The Philippines:  on vilification and ridicule

More than enough any decent and self-respecting Filipino can take has been said and written (sometimes in vilifying fashion) about what is wrong (or bad) with the Philippines, its people and government.  Yet one would find many foreigners living out their retirement years on less than a thousand dollars of monthly pension in many parts of the Philippines where their modest income can go a long, long way.

Frequent travelers among us are not unfamiliar with parlor jokes that circulate in “some” Filipino communities abroad (and on the Internet) about the Philippines and the perceived idiosyncrasies of its people.  Yet many of these same “practical jokers” would likely live out their old age in the Philippines where they will be taken cared of by their own people, instead of watching their remaining days go by in some lonely nursing homes or public institutions.

I’m too old, too tired and too proud to be bothered or exasperated by these negative reviews of my country and people.

It is not easy to be a Filipino.  But for me there is no other place in the world like my home country, where I am free to do whatever I want with my life, where I am not treated as a foreigner, where I am not judged behind my back by the color of my skin.

Those of us who have resisted the lure of foreign lights and the promise of good life abroad willingly carry our share of the national burden, gratified by the thought that we are contributing to the common good of our people and giving back to the land that nourished and educated us. 

I harbor no ill feelings against our detractors, critics and hecklers alike, even as I sympathize with the millions of people in Western Europe and America who now suffer from the economic woes besetting their mighty nations.

There is nowhere to go but up for the Philippines!

 
Published 11 February 2012
Pasig City, PHILIPPINES

Some images from my home country Philippines

Geographical location of the Philippines

Home to 94 million predominantly but not exclusively Catholic Filipinos.

 

 

 

 

Home to the original “People Power Revolution” (the 1986 EDSA Revolution) which inspired pro democracy movements and social revolutions in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

The ancient Banaue Rice Terraces in the province of Ifugao, a 2,000-year-old mountain rice terraces carved by ancient Filipinos.  Declared by the UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site”,  it is generally regarded as the “Eight Wonder of the World.”

 

 

 

 

The Boracay island in the province of Aklan — world famous for its pristine white-sand beaches, calm and clear water, and healthy natural reef appealing to snorkelers and divers.

 

 

 

 

Canadian Elsie Fajardo (originally from Aliaga, Nueva Ecija, Philippines) enjoying a dip at Subic Bay in Zambales province.

 

 

 

 

Manila bay business and commercial district at night.

Image from the Tubbataha Natural Reef in the island province of Palawan.  Declared a “World Heritage Site” by the UNESCO, the reef is a haven among divers and marine biologists.

A re-enactment of The Crucifixion during the observance of the Catholic’s Lenten Season.

 

The picturesque and still active Taal volcano and lake in the province of Batangas, as viewed from Tagaytay City, Cavite.

Elsie Fajardo at a ridge in Tagaytay City overlooking Taal volcano and lake.

The El Nido Beach Resort in the province of Cavite, only one of the many beautiful beach resorts dotting the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.

The central business and commercial district of Makati City at night.

The picturesque and active Mayon volcano in Albay province — famous for its near perfect cone shape.

The Underground River in the island province of Palawan.

Rizal National Park (also known as Luneta Park), a sprawling multi theme park in Manila named after the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

Singkil, a colorful and graceful Royal Muslim Dance in southern Philippines.

Elsie Fajardo dancing the “Tinikling” (the national dance of the Philippines) with cultural show performers.

“Close encounter” with the annual migration of Butanding (whale sharks), the largest living fish species, in the coastal town of Donsol, Sorsogon, from November to May.

Image of Ati-atihan, a religious cum mardi gras festival which originated in the province of Aklan and is held annually in January in honor of the Santo Niño (the Infant Jesus). 

Pagsanjan Falls in the province of Laguna where “shooting the rapids” is a popular attraction and adventure among local and foreign tourists.

moriones-festival-in-marinduque

The Moriones is an annual folk-religious festival held on Holy Week on the island province of Marinduque and one of the most attended Lenten events in the Philippines.  The “Moriones” are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garbs of biblical soldiers as interpreted by local folks.

Burnham Park, a man-made leisure pond and park in the northern mountain resort city of Baguio.

Elsie Fajardo at the Burnham Park in Baguio City.

“Chocolate Hills” in the island province of Bohol where the Philippine Tarsier, the smallest primate in the world (measuring 4-5 inches), can also be found.

 Surfing destination in the island of Siargao, Surigao del Norte. 

Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City which is held annually in February and highlighted by a parade of colorful theme floats bedecked with thousands of flowers grown in the area.

 A gate of the ruins of the Spanish-era Fort Santiago in the “walled city of Intramuros” in Manila.

Ocean Adventure Park, Southeast Asia’s only open water marine park, in Subic Freeport Zone, Olongapo City.

 Elsie Fajardo at the poolside of Club Morocco, Subic Bay, Zambales.

 

Image of “Hundred Islands” in the province of Pangasinan, a favorite summer destination among local tourists.

 

Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City, which is also referred to as the “City of Majestic Falls” because of the presence of more than 20 waterfalls in the city. 

Sunset at the Manila Bay along the Roxas Boulevard baywalk strip, a favorite spectacle among couples, strollers and joggers.

 

 

 

 

Colorful sea-going vessels called “vinta” in southern Philippines.

Image of Christmas in the Philippines — the longest (September to early January the following year) and the most colorful Christmas season in the world.