Being Filipino is just an unfortunate circumstance

Recently we the authors and contributors at have turned our guns away from the moronisms of Filipino election politics and pointed them at the moronism of Filipino “ethnic pride” exhibiting itself as a result of the Adam Carolla brouhaha. Some argue that it was an unproductive distraction. Perhaps it was considering that we got into it in the middle of the ramp up to Elections 2010.

But I prefer to see the Carolla experience as a reality check on our attempts to provide reality checks on Filipino society and its quaint politics. It was an opportunity for me, personally, to reflect on how truly immense a well of dysfunctional thinking Filipino society and its culture is. Discovering the disgraceful behaviour of Filipinos over at Adam Carolla’s Facebook page can be likened to spending a fortune on pest control on your home and then uncovering a nest of termites that survived the whole thing. The experience had a humbling effect as it reminded me again (even as soars in readership ranking) of how the scale of the inertia that Filipino Primitivism enjoys utterly dwarfs the Forces of Progress pushing against it.

A friend of mine who heroically spent the better part of the last twelve months trying to change the way Filipinos regard their elections — from a focus on personalities to a focus on issues — expressed her frustration at how dimwitted discussions on such things as whether Villar was “really poor” or not continue to dominate the National “Debate”. Indeed, Filipinos continue to lose the plot. Politics is, as usual, an end in itself — utterly disengaged from the whole point behind it.

It goes back to the Filipino’s inability to answer the simple question: What does the Filipino stand for?

A recent commentor put it quite succinctly:

Among other things, my take is, one of the biggest deeply rooted problems of Pinoys is we never really had a “nation” to speak of. My almost-half a century brain cells recall from my PoliSci-101 that a nation is formed when a majority of its people found a collective vision that propels and encourages everyone to work on ways to improve the path in following that vision.

This absence of nationhood is greatly illustrated in our dire strait of having a substantial sense of heritage. Having no past to be “proud” of, we can’t have a healthy and truthful sense of the present; most want to “escape” the past, the present and the future altogether by just leaving behind this archipelago, or watching Wowowee. I can’t blame both groups.

Lacking greatly in having a grasp of the principles behind nationhood, we ended up as personality-centric collective of warm bodies.

Slight correction then on an earlier statement I made: Filipinos are not losing the plot, they never had one to begin with.

I came across a discussion in a comment thread in another blog between three characters that used to be best buddies when they shared a distaste for, shall we say, an emerging breed of bloggers who represent a glimmer of hope for an enlightened future for Filipinos. But then since they had turned their sights back into — what else — Philippine election political “debate”, they had been at each other’s throats (though in apparent denial that they are as they struggle to remain civil). That’s kind of a microcosm of our society. Our small-minded focus on petty politics could be just a symptom of our lack of a bigger aspiration or challenge that we can all face together as a nation.

It’s not like there is a shortage of big things that Filipinos can unite to face — building a robust economy, improving our democratic institutions, producing better entertainment products, for example. Trouble is, doing great things is not what motivates Filipinos. Filipinos are driven by hiya (roughly translated to English: shame). We do things merely because the alternative for us is nakakahiya (roughly translated in English: shameful).

“Don’t talk too loudly. Nakakahiya.”

“Don’t piss on walls, nakakahiya.”

Nakakahiya ka if you don’t finish your college degree.”

“Don’t take a risk on that venture. If you fail, nakakahiya.”

“What Adam Carolla said about Filipinos is nakakahiya.”

I therefore strongly believe that Filipinos need to be shamed into action. I recall a commentor already saying here that the softly-softly approach applied to Filipinos has all but failed. Despite so many symbols and monuments erected to imbue a sense of “pride” — Jose Rizal, the Flag, People Power, Independence (to the point of having to re-date that from 1946 to 1898), Gloria Diaz, and most recently Manny Pacquiao — there simply is nothing that underpins all that to sustain a natural pride in being Filipino.

The active ingredient in the pride in heritage we see in, say, the Japanese, Koreans, and the Chinese is achievement. And it is an ingredient that is so obviously mssing in the Filipino tradition. Those three great northeast Asian civilisations are not seen to be great simply because they are as such. They are great because they have civilisations aged in the thousands of years that delivered awesome achievement.

Quite unfortunate then. We Filipinos simply do not have our thousand-year-old civilisation to look back to for greatness much less any significant collective achievement of consequence. That’s just the hand we were dealt. The challenge for us, therefore, can be likened to being stuck with a bad hand of cards in a poker game with high stakes. Recognising that you’ve been dealt a bad hand in a poker game does not necessarily mean you’ve already lost the game. It simply means you know enough about your situation to come up with a winning strategy.

Being born Filipino is like being dealt a bad hand in a poker game.

You could still win.

But it takes brains and savvy to play a bad hand.

It begins with an appreciation of the concept of “being Filipino” as no more than an artificial construct. Be a distinct individual first and then a “Filipino” a distant second. Seen that way it becomes easier to take the next step and see our being “Filipino” as just an unfortunate circumstance that can be rectified by achieving. And with such an attitude, it then becomes easier to take people like Adam Carolla with a grain of salt, and even perhaps find the humour in his words.

Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Come the time that we achieve, greatness will surely follow. But to aspire to greatness without a resolve to achieve merely sets ourselves up for chronic failure.


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78 Responses to Being Filipino is just an unfortunate circumstance

  1. Fauxx says:

    Flawless analogy with the cards.

    My favorite in AP so far…

    • Homer says:

      We were dealt a bad hand.

      I like that card analogy too.

      Somebody here commented earlier that being Pinoy can be stressful.

      After reading this piece, It’s a thought worth considering.

  2. Shaddap says:

    The Japanese themselves were “dealt a bad hand” in that their archipelago is very low on natural resources and so much more prone to violent earthquakes than the Philippines is (or ever was), yet the Japanese seem to have been some of the most successful people on the planet.

    In fact, this success was largely based on being savvy enough to learn from others. Notice that the Japanese do not figure among the civilizations that discovered a lot of scientific concepts back in the ancient world. The Greeks, Egyptians, Phoenecians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Indians, Chinese, etc clearly invented or discovered a whole lot of stuff. For the longest time, the Japanese actually just rode on the discoveries and inventions of the Chinese. Still, that didn’t stop them from coming up with a well-ordered society.

    It is true: being dealt a bad hand should not mean an automatic loss of the game.

    Unfortunately, we Pinoys choose to whine rather than win.

  3. BongV says:

    I am just wondering if the diametrical opposite of hiya – (nope, not walanghiya).. or perhaps a replacement term that Pinoys can easily relate to – astig

    it’s a bit fuzzy – but to point to an option as something that brings out the “astig”

    let’s try new stuff because it is.. “astig”

    or, let’s go for gordon’s chutzpah, to swim upstream – because it is.. “astig”

    it’s a raw idea.. after all “astig” can also mean.. “tigas t*t*”

    whether the value of “astig” can displace “hiya” as a driver or motivator.

    or maybe, “hiya” is to stick, as “astig” is to carrot.

    though i will not discount da pinoys capacity to distort the meaning of “astig” as it did with “hiya”.

    we are napapahiya with the wrong stuff. nahihiya tayong mahuli, subalit hindi tayo nahihiyang gumawa ng bagay na hinuhuli in the first place. pardon my tangalog, i’m bisdak – matigas ang dela 😀


    Ok am waiting for the first schmoe who will say (insert favorite tontow/jolog/triumphalist/supremacist comment here). 😆

  4. rafterman says:

    Good thing the AP Writers and most of AP readers chose to be part of the solution – to reject Filipino culture and be normal humans and not proto humans.

    I can start a new topic:

    Dahil sa Get Real / AP…

    1. Hindi ako boboto ng hindi muna kina-calculate ang accomplishments at pino-project ang performance based on historical data ng mga kandidato. Mga gunggong lang ang gumagawa nun.
    2. Hindi ako nagpaparty ng sobra sobra ng parang yun na lang (at mga iba pang ligaya that are on the sensation levels and not the perceptual) ang purpose at validation ng aking existence.
    3. Hindi ko sobra sobrang tina-trumpet ang mga tulad nila Lea Salonga, Efren Penaflorida, Manny Pacquiao etc. Imbes, gumagawa ako ng sarili kong achievements para ang extent lang ng paghanga ko sa kanila ay ang paghanga ko sa kanila – hindi ang idamay ang sarili ko sa paghanga ng mga tao sa kanila.
    4. Hindi ako naniniwala na sila Ed San Juan ang nag imbento ng Moon Buggy, si Agapitao Flores ang nag imbento ng Fluorescent Light at si Armando Lite ang nag imbento ng M16 dahil hindi yun totoo.
    5. Naniniwala ako na may mga matapang na Pilipino. May tibay ng loob sila na harapin ang mga katotohanang nakasaad dito nang sila ay magbago at maging bahagi ng solusyon – na simple lang naman.
    6. Naniniwala ako na simple lang ang solusyon at hindi na kailangan ng hero para umunlad ang Pilipinas. Matuto lang mag isip ng kaunting lalim pa ang mga Pinoy at gawin ang tama sa pang-araw araw na buhay, sapat na yun.
    7. Naniniwala ako na dapat tumigil na sa pagsisi sa external factors gaya ng “corruption”, “GMA” o bagyo ang mga Pilipino at maniwala na ang kanilang kapalaran ay nasa kanilang mga kamay. Ang solusyon ay ipagbawal ang tamad at tanga at magkaroon ng “a change in man”. Tama na ang pagsisi sa mga “tiwali”.
    8. Naniniwala ako na hindi dapat maging dependent ang mga Pinoy sa ibang tao gaya na lang ng phenomenon na “Binuhi Sa Nurse” o mga OFW na padala ng padala at bigay ng bigay ng pera sa mga taong asa ng asa….

    Marami pa yan… Ano pa maidadagdag niyo?

    • Poppy Seed says:

      Naniniwala ako na kailangan munang asikasuhin ng mga Pinoy ang kanilang sariling kapakanan bago isipin ang suliranin ng iba. Hindi pagiging makasarili iyon!

      Kapag hindi ka marunong gumawa nang paraan para masolusyonan ang mga suliranin mo, paano ka makakatulong sa kapwa mo.

      Ika nga ni Ate Vi eh, “Una sa Lahat! Pamilya!”
      Tignan mo siya inuuna niya pamilya niya. 🙂

      Isa pa, Hindi tinatawanan ang problema gaya ng sabi ni Ka Freddie.
      Ang problema pinag-iisipan ng pinag-iisipan para masulusyunan.
      At pag nasulusyunan na, tsaka tinatawanan.
      Hirap sa Pinoy tinatawanan lang ang problema hindi hinahanapan ng solusyon. Paikot-ikot tuloy tayo

  5. J.B. says:

    The muslims in the south have very strong identity, a good achievement to tell (their kambayoka stories are world class, their un-ruled by foreigners are great stories to tell, their kamlon is a great leader to their reckoning), proud of their roots, great history, great sense of who they are and what they are made.

    Yet they gave us the Ampatuan massacre.


    • Anonylol says:

      That’d be the equivalent of being dealt a good hand then cocking it up.

      Could happen for a variety of reasons. Greed (Ima win with an even bigger hand), fear (I bet that other guy has a better hand), flat out stupidity (Durr, my cards all has people pictures. What do?), etc.. You could go all day.

      You still need a bit of effort to turn a good hand into a winning one.

    • bilot says:

      Noted; Philippines in the far south admittedly has all that you mention, and that in itself is awesome. The other parts of the Philippines also do have bits of awesome and more potential for awesome scattered here and there but remain entirely unnoticed maybe because we tend to be regional–and that the general public would rather watch Wowowee–and think our culture is just all about showbiz and the concept of artistry revloves around “artistas”

  6. Mike Tan says:

    WALANG TAWIRAN NAKAMAMATAY: we need to be shamefully reminded that it’s dangerous to cross the street by this big pink signboard. Worse part is, people would still go for the buwis-buhay shortcut of jaywalking. Kung itong simpleng karatula lang AYAW na intindihin at sundin ng karamihan, ano pa kaya ang pagbago ng pananaw sa sarili at sa bayan?

  7. Lorenz says:

    Singaporeans and Malaysians even had no great past yet look at them now. Indonesia had Majapahit and Srivijaya Empire(which the word Visayas came from) yet look at their country now compared to others, corrupt and not united. Iraq had Mesopotamia and Iran, Persia, yet these countries are facing very turbulent and violent times right now.

    Philippines has a way better past than Malaysia and Singapore there’s no doubt about that.

    If you really want to know why Filipinos are not efficient and patriotic people, please read this whole article: (hint: American brainwash) DO NOT BOTHER IF YOU WONT READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE

    from the article:

    The new Filipino

    From the day the American colonial administration was inaugurated in 1901 the new Filipino emerged, known today as the little brown Americans. These are Filipinos by appearance, but Americans in thought, word and deed. True to Harrison’s specifications, the new Filipino spoke English very fluently, knew much about American ideals, history, arts, literature and music by heart, but have a very vague notion of their ancestors’ struggle for freedom, or their sacred dreams and aspirations that drove them to arms. They would usually turn into very competent professionals, but would lack one very important trait – patriotism, thanks to the methodical classroom strategy that Harrison described.

    While the legislature, the judiciary and executive cabinet positions were filipinized during the later part of American colonial government the Department of Education was kept under American control. The process of making Filipinos forget did not stop after the Americans let go of the Philippines in 1946. A Grade IV pupil in the year 1951 was still being taught to sing Star spangled banner, God bless America, etc. By the time the same child stepped into High School, he would be made to study American history on the First Year and in later years memorize the address of Lincoln at Gettysburg and the poem, The Song of Hiawatha. In other words, for more than five decades the Filipino was subjected to something that was considered in the cold war as diabolical – brainwashing.

    In sum, the American conquest of the Philippines was not just a case of subjugating an unwilling people. It was also a case of making the same people forget that they were subjugated.


    For as long as schoolchildren are taught Jack and Jill, rather than Leron Leron Sinta, and are precluded from learning or even hearing the tune of Pamulenawen or Sarumbanggi, the Filipino is doomed to national perdition. In other words, the malaise that afflicts the Filipino character will remain unrecognized and no serious steps will be taken to correct it. Unless the Filipino national character change the heavy burden of corrupted sense of identity will blur the vision of the future and the Filipino will be confused which path leads to national liberation . The salvation of the Filipino will not come from foreign aid, foreign investment, preferential treatment, free trade , or from remittances of OFWs. Rather, it would depend primarily on the rejuvenation of the Filipino mind, the rekindling the spirit of 1898 – the love of country and the aspiration to be free and independent. The best recourse of the Filipino would be to reclaim the patriotic character of the heroes held hostage by the muddled past, and to acknowledge that the Filipino race could accomplish great things just as Aguinaldo did. It will give the Filipino today the confidence, strength and courage to remedy the present and approach the future.

    But a nation can only succeed if the people makes sacrifices. And without patriotism there can be no sacrifice.

    • BongV says:


      I don’t buy the American bogey. That’s history. We can do something about our dysfunction NOW – and we are not doing it. If I were to buy the American bogey – then I will have to buy that the Americans having been a colony of England will be so screwed up. Or that the Koreans having been a colony of Japan will be screwed up. Or that Malaysia having been a colony of the British – count Singapore and HK, and Macau, and UAE.

      • Lorenz says:

        Jose Rizal said “He who does not (know how to) look back at his past (where he came from) will not reach his destination.”

        Dont you even dare defy Jose Rizal because you can’t oppose his intellectuality and being a polyglot.

      • BongV says:

        Oh Rizal, did he declare himself to be Filipino? O baka inangkin ng indio na si Rizal ay Filipino 😀
        Rizal wanted to be a Spanish Citizen – for the Philippines to become a Province of Spain – yan ang pinanggalingan mo hijo !!! 😀

      • Lorenz says:

        I know that BongV. I’ve studied Rizal very much. Your logic is funny.

        The origin and roots of the so called Indios was Malay culture not Spanish so why would you say “yan and pinanggalingan mo hijo!!!”? Even so, Philippines never became a Province of Spain so Philippines being Spanish was never in the past.

        Yes Rizal wanted Philippines to become Spanish Province but that is mostly because of equality and freedom through means of peace and no violence. Whether Rizal supported the Revolution by Bonifacio is still debated to this day, but it was Rizal in the first place who indirectly made the Revolution possible through unity and nationalism.

      • BongV says:


        Rizal is just an indirect reference. The modern Filipino came about – as a product of colonial edict after WWII.

        There are easily eight separate nations lumped into one artificial state called the Philippines.

        The indirect reference to a hazy Philippine nation is like Nazi Germany referring to a mythological Aryan civilization.

        imho, that’s going on the wrong path.

      • Lorenz says:

        Do you think it’s better to dissolve the Philippines into different island nations just like what happened to Yugoslavia?

        I wonder if there are still countries wanting to take over the islands if the Philippines is dissolved into numerous tiny nations.

      • Lorenz says:

        Those colonies you mentioned were in a different situation. If you have read the whole article of Macapili, you would have known that it was Americans who did the brainwashing and none of this was done in other colonies such as HK, Singapore, etc.

        The Koreans and Chinese under the Japanese faced brainwashing too but it was for a short time since World War 2 was shorter than the Philippine American War and American colonization period combined.

      • BongV says:

        Same same. We all have hands dealt to us – that’s the past.

        But it is still not an excuse for what we are doing now. This isn’t about patriotism – this is more basic – how to be a decent human being.

    • J.B. says:

      Btw, what were the great things Aguinaldo did?

      Perhaps my University professors lied to me when they said that Aguinaldo sold the country for few pieces of silver in Hong Kong. That Ambeth Ocambo lied to the whole Filipino nation that Aguinaldo implemented the “bulong” system to the demise of Mabini — a system recycled by the NPA’s kangaroo court of today.

      • Lorenz says:

        Straying away from the subject and instead attacking the person is the most typical replies of most Filipinos. Even Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Zedong have had mistakes, bad actions, etc. Same same. Why don’t you comment on the topic at hand, my friend.

      • J.B. says:

        You mentioned the need to emulate them. If their acts are not proven great, then why raise that up in the first place?

    • J.B. says:

      Philippines is an abject failure and renewing of the minds is not realistic social probability that’s indicative this can be done, well at least for now.

      We succeeded in OFW and failed on sense of country, why concentrate on the failures and not on successes?

      • BongV says:

        Pareto Principle – there are more failures than successes – addressing the failures, creates more successes.

      • J.B. says:

        Wow…it pays to enrich your AP vocabulary 🙂

        Btw, OFW and overseas migration unconsciously addresses failures too because those who succeeded overseas will build website and address the failures back home.

  8. benign0 says:

    Oh Rizal, did he declare himself to be Filipino? O baka inangkin ng indio na si Rizal ay Filipino

    Hey, there’s food for thought for us. We take it for granted that Rizal is “Filipino” because we’ve been raised to believe so. The real question is did he actually see himself as Filipino?

    That’s kinda the same question scholars have been asking about Jesus Christ. Was he really the messiah and God’s son? Or was he just a brilliant revolutionary leader that became the object of the poetry and fiction of scribes and story tellers hundreds of years after he died?

    • J.B. says:

      I think it was Leon Ma. Gurrero who called Rizal the first Filipino (if I recall right, the model of what should be a Filipino) and not Rizal himself.

      He’s more of a pragmatist and good political analyst — correctly predicted the colonization of Phil by Americans, and predicted the state of politics today where the “slaves of today(Rizal’s time) will be the tyrants of tomorrow”.

      Pragmatist that he once headed the proposal of relocation of some Calamban residents to Sabah I guess. And when pressed by Pio Valenzuela about revolution, he declined knowing the state of mindset at that time– the people are not educated enough about the implications of revolutions.

      • BongV says:

        The term “Filipino” in its earliest sense referred to Spaniards born in the Philippines or Insulares (Creoles) and from which Filipino Nationalism began.

        Traditionally, the Creoles had enjoyed various government and church positions—composing mainly the majority of the government bureaucracy itself.[3]

        The decline of Galleon Trade between Manila and Acapulco and the growing sense of economic insecurity in the later years of the 18th century led the creole to turn their attention to agricultural production. Characterized mostly in Philippine history as corrupt bureaucrats, the Creole gradually change from a very government-dependent class into capital-driven entrepreneurs. Their turning of attention towards guilded soil caused the rise of the large private haciendas.


        Insulares was the specific term given to criollos (full-blooded Spaniards born in the colonies) born in the Philippines or the Marianas. Insulares were part of the second highest racial class in Spanish hierarchy below the peninsulares, or full-blooded Spaniards born in Europe. They ranked above mestizos (a person of mixed Chamorro and Spanish parentage) and indios (the natives).

        Though insulares were high in the racial caste system, the fact that they were born in the Philippines or the Marianas gave the term a negative connotation during the Spanish Era. The colonies were considered by peninsulares to be a “dumping ground for misfits and dregs of society” and to be born in such a place lowered their racial status.


        In the eyes of the peninsulares – the creoles/Filipinos – Spaniards not born in Spain, are 2nd class citizens.

        In the 1800s, to be Filipino meant – a Spaniard born in the Philippines.


        The modern Filipino is anything but a Spaniard. 🙂

      • Lorenz says:

        I would have wanted Marcos to have changed Philippines to Maharlika. It would be like a rebirth. But this is just only by name. It should be supported by true renewal of the minds and identity otherwise, it is useless.

    • ChinoF says:

      I don’t think the change of the country’s name would mean anything. It’s like we’re trying to throw off everything in ourselves that’s foreign-influenced. That’s why I wrote my “anti-Anti-Foreignism” article; we don’t need to throw off foreign influences. The symbol is not more important than the meaning. But I agree that we need a true renewal of minds.

      • May Party Sa Dasma Wala Akong Wheels says:

        Changing names only puts lipstick on the pig.

      • Jay says:

        Actually I too had a issue when I came back to the country trying to recognize the real problem. Of course everyone is going to quip about hardship, poverty, corruption, government, etc. It took me a long time until I started piecing it together that the society hasn’t advanced itself for the longest time. Despite having gone through many changes, its as if the society has further regressed. People don’t want to think for themselves anymore and have 2 sole media outlets that pretty much put out the same crap since I was a child. Then I realized the only thing that set many of the people apart was education. You couldn’t easily sway knowledgeable citizens since they know whats up. And also adapt the changing global economy to help the country out.

        The real symbol of change should be progressive, not something symbolic like a name that ultimately holds no meaning.

  9. Doc Harry says:

    Have I played against you in one of the card tables in Metro? Kudos on the analogy!

    So far, most FIlipinos are just railers (people who watch and cheer from behind the red cordon) to Pacquiao, Penaflorida, etc. And yet the the shirts proclaim, “Back home, everyone’s a hero.” So where are those heroes willing to build up their “bankroll” and play in the high stakes game of REAL nation-building?

  10. juanon says:

    “But it takes brains and savvy to play a bad hand.”

    That is so true. Very good analogy there benign0.

    Unfortunately it is sad that brains and savvy is what the majority (masa) do not have. On the contrary, they live on collective stupidity and crudeness. By collective stupidity, I mean that they stick to stupid beliefs just because “it is the way of us poor people”.

    Seriously, I’ve witnessed this first hand during my charity works and community services. You try to educate the masses, and all your effort lands on closed ears. They live by the notion of self-defeating thoughts, that they believe that they are “poor” and therefore “uneducated” to apply what they have been thought. That what you just thought them can only be wielded by an educated person and not by the likes of them. That they believe that what you teach them only applies to us because as some of them say “you can easily say that because you are rich, but we are poor”. They only listen to poor people just like them, resulting in an endless cycle of misinformation and stupidity. And we all know this. It is evident in political campaigns such as Manny Villar’s who try to get the affirmation of the masses by trying to convince them that he is “one of them”.

    Now this is the big question. How do we educated the masses when they do not want to be educated while they spread their stupid beliefs to the rest of the masses and their future generations?

    • Anonylol says:

      I feel for you man.

      One of my biggest frustrations in this country (right next to the lack of proper pubs) is that, most of the time, when you make something good for everyone they just sh*t all over it (sometimes literaly). Then when you call them on it and ask “Why is this sh*t all over the place?” they just smile and scratch their heads while giving you the usual excuses.

      It’s disheartening. I really can’t blame the educated individuals who are leaving this country since I just need ten minutes outside to see the reasons why.

      • manolo says:

        “Then when you call them on it and ask “Why is this sh*t all over the place?” they just smile and scratch their heads while giving you the usual excuses.”

        THIS. Very much THIS. You tell them what’s right, they don’t listen, they screw up, and then all they do is smile and play the sorry-I’m-poor card.

    • J.B. says:

      True to some degree but if you’re building schools and provide opportunity for their children, the next generation will be spared of this form of “madness”.

      You can’t downright blame the poor for not believing or being suspicious. After all, they been hearing promises from politicos since time immemorial and not getting results.

      It was the environment that did this evil befell on them and not on their genes.

      • juanon says:

        Ah yes that is true, schools are the answer.They should also focus on the quality of education given though.

        I’ve seen public schools with teachers that exhibit the same self-defeating thoughts I mentioned. That a lot of them feel that these children are hopeless so “why bother?”.

        I’ve seen high school students and graduates who still cannot read, imagine that.

        Actually thinking back, its not just the schools that are problem. Its also the parents. Some parents do not provide proper discipline to their children on the context that “kawawa sila, mahirap na nga tapos pagagalitan pa namin” therefore allowing them to grow up on wrong ideals.

        One of the illiterate high school graduates I mentioned was a neighbor of a co worker. According to him, the reason why that kid graduated high school illiterate was because his parents urged the teachers to pass their child because “kawawa naman po siya, mahirap po pinangalingan niya kaya jeep driver lang gusto niyang abutin, kaya ipasa niyo na po wala naman mawawala”.

        Again there it is, that self-defeating way of thinking. That already they truly believe that they have already lost without even trying to fight. That just because they are poor, they believe that they will be that way forever.

      • J.B. says:

        If I may, I would introduce the dollar-oriented learning to Dept-Ed.

        Dollar-oriented learning is simply the difference between the average English ability of the manager relative to the ordinary employee.

        For example, if the average salary of call center Manager in the Philippines is earning $800 a month and ordinary labourer is earning $100, then the difference is $700.

        If the managers English is measured as 10 crispier and his vocabulary is 5000 more than the average employee, then each English upgrade is worth

        5000 x 10 / $700.

        Children all over the Philippines should be encouraged that for each English, there is a dollar value.

        Now, that’s the quality education for me. Quantifiable and too inspiring 🙂

      • Anonylol says:

        >” “kawawa naman po siya, mahirap po pinangalingan niya kaya jeep driver lang gusto niyang abutin, kaya ipasa niyo na po wala naman mawawala”. ”

        It looks like it’s not just the self-defeating way of thinking isn’t it? There’s also that misplaced sense of entitlement they seem to have. That “You should give us money/job/a chance because we’re poor” attitude. It’s never because of anything else isn’t it? It’s solely because they’re poor that you should give them these things. Because earning them would take a bit of effort.

        So following this train of thought, does this mean they’re just f**king lazy?

      • J.B. says:

        Seriously though, we should expect a transitional phase in learning.

        Parents too illiterate -> Child not too illiterate -> Grandchild a little literate -> Grand-grand child literate.

        All AP observations anywhere this site are borned out of not acknowledging the transitory phase.

      • Dr. José Rizal II says:

        Singapore’s rapid rise from Third World to First was based on transitional phases. But the transition was rapid enough so that the changes happened within a person’s lifetime instead of over different generations.

        Instead of the “Parents too illiterate -> Child not too illiterate -> Grandchild a little literate -> Grand-grand child literate” example, Singapore created a rapid change that caused “Parents too illiterate and poor –> Child literate and middle class –> Grandchild literate and PhD or CEO and rich”

        But then, it takes a lot of hard work, discipline, focus, and avoiding petty and immature mudslinging like what so many Pinoys did over at the Adam Carolla fan page on Facebook.

      • BongV says:

        But J.B. – the Philippines has been in this “transition phase” far too long.

      • qcfx2a says:

        There is one hurdle to that transitional change. And its our culture of taking things too personally.

        > When Carolla criticized Pacquiao, Filipinos acted as if their own child was insulted.

        > When Claire Dames says the truth that Manila is “ghastly”, Filipinos act as if their own front lawn was insulted.

        > When people try to educate pinoys, they take it as an insult to their intelligence.

        > When poor people are taught proper financial advices, they take it as an insult to their social status.

        > When an employee is reprimanded by his boss for his poor work performance, he takes it as an insult to his whole being.

        We Filipinos are so resistant to criticisms and change. Instead of seeing the good in criticisms, we instead take it negatively. Its as if we consider ourselves perpetually wounded and that criticisms are like dirt being rubbed unto our wounds. Take note I didn’t say “salt”.

      • J.B. says:


        About the transition thingy, you’re seems to be right judging from the mindset century ago and today and nothing has much changed.

        But look at it to your own family or those of your poor neighbours who eventually managed to improve their lives a bit.

        The way I observed it is that the Grandma/pa were too sensitive and reclusive temperamentally, but the children start to entertain contemporary ideas to their learning. The likelihood of the grandchild eventually learning what it really takes to be a successful Pinoy in thoughts and in deeds, as it is today, will be much much higher than before.

        On a side note, the VMC ad before at least give us a glimpse of social improvement however show, but is something quantifiable at least:

        “My grandpa worked in the field, my dad worked in the factory. Now I’m an engineer. Victorias, my home, my heritage.”

      • BongV says:


        True that.

        The thing is it would have been better if he were say a downstream bioethanol processing independent contractor for VMC – and helping former VMC tenants/sakadas who now own the land their ancestors used to till as serfs. 😉

        Linked with SMEs in North America and Europe who are into bioethanol processing, technical assistance through the internet, webcam based consulting, installation, deployment and rollout of mini bioethanol plants which can be scaled – from individual to communal to municipality wide – and everyone having equal shares in the venture. Portions of the proceeds go into scholarships for the community. Production is assured through long term contract with Shell/Petron/Caltex – it’s a seller’s market!

        Then those bioethanol plants can be improved by local engineers through R&D, funded privately or partly by DOST grants, and the farmers corporate entity start their venture into selling of bioethanol plants themselves – in cooperation and licensing from their global SME counterparts. The profits can be reinvested into new products.

        It’s the Amanah model.

      • Jay says:

        > When poor people are taught proper financial advices, they take it as an insult to their social status.

        Oh the irony. I have a cousin of mine whom her and her boyfriend are lawyers that focus on tax law. They happen to live in a middle class town in Connecticut. The town also has many west indies islanders, specifically from dominican republic who are in the middle-low class. So periodically after church the two open office and schedule a workshop to help them handle their taxes and every year, they help them out file their income tax. You couldn’t imagine how thankful the people they have helped save them money on a monthly and annual basis. More to help out their family in the process.

        Though my parents, specifically my mom has been helpful to people she knows and teach them better ways to live their life, especially on a budget. Ultimately you’ll need more than just livleyhood projects and sending kids to cramped schools to change society. You’ll need them to embrace initiative and disregard complacency. In metaphor, this is the only place where someone would wait for somebody to help them get the fruit dangling from a tall tree. In America, even those who have it rough would claw their way upwards and step on the rest of the people climbing up to get that fruit. Its competition but it makes the world go round and ultimately promotes progress. It would also help to have a bunch of trees with fruit as well.

      • BongV says:

        schools… education… knowledge exactamente..

        it must also take into consideration the immediate needs – and the long terms needs
        – not just job seekers, but job creators – problem solvers.

      • HATEBREAD says:

        Education is just one problem but the real problem is the political tradition of the philippines.I have soo many classmates who’s father is a politician but what their father is teaching them is just plain stupidity.They focus more on how to win or how to ally themselves with businessmans.In which in their own time when they grow up they will follow their father’s footsteps as a corrupt politician.And businessmans should stay away from politics all they do is support a politician and in return their taxes will be cut.This rotten system should be stop or else the cycle will never be over.

  11. juanon says:

    Yes. Most Filipinos just bask in reflected glory. A bunch of cowards who think they are strong because they are all rallying together behind their “hero” such as Pacquiao. But get rid of Pacquiao or put them in the front line and they collapse like a house of cards.

  12. Gman says:

    This is a good piece!

    I guess all we need is a band of Good Filipinos who can steer our country on the right direction. Unfortunately, the system corrupts these handful good filipinos. Most of them are just tired and put their hands down and go away.

    Sometimes, the system consumes you. But we can’t lose hope for our country and our children.

    • J.B. says:

      Hey, cheer up!

      I went home for a vacation and what I observed is that “kurot” to pupil’s private parts are now being banned by Dep-Ed. Now that something to cheer on. A notch higher than the past.

      Also, my neighbors in the province are realizing the ultimate Filipino dream “at least one OFW per home”. Bill Gates dreamed that his Windows OS will be in every home worldwide. Our Filipino version is “at least one OFW in every home”.

      • ChinoF says:

        the ultimate Filipino dream “at least one OFW in every home”.

        The oligarchs love it this way.

      • J.B. says:

        Not entirely true. Many OFW become migrants and these people in turn can pose a threat to oligarchs back home.

        Migrants at least build website like AP to expose the madness going on in the Philippines. Other migrants donate money to support poor kids back home breaking at least few cycles of poverty. Many of them now can vote.

        Think of the power of the net where people from all walks of like and technology getting more and more dirt cheap, the access of common people, whose finance are at least supported by their relatives working overseas,

        You never know, the greater the number of people working overseas, the greater the possibility of them posing an eventual real threat to the oligarchic system at home.

      • Jay says:

        the OFWs are a very strong untapped resource. Of course its also up for a new idea in the government to have incentives for them back in the country. Otherwise they’d do what many have, bring everyone to the new land of the plenty and opportunity and completely forget about getting involved in with the country.

  13. J.B. says:

    It has been raised already that there was never a Filipino in the truest sense of the word to begin with in history, I mean collective subjective affirmations of people’s identity.

    Thus to speak of change of mindset, there must also be a mindset to begin with. But looking back in history, we never really have a mindset to being with.

  14. luraaa says:

    Hello to fellow ates and kuyas,

    Finally, I’ve made my first comment to this awesome blog. Pardon me if I seem too ‘childish’, as I have yet to learn more in school and in life. And lalo na kung nagiging off-topic na ko sa comment na to.

    First off, I want to thank Ilda for your post ‘How to become a successful Filipino’. It was really inspiring, and it says a lot that Filipinos should start the change within themselves. I can’t remember who it was who said it on this blog, but they said something like ‘it’s those Filipinos abroad who are more passionate to their country.’, and it’s true. I’ve been living as an immigrant for two years now, and I have to say, the more I learn about the ways and the government of this first world country, the more I see the flaws of my own country. Nakakahiya, ika nga ni benign0. It’s embarrassing to be proud of being a Filipino to other race when the people themselves initiate it. Tulad nung kay Adam Carolla. I’ve only heard about it here on this blog and those people who commented (or even while I was browsing my Facebook) are a shame. They’re being defensive without even examining themselves first.

    I know that I have changed as well, living here for two years, and I want to continue exercising it. I admit, I am also one of the Pinoys who’s ‘Pinoy pride’ swells whenever a Filipino is recognized. Heck, I had a Pinoy pride widget at the bottom of my blog and just deleted it a few minutes ago. I voted for Efren whenever I wanted to during those times. I know I am at fault. I was one of them. Or should I say, I’m trying NOT to be one of them anymore.

    Thinking about it, what is Pinoy pride? Is it when a fellowman is being recognized internationally for his talent or discovery or heroic act? Although I think there’s nothing wrong being proud of these people, as they are were able to achieve what only a few can. Pinoy pride should be an achievement not just in one or a handful of persons, but the whole country. Para masabi na Proud to be Pinoy talaga.

    (Expect more of me to come here. This blog is entertaining and insightful that I’ll make myself at home, if you don’t mind. 🙂 )


    Mods, you guys are the experts on this (with no hint of sarcasm to, pramis). Because I want to be a better Filipino and start the change within oneself (and identify my faults to correct it for the better), when does nationalism and patriotism end and that ‘Filipino behaviour’ (sorry, don’t know what it’s called) begins? Salamat!

    • benign0 says:

      @ luraa, thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts. It’s good to know that you see in AntiPinoy a home for yourself and it makes all of the work we put into the articles here worth every bit of the effort. 🙂

      I think it was Ben Kritz who put it really well in an old blog post of his Be Proud of Manny, not because of him. The title alone says it all. It is ok to be proud of Filipino achievers like Manny Pacquiao. But the mistake many Filipinos make is to equate that individual’s achievement to something that reflects upon Filipinos overall. The notion of being proud to be Filipino simply because a top-class achever like Pacquiao is one is silly at best.

      Be proud of yourself. Be your own biggest fan. In that way you don’t let whatever sobering realities about Filipinos society and the Philippines rub off on you as an individual, and certainly no amount of highlighting of every bulok fact about the Philippines by anyone will make you feel bad. In that way you don’t need to use you original nationality as a crutch to prop up your identity.

      Nobody here, the moderators, the writers and contributors claims to be an “expert” on anything. In fact beware the person who claims to be one and displays his diplomas and credentials to “prove” it. We write our stuff here and we expect commentors to read our stuff with a critical mind and express what they think of it (whether bad or good).

    • ilda says:

      Hey, did I hear my name?

      Our culture does not promote individualism. It’s always about “C’mon, wala ka na mang pakisama eh!” The reason why we hardly create anything unique is because we don’t want to appear different. We are afraid to fail. We don’t want to draw attention for having a different point of view. It’s sad really. I guess I was lucky because when I was a kid, I read this advise from a Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrapper:” It’s better to be alone than in bad company.”

      Thanks Luraa!

      I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my blog: How to become a successful Filipino

      A lot of Filipinos have an identity crisis. You can spot these sorts a mile away. They are the ones who shout out “I am proud to be Filipino!” as if they hold a monopoly over harbouring such a sentiment. It is usually in the way it is expressed and in the context and timing of when the words are said that give these people away.

      To me, anyone who says, “I am proud to be Filipino!” after Manny Pacquiao wins a fight or after any Filipino receives international recognition, has an identity crisis. Shaking your head in disagreement? Pause to think about it. When Manny Pacquiao wins or Arnel Pineda sings for the band Journey, is it every Filipino on the ring or on stage with them while they are performing? I don’t think so. Pacquiao and Pineda may put our country on the map with what they do achieve, but why can’t Filipinos be proud as a people regardless? Does it have to take someone from the outside to tell us “Hey, you guys are ok!” before we can believe in our capabilities? Isn’t it just that all-too-familiar colonial mentality at work whenever we feel that we have to rely on outsiders for validation?

      It has to do with the reality that we are not known for achieving something uniquely exceptional as a people. Do we just want to be known as singers, dancers, boxers and all around entertainers around the globe? Personally, I don’t want our country to be known only as exporters of second rate artists because these are professions that offer fleeting recognition. If you are an entertainer for example, you only have the attention of people who admire your work for maybe, a maximum of two to three hours and then people go back to focusing on their daily lives and forget about you. Likewise, if you are a sports athlete, you only have your youth and stamina before you pack up your bags, go home, and retire. Indeed, the number of Filipinos (those born and bred in the Philippines) who make it big as actors in Hollywood is nil because the competition there is tough. So I’d rather see our citizens aspire for something that will leave a lasting legacy and contribution to sustained growth in our society.

      As they say, the place we are born in is just the luck of our draw. We had no choice in the matter. It’s what we do in the place we inhabit that matters. Filipinos don’t have to feel unlucky for having to live in such a harsh climate. Some cultures live in worse conditions but have managed to find a way to work around their unique circumstances. As Galileo said, we have to master the mathematics of nature, understand it, harness its energy and use it for our benefit.

      • juanon says:

        “Wala kang pakisama eh”

        That is SO true. Especially evident in the recent Carolla issue. You’ll see a lot of Pinoys there mindlessly raging because they honestly think that it is right to do so just because everyone else is doing it. Some even do it out of patriotism, that they feel that it is their duty as Pinoys to join in with everyone else in a mindless rampage.

      • jonphil says:

        That’s penoy-jeepney bandwagon. Dali, dali, isa na lang… aalis na!

    • J.B. says:

      I don’t see any reason feeling in the wrong in voting for Efren. His effort itself was still an effort nonetheless to correct the illness that is going on around his area of concern. The only mistake there is to feel proud being a Pinoy of what he did or feel proud going along with the raves of media on his recent popularity.

      Efren winning the award expands his source of possible funds to whatever initiatives he did to the slums. And there is something good when people are uplifted in that dark murky world out there. But to think of it as an indicator that something great is happening in the country because he wins that hero award is wrong.

  15. juanon says:

    “When people try to educate pinoys, they take it as an insult to their intelligence”

    One of the most common manifestations of this is when you try to educate them, they will shrug you off with a reply like “Hmph. Drama / pa-effect ka pa diyan.” or “Hmph. Paenglish english ka pa diyan la ka naman alam sa pagiging Pinoy”.

    It’s both frustrating and sad really.

    • J.B. says:

      Even the poorest of the poor can be lured into something interesting and if you play the game of deceit and learning at the same time, you can direct them to the path of real enlightenment.

      For example, you can study the Ecleo’s and the Quiboloy’s of the Philippines. And once you gain foothold of “worship”, you can then start teaching them to mend their silly ways.

  16. guilbautedsookie says:

    Sometimes, I wish I were born in France or New Zealand or Switzerland. But then again, I still have some love for our country, but it’s waning by the term.

    Look at Azerbaijan. No one knows much about it, but they don’t care. They exploited everything they needed to and now they’re on the high rise to progress. Or even Angola. They have nothing to be proud of– a 40-year civil war, AIDS–but they’re making steps to make it forgotten.

    Us? We always want some superpower to take care of us because we feel we have been badly bruised and beaten. But come to think of it, some countries endured worse stuff than us, and they’re doing better. Maybe the bad part of our history is that we allowed ourselves to believe in a hero that would save us from trouble and continuously wait for him. Like Noynoy. Instead of like cleaning up for our Manila 2024 bid, we’re still waiting for Noynoy to “win” so he can end corruption. Pft he’s a fucking retard what does he know. His grandson even thinks he’s incompetent.

    I used to think it was wrong for me to think of having been born in Switzerland, but now, I probably wish I were

    • J.B. says:

      There is one big advantage of being a Pinoy – the fact that we have very strong ties to families and tradition. So if you’re based overseas and something does not work in your favor, at least you can think of your home country.

      I live in Australia and many citizens take anti-depressant medications. Now, Pinoy migrants can avoid taking meds if they can make best of their 2 worlds work for them for the better.

      • ChinoF says:

        At least the anti-depressant medications are more easily available there. Here, I’m sure there are a lot of people who need anti-depressant medications, but couldn’t get them. Like those taong-grasas going around. And strong family ties… will have you sending big boxes of goods to send home. Very expensive. 😛 And I don’t think we can claim Pinoy migrants cope with their separation from families the best. It also doesn’t pay to have strong family ties with your two wives’ families. 😛

      • J.B. says:

        Meds only gives temporary relief to the ills of highly individualized mindsets. So many professionals are taking them while being too distant to their parents thinking they did not do enough for their well-being while growing up.

        On the other hand, Pinoys cherish their closeness to their parents and relatives wherever they are on this planet. I was speaking of course of those with emotionally healthy families and not those serving only as milking cows to their overly dependent families back home.

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  18. benign0 says:

    Thanks all for the thoughts on the poker analogy. 🙂

    As a few commentors noted, just about every human society was dealt a “bad hand”. Indeed, even those known as the Chosen People had to suffer persecution and genocide for centuries and even today lead a precarious existence in a small sliver of land bordered by belligerent neighbours.

    I actually thought about it again. In terms of our original physical circumstances — the natural product of our islands, its strategic location in the sea lanes of the region, and the infrastructure left behind by the Americans after they granted us independence, I think we were dealt a royal flush! Trouble is we were dealt a bad hand culturally.

    So despite all these natural “blessings” it was our culture — our general lack of imagination, heritage of smallness, and stariray inclinations — that PREVENTED us from winning the pot with our royal flush.

    Compare that to Singapore — kicked out of the Malay Federation with no natural water supply and facing invasion threats from the Philippines and Indonesia. Or South Korea — the regional basket case of the 1950’s. Or even Vietnam today — prosperous and making up for decades of war and isolationist economics. All bad cards. All played brilliantly.

    • J.B. says:

      I owe it to the Spaniards who brilliantly concocted Frankenstein in us. Many people blamed Quezon or Marcos or Quirino (the graveyard voters from Lanao was to his credit) for our woe. But I believe these people were just personifications of the ogre that has been there already thriving in deepest of our souls.

      From time to time, the 333 years cooking of Spanish occupation, we will see people emerged who will be a just a product of Spanish cookbook, the Frankenstein monsters waiting to devour.

      One of the worst monsters brought by the Spaniards are the Tisoys and Tisays who naturally lorded over the native-looking Pinoys. Or the “makinis” brought in by Chinese migrants.

      If you go to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other progressive Asian neighbors, you’ll see that the people driving the cars and the people walking on the streets look more of like the same.

      In the Philippines, the car drivers are tisoys/tisays, the street vendors are native-looking.

      Erap summed it up when he said something about the Muslims in the South, “hindi naman natin kalahi ang mga iyan!”

      • Anonylol says:

        I don’t think that’s much of an excuse. If anything it only points out the inherent racism in Filipinos. Both the “tisoys” and “native-looking” ones.

        I mean, there’s got to be something more to why the situation exists besides the colour of their skin.

      • J.B. says:

        That was my opinion in direct comment about why other asian neigbor’s became prosperous while the Philippines was left far behind.

        Colour of skin is one of the factors why we don’t have this highly desirable attitude – “the sense of country”.

        Teenagers in advanced societies are more of like the same ones in the Philippines, raging egos or hormones, bullies, flashy cars…

        But once they step into the career path, the society they’re end tend to tone down their egos into some form maturity and either becoming enlightened or conformist to social norms.

        In the Philippines, our tisoys attitudes are not unlike other advanced nations attitudes when in their teens. But once they start their career life, they’re already developed their parents misconceptions about their beings tisoys – the right to pillage the country.

  19. Let’s say the scenario is a head’s up game.

    Filipinos were dealt with bad cards like a 5 and 2 while the US a Queen and a Jack. The Philippines would do a cold hard bluff with a matching poker face because really, that’s what Filipinos do when facing different situations. They would like to fool other people that we have the best of everything when in reality, it’s the complete opposite.

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