OUR COUNTRY may be a nation hounded by poverty and different political and economic problems. But we are not in all ways poor.

Rich countries often underestimate developing countries like ours. A lot even say we are primitive, half-civilized, and lacking in intelligence. But in providing the brawn and sometimes the brains to their industries and families, we are the ones already running their countries.

When I visited my relatives and family in the States, I was all the more convinced of the Filipinos’ resilience and creativity to survive and endure despite the racial discrimination and stereotyping they suffer from foreigners. My mother, who is working in the US, told me that Filipinos most often are assigned to “dirty” work and reliever jobs. But since we are willing to work with low wages, Filipinos easily get employed more than natives and other foreigners, in the process causing envy. I have my own jitters and fears in case I work abroad with my mom after graduation. But time and place must be no issue to anyone who wants to build his dreams.

I believe that Filipinos are far better workers than other nationalities because they are hard-working and industrious, if given the opportunities that are lacking here. I recall one time when eating in my favorite fishball stand in P. Noval, I asked the vendor how much money earned per day. He said, “Mahina, 200 pesos lang.” I asked him how that small amount could feed his family, and he answered, “Ganyan talaga mapagkakasya naman yan,” then laughed.

It may be true that Filipinos are poor and even in basketball, we could hardly play well without our Western imports. But as one pop song says, we as a people are gifted with the will to survive. The greatness of a country cannot be measured only by the achievements and economic gains it has, but also by its people’s zest to endure life’s challenges. That’s what “quality of life” really means.

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Filipinos are the real “survivors” of life. Although we don’t excel much in techno fields, we have been very good exemplars in how to persevere in life. Filipinos going through destitute conditions manage to break loose from their adversities. We have already shown through the different murky events in our history that we are tough and we can face challenges. I believe that with proper motivation and focus, we can excel. Elsewhere, we have proven ourselves fit to live. We are our own supermen, knowing how to prevail during the roughest days.

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