Every year, we celebrate the anniversary of Philippine Independence, usually with a big party within the Filipino community. It is that one day of the year that we are reminded of the selfless acts of our national heroes back then in order for us to enjoy the freedom we have today.
So, it made me think, what are the good things are we doing right now to deserve this freedom? I asked Nestor Lomoljo Serino, one of the Filipino leaders in the community in Perth, and this is what he had to say:
I am proud as an Australian citizen now but my blood is still Filipino. When I migrated to Australia in 2008, I saw some positive aspects in life as a Filipino. I just want to mention the following:
1. We are above well-educated citizens.
2. Even though we are thousands of miles away from our country, we always think about our families. We have strong family ties.
3. We are always committed to our job/work.
4. Our bayanihan is always shown and practiced overseas.
5. As Filipinos, we can always adapt to the new culture like here in Australia.
6. Respect for elders is sustained anywhere we live.
7. And above all, God is always the center of our success. That’s why I am proud of being a Filipino.
Like what Felix Adler said, “Love of country is like love of a woman, he loves her best who seeks to bestow on her the highest good.”
The Philippines is not only known for its rich heritage or beautiful, awe-inspiring spots, it became more attractive because of its people. The Filipinos are some of the most resilient people in the world. We are the most joyful and cheerful earthlings regardless of the given circumstance.
– mahaba ang pasensya
– sanay sa hirap
– handang magsakripisyo
– hindi basta bastang sumusuko
When you live in a country that is visited by dozens of typhoons and earthquakes every year, resilience is one that comes in handy. Where on earth can you find a man trying to survive from flood yet can still manage to smile? Only in my home! Only Filipinos can be in the middle of emptiness, yet we could still afford to help another soul… inspire another being just to keep rowing! Filipinos can easily bounce back from a disaster or major crises. We have the superpower of getting back on our feet without hesitation. Why? Because we never lack friends, amiga, amigo, barkada, mates, nor do we get dismissed by family members. Malakas ang support system natin. Our extended family relationship serves as our safety net, capable of catching any Filipino from falling down completely when disaster strikes.
Pinoys take their chances knowing that there will always be kababayans who are more than willing to assist. I was inspired by this thought and it became my mantra when I was given a chance to be the president of the South-West Filipino Australian Association.
What makes a Filipino more resilient is this deep faith in God. Our faith allows us to keep going even in the midst of calamity and crises. We were raised to acknowledge His protection and provision, and truly He remained faithful to His promises. In the middle of calamity, Pinoys can afford to smile and be a picture of joy. Amidst poverty, we can afford to share whatever little we have left. In our lowest we take each other’s hand, pulling each other up, lifting each other’s spirit. We fight together and we rejoice together.
I am Nestor Lomoljo Serino of Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines, now an Australian citizen yet remains to be a proud Filipino – resilient, joyful, God-fearing! Mabuhay!
As for myself, living in Australia for over a quarter of a century, I can say that most Filipinos here are hardworking. We do what’s best for our families here and in the Philippines, and our children most especially. I’ve heard from employers that they love having Filipino employees because they’re such assets to their companies. Filipinos who run their own businesses do well because of their resourcefulness, creative imagination and perseverance. We are well known all over the world for our talents. We are tight-knit families who respect our elders and culture. We look after one another. We don’t forget to look back where we came from, we still call the Philippines our home. We still care for our home country and everyone we left behind. So I guess, going back to my question earlier, do we deserve this freedom that our forefathers fought for us? The answer is YES!
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