THEME: “Change, I want To See Begins With Me: Becoming the New Filipino”
“Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead.”
My courtesy to the Honorable Board of Judges, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good day to everyone!!!
Change they say is the only constant thing on earth. Much has been heard around the world about a battle cry raised against the administration of a workplace, against the educational system or against the government. . And there has been only one similar plea … to have CHANGE in the system. People long for change because they want to start anew. Particularly, for the labor sector for example , to raise their standard of living. .for the youth sector, to enjoy a more quality education, to have freedom on everything they need, and for the women in the community, to attain gender equality, for the masses, to eradicate poverty, and for an ordinary citizen, to have a peaceful living.
But what is change really? Is it something personal? Yes.! It must start from within. If we long to change the world into a better one, make it a point, aim high and follow your dreams. Sound idealistic? No. It’s simple. Great things come from humble and small beginnings.. Remember that old, old cliché? Absolutely, we must always start from the fist step in the ladder. Some coin it as a joke “ there is no short cut to heaven.” So what is important is that, you must only believe in yourselves as I mentioned earlier, try to follow where your aspirations may lead you. If you can’t reach them, just look at the beauty of such aspirations. If you find it hard to reach your dreams , change the way you look at them. In short, think positive!!
As a youth, I want to see myself way ahead as a successful career individual with much higher hope to change not only my life but others as well. After all we are destined to live for others too. God created us for others’ existence. Biblically, once God felt lonely and alone and decided to create Adam. And when he saw Adam lonely, He created Eve out of his concern and sensitivity to Adam’s need to have a companion in life. See? God himself has wanted us to live happily with others. That significant event alone has taught us to care for others and that makes life worth and meaningful. As a social being, it has been a fact that “no man is an island.” I myself has been longing for a change for a better life, and I believe it must start from me and I must be like a stone thrown into a still water to create a rippling effect to others.
Change therefore is not a word per se that will just multiply and happen in an instant without any driving force from within ourselves. It depends on our motives to see how Philippines will become more progressive socially, morally, economically and spiritually. No matter how we cry out loud to eradicate poverty, social unrest and political turmoil , if we have the wrong motives, change is impossible. Yes, it’s hard to change if we are resistant to it. But if we are determined to foster it, we must also alter our principles, our ideals, ourselves. We can make and unmake men by trying to be an example to them and that will eventually create a peaceful and better Philippines if not a better world.
Furthermore, what is change for? An alteration for a better one? A change for becoming a new individual? Try to ponder upon the metamorphosis of a butterfly. The gradual change from a slow creeping scary worm into a beautiful multi- colored winged creature truly gives us a clear picture what is change for. We want freedom like a butterfly who is not destined to stay forever in its cocoon. We hope to spread our wings and explore and look for a more comfortable life like a butterfly looking for the sweetest nectar it has never tasted all its life.
Hence, change connotes freedom, peace and abundance in life. If we long for that kind of life, we better vary our outlooks. Certainly, the once selfish individual can possibly turn into a selfless one, the egoistic into a socially and civic oriented citizen, the peace wrecker into a peaceful loving one, the proud into a humble person and the violent into a non- violent citizen. These are but a few examples of changes that will be made possible if we mean what we really want to say and say what we really want to mean. Personally, I am inspired by a line from a song that goes , “when I see you smile, I can change the world.” If we want to be happy, make others happy too. So now , we come to know what is change for? After all life is short. So we must accept the challenge just like me. You’re hoping to become a better Filipino? Start to make a change and take a step forward. Good day once again!
REDISCOVERING FILIPINO VALUES
Entry to the “2nd Voice of the Youth National Oratorical Competition”THEME: Rediscovering Filipino Values: I See, I Act, I Advocate
Title: “Valuing Filipino Values”
A passenger in a bus one day, complained about the mess of not having offered a seat. “Good values are gone nowadays,” she murmured. This is but one observable scenario in this fast changing world. People come and go…work, work, work, .busy.. busy ..busy… No time to reflect, no time to notice other people’s needs, no time for sensing other’s concerns, and worst even sometimes, no time for God.
Isn’t this alarming? Well, the answer is a resounding yes! A biting reality! Try to retrospect in the olden times when Filipinos had a very strong spirits of nationalism and patriotism in which everyone used to sing the Philippine National Anthem with ardent fervor in their hearts and minds. Their social and cultural values were burning like fire as mostly shown in each member of the family who used to kiss the hands of the elders every time he gets home. The close ties in every Filipino family makes a strong bond among individual members and even create a more unique family pattern; the so- called extended family. Such family solidarity depicts the warmth of sympathy and empathy among them that when one needs help, everybody is there to offer a hand. Their spiritual values were so expressive that when the clock strikes at 6 in the evening, everyone hastened his steps to go home for the “Angelus..” But do these values still dominate a Filipino’s heart in these times? Maybe yes, maybe no to some.
They say the Filipino is unique. Historians and sociologists declare that Filipino culture is a mixture of both the Oriental and the Occidental in all aspects. Social and cultural values like family solidarity, bayanihan spirit, hospitality, kissing the hands of the elders, the use of “po” or “opo” as a sign of respect and many more are but positive values that make the Filipino distinct from any other nationality. The Maria Clara character has been reflected in a Filipina woman and the gentleman attitude in a man in courtship has been popular. However, it seems that there is much dynamism in the true sense of character of every Filipino. What makes and unmakes the Filipino? Is it globalization? Technology? Or just a normal twist of time? Well, change is inevitable, right? But good values must remain unchanged no matter what happens. It must dwell in the hearts of every Filipino forever to maintain his dignity all over the world. We must stand with heads up high and be proud of the uniqueness and fineness of our character. And this character must be something we must nurture and must run in our blood.
Let’s try to recapitulate everything and put the Filipino character in a closer view. Filipino values can be both subjective and objective. An example is family solidarity, a sort of “a family that prays together, stays together,” In the light of historical values, patriotism and nationalism were so strong before we gained our total independence. Through the passing of time, where democracy has been attained, these values have been placed behind over other values. This shows that values are dynamic according to the demands of time.
Furthermore, Filipino values are ambivalent. Ambivalent in the sense that they can be seen both positively and negatively. Let me quote and unquote Father Gorospe’s ideas in his essay entitled, “Understanding the Filipino Value System.” Are Filipino values good or bad? He says that Filipino values are ambivalent in the sense that they are a potential for good or evil, a help or hindrance to personal and national development, depending on how they are understood, practiced or lived. They can be used in a good or evil context. An example of this is pakikisama sa kabuktutan or sa kaunlaran or camaraderie for destruction or progress. Filipino values have both positive and negative aspects depending on the context in which they are found. In a social system or atmosphere of extreme insecurity, the positive qualities of the Filipino take on negative and ugly appearances. For example, utang na loob or debt of gratitude can lead to pakiusap or favor , nepotism and cronyism. Pagmamay-ari ng kapangyarihan or the possession of power and their abuse could lead to class distinction or the malakas-mahina system or strong – weak system. Hiya or shame can become pakitang tao or gaya-gaya or showy and imitation effect, machismo or aggressive masculinity is partly responsible for the “querida system” and the doble kara morality. These are but some few values common in a Filipino that carry the so- called double standard of morality or split level Christianity.
Hence, by looking at those common Filipino values, one can choose now between the right and the wrong, between the wholesome and unwholesome and between the good or evil. Now, choose… what Filipino values are worthy of valuing? It is up to you if you are capable and susceptible to change. After rediscovering such values, it is your choice what you see, act and advocate.
As we can see around, lifestyle has become different but no matter how we are tossed by the waves of change, there must be a character of the Filipino that must be worth preserving. Gone are those days that we need to be wearing the Barong Tagalog and Baro’t Saya in order to reveal the modesty of a Filipino man and woman. Physical outlook is not so important now. What is more important is the inward character, the good values that are instilled in our hearts and inculcated in our minds by our forefathers that must be passed from this generation onwards.
Personally, I see, act and advocate what is timely, necessary and indispensable in building a more “just and humane society” as stipulated in the Preamble of our Constitution. I go once again for the words of Father Gorospe of transforming Filipino values towards this national goal because we need both external structural and internal cultural change where Christian faith points to the kind of values education needed for our youth of today for national reconstruction. Now, it’s time for you to reflect. Thank you!