Many years ago, I remember my older sister wrote an article for her school paper about me. I don’t quite remember the title but it was something like, “All I Got Was a Local Tan.” I remember it because my daughter recently mentioned to me that her friend was spending the summer studying in New York City. Her other friends were off to Spain. It was the same for me back then. Most of my friends were going abroad for the summer and I was staying here, rotting in the Manila heat. I do remember wailing as my sister stared at me incredulously, “Everyone is gone! My friend went to Paris! My other friend is in the States! And here I am stuck here!” I was 10, maybe 12 years old. Imported heat to a bored, jobless, “I have a million vacation leave days” young one can definitely be more attractive than local heat, don’t you think?
My daughter wasn’t complaining though. She was just stating facts, no complaints, no hints, nothing. Which got me thinking, how does one incite appreciation of getting a local tan or simply put, when are we going to be happy to be here, instead of there? The root of this dissatisfaction is clearly lack of pride in being here. Lack of pride in the country.
Going to the mall during weekends isn’t the answer, obviously. If schools aren’t big on teaching our kids about pride, then I guess the responsibility lies with us―their parents. Here are some ideas I came up with, add your own if you have any!
Visit the National Museum
Entrance to the museum is often free (it is this month). Take the kids and check out the “Spoliarium” by Juan Luna. Read up on it and be your own tour guide as you walk through the halls of this museum.
Wander around Rizal Park
Rizal Park is definitely an interesting place to visit especially if you want to be closer to history. There is a breeze coming in from Manila Bay and it can be pretty cool to check out what’s going on there on a weekend. Fly a kite, bring your roller blades or skateboard, while enjoying the outdoors at the same time!
See the dioramas at the Ayala Museum
Store the iPad, the laptop, and your phone for a while. Visit the Ayala Museum and learn more about our history. If the mall continues to call you, it’s just across the street. Killing two birds with one stone.
Check out Intramuros, hear mass in The Manila Cathedral or San Agustin Church
Eat fish balls and ice cream (but throw your trash away properly afterwards!) outside the church. See Fort Santiago. Walk the narrow streets or take a Walking Tour with your favorite guide like Carlos Celdran’s Walk This Way.
Go outside of Manila; Bohol, Palawan, Sagada, there are 7,000++ islands to visit out there!
The first time I ever saw dolphins in their natural habitat was in Bohol. It was amazing! Your kids will be astounded at how beautiful the Philippines is outside of the crowded cities. You might even be, too!
Instilling pride in ourselves and in our kids won’t happen overnight. It will take a while but with this objective in mind, their eyes can be opened to the beauty of this country. Yes, there are loads of things wrong with it (evident especially of late), but if we stopped checking our social media accounts and looked up from our devices, made a conscious effort to find something good about it, something to be proud of, we just might notice how beautiful the Philippines actually is.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.