kalayaan: philippine independence day.

I was going to talk about Saved By The Bell.  That Zack Morris return.

But It’s Philippine Independence Day and I’m in The Philippines so I figured I should at least mention it today.  Nobody else in this country seems to be talking about it.  Except on the Cartoon Network there’s a ‘Rada-Rada-pendence Marathon’ airing episodes of Chowder all day.

There’s a fireworks display at the giant Mall of Asia.  And that Francis M song is getting some extra play.  But the general vibe I’m picking up is that it’s just another day off work or school.  I actually thought it was Sunday.

I’m sitting at a different internet cafe today because the one I usually go to is packed with teenagers online-gaming.  I even had trouble getting a seat at this one.  This tells me in an indirect way that the kids don’t really care for Independence Day.

Compared to home, Torontonians are pretty ‘whatever’ about Canada Day, but we’re pretty ‘whatever’ about fucking everything.  But at least we wear red.

I feel like I should DO something.  But what?  Isn’t that so Filipino?  I’m probably gonna go get drunk.

I know I’m just an idealistic Balikbayan, Canadian-Filipino, returnee.  I can’t really speak on the topic.  And I can’t really  bag on the people for not showing a little more appreciation for their independence.  I mean, if there’s anything Filipino’s DO NOT lack it’s PRIDE.  So that’s not the problem.

With my collective observations and experiences gathered over the past 7 months I’ve been here, my feeling is this:  independence from what?

When The Philippines gained independence  from Spain in 1898 (after a good 300 years), an hour had barely passed before it was sold to the United States for 20 million dollars in the Treaty of Paris.  The deal also included  Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba.

Then in 1946, on the 4th of July the Treaty of Manila was signed and the United States recognized The Philippines’ independence.  It was sorta like a “well gee, we don’t really need you’re pretty island anymore, sooooo here’s it back.  CONGRATS!”

Now in 2009, I wonder if the people here feel independent.  When the only decent job a kid can get out of college is an outsourced call-centre gig, cause Filipino’s can speak decent ‘american’ english.  When the people that live around the ‘Rice Terraces’ have to import rice from China to feed themselves.  And old men from Australia that can’t make it happen in their own country come here and write books about their experiences with advice for those who want to do the same.

And then there’s that feeling that “We should be the 50th state . . . not Hawaii.”  (quote: from the Celdran tour.  not necessarily Celdran.)

It’s a little hard for me to be articulate about these things.  It’s a little over my head, I think.  It’s not Zack Morris.  So I’ll leave it with something that me and some other idealistic balikbayans would say when we can’t understand something about this pretty country: “ohh, so basically it’s fucked.”

Perhaps it’s time to independesize another time.

My respect to those souls who are part of the good fight and are working against odds to unfuck these beautiful islands.





~ by mlv on 12 June, 2009.

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