Thank God I’m a FILIPINO in Thoughts, Words & Actions
(Published in KERYGMA September 2015 available in www.KerygmaBooks.com)
There is a story about a mother and baby Camel I’d like to share with you. One day the baby camel ask her mom if she can ask questions and the mother agreed.
Baby: Mommy, why do we have long eyelashes?
Mommy: Son, we have long eyelashes to protect us from sandstorms.
Baby: Ahhh! Wonderful! How about our legs, why is it long?
Mommy: We have long legs so that we can withstand our journey in the desert.
Baby: Ahhh! Awesome! Lastly, Mom why do we have humps in our backs?
Mommy: We have humps in our backs because they serve as our food storage to sustain us in our long travel in the desert.
Baby: Ahhh! Amazing! We have extra food in our backs. Wow! Thank you Mom for answering my questions. I am just wondering… why are we stuck here in the Zoo?
This is one of my favorite stories and every time I share this it makes me laugh and it also makes me reflect at the same time. I am blessed as a Filipino and I have so much in me but do I use this to reach my full capacity to make my country proud of me? Or am I still locked up in my prison of smallness, mediocrity and victimhood.
How about you, do you see your being Filipino as a blessing or as a burden? Are you also trapped in a mindset that our country won’t be able to rise from its current challenges as a nation?
“Once in a while, we hear some negative comments about the Filipino and our country. But the Filipino cannot be defined by the mistakes of a few. The Filipinos are higher and greater than that. God has a beautiful story for us as a people.” – Alex Lacson
Happy Independence Day to all Filipinos! You may agree or not but this is what I firmly believe in my heart: Every time we wake up we are given an opportunity to experience life to the fullest. To proclaim our freedom not just for ourselves but also for our fellow Filipinos here and abroad. When we live a life with meaning and purpose we give permission to our fellow Kababayans to do the same with their lives. We celebrate our being Filipinos no matter what, because nothing can change the truth that we were born Pinoys. It is also our way of giving back to our ancestors who sacrificed their lives for the sake our motherland.
This is also a shout out to our many Kababayans who are spread around the world that their presence overseas is a unique gift and a mission even if they are not in the Philippines. Their identity, influence, inspiration and impact to make a difference is a very valuable contribution wherever they may be.
FILIPINOS are H.O.T.
Our lives as Filipinos are full of colors and adventures, day in and day out and this is an invitation to rediscover how it is to be a FILIPINO nowadays. Since we are in a tropical country there are only 2 kinds of weather: Hot or Cold. What we need right now is not just to be cool and complacent about the concerns that our country faces. Instead let us always be H.O.T. We need to be Honest as we accept the realities in us and around us, we need to be Open for growth and improvement and finally, we need to be Tenacious as Filipinos for us to move forward and achieve our dreams not just for ourselves but also for our country.
From our awareness of who we are comes our responsibility to be a FILIPINO not just by name but to live it in every aspect of our lives. Ako ay PILIPINO sa ISIP (THOUGHTS), sa SALITA (WORDS) at sa GAWA (ACTIONS).
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
When you type in the word FILIPINO or PHILIPPINES in the Internet you will get all sorts of views. It’s either positive or negative. Some are inspiring and others are depressing. You even see social media status that Filipinos attacked each other and speak badly about our country and all of these affects our thinking as a Filipino. Whatever that we put in our mind everyday shapes our mindset such as the book the we read, the movies or tv shows we watch, and the people we hang out.
You are given a choice to think good or bad and just like the tale of the Cherokee Legend on the battle against two wolves who lives in each one of us. The one we feed is the one who will win. Who will you feed in your life journey as a Filipino: Your negativity or the positivity mindset? You always have a choice on what you will focus on in your life. CHOOSE TO BE THANKFUL. SEE THE BEAUTY AND GOODNESS IN EVERY FILIPINO. THINK AND DREAM FOR OUR COUNTRY ONCE AGAIN.
I remember a story of a man who sells crabs along the street and he has 3 containers and each has a different kind of crab: American Crabs with with lid, European Crabs with lid and finally FILIPINO Crabs WITHOUT LID. One customer asked the vendor on how come the other two has a lid in their containers while the FILIPINO Crabs does not have? The vendor replied because the Filipinos no longer need a lid because they pull one another down once someone is up.
One way to think pinoy is to fight the CRAB MENTALITY mindset and culture we have instead of being jealous of the success of others why not we make them our inspiration and model so that we can aspire to be more. Our competitions are not our fellow Filipinos, we compete and challenge ourselves to be better and not bitter.
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” – Proverbs 18:21
Have you heard these lines before from our fellow Filipinos?
“Hay naku! Hindi na talaga aasenso ang Pilipinas.”
“Bwiset na mga Kurakot yan! Kawawa naman ang Pinas.”
“Mabigyan lang ako ng VISA iiwan ko na ang bansang ito. Goodbye Philippines.”
And the list goes on and on. You hear these comments & complaints about how hopeless and helpless our country is. This has become a pandemic to think and feel badly about the Philippines. Thus, we hear a lot of Filipinos who wanted to escape & go somewhere else as if it’s like a game and our boat is sinking most are calling already to abandon this ship called Pilipinas.
What you express is what you expect and what you expect is what you expand in your life. Let us not badmouth our own country & fellow Filipinos most especially in front of other nationalities. We are all ambassadors of our nation and every word we say affects how they see the Philippines. Are the words that comes out of your mouth takes away life to our reputation as Filipinos or it gives life and prestige for us?
Our Pledge to our country (Panatang Makabayan) is a positive declaration of how we should speak about our country and even if we are no longer attending schools it’s good to be reminded by its meaning once again.
I love the Philippines,
the land of my birth,
The home of my people,
it protects me and helps me
To become strong, hardworking and honorable.
Because I love the Philippines,
I will heed the counsel of my parents,
I will obey the rules of my school,
I will perform the duties of a patriotic citizen,
Serving, studying, and praying faithfully.
I will offer my life, dreams, successes
To the Philippine nation.
“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” – Matthew 5:13-16
Decide now not just to think and speak positively about our country but make ways to make a difference in your own special way. It need not to be grand but at least do something to contribute for the betterment of our nation. What can you do and contribute for this country?
And If you are still looking around for ideas or for real people who are making things happen for our country then allow me to name a few and be inspired by their works:
1. Brother Bo Sanchez was once a poor missionary but now he was able to transition to becoming a Millionaire Missionary as a family man and he does this to raise for funds for his growing ministries for the poor and to raise a new generation of Filipinos who are Truly Rich not in just with money but in every aspect of their life.
2. Illiac Diaz is a social entrepreneur who makes business enterprises that is not just profit oriented but it is sustainable, environment friendly and it empowers the community not to be independent but to be able to stand on their own.
3. Dra.Josette Biyo left the comforts of her teaching profession to teach in a far-away public school school in a rural province. Later on she was given a rare recognition by the world’s famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S.A. by giving naming after her a small and newly discovered planet “Biyo”.
In my life, there was one episode that I almost gave up on our country for greener pasture. I have lost my hope for the Philippines but thank God, He gave me a ‘Holy Discontent’ to stay and serve our country and as of writing, I don’t have regrets with my decision to bless our country as a Missionary, Author and Life Coach. I Thank God that I am a FILIPINO! I am BLESSED and I’m a BLESSING!
Finally, let me leave you with this story. In 1957 a group of monks needed to relocate a giant clay Buddha statue from their temple to a new location, since their monastery was being relocated to make room for a highway through Bangkok. When the crane lifted the massive idol, the weight of it was so tremendous that it began to crack. The head monk, who was concerned about damaging the sacred Buddha, decided to lower the statue back to the ground and cover it with a large canvas tarp to protect it from the coming rain.
Later that evening the monk went to check on the Buddha statue. He shined his flashlight under the tarp to see if the Buddha was staying dry and noticed a gleam of light shining through the crack in the clay. As he took a closer look, he wondered if there might be something underneath the clay. He ran to wake the other monks. With a chisel and hammer in hand, the monks began to carefully chip away the thick clay from the Buddha. As they knocked off shards of clay, the little gleam grew brighter and bigger. After hours of chiseling, the monks stepped back and stared in awe at the sight before them. There, in front of the monks, stood a solid gold Buddha.
Historians believe the Buddha had been covered with clay by Thai monks several hundred years earlier. After realizing their country would soon be attacked by the Burmese army, these monks covered their precious golden Buddha with an outer covering of clay in order to keep their treasure from being looted by the Burmese. Unfortunately, all of the monks were killed in the attack, but their well-kept secret of the golden Buddha remained intact until its discovery in 1957.
This story serves as powerful reminder for all of us as a Filipino nation that there is a golden treasure in each one of us that is covered with mud of insecurities, unworthiness and the wrong image we have created or others have created about us. And today God is breaking through us once again. Let us dig deeper within us to rediscover the greatness and giftedness He has given. It’s not meant to be kept or to be hidden but it is His calling for us to ADD FLAVOR here on earth and let us SHINE His light in order to bring glory not just for our country but also most especially for our God Almighty.
JC Libiran is a Life Coach and the Author of Byahe ni JUAN: Life Lessons I Learned from Riding a Jeepney. His life mission statement is “To inspire and empower people to achieve their success and significance.” Let him hear your thoughts & ideas. Connect with him through CoachJCLibiran@gmail.com