Posts Tagged ‘filipino’
I have it bookmarked in my Chrome. It’s in my Google Reader. My Facebook friends, especially my Filipino friends who are mostly abroad, have been served regularly a generous helping of positive Philippine news using its links in my status updates. Like my Gmail, a day without checking it is never complete. For that, Good News Pilipinas gets the first spot in my HipFlip roster.
Good News Pilipinas, or GNP, is an information website that highlights the good in the Filipino and the Philippines. It focuses on the positive action, triumphs and victories, whether big or small of fellow Pinoys around the world. It is here to uplift, inspire and inform the world the greatness of our country and people. It wants to make every Filipino feel proud and smile, that yes indeed we have achieved a lot as a people, and continue to be successful in various sectors in our very own country and overseas. It has a NO POLITICS information policy. All it wants is just to tell the whole world that the Philippines is a big beautiful country and that the Filipino is hospitable, talented, smart, and resourceful. Its Managing Board is composed of Tina de Leon Funtanilla, COO & Marketing Director, Gabriel Battung – Sales & Marketing Manager, Melannie Syquia-Hizon, CEO & Operations Director, Giselle Kasilag, Community Relations Director, Susan de Guzman, Public Relations Director, Federico M. Hizon, Director
Atty. Verena Villanueva, Legal Counsel, and Michael Haydn Bagtas, Website Administrator & Content Manager.
Whether reporting on the first interactive TV created by a team of Filipinos, Donald Trump and Company’s $1 Billion investment in Subic, or an advice from renowned immigration lawyer, Michael J. Gurfinkel, Esq., the site strikes a chord in the hearts of Filipinos worldwide who are sick and tired of the cut-and-dried fare of bad news on and from the Philippines. Its masthead captures its spirit and essence aptly : “Pinoy Pride Worldwide!” Its list of advocates includes Margie T. Logarta, a HongKong-based veteran lifestyle and travel journalist, the Editor of the prestigious and widely read regional publication, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Magazine, who is also known in the industry as “The Dean of Travel Writers”, and Rico Hizon, the 2006 TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) Awardee for International Journalism and Community Service, a BBC World Business and Financial News Anchor producing, reporting and presenting live every weekday mornings the business and finance program Asia Business Report.
If you are like me who thinks bad news is no news, we have a wonderful source of a healthy dose of positive news about the Philippines and the Filipinos!
What is 20 U.S. dollars worth? I actually googled this query. Results : your own meme of “Stop Shooting” shirt, a Hello Kitty toaster, DIY Bendy Straws, Penguin Teaboy, and a Bike Chain bottle opener to name a few. To the upwardly mobile set, burning 20 bucks is a no-brainer: a 12-servings pack of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew Colombia Coffee, and while they are at it, they might as well throw in a copy of the Talking Heads Opus CD (okay, that’s a little over a Jackson, but hey, you could afford Starbucks, right?). Perhaps a lower-grade copper Probus coin on eBay?
How about gasoline money for a truck ride home so you can be with your kids a few days before you die?
On a hot and humid late February morning, we decided to park our van underneath a tree along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City as my niece, Grace, went out to pay for her IELTS exam fees, while my sister, her husband, and myself waited. From his rear view mirror, Rosell, my brother-in-law, noticed a man in his 60′s walk draggingly. He cranked his window down to ask him if he was alright. The man, clasping his stomach, obviously in pain, said he was just trying to make it to EDSA, a good couple of blocks away. Without much thought, Rosell prompted my sister, Helen, to hand me a 500-peso bill (roughly $10), to give to the man for his taxi fare and a decent lunch as well. I alighted, approached the old man, and–curious that I am–talked to him before I gave him the money.
A brief talk– all 5 minutes short– but it seemed like eternity to me…he was recently diagnosed of a late-stage colon cancer, and with it a death sentence, or so it seemed to him, handed by his doctor: he had until the first week of March to have an operation lest he would die. I began to rattle off names/organizations/agencies/foundations, the whole alphabet soup of so-called charitable institutions, including ABS-CBN (a major Philippine media network where he just came from) and our country’s President‘s office, that he could go to. “Been there, all of them,” he said, morosely. “I either got empty promises or hallow sympathies,” his eyes resigned to the inevitable. His were a man’s who slugged it out with the world and tried to out-maneuver fate as well. Whatever glimmer of hope left in there, however, was extinguished by the anguish he felt for being abandoned. In spite of the stabbing pain and the measured breaths, this man walked his way one leaden step after another , in search for any freaking help that he never got. Imagine a bed-ridden old man who awaits for his time: emaciated, in physical agony, yet doggedly determined to get out of bed, carried his deathbed, and walked for miles on end in pursuit of an elusive purpose. He was determined to beat the deadline– only a week away. Tried he did to go beyond the limits of his dying body, but, alas, his dead hope and defeated spirit got the better of him: “All I want is some gasoline money for the truck that my friend offered me as a ride home to Tacloban (some 360 miles by land SE of Manila). I want to be with my children when I die. I want to be buried in my hometown. One thousand pesos (about $20). That’s what keeping me away from my children and my burial plot right now,” his words laced with bitterness the aftertaste of which I didn’t mind at all. Thank you for the 500 pesos; and would I mind if he had to move on (walk the two blocks to the bus station) to catch his bus? Of course, I didn’t. I handed him the amount he needed. He held my hand and thanked me again, his eyes– I had the gnawing feeling that that would be the first and the last time I will ever see him– bade me farewell.
Yes, I did mind him leaving, in a way. I wished I could have done more. I didn’t even get his name. However, to God he will never be a nameless, faceless son of His. My heart is with him, knowing he was with his children to celebrate life and love with them. Priceless.
When a person — Filipino or not — is celebrated for what he does for the Philippines, not for who is or his net worth, he is a HipFlip. This is an homage to those who extol quintessential Filipino traits impacting the lives of the Filipinos. Whether she has the face that can launch a thousand space shuttles and helps feed a million kids, an unassuming cab driver who returns a brief case full of foreign currencies, or a twittering social networker / facebooking blogger / fierce Philippine advocate, this HipFlip deserves to be immortalized in the searchable archives of the ether. No bronze life-size bust for him nor an Oscar statuette for her, just an honest adulation of a grateful people and an honored spot in the HipFlip roster.
Can you call yourself a stranger in a foreign land when you actually feel right at home? Sounds paradoxical, but the Philippines is that other country you have never thought you had– your other home– only far stranger than you have imagined and more familiar than it can possibly get.
Welcome to the land of pleasant paradoxes and exceeded expectations (yours, that is)!
Blessed with a generous sprinkling of 7,107 islands in the Pacific, the Philippines beckons with paradisiacal allure and a welcome respite from the harried world and a hurried life. Here, we have mastered the art of living, the intricacies of friendship, and the passion for life.
It is just an archipelago of emerald isles that break the monotony of the mighty ocean if not for its people who are its real gem and the Pacific‘s real pride. For centuries, guests and conquerors attest to the warmth and hospitality of the Filipinos which is second to none. Magellan‘s men expressed their desire to end their quest for the Spice Island upon discovering the Filipinos and when they experienced the spices of life : bounteous feasts, verdant hills and mountains, powdery white beaches, and the hospitable people (not to mention the beautiful women).
These are just some of the obvious reasons why I made it my ardent cause to tell everyone of this wonderful place the world can call home; to experience what it is like to be a friend, a stranger, and a family member all at the same time: a friend because you will never feel left out, a stranger because it is okay to be different and yet be accepted, and a family member because you may end up marrying one of the gorgeous maidens we have here (now that is another story)! Kidding aside, you will find a kinship, a sense of belonging, with the Filipinos the moment you see the unpretentious smiles, lavish in their unconditional welcome, and witness their unscripted lives. In fact, we have elevated hospitality from an art form to a time-honored tradition that you can’t help but feel and experience the Filipino way of living not just observe it. And yes, your pictures may tell a thousand and one words of what the Philippines is like, but your heart will tell what it is like to be with the Filipinos.
To the world, you are a traveler. Here, you are family.