Encapsulating the Filipino Identity in Memes

By: Hazel Joy Nono and Myla Mae Pahamutang

Quality #1 : Generosity

Filipinos can be very generous, especially if they have the money to do so. There are several TV shows presenting the situation of several Filipino people, most especially the less privileged. The most noteworthy ones for us are: a) a segment of TV Patrol which focuses on people who are currently having difficulties in their lives and b) some episodes of MMK, which may oftentimes feature people undergoing through a difficult situation and how they are coping with it on a daily basis or how they managed to overcome it.

There were several reports featuring children who were suffering from diseases such as leukemia, gigantism, tumors, etc. Their parents did not have any money to give their children the treatment they needed. However, after they were featured on the said show, they caught the attention of various Filipinos and even gained financial support from them. This was proven as every time, the reporters would give updates on their situation and usually they would give the viewers the news that the said families had received enough money to get their treatment (with clips provided and sometimes, an entire documentary separate from the show).

This meme, which somehow exaggerates how money is given, represents just how much effort or what extra mile Filipinos are willing to go through just to help others and sometimes, it is at the cost of their own comfort. They also do not question the situation heavily or have a hard time deciding whether to help those persons or not as they solely focus on how to uplift those people from that situation.

It is truly heartwarming to see just how Filipinos are willing to help their fellowmen whenever they are in need. This, of course, is not only limited to financial help as Filipinos can mostly be seen lending a hand to other people (regardless of whether they know them or not) physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually etc. We are one of the few countries who have empathy and manifest in upon our actions as well as our interactions with other people. With the world taking advantage of this specific value at present, we truly hope that Filipinos will remain firm and stick with this attribute up until the very end.

Quality #2: Optimism

Filipinos are one of the most resilient people in the world and along with that resilience comes the quality of optimism or the ability to see the best out of any situation.

This was mostly inspired by several clips shown on television. During 2013, when Typhoon Yolanda struck the country, a lot of damage was brought upon our lands. Many houses were destroyed, a lot of livelihoods were in peril, and there were a lot of people who either died, were injured or were declared missing.

At that point, almost anyone would have grieved or would have lost all hope of ever living a good life again. However, Filipinos were different. As reporters went to the affected areas of the typhoon and reported about their situation, several bystanders were seen waving at the camera and even smiling, seemingly ecstatic that they managed to be seen on TV. It wasn’t obvious that they were deeply affected by that tragedy.

As depicted by our chosen meme, a balloon which is usually known as a fragile and easily destroyed object was used to represent Filipinos. When everyone was expecting them to be shattered by the difficulties they were facing (as represented by the blade), they stood strong and remained optimistic through it all.

Even in the case of our goals, oftentimes we Filipinos might not get what we want or we were hoping for something but it didn’t come true. Instead of giving up there, we used that failure as a motivation to improve our performance the next time around so that in the end, we may eventually achieve our goals.

We think that this particular trait is very special and we, as Filipinos are lucky to have it because it allows us to enjoy the little things, to enhance our skills even more, and to overall just enjoy life to the fullest. After all, what makes life memorable are not the successful moments but rather the difficult ones and how me managed to overcome them.

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