by Jocille Ann B. Morito
A Filipino once stated, “Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, buti na lang Pilipino ka.” That was before the country was flogged with social upheavals and natural disasters at the onset of the fourth quarter of 2013. Now, after the stockpile of crises that has devastated the nation – the military unrest in Zamboanga, the P10 B Pork Barrel Scam, the earthquake that shook Bohol and the rest of the Visayas culminating to the havoc typhoon Yolanda instigated in Leyte
– the year 2013 left the Philippines in a mess.
It could be said that no island was left unturned. Not only was the impact of such turmoil palpable even to the outskirts of the country, it even had the global spotlight (on a negative note) on it for a while. With all these negativity welcoming the holidays and the New Year, is there anything left for the Filipinos to celebrate the coming of 2014?
Fortunately, with enough exposure to Google, Facebook and some nation loving fellow Sillimanians during the Christmas break, reasons to celebrate the year of the wooden horse cheered up the monochromatic Philippine skies like firecrackers in different hues on a midnight dreary. Here are some of the reasons why:
“The Filipino Spirit is Waterproof”
The country may have fallen some notches from its improved state during the first three quarters in 2013, but certainly not a reason to be out-listed in the Happiest countries all over the world. In the recent 2013 UN World Happiness Report, the Philippines was ranked the 92nd Happiest Nation even after the many misfortunes that has befallen the country. True enough, Filipinos retain their poise in front of the cameras in whatever season they face. Melrose Macabinguil, a junior Office Management student, said: “the fact that instead of continuing to drown in despair… Filipinos chose to stand up once again on both feet and walk the way towards rehabilitation…(they) continued to display a spark on their faces and smile amidst all tragedies, these indeed holds true to the tagline: It’s more fun in the Philippines.”
The loss of life and property was almost a mundane scenario in the national newscasts, yet, the Filipino spirit remained to be resilient amidst great tragedies. Sophomore Education major, Joey Rojo, pointed out that the caring and hospitable nature of the Filipinos made New Year worth celebrating. As he said, “with sharing even a simple help, you already are having fun with it.”
“Philippines no longer the ‘sick man of Asia’”
That’s right, fellas, the ‘sick man of Asia’ has just gotten better. Some people would say otherwise, but numbers don’t lie. According to National Statistics Coordination Board (NSBC ), the Philippines has the fastest-growing economy in Asia having a growth of 7.8 % in its gross domestic product (GDP) even surpassing China during the first three quarters of 2013. And even with the wide-ranging repercussion of typhoon Yolanda,the Philippine economy may continue to be robust in 2014. According to Belgrade Russel, a freshman Accountancy student, “with the performance of Filipinos in the BPO companies… and the fact that the PNoy administration has been exposing the corruption and anomalies going on in the country as well as correcting them, this act encourages foreign investors in putting some capital in the country for different business ventures.”
She added that “the increase of capital put in the country means an increase of income of Filipino workers in 2014 thus increasing their buying power that could contribute to the profit gained by small businesses of Filipinos.” Indeed, with the influx of foreign investors plus the hardworking Filipinos pushing aside poverty, it’s a win-win situation for the Philippines in 2014.
“We have the most beautiful women in the world”
Another reason to welcome the New Year with great pride is the fact that the Filipinas are gaining positive attention in the international beauty pageant scene.
Bagging major titles in six international beauty pageants (starting with Megan Young’s Miss World 2013 crown), there was no stopping the Philippines to top the lists world’s beauty queens. Xyrisse Abrasaldo, a senior Education student, said, “Filipinas often stand out at international beauty pageants,” adding that “their real beauty, however, would only show in how they manage the title during the duration of their reign.” The year 2014 would be the best year to showcase their real beauty to the rest of the world. Undoubtedly, the Filipinas are the most beautiful women in the world.
It still is more fun in the Philippines One of the industries that have experienced major setbacks after Yolanda was tourism. Nevertheless, Sillimanians still believe in the magnificence of natural beauty to which the idyllic Philippines is was best known for.
Alyssa Kristina Collina, a senior student, said it is still is going to be more fun in the Philippines in the year 2014 “because there are still a lot of tourist spots that were not affected by the calamities and of course, it is more fun in the Philippines because of the people here.” Indeed, the Filipinos are the best asset of the country’s tourism.
Korean English-major senior, Hyun Cho, said the same thing, adding that, “after finishing my studies, I’d like to tour around the Philippines… and experience different cultures, lifestyles and sceneries.”
Among the countless reasons to visit the Philippines this 2014 are Palawan which gained the eighth spot in the Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Adventure Destinations, naming it “the ultimate archipelago for adventures”and Banaue Rice Terraces which was included in Huffington Post’s 14 Travel Bucketlist for 2014. Plus, the Philippines treasures the world’s biggest Pearl, “The Pearl of Kings.”
The Continuing Legacy of Worldwide Victories The People’s Champ may have wriggled to the dust during his fights with Juan Manuel Marquez. But 2013 certainly ended with a knockout punch from Manny Pacquiao as he sent Brandon Rios home with bruises and made the Filipinos proud once more. Joey Rojo said that “his (Pacquiao’s) victory had made the Filipinos even more famous, and the Filipinos’ support during his fight amidst the disaster was enormous.” It has been an up-and-down year for the boxing industry in the country. However, despite the losses, the Philippines still ended with Manny Pacquiao winning the WBO International Welterweight Championship belt and Philippine delegates bringing home three gold medals from the recent 2013 SEA Games – all in the face of a devastated nation post-Yolanda. Nevertheless, it was a good way to send 2013 off and welcome the year of the wooden horse with cheers and loud “Wooohs!” and “Aaahhs!”It still is more fun in the Philippines, after all.