By Diamay Klem D. Balacuit | February 9, 2021
Ez Mil’s “Panalo” made headlines recently, following his performance on Wish 107.5. Many were hooked to its music and message. Talks on patriotism and Pinoy pride also rose as many were engaged to the message that the song is implying. The question then lingers in the minds, what is the true meaning of Filipino patriotism?
Patriotism, as it is commonly defined, is someone’s love for a country. Through it, the people share a sense of pride in being a citizen in their own country. History also tells how Filipino patriots way back, then fought against the colonizers and oppressors in a shared effort for liberation of not only the country, but also of their fellows. As time goes by, the meaning of patriotism to Filipinos changes, affecting them directly.
The changing times caused the meaning of patriotism to become shallow. This has been evident in the phrase Pinoy Pride, a connotation that is misused in different contexts. The Pinoy Pride is used in expressing the feeling of victories of other people like Catriona Gray in Miss Universe and Manny Pacquiao in boxing. Even with the achievements of people with a drip of Filipino blood, Pinoy Pride is still celebrated.
Nick Joaquin stated in one of his works that the need for face comes from a lack of confidence, that Filipinos actually feel inferior or depressed. This issue has been pointed out when the late Sen. Letecia Shahani and her team conducted a study about the strengths and weaknesses of Filipino character. The study indicated that the Filipinos lack self-confidence, resulting in being passive and lacking initiative. Because of this, a strong reliance to others has been formed, may it be financially or physically.
The issues pointed out by Sen. Shahani reflected how the term “Pinoy Pride” is used. Because of the lack of self-confidence, the accomplishments of the individuals have been reflected as one big achievement by the Filipino community. A scream for validation has also been shown when Filipinos would give high regard to foreigners who appreciate their good qualities. This is why there is a market in social media for foreigners reviewing or trying out anything Filipino—otherwise known as “Pinoy-baiting.”
The lack of self-confidence, imbued by the oppressors, resulted in passivity and lack of centralized patriotism that a lot of generations suffered. Because of this, even if our ancestors did achieve victory over the mananakop, their efforts are nulled by the oppression they have been subjected to, and that is felt to this day. As such, our “pride” is centered on overt achievements that are ephemeral in the long run.
The true essence of Filipino patriotism
The love for one’s country is found deep down the hearts of the citizens. With the adversities and corrupted moral foundations in society, this love is tainted with the vague and doubtful importance of misguided patriotism. Just ask other Filipinos how they are being patriotic.
The study of Sen. Shahani has led to the creation of the Moral Recovery Program of the Filipinos, intending to develop a sense of patriotism and national pride, a sense of common good, the ability to look beyond selfish interest, a sense of justice, and outrage at its violation. The program also aims to develop values and habits of discipline and hard work, self-reflection, and analysis with the internalization of spiritual values. A true and renewed essence of patriotism is said to be the goal of the program. However, the results are yet to be realized.
Living out patriotism is to live the values of the strengths that the Filipinos have. It is to address the issues affecting the Filipino identity. It is to realize the aims of the patriots who risked their lives for freedom.
Ez Mil’s “Panalo” is a reminder to seek patriotism—not the ones with shallow motives and to point out the truth and live by it. If anything is to be taken from “I ain’t tisoy, I’m pinoy,” it is that patriotism is not just chasing fame.