Today the entire nation celebrates the 119th Philippine Independence and as public servants we were required to attend the program at our town’s Municipal Hall.
I had doubts about whether they’d push through with the program because of the weather, but it was just my college-kid-wishful-thinking attitude playing. I took a shower and got dressed, nevertheless, and true enough they went on with the program rain or shine (of course they did!).
I drove in the rain wearing my traditional Filipino costume and when I got there everyone who didn’t get a seat under the tents stood under an umbrella — myself included – and I didn’t find my colleagues right away. I listened to the 21 gun salute alone, sang the Philippine National Anthem alone as they hoisted the Philippine flag and sang the Bukidnon Hymn alone. I kind of loved these alone-by-myself-moments” though. They make you feel more connected with yourself and in today’s case, with beloved country and my patriotic spirit.
Anyways, about the celebration, it was short but meaningful program and one of the biggest take-away I guess was the Keynote Speaker’s message. The Hon. Ben Baguio, a resident of our town and one of our province’s Board Members, gave a message and he spoke about how much our town has changed over the years. People now live way more comfortably than they did in the last 50 or so years and we have achieved so much as a people since we won our freedom from Colonial rule 119 years ago.
This year’s theme says “Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin” and it talks about change and how we ought to carry it out together. Mr. Baguio put emphasis on the word together, after all this is what the Filipino bayanihan spirit is all about: togetherness, cooperation, kinship. If you see the Department of Tourism’s new tagline, it says “experience the Philippines” and “when you’re with Filipinos, you’re with family.”
This I believe is the most beautiful part of his keynote address. Genuine and lasting positive change is what the Duterte administration is pushing for and it can only be achieved if all members of the family work toward it together the way family should.
“Ohana means family and family means no one is left behind or forgotten.” – Stitch (Disney’s Lilo and Stitch)
Most people don’t like change. It pushes us out of our comfort zones but as Robin Sharma said, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
Stepping out of the safety of our comfort zone is difficult and messy and ugly, but if I never dragged myself out of bed early today, stood under a cold shower and drove through rain, I never would have seen such an inspiring crowd of patriots showing their love for their country despite the rain; I never would have heard such beautiful message that reminded me of my duties as a member of bigger family and rekindled the spirit of patriotism in me.