Facing Reality Is The First Step To Progress

I have never really been a big fan of boxing and, while I support Pacquiao during his fights, I’m not really all that crazy about him. After all, it’s supposed to be a game. Victory or defeat is never certain and it can only be decided once the fight is over. Anyway, while I might not be all that much of a boxing fan, I heard something from one of the Rocky films (I forget which) that really inspires me to this day. Here it is just in case you guys never heard it:

achievement“I’m gonna tell you something you already know; the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it’ll beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and still keep moving forward. It’s about how much you can take and still keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth but you gotta be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying you’re not where you want to be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”

Look guys, let’s make things perfectly clear here. Life isn’t easy and it never will be. Life isn’t fair and that’s another thing you just have to learn to live with. You can’t win all the time and, sooner or later, life will bring you down. One way or another, you’re going to fall to your knees. Life will make you cry and bleed for all your worth. But things don’t have to end there. Remember that when life brings you down, you still have to get up. You have to stand up again and move on. If you really want to get anywhere, you have to struggle to your feet and keep fighting. 

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

What’s sad is that for the common Filipino, things that are often difficult but rewarding are often overlooked in favor of things that are easy. As I have stated many times in many previous articles, many Pinoys associate the word “good” with what is “easy” or “convenient”. It’s notable that so many Filipinos fall for scams but are not willing to admit to the fact that they allowed themselves to be fooled and victimized by criminals. Take for instance the fact that the political scumbags that are in power today are all too often the result of our own less-informed and less inclined to thinking kababayans voting them into power. 

As mentioned in my previous article, the inability of many Filipinos to see beyond what is black and white is one of the primary reasons a lot of our less educated brethren are unable to decide properly on who to vote for. As it is, choices involving permanent positive change is never easy. To reach these goals, we must be willing to make sacrifices and not just sit around and leave everything to just one person. What’s worse is that when that one person finally fails or gives up, we blame them and call them out on being lazy or dumb even if we’ve given them so little to work with.

If we want positive changes in our lives, both as a people and as a nation we first need to be willing to make difficult choices. Please take note that the hallmark of maturity is the willingness to the right thing even if it hurts. You do not expect to go into a battle and come out unscathed. Somewhere along the way, you will be struck down and forced on the ground. Unfortunately, instead of getting back up and continuing the fight, here are some common Pinoy reactions:

“It’s Too Hard; I Can’t Win Anyway!”

This is why poverty is an ever-persisting problem in the Philippines. So many people are unwilling to try again after getting defeated. It’s sad to note that there are those who are willing to make sacrifices for the good of all but everyone else just want to sit in the sidelines and watch than to contribute to the effort.

While I have always been a fan of Dolphy films, I was somewhat saddened by the message of some of them. In some of these films, he plays the role of a poor man with a rich wife or daughter. While I like the sense of acceptance found in these films, I will note that the protagonist played by Dolphy never even thinks of improving himself or his family. He is simply happy being poor and keeping his family poor. This is how the media convinces people that being poor is a good thing. This is how the impoverished are conditioned into simply accepting their fates as the “poor” instead of pushing them to strive to better themselves and their families.

“I Was Cheated!”

Ah, the victim card, just another of Filipinos’ favorite pastime. While not as common as the one above, there are no shortage of people who are willing to play the victim card either. People complain constantly about the system being unfair to them without making any real efforts to change things. 

People allow themselves to be fooled by things like “easy money” and “instant gratification” instead of going for something that will bring about steady and positive changes. When asked who cheated them, there are even those who go as far as to blame God, the universe or destiny for screwing them over. Well, one can argue that bad things happen in our lives from time to time but when bad things happen all the time, maybe it’s time that you made some adjustments.

“It Wasn’t My Fault!”

Like the victim card, the blame game is another ever reliable excuse Filipinos like to use. Instead of accepting their own faults when they fail, some will blame others for their troubles. 

No one wants to take responsibility. No one wants to be them. In the end, no one wins and everybody loses. Is this really what we want for ourselves and our children?

As the quote above says, if we want to get anywhere, we should get up and fight and not waste our time moping about what was and what could have been. While justice and accountability are certainly important, let us first work on the tasks at hand before we try shoving responsibilities in each other’s face. 

We Filipinos are in love with our pride yet we are all too often unable to live up to what’s expected of us…



27 Replies to “Facing Reality Is The First Step To Progress”

  1. ” We Filipinos are in love with our pride…”

    If that is true, then that is the root of the problems. Pride blinds — it can’t appreciate reality as pride over-rates oneself. And that is why narcissism blinds absolutely — one is obsessed with oneself and can’t see what is beyond oneself. I think pride is often confused with self-confidence which has nothing to do with pride. Self-confidence can only come from humility which in turn has nothing to do with bringing down oneself for that is called false humility.

    Humility sees reality for what it is for it always seeks the truth. A humble person sides with the truth, and for that he/she knows what are his/ her strenghts and weaknesses. And because of that it is easy for him/her to see things appropriately within a bigger context and thus can be more effective than a proud one. Because a humble person is not that interested in him/herself, but also knows where he/ she is good at, then he/ she knows when, where, and how to help others. He/ she also recognizes he/she can’t be good at all things, but only in certain things, thus he/ she can clearly see the goodness (and shortcomings) in others. Because he can always give credit to whom credit is due, it is obvious that he/ she is not only a good team player, but normally has very refined social skills. Open-mindedness is the hallmark of a humble person because of his search for truth, and in effect, reality.

    It is obvious from the above that it takes more effort to be a humble person. Thus, show me a proud person, and I can bet you, you have introduced to me a lazy person, one who is interested in shortcuts and the easy ways out. To be humble is actually a lifetime effort, and thus a humble person needs a vision, a mission, but that also means he/ she eventually knows where he/ she is going. But, because he/ she has a vision, he/ she finds meaning in life, and for that, eventually becomes more happy, or fulfilled in a very deep sense, than his/ her proud counterpart. For that, one can sometimes sense the quiet, but rock solid, character in the humble, or the superficiality in the personality of the proud. (Unfortunately, today, there is more emphasis in schools, ads, media, etc, on personality development rather than in character building — well, maybe because of the environment brought about by fastfood, convenience, easy to get, all things within reach, etc, or materialism, consumerism and hedonism. But, that is also why there is all around too much vacuousness, if I could borrow BenignO’s favorite word.)

    It is very difficult to be humble, but it is a million times better to be humble than proud.

  2. .. “Facing Reality Is The First Step To Progress”


    But, what is reality??? Since Rene Descartes made Cogito Ergo Sum (I think therefore I am) famous, subjective reality has been given pre-eminence. Objective reality is something almost repugnant to modern man. There are seven billion plus living homo sapiens; thus, 7B realities. Or, what is called the tyranny of relativism — every one is right, nobody is wrong, or the over-emphasis in political correctness.

    1. Reality is what’s in front of us that so many of our fellows like to forget.

      Reality is the emaciated faces of street children. Reality is the ever worsening condition of the country economically and intellectually. Reality is the 44 dead cops.

      Unfortunately, no one seems to care once easy excuses are introduced into the debate…

  3. One challenge is for Filipinos to learn to distinguish reality from fantasy. The telenovelas and local TV just give too much fantasy that affects their life choices. For example, look for a rich haciendero to marry. Duh.

  4. Life is what you make it…it is not a “Bed of Roses”. Adversities in life make you tough. Failures make you Wise…unless, you are a mentally retarded person.

    I believe in “Reaching for the Moon”…”if you Miss it, You will Land among the Stars…”

    You have to look the Reality in yourself…what talents, education,skills,you have. How high your IQ/EQ . Then work very hard to improve and use them. Patience is bitter, but the Fruit of Patience is very sweet…

    If you work hard and willing to sacrifice…your high Goals can be achieved.
    “Whatever man can conceive, it can be achieved”…this is my working motto..

    Educate yourself…Read Books, study well, and use the Information Technology to your advantage. Corporations hires the Best and the Brightest…be one of them…and you can Dictate your Pay…and get rich…without Stealing from the: DAP, PDAF, PORK BARRELS, etc…

    1. Don’t sell your Dignity to Crooked Politicians, and become their Defenders/Apologist…
      Your Dignity matters Most….

  5. ..”This is why poverty is an ever-persisting problem in the Philippines.”

    Ahh, poverty. Let us see what we are talking about.
    1. The Economic Class Structure By Statistics
    Description Class Percent Remarks
    Wealthy A 1% (Rich,even by world standards)
    Well To Do B 2%
    Upper Middle C 4%
    Middle Class D-1 19%
    Non Poor D-2 48% (hand to mouth existence)
    Poor E -1 13%
    Absolute PovertyE-2 13% (Indonesia – 7%, Vietnam -9%)*
    TOTAL 100%
    — * — Indonesia and Vietnam show improvement in Class E-2, while Malaysia and Thailand have practically wiped out this category. Philippines, at 13%, seems to have done nothing this area. .

    2. By surveys, 50% of Filipinos consider themselves as poor.
    3. By wealth distribution, seven percent control 70 to 80% of the nation’s wealth, while all the rest could only have 20 to 30% revolving among themselves. (PHL goes beyond the Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 rule, and “trickle down” is definitely bogged down. A typical feudal or oligarchic economy that normally invites revolution, …or NPA, MILF, BIFF, Abu Sayaf — maybe, the solution is not BBL, but direct investments and partnerships with non-violent groups, as well as with Arab banks. Converting Basilan and Sulu into a free trade zone or an offshore banking haven competing with Labuan of Malaysia should really be looked at.)

    4. 25% of the population is the average unemployment, so this is how many who do not even have a part of that wealth, or who do not participate in wealth generation. 10% are OFW’s; which of course somehow helps; otherwise, we might have been looking at practically doubling Class E, which would have meant a paralysis. But, PHL is in the fringes of that.

    So from macro and micro levels, the situation of PHL is not a pretty picture. Just to show that this should be front and center in the consciousness of every Filipino 24/7, I always try to paint the nation as a group of 10 boy’s scouts on a hike of whom two could be obese. You immediately see that the entire group does not have the liberty in choosing the path and pace of the hike because the two obese can’t walk fast, or can’t keep up if there are uphill paths. The same with the economy; a nation can’t progress if it does not do something about its poor, specifically those in Class E. In other words, poverty affects us all, rich and poor alike, whether we like it or not.

    Unfortunately, we see the situation 24 hours a day and have grown immune to it. We talk about it, but we see the trees not the forest that we some times blame the poor for their predicament, if not their way of thinking. But there is something vicious about poverty that we always have to be careful, Do they think the way they do because of poverty, or is it because of the way they think that they have found themselves in poverty lane? Is it their fault, or the system, or a combination of the two?

    Those of us in business, and who could somehow have the finer things in life, and who could afford to travel, had occasions, for sure, when we had to invite foreign associates to expensive fine dining in NY, Paris, Tokyo, or what have you. Have you ever been in a situation where your guests suddenly just felt that it was not right for you, being a Filipino, to take them to expensive places since they felt this was taking away something from your poor compatriots? I have, a couple of times. You see, some foreigners who care see our problems of poverty more clearly than we do. (And this is why I was really amazed by all the reactions to Ilda’s article that went viral because it criticized the ostentatiousness of the DongYang wedding.) We in general seem to have a twisted appreciation of what is wealth and what is poverty.

    We are said to be a nation of 80% Catholics (though I have always wondered if there are even 30% out of that who really understand Catholicism. And, I always wish we had the mentality of the Catholics from Boston, Ireland, or even France.) But, of course, the anti-Catholics always advance the notion that this is the primary reason for the poverty in PHL as in Mexico or South America. (There is some truth to that as PHL got its Catholicism from Mexico than Spain.)

    They say the Church wants to keep the populace poor so they can keep them adhering to the faith. But, this does not help really. The reason the Church is interested in the poor is to find a way to uplift the situation and mentality of the poor. And why is this important? Because a poor whose focus could only be about survival, about bodily needs, does not have time for things spiritual. And if the poor is uneducated, he will never comprehend things that are abstract. (One of the reasons why Islam is more attractive to these sectors is because it has taken out all of the sophisticated theology. And without the abatractions, Islam can be preached more easily to ordinary folks. Catholicism can’t do that because its doctrine could only be understood with theology.) And the mandate of the Church is about saving souls and producing saints (though I will not elaborate here why this is so), but that is the reason why the Church has the biggest network of charities around the world, second to none.

    Now, my apologies for that long digression. But with that, I can talk about the thinking re the poor as related to the topic of the article. First of all, there is nothing blessed about being poor, or being in squalid conditions. A good many of the poor got this wrong. And, I think this is where this sense of entitlement, or that victim mentality which often manifests itself in mendicancy (e.g.. the propensity to see balik-bayans and foreigners as ATMs — frankly, a disgusting trait.) But, when Luke talks about the blessedness of the poor, it is not about bodily conditions, but about mentality — religion is more about mentality than physical situations. And this is confirmed by Matthew because he talks about the poor in spirit, or something about not being greedy. So, Luke blessed the poor because in that condition, one has to struggle, and struggling builds character. So, in that sense, a poor is already being given the opportunity in the building of his character.

    Unfortunately, this is no longer appreciated today when persons are not measured by what he is, but by what he has. So, a person who lives in Forbes, drives Bimmers and Mercs, and plays heavily in the stock market is the successful person. Thus, a Salonga, or a Saguisag, who retired with just enough, but happy with their contribution to society, is ignored while Binay remains high in the surveys despite all the Blue Ribbon hearings, or that it is so difficult to make them see the follies of Kris and PNoy because the two happen to be wealthy. One only has to know that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were not poor, but were of the middle class, as bible scholars note, so really, there is nothing blessed about being physically poor.

    But theist, agnostic, or atheist, it is not hard to see that the ingrdients of success and progress are hard-work, a critical mind, discipline, prudence, temperance, courage and responsibility because that is what has worked since time immemorial. So there must be something about these things that is part of natural law. God, or if you don’t want god, then let us call it Nature, will not change the laws just because of you, and Filipinos have to know this. On top of that, against all modern philosophies, life is not really about me, or you about yourself, or about Pedro about himself, or Maria about herself, but mostly about the other, or others. Until Filipinos remember these things again, then we will always have this fractured society.

    (It is not personality, but character. And if we could just find a few of those in key positions in government then PHL could be on its way to progress. Poverty in PHL is also very much a systemic problem.)

    1. ..Thanks, Pallacertus and Grimwald, if you think my comment contributed something.

      I prefer staying here in the combox. First, because I don’t think Benign0 could afford me — hahaha, that is a joke. Of course, I would be willing to contribute anything to any good cause for free. But, writing an article up there means hard work — one has to think of ideas and be sufficiently attuned to what is going on, and I don’t have time for that. I enjoy popping in and out of this site contributing and learning, but there are certainly days, and even weeks, when I can’t do that. Writing an article here also means that I have to adjust to the high standards of Benign0, the Viral Queen Ilda, and all of the authors here who could write in a way that goes viral, and I simply don’t know how to do that. Aren’t we already part of the crusade by periodically commenting here?

      But again, thanks. More power to you, guys.

        1. Thanks, Benign0. I’m flattered. Maybe, when I take a sabbatical from work, but which I see I can not have in the near future.

      1. I don’t know about crusades (and frankly have doubts about clothing oneself in self-righteous clothing, as if the world is Catholic and not catholic), and could give a fig about going viral (though I could understand the appeal couched in general terms), but I do like people who seem like they know what they’re saying and have thought a great deal about what they’re gonna say before saying it, even if I think they’re not altogether right or altogether sound or altogether practicable or altogether agreeable to my eye —

        — and at the bottom, bookworm as I am, I L-O-V-E reading walls after walls of text. Give me your Melvilles and your Joyces and your David Foster Wallaces or give me death.

  6. Anything was better than nothing. Half-full was better than empty. Ignorance is the lowest form of humiliation and suffering. And that is the bitchy reality of the Failippines.

    Which is the true nightmare, the horrific dream that you have in your sleep or the dissatisfied reality that awaits you when you awake?

    The Failippines cannot bear very much reality. There is no reality except the one contained within them. That is why so many Failipinos live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.

  7. ..Oh, I see where you are coming from; an intellectual who loves great novels. I must envy you for that for it’s been a while since I had a time for masterpieces. It makes me want to pick up one now if only I could find the time.

    Self-righteousness, or to some people, the censoriousness and the negativity, that this site seems to project may be a fair assessment if the comment boxes are heavily moderated. But, it is not, and you wonder why. Other sites immediately censor a comment that offers an opposing point of view, and of course, you begin to be suspicious that such may be paid hacks for certain propaganda. Keeping that in mind, I begun to appreciate what the guys here are trying to do. They write the way they do precisely to invite what hopefully could be healthy back and forth among commenters, no matter if it even veers out of the topic. I get a feeling that there are many who visit the site but don’t comment, maybe because they are intimidated. I believe you will agree with me that the quality of commenters here is quite high, compared to other sites, and some comments are more intellectually stimulating than the article itself.

    It is interesting concept for if there are more who would just comment here and leave their thoughts, then you might just have a site that could influence society. That influence, I think, may already be there though still not that much to a degree. Just consider that sometimes you read opinions in mainstream media and you wonder if the pundit was just reacting or agreeing to an idea here because you already saw a day earlier something about it here in the article or combox. Of course, I am speculating and may be over-rating things, but I like the idea that the audience of this is the middle class, which is that critical sector that could make or break governments, or instigate people power even when they are small in number.

    Of course, there are small and big topics. Benign0 and ChinoF, for example, recently tackled the big topic of sex. I didn’t participate in that for, my gosh, if one has to talk about sex intellectually then one has to first talk about the totality of man to give it context. That would have meant I had to go back to articles I have come across in anthroplogy, philosophy, biology and evolution, sociology, and psychology as related to human sexuality. Still, the discussions there were interesting for you see the gap today between Westerners and Asians, and somehow, we get to know ourselves and others better.

    But, here is a forum where everyone could participate in the molding of mentality, and mentality is the foundation of culture, and culture is the foundation of societies. And when you see the comments here, you see a vibrant middle class. Because of that, we can never lose hope of the Philippines even if we negatively call it Failippines as a challenge.

    In that, I see a crusade by those who participate here whether they are for or against an article, a proposition, or an idea.

  8. Daming skyscrapers ngayon sa Metro Manila. Magagandang tirahan pero magkano at sinu-sino lang ang makaka-afford? Panay middle to upper class din. Maganda sana ‘to sa growing population sa lungsod ang kaso mo hindi balanse sa kita ng mga tao.

    Gusto nilang mag-invest mga OFW sana turuan kung paano mag-invest o magsimula ng negosyo. Madali namang magsabi talaga sa tao kung anong dapat gawin pero gustuhin man, mahirap talaga kung hindi alam kung paano o saan magsisimula. ‘Di ba nga kilala ang Pinoy sa pagiging mga followers at workers hindi entrepreneurs o leaders? Maging ang mga entrepreneurs at leaders natin ay dumadaan sa iba-ibang training at puspusang pag-aaral bago maging matagumpay. Sana kapag nag-udyok ang gobyerno na “Mag-invest kayong mga OFW, hindi umaasa lang sa balikbayan box” may kaagapay na programa. Mas nakakaengganyo ang pagsugod sa pagbabago kung may programa kang susundan. Tanungin mo nga ang karamihan sa OFW tungkol sa pag-iinvest ang unang sasabihin nila sa’yo, “Paano ba mag-invest?” “Saan mag-i-invest?” Dapat may naka-ready na silang sagot sa gano’ng tanong. Madali ring mamatay ang binuksang ideya kung walang bukas na daang dadaluyan.

    People do the best they can. Magkakaproblema lang if you fail to do your best na tingin ko ginagawa ng karamihang mahihirap na Pilipino. Stagnant sila dahil na rin sa stagnant na sistema. Walang improvement sa dating mga pamamaraan.

  9. @ Diego

    Diyan ka mali kaibigan. Nuong magbakasyon sa Manila ang kapatid ko, hindi niya inisip na makituloy at makaperhuwisyo ng kamag-anak sa Manila kaya nag-research siya ng hotel na kaya ng budget niya for a 21 days vacation sa Manila at Baguio.

    He found a place called AurumOne in Makati. It is not located in the best place in Makati but it is brand new with 63 guest rooms on 8 floors. Hindi ito ang magandang balita, the the best news is nalaman ng kapatid ko na ang AurumOne Hotel ay pag-aari ng tatlong libong OFW…yes 3,000 OFW’s na nag-invest ng 50,000 PH pesos each, that’s $1100 USD only, tulong-tulong sila napatayo ang AurumOne Hotel.

    I checked their website, now the group have also invested in putting up rural banks. Ten years from now if every thing goes right for this group, they will become a new set of elites in the Philippines. From carabao to Mercedes Benz…I can’t disagree with that.

    1. Salamat sa impormasyon, kaibigan. I searched for it and here’s what I found.


      If this is the case, it’s good news for OFWs. Knowing that there are organizations that could help them invest their money on profitable endeavor could mean a bright future for them (thus for our country as well). Still these are private sectors helping them out but, yes, it’s good news that a group of people or an organization don’t wait for the government to do what they themselves could do better. I bet majority of our OFWs are still unaware of this since there’s a lot of backlash from our OFWs with the “OFW invest” issue. Once informed though of how and where they could properly invest their money, they’ll definitely be encouraged especially if there’s an honest result to back it up and the money should not be in one go para sa mga nagrereklamo na hindi rin naman talaga ganoon kalaki ang kinikita nila sa ibang bansa. They need to know valid sectors they could trust with their hard-earned money. They needed the training and necessary information to invest. What’s our government program for that? Laki pa naman ng remittances ng mga OFW.

      1. Mas magaling talaga kung mangunguna ang public sector dahil una na sila ang nagmamanipula ng budget mula sa tax ng bayan, pangalawa, mas malawak ang sakop nila para sa information dissemination.

      2. Ang problema pa sa gobyerno natin gusto nila ini-spoon feed sila. Tutugunan lang nila ang mga pangangailangang ilalapit sa kanila. Gusto nila tao ang mag-reach out sa gobyerno imbis na the other way around. Gaya nga ng sabi ko, walang bago sa kanilang pamamaraan. Sa kalagayan ng bansa na nasasadlak sa maraming taon ng kahirapan, dapat higit silang nagpupursige at aktibo sa bago at epektibong mga programa. Ang nangyayari kasi gusto nila may issue gaya ng disaster o terorismo at kapag may issue saka magka-cramming. Ang pangit pa rito makikita mong palpak o walang kahandaan gaya ng kapag tinamaan na tayo ng kalamidad eh paulit-ulit naman tayong dinadaanan ng kalamidad. Walang pagkatuto. Walang inobasyon o panibagong pamamaraan para tugunan ito. Naka-pattern ang paraan ng panunungkulan ng mga tao sa gobyerno sa nakasanayan nilang paraan ng paglilingkod. Tipo bang noong nanalo sila sa posisyon hindi nila inaasahan na may daratnan na silang mga problema na kailangang solusyonan at ang gusto lamang nilang gawin ay kung ano ang nasa kanilang plataporma. Kaya nga ang laging paalala ng isang kaibigan t’wing eleksyon, siguraduhin mong alam ng kung sino mang kumag na ‘yan kung ano ang gagawin niya sa tinatakbo niyang posisyon dahil kung hindi, magiging palamuti at utu-uto lang ‘yan kapag nagkamaling mailagay sa pwesto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.