I came to school today not realizing that it was a holiday. It was like a zombie apocalypse. The parking lot was deserted, and the guard on-duty was short of interrogating me on why I came to school on such an (un)holy day. I came in that day to work on my thesis, which involved having to access the data through my adviser’s local network at the office. I was so eager to write a paper that would change the face of the world! Well, not really. But I was excited about it, and I just couldn’t wait to finally finish processing all these raw data on coral reefs. Something felt a little odd, though, being so hard at work yet no one was around (save for my adviser who came in that day, too). It was a holiday, I know, and as I thought and thought about the thought of not having anything else “better” to do on a holiday, a sinking feeling suddenly enveloped me. An empty, meta-existential feeling that echoed through the whispery halls of my deserted building. What the heck am I doing here? What is the point of all this?
The sight of an open field (the ‘Sunken Garden’ as we would call it) so vibrant with footballs and discs relieved me, as well pockets of people gathered in small mats. I didn’t bother turning up the AC and instead pulled down both windows of my old van. I drove slowly, elbow out and just feeling the gust through the front seat. I savored the sweet feeling of my campus, and I told myself I felt how much I would dread being away from all this.
We are right in being eager and sleepless because a fortune lies in our future. It’s richer and more real than what the Yamashita treasure could ever offer. We’re at the forefront of great social reform: environmental responsibility, a constant desire for growth, and a greater sense of the poverty around us. At the dawn of the rise in Filipino quality of life, we’re not becoming lazy, wasteful parents and scatter-brain, get-wild-and-drunk kids, but instead we’re still ever eager for more development, more business, more money, and more knowledge.When we were young, everything our teachers ever told us about was that the Philippines is such a poor country ridden by abuse of natural resources and extreme corruption, but that we’re the “hope of the future” and that ” time comes” when we take up leadership, it should be for the better of this country. Somehow, those uncited ideas have boiled so strongly in our blood. It’s been an inception that knocks everyday in the back of our heads. But when we do get to those greener pastures of the Philippines’ promised economy, do we want to become just like every other developed nation today?
I realized why no one was at work that day when I passed by our church. The streets were lined cars stretching to a hundred meters into the neighborhood, and the pews were packed. Lenten ceremonies were going on inside. I suddenly wished I could’ve gone with my family who went home to the province, but I couldn’t because I was scheduled to play the piano for Good Friday and the Easter Vigil that week. As I slowly passed by, I admired the sight of worship. If I could just capture all these images of Filipino life into one idea, I’d say it’s very beautiful. Fifty years from now, I’d like to see even more modern technology, a flawless, seamless government, and lives as healthy as they could be. But I’d still like to do everything else from going home to the province, enjoying the company of my family, to being very happy to be Filipino.