We celebrate today’s Philippine Independence Day, and the emerging Pinoy interdependence.
The people in the archipelago, formerly named the Western Islands prior to getting identified with España’s Felipe, has added a few kernels of rice into the global stew.
The tinikling, its national dance, gracefully performed in various speed to many audiences, is a simple understanding that in the stormy weather of the life, typical in typhoon tattered tropics, when birds tend to be caught in the whirlwind of clashing branches of bamboos, one has the option to dance. One foot in, then out, as the bamboo poles knock on its other, keeps the legs nimble and the mind ever ready for the awe and wonder of the unknown and unexpected.
The Bahay Kubo, a national song, once decried in the nationalism of my youth as a sign of low esteem and apologetic subservience, along with Pobreng Alindahaw, the impoverished firefly of the Visayas, and the descriptive confession of "being poorly born on the top of the mountains" of Montañosa, and the Luzon parental caution of not straying too far to "far Zamboanga," reflect an Asian streak of moderation and an affinity to simple living.
"My nipa hut, is very small," sang in childhood with the abundant greens in the yard, echoes affirmations of simple gifts among the kind folks of Appalachia, and the eco-utopian communities in the Pacific Northwest. In a time of flagrant consumption as the symbol of affluence, the virtue of simple living is the universal call of the hour.
But more than resiliency in the turbulent waters of contemporary life, moderation in lifestyle, and simplicity in the sea of wants and amplified consumptive desires, the Pinoy has a trait envied by many. Around the world, they are known for their fiesta spirit, innate in a volcanic region that spawned a culture of discontinuous eruptions abetted by the Iberian que sera sera (what will be, will be), the Muslim anshallah (the way-life-is, willing), and its indigenous affirmation of bathala na (inclusive of all the above!). The inner fireworks seem to spark just naturally.
Whether performing in Xi’an, or being the maitre’d in Dubai, priesting in Alaska, or prospecting in Peru, nursing in NYC, or teaching in Ghana, the Pinoy is creating an indelible lifestyle. To their tribe, we doff our sun visors this day! (© 2012, Saipan Tribune)