This wasn’t my first visit and it won’t be the last, but this is the first time I actually tried to explore this country and approach it with foreign eyes.
A lot of times I caught myself short on patience and quick to judge. What I might label easygoing and laidback in one country, I would attribute to laziness and apathy. Why? I was born in this country. And with that ownership comes responsibility and a misguided sense of entitlement. I scrutinize it to no end, but I would defend it fiercely too. The only explanation I can give is that, in the end, we’re always harder on ourselves.
But you know, Philippines, you are an amazing country. What you lack in grandeur, you make up for in simple beauty and unfaltering optimism. And given that you’ve been through more than 400 years of occupation and colonization, it’s only natural to be a little lost in identity.
To an extent, I think every Filipino feels a bit like you. But who else could get through it all with a laugh and maybe even a karaoke song or two? You’ve got personality, Philippines.
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Pictures by Jan Hilario