The Filipino Dream: Waking from the Colonial Nightmare into A Genuine Reality


by Dee Meyer

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

~ Yogi Berra, American Athlete

Most Filipinos know the words to the song, “Impossible Dream.”  It is heard at graduation, wedding, birthday, baptism, and confirmation parties.  Often belted out by ladies and gentlemen at karaoke sessions, it is sometimes sung off-tune, sometimes melodic and wonderful, and often in drunken stupor.  It is the principal song of the musical, “Man from La Mancha.”  It is the story of the headstrong  “mad knight,” Don Quixote and his quest to fight for the right and reach the unreachable star.  This is proof positive that Filipinos are not foreign to the concept of having a dream and working hard to achieve it.

Then, why is it that the Philippines does not have a Filipino Dream?

The American Dream of owning a home and upward mobility is famous around the globe. In 1931, James Truslow Adams defined it as, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement “ regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. Thomas Friedman, in his recent New York Times article, injected the sign of times as he describes the American Dream as “a big car, a big house and big Macs for all.”  Martin Luther King had a dream once, a dream of equality for Black Americans in parity with White Americans. Though discrimination is still alive and well in pockets of the American society, King‘s dream had done a lot of good for all people of color in America.

In 2013, China came out with the Chinese Dream to stir nationalistic sentiments and unify its restive populace.  It is suppose to have come about after a Chinese translation of Thomas Friedman’s 2012 article, “China Needs Its Own Dream,” landed in  Xi Jinping’s hands.  Xi proclaimed that the Chinese Dream is all about”national rejuvenation, improvement of people’s livelihoods, prosperity, construction of a better society and military strengthening.” He challenged Chinese youths to “dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfill the dreams and contribute to the revitalization of the nation.”  The Chinese Dream had been received warmly by China as a whole, and it resonated in positive reactions from around the world.

What about the Philippines?  Does it have a Filipino Dream?

A dream is like a travel itinerary.  It tells you where to start, where to layover, and where  to find your final destination. Granted, although the route from point A to point B might not be a straight line, it still gives you an idea of where you want to be in the future. Where is the Philippines at this point in time and where does it want to go from here? Living in the moment has its merits but looking forward and planning for the future is vital, not just for survival, but also for comfort, sustainability and quality of life.

I think, individually, Filipinos have dreams. These dreams are very personalized, each one as unique as a snowflake. Collectively, I am not sure if the Filipinos do have one. Filipinos are usually easy going and non-confrontational. They leave a lot of things for God to provide.  It is not unusual that it takes time for them to develop momentum because they are waiting for Divine intervention.  I am not ridiculing Filipino religiosity. I am merely rationalizing the lack of applied force to the mass of a non-existent collective dream.

The Philippines needs to wake up from its nightmare and move on.  The colonial and imperial periods are over. Tapos.  Finito.  Done. It is time to soul search and brainstorm about the uniqueness of being a Filipino and dream big.  Filipinos need a genuine reality without the Spanish and American hang-ups.  It is true that we now live in a global world and foreign influences are inevitable but Filipinos need to acquire an authentic self, a genuine existence emanating from indigenous concepts brought out from deep within Filipinos hearts and minds. A Filipino Dream will create a new national identity, one that merges traditional Filipino values, like bayanihan, with its modern genuine reality.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, GENUINE is an adjective that means:

actual, real, true , not false , not fake, sincere, and honest. Furthermore, it is free from hypocrisy and pretense. Examples of its use are given below:

a :  actually having the reputed or apparent qualities or character <genuine vintage wines>

b :  actually produced by or proceeding from the alleged source or author <the signature is genuine>

c :  sincerely and honestly felt or experienced <a deep and genuine love>

d : actual,  true <a genuine improvement>

Edgar Lores and I had a long discussion about the Filipino Dream here at one of Joe’s discussion forums.  We were aware of the need not to be just copycats of other countries who have their collective dream.  We recognized that there are universal concepts that are attractive to all nations.  Likewise, there are ideas that are unique to each nation as a result of collective traditions, values, beliefs and consciousness.  We both agree that a rallying point is needed to motivate Filipinos in helping the nation prosper and succeed.  History has demonstrated that Filipinos could come together and fight for the common good.  In the past, the revolutions happened when the masses got angry and reached a boiling point. Case in point is the overthrow of the Marcos regime.  In contrast, the creation of the Filipino Dream should usher a peaceful revolution where passion and love for the Philippines are strongly stirred in people’s hearts and minds.

During our discussion, the Filipino Dream was refined and re-drafted to:

“Ang Pangarap ng Pilipino ay ang magkaroon ng sariling kabuhayan sa araw-araw.
 Ang pangarap na ito ay ang buhay sa ating lipunan na may mamamayang pantay-pantay, walang maliw na kalayaan, malaganap na pagkaka-isa at bayanihan, masaganang oportunidad at mabilis na katarungan para sa lahat.”

(The Filipino Dream is to have a sustainable life and livelihood under the sun.  This dream is about a life in our society where the citizens are equal; the freedom is stable; the cooperation and solidarity are widespread; the opportunities for upward mobility are present and plentiful; and the justice is fair and fast.)

The ideas put together to embody the Filipino Dream were derived from the assumptions below:

1.  The concept of equality is already there but the citizenry are not equal. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  The bulk of wealth is concentrated in the upper 1%.  The middle class at 24% is not large enough to carry the burdens of the social services needed to help the poor. The lower class at 75% is enormous. Something needs to be done to push a sizeable portion of the lower class to middle class for a more sustainable and prosperous economy.

2.  Filipinos have freedom but it waxes and wanes and disappears with each imposition of martial law. The rich are freer than the poor.  Freedom is fleeting and could change based on prevailing political winds and could be taken away by the privileged and powerful.

3.  There are pockets of solidarity, but not widespread enough to affect the nation positively.  The Philippines has different factions based on geography, religious affinities, professional associations and other divisions.  These divisions are evidenced by representation of multi-parties in politics and government agencies.

4.   Opportunities are present but they are few and hard to attain.  A recent Daily Inquirer  survey claims a 27.5 unemployment rate in the Philippines. Although their methodology leaves a lot to be desired, the data gives us a glimpse of a possible link to the intractable poverty in the Philippines and the root of Filipino diaspora.

5.   There is a mechanism for justice but it needs speeding up. I have never seen a country whose justice system is so slow that it takes 20, sometimes 40 years to judge a case.  I have read instances where the defendant passed away with his case still pending.

The Filipino Dream above is a work in progress. Do you believe that the Philippines needs its own Filipino Dream?  What genuine cultural characteristics do you want incorporated in it?  Please feel free to add your own spin to it. Edit it and refine it until we have one that resonates well with every Juan dela Cruz and Josefa Pilipinas.

75 Responses to “The Filipino Dream: Waking from the Colonial Nightmare into A Genuine Reality”
  1. edgar lores says:

    My first four reactions:

    1. Wow. Just wow.

    2. I am afraid of the Chinese dream.

    3. Your music is not as I surmised.
    3.1. It is neither “doo doo dee doo doo” nor “dum dum dee doo doo”.
    3.2. It has the drama, flair and flourish of Beethoven’s Fifth: ba-na-na-naaa, ba-na-na-naaa!

    4. If I may be so forward as to speak on behalf of the future generations of Filipinos: Thank you.

    • Dee says:

      1. Thank you.
      2. The Chinese Dream is serving its purpose. It is widely accepted and cherished by nationalistic Chinese.
      3. I’ll take that as a compliment.
      3.1 Neither one will doo wop with Dee.
      3.2 I’ve been called worst than a banana but the bottom line is I am genuinely passionate about the well-being of Filipinos now and in the future. I wish I know more ways to reach the 75%.
      4. No, thank you.

  2. gurang says:

    I am less pessimistic. The Philippines is a young country. Give it time. It is changing. I have a copy of “Culture Shock Philippines!” from 1985. So much has changed that the book is mostly useless as a guide to the Philippines of today. Improve the schools and hope the spirit of Pope Francis reaches the Philippine Church.

    • Dee says:

      It is not pessimism per se. It is the frustration of being outside looking in and having the opportunity to objectively assess situations that were not as important to me when I was there. It took a while to get off the selfish mode of youth to the selfless mode of maturity.

      Yes, Pope Francis seems to be the modern face of Catholic religion and there is hope that he can influence the faithfuls in the Philippines. As for the schools, the rote method should be superseded by teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills to make a difference.

  3. Greg Hill says:

    Maybe I’m feeling a bit “glass half empty” this morning, but your “snowflake” simile (dreams as individual as snowflakes) immediately brought to mind a “snowflake’s chance in hell”. And here’s a quote I just tripped over that rather fits my miserable mood: “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

    I just remembered I forgot take my tablets this morning.

    • Dee says:

      I get you. The 75 % are in survival mode and do not feel accountable for the predicament they are in.

      Snowflakes in an avalanche have the collective power to ruin things in their path. Likewise, that destructive power could be harnessed into a constructive one. Melting snowflakes and turning the product into hydroelectric power? How can this be done in the Philippines?

      Take your meds and keep calm. Tomorrow is only a day away and it will be sunny with zero percent precipitation. 🙂

  4. Joe America says:

    Dee, you write directly at one of my more perplexing observations, that the Philippines does not have a vision of its own. The framework of government is copied from America, but the culture is that of Aguinaldo, greatly influenced by the elite of Manila and the playing of favorites over the mandate to provide opportunity for all. It is individualistic.

    The dream that I would propose is very simple. “Opportunity for all.”

    When that is rolled out into pragmatic applications, it cleans up the courts, cleans up the Congress, ends the red tape, ends the envy that only others get opportunity (the envy leading to a lot of murders), and puts wealth-production at the forefront. And health-production, too.

    • Dee says:

      Philippines does appear to be an individualistic society on the veneer. Do not be fooled, we Filipinos have a lot of attachments, personal and otherwise. The theory of six degrees of separation proliferates in the Philippines. This is the reason why, when invited to a party, Filipinos tend to bring a dozen or more uninvited people with them.

      I like “Opportunity for all” but it is too simple to embody our fun loving and flamboyant sides as well as our depth and width. We need prose and poetry. We need Kris Aquino to launch it by dropping from a giant guava in Quiapo on a New Year’s eve.

      • Dee says:

        I meant depth and breadth, obviously I the have formula of AREA in my mind while writing the reply above. But, hey, the bigger the area of the dream, the better, huh?

  5. ella says:

    Thank you for this article. Bulls eye!!! I hope many more Filipinos, most especially the young generation will read this blog.

  6. Jon Effemey says:

    Being English and British you know Joe, I come from a culture that does not have “dreams” but it does have traditions.
    Every one knows the traditional picture of the UK, Kings and Queens etc but there is another tradition, which lies at the roots of your country the USA. Starting with the Magna Carta the first attempt to reign in power from the King and the start of the common law, going on the Watt Tyler and the peasants revolt at the end of the middle ages, Oliver Cromwell and the republic and the ferment of ideas that was thrown up then, which led onto the French and American Revolutions. Oliver Cromwell may have been the first Stalin, the Irish hate him for a good reason. The Industrial revolution brought a massive shift to the cities in the UK, followed by the growth of the trade union movement, suffragettes and the start of the welfare state with LLoyd George and then consolidated by Clem Atlee in 1945.
    A lot of this is starting to be clawed back by the present British Government.
    Yes a strong middle class does make a lot of difference. This is the strength of many European countries. Pinoy do understand where they are coming from and are trying to move forward.
    I am also interested in Latin America, sorry Joe but they have thrown off the yoke of Uncle Sam. Brazil seems to be in a mess but I am very impressed by the President of Uruguay.

    • Greg Hill says:

      Jon, I like your observation on the importance of a strong middle class. This has been crucial in the formation of Australian values too, with the middle class being the conscience of the nation. Sadly, like Britain, pressure is growing here also, particularly with casualisation of the workforce and the constant pressure on working conditions and Government services.

      For the Philippines, a common vision and values can be advocated and driven by the middle class. But if they take hold, the Philippines will be a very different place to live: the huge gap between the rich and poor will shrink, influence peddling will be gone, as will maids, yayas, cooks and drivers. Can the middle class handle it?

    • Joe America says:

      Very keen insights, Jon. I think alternately ignoring or trying to dominate Latin America has been one of America’s greatest failings. Arrogant snobs of the north. It pleases me to see Latin American states emerge into their self-determined light of progress and prosperity. I’m favorable toward Chile myself. Great people, great wine, fantastic landscapes.

    • Dee says:

      The strong American middle class is also the backbone of its prosperity as well as the crux of its downfall. The recent recession happened when Wall Street shysters peddled mortgage derivatives they amassed from the exploitation of the American middle class’ dream of owning a big house.

    • edgar lores says:

      The rivalry for sporting glory – in cricket, rugby and the Commonwealth Games – is part of the national dreams.

  7. cha says:

    In my dream, I had a dreamcatcher laden with the dreams of decent and honorable Filipinos for their country. My dreamcatcher held on to the good dreams, the ones that inspired greatness and courage and heroism. It kept the bad dreams at bay, those that led to self-doubt, cynicism and all other forms of negativity.

    One night, my dreamcatcher opened up the intricate network of threads that held itself together and let escape the collective expressions of a people’s hopes and aspirations. Some fell gently, like a tap on the shoulder of those whose minds and hearts have long been ready to rise up from their slumber. Some came like a jolt, like the sudden flash of lightning that comes in the darkness of the night and rouses one into action. Others, still, are merely floating by, waiting for the right moment to find a resting place in a new generation of dreamers and doers.

    My dreamcatcher comes in different names. One of them is called Dee.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you, cha.
      Your prose and candor about your dreamcatcher is very inspiring.
      I honestly think that there are a lot of decent and honest Filipinos in the Philippines as well as in far flung foreign nations as a result of the diaspora. The question is: How can we collectively and concretely affect Philippines future?

      • cha says:

        Yes, Dee. There are many decent and honest Filipinos out there.

        I was in Manila recently and I got to speak to a number of them. They own or run small businesses that choose to play by the book even if doing so costs them more. They would rather pay the right taxes, go through all the cumbersome and at times redundant government requirements and paperwork than take short cuts with a bit of grease money. They are parents who send their children to the best schools their money can afford and then accept, albeit with some amount of trepidation, their sons and daughters’ decisions to pursue vocations like teaching or social work that hold very little promise of a commensurate return on their investment. They are the sons and daughters who have lived a privileged young life and were inspired by their teachers and elders to give back and believe in their power to change society.

        They all can and will affect the Philippines’ future.

        We, who are on the sidelines and want to be more proactive in seeing our home team to a victorious finish, we can stand up for our players, cheer them on and drown out the catcalls and heckling from the other side. Kinda like what JoeAm does with President Aquino and a couple of other good men he has featured in his blogs and whose words and actions speak of and for their own dreams for the future of this country. (Yes, my dreamcatcher also goes by the name JoeAm.)

        Of course, there are other things we can do. But I quite like being a dreamcatcher myself. For now.

  8. Joseph-Ivo says:

    I read two different things. Dreams are about the future, “will be”, genuine is about now or the past, “is or has been”

    Past, current and future are perceived differently by Filipinos. (Let’s oversimplify). In Fons Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner research in cultural differences, Filipinos are average on most scales, only in one area they are of the scale, “how we manage time”. The time horizon for Filipinos is extremely short, this morning is the past, this evening the future and tomorrow is the far future. Time in not sequential, first A. then B, leading to C, but perceived synchronically, as in their meals, not starters, entrée and dessert but everything together and you eat according your impulses.

    To formulate a dream in the Philippines you have to start in the past, “… as are forefathers did so well”, focus on the present “we can do this now” and hint the (near) future “tomorrow this will be the effect. Just transplanting American sequential and short term thinking (next quarter, not to night) or Chinese synchronically and long term (next generation) thinking will never appeal to the average Filipino. What about as a thought starter:

    “We will get richer by learning to safe and put 10% of our income in a separate box as emergency fund NOW, once we have 3 month income in that box we will use the 10% as investment fund”

    “We will show solidarity by putting 5% of our income in a separate box as support for those in need”

    “We will eliminate the mendicant mentality by empower our siblings and refuse to send them money today”

    “We will no more elect people that have no track record on focusing on opportunities in the Philippines. As from today we will note down every positive comment in that respect from a politician.”

    • Joseph-Ivo says:

      @ Jon, hahaha… Brits and Frenchman think more in the past! Americans in the future.

      Filipinos think in now, this moment, how do I feel now, what are my blessing now, what can I do to stay happy now…

      • Joe America says:

        Well, now, that zeroes in on a very important decision factor: Time. Is the Filipino dream to be happy being happy in the now, or is there a deeper, richer happiness to be found by building a future into the thinking and the doing. Must one necessarily give up the enjoyment attached to spontaneity in order to plan and execute for a better future? That ties into my stated vision of “opportunity for all” because the notion of opportunity is time-based. If I work well (smart, hard, honestly) now, my future will be even better. If government can give that promise to its peoples, then the nation will be energized to building good things.

        • Joseph-Ivo says:

          Happiness is now, who cares about the consequences we might see in 9 month, we can address them later (we = lola and ate or auntie in Qatar).

          All has to be considered at the same time: will Jesus be happy, will my classmates be happy, will my family be happy, will I be able to convince ate in Qatar to send money with the text I just sent, did I forget to share with someone, utang manageable… and all this based on relationships created yesterday, all this with bearing on how I will be perceived tomorrow.

          75% is “lower classes” and they are voters too. They don’t have our luxury of thinking about tomorrow. Food for tonight is problem difficult enough. A vision will have to appeal to today’s reality. (such as cash now for a vote, a free ride to the market, price controls, real things, not abstract concepts)

          A Filipino dream has a 1 hour horizon. Ate will sent money now. In a cock fight, you pay your bet now and get the possible reward in an hour.

          Deferred gratification is not build in the culture. You can eat when there is food available, you don’t have to wait for dinner or until mam is served too. You take a tricycle immediately, you don’t have to wait for the scheduled bus. Money from ate in Qatar is spent immediately. One peso now is always better than 2 pesos tomorrow.

          My question, I guess, is how to share our lofty dreams in a way ordinary Filipinos will pick them up. How to start form their mind set. To convince the believers is too easy.

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, that is the dilemma, isn’t it? I see a lot of positive initiatives emerging from the Administration now that money is being directed more too good deeds than swiss bank accounts. Expansion of TESDA, programs to try to get more people trained for jobs that are available, rather than training people for jobs that are not available (hotel and restaurant management??!?) I have long argued for laws that mandate that businesses and institutions that hire more than 50 employees must hire and promote strictly on the basis of qualification. Of course, the courts have to be accessible to ordinary people who are wronged under such a law. Or the concept of class action law suits needs to be applied. That is one way to start an upward bound stream of opportunity.

            For rice field workers and coconut tree climbers . . . the great laboring masses, probably some form of socialized salary plan that requires EARNING credits rather than state giveaways. But I haven’t really thought that through enough. The “way” you seek is probably found in programs that open doors to higher wages.

      • edgar lores says:

        The foreshortened timescale that Joseph rightfully points out is not unique to Filipinos. I think it would be a characteristic of all societies, and sectors of societies, that do not yet know where and when their next meal is coming from. These people do not have the luxury of time. They may or may not have fridges. If they do, the fridges are likely to be empty except for bottles of cold water. And a San Mig.

        People who have pantries, who have stocks of rice and corn, canned goods, fridges full of meat and vegetables, ice cream and fizzy drinks have no immediate worries. Their time horizons are extended. Their meals come in courses. They can take greater risks. And they can dream big.

        Think of Napoles advancing millions to crooked politicians on the mere promise of special allotment release orders. Think of the Enriles and the Angaras with their special economic zones. These projects take years in the planning and years in the making. But these projects are based on dreams. It is the methods of realizing these dreams that are problematic because they are not shared and, consequently, they rob the dreams of so many other people.

        The notion of a national dream is, as Yogi Berra says, to know where we are going as a people. For it to be genuine, the dream must resonate with the individual and with the collective. It must be common and it must be shared. It must be outwardly prosaic, that is to say matter-of-fact and graspable and realizable by the common tao. But it must also be inspirational and aspirational, with ideals that are not immediately graspable and realizable.

        The need for a national dream is to have an overarching narrative to the life of a nation and to the lives within. Where we came from and where we are going…beyond the next meal. Such a narrative imparts meaning and direction. The “Impossible Dream” may be too impossible but the song captures the heart reason for a national dream in this simple fragment of a line, “And the world will be better for this…”

        • Joseph-Ivo says:

          Trompenaars research was based on a database of 30,000 interviews compiled in over 1000 training seminars in more than 30 counties. The average time perception of Filipinos is an out-layer: between hours and days. Americans between days and weeks. Hong Kong between month and years. (Average of: When in your business does the past start, when did the past end? When does the present start, when does the present end? When will the future start, when will the future end? In synchronical there are large overlaps, in sequential none)

          Also my own experience is that Filipino teams are very good in “now”, what’s going on now, what can we do now, implement a plan today. Making plans for the coming weeks yes, but never any implementation. Initial enthusiasm as nowhere else, lack of long term implementation as nowhere else too.

          I recognize that I over-emphasized the 75% where “now” is even more important. (In moderate countries they too have to prepare for the winter and plan ahead.)

          Dreams will have to have to reflect on “short time” elements, not the great past of Lapu-lapu or Rizal, not even Edsa, but based on a positive event that happened last month, and with a target for next month or the running year. Dream formulations should be concrete, even Friedman’s American Dream as “a big car, a big house and big Macs for all” might be too far. “No utang for the coming fiesta, a typhoon proof roof and a Jolibee family meal for all, and the world will be better for this” could be an alternative

          • edgar lores says:

            Thanks, Joseph.

            I agree Trompenaars has a point. The fact that the top businessmen in the Philippines are of Chinese descent can be ascribed to their long-term visions. The fact of the population boom in the Philippines also proves his point. Filipinos tend to their satisfactions now and have little care of tomorrow.

            I totally agree. My point was that hand-to-mouth existence, the absence of the means to survive for long periods of time without having to scrabble for each and every meal, is a contributory factor to this short time horizon. For people who have attained a level of certainty as to where their next meal is coming from, the time horizon expands. Trompenaars is correct at the collective cultural level but not at the individual level. The individual can always overcome the shortcomings of his culture.

            I would disagree with applying Trompenaars’ insights to the Filipino dream. Why? Because in placing “short time elements” into the dream we would be reinforcing the shortsightedness of the Filipino. I contend that we should try to overcome the weaknesses of the culture. We are engaged in the process of myth-making here.

            Paul Lazo below has a point. He says we do not have as yet a “central epic”. We have no local heroes of sufficient stature. All our heroes are tainted. Of the 40-odd names in the national heroes list, I like Rajah Soliman, a braveheart like William Wallace. Perhaps like the Aussies with their Ned Kelly we should have a villain as a national hero. Then we would not be lacking for suitable candidates – there is Aguinaldo, Marcos, and half the Senate.

            We are trying to overcome, as the title of the essay goes, the colonial nightmare. Spain supplanted our native myths with saints and mariology. America pushed Rizal to the forefront. Like Paul, I am not too sure about Rizal. Yes, he was a stinkin’ intellectual but he was no fighter. But the dream does not have to revolve around a hero. It just has to be genuine as Dee says.

          • edgar lores says:

            Let me clarify a point. When I say we should not introduce “short time elements” I was referring to Joseph’s “positive events” of a month ago. Elsewhere I did say that the dream should have an element that is graspable and realizable. My time arrow in this case points forward and not backward.

    • Dee says:

      I like your idea of using the here-and-now mentality of Filipinos to affect the future. I appreciate the practical lessons in how to grasp what is available in the present and how to utilize them to foster long term benefits.
      I think the problem is of the launching pad. How do we reach our target population in order to influence their thinking?

  9. andrew lim says:

    I am elated that a writer of Lores and Joe’s caliber has joined the roster of contributors here.

    I dream of a Philippines whose majority of its citizens have firmly held principles and ideas, and judge their leaders on how close they come to these principles.

    A majority who have faith, a sense of right and wrong but are not superstitious or fatalist.

    A majority who will love the country enough, that they do not need to dream the dream of others.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you, andrew.
      I wholeheartedly endorse your dream.
      The Filipinos have all the right perspective. What is missing is the right “moves.”
      If Philippines is a movie, the romantic, comedic and dramatic genres had been well played. We now need an action filled one. Where is FPJ and Lito Lapid when we need them? 🙂

  10. edgar lores says:

    The Filipino Dream – My Top Dozen Stops List

    1. I dream Filipinos will stop making too many babies.
    2. I dream Filipino voters will stop selling their votes.
    3. I dream Filipino elected officials will stop stealing from the national treasury.
    4. I dream Filipino civil servants will stop asking for bribes.
    5. I dream Filipino judges will stop delaying the rendering of justice.
    6. I dream Filipinos will stop thinking superstitiously.
    7. I dream Filipinos will stop believing in bad bishops and idols.
    8. I dream Filipino bishops will stop intervening in state affairs.
    9. I dream Filipinos will stop drinking San Miguel beer and Tanduay Rhum too much.
    10. I dream Filipinos will stop gambling away money meant for food and education.
    11. I dream Filipinos will stop having to work abroad in undignified jobs where they are maltreated.
    12. I dream Filipinos will stop polluting the earth and stop destroying their national resources.

    …And My Top Five Non-Serious Stops List

    1. I dream Filipinos will stop texting.
    2. I dream Filipinos will stop using Facebook.
    3. I dream Filipinos will stop gossiping about movie stars and starlets.
    4. I dream Filipinos will stop spitting and peeing anywhere and everywhere.
    5. I dream Filipinos will stop displaying their karaoke “talents”.

    • Joe America says:

      Gadzooks, the brothers Lores (brilliant and hilarious) have joined on one comment.

      • i7sharp says:

        Joe, am jumping in here. 🙂

        I learned of “Joe America” on 01/31/2013.
        Since then I have browsed through the postings on occasions – such as this morning.
        (Who are the brothers Lores? Edgar is one of them, it seems.)

        About dreams:
        The Impossible Dream

        Dream The Impossible

        About simplicity:
        The dream that I would propose is very simple. “Opportunity for all.”

        I like “Opportunity for all” but it is too simple to embody our fun loving and flamboyant sides as well as our depth and width.

        I would like to keep things so simple that even I can understand them.
        Works in progress:

        A dual-citizen who is nearing 70 but still can’t seem to figure out what he would like to be when he grows up.

        • Joe America says:

          i7sharp, it took time for your comment to appear because messages with more than two links go to moderation.

          The links are fantastic. The Impossible Dream has to be viewed to the very last closing line. To Dream the Impossible is what the Philippines does not do enough of, perhaps.

          Edgar is one guy who proved recently that he has a dualist character, one cerebral and serious, and the other – the surprise to all of us who read his every word – was a hilarious recitation he offered up the other day. My reference was to his duality.

          So we must ponder, eh, how to build some fun and depth into the opportunity dream?

          I’m happy to see there are other old kids about. It is their exploration and desire to figure things out that drives a lot of our progress. Keep at it.

          Thanks for jumping in. You landed on your feet. 🙂

          • edgar lores says:

            i7Sharp, Thanks.

            “The Impossible Dream” was hilarious.
            The “Dream the Impossible” was serious.

            • i7sharp says:

              Thank you, Joe and Edgar,
              I tend to dream a LOT and tend to dream BIG – probably to compensate for the small brain allocated to me.

              I have just browsed through the latest blog (on Empathy) so this response to you is (for want of a better word) flavored by the pleasure I had. I will re-read the blog later.

              In the “Impossible Dream” video, did you notice the HondaJet emerging from the mist of the waterfalls? I ask because, for some reason, that portion almost always takes my breath away.
              You can see images of the airplane here:

              I had known of the existence of the airplane well before I saw that video. As a matter of fact, I learned of the airplane on the early morning of December 2003 when its maiden flight (done on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s feat) was announced to the world.

              Perhaps because my background was in aviation and I had not been involved in that kind of work for many years when I saw that beautiful(!) plane, I began dreaming the instant I saw it. Believe it or not, I tried to apply for a job (through the Human Resources department of the mother company) even before the company that was to build it was formed! I dreamt of becoming one of the first employees.
              But alas! I was not meant to be.

              On hindsight, I can see that the “loss” of the first dream (and a job, by the way) could be a preparation to enable me to have empathy with the home country.
              (I was born and raised in the Philippines but am now a dual citizen living in California.)

              Let me share with you what I mentioned to my eldest grandson just about an hour ago:
              I dream of getting Jack Welch (the CEO of CEOs?) involved in the rehabilitation in the Visayas. I would like to tell him of my dream of “i7” being implemented for the task.
              “i7”: lowercase i and the number 7 (perfection).
              The lowercase i (an unassuming individual, if you will)) has a point; the uppercase I (or a BIG Ego) often does not.

              “i7” (a dream, for now) aims to complement “6 Sigma”
              to achieve a nobler goal.

              “… We are such stuff
              As dreams are made on; and our little life
              Is rounded with a sleep….”
              Shakespeare, The Tempest

              • Joe America says:

                Interesting. Sigma six is the mathematical modeling of manufacturing processes in search of perfection. i7 I take it is humble man in search of a better way of doing life. I really like that sense of expression. It takes on sincerity and earnestness in solving our problems. Not gamesmanship.

                Its antithesis I think is politics.

  11. randedge says:


    New reader and first time participant here. I first messaged you privately after having stumbled upon an article in your old blog a while ago. I’m the guy who was Philippine born, but grew old in Canada. I moved in my mid teens when my parents decided out of the blue (really, that’s how quickly it was for us) to just move to Canada as independent immigrants. In all my time on this Earth, I have now spent more time in Canada than in the Philippines.

    Leaving the ‘motherland’ at that age, I believe, places me in the unique position when declaring my identity: I moved away from the Philippines when my growing up was done, but my maturing and growing old was still to come. On the one hand, all my childhood memories and dreams were formed in the Philippines. But on the other, I worked to get to those dreams whilst here in Canada. While those formative childhood memories were good and fun, I acknowledge I am a past-positive kind of guy; thus, my ‘heart’ says I am Filipino, yet my logic and philosophy say Canadian.

    In a sense, YES, there is a duality in me.

    And I think this somehow gives me a perspective on both of my identities. I can look at any one aspect of my personality that may be Canadian or Filipino and critique from the other point of view. It’s not that I’m in constant argument with myself, so much as I am in constant examination. Yes, it is a strength in that I question everything, but it too is a weakness in that I have never been all too sure.

    Nonetheless, let me share something I have come across:

    The first thing I would like to say is that I believe whatever “National Dream” there may be at any given nation, that it is strongly coloured by what class is seen as strongest, most popular, most desirable. You mentioned the American Dream, and I believe the dream of a middle class Suburban living exists because it has been idealized as the most attainable, yet still affords you great power in that you are often the powerbase for most electoral decision-making as well as economic planning and targeting in terms of typifying the average buyer. INdeed, “average” – but minus the negative connotations – basically sums it up. The educated middle class is seen as having built America; America IS the middle class. Collectively, it has the most buying power and the most voting power.

    I would like to squeeze in to this thought that the Canadian dream is very close – what with the shared pop cultures. It’s just that… and I don’t mean to offend you Americans when I say this – we tend to highlight our identity as “not American”. Or more like “not negatively American”. You know the cliche. Polite, peaceful, less confrontational, more left of centre than even your democrats.. etc.

    Anyway, what then do I think.. what then have I observed to be as the Philippine Dream?

    I believe that the teeming “masa” – itself a loaded term – makes up the most of over 100 million Filipinos now in existence. At the risk of sounding elitist, let me highlight their two biggest traits: In contrast with middle class America (not to be confused with Middle America), “masa” Philippine-dom is lower income bracket, and not that highly educated. But by sheer numbers alone, they do have great collective buying power, so much so that entertainment, marketing/advertising style, and even elections are determined by their choices.

    But the great irony in this is that the “masa” is tired of being the “masa”. I mean, who doesn’t aspire for something better, right? As such, I have no flattering way to put the “Filipino Dream” as this: It is to get ahead and/or get away from your masa roots. And not just that, but to insulate yourself away from your fellow masa, be it by moving away or having enough power and wealth to close yourself into those elitist paradises, euphemistically called as “gated communities”. Yes, in both the Canadian and American dream, there too is social mobility, but Philippine dreams of social mobility is different. It is unfortunately devoid of improving your surroundings and helping your fellow man. It is just a simple case of getting ahead, and insulation. Apparently, I am “maswerte” because I managed to leave the Philippines – yet here I am, wanting to re-connect with my childhood and thinking up of ways what can I do for the Philippines’ betterment (even though technically, I’m the one who OWES IT NOTHING).

    There, that’s what I have observed. It’s not flattering , I know, but we are here… or at least I am here in Joe’s blog to figure out what’s wrong so that we may solve it.

    Thank you all for reading this.

    If you feel like arguing against my points, please PLEASE do so, because I too need a bit of boost in morale. I need a reminder why the Philippines is not hopeless. Don’t attack me with ad hominem crap… attack the idea 😉 It’s not that I necessarily BELIEVE Filipinos to be so self serving, it’s just that I have observed them to be… deep down, I WANT to BELIEVE the old Filipino spirit of Bayanihan, Pagkakaisa, Pagkakapatiran… it’s just that.. those are getting harder and harder to find nowadays.


    • Joe America says:

      I very much got caught up in your narrative, Randy. I think you very poignantly relate the tugs of being of two lands. I feel them myself, and my attraction to the Philippines grows stronger each year, perhaps because I engage intellectually and emotionally with the activities and events here.

      The one startlingly new perspective you brought to me is that the “masa” is tired of being the masa and the “dream” is to escape. Maybe that is what generates the envy held by those left behind, and the unkind words they spread about those who made it out (as my wife did by marrying me). In that respect, my wife both fits your description – she is happy to be “out” – but she is also drawn to her roots and the people she left behind. So it is not a simple escape.

      I also admire Canada and Canadians for having done the American dream better than America. 🙂

      I don’t think you will get personally attacked here. It is not that kind of forum.

      Thank you for giving us the “dualist” point of view, and explaining the attraction to the Philippines that is deeply embedded in a whole lot of overseas Filipinos.

    • Dee says:

      randedge, I share your background and your confusion about my Filipino identity. My frame of reference is mostly American because my intellectual maturity was enhanced and fostered by the American thoughts and ideals. I also share your desire of re-connecting with my Filipino roots and doing something for its common good.

      You mentioned “kapalaran” (destiny or fate), and I read a indigenous proverb that goes:
      “Ang kapalaran ko, di ko man hanapin, dudulog, lalapit, kung talagang akin.” (My fate/destiny, even if I do not seek it, will come, and will approach, if it is mine.) The belief in “malas” (bad luck) and” swerte” (good luck) is deeply embedded in the society. Does this belief impede Philippines’ progress? Where is the role of free will and hard work in this?

  12. Blessie D. says:

    In my honest opinion, the Filipino Dream cannot come to fruition because even if a small collective of Filipinos have already realized this, the majority still have this ‘co-dependent mentality’ on external powers to help raise us Filipinos. Also, I read an article in our local Esquire (May 2013) that Filipinos are also so keen on class divides, making me think that this could be a factor, since all three classes (social) are quite apathetic to each other. Also, we’re losing so much faith in the country because of our leaders; that their shameless corruption factors big on the downfall of this country. I guess you can say that Filipinos really lack not ambition, but hope and unity. We don’t get along with things and if we do, we lack will versus the force of the powerful.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you, Blessie D. for your very honest opinion. Indeed, there are a lot of obstacles that need to be cleared out of the way before one could be optimistic about a united and prosperous Philippines. I agree with one of the commenter that Philippines is a young nation which is still trying to find its footing and place under the sun. I am hopeful that after the “growing pains,” it will succeed.

  13. Paul Lazo says:

    Excellent Dee! I’d like to start with a similar quote (alas I forgot who said it and the actual wording) that goes: “Be careful where you are headed because you might get there.” One thing I have noticed is the Philippines as a culture doesn’t have a central epic that describes it’s culture and who they are as a people. The English have Beowulf, the Japanese have Musashi, the Italians have Romulus and Remus, the Americans in my modest opinion have The Grapes of Wrath – others will say Moby Dick. What we have is “Noli Me Tangere.” I cannot realistically say that the struggles in Noli have the same flavor as the struggles of Musashi and the others. Noli reads more like a tele novela. But; Noli accurately describes our situation today, thus the opening quote. Unfortunately, I am not well read enough or have investigated if in our many regional cultures such a story exists. My ideas of the Filipino Dream should read more like a story a la Romulus and Remus. A struggle to create or preserve ideals. My literary powers are not good enough to do this. On the bright side, we as a people have an opportunity to create such a culture and story and your opening list is a good starting point.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you, Paul.
      There are a lot of Filipino folklore and genesis type stories but they are mainly passed through oral tradition and they differ from one geographic location to another. They date back to pre-Spanish period. There are a few websites that are striving to keep them alive in the digital age under the keywords: alamat, folklore, myths and Filipino mythology.
      Please feel free to use your creativity in conceiving the Filipino Dream.
      You gave me a great idea and I might pursue the quest for an inspiring and motivating Filipino folklore which fabric could be woven in The Dream.

    • edgar lores says:

      The quote might be “Be careful what you wish for lest it come true.” It’s by that legendary and ubiquitous author, Anonymous aka Anon.

  14. Geng says:

    I once met an American tourist in Banawe, Ifugao in March 2000 who asked me during our short conversation if I am a Filipino and I answered he can call me a native of these islands. He was intrigued so he why is that and so I answered that I don’t want the term Filipino because it is a connotation that we are still under the king of Spain, Felipe, in whose honor this country was named for.
    This is quite unusual and unexpected from someone who was born and grew up here all his life but just could not accept the realities that were imposed to the inhabitants, most particularly the indigenous tribes of this country, that are until now being pushed to insignificance by so-called modern development.
    You may say I must be living in the past but what is the freedom that was gained from the Spanish when almost all the institutions in place now are still Spanish in name and practice. One glaring example is the ownership of land. It is still called “torrens title.” And what do we call.those sprawling thousands of hectares of lands that were titled by those landgrabbers in their names and are still the main owners even though there was a proclamation of independence…or better yet, a sham of an independence, that retained their ownership of those lands.
    Let’s look at what we have today because no politician or leader like Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales had the guts to stand up to those landlords that are still lording it over a vast swath of the country but whose allegiance is still with their mother country and say this is a free country.. Let’s take a look at the teeming masses of poor people who are working in those haciendas whose future generations will not ever know the meaning of being a true owner of any piece of land (maybe a flower clay pot) and declare a freedom that is inequitably favorable only to the powerful.
    We can sit down and talk about whatever dream you wrote about but it should be based on equality for all, not like what is being bandied about by self-proclaimed leaders who are nothing but followers of foreign ideologies and also not like what Marcos imposed during his rule of terror only to benefit his families and friends.
    I have ideas for a truly progressive country but not solely based on technology, or modern education, as we now know it. There are still plenty of available vacant lands to be planted with cash crops we can export to Europe and the USA. One such crop is coffee. Vietnam had already overtaken us in terms of exports of this valuable bean and the Cordillera mountains is (are) highly suitable for the Arabica variety which is number one in the world market. And coffee yields better crops under the shades of other trees which can consist of avocados, kaimitos or even banana plants, all to be grown organically by the different Igorot tribes whose sons and daughters are all seeking and competing for work abroad because the government is totally clueless about what to offer to the growing population who will not survive with modern education alone, not to mention technology because our children could not all be tech savvy and forget about the land.
    I wrote a personal letter to Pnoy before his inauguration wherein I enumerated the benefits the country can get from my vision of relocating informal settlers. I said that those who had been previously moved to row houses came back due to lack of livelihood in those far places. A change in an overall plan amenable to all concerned is what I laid out.
    A family can be granted a piece of land (1.5 – 2 hectares) and a house where they can start a new life. They will be provided with tools and planting materials to make the land productive. This would not be outright ownership of the land. They shall be called stewards and shall be granted proofs of ownership once they could show the improvements they made regardless of time.
    The benefits both for the people in the cities and the local and national governments will come as follows: less crimes, less traffic jams which will greatly reduce pollution of all sorts and a better quality of life (and the air) for everyone. The children of those settlers will experience living in open fresh air and eating fresh organic foods they will produce which will mean better health away from a life that is prone to illnesses and troubles of all kinds.
    The government announced in May 2011 a plan to implement such a relocation with a proposed budget of 100 billion pesos so I eagerly looked forward to the start which, sadly, did not materialize up to this time.
    I don’t know but maybe Dr. Jose Rizal had that same idea in mind because he did not advocate armed revolution. He just wanted reforms and lasting changes without those invaders whose descendants are still plundering the country.
    I have so many more ideas, particularly about health which could reduce or even totally eliminate poverty, but it is not easy writing such a long comment that the reader just might get bored reading.
    Anyway, you still can call me a native of these islands.

    • Dee says:

      I call myself a citizen of the world and I am very glad to meet a Philippines’ island native.

      I can tell that you are a passionate person who truly loves the Philippines. I like your idea about relocating informal settlers in rural areas and giving them “seed” for livelihood. I will look into the 2011 relocation plans to find out what happened.

      I would love to hear more of your brilliant ideas about reducing and eliminating poverty in the Philippines. The commenters in this blog are very open minded and conscientious people.

      Thank you for your insightful comment.

      • Dee says:

        Click to access 10_Jose%20Elvinia_2.pdf

        The link above contains a study of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and its efficacy in reducing rural poverty. I guess the Macapagal administration started land reform and the legislation had been extended during various presidential administrations and is effective until this year (2014).

        Very interesting and informative research on land ownership in the Philippines from past to present.

        • Joe America says:

          Excellent write-up. I’ll add it to my library in the tab above. Here is an extraction from the conclusions:

          “The existing land reform law-CARP- is obviously deficient in many
          aspects which are detrimental to success. In the future, any land related
          policies therefore must seriously take into account the market-orientation,
          administrative capacity, budgetary requirement, the modality of land
          transfer, equity across gender, and the manner of its implementation. These
          issues are the causes why CARP is taking a long time. While I opine that the
          current reform may not be a complete failure; however, its deficiencies and
          loopholes disrupt the efficient implementation thereby producing discontent
          and disbelief.”

          True dat.

      • Geng says:

        The news about that planned relocation came out in the Manila Standard issue of May 9 or 10, 2011.
        Yes, I am passionate about anything that I can contribute for the sake of the well-being of the human species and the whole world. It’s not worth joining any cause that will bring misery and loneliness to others just so we can say we ourselves are happy with our desired/planned outcomes.
        I instantly liked this blog when I sensed that the commenters are level-headed people who use respectful language and I liked your blog despite your being a foreigner?…because of your surname. Or you are a mestiza, as those half-breed women were called then.
        Writing is something I do not indulge in because of my limited knowledge of the English language (I do not have a college degree); I just try to express what’s on my mind the best way I know how.
        I might write about my other ideas but please don’;t call them brilliant.

  15. ella says:

    Okay, here is another reality in the Philippines, and I am asking anyone … How can we stop these from happening????

    Filipino value of extending help to family, cousins and neighbors . Here is the story of Ms. X, she has 4 brothers and she is the only girl and is the second child. She was able to go to nursing school and was a nurse in the Middle East, because of her desire to help her family, she sent all her earnings from the middle east to help the brothers to go school. However the brothers did not use the money she sent for school they are now married and have their own families and can’t find a descent job to provide them basic needs, so they depend on their sisters earnings to supplement whatever they are making.

    If you go around the country the story of MS. X and Mr. X is all over. How can we stop these, Okay, family is important but when can someone say … Okay you have your legs and your arms … it is time for me to think of myself and my future.

    Just asking, because even when I was in North Cotabato, I asked a father why he is not planting something like vegetables in their wide backyard and he said: “I do not need to because my daughter who works in the middle east sends me enough money to buy what we need in the market.” I was shocked! Where is the DREAM?

    • edgar lores says:

      Ella, just my two cents.

      1. The virtue and value of self-reliance (or independence) is not being taught, both in terms of financial matters and belief matters. Consequently, parasites abound and so too, of course, their hosts.

      2. The motivation for parasites is gain. The parasite can be the supported kin, the supported politician or the supported priest. Both the supported politician and the supported priest are intelligent parasites. So intelligent that they are able to convince others to see them as hosts.

      3. The motivation for hosts is supposedly love. At least, the original impulse was true love. But it is a love that wears thin because of the perpetual abuse from the parasite.

      4. What to do about it? The circle of dependence and of patronage can only be broken by cutting the circle at some point. Either the host must stop supply. Or the parasite must stop sucking. I agree it is a hard thing to do, in particular when ties of blood are involved.

      5. The lessons that must be taught are these:
      5.1. We are interdependent upon each other in the truest sense.
      5.2. But the interdependence does not place us under a moral obligation to lend support beyond our means. Not does it give us the right to expect and demand support beyond what can be freely given.
      5.3. I think the true test of a symbiotic relationship is how the obligation is perceived by both sides. If the obligation is seen as a burden then it is a parasite/host relationship, one of master/slave. However, if the obligation is seen as a privilege then it is one of mutuality.

    • Dee says:

      I think there is a time to just cut the cord and let family flounder if you had been used and abused for a while . Yes, it seems heartless and it is not easy to do.

      I think the problem is the concept of “utang na loob.” Somehow, some of us appear to be indentured servants to our families. There is a lot of guilt about having something while your family do without, so a lot of us are trapped in the never-ending cycle of co-dependency.

      I’d say act like a professional banker and give them business and educational loans instead of hand-outs. Review their creditworthiness often and stop giving them further loans if they continue to default.

      • Joe America says:

        My wife and I have developed a loan policy. We grant small-denomination loans, P500 or P1,000, to start with. It quickly becomes clear who is responsible enough to receive larger loans (those who are diligent about repayment), and it becomes easy to tell those who are negligent that they can’t have any more.

  16. Joseph-Ivo says:

    More of the same will result in more of the same. The romantic nation state with its heroes and national dreams is so much from the late 1800’s and first half of the 1900’s. The new generation gathers information and pictures the world in a different way. The small “facebook size” circle becomes more important, the “world” with its global warming, global stars, global competition and job opportunities, the global level is more important also as it was for intellectuals in the renaissance. The levels in between lose importance. Where are the younger readers? It’s their world we are talking about.

    100 million is too big to micro-manage all at ones. Create a federation of “states” not only religious grounds as Bangsa Moro but also on “ethnic” grounds, entities as Cebuano’s, Ilocano’s, Ilongo’s, Bicolano’s … regroup the regions and increase their powers. For to many the Philippines is identical to Metro Manila the only reference for language, economic decisions, religious decisions, formal politics… To identify oneself with smaller units is easier. America is more than America, it is also the States and the regional cultures, accents, values, heroes… as Texas, the South, California, Midwest, New England… and active democracy on a county level. We do not need a national identity but a dozen on regional levels and thousands on a barangay level.

    The wala wang-wang dream of Noynoy in 2010 was extremely powerful, well understood, direct and effective. Why not repeating, this are the types of dreams we need every month or every quarter. The “Cebuano week” or the “Away from Metro-Manila” week, the president speaking only in Cebuano with undertitling in Tagalog. The “Report every crocodile” week, with an easy reporting system and transparent follow-up. The “Say no to your siblings” week. The “Safe for your emergency fund” week. The food industry week….

    • Joe America says:

      The “Report every crocodile” week. I am thinking about renaming the blog the Society of Comedians. (And I get the serious point, too.)

      • Geng says:

        And why not the Society of Hecklers and make the Professional Heckler the chairman forever?

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, well, heckling is an art and not everyone can do it without descent into nastiness. So we’ll leave that tricky art to an expert and continue with our generally serious, occasionally humorous, escapades. . .

          • ChanceR says:

            Both great idea’s, both should be considered and implemented when in a similar situation. My girlfriend and I live in Manila and we have it better, financially speaking, than her siblings in Leyte and sometimes it does become a necessity. We are very lucky however that her family was raised to be self reliant, so it isn’t a frequent thing and when it does happen, we do challenge them on what alternatives they have undertaken, which usually leads to healthy debate and sometimes as a last resort we do support them. It just so happens that her family went from a poverty stricken family of farmers to (small) land owners, due to CARP (mentioned in another post). From that drastic change in dynamic her parents really took self reliance to heart and instilled it in their children.

            It has taken me two days to read and reread through all the comments and I notice a sense of joy, hope, purpose, and urgency at the possibilities shown here. Not just the idea’s but the fact that there are people out there who have the idea’s and are passionate and able to convey these idea’s clearly. I just wish there was something concrete, something physical we could do with these ideas. Sharing them is great but posting them on a website is just that, posting. How do we make them reality? Anyone here actively making things happen, anyone have the resources or connection to get something started? If so, where do I sign up!

            I am not a native, I was born in the UK, however I do not feel compelled to call myself a Brit. As someone said before, I too am a person of the world. Ever since I came to the PH five years ago, I have always been fascinated and excited at the potential for real change. It might be a young nation and it is still very much so divided but I do not see those as obstacles, I see them as reasons why it is possible. As a growing nation in this day and age everything is happening at hyper speed. Well we have on thing right now which other (older) nations did not have when they were young. We have the freedom of information and coming at us at hyper speed.

            I am excited to be here at this turning point in PH history. Yes, I really do believe something good is going to happen soon. Suddenly or gradually I do not know, I just wish I could do more, I do not even know where to start (maybe here). If anything I would like my seven month old son to be as excited and much more involved than I am or could ever be (when he comes of age of course).

            • Joe America says:

              Good of you to visit, ChanceR. I think you are my twin brother, as you seem to see things exactly the same as me. Our circumstances are not very different at all. And my wife’s in-laws also live in Leyte.

              Indeed, what to DO to participate in the evolution of the Philippines as she sits on the edge between backward and forward? Good question. I blog. Some get involved in local civic endeavors, I know. Some just go to the beach. I’ll be writing Friday about what needs to be done, in the context of the rising middle class taking charge of the nation. Maybe there are some ideas there.

    • edgar lores says:

      These civic campaigns are well-conceived and should be part and parcel of the Dream.

  17. letlet says:

    The “opportunity for all” is the Filipino dream I would go for, though simple as it is. We should start from simple to make it easily achievable, to make it easily decipherable for the common people and to make it easily to cahoot with general people.

    The opportunity for everyone to enjoy good education, good job, with good shelter, good clothes and good fanciful tidbits. Simple but everyone is happy enjoying good life.

    • Joe America says:

      @ letlet, yes, it is a dream that can be easily “marketed” because it is what we all want, or need. A chance for personal growth. The DOING of it so that it is not a false slogan, or hot air, is the trick.

  18. reggiehg says:

    While working on The Filipino Dream conceptually, it would be good to flesh it out with practical historical examples from as many Philippine Presidents as can be. I’m noticing that the due hards can never really be won over by logic. & they will definitely sow division in any Filipino Dream. The only way to get buy in from them is to promote laudable examples from their idols.

    It may have to be creatively thought out but it should be doable. The Dictator did do well for the country at the start. The Convict did try to prioritize the upliftment of the masa. I’m not sure what the Economist did.

    I would draw the line at promoting their laudable projects though, & not cosmeticizing their sleazy characters.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you for dropping by and for your wise suggestions. The Filipino Dream is a work in progress, I will try to do another article as an update in the future. Edgar and I are collecting other tidbits to revise it with. One concept put forward was self-reliance. A few also mentioned tugging at the heartstrings, get them to buy in through emotions.

      As for the Economist, Joe has at least two articles where he compiled some of his achievements.

  19. sonny says:

    With Filipinos my age (70), we were all children of history and now we find ourselves being the history of our children. I feel very much encouraged by the main article and the comments from many walks of Philippine life to the ideas and insights there and the philosophy implied by Joe’s blog. I am much heartened by sentiments that have so far become the landscape of this blog. The respondents are intelligent, committed to common good and sense and healthily diverse in background and taste. Kudos to everyone. I see a very promising start all around.

    Just to focus a little bit, I am a historian by inclination. A historian in a very general sense. This is to say the history of the many human disciplines and endeavors that we participate in I scrutinize with the lenses of a journalist and try to store the way a computer does and collate and interpret with much critique open to one and all. An example of this process is a weaving a common history of the Philippines and the Filipinos. For now, I take for granted that there is such a wide spectrum of what this history is. This will be the focus of my attention and participation and I look forward to this. Thanks.

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome, sonny, and I look forward to your historical perspective. It will further enrich the discussion, I am sure. I agree that the commenters here represent a varied, constructive and intelligent crowd. Every once in a while we get an odd or hostile viewpoint, but that is to be expected considering the passions people hold or agendas they pursue.

  20. Vianney Tovilla says:

    Interesting. The concept of a “Filipino Dream” honestly never came up to my attention before, and so I find this blog very rejuvenating indeed. Rejuvenating in the sense that it’s great to see that there are many individuals, not every one a native of the nation in subject, that have high and far-reaching ambitions for this country. People who have a dream to transform the “sick old man of Asia” into the true “Perlas ng Silanganan” (Pearl of the East), as stated in the National Anthem.

    However, most of the comments stated above (in my opinion) deal with, umm, sort of changing the individual values and traits of the Filipino people for the better. But as good as that may sound, I have some reservations.

    One of which is that individuals are individuals. They have their own unique and characteristic traits found in no other. Some are good, others not so much. But there cannot be hope without despair. There cannot be joy without sorrow. There cannot be the good without the bad. Both halves (good and bad) of the person are need to make him whole. Some of the darker ones can be dealt with yes, but creating a perfect man is simply impossible. Perfect in some aspects maybe, but not perfect perfection.

    Therefore for a Filipino dream, I suggest not “changing” the attitudes of the people so much, but rather molding the already present notion of nationalistic identity to fit with the changing world, and beyond. Perhaps introduce abstract values through concrete examples even as early as Kindergarten. Perhaps teach the idea of “Legacy” in order to instill in the youth a sense of patriotism and social responsibility.

    Mold the idea of what a Filipino is, and Filipinos will strive to fit with that definition. That is our nature, we want to fit in. Nowadays it sometimes has a negative connotation, but maybe we can turn that around. Maybe we can use the idea of “fitting in” and make it “fit in with the definition of a Filipino”.

    The Pinoy as a whole has both good traits and bad. If we turn the bad traits on their heads, the quest of securing a bright future for the Philippines will be both easier, and more successful.
    P.S.: I know some pert of it kinda sounds like the Chinese Dream, but heck, some parts of the CD I find very enlightening indeed,

    P.S.2: Some parts may be incoherent, but that’s all I was able to procure in the time that I have, and the powers of my 7th grade mind. Now I have to go back to revising our SocSci textbook. Know any credible and factual sources for the traits of the Visayan and the Filipino Muslim? Hehehehehehehehehehe.

    • Vianney Tovilla says:

      In “the definition of a Filipino” I mean a possible concrete and patriotic definition of what a Filipino has been, is, and will be.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful commentary full of hope. It has taken me some time to see what you are saying, because as foreigners, we arrive here and start interpreting everything through our own social and cultural framework (bias), which leads to a lot of criticism and grouching. It makes sense to leave the culture essentially in place, and leverage the strengths . . . like passion and dedication to task . . . while inverting the weaknesses, as you say . . . like converting obsession of self to a personal legacy appreciation of self.

      You can write a blog here anytime at all, you know. Just submit it to the e-mail address on the “contact page” tab. I find your perspective very refreshing, and I think others would, too.

      I’m married to a Visayan, so I can testify they are hard headed but fun loving. 🙂 As for Muslims, you might want to start with this blog by another American who has been in the Philippines 30 years:

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