How well do you know thePhilippines?
Ask me that question when I was in elementary and I’m sure to answer you about my memorized definition of thePhilippines through my Sibika book. Back then, I could only find myself interested in the topics about the beauty of thePhilippines whenever there’s a scheduled quiz or if there’s an assignment. But that interest will already end right after the school year. To be perfectly frank and honest, I was not that fascinated of our country back then and studying about it is not an essential matter since I’m already living here.
As a young girl, I’ve always been fond of watching foreign films, particularly those from Walt Disney Pictures, as I love seeing the scenic spots and beautiful places in those foreign countries. Back then, those places I used to see in American flicks were the epitomes of a perfect destination for me. Young as I was then, I promised myself that as soon as I grow up and could already earn my own money, I will live in that place and will settle there for good.
Good thing I grew up thinking very differently from that young, harebrained girl I used to be. I don’t know what came of me, but as I aged, I started seeing and realizing the wonderful things about the Philippines. Never mind if it still has billions of debts from the World Bank and other countries, or if more than half of the government officials are corrupt, or if it carries negative reputations on some aspects. Really, I care less about those trivial stuffs now. The worth of my country is far much important than those filthy spots.
I didn’t know when and how my genuine love and appreciation of thePhilippines started. It’s just that one day, I woke up thanking Heaven for choosing this country as my birthplace. And from that day on, I can’t stop admiring the beauty and natural splendor of the Philippines. Perhaps, the love for my motherland is actually innate in me. I only need to grow up and discover many things to unleash that natural affection. And thankfully, I already did.
I am just as thankful that the concept of home and perfect destination of that “young girl,” who only knew of the Philippines through her Sibika book, was long put into oblivion. Because now, I am sure that when I think of home, I could only think of the busy and crowded streets of Metro Manila; the cool and romantic spots of Baguio; the remote and exotic caves and underground rivers of Sagada; the pristine waters of Hundred Islands; the white sands of Boracay, Puerto Galera, and Zambales; the enticing beaches of Bohol and Batangas; the historic provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, and Cavite; the alluring Pagsanjan Falls of Laguna and its other hot springs; the picturesque landscapes of Davao and Cebu; the mangrove forest reserves of Siargao Islands; and definitely everything about the beautiful island of the Philippines.
Oh well, I haven’t been to all the aforementioned places—only some. However, traveling around the Philippine archipelago is one of my goals. I just need some moolah to help me get on with it (*Winks*). After all, it feels a lot better knowing and rediscovering your own motherland before digging up other’s soil.
And with all my might, I would love to scream from the top of my lungs that I am indeed, very proud to be a Filipino. “I AM PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO!”