Shameful “Fifty Facts about the Philippines” … a Rebuttal

I got an e-mail from a friend today.  It carries the title “Fifty Facts about the Philippines.” It has an opening statement, which says,” Shame, shame, shame… this was sent to me by my Canadian e-mail buddy.” Then he asked, “Dapat ba akong magalit sa kanya sa pagsampal sa akin ng katotohanan?”  My answer was, “Dapat, respectfully you can tell him that he is misinformed, if you have the courage, tell him he is stupid.”

The email with the title “50 Facts about the Philippines follows.  My reply is enclosed in parenthesis and is in italics.

50.  Where most happenings happen not where the party is, instead it is where the gang wars happen, where women strip, and where people overthrow presidents.  (He should see the ghettos of New York, Jewish Ghettos in Europe, and the strip bars in LA. Did he know that Modeibo Keita of Mali was deposed in a coupe?  Agustin de Iturbide of Mexico deposed when popular opposition forced him to abdicate, so with many others like Juan Peron, Idi Amin, etc. The whole world revered the Filipinos for our courage and our institution of peaceful reforms. Tell your Canadian friend to read newspapers. Can he read?)  

49. Where even doctors, lawyers and engineers are unemployed?  (Look around Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar where one even rarely sees a doctor.)

48. Where everyone have his own personal ghost story and superstition? (Is he talking about the Chinese or the Indians? China and India are two of the most modern and largest countries in the world and most superstitions came from these countries.)

47. Where mountains like Makiling and Banahaw are considered holy places? (What about Mount Everest and other mountains in Tibet and Indonesia, or Mount Fuji in Japan.  They consider these places holy too.)

46. Where everything can be forged? (Where can’t it be? There are lots of forged Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Picassos. Have he heard that science had proven that the Shroud of Turin was forged too presumably by Leonardo da Vinci?}

45. Where Starbucks Coffee is more expensive than gas? (Tell your Canadian friend to go to Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Paris, London, etc.)

44. Where school is considered a second home and the malls are considered the third? (Ii is also true with many capital cities of the world. This is good, as long as the first home is the real home.)

43. Where every street has a basketball court and every town has only one public school? (He should visit many Latin-American and European countries where children play soccer on the streets and does not even have a school for every five pueblos.)

42. Where all kinds of animals are edible? (They eat blood cake in Taiwan, dogs and live octopus in Korea, grasshoppers in Japan and Uganda, snakes in China, snake wine is special in Vietnam, grubs or moth larvae in Australia, and donkey in Italy.  Do you want to hear more?)

41. Where people speak all kinds of languages and still call it Tagalog and are fast becoming to be unfashionable to speak English or Spanish? (That is nice to hear. Will you not be proud if you can speak two or more languages? Parts of Canada speaks French, Doesn’t he know that? And if you mean Filipinos who prefer to speak Tagalog than any other languages, isn’t that nationalistic?}  

40. Where students spend more money than they will earn afterwards? (It depends on the person.  The same is true in Canada. Lucio Tan and Henry See did not spend much for their formal education, if ever they have one.)

39. Where Call Center employees earn more than teachers than nurses, and doctors go back to school to become nurses abroad? (Seek and you shall find.  Opportunity is where you can find it. It is human nature, and this is true anywhere in the world where humans reside.)

38. Where driving four kilometers can take you as much as four hours? (He should get caught in the traffic jams of Tokyo, Paris, Rome, or New York. If it’s only four kilometers, tell him he should walk and enjoy the fantastic scenery in the Philippines, unless he is an invalid). 

37. Where flyovers bring you from the freeway to the side streets? (You can’t go where you want to go if you don’t get out of the free way. Can you? Flyovers and freeways are made for motorists’ convenience not for the opinion of stupid Canadians.)

36. Where tourist spots are places Filipinos do not go or cannot go? (You can see Filipinos in famous tourist areas like Phuket in Thailand, Arguilla in the Caribbean, Barcelona in Spain, Bora bora in French Polynesia, Harbor Island in the Bahamas because Boracay is too crowded with foreign tourists.)

35. Where Personal Computers are mainly used for games, Friendsters and Facebook? (Maybe this Canadian is talking about himself.  He should know that we are also using the personal computer for writing blogs in Definitely Filipino.)

34. Where all 13-years-olds are alcoholic? (Not all, you were not an alcoholic when you were thirteen were you? Tell your Canadian friend to visit Angola and Botswana, or see the aborigines of Australia.)

33. Where colonial mentality is dishonestly denied? (This Canadian is out of date. We’re now thinking global.  Anyway, who is the Filipino who denied that we’re colonized by Spain, the Americans and the Japs?)

32. Where 4:00 a.m. is not considered bedtime yet? (Good, we still have bedtime. Sing New York, New York, it is the city that never sleeps, better yet go to Vegas.)

31. Where people can pay to defy the law? (The ten most corrupt countries in 2009 were Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Iraq, Chad, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Haiti, in that order.  The Philippines is not included.

30. Where everything and everyone is spoofed? (Survival of the fittest. This is true anywhere in the world. It is natural for humans to take advantage of the weakness of others.)

29. Where even the poverty-stricken get to wear Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger (peke)?  (Is he not confused between Hong Kong and the Philippines? Do you know that what you call original “Levis” and “Guess” are made in India and Vietnam? Reebok and Adidas in Korea, others are made in China… and most souvenir items from all over the world are made in Hong Kong? )

28. Where the honking of car horns is a way of life? (Drive in Italy. and some countries in Europe.)

27. Where being called a bum is never offensive? (What about American Vietnam veterans who prefer to be called bums than hero?)

26. Where floodwater takes up more than 90 percent of the streets during the rainy season? (You’ll be surprised, watch CNN. Even roads in business areas of great cities in the U.S. get flooded too, and yes, even a part of Orchard Road in Singapore.)

25. Where everyone has a relative abroad who keeps them alive? (Do you know that there are thousands of Chinoys supporting their families in China, Cubans in Cuba, Peruvians in Peru, Chileans, in Chile, and Mexicans in Mexico? Be proud we know how to keep family ties.)

24. Where crossing the street involves running for your dear life? (All of us risk our lives in anything that we do like, taking the elevator, climbing up and down stairs, even in eating, where you can choke with small chunks of food like Gloria.  At least we are not like the kangaroos in Queensland’s outback freeways or once-in-awhile elks in Canadian highways.)

23. Where wearing your national colors make you baduy?  (Did he call Manny Pacquiao “Baduy,” or P-noy and his supporters wearing their shirt with the Philippine map on it, and when the UST choir sang their winning piece in an international competition? Darn, this Canadian sounds like nuts.}

22. Where billiards is a sport, and darts is a bar game? (Is it not in Canada? He should see the bars in his own country and also experience being attended by nude waitresses.)

21. Where even the poverty-stricken have the latest cell phones. (GSM- Galing Sa Magnanakaw)?  (Go to the slums of New York, Chicago, and even Canada. Kana dyan, Kana dito, Kana doon.)

20. Where insurance does not work? (Only to those who does not know how to live, because they do not also know how to die.)

19. Where water can only be classified as tap and dirty – clean water is for sale (35 pesos per 5-gallon)?  (That’s cheap by Paris standards. By the way does he know that water in Singapore is imported from Malaysia, yet you have to boil tap water to consume it?)

18. Where the church governs the people (owwss!!!) and where the government makes the people pray for miracles. (Amen to that!) ? (Where did your Canadian friend got this? Tell your imbecile Canadian buddy to read [If he can read] international current events.)

17. Where University of the Philippines is where all the weird people go.  Ateneo is where all the nerds go.   La Salle is where all the Chinese go. College of Saint Benilde is where all the stupid Chinese go, and University of Asia and the Pacific is where all the irrelevantly rich people go?  (That is absurd. The Chinese you’re talking about are more Filipino than you are. Have your Canadian buddy ever stepped into college? They say similar things to UCLA, Yale, and Harvard

16. Where fast food is a diet meal? (Do you understand what diet means? “1. [countable/uncountable] food usually eaten by someone or something. the food that a person or animal usually eats” Where do your Canadian friend eat, in a pig sty?)

15. Where traffic signs are merely suggestions, not regulations? (Where did you hear this, from someone who browses editorial cartoons without deciphering what it means?)

14. Where all the trees in the city are below six feet? (Where had he been going in the Philippines? Maybe he’s talking about Japanese Bonsai trees.)

13. Where being held up is normal.  It happens to everyone?  (Had he been on the side streets of many American cities?)

12. Where kids dream of becoming pilots, doctors and basketball players? (Aren’t Canadian kids the same?)

11.  Where rodents are normal house pets. (Many Canadian kids have Iguanas, lizards, snakes, and spiders as pets.  What’s the difference?)

10. Where the definition of traffic is the “non-movement” of vehicles? (Whose definition is this? He must have gotten the wrong dictionary.)

9.  Where fighter planes of the 1940s are used for military engagements, and the new fighter planes are displayed in museums?  (He must have seen an old Hollywood movie.)

8.  Where Nora Aunor is an acclaimed actress and Boy Abunda is the best talk show host, where the population knows more their showbiz stars better than their national heroes and past presidents, knows more of showbiz gossips than their national history and current events? (Many Canadians know American Hollywood stars more than their Prime Minister.}

7. Where cigarettes and alcohol are a necessity and where the lottery is a commodity? (If this is true in the Philippines, it is worse in Canada.)

6. Where soap operas tell the realities of life and where the news provides drama?  (Don’t watch too much TV. You are getting confused and giving yourself the wrong interpretation.)

5.Where actors make the rules and where politicians provide the entertainment?  (One of the best American Presidents was an actor—Ronald Reagan.  Don’t tell me you don’t know Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

4. Where finding a deer on the road is a rare phenomenon? (The Philippines is not Canada. We’re not in the African savanna either.)

3.  Where people can get away with stealing trillions of pesos, but not for a thousand? (That’s what money can do even in Canada.)

2. Where being an hour late is still considered punctual. (Grabe talaga ‘to!)?  (Mas grabe sa Peru, Chile, Mexico, and other Latin-American countries. Hindi tayo nagiisa.)

1. Where the squatters have more to complain (even if they do not pay their taxes) —- than those employed and have their tax automatically deducted from their salaries. (That’s democracy in progress)

0. and finally… Where everyone wants to leave the country!? (I thought you would say “and finally… where you can hear citizens mocking their own country?” Where did your Canadian buddy hear all these baloney? Or is it you who made all this things up?

Friend, be proud you are a Filipino. Let no Canadian buddy of yours change that.  The Philippines is still the best and only country we have.  

About Gilbert Miranda

Former Provincial Board Member and International Relations and Trade Officer of the Province of Laguna. Now retired but wishing to be rehired. Artist and occasional writer.
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