The pearl of the Orient, known for its 7,107 + islands, home of the most unique sea creatures, and a top tourist destination—-the Philippines—making this third world nation a hub for cheap labor for business process outsourcing, English language education, and trades. But are these glittering words the only things we see in this country faced with several issues?
I got the chance to visit several islands in the country and have seen the situation of the real Philippines. It’s not just about the clean and greenery parks (few), the flashy beach resorts and high end hotels, beautiful Filipinas, and you fill the blank ________…
During my visit to Korea (as Philippine Youth Ambassador of Goodwill), I presented the case study of the Philippines. My intro was this: Before I report our the case study of the Philippines, allow me to give you 7,107 reasons why the Philippines is the pearl of the orient…blah, blah, blah… In fairness, my video presentation (which we got from the Department of Tourism) was a kick to the entire report.
Obviously what we saw in the tourism video is the wonderful side of the country: the sea, malls, education, and cheap (cheap to the highest level) products and labor. Deep inside I was bitter to share those things, reporting only the facade or the tip of the iceberg of what the Philippines truly is. Yet in the end people were praising me for my English articulation (because “they say” Filipinos are good English speakers)–a bit pressure in our part (but no sweat–hahaha!!!).
Okay, our country is great (Filipino bias) and high tech (as locals say) because of our growing economy (oligarch’s report) and emerging BPO industry. In fact even in provinces, wifi internet is already available (haha!! Amazing to know that Boljoon, Cebu has one!).
But have we really looked into the true face of the Philippines? In Cebu alone, are you aware of the growing poverty here in sacrifice of a developed city? I am. My involvement with non-governmental organizations has helped me to open my eyes into the reality that would truly break each heart into pieces. Having the same reason has urged me to tour around visiting friends (both local and foreign) in locations they have never seen on television and travel books.
Just last week in Makro (across Makro store) the squatters lost their homes from a fire that destroyed hundreds of families, including Operation Mobilisation’s (OM) children’s outreach program beneficiaries and their families.
OM helped the children and their families cope up with the loss by providing daily food for a week and giving out household utensils. I joined OM with its gift-giving and met up with the kids I once taught with (but temporarily stopped in 2007 due to school reasons and my other ministry commitment) . Seeing them smile amid the pain made me fall down on my knees and whispered thanksgiving to God for how he has blessed me with these children.
“How refreshing to see such joy and love from these kids, who instead needs attention and help are the ones who share it.”
These kids are full of hope and are solely dependent on the Father. The Father they know that will supply their needs and soothe their hurts. The Father who knows and loves them no matter who and what they are. The Father who takes care of them all the time. The Father they call dad who’s watching over them from the heavens.
So if you’re a local who only visits the malls and business establishments, start walking along the street and exploring the Philippines the non-commercial way. And if you’re a foreigner, don’t waste your money and time just shopping, try doing something to help that country you’re visiting in and become a blessing. Now, what are you waiting for? Travel Philippines and see the difference! ^_^