean, on board bamboo rafts and boats. Finding their crops completely submerged, they made like pearl divers and did the harvesting while holding their breath underwater.
While these scenes should have left me feeling sorry–if not horrified–for my country, I felt a surge of pride instead. True, we are a country of workers who leave the humble comforts of our homes to clean yours. Yes, many of us spend some time away from their families to help you care for yours, in exchange for a chance to experience “the good life” where “the grass is greener.” Even those who have managed to stay make their living providing customer care for companies overseas. Still, I’m glad that despite the derogatory remarks directed at Filipinos from time to time, our desire to rise above adversities coming our way is fueled like never before. If there’s one thing Pinoy-bashing has done for us, it’s to help us keep our focus on our goals–no matter how difficult.
I reserve judgment on those who take pleasure in posting hate comments not just on Filipinos but on other ethnicities as well. I couldn’t care less about the motivations behind these convictions. Rather than exchanging hostilities, I choose to celebrate the good in Pinoy culture, as having the bad side with the good is universal and not at all limited to a single person or nation. I laud the common Juan for his creativity and positive outlook. After all, there are very few people who can smile and wave at the news camera as they sit huddled on a rescue raft with only the clothes on their back to call their own.