Yes, it’s easy to be Tadeo in a time when all those who prevail in our times are the Juanito Pelaezes, the Salvis, the Damasos, Kapitan Tiagos and the like. It’s easy to be a Basilio more focused in finishing studies than of being concerned with one’s society. It is understandable when all the dreamers have mostly failed or have seen their ideals reduced in effect. It is understandable when one sees that the earlier generations could not do more than make token and some slight changes in society. There are times that I myself have been entertaining these thoughts.
The problem with Filipinos is we like to have change but not to work hard for it. The problem with other Filipinos is they are selfish, thinks only of the present or of their own class, clan, or region. If they have the material capacities, they will utilize them to the hilt to further their own ends. On the other hand, the less privileged ones, because of poverty, a sense of abandonment, and lack of discernment, would rather not think of the country at large and of the welfare of others.
But then, what is the alternative? For now, the things that you feel you can do, and enjoy best. Gaming .KPop. Food binges. Etc. Or, for the more serious, finishing studies in the hopes of eventually working and helping for one’s family.
A reminder though: we can detach ourselves from society to a certain, and large extent. But not completely. We do not live in a vacuum wherein we can separate ourselves from others. Some of you may even ask: what’s the point of Philippine nationalism? Why do you we still have to love our country that can’t love us back?
My challenge to you is this. You can start doing new ways of appreciating our country through the means that you know best. Or through the field that you wish, and working on, to eventually become part of. Yes, you are correct that much of the older ways and values of loving our country has been made irrelevant, with all the evils this country has seen. But I would want to believe that we can still put some hope a little hope. On the other hand, real talk, can you imagine yourself not having a nationality or cultural roots to go back with? We can figuratively vomit with the negative concerns of our country, but can we really disown her? Let’s stop and think.
Oblation is not only a statue or a symbol of an annual run. It means “sacrifice,” “offering” to a cause greater than you. Family, can be one, since it is central to our culture. But we can, we have to, go beyond that. if we fail to do so, we seem to go back to prehispanic and colonial times when we only pay loyalty to our regions and families.
As UP students, you can, and you ought not only to be proud of an esteemed (but oftentimes criticized) institution. You have to live the life, walk the talk, of being “Iskos” and “Iskas.” And you have to realize there’s life outside Silangan and Kanluran or Lopez roads