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Change. Make it Happen.

A reaction to F. Sionil Jose's "Why are Filipinos so Poor?"

I had to read F. Sionil Jose's article three times before I was able to write, or type, my thoughts. Maybe because I had to make sure I am in the right mood while reading the article. For one, I believe that this article is one of the best pieces that I have read recently. It seems like it has captured me right from the start and reading through it, I ended up asking myself, 'What have we done to ourselves?' 'What have we done to our country?' 'What have we done for our country?'

There are so many valuable points in F. Sionil Jose's article. But I will just focus on a few that really struck me the most.

On Education

...half of all grade school pupils dropped out after grade 5 because they had no money to continue schooling.
According to the article, that was from a survey some 15 years ago. This is just a very unfortunate fact that our fellow Filipinos had to give up education just because of money when in fact it should be accessible for all. Coming from the a teaching curriculum before I shifted to BS DevCom, me eyes have been opened to the reality that until today, money still hinders one's right to learning. There are so many issues that we could tackle under education but as the article stressed, these kinds of poverty, apart from the physical poverty or even economical poverty, are really the more important reasons as to why the Filipinos are so poor. Many of our countrymen are deprived from material possessions but for me, I think there are more Filipinos who are deprived from all those priceless treasures. Sad to say, there is literally a price that we have to pay to be able to have good education.

On 'Yabang'

This, for me, is also true. I could also be wrong, but I also feel like Filipinos value how other people see them individually. We pay attention to physical impressions so much that we sometimes forget that this is not the only thing that matters. We find multitude of ways to look 'sosyal' or classy but if only we could use that kind of resourcefulness to better things in life, we may not have to do so much to impress other people at all.

On Being Filipinos

I have never been more proud of being a Filipino, but I guess not everyone does. If only we could change our way of thinking that Filipinos are inferior to other race, we may not be in this kind of situation we are today. I believe that we are having problems with our being poor. I believe that this is because we have set our standards to that of the Western. Maybe, being poor is dependent on who do we consider as rich. And as I have already mentioned, it's not only material richness that matters. Well, not all rich are happy after all. But I believe that this all boils down to us being Filipinos and how we see ourselves. Not all government officials are blinded by money, as the article even cited examples of clean governance. Filipinos shine all over the world and we take pride in all their achievements. Overseas Filipino Workers are also highly commended abroad because of their hard work and perseverance. You see, we just have to appreciate our own greatness as Filipinos. Everything has to change from within. And only us Filipinos could make that happen.

It's hard to admit, but I think F. Sionil Jose's article said it all as to why are we so poor. As much as we want to shout to the whole world that it's not true, we know deep inside that this is all on us. It's time for us to stop blaming colonialism and start being united in having the strength to change for the better. This, for me, is the challenge imposed on us by the article.

Do we have what it takes to change ourselves? Let's think about it.


Summer Lovin’


For most students, this six-letter word is equated with beaches and pools, out of town vacations, non-stop parties, and late night gimmicks. It could also mean additional academic time for those who are taking summer classes or internships, and then there are also those who are making their time worthwhile with summer jobs. But then again, there are also those people who are not really outgoing and would rather spend most of the much needed summer break to stay at home than to do all those things. And that was how Kaye Cabal opted to spend the two-month break from school.

Kaye Cabal is a junior student from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She is a kind of person who would choose an all-day movie marathon alone at home over a day at the mall, or some sleepless nights watching the whole season of Revenge over a night out with friends. And summer 2012 was definitely not an exception as she decided to spend the summer break catching up with new Asian and American drama series that she didn’t get to watch last semester.

This self-declared couch potato can’t even give a number of how many movies and drama series she was able to watch over the break. She was just so happy that she had that much time to spend on one of her simply joys in life mainly because she is already expecting to have her internship next summer. Every time she is being asked as to why she spends hours and hours of watching all sorts of movies and drama series, she says that “there is just this magic that makes you want to have a happy ending just like in those movies and series every time you watch one.” She believes that every story has its own spark that never fails to make her believe in happy endings.

Aside from watching movies and drama series, Kaye also spent most of her summer online. Being a huge fan of Barangay Ginebra Kings of the Philippine Basketball Association, she handles one of the team’s unofficial Twitter accounts (@barangayginebra). She has been doing it since 2009 but according to her, last summer was the best times of her being an administrator of the account. Before, she was just only doing the play-by-play updates of the ballgames but last summer, she became more personal to the account’s followers. They frequently had Twitter games and trending topics which made it to the online news. Being one of the fans of PBA’s crowd favorite, she has never been more proud of being a sports enthusiast. To her, “a summer break without that experience is not to be called a summer break at all.”

But don’t get her wrong. Kaye did not spend the whole summer in her bedroom. She may have spent almost the whole summer watching and surfing the Internet, but she did managed to get herself out of the house, or out of her bedroom, somehow. She was able to go to Zambales in a weekend getaway with her family. And for her, nothing beats going somewhere for the first time ever especially since she was with her family. It may have only been for two days and one night, but it’s still one of the highlights of her summer.

There were also those special little moments during the break that Kaye will never forget. She cheered for Jessica Sanchez, made some beef tacos, and wore four shades all at once just to get a good look at the partial solar eclipse. She may not be the most outgoing person in the world, but she still made the most out of the summer break in her own way. She loved it, she enjoyed it, and for her, that’s all that matters.
*Written for my journalism class.