Featured Post

PDEA Declares Robredo's Hometown Naga as Shabu Capital of the Philippines Following Multiple Arrests

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has now declared Naga City the Drug capital of the Philippines following the latest ...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From the Net: Why the Philippines Sucks

I can imagine the reactions of many of the Filipinos reading the title of this blog entry; all a-quiver with self-righteous indignation, the nerve of this gaga to be insulting the Philippines in this way, especially a Filipina insulting her own countrymen in lieu of the Quirino Grandstand hostage situation that had left eight dead, and at least seven other Chinese tourists traumatized. Filipinos do one of two things when their culture or their race is being insulted – they make excuses, or they call you names; anti-patriotic if you’re a fellow Pinoy, or a racist if you’re a foreigner. So why am I writing when all it’s going to do is cause me trouble?

Here’s why.

I have never driven a car in the Philippines, and I continue to refuse to do so. When I was younger, a friend tried to give me instructions. “If the car’s bigger than yours, may as well let him go ahead, even if he’s in the wrong.”; “Make sure you’ve got some fifty and hundred peso bills every time you’re driving. That way, if you’re ever stopped by a policeman, you can bargain down his asking price to let you go without taking your license.”; “If you hit a pedestrian or a kid you’ll have to stop, but if you run over someone’s pet just floor the gas and take off.” As I grew older, this last advice became “If you can get away with it, just drive away. If you kill a child on the road, you’ll have to pay the parents some thousands of pesos. In fact, it might be cheaper if you ran the person over and killed him, since medical bills are more expensive than a death payment.” I learned that the average price of a Filipino was four thousand pesos ($100). But it is what it is.

When I was younger, my friend was killed by the Philippine military. His name was Mark Welson Chua, and he was the main reason ROTC for many of the boys here has become optional rather than mandatory. He was investigating corruption within the ROTC military command with his girlfriend, a newspaper writer at the University of Santo Tomas, when he was beaten up, rolled inside a carpet, and then dumped in the trash-ridden Pasig River. When he was retrieved, his face was bloated, and the water in his lungs indicated that he was still alive when they threw him in.

And all to help the scores of boys who have taken ROTC since then, most of whom never take it seriously, or never question why it’s now an optional service.

The known mastermind, one of the higher generals within the military, was never arrested, or even charged. But it is what it is.

I initially wanted to pursue a career as a journalist. Many friends and parents soon disavowed me of that notion. The Philippines was until recently ranked the third in number of journalists killed, behind Afghanistan and East Timor, and the only country with the highest number of casualties during what is considered peacetime. To earn enough money, many journalists have to rely on blackmail – I won’t write these things about you if you pay me this much money. Succinctly put – if someone powerful enough didn’t like the way you were writing about him, or if you were asking for too much money, he’d hire someone to have you killed. A journalist’s life generally costs P10,000 ($200-250).

The Philippines is no longer third in rank. It is now ranked first, after the Maguindanao Massacre the previous year, where fifty or so journalists were killed while accompanying the wife of a local warlord’s political rival to submit her husband’s candidacy for election. The warlord in question, Ampatuan Jr., is still awaiting trial, the trial itself being prolonged. Many of his allies and cronies have already been found innocent.

But it is what it is.

Early this week, an ex-cop took a busload of Chinese tourists hostage, demanding his job back. The police involved were not equipped with the right kind of weapons, used an ax to smash down the windows of the bus, attempted to throw tear gas inside the bus without bothering to use a gas mask of their own, and failing to activate the gas twice. Most were not wearing any protective armor.

The media reported and interviewed the police officers, who divulged most of their plans on air. What neither failed to remember was that the bus had a television set, accessible to the gunman inside as well. So when the gunman’s brother was arrested in full view of the cameras as an accessory to the crime, gunshots inside the bus were heard.

It was an hour before the police decided to break down the doors and return fire. They killed the gunman, but not before the gunman had succeeded in killing eight of the tourists inside.

Donald Tsang, the Executive Chief of Hong Kong, spent hours frantically trying to get through to the Philippine president, Noynoy Aquino, without success. Noynoy himself had been absent from the public eye throughout the whole ten hour hostage siege. Aftewards, he appeared at a press conference with a smile on his face, telling reporters that had he called for a media blackout, people would have complained of his censoring them, so he decided against it. Many Chinese people – and a large number of Filipinos – were disgusted by how unaffected and uncaring he seemed.

It is what it is.

The number one reason why the Philippines suck, is because it is what it frigging is.

Filipinos learn to deal with a lot of things. Suffering seems to be a part of our genetic makeup, so we laugh and smile and wave at the camera even as the flash floods are sweeping away houses behind us. When something tragic happens, we grieve for awhile and we are angry, but we put them all behind us to prepare for the next tragedy we know is lurking on the horizon.

We’re a hopeful people, optimistic. We always believe that change is going to happen tomorrow if we wait long enough. We’re so busy waiting for other people to change we don’t think about changing first. We don’t realize that the change that can happen tomorrow should be the change happening today.

Because we’re a prickly sort of folk. We don’t like to admit things when we’re in the wrong. We blame it on outside environments and external factors; we blame our poverty and our economy and our government, but we don’t blame ourselves. So when other countries call us out on our flaws, we are quick to always give offense, to make excuses about how this is not our fault.

I want to be an author. I was told that there was no market for it here in the Philippines; everyone prefers mass-produced Filipino romance paperback novels (and even they still struggle to get by) or Western books. No modern writer currently living in the Philippines has ever achieved any great lasting popularity. Oh sure, we say we take pride in our national artists; Francisco Balagtas and Felix Hidalgo and Fernando Amorsolo. But most Pinoys don’t even know which paintings Hidalgo and Amorsolo are known for, or three books F. Sionil Jose had written, or the last time they’ve read Florante at Laura, or even Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere outside of school (many cheat and use the comic book version of the novels instead). We mouth platitudes and say we have good artists, but only because we are told that they are.

If I wanted to be popular, I was told, I’d have to do it outside of the country first. Because Filipinos usually pay closer attention to their fellow countrymen when they’ve made it big abroad. Lea Salonga after she performed in Broadway musicals and voiced Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin. Charice Pempengco after her singing was featured in Ellen. Manny Pacquiao only after he’d defeated known boxers outside of the country. Reynaldo Lapuz, singing ‘You are My Brother’ on American Idol. They’re Filipinos Who Made It Big, Just as Good as the Americans Are. Even local celebrities feel different from those who’d been successful abroad. We’re so very quick to claim that Batista is half-Filipino, that Vanessa Hudgens is half-Filipino, even that Filipina girl who played a minor role as Psylocke in those X-Men movies. Even Jasmine Trias, who has stated time and time again that she looked to Hawaii as her home, not the Philippines. That our lives here suck, but we can at least live vicariously through the successes of these other people. Filipino pride.

Am I mistaken? Then name me at least seven national artists, and what they’ve done to become national artists. Without using google.

There is a very good Philippine website called the antipinoy.com. Its writers frequently criticize Filipinos and suggest a multitude of reasons as to why the Philippines continue to stagnate in comparison to its other wealthier neighbors, and point out flaws in the Filipino character itself. Many Pinoys take offense at this. To call their website the “Antipinoy” was most likely a deliberate choice and a form of irony I fully appreciate, because pointing out defects in the Filipino nature does not make them anti-patriotic, and they know it. Someone agreeing with Claire Danes when she says the Philippines is a smelly place, or Mariah Carey when she calls Regine Velasquez a monkey, does not mean he also agrees that Filipinos are scum.

Why? Because many places in the Philippines ARE smelly, and Regine Velasquez IS a bitch.

When Filipinos complain about their government, their poverty, their economy, nobody seems to mind. But when a foreigner makes that same observation, they rise up to engage the enemy, their prides sorely wounded.

Because we’re always so downtrodden. We’re always the underdogs, the ones who have to live through a lot of suffering that, eventually, good things would have to come their way. And the underdogs are always encouraged, the ones people always root for. Underdogs are allowed to drive like madmen through the streets, because it isn’t their fault; the police will try to extort money out of them no matter how they drive, anyway. Underdogs can complain that the current Miss Philippines lost the Miss Universe pageant because it’s not her fault; the question was too ridiculous, English isn’t her native language, the pageant has been Americanized because of Donald Trump, Obama was asked the same question and he couldn’t answer it in 22 seconds either, etc. Noynoy Aquino wasn’t smiling at that press conference; he was just trying to be optimistic, he was hiding his sorrow inside, his mouth has a defect where it’s always crooked, so it looks like he’s smiling when he’s not, and so on. Underdogs shouldn’t be criticized for underlying flaws, because – after all – they ARE the underdogs!

When A Filipino, an underdog, loses, or is shamed in the eyes of the world, there’s always supposed to be an excuse why they are not to blame. That’s what’s wrong with this nation.

A former friend posted on his Facebook account about why the Philippine president shouldn’t be blamed for the deaths of the Chinese tourists. I called him out on this claim, pointing out the flaws of the man he was defending in relation to the tragedy. He deleted his previous comment to make my reply sound nastier without the provided context. He forgot that I received Facebook email notifications containing the relevant comments, and when I re-copied the one he had removed to defend my stance, he responded by deleting the status and blocking me from his facebook page.

In the Philippines, there are millions like him.

Admitting that yes, the Philippines sucks but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it, is the first step. And until we all realize that the truest love for one’s country is to understand its flaws and the flaws of its people, and to acknowledge those flaws rather than making excuses for our mediocrity – then nothing will ever change.

It is what it is.


VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
About the Author

FromTheNet has written 14 stories on this site.


Comments on “From the Net: Why the Philippines Sucks”
  • Hyden Toro wrote on 15 September, 2010, 13:29

    The Philippines Sucks; because most of its leaders are Sociopaths. We are Patient people. Our patience is also one of our weaknesses. We believe our leaders, inspite of them being: thieves; deceitful; and some of the are to greedy to decribe to…It is only in ourselves that we can find change…
    Anti Pinoy has bloggers who really blog and talk sense. It is because they love theri country…

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
  • Enlightened Filipino wrote on 15 September, 2010, 18:26

    Excellent and hard-hitting piece!

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • innagadda54 wrote on 15 September, 2010, 19:10

    This touches on some of the things you said.

    http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com/journal/item/1169/My_Take_on_The_Jersey_Shore_And_How_It_Relates_To_Us_

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Jay wrote on 15 September, 2010, 19:45

    The more people like here that find out about the cancer that is killing the Philippines, the faster we can all start the chemotherapy.

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • frustratedcitizen wrote on 15 September, 2010, 20:14

    we already know what the cancer is, we know the cure as well; the problem here is that most Filipinos don’t want to admit their mistakes, or leave their mishaps behind and move on forward without even resolving the problems that they left. added to that is the continuous brainwashing of the oligarchs and the media. yes, nobody is perfect, but we’d be better off working towards perfection rather than rotting in dysfunction.

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Tina wrote on 15 September, 2010, 21:47

    I’m filipino and I really love this site. I even urge my friends to read it as an eye-opener and damn where they impressed, in fact I was expecting a negative reaction. at least now I know I have friends who shares with me with this belief and not blindingly follow the traditional culture that lead to the suffering of our nation.

    [Reply]

    Hyden Toro Reply:

    Please inform others to read the Blog comments. Some of the Bloggers are highly educated, experienced in their lives, and know what they are talking about. We are very glad to inform our countrymen the truth regarding their situations. Only then, can we formulate solutions and get us out of this Hole, we are all in…Do not trust what those Politicians tell you…”madala na kayo, sa mga bola!!!” Best example is Noynoy Aquino promoting himself on:Hope. Did we really get the Hope?

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Ryunken wrote on 15 September, 2010, 21:49

    That’s definitely true! We Filipinos do suck!

    Our country will fall due to our stupid mindset… If we don’t change our mindset, we still be stuck in the rut… I don’t want to see the country where I was born and loved fall down and get burned to the ground because of our own in-fighting with each other!

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • J.B. wrote on 15 September, 2010, 22:44

    The driving thing is only a tip of the iceberg.

    Here is the complete list http://www.maconians.org/philippines/driving/driving-tips-page-1/

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • palebluedot_ wrote on 15 September, 2010, 23:48

    i do not think this is a simple cancer. i think this is already a metastasis of cancer (stage III or more). it has already affected all systems of our being a nation.

    if i am not mistaken, we were first diagnosed to have the disease during the Marcos regime. the first time Filipinos heard the disease, they felt grief. grief has many stages according to Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance. a lot have accepted the cancer and revolted through the so-called People-Power. but because of poor health education, varied expert opinions, messed up collaboration of cancer experts, financial difficulties & a very hard-headed patient (like someone who has an incurable OCD), the rehabilitation was not sustained & it failed. (please realize that this type/stage of cancer is supposed to be curable). many have promoted varying therapies to prevent further damage, and the most popular is the yellow urine therapy (coz its very cheap). yellow urine therapy is believed to be an anti-cancer agent, but researches have proven that it actually did not cure the cancer, it even further aggravated the cancer. because of this the simple cancer identified years ago has metastasized. if we are still careless to deny the metastasis, then let’s start digging our grave now. but if we really want to live further, let’s keep on kicking butts (like be active in AP) to make people realize that we are a dying nation (in health scenario, AP people are the ones who make assessments of the disease – a very important stage in disease management). what this nation really needs is not just a proponent of one therapy (like the yellow urine therapy or the kneeling exercises promoted by our religious leaders), we need the best health manager & leader, one who can gather all health experts (alternative or traditional) to come up with the best therapy for our nation’s rehabilitation.

    everyone should realize that we are not just the sick man of asia, we are already the dying man of asia….”to live or not to live – that is the question!”

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  • concerned_citizen wrote on 16 September, 2010, 2:05

    Touching piece. A real eye-opener that reflects why Filipinos have difficulty moving forward as a nation. We make too many excuses and we don’t accept our own misgivings as a people. We look too far for our problems when the real problem is reflected in the mirror. Change is a dream to far fetched for most Filipinos. We can choose to stay as we are or we can be a different people capable of getting in touch with the bitterness and unfairness of the real world. No more living in fantasies and happy endings for life is full of so much ****. We must learn to accept the good with the bad no matter how ****ty it is. (forgive my french)

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • kssael wrote on 16 September, 2010, 2:51

    First time posting here after reading countless articles since June. Amongst all post-August 23 blog articles, I would consider this as one of the most interesting ones, aside from the Good News Pilipinas article. Almost everything’s point to point. Every example given was concrete and well-proven. I know that most of Filipinos are just resting in the laurels of their own mediocrity not active to realistic measures of change; manifesting a viral trait known as “Ba(t)hala na!”; being force-fed by the monopolistic mass media; and also being butt-hurt when foreign countries poked on their faults. No wonder this place is still a ****hole, even after WWII.

    I will keep on track in this blogsite and comment frequently from now on.

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • bokyo wrote on 16 September, 2010, 4:26

    This is the kind of fight AP has been doing for years and it’s now spreading, thanks to the Net :)

    I was suprised when someone posted this article on PeX and shared it through FB. Beautiful piece indeed.

    And of course, the yellow trolls in PeX is in their “attack the writer, not the written” mode

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Jett Rink wrote on 16 September, 2010, 6:05

    I think it would have been better had Honasan et.al succeeded in 1987, and radical change brought about. If it included deaths of government people and oligarchs plus innocents, then so be it. Paradigm shift, since the Pinoy’s propensity for hoping of gradual changes (culminating in feelgood events but backdoor driven like Edsa 1 and 2) did not work. Race riots in the 60s jolted Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, waking up their leaders and populace into social contracts for the national good (though it flared again in 1998 Indonesia). Will that happen here now? Unlikely as Filipinos have become laissez faire with regards to everything, even I think about living and dying. :-(

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • himynameistimoy wrote on 16 September, 2010, 6:14

    Low expectations and lack of discipline. Masyadong relaxed and laid-back karamihan ng pinoy.. :|

    Hindi magsisikap kung hindi kailangan (read as: may nagpapakain).
    Bahala na. Pwede na yan.
    Pulis ako! Ikaw sino ka?
    Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.
    atbp.

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • ralliart1to3 wrote on 16 September, 2010, 9:31

    The Philippines sucks because even if Filipinos read such intense magnification of their faults, they will quip that they are only human then return to what they were doing. Filipinos are patrons of GROUP THINK, that they can’t take the alternative route because they fear of SHAME if they went wrong. And shame is a no no in this society. Sometimes, if one thinks of relocating abroad and be naturalized in foreign land for a better life, expect that he would get bashed by fellow Filipinos that he is an ungrateful b@st@rd. In the end they would all request for pasalubong whenever he visits this country. “Size 10 daw.” Such hypocrite and shallow-minded culture. :lol:

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • ohyeah wrote on 16 September, 2010, 10:35

    how did Regine Velasquez become a “bitch”. please support your claim.. thanks very much.

    [Reply]

    himynameistimoy Reply:

    Because she slept around with Ogie Alcasid even though he already has a wife and kids? Or does that not qualify?

    [Reply]

    mel Reply:

    I thought Ogie Alcasid was already separated from his wife as he fell in love with Regine? I have nothing against people who seek partnership again after a dysfunctional relationship.

    [Reply]

    Buloy Reply:

    Her scathing criticism of Mariah Carey’s singing ability (which led Carey to call her a ‘monkey’ – most people assumed Mariah Carey had been the one to start the attack), and her constant harping that no one in the Philippines is as good a singer as her, and singling out other singers like Sarah Geronimo as not having her talent. I believe she did this some years ago, when Sarah Geronimo was at the very peak of her popularity.

    I believe in one interview, she proclaims that “I am Regine frickin’ Velasquez, you know?” Not exactly fond of humble pie.

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    himynameistimoy Reply:

    Also try to focus on the what message the article is trying to get across and not whether Actress A is a slut or Actress B is an idiot.

    Unless you’re actually here just to troll. :lol:

    [Reply]

    palebluedot_ Reply:

    i also wanted to know why she became a bitch…the last time i read about her was she is naive pa. tagal ko na pala di na buzz ni boy. anyways, thanks for the info, timoy :)

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • skysenshi wrote on 16 September, 2010, 19:52

    Well, yeah…everyday I complain about our inefficiencies. But somehow, I cannot imagine living outside of this country. I still love being here. (And I do believe that the Ms. Universe question was difficult. Haha.) Though I wish someone would impose Singaporean democracy on us. We generally lack discipline. This is our problem. We’ve become so apathetic that very few of us try to make a difference. And those that try to make a difference are sometimes punished for it…

    I still love this country, though. It’s like being in an abusive relationship, I guess…

    [Reply]

    palebluedot_ Reply:

    LOL it really seems like we are having a battered person syndrome – or learned helplessness. and AP is our battered person support group…

    i also love this country…that’s why i am here passionately whining in AP, because I want better things to happen, if not in our time, in our children’s time.only those who do not care about the issues of this nation – those who have developed true learned helplessness (bahala na syndrome?) – are the ones who do not love this country :-)

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • bokyo wrote on 16 September, 2010, 22:25

    Nakakatawa lang yun mga reactions ng yellowtards sa PeX . It’s for the blog hits daw.. :roll:

    “Writing that piece is the same as claiming the grass is green. Everybody knows that always happen in the Phillpines”

    Heck, it’s “is because it is what it frigging is”… Mentality nga naman nila

    [Reply]

    Buloy Reply:

    a lot of reposts of this on Facebook alone, and I’ve seen many on Tumbler. If Filipinos already know of this, then why the constant reposts?
    I guess a lot of Pinoys had no idea that grass is actually green.

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • anonymous wrote on 16 September, 2010, 22:47

    Excellent well-written article to whoever the author of this piece is. Too bad most Filipinos will either just call her/him names or shun him/her altogether. What’s also disconcerting is the fact that Filipino culture shuns individual and critical thinking while embracing group-think. What’s worse, Filipinos will ostracize that personally socially or worse violently oppose them. As much as I want to love the Philippines, it’s people pretty much irks me and that’s why the country still sucks and remains a sh*thole.

    [Reply]

    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • noremedies wrote on 17 September, 2010, 0:26

    she writes so simply, yet it’s heartfelt. I envy her. haha.

    [Reply]

    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.4_1102]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Buloy wrote on 17 September, 2010, 0:51

    a lot of reposts of this on Facebook alone, and I’ve seen many on Tumbler. If Filipinos already know of this, then why the constant reposts?

    I guess a lot of Pinoys had no idea that grass is actually green.