What I learned from my recent travel and my dreams for the Philippines:
-Koreans are responsible humans. I did not see a single trash on the road. The rivers and streams are clean. Our Korean tour guide always arrives 5-10 minutes ahead of call time. They eat healthy food. They love to walk.
-And because to them values are of paramount importance, they have good people in the government, which means having planned and effective infrastructures – very huge tourist-friendly airports located at the edges of the country (not in the middle of the city), traffic-free roads and bridges, efficient public transportation (you can ride the subway to almost anywhere). The city is very clean and neat-looking. Their Internet is at lightning speed. I uploaded a 3GB-video on Facebook and it took only a few minutes.
-They love their own country. They preserve their culture and give importance to it amidst modernization. They idolize their local artists (actors, singers, etc). They watch their own movies and TV shows. I struggled to find a TV channel in English, everything is Korean! They make their own cartoons. They manufacture and use their own products. They have their own world. They don’t have to globalize. That’s why they have difficulty with the English language. They don’t need outsiders. They are a world of their own.
I dream of having subways in the Philippines. Imagine commuting around clean, traffic-free Metro Manila and reaching your destination in a few minutes without being robbed of dignity. Imagine gettting to Pangasinan, Zambales, Rizal, Quezon, Batangas, Laguna and other outskirts, in about an hour or less. Imagine ferries going to and from other islands especially in Visayas. Imagine having Manila/Cebu/Davao city tour package which includes visits to historical sites which are well-maintained and respected, where tourists can have a chance to wear historical costumes like Koreans showcase their Hanbok, where they can cruise on a clean Pasig river, similar to Singapore’s river cruise.
Probably we can erect a gigantic national symbol where tourists and locals can pose with, similar to Merlion. Probably we can plant more trees in the metro. Probably we can build buildings with crazy architectures and tall Ferris’ wheel (but not necessarily a priority). Probably we can have impressive Botanical Gardens and Safari Zoo, too, to remind us of the importance of other living things like plants/trees and animals and teach us to care for our environment. We already have theme parks, so I don’t know what to comment on that, probably putting up a Disneyland in Pampanga to attract more tourists but it is yet to be real. Or we could have many beautiful public parks, minus the informal settlers and pickpockets. Or we could build cable cars or trams going to mountain peaks, just like in Hong Kong.
Philippines can be designed for such city tours, though our main tourism selling point should be the beautiful beaches given our natural resources and tropical climate. It is when I grew up and exposed to travels that I realized it is not just a cliche. Philippines is indeed rich in natural resources. We are very lucky to be living here.
Metro Manila is just too over-populated. Maybe we could have more business districts in the outskirts of Metro Manila, where people in the north can work in the north and people in the south can work in the south, but not compromising the lands for agriculture. I have always wondered why some skyscrapers in Hong Kong are located beside mountains. How come Ocean Park is ON a mountain? I realized they don’t have much choice, Hong Kong is tiny, but certainly not their economy.
I dream of this country having more civilized and disciplined citizens who have values, manners, morals, etiquette, whatever you call it (can’t emphasize it enough), and are time-conscious, disciplined, goal-oriented and diligent, who care for the surroundings and people like they would in their own homes. Imagine a crime-free country where you can walk in the streets anytime, anywhere, without your backpack becoming a “frontpack”, where all people are too busy and too capable with life to become criminals. Imagine having little to no informal settlers, because everyone has a job/business and everyone had proper education and that they can afford decent shelters.
Imagine a country of people who really love our own because we produce everything with quality and beauty, in all aspects like food, clothes and other consumer goods like cosmetics and toiletries and electronics, and even in entertainment such as movies, TV shows, cartoons and music. I believe we have so much talent in this country. Hence we can really be “proud pinoy” to ourselves, not just because of someone else’s globally-acknowledged achievements.
Yes we were too influenced by the Americans and Spaniards. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. I just imagined that probably if we were not colonized centuries before, we would be using our own alphabet now (Alibata) just like our neighbors Korea, Thailand, Japan, and China, so we would also have difficulty in speaking English like them, but it would not be a big deal because we would have been a world of our own.
Moving on, it is imperative to have a leader who can somehow up our chances of becoming a better Philippines. Someone who can inspire (or discipline) us hard-headed Filipinos. Someone who’s result-oriented and gets jobs done. Times have changed. I believe our generation can no longer be lured into corruption, because we are far more interested in living life. Personally, I’m looking forward to having younger, driven public officials. I don’t understand why older people in the government tend to become overly greedy, probably to support their dialysis or whatever.
And to you, corrupt officials, whoever you folks are, from national government down to the barangays, tell me in my face that you didn’t steal a single centavo. Tell me in my face the results of your leadership, what have you achieved for the common good? Where are they? Have you been of use to the world? Were you valuable? Please tell me you were more than the pretty faces on countless posters you plastered on the walls but didn’t bother to clean after the elections. I really am not a fan of politicians especially those in the local government. Just who the heck are these people? Why do they put up posters with their faces to greet us Happy Valentines’ Day or Happy Mothers’ Day?? This whole idea of posters and print ads with their faces is borderline pathetic and cringe-worthy. As if we’re going to vote based on their faces.
You can’t bring all your riches to heaven. There is nothing wrong being rich, but the government is not the right place to become rich. Build your own business or something, just don’t steal, you obnoxious bastards! We could improve the airports, make it like Changi! We could build subways! We could build more schools! Oh, the things we can afford with the billions you stole from us!
To borrow Trump’s battlecry, #MakePhilippinesGreatAgain
Was it ever great? Will it ever be great? I certainly hope so.