Why a Smart Gilas win means everything to Filipinos

Consider, first of all, the kind of responses that fellow GRP writer Gogs’ article “Why a Smart Gilas Win Means Nothing to Me” drew. They can be summarized with one simple phrase: Butthurt Pinoy pridesters are so predictable.

“If you don’t ride on the bandwagon, why don’t you just keep your opinion to yourself?”
“Why can’t you just be happy for your countrymen, don’t be so nega(tive).”
“The country had become united to support one common goal! Isn’t that something to be proud of as a Pinoy?”
“What have you done to support your team and uplift your fellow citizens?”
“You don’t support the team? You’re a traitor to your country!”
“Filipino pride inspires to strive for greater things! You crab! Why are you trying to pull your fellow countrymen down!”


More telling than the perceived attack on Pinoy Pride is the fact that most Filipinos can’t take someone or something who/that dares venture away from what is accepted as common or popular. In other words, something or someone that/who does not ride on bandwagons. Filipinos and “different” don’t mix very well. As I and many others here in GRP have said many times, Filipinos don’t like different. They don’t approach different with an open mind to learn from it; they judge it.

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In the interest of being different, I could beg to differ with Gogs and say that perhaps he doesn’t appreciate where the Filipinos are coming from. For them, one thing takes highest importance above all else: to be happy all the time. This is why Filipinos are addicted to instant gratification. This is why Filipinos attach themselves easily like leeches to the accomplishments of individual exceptional Filipinos, simply by virtue of shared Filipino blood. Yet they don’t just cling on to any achieving Filipino; they cling to those from the entertainment and sports fields, in particular. These people project a larger-than-life image whenever the Filipino sees them on his/her screen. What other way to make you feel happy or feel good then by attaching oneself to somebody who appears larger-than-life to you?

Yet in reality, Filipinos are smaller-than-squat.

HappinessFilipinos call for GV (good vibes) all the time. Indeed, being happy is the opium of the Filipino. They are addicted to it. Ask a Filipino why they need feel-good moments and why they flash their trademark ngiting-aso (dog smile) as much as possible, and you will most likely get an answer like this:

“It’s a distraction from all the negative things happening in our country.”

Need we remind Filipinos, however, that a lot of the “negative things happening in their country” could be considered to be at least partly, if not entirely, their fault. Are your government officials not representing you? Why did you vote them in? A natural calamity devastated your place? Can you honestly say that you prepared as much as possible for it, and why are you waiting for aid to come instead of picking yourself up?

A drug addiction eventually leads to a high – a state of seemingly utter don’t-give-a-f*ck bliss. This happiness that Filipinos want to feel perpetually IS exactly that, what a reputedly emotional people like the Filipinos aim for, by instinct. However, at the end of it all, the outcome is all the same: after the high has passed, they wake up feeling like shit.


Filipinos better start asking themselves then: once their Pinoy Pride personality/team loses, what happens next? Kanya-kanya na lang nanaman? Where are the results of being inspired to strive for greater things? When Filipinos have nothing to feel happy about, do they actually think the world will stop for them? After they come down from their happy place, how do they plan to deal with their not-so-happy realities? Do they try to escape them again with more feel-good moments?

What better time to ponder the answers to those questions than now, because, apparently, the Philippine national team has just lost to Iran in the FIBA Asia finals. I guess, in basketball, heart and fighting spirit are not substitute enough for the height and skill credential which Filipinos lack. If the reactions I’ve been starting to see on Twitter and FB are any indication, Filipinos have started resorting to the “cope by patawa” – making endless jokes about their “sad situation”. This proves what I said about the need for GV, in contrast with dealing with things like defeat and dejection stoically and in a composed manner.

It’s long been said that perhaps Filipinos should try their hand at football (soccer). However, it is inarguably more of a team game than basketball is, and the manok na pinugutan ng ulo na pinakawalan sa palaruan (headless chicken released onto the playing field) mindset that Filipinos like to employ in basketball will obviously not work as well in that game. But I digress…

The bottom line is that Filipinos, if they want to really stand tall among the world’s best, then they need to build first something that they can collectively be proud of as a nation. This something is not attributable to a single personality or team, but the outcome of a people coming together to make things work. The world is still waiting for that day to happen; this will not be achieved by attaching your entire people to the success of a single entity, nor will it be achieved by forcing yourself to be happy while ignoring the realities that you need to face. It will come from strength and substance of character as a people.

Where is that for the Filipinos, you may ask? Well, they need to build up their self-respect and self-esteem first. Ironically, Pinoy Pride and the “good vibes” thing work against such a goal. Filipinos need to come to terms with THAT reality.

[Photo courtesy: Watchmen Daily, Colipera, and Addicthelp.org]

41 Replies to “Why a Smart Gilas win means everything to Filipinos”

  1. Thank you for this my friend FA. My favorite artist once sang ” allow me to inject a dose of reality into this festive occasion.” . But the notion is taboo I guess in Pinoy culture. I also found it extremely funny that despite all the personal attacks and the assumptions and fantasies the naysayers had about me others still criticized my real name was not on there. There is no pleasing them.

  2. What I’m also seeing on Facebook is people saying Iranians are terrorists. That only shows how sore losers many Filipinos can be. Perhaps it reflects that all they want is to have the highest piss – maybe another reason why a Gilas win is so important. They win, they have another reason to boast against others. These Filipinos make being boastful very important. So if they have nothing to boast, they attack instead those who do better than them. Crab mentality, as well as the desire to be “king of the world” without really trying, I guess.

    1. Look at the PBA Atin To FB page. They talk about losing to taller Iranians and that silver is as good as gold. Even in winning they have excuses.

    2. What I’ve been hearing often is the #Puso versus #Putok thing. Gilas and Iran, respectively. Natalo daw ang #Puso, kasi di nakayanan ang #Putok.

      Tsk tsk. The vulgarity of Filipinos is very evident when their idols lose.

  3. Guys I think you’re missing a point of what human beings really are. If you’re really into reality (as what your blog named after) you have to accept that in our world we’re all unique. Even in other nations:
    – some people really have a hard time accepting defeat( that’s 100% reality)
    – some people(trolls) are plainly playing your temper( that’s 100% reality)
    – some are just really an idiot.( that’s 100% reality)

    100% real not only in PINAS. Don’t write if you don’t understand the whole package.


    Opinions are 100% free even if it came from a person with mental illness.

    – Listen/Read and understand
    – No need to shoutout
    – Ignore
    – And best of all be productive as one Pinoy even if others do not

    1. – some people really have a hard time accepting defeat( that’s 100% reality)
      – some people(trolls) are plainly playing your temper( that’s 100% reality)
      – some are just really an idiot.( that’s 100% reality)

      – Listen/Read and understand
      – No need to shoutout
      – Ignore
      – And best of all be productive as one Pinoy even if others do not

      Tell THAT to the people who came in here to tell us off just because we beg to differ.

      And don’t give me that other nations shtick. It is typical of Filipinos to use that line of reasoning as an excuse not to take action to correct their own faults.

      You want to use that line of reasoning with me? In other countries, presenting two or more differing points of view is merely called a dialogue. In the Philippines, it’s called a personal attack.

      See the difference?

      1. Good. Now. How can you solve the situation that every time people gets frustrated they do everything you described above?

        your solution:
        1. write something that targets peoples reaction by simply criticizing?

        Peoples bad reactions towards any circumstances are inevitable.

        1. And I strongly disagree a statement above saying “typical Filipino”

          Once again it should be “Typical People” not only us Pinoys.

        2. You seem to be making excuses only for some Filipino’s wrong behavior, such as projecting pride and reacting violently. Sorry, but what’s wrong is still wrong.

        3. Ahmmm. From yummy dinner… I’m back…

          @ChinoF: I’m not making excuses for what others did. I’m simply giving out idea for the rest of you in GRP that what you’re doing cannot help us. You’re just making it worst. I’m just pointing out that no matter what kind of language you use, no matter how many articles you posted, no matter how popular you are cannot simply change people’s character because your only criticizing. What you’ve been doing lacks a good follow-up of your criticism which is positive input to close the deal.

          @FallenAngel: My point is: Write better article to effectively drive your criticism into positive outcome.

        4. Like what kind of positive input are you looking for?

          As I said in my Cybernetics article, the negative feedback must continue because people seem to forget their mistakes.

  4. Maybe you and the other poster don’t know how much basketball means to Pinoys. It’s not a logical thing we loved the game ever since it was introduced to us. From half-courts in streets, to the rudimentary ones where there’s vacant soil, we Pinoys simply love basketball. Sorry if you don’t but the majority of us love it, it’s not logical because we’re generally short but we love it.

    I know, soccer is a team game where points are hard to produce, but basketball is a team game also, even if points are harder to produce. It’s true that one player in 5 can have more impact than one in 11, for soccer, but if you watched the FIBA games, the teams are generally successful because they have the better teams and players not necessarily the single best player.

    You disdain the Philippine team because they play like a “manok na naputulan ng ulo” but that is how a smaller team defeats a bigger team, a frenetic pace, so the defence doesn’t have time to setup. A soccer afficionado like you, should appreciate how a dangerous a team is when almost all of its opponents are on their side of a pitch after a failed goal attempt.

    Please put some appreciation in the system that was built by the coaching staff of our country. It might not be as efficient or smooth as the other country’s system that are already several years old but it takes advantage or our natural agility and quickness against bigger countries.

    It’s true because of our lack of a good true center we naturalized a foreign one but we showed without him we could defeat a top two team in Asia and that we can provide a great challenge to the best team in Asia. Who knows if our young centers develop we might not even need to naturalize players in the future.

    We have a system, not just a collection of All-Star professional players. And the system is working, for the first time we re-enter the world basketball arena. But this is just the first step. We have a lot of young guys, home-grown or foreign grown that if they develop will surely contribute to a team. It’s not just basketball but for the first time our country has built a system that made us number two in Asia at least for one sport. And if you start saying many of our players are imported, only three of them are foreign-grown. 75% of them are born and raised here and are Pinoy in speech and deed. A couple of them may be Tisoys, but they were born and raised here, on the Pinoy brand of basketball that is currently number two in Asia that you and your colleague so casually disdain.

    1. I think you’re missing the point… please read this for further ideas.

      Also, I believe loving only basketball is a sign of narrow-mindness, lack of creativity and unwillingness to change of Filipinos.

      1. I’m not defending the other commenters. I’m directly refuting the argument in this post, and possibly the other one I don’t remember, that this basketball win is just an opium for Pinoys, who are not hard-working enough to do well on their own.

        I was talking about for the first time we have a long term basketball program. And although a big part of it is the naturalized player, there are signs, like these past two games, that we can eventually be successful without naturalized players. It’s the system built by SBP, coach Raiko and coach Chot. A system is something that a country can be proud of because it doesn’t rely on sheer talent or desire but in planning, scouting and skills development. As a Pinoy aren’t you proud of that? If our country can be number two in Asia in a sport that our height disadvantages us, what else each of us in our own part of the country can do?

        Also, I like what Dato is doing now adding his support to local startups but where was he for the country at his peak? When he developed that chip, and got all the leverage, did he do anything to give back to the country when he was in his creative prime? I’m not taking away from what Dato is doing now but I think more Pinoys should give to the country when they still have their best not when their already rich but already have their creative peak behind them.

        1. Then perhaps those who had a direct hand in building that system can be proud of their accomplishment.

          Those Filipinos who merely cling to the success of those who win and insist that everyone ride on the bandwagon for Pinoys to feel good about themselves should not.

          This is why stuff like this is opium for the Pinoys, because instead of using such inspiration to improve their own lives, there are those who get addicted to the “good vibes” brought about by an accomplishment that isn’t even remotely theirs. They look for it again and again and pass it off as their own success.

          People often make the mistake of thinking that being proud of someone/something is the same as being proud to be Filipino because of someone/something. A lot of Filipinos cross the line into the latter.

          I’m sure you’re smart enough to know the difference.

        2. What would have happened if Dado Banatao stayed in the Philippines instead of going on to the US and Stanford and a string of start-ups that changed the face of computing? Are you actually arguing that he would have achieved the same thing under the onerous policies of the Marcos administration and the IMF/World Bank? That the economic and social conditions in the Philippines would have fostered his success? And that the intellectual environment here would have inspired his ingenuity? Please review your history of the Philippines. And try to understand why Dado was successful abroad. Try not to be ignorant with regards to your origins. Try not to be another typical Pinoy who is jealous of a countryman who made it on his own outside the Philippines.

        3. The way you’re talking about Banatao is putting him down for being successful in America. That is being negative, as our detractors would like to accuse us of. Think of what Johnny above asked: what if he never became successful in America? Wouldn’t he do less? He is already giving more to this country by using his resources to help businesses here. If you want him to give to the basketball programs here, ask him yourself.

        4. @FallenAngel: as you you stated above “Those Filipinos who merely cling to the success of those who win and insist that everyone ride on the bandwagon for Pinoys to feel good about themselves should not.

          This is why stuff like this is opium for the Pinoys, because instead of using such inspiration to improve their own lives, there are those who get addicted to the “good vibes” brought about by an accomplishment that isn’t even remotely theirs. They look for it again and again and pass it off as their own success.”

          Wow! Such a strong statement. You mean being proud is not for us to feel if where not part of the team or a system.

          Now I am not sure where this GRP team came from. From somewhere beyond un-imaginary life.

          PS: How did you calculate or know the number of people that were inspired by sports stars did not use the inspiration for their own success or improvement?

        5. Look at it at a collective level. There is a lot of collective pride for “achievements” like these sports wins but little in the way if actual achievement at a national level that puts the Philippines at the same level even of its peers within the region. It’s simple, really.

    2. You yourself said: it’s not logical. So why bother with a sport, where quite simply, majority of Filipinos will never measure up?

      Read the article again because your comment is telling me that you think I’m disparaging the Philippine team. There’s nothing in there where I belittle their accomplishment.

    3. Gott im Himmel!

      Three concurrent articles and you lot still DO. NOT. GET. IT. It was never about basketball. It still isn’t, no matter how many times you write commentary about GRP writers’ “disdain” for basketball.

    4. My belief is that Filipinos are not about improving themselves through basketball, they’re after boasting over others by riding on successes that are not their own. I doubt there is anything that can challenge that observation.

  5. LOOK, there is NO HOPE for changing what is going on in the country…except ONE…and it is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.(How much more the country can take is astounding!)
    the best anyone in the country can do is to GET OUT while they are under 30 yrs. of age OR suffer a poverty stricken life-time. the deck is sooo stacked against any type of aspiration to even a middle-class life-standard in the west(which,btw , is declining every second) it is AMAZING that there are not mass-suicides OR massive civil unrest. the situation IS that HOPELESS.
    That said, have a few of whatever it is that does the trick for you….and get out while you still can.

    1. Benjo,

      Let me get this straight. You want to jump ship — leave the Philippines — so that you can try to eke out an existence in the west where conditions are declining to Philippine levels? That doesn’t make sense. More than likely westerners are headed for Southeast Asia because this is where the next frontier for development will be. The old markets in Europe and America are saturated. The so-called tiger economies of Japan and Singapore are also looking for new channels, more dynamic markets. That means China and the ASEAN countries. And you want to leave that?

  6. My dreams have become puny with the reality my life has become.
    Imelda Marcos

    We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. Reasons to be cheerful – filipino style

    It is overcompensation for fragile egos and low self-esteem
    A need to follow and belong to the crowd
    A diversion from their daily dross
    A vicarious sense of achievement
    A platform for political exposure
    ‘Bread and circuses’ – keep the peasants amused

  8. I personally understand that people would like to express pride and feel entitlement when a team plays or wins. I get that.

    I personally don’t have that and never will.

    What I do not support is claiming it as a national success story and the badmouthing of the other team.

    I get that sometimes trash talking is part of the sport, but that is between the players. Why do onlookers have to stoop low by stating it as a PvP (putok vs puso). Low blow, What if the iranians made it look like it was because their measuring sticks were longer which made them win? Most likely the same people would take the talk back personally which is again, stupid.

    I understand being happy for another’s success. That is something I believe people normally do. But claiming it as your own is not something anyone should do, something that people in general tend to do.

    We should veer away from that type of action and try to find ways so that we as well can achieve that form of success, even if it is not in the same field or endeavor, but at least we can savor our own taste of victory/success with our own hands, not relying on relishing in others.

  9. I’m not denigrating Dado Banatao’s achievements in the US. Ok, the conditions then particularly the dictatorship, might’ve not been conducive to technology enterpreneurship but what I’m saying is many Pinoys should put their efforts where their mouth is. There is such a phenomenon as “reverse brain drain”. It is where somebody gains knowledge or leverage in another country and brings it to his home country. Dado might not have any choice in his younger days but wait when he was older to start doing something for his country but look the Philippines actually has the best GDP growth in Southeast Asia. We’re still poor but investments are actually coming in because of the anti-corruption drive of the administration. It’s not really as dire as many paint it to be, particularly if you are in the IT sector, which Dato is. Pinoys abroad who can’t give constructive criticism about their home country should expect a put down if they still view everything as if Filipino aren’t doing anything. Sorry Pinoys are actually starting to do something. The recent increases in GDP should at least make Pinoys abroad think again because there is actually money coming to the RP. If you’re a really great enterpreneur I’m sure you’ll find a way of getting a share of it.

    Success in sports brings honor to every country. That’s why countries like China and US expend a lot of resources developing their athletes. Philippines is far from their level it’s far from the top in Southeast Asia level even. It might be makitid ang Pinoy dahil basketball lang ang tinitingnan but isn’t this program, where we finally stopped thinking like we can bring in a Dream team and win, that made us number two in Asia still something to be proud of? Of course we should develop other sports as well, but that’s another story. Couldn’t you appreciate that Pinoys became no. 2 in Asia in their favorite sport while at the same time give constructive criticism on why the other sports should be developed? US for all its economic power and athletes are not a soccer power. There is actually a professional soccer league in the country so what are soccer afficionados complaining about? Something good is actually happening in the Philippines, no it’s not basketball. So when you say it’s just an opium for our sorry lazy existence you are guilty of generalizing. Sorry, many of us are not lazy or in a sorry state.

    As for Pinoys online bad-mouthing and saying racial-stereotypes it’s not good at all. Let me just say that.

    1. “We’re still poor but investments are actually coming in because of the anti-corruption drive of the administration.”

      I bet you always believe on “good” news especially from penoy’s propaganda machine like hallelujah. The question is did you really feel it? Or does you emo self told you so? And no don’t give me that stupid “mangyayari din iyan hintay lang” excuse.

    2. Let me say this again. PLEASE read up on Philippine history BEFORE you make comments about what OTHER people should or shouldn’t do. Also try to get an inkling of the local business environment in the 1990s vis à vis the US and Europe. You might understand WHY conditions were more favorable in those economies and why it is more viable to invest in Asia now.

      And stop being deluded by Penoy’s propaganda. Try getting a real glimpse of the local business conditions now. Not the lies circulated by Malacañang.

      1. Okay please enlighten me on what part of Philippine history did I miss?

        What if Asia as a whole is a more viable investment opportunity than Europe and US. Okay you’re saying it has nothing to do with PNoy. But what is wrong with PNoy’s anti-corruption platform? It remains to be seen if it goes anywhere but do you think any of the past regimes would have the will to bring the pork barrel in the spotlight?

        This administration lacks in many things, particularly in infrastructure spending, but it is the only administration that has done something against what most Pinoys see as the government’s number one sin, corruption.

        I don’t pretend to know the business conditions in the country. I’m an IT professional, and luckily enough, my job pays well. But the GDP numbers don’t lie. They may not be trickling to most of the population but they are coming in, that’s why they call it Gross Domestic Product. I’m not an enterpreneur, but who knows might be in the future, but I see the GDP numbers. I see the growth of the BPO industry–which should be roadmapped to a more sustainable and higher-value added IT sector I should add–and I infer that that is a sizable number of Pinoys with disposable income. If I were an enterpreneur I should find a way to tap into that market. Of course with the rate we’re paying taxes to the government we should expect more. But that shouldn’t blind us from the good things they are doing. And it shouldn’t stop us from contributing in our own way. Even if it is just to add some constructive ideas to our genuine but numbing harangue.

    3. Success in sports is good, but it’s not the only thing we should look for. And that seems to be the case with some of the Gilas team fandom – they only seek to ride on the fame of a team while continuing their bad habits.

      If you are worried about our sports programs in the country, better lobby the government for more support. It should be more than the president attending a game himself. The funding needed for sports programs seems to be dwindling. Perhaps Banatao and other people are already contributing this much for sports programs, but public support is lacking.

  10. I was a professional squash player in my youth and support sport wholeheartedly, for the fun it provides, the values it engenders, the health benefits it gives, and the cameraderie it offers.
    What i see in sport in the philippines is an approach and a microcosm indicative of the country as a whole – disorganised, corrupt, power play, political kudos/exposure.
    Politics regrettably plays a role in national sports everywhere, but in the philippines it is controlled by fat unsightly politicians who only run when they need to hide. They have no agenda but their own.
    Sport is about the grass roots and active participation.
    About time the sports agenda/bureaucracy was changed and then maybe sport would become something enjoyable, beautiful, inclusive, and everybody would then be winners

  11. 1) The pinoy pride issue is a valid point, but not valid when it comes to sports or other competitions where the country is being represented. What we don’t want is when the nation tries to attach itself to an individual or group who for all we know, doesn’t give a damn about representing the country.

    2) You are a funny yet annoying party crasher, to get the attention you desperately need. This is why you got to write something like this pretty soon while the country is celebrating. You will not get the response you want, nor the buyin of many Filipinos. Yes, you are a big nega, and people who told you that speak more sense than you.

    3)there is nothing wrong with filipinos being happy, or finding happy things. It’s a positive outlook in life. The wrong thing is that filipinos are not collectively doing something to fix thd potholes in our culture or government or whathaveyous. Being happy has nothing to do with it. Stop trying to be some sociologist or psychiatrist.

    Maybe let’s do things your way. Whenever a team or individual wins in an international competition, let’s keep mum about it. Or let’s not be too happy because there will be intelligent people like GRP writers who will hit you for being to festive and happy.

    Let’s take it further. Better if we dont join such competitions. Olympics, asean, fiba etc, and let’s just fix our shit first for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years. If we have something to be proud of already, then that’s the only time we join. So when in case we win, we have the audacity to have pinoy pride!

    This article is absurd. This gives no value nor proposes a concrete solution based on facts or measurable statistics. If you could correlate excessive happiness with being unsuccessful, i would listen.

  12. Very good perspective. It is the culture of “take what you can” even if it’s just the crumbs. The corollary to this mentality is the “hopeless” mindset that have been injected into our minds. Nothing changes; not corruption, not the wet and hot weather, not the traffic, not the politicking, nothing, except maybe basketball but even that is short-lived and momentary. As I said Filipinos take what they can, that’s really sad!

  13. ‘Filipinos don’t like different. They don’t approach different with an open mind to learn from it; they judge it.’

    I don’t agree with that but granting that it is true, such expression can also be said of other countries and worse. Take for example, Russia which recently adopted a law prohibiting “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors.” It’s an anti-gay law.

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