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Best Things about Being Pinoy
by Henrylito D. Tacio

  1. Metro Aides. These janitors are among Imelda Marcos' many thankless contributions to the Philippines. They have gallantly proven their worth. Against all odds, they continuously prove that cleanliness is next to godliness -- especially now that those darned candidates' posters have to be scraped off the face of Manila!
  2. Sari-sari store. There's one in every corner, offering everything from bananas and floor wax to Band-Aid and bakya.
  3. Philippine National Red Cross. PAWS. Caritas. Fund drives. They help us help each other.
  4. Favorite TV shows through the years: "Tawag ng Tanghalan," "John and Marsha," "Eat Bulaga." In the age of inane variety shows, they have redeemed Philippine television.
  5. Quirks of language that can drive crazy any tourist listening in: "Bababa ba?" "Bababa!"
  6. Expressions that defy translation but wring out feelings genuinely Pinoy. "Sayang!" "Naman!" "Kadiri!" "Ano ba!?" "pala."
  7. Cockfighting. Filipino men love it more than their wives (sometimes).
  8. Dr. Jose Rizal. A category in himself. Hero, medicine man, genius, athlete, sculptor, fictionist, poet, essayist, husband, lover, samaritan, martyr. Truly someone to emulate and be proud of, anytime, anywhere.
  9. Nora Aunor. Short, dark and homely-looking, she redefined our rigid concept of how leading ladies should look.
  10. Noranian or Vilmanian. Defines the friendly rivalry between Ate Guy Aunor and Ate Vi Santos and, for many years, the only way to be for many Filipino fans.
  11. Filipino Christmas. The world's longest holiday period. A perfect excuse to mix our love for feasting, gift-giving and music and wrap it up with a touch of religion.
  12. Festivals. Sinulog, Ati-atihan, Moriones. Sounds, colors, pagan frenzy and Christian overtones.
  13. Native wear and costumes. Baro't saya, tapis, terno, saya, salakot, bakya. Lovely form and ingenious function in the way we dress.
  14. Sunday family gatherings. Or, close family ties that never get severed. You don't have to win the lotto or be a president to have 10,000 relatives. Everyone's family tree extends all over the archipelago, and it's at its best in times of crisis; notice how food, hostesses, money, and moral support materializes during a wake?
  15. Calesa and karitela. The colorful and leisurely way to negotiate narrow streets when loaded down with a year's provisions.
  16. Quality of life. Where else can an ordinary employee afford a stay-in helper, a yaya, unlimited movies, eat-all-you-can buffets, the latest fashion (Baclaran nga lang), even Viagra in the black market?
  17. All Saints' Day. In honoring our dead, we also prove that we know how to live.
  18. Handicrafts. Shellcraft, rattancraft, abaca novelties, woodcarvings, banig placemats and bags, bamboo windchimes, etc. Portable memories of home. Hindi lang pang-turista, pang-balikbayan pa!
  19. OFW's (Overseas Filipino Workers). The lengths and miles we'd go for a better life for our family, as proven by these modern-day heroes of the economy.
  20. Tagalog soap operas. From "Flor de Luna" to today's incarnations like "Mula sa Puso" -- they're the story of our lives, and we feel strongly for them, Mexican telenovel "MariMar" notwithstanding.
  21. Midnight madness, weekends sales, bangketas and baratillos. It's retail therapy at its best, with Filipinos braving traffic, crowds, and human deluge to find a bargain.
  22. Relatives and kababayans abroad. The best refuge against loneliness, discrimination and confusion in a foreign place. Distant relatives and fellow Pinoys readily roll out the welcome mat even on the basis of a phone introduction or referral.
  23. Pinoy greens. Sitaw. Okra. Ampalaya. Gabi. Munggo. Dahon ng Sili. Kangkong. Luya. Talong. Sigarillas. Bataw. Patani. Lutong bahay will never be the same without them.
  24. The Filipino artist. From Luna's magnificent "Spolarium" and Amorsolo's sun-kissed rice fields, to Ang Kiukok's jarring abstractions and Borlongan's haunting ghosts, and everybody else in between. Hang a Filipino painting on your wall, and you're hanging Asia's best.
  25. Folk dances. Tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, carinosa, curacha, itik-itik, alitaptap, rigodon. All the right moves and a distinct rhythm.

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