Creating Hope the Filipino Way

By AJ Palo | Posted on July 24, 2023

Poverty. Starvation. Hopelessness.

Life is hard, but life is harder when you are a Filipino. As Filipinos, the three words written above are not unfamiliar, but rather, reality. Hopelessness in our country is one that can be seen every which way your head turns. We all know that among some common poverty scenes in our country are as follows: children begging for food, fathers forced to participate in illegal trade to provide for their families, and employees paid below their dues. Statistics tell us that there are 19.99 million individuals living below the poverty threshold. Our country also ranked 69th out of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index of 2022. Despite these facts, why is the Philippines still considered a beautiful country with beautiful people?

Heartwarming Bayanihan in the past

Bayanihan. When googled, the English definition of this word is: a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation, or community in general. “Bayanihan” literally means, “being a bayan,” and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.

This is what separates the Philippines from the rest of the world, this is what makes the Philippines stand out and makes it a beautiful country together with its people. This word may not be heard anymore and may be unfamiliar in our present time, but unconsciously Bayanihan is still being eminently practiced among us. Being a core value engraved in every heart of a Filipino, rich or poor, Bayanihan is still being carried out when we give food to the beggar outside Jollibee, it is observed when we conduct group studies with our classmates for an exam, and when we donate old clothes to the less fortunate.

Despite the Philippines being an impoverished stricken country, we are a country that creates hope. We create hope through Bayanihan, and we can only carry out Bayanihan when we are together, when we stand for each other.

Rotary participating in outreaches (modern bayanihan).

Rotary, with its ethos “service above self”, absolutely strengthens Bayanihan within the heart of every member. Rotary sets out opportunities to engage in pursuits that strengthen and develop our community and each other. In this Rotary year, we should all ponder on this, “to create hope in this hopeless world, we need each other”.

Progress. Abundance. Hopeful. This is how our country will be when we all exercise Bayanihan this new Rotary year.

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