Filipinos need to end their love affair with mediocrity and ‘pwede na yan’ mentality


My views are not very popular with Filipinos. I guess it’s partly my fault because I like posting topics that some might consider taboo and boring. But it’s not like I discuss religion or make fun of other people’s religious beliefs. Granted, I like talking about Philippine politics and society in general but I really think it’s time majority of Filipinos stopped pretending that things are going to be okay as long as we all maintain a “positive” outlook and be “hopeful”. Sadly, there is nothing to hope for if there is hardly anything being done to fix the country’s problems that keep coming up year after year. Flooding, anyone?

Unfortunately, most Filipinos would rather see the bright side of things probably because the reality tends to put them in a bad mood. They hold on to the old notion — the cliché of always seeing the glass half-full. They think people who highlight what is wrong with Filipino culture are being “negative”. Well, think again. Filipinos can try and pretend things are okay only until the next disaster strikes the country. That’s when people realize again that the country does not have the resources to save its citizens and has to seek help from overseas.

Poverty remains a pressing national issue 30 years after 'people power' supposedly won.

Poverty remains a pressing national issue 30 years after ‘people power’ supposedly won.

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The problem is, it’s been three decades since former President Ferdinand Marcos dubbed “the dictator” was ousted from power, and yet the Philippines has remained backward in a lot of ways. The fact that most Filipinos still can’t be vocal about their views on important issues plaguing the nation is proof that 30 years after democracy was supposedly “restored”, majority of us are still afraid to speak out. It seems Filipinos are afraid of retribution from the powerful if they spoke out against political corruption and cronyism.

Filipinos in general just don’t like talking about what they consider to be unpleasant things. It seems they can’t handle the truth. As James Fallows puts it in his seminal article A Damaged Culture:

The Filipino ethic of delicadeza, their equivalent of saving face, encourages people to raise unpleasant topics indirectly, or, better still, not to raise them at all.

I just can’t get over the fact that it’s been 30 years since James Fallows wrote that observation about us but not much has changed. Most Filipinos to this day still frown upon those who criticize Filipino public servants and our own shortfalls. It could be because a lot of Filipinos treat their public servants like celebrities despite their incompetence. A classic example of this is the incumbent President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino who is still revered by many despite proof that he is also one of the most corrupt public official in the land. He is revered for the single reason that he is the son of so-called “heroes” Cory and Ninoy Aquino. It’s so bizarre especially since the Edsa “People Power” revolution’s only real legacy is the continued disregard for the rule of law.

Over at the Inquirer, someone by the name of Billy A. Chan wrote an article that hits the right notes — that is, if you are into empty platitudes. If you are, you will surely like his piece titled, I love this country. Apparently, if you believe Chan, just saying “I love this country and everything about it” will make life easier for the average Filipino.

I noticed that Chan’s article is short on specifics. He is of the belief that “there will be so much change if we love instead of hate.” It’s not clear how he expects change to happen just by “loving” but it is clear that he is very good at tuning out the bad bits about the Philippines.

Let’s start from the beginning. Chan wrote: “I love that there are still public servants who are sincere and genuine in fulfilling their duties as elected officials.” If I may ask, which elected public servant was he talking about? I wish he named at least one so we could look up his track record and see for ourselves if this “sincere and genuine” elected public servant really exists.

Chan also made a big deal of people who bother to go to the polls “just to cast their votes for the candidates they think they deserve.” Hmm…Let me see, a non-performing senator won the 2010 Presidential Election and the one who came second and almost won again was convicted plunderer former President and now Mayor Joseph Estrada. Obviously, a lot of those who do go to the polls don’t choose wisely. I do commend those who refuse to sell their votes, indeed. Unfortunately, there seems to be more voters who do sell their votes compared to those who don’t.

I don’t know how old Chan is but he gave this impression that typhoon Yolanda was the first devastating typhoon that ever struck the Philippines:

I love how this country produced thousands of leaders after Typhoon “Yolanda/Haiyan” devastated parts of the Visayas. I love how Filipinos have realized the importance of mangroves along coastlines, which saved hundreds of lives from the deadly storm surges unleashed by Yolanda. I love how natural calamities make Filipinos aware of the extreme effects of climate change and push them to implement measures to protect themselves and the environment.

The country gets visited by at least 20 typhoons every year. Yolanda may have been the strongest in recent times, but the country’s other devastating typhoon Sendong in 2011 or the ones before that should have made Filipinos “realize the importance of mangroves along coastlines” already. Obviously, the previous disasters have not pushed Filipinos enough to “implement measures to protect themselves and the environment”. It remains to be seen if Filipinos did learn from Yolanda and are more prepared for the next typhoon.

Filipinos are not a 'race'. How many times does that need to be said?

Filipinos are not a ‘race’. How many times does that need to be said?

Chan claims to love how “we are still a proud and strong race.” First of all, somebody ought to tell him that the concept of race has already been debunked. Instead of referring to us as a Filipino “race”, he should use Filipino ethnicity. Researchers have agreed that races do not exist and that the concept of race “was socially constructed, arising from the colonization of the New World and the importation of slaves, mainly from western Africa”. Second, we don’t need to be a proud people just to get respect. Rather, we need to be more humble and stoic while working hard to build our country from the ground up especially since there’s still so much work to be done before we can be truly independent.

One can be forgiven for thinking that Chan may have been smoking something illegal when he wrote the article. He just loves everything that rational folks absolutely hate having to put up with. He loves riding in the cramped trains, loves standing on the bus, he loves to endure endless traffic, making detours and seeing the roads that are under repair. He is even willing to to pay more for the experience. What a guy! No wonder our public servants do not feel the need to improve the appalling conditions in the country.

A lot of Filipinos don’t realize that Chan’s over-enthusiasm for mediocrity is part of the reason things don’t improve in the Philippines. It’s the pwede na yan or “that’ll do” mentality at work. Is he expecting Filipinos to just accept the cramped conditions on public transport? I almost fainted when I rode the MRT in the middle of the day. That wasn’t even peak hour.

Colossal loss of productivity and shrinking bottom lines from a business perspective

Colossal loss of productivity and shrinking bottom lines from a business perspective

Will people like Chan frown on those who demand that the Department of Transportation and Communications do something to ease the congestion and overcrowding on trains? Is it too much to ask for an upgrade on the facilities and infrastructure on public transport? I don’t think so. Chan also does not see things from a business point of view. The economy suffers huge productivity losses and inefficiency as a result of traffic congestion. Only when Filipinos stop accepting mediocrity will things improve.

Chan also commended “brilliant” Filipinos who stay in the country. While I do agree that brain drain is cause for concern for the country, Filipinos who choose to leave the country for lack of better opportunity and recognition in their homeland should not be treated as outcasts or regarded as “unpatriotic”. He can even ask former PAGASA employees why they left.

Migration is not a phenomenon unique to Filipinos. Some folks are just wired to seek adventure elsewhere for a sea change or tree change. In fact, those who choose to live in another country can share the knowledge they learn from their adopted country with their compatriots. Filipinos in the Philippines just have to be more open to suggestions from people who have been exposed to progressive thinking.

Likewise, Filipinos who choose to stay in the Philippines do not have a monopoly on patriotism. They just have their own reasons for staying. Some just prefer to stay because of all the perks of living among family and friends and having cheap servants. Not all of them share their “skills and talent”. I know some who don’t even work and are just slacking off.

Chan also painted such a rosy picture of the overseas foreign workers’ (OFWs) plight.

I love it when mothers and fathers who need to work abroad take pains to explain to their children the reasons for their temporary absence. I love it when these parents, the country’s modern-day heroes, come home for good to resume family life, having saved enough for themselves and their loved ones.

Unfortunately, not all families whose loved ones had to go abroad for work have a happy ending. Some of the kids who were left behind by their OFW parents grow up without a mother or father figure to look up to. Their parents weren’t there on important events and milestones. When they come back, they are often estranged from the very people they financially supported from thousands of miles away.

A lot of these OFWs do not earn a lot from their jobs as domestic workers and fail to save money. Years after toiling abroad, they don’t even have a job they can come back to. This is a result of the government’s bad economic policies since the 1970s that made the country too dependent on OFW remittances to stimulate the economy. This is something that Chan needs to highlight if he truly wants “change”. Writing his representative in congress to do something about the plight of the OFWs is more productive than mouthing off “I love” platitudes.

Filipinos can’t just say, “they love everything about the Philippines” and expect things to improve. It won’t happen unless they do something about it. Demanding for change from their elected public servants is a good first step instead.

And Filipinos who express their “hate” of our culture of mediocrity don’t necessarily hate the Philippines. They just want the best for the country.

Image courtesy Jerry Ocampo.

Image courtesy Jerry Ocampo.

118 Replies to “Filipinos need to end their love affair with mediocrity and ‘pwede na yan’ mentality”

  1. Another great article Ilda! I really agree with the last two sentences of the article. I express dismay and hate to the country something my family and friends cannot understand. I don’t hate my country, i want the country to prosper, I want the majority of the people to have a quality life, quality education, quality service and not just the rich ones. Availability and affordability of all basic needs for all the people. Papaano mo susolusyonan ang problema kung hindi mo alamin kung anong cause nito? Let’s Deal with the root cause and not the effect. Huwag yong “bahala na”, bahala na ang Diyos”, “yan lang meron eh, ok na yan”, “ok na yan magpasalamat na lang mas may mahirap pa naman sa atin” and so on. Uurrgghh!

    1. @ven-ven

      I’m glad you share my views. The most annoying thing is when some Pinoys question your motives for raising serious issues. They even assume you are just “bayaran”. Sigh…

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Absolutely brilliant! As a retired PhilAm I have been “advised” by my own relatives that I should not be so outspoken about the politics in my hometown in Ilocos Norte. I’ve questioned the Mayor and his cohorts in the past and still nothing has changed. I will share your article on my wall and hope to read more on such an insightful perspective. I’m overwhelmed that I finally found another person with the exact same perspective as myself. Kudos to you sir!!!

    1. @J.F. Valenzuela

      Thank you. I am glad you found us. Most Pinoys don’t even realise that they give absolute power to their public servants. It can be frustrating to deal with people who don’t even know what’s good for them.


      1. Good work Ilda! I am so one with you in your writings and insights and call for action after self and societal reflections. I studied here and in the U.S. for graduate school and ever since i came back, i experienced a lot of reverse culture shocks, some even traumatic as this “culture of mediocrity and unknowingness” really needs the raising of conscious awareness of all the people in this country up to the point and even beyond where the critical mass is reached and the “culture of continuous improvement” begins in earnest, whether at work or in leisure. Be assured more of us progressives and cultural creatives are “fearlessly emerging” and will be increasingly appreciated for growth is the most natural process after gestation periods. Keep availing of the mighty power of the pen with the unimaginable influence of ideas for eventual improvements. It matters highly. People who express the way you do certainly cares and loves this country for what it could potentially be: a developed nation among the world of nations. Truly the healthiest thing to do.

        1. Hi Jon

          Be assured more of us progressives and cultural creatives are “fearlessly emerging”…

          Thanks for your comment. We can only hope the number of Filipinos who reject the culture of mediocrity will grow thanks to today’s technology. The reality in the Philippines is hard to ignore especially when someone has been been exposed to progressive thinking. We certainly appreciate your help in spreading our ideas to the rest of the population.


  3. I strongly agree. We are a people who thinks small, ruled by politicians who think small but think big in getting themselves rich before their ternms end, and forget what they promised to do during election campaigns. We are contented with isang-kayod isang tuka mentality, and not think of the future and sustainability. The politicians have been co-opted by businemen who only think of getting richer and richer, and businemen who are co-opted by politicans who want to become rich by miliking the businessmen. The consumers are victims to all this get-rich-quick mentality of those who are influentials in politics and business, and vice versa. We go to elect our political leaders who are voted by many who are poor and are concerned of daily food, and hope of continued doles of political patrons who, in turn, continue to fleece the people and raid the public coffers. This is a vicious cycle which continue to batter the people, who in turn have been transformed into beggary, powerless and misshapen. We go to election in 2016, and will elect a new group of mafiosi politicians who will rule us for the next 6 vicious race. No wonder, the people only refuge is religion. And even there, religion becomes a comfort of inaction, and resignation. What a life. We cannot even rage anymore, much less dream for better quality of life. Our politicians do not care for the people they have sworn to serve. It is a shameful situation, and we are all in it, in the same boat, which is slowly b y fatally sinking. Really, God have mercy on us. Amen +

  4. The guy (Chan) who wrote that article is simply out of touch with the realities of the country. It may be because he is not from NCR, or just maybe because of plain naivety. Surely it warrants a space in the Inquirer, just what the yellow king ordered. Funny how articles like this are being published nowadays, seems like a new strategy by the MCG, appeal to emotions of the filipino people just to deflect and save face for their shortcomings. This is simply a message to the filipino idiots from your friendly neighborhood idiots by the Pasig river…… “makuntento na kayong mahalin kung ano ang meron kayo ngayon”. Barely 2 years left in his tenure and he failed at leaving something to the country as his “legacy”. What more can we expect, but poor attempts at deluding the filipino people that we are still better off with what we have now.

    1. On the other hand, the article seems like an exercise in sarcasm, albeit a poor one.

      And yet this guy should have known that sarcasm simply does not work on Filipinos. They are simply not wired to immediately get it.

        1. Excuse me, when I meant “this guy”, I wasn’t referring to Ilda. I was referring to the author of that “I love this country” article.

          However Ilda interpreted the article, it doesn’t take away from the fact that what she wrote about Filipinos’ love affair with mediocrity and “pwede-na-yan” is spot on.

  5. Maybe that deluded “I love…” guy has been reading those ‘positive thinking’ self-help guides that advocate burying your head in the sand to make problems magically go away. They foster an ignorant and extremely selfish mentality.

  6. It all lies upon the middle class for things to have any semblance of progressive change. You need only to look up historical examples of the Bourgeoisie from the French Revolution who established the framework that would lead to an upheaval of the decrepit monarchy. Unfortunately, the Filipino middle class either tries to be in bed with the upper strata, the elite or just packs up and leave with no one to man the helm.

    The country tolerates small because the majority left is small people. It can’t be helped when they don’t know any better beyond trying to live the next day.

  7. You made me laugh with BS pictures and thanks for the new word that fits our incompetent politicians: “NanunungKulang”

  8. You really can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t have a country that does not value intellect, has very low standards on peace and order. Does not respect their fellow humans in everyday life. Always begging for international aid but hardly in the front of the line when giving it. Does not work for countrymen and when they go abroad complain about working conditions and employers there. Idolize plunderers etc. You can’t have that as your reality and even whisper “proud to be pinoy”. You just can’t. For the Philippines, their reality check bounced.

  9. what can i say more??? that is the reality we have to accept. changes must start within….evrything will follow.

  10. I like your pounding on the need to expunge this “pwede na” mentality.

    Let’s have some more of your beautiful insights, Ilda!

  11. I agree that the Filipino people should stop accepting mediocrity as a way of life although i don’t see the point in singling out a certain writer for voicing his opinion. Certain people are allowed a forum to share their view to a large audience and it is within their rights to do so. Unfortunately those with opposing views, or those who see the problems and call them as such are usually in the minority. As a result, the real issues, the real problems that need to be discussed are given very little public exposure.

    It’s sad really when you think about it. Why is it that Filipinos can thrive in other countries when they themselves at one time or another while living in the Philippines could not? Many people will say its the government and its politicians. Or maybe its the economy? But, to me, it starts with the people. The ordinary day to day people. Discipline, separation of church and government, and the respect for the law is paramount before the country can lift itself up from the mess it’s currently in. Some people say that the rich, or the political families have their way with the country and i say, the only way they can do that is because almost every one wants a piece of the pie no matter what the long term consequences may be. Its a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

    The post above mentioned politicians who are treated as celebrities by the public, well, newsflash, they are or at least a large majority of them are celebrities who have no business being in office. People whose main intention in getting into politics is to serve their own selfish greed rather than serving its constituents.

    I would also stop calling OFW’s heroes. They are not. Most of these people already knew while they were young that their only option in life is to move abroad if they want to improve their lot in life. How does that make them a hero when all they’re doing is making sure their family doesn’t go hungry. That’s not heroic, that’s doing what you have to do. Calling them heroes is quite disrespectful to real heroes.

    While were at it, can someone tell the church to mind its own business? I’m catholic and i’m not afraid to say that the church just needs to butt out of government affairs. The government has no say in what the church does, why is it that it doesn’t work the other way around? The church lives on faith, the government cannot survive on faith. It needs tangible actions and results by those who are elected to represent its people. God will not provide if your lazy ass is planted on the sofa. Nor will there be anything to harvest if no one plants the crops.

    Lets also discard the proud to be pinoy catchphrase. Last I checked, there really hasn’t been anything the Pinoy’s can be proud of. The country has no input in the world of science, math and technology. Filipinos grasp at every little thing they can that even resembles Filipino involvement and calling it their own. Someone posted that Filipinos has no value for intelligence and i believe it’s true. What happened to the dreamers who wanted to be doctors, lawyers,teachers, engineers? Those who wanted to make a difference in their OWN country? I know where they are, in healthcare. Not because that is what they are passionate about but because that’s their ticket out of the country. Again, that’s why they’re not heroes.

    Anyway,I’m preaching to the choir here. I just hope that one day, hopefully in my lifetime, that the Philippines will elect someone with the real desire and credentials whose main goal when elected into office is to improve the lives of Filipinos.


  12. This is strange, some countries work too hard and some countries work too less. I’d rather work less and be happy then work hard just for material prosperity… I guess that makes me a standard Pinoy, but many around the ball would love to live this way too.

    1. Now here’s one of the problems most people think of that doesn’t help. Material / money is actually a good thing IF you don’t consider it as an end.

      What do I mean? Well, if you’re goal is to just make billions for yourself… like most of the corrupt officials, that’s idiotic and I agree that it’s useless in the end.

      However, if you are working to make a lot of money to stabilize your life, and then in turn use the money you make to better improve the lives of the people around you (and outside your own family), what’s the harm in making billions and billions per month?

      1. Why should I use my own earned money to improve other’s people lives?

        It makes those other people depend dependable. YOu should teach those other people “how to fish” and NOT give them fish every day.

        This mentality is also one of the reasons why the Philippines will stay poor for the next 2 centuries.

        1. It’s called nation building. You work to help develop the country and provide the opportunity for others to get something out of.

          Due to lack of better examples, example Tans (SM) and Ayalas would use their own company’s money, develop and area, develop jobs and in turn they also earn billions a day. Now I know they aren’t really the best examples (due to some labor issues they’re skirting and so on) but that’s the idea I was working on.

          So it’s not “giving fish” to those people. I personally hate that shit as well. As someone who threatened by a self-entitled squatter, who is given X amount of money by idiot politicians, I strongly believe “giving fish” is the worst possible thing to do as well.

          My idea is teaching them how to fish… but why stop at teaching them to fish. Teach them everything else while they work for your developments and then we can pick things up from there.

    2. While everyone would like the idea of working less and being happy, you should also remember that while we exist here that we are trapped in flesh that grows and eventually decomposes no matter how you care for yourself.

      Basically you can get sick and so are your immediate family or friends. Now if that hypothetical situation of needing big money for some medical purpose would arise who would you depend on? Or not even medical being education, home, means of private transport; The government? As we should have all understood in this article the government is trying to lower the “standard” of pinoy (especially with that chan thing) making them content and stuff with what is obviously less than they deserve.

      Before this reply gets too long, I hope it is to our understanding that one should put enough effort to be secure with material things but make material things an end all (not like the dead can use an iPhone) and be happy with what you get AS LONG AS IT IS what you are entitled to fully get (hey, its your tax money after all. Are you seriously fine with cops saying “wag nalang kayo maglabas ng pinaghirapan nyong pag ipunan at baka manakaw” all the time?).

  13. I don’t want to believe that Philippines in a poor country economy wise. Pinoys are hard working and dedicated one. It’s the corrupt system of the gov’t. that make us all suffer. We all know that money is the root of all evil but it depends too on what is being done with the money and where it is being spend. Walang awa ang Gobyerno natin sa ating mga Pinoy except for some localities that they’re local leaders had been stretching their rubber strings to at least improve their cities. It’s not fair for those who want to live in a clean and peaceful place, having to enjoy a simple day to day life whereas our greedy public servants and leaders are busy using up the kaban ng bayan. First of all we Filipinos are being raised with the everyday “Christ life” way of life I supposed but it seems that it doesn’t penetrate to a lot that selfishness is not what our Lord God want us at all to practice. We need to empty ourselves in order for God to fill us in then we will feel that there is other life besides ours that need to live and survive in this beautiful world starting from our own country. Philippines has a massive cleaning up to do way deep down and not just keep on putting a band aid to pretend that the wound is superficial.

    1. What does not penetrate into YOU is that your ‘hard working and dedicated,’ God fearing Pinoys are directly responsible for electing the corrupt and incompetent into positions of power, who then proceed to perpetrate the abuse you are now lamenting. It is breathtakingly stupid not to realise that it is impossible for systemic corruption to be consummated by a single party; there is always collusion.

      “Walang awa ang Gobyerno natin sa ating mga Pinoy except for some localities that they’re local leaders had been stretching their rubber strings to at least improve their cities.”

      This is precisely the attitude of mediocrity that needs to be eliminated from Filipino culture. Along with the conceit that Filipinos are entitled to have the Creator drop everything in order to wait on them hand and foot.

    2. Lunaline, please stop already with this “Filipinos are hard working crap”. Who ever makes a statement like that does not know what hard work really is. Sure, there are Filipinos that have hard work. That is different from working hard. Filipinos are champions in slacking off. I would easily place the Philippines among the top ten lazy countries. Hardly anwhere else have i seen such a despicable work attitude. I am aware that salaries are low, but doing a job properly or doing a job half assed takes the same amount of time. Doing it properly in fact cuts down on the workload as you dont have to go back and correct past mistakes. Filipinos are lazy people and they love to free load.

  14. Electing incompetent leaders; who produced these inconviniences is bad. Improvement is the key to progress. Change and innovations for better things are what make a country progressive.

    We love mediocrity. People who are used to living in a dismal and unconfortable situations; justify their impoverished conditions. We just not want to progress; and accept our fates. So, we elect incompetent leaders…

  15. Politics and political patronage are also the ones destroying the country. Politicians gives favors and government jobs to their followers. These followers become rabid defenders of these politicians. Even if the politician is incompetent and corrupt…they will work for him/her to be elected…

  16. One of the reasons why I prefer to remain single. As a Filipina woman frustrated with the low-quality of Filipino male species being churned out everyday (which I would love to rebutt to those always defensive,pseudo-macho Flips here), all the folks in my four walks of life always wonder why do I have high standards with men?
    WTF-as much as I don’t want to explain myself to them why, I want these people to know that as a human being who has dreams, who works hards to achieve what she wants in life and is open-minded to change and new things,I believe the Filipino man is not for me. They’re too emo, they have these wrong perceptions about masculinity, they hate being pointed out of their mistakes, they treat you like an extenstion of their moms and *insert Ilda’s article here*. Most of all, and this is what I hate the most, they’re possesive in love. VERY POSSESIVE (thanks telenovela basuras for this). They don’t treat you as an equal partners in love, but something they won over like a trophy, some kind of manly badge of honor. What I want is a man who sees me as a human being, his equal, someone who he can share his love and hate in this world, someone who he can share his passion for learning new things, celbrates life and loves to challenge himself in improving himself. in short someone who is the antithesis to the da Pinoy. Now tell me if that’s high standard. To da Pinoy, I wouldn’t be surprised, that’s why if your a da Pinoy who complains my standards are high, go get a mediocre woman whose mediocre standards your mediocre mentality can reach. And don’t bother me. :/

    P.S.Makes me wonder, I think that ‘I love my country’ article was made in response to that ‘I hate my country’ they published last two weeks ago. The previous article has much more substance and technically not a hate article, in fact it was written just like Ilda’s article here. But Flipnoys and their terrible reading comprehension skills failed to get the message of that previous article, which by the way perfectly described a Filipino’s everyday frustration with his/her country. I’m not surprised while reading the comments section it is again flooded with that annoying Pinoy Pride chicken pride. -_-

    1. In your PS part

      I hope not, because the “I Hate my country” article actually pointed out every frustrating thing about the Philippines that COULD still be turned around. It pointed out all the good things the country is capable of, with a change or 2…

      If THAT is what they’re shooting down then Imma call the “we’re fucking screwed” comment on whatever newspaper that published that sh** article

    2. “Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness. -Mandy Hale”

      There will always be someone who will treat their partner as their possesion (possession? posession?) and it’s not always gonna be a Filipino. So, please, don’t deny the poor fellow of your awesomeness just because he’s Filipino. 🙂 Maybe use the above quote as a test. If he can easily connect with that thought, maybe you guys can start devising a plan on how to save the human race with your baby (babies? babiesssss?) lol

    3. You don’t need a man, you need a business partner. It’s not only Philippines that has these you so called man with wrong perceptions of masculinity, It’s everywhere in the world.

      As i see it, your opinion is from a typical perception of an insecure and immature girl, trying to look for her perfect guy but always frustrated.I’m pretty sure your dad was not a very good example for a Filipino Guy.

      Some Filipino Men still know the word “respect” and “gentleman” to have a very good relationship with their wife or partner, so don’t generalize them. Everyone is “EMO” once they learned the meaning of “care” and “love”. I just Hope that some “Typical Filipina whining over the net would know the meaning of “selfless” and “respect”.

      If that’s what you want in a guy, i Wish you all the best in finding your perfect guy, and once you do, lock him in a cage, cause i’m definitely sure he will leave you anytime.

      i recommend you stay single, cause you’re just a bitch in every man’s eye.


  17. cheers ilda! as always, you took the words right out of my mouth. however, i found it exceedingly difficult – nay – infuriating to read those excerpts from billy chan’s article. ugh, all that propaganda spewing from every line…i just couldn’t read it! that’s the crap bs and his cohorts are feeding the noytards to keep them in their zombie-like state.

    while it is true we have to try to keep our sanity as we slowly watch our society and its institutions crumble under this student council, chan’s veiled attempt at telling the noytards that reall, all is well and that they still voted for the right idiot, is repulsive to say the least.

    i don’t really think its just delicadeza that’s keeping the filipinos in this sordid state…it’s the inability of the pinoys to accept their mistake, even if it means dragging everyone else and their grandchildren with them. that, and the pinoys’ fascination with celebrities, telenovelas and acceptance of the aquino-cojuangco’s sense of entitlement.

    thank you for that article (sorry i couldn’t read all the way through it…those quotes from chan’s article had me on the verge of vomitting). and thank you for warning me what article NOT to read. 🙂

  18. How does a whole country fix such deep rooted corruption that even the everyday beat cops feel above the law and continually harass ‘marks’ for paya paya?

  19. My point is, if the people who are suppose to be arresting and investigating these corrupted ‘people’ are just as corrupt or even more so.. What power do people have against police, military, and gov? Probably why the mentally here is that way.. cant bring a pen to a gun fight.

    1. @Coolmint

      Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Filipinos just have to be more creative in finding a way to make their public servants listen to them. The fact is, they don’t even have to do anything drastic. During elections, they just need to use their vote to make a statement.

      1. That all sounds fine and dandy, but when the choices on the table is one POS and another variety of POS it hardly makes a difference does it?

        It’s sad, but I think you’re doing more service to your country by just not voting at all.

        1. I think that’s what the politicians want you to do, not vote, so that the only votes that will matter are the ones they pay off.

    1. And the problem with Filipinos is that they prefer showing off than really being well-off. They think it’s better to look good or appear good rather than actually be in a good state for such, because it entails work to be in a good state. “Di baleng magutom, basta mukhang mayaman.”

  20. You have quite valid points, but I find it hard to take a writer seriously if she needs to put in some name-calling like “BS.” Filipinos need to rise above personality politics and attacking people personally if we expect a better country. Every time I click on a link to this page, I see someone calling the president “BS.” And it’s not funny the way satirical shows are funny. It’s just plain name-calling. Why bring it down to that level when you actually make valid points about everything else?

    By the way, if you think that the EDSA revolution’s legacy is a continued disregard for the law, you could probably organize a seance and ask all the writers who were silenced and killed during the Marcos regime how easy it was to criticize the government back then. And maybe, they’d tell you how GMA tried to bring back that specter, courtesy of her husband’s lawsuits.

    It is great to speak out, but please consider the freedom you have to do it with much thought and responsibility. To rephrase the Spiderman line, with great responsibility comes great power. (Not the other way around.) Recklessness just diminishes it.

    1. But what’s wrong with ‘BS’? Aren’t those the President’s initials? We also refer to former President Gloria Arroyo as ‘GMA’ and no one seems to mind…

    2. @Eric

      You find it hard to take me seriously just because I use the President’s initials? Gees…learn to focus on the issues, please.

      This is what I have been saying all along. Instead of focusing on the message, Pinoys like you are more concerned about whether or not the writer is being disrespectful. This is precisely the reason why discussions about the country’s problems do not progress.

      Why don’t you ask the members of the media how “free” they are to ask direct questions to public servants? Do you know any journalist who can interview public servants the way CNN’s Andrew Stevens did when he interviewed Mar Roxas? I don’t think so. Most journalist in the Philippines always show deference to the people in power. They are also afraid of retribution or motorcycle riding assassins.

      Yes, the Philippines cannot progress because most Filipinos cannot follow the rule of law. Heck, they cannot even follow simple guidelines. I wrote about it here: Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow even simple guidelines

    3. The Aquinos are the worst thing that ever happened in the Philippines… Imagine if there is no Aquino in power, maybe progress will happen in the Philippines… A strong leader is needed to tame the Filipino people which are very hard headed and abusive…

  21. We have an average IQ of 86, way down there with Lebanon, Cuba, while the US has 100, Japan 105. This explains why we are mired in this sea of ineptness.

  22. Here are the earmarks of intelligence: acquiring knowledge, problem-solving abilities, abstract reasoning, persistence, flexible thinking, ingenuity, originality, insightfulness, questioning authorities & tradition, setting long term goals.
    Where do we start to remedy this? Our schools? Of course! In high school, I was always in the honor roll but never a valedictorian nor salutatorian. Why? I cannot compete with them in memorizatization, word for word. I only excel in math (facts) and literature (much leeway in interpretation).

  23. As a Pilipino woman, this is what I hate most in our culture: Women sticking with their husbands/lovers despite the fact that they womanize, have kids with other women, etc. To me that’s the stupidest mentality anywhere in the world. Grrrr!

    1. @medy ramos,

      you know what is even worst than a womanzing guy? A woman accepting it as if nothing happened. Why do women accept such behavior in the first place considering the fact that it is a well-know trait among pinoys? Cant they (pinyas) be more picky? It is so stupid and so dumb that it makes me laugh.

      1. Robert, I shared your sentiment. Didn’t I say that the stupidest women are those who stuck with these men?

        1. Medy,

          you are talking about “stuck with them”. I was referring to choosing, picking them out to become their BF’s or husbands or partners or lovers.

        2. These are some justifications that I often hear: 1) They have to work. 2) They have no self esteem that they may not find another man, it’s better than being alone 3) If the guy is powerful then they bask in the glory. 4) They are so in-love, they hope that they will change.
          All so idiotic!

        3. “medy,

          the justification you mention are all very naive.

          And by the way: pls stop saying “they have to work”. Most people love to work.

  24. Robert, believe me, that if I have the power to stop those women from committing those mistakes, I would have done so because I am of the belief that if there are no women enablers then there won’t be any philanderers.
    We are on the same page on that!

    1. @medy,

      okay, I got your back covered then.

      But you do have the power to stop those other women by starting with all your female friends, cousins, nieces, female family members, your co-student class mates, your female collegues and maybe your own daughter(s). You have influence and power than you think you might have.

  25. No worries, my 2 daughters are in control of their lives, they are never hostage to their loves. My close friends are all independent women, some friends are deaf & blind to my diatribe so I dropped them. I cannot for the life of me gush over their glittering diamonds when I know the bile they have to take just to flash them around.

  26. My ex-friend said that she is staying in the marriage for the kids. “Please do not insult the intelligence of your kids, they know what is happening inside the walls of your house. And what example are you giving to them, be like mom and dad when they grow up?”

  27. Robert, when I say ” they have to work”, I mean some women won’t leave their rich husbands because if they leave then they have to find a job, a place to stay, etc. They’d rather accept the philandering husband.

  28. “Demanding for change from their elected public servants”

    Paano mag-uutos ang mga nagbebenta ng boto? Eh bayad na nga di ba?

  29. Thanks so much for this. Mediocre / “pwede na yan” sums us up. And then there’s fear especially under Aquino’s browbeating just because “remember he is an Aquino,” and supposedly unassailable. I always think about that student who was picked up after heckling Aquino recently in Bicol was it? Vanity and paranoia. Truly we get the government we deserve since we elected the village idiot.

  30. You’re right. Usually we’re being told no one wants a whiner but if no one starts honestly complaining, how can we ever expect things to change for the better? If we’re always just OK with barely serviceable roads, slow but expensive internet, almost non-existent safety and security and other mediocre things then everything will stay just as it is; actually it usually gets worse. Complaining isn’t always about just being negative sometimes it’s believing that someone or something can get better if only they try. Unfortunately from what i can see almost everyone is too beaten, too afraid or just too complacent to even try, (or are too comfortable and rich to with how the system is operating) and I can’t blame them. Those who do well enough and have other options don’t usually stay in this country, and I don’t blame them either.

    Frankly this isn’t a democracy at all.

  31. OMG! you hit the nail on the head. totally. Good article.

    May I suggest that for your next article, you explore the dubious meaning of “PASENSYA”?

    It does not mean “sorry”. Sorry implies that the person who fucked you up will not do it again, or at least make the effort to improve.

    Pasensya does not indicate regret. It does not imply improvement. It does not say anything except that you (the aggrieved party) must cultivate a spirit of patience or forgiveness for the idiot who messed you up.

    Pasensya is a purely filipino (sic – I will only capitalize ‘filipino’ when the ethnicity is something to be proud of) concept. it is unique to the filipinos, and results in but is not limited to the following:
    – accepting pickles and mayo in a burger, that you specifically gave instructions about.
    – buying an item you did not want.. and keeping it.
    – getting less than what you bargained for.
    – getting a lousy government, and sticking with it.

    sucks to be us.

  32. The Aquinos are the worst thing that ever happened in the Philippines… Imagine if there is no Aquino in power, maybe progress will happen in the Philippines… A strong leader is needed to tame the Filipino people which are very hard headed and abusive…

    1. The worst ???
      Marcos was the worst . He started the corruption revolution. Before his time, stealing was embarrassing . By the time he was deposed, it was an accepted thing .
      GMA and FG were blatant thieves as well. Worse, they were traitors .
      PNoy is hardly the best president ever, but not quite the worst .

      1. No corruption already started when the US granted us independence. We used to be a commonwealth of the US which meant the Us govt at that time were training more pinoys to lead and to show what democracy meant. The war came which of course halted the “training”n then after the war all of a sudden we are independent. I find that rather premature. The country was not yet ripe to stand politically on its own feet. Pinoy leaders should have said no its not yet time to the US but of course the US didnt want to finance a war torn country from its own pocket.

      2. LOL! Just like BS Aquino, always blaming the past administration. From 2010, I had a dead end job, lived in a rented room, but I made a decision to improve myself, earn, have a family, which i have done. now I have a house, albeit, small, a car a wife and a son…if i can micro-manage my life with the savings I make, what more can a president do with billions of pesos at his disposal? Also if Marcos was the worst, then don’t use the streets he built, the public services he created. Wait, what has BS Aquino done for our country other than rename streets and MARCOS built buildings to his family name?

  33. “And Filipinos who express their “hate” of our culture of mediocrity don’t necessarily hate the Philippines. They just want the best for the country.”

    I love that last line. Acceptance is the first step to genuine change. We have to face the fact that things are terrible here, and that there is a lot of room for improvement, if we can set aside our “pwede na yan” mentality and shed our onion-skinned exterior.

    Let’s stop drinking the “Yellow Kool-aid” served by the pro-Aquino media and see the government for what it truly is: incompetent and toothless.

  34. To The Administrator. Good day Sir/Ma’am. First of all I am not pro or anti any political affiliation. I am for what’s right and what’s wrong. From what I’ve been reading from Your topics, I agree with every intelligent discussions or explanations that You are posting in this site. However only a few percentage of Us Filpino’s are really intellectual enough to understand what We are reading about in this column. So to cut the long story short, May I ask if You could also print in Your site a tagalog version of the discussion/s so that it will be easier for some of Us to copy, paste and print for dissemination to Our less privileged countrymen who don’t even have access to any basic utilities much more the internet? We will be much obliged if that will become a reality. Thank You and more power to Your site.

    1. I am not the administrator. I will however tell you that I gave your some idea thought before. Look at the reality of our country. The newspapers are already crap but the newspapers of record are in English. ABS CBN is crap but there is still a world of difference in terms of tone between their English cable news channel and their over the air news. It has become a vicious circle. Confining yourself to Tagalog limits to you to the ABS CBNs and the tabloids of this country. You miss out on CNN, BBC, Discovery and to a lesser extent Get Real Philippines. People who will look for reading media in Tagalog I doubt will look for GRP type site. Maybe I am wrong but if someone is willing to translate and disseminate it and prove me wrong then good for them.

      1. I think Ronnie is just making a suggestion and I have to agree with him. Majority of Filipinos do not speak fluent English. They may ot have access to the internet but they may have relatives or friends who who can educate can about current events and what better way to teach them other than the language they fully understand.

      2. Sir/Mam,

        I agree with Ronnie. I think your article is very good and it expresses exactly how I feel but I just couldn’t express it as well you. I hope this article can be translated in tagalog, bisaya and other dialects with jologs + jejemon + becky words in it. I’m not joking. That is the real language our present generation speaks and understands due to very poor education and culture. That is the only way we can encourage average Filipinos to read and benefit from this article.

  35. Seriously, you are as hopeful as Chan. You want to eradicate a whole culture of mediocrity and corruption? Just blow up this entire country, coz it ain’t gonna happen. But, if you want real change, join JCI, roll up your sleeves and think of solutions and help out, one warm body at a time. We believe in the Impact of One, each one of us have the capacity to start ripples of change, but simply talking about it ain’t gonna cut it. Join us in the pursuit of positive change. Let’s build this country, one brick at a time. That’s the only way. Hopefully, we can see it in our lifetime.

  36. After 20 years of working as a professional, i decided to partial teaching at college university just for the love of knowledge. I am very disappointed with today’s young generation. I have my conclusions: THE FILIPINO psyche is a very wounded and a very crippled psyche. I am not still so sure if this was due to our history being colonized by Spain. I was a bit disturbed to read somewhere that some colonized people in the past, indeed became progressive today. And so I began to study this aspect carefully from time to time. I also began to decipher what Jose Rizal meant when he said “The Filipino can be great”. It seems that statement is loaded with a very deep insight into the true status quo and it’s true meaning is still ambivalent. Spain have described us with a word starting with letter “I”. And Spain, being advanced and merely subjective on their findings, it is very difficult to counter argue that description.I am afraid to concur, it must be true. We are not capable of true revolution, and the last one i heard was headed by this guy but then he later cowardly thwarted and i think that gentleman is now a senator. Too bad.

    My conclusion, is that the cause of the Filipino corruption is rooted deep in the syntax and structure of the Filipino language itself. The filipino language must be eliminated and we must adapt to the rigorous syntax of another form of expression, the immediate closest and for practical purposes that would be the English language.

    A Language dictates what we can think of, and shapes thoughts. If the language is of inferior structure, it leads to several loop holes in the reasonings of the people. Now, I know Rizal’s disposition on this issue. But you must take note, he himself is not completely against this notion, and even I think that he recognizes this possibility. Rizal only said, that whoever can conceived such notion of not loving the Filipino language is a smelly fish. He is not disagreeing. He is only describing, that it takes a very deep thinking to have find out this ultimate solution and such person must have been in lengthy seclusion in the process of such discovery…

  37. My relatives in the Philippines ask for money every once in a while. One time I got fed up with it because we have our own life here in the US. I work 50 hours a week and go to school full time. I have a niece in Pinas who is going to school but I demanded that she works also. My sister in law who lives here in the US stated that she can’t work and go to school at the same time because “its different there”. I then told her that it will always be different if you have that type of thinking. I forced my niece to get a job anyway since I’m cutting her school fund. I”m trying to teach her how to be independent and not rely on anyone for herself.

  38. the intentional effect in saying “I LOVE YOUR SMELLY HAIR” is certainly different with “I LOVE IT WHEN YOU WASH YOUR HAIR” ..the CHAN guy DOES NOT say that he loves the “smelly” things about this country..what he loves is the things that SOME people DO to stop this country from being “smelly”…..when someone tells us in the face “YOU ARE LAZY!” do we feel?..but if we changed the words to “I LOVE IT WHEN YOU WORK HARD” the effect would certainly be different.. the “pwede na yan” has no connection to what he is saying.

  39. You made it sound like there’s something revolutionary or radically different about what you are saying. The truth is that all that you have stated clearly reflects the prevailing mindset. We are a people filled with self loathing and sense of inferiority. We can not see beyond the darkness because our mind is clouded by self doubts and as you called it mediocrity. For who can be more mediocre that somebody who spits in the air only for the vile liquid to land on his face. I’m Pinoy by the way in spite of my surname. Now talking about Chan, there’s the real radical. He’s a person who seeks to find the good in the Filipino. The inner strength, the self sacrifice involved in working through difficult circumstances and yet not lose your virtue nor your faith. He’s the one who sees the broken lamp and yet also looks at the light. You on the other hand will probably wallow in self pity and curse the light.

  40. Filipinos can’t just say, “they love everything about the Philippines” and expect things to improve. It won’t happen unless they do something about it. Demanding for change from their elected public servants is a good first step instead. –

    I beg to disagree, ilan na ba ang namamatay because they oppose the government? hindi ba nanghihingi ng tulong ang mamamayan. hindi sapat ang boses kung wala ka namang kapangyarihan. papano ka boboto. wala namang qualified talagang dapat iboto. lahat naman sila corrupt. ang question is gaano sila kacorrupt. e mas mataas pa ang qualipikasyon sa pribadong trabaho kesa sa pagiging presidente. sa trabaho kailangan can read and write. anak nga naman ng teteng sa pagiging cashier kailangan college graduate. eto ang sistema natin. anong boses pa ba ang kailangan.

    1. @marvin

      Unfortunately, there are only a handful of Filipinos who speak out against mediocrity in the Philippines. And because there are only a handful of them, they are easily dismissed as nuisance. They even get labeled as “communists” or “paid hacks”.

      The article is about the behaviour of the majority, not just a few.

      There were other candidates during the 2010 Presidential election who had more experience and better track record than Noynoy. Sadly, the voters chose Noynoy because of his popular name. We cannot blame this solely on the “uneducated” voters because even those with higher education campaigned relentlessly and voted for him. Therefore, Filipinos from all socio-economic classes love mediocrity and “pwede na yan” mentality.

      1. Well, my bet goes to someone else, not Panot! Hahaha. Only elitist people and of course, dumbed-down people would vote for a balding imbecile man whose parents are a disgrace to the nation.

  41. just ranting here.excuse me po….i will sound so harsh but i do hate that ‘puwede na yan’ attitude. Been so fed up of that kind of environment growing up…from the markets..with friends…puwede na..puwede ears would burst. V much synonymous with being overly polite to just come out and spit the honest deal. Wala lang nakikisama kasi–culture na naman natin kaya be nice just say ‘puwede na yan’ to our our family. Big difference pala to be aware of our self expressions. So its always ‘ok na ba iyan?’ ‘oo puwede na’. Never with…’NO, do it again you can do much much better’. Growing up to a country full of that mantra everyday I know had impeded my growth–..parang sakit na hindi maghilom, tapos nasanay na lang katawan thinking its ok and part of it…immuned. To me, until I got out of all that and made a conscious effort to battle it..thats when life got better..kaya naman sometimes people are not successful i believe sometimes is where they are…not of who they are and what they do..sometimes their in the wrong place..(kaya maraming pinoys suddenly become successful outside of the country ..away and free from the chains of those practises)…just imagine a whole load of bad attitude and practises na ‘puwede na yan’, ‘utang na loob’ do you get out of all that sa Pinas parang bubuyog in your ears going on and on. ( I enjoyed reading this article thank you

  42. ..and that photo of those children breaks my ranting up there about the ‘puwede na yan’ issue really is a battle not worth choosing to fight… not worth all that ranting lol. a small dried fish is always ‘puwede na yan’ for our poor sad souls who are hungry and abandoned ;-( What an ironic life. Excuse the cheese lol.

  43. Count me in for meetings with you concerned people on how to make a difference from this culture of mediocrity to a “culture of continuous improvement”. I am a U.S. educated citizen of this republic longing for the real change/transformation of individuals and society at large. Please let me know when and where via cel# 0929.858.9977. Thank you.

  44. Pinoy mediocrity was embedded in the colonial mentality of many Pinoys especially in international sports competitions. The mindset of “it’s an honor to be in the Olympics” mentality will continually hinder Pinoy athletes to go for gold medals. This is one reason why the Philippines cannot get the gold medal in the summer and winter olympics…bronze and silver is already better than nothing mentality.

  45. I don’t like mediocrity. I don’t like “pwede na yan”. Not even crab mentality. I abide by as much laws as I can. I don’t glorify foreigners. I never blamed the government for not being rich. I wish I can resign from being a Filipino because it’s really tiring and frustrating to have these labels embedded in my genes.

  46. PWEDE NA ‘YAN translates to “settling for less.” That is why we need to do our best on things by settling for MORE. We should not like slack off and blame the government alone. Ugh.

  47. I really like this site and what it stands for. It’s sad that our mediocre society has sunk to its current level. It’s high time we Filipinos got our heads out of our butts and got our shit together.

    If anyone’s going to help us out of our predicament, it has to be ourselves. The “puwede na iyan” attitude has killed our sense of pride and progress. “Pinoy pride” is really nothing more than wishful thinking and self-delusion as it posits that we are a “great” people even though we are really nothing in the grand scheme of the world.

    There are those who say that Afghanistan is a land that God forgot or abandoned, well the Philippines is a land that forgot or abandoned God regardless of what the Catholic Church says all the time. Religion is about spirituality, a metaphorical “flashlight” in dark times for those who are lost or frightened and it’s not supposed to be a weapon to limit or control people. A lot of people in the Philippines claim they are “Christian” but miss out on reading the Bible and interpreting its contents.

  48. “Ang dami mong alam.”

    “Masyado kang perfectionist.”

    “Eh di ikaw na (ang magaling.)”

    Those are but a few conversation killers Filipinos use to perpetuate mediocrity.

  49. hey ilda,

    i don’t have twitter account, i dont have facebook, etc. etc etc …
    but i use my limited free data for reading your twitter messages. 🙂 and sometimes.. articles
    now i can consider myself a learned man

    thank you

  50. Your article will only win approval of people not within reach of the elite mentality. Since I hate the elite mentality, your article is beautiful.

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