"I want our people to be like a molave tree, strong and resilient, standing on the hillsides, unafraid of the rising tide, lighting and the storm, confident of its strength." - Manuel L. Quezon in his 1938 Address.
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina (August 19, 1878 – August 1, 1944) was a Filipino statesman, soldier, and politician who served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the entire Philippines (as opposed to the government of previous Philippine states), and is considered to have been the second president of the Philippines, after Emilio Aguinaldo (1897–1901). Quezon was a Spanish Filipino, with both his parents being Filipino mestizos.
In 2015, the Board of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation approved a posthumously bestowal of the Wallenberg Medal upon President Quezon and to the people of the Philippines for having reached-out, between 1937 and 1941, to the victims of the Holocaust. President Benigno Aquino III, and María Zeneida Quezon Avanceña, who is 94 years old and the daughter of the former President, were duly informed about this recognition.
"The Policies and Achievements of the Government and Regeneration of the Filipino"
National strength can only be built on character. A nation is nothing more nor less than its citizenry. It is the people that make up the nation and, therefore, it cannot be stronger than its component parts. Their weakness is its failings, their strength its power. Show me a people composed of vigorous, sturdy individuals, of men and women healthy in mind and body; courteous, brave, industrious, self-reliant; purposeful in thought as well as in action; imbued with sound patriotism and a profound sense of righteousness; with high social ideals and a strong moral fiber; and I will show you a great nation, a nation that will not be submerged, a nation that will emerge victorious from the trials and bitter strifes of a distracted world, a nation that will live forever, sharing the common task of advancing the welfare and promoting the happiness of mankind.
Wisdom and self-interest as well as a proper regard for our future security and happiness should induce us to entertain no illusions nor a mistaken pride as to ourselves. We are engaged in the epic task of building our nation, to live and flourish, not for a day but for all time. We must find the flaws, if there be any, in our concept of individual and community life, as well as in our character, and proceed at once to remedy them.
I have an abiding faith in our people. I know that they have all the faculties needed to become a powerful and enlightened nation. The Filipino is not inferior to any man of any race. His physical, intellectual, and moral qualities are as excellent as those of the proudest stock of mankind. But some of these qualities, I am constrained to admit, have become dormant in recent years. If we compare our individual and civic traits with those that adorned our forefathers, we will find, I fear, that we, the Filipinos of today, have lost much of the moral strength and power for growth of our ancestors. They were strong-willed, earnest, adventurous people. They had traditions potent in influence in their lives, individually and collectively. They had the courage to be pioneers, to brave the seas, clear the forest and erect towns and cities upon the wilderness. They led a life of toil and communal service. Each one considered himself an active part of the body politic. But those traditions are either lost or forgotten. They exist only as a hazy-mist in our distant past. We must revive them, for we need the anchorage of these traditions to guide and sustain us in the proper discharge of our political and social obligations.
The upward climb of mankind has not been universal. In the human landscape there are peaks and valleys and deep chasms. Generally there is need of potent social upheavals, volcanic in proportions, to raise the lower levels to greater heights.
There is no substitute for suffering and privation to bring out the finer qualities in man, just as physical struggle develops his sinews. This is in accord with biological laws. The battle for existence, the survival of the fittest, is ever the rule of life in nature and among men. Stern necessity, the urge that comes from fear of destruction, the loss of honor or of freedom, reacting upon latent human faculties brings out the best that is in man. In this respect, humanity as a whole has merely shown that it possesses the same degree of adaptability exhibited by all species of nature. But man, after sporadic periods of advancement, has not been able to hold permanently to spiritual gains, and very often has slid back to his former stage when the pressure is wholly or partially removed. This is occurring to our race. A period of deterioration has started and, unless we check it, we shall soon be on the down grade.
Freedom, no less than prosperity, has come to us, much more as a gift of heaven than as the fruit of our own hard efforts through a long period of suffering and privation. During the last forty years life has been too easy for us. We have secured political rights almost for the asking, and we have gained prosperity not only because of the bounties of our extraordinarily fertile soil, but also through the advantages that our economic association with the richest and most generous people in the world has given us. The youth of the land that did not take part in the death-struggles of their fathers nor have tasted the hardship of their lives, have led, from childhood, a life of ease and relative comfort, and are enjoying the blessings of liberty for the achievement of which they have done nothing and the lack of which they have not felt.
Let us be realists. And let us above all be true to ourselves. The stakes are too high—our liberties, those very liberties for which the Filipino of yesterday fought and died, our happiness, and our very existence as a nation and as a race. We cannot afford to suppress truth or to extenuate our shortcomings. Let us cast away pretense and futile pride. Let us look at ourselves stripped of the veil and trappings with which in our vanity we often cover ourselves. That we are at all capable of doing this and detecting the weaknesses from which we suffer is vindication enough of the excellence of our race.
The Filipino of today is soft, easy-going. His tendency is towards parasitism. He is uninclined to sustained strenuous effort! He lacks earnestness. Face-saving is the dominant note in the confused symphony of his existence. His sense of righteousness is often dulled by the desire of personal gain. His norm of conduct is generally prompted by expediency rather than by principle. He shows a failing in that superb courage which impels action because it is right, even at the cost of self-sacrifice. His greatest fear is not to do wrong, but of being caught doing wrong. He is frivolous in his view of life. His conception of virtue is many times conventional. He takes his religion lightly. He thinks that lip-service and profession are equivalent to deep and abiding faith. He is inconstant; he lacks perseverance; the first obstacles baffle him, and he easily admits defeat. The patriotism of many Filipinos of today is skin-deep, incapable of inspiring heroic deeds. There are those who are apt to compromise with ethical principles and to regard truth as not incompatible with misrepresentation or self-deceit.
Among us social decorum is fast becoming prostituted by a mistaken conception of modernity. This is particularly true among the young. A wrong adaptation of foreign customs creates in them a feeling that politeness is commonplace and that smartness and insolence are the equivalent of good breeding. They do not realize that civility is the consummate flower of culture and civilization, for it embraces all the virtues and in turn sustains and enhances them all.
Self-restraint is not an active power in us. Those who are high-strung and emotional seldom utilize this great source of energy for the attainment of desirable objectives. Our nerves snap into a frazzle when confronted with danger or seemingly insurmountable difficulties. We abhor discipline, either moral or physical, forgetting that self-discipline is the most effective process to build fortitude of body and spirit.
Socially, we are inefficient. We are loathe to accept our social responsibilities. We look upon our Government as the fountain source of living, to which we are reluctant to give anything, but from which we expect every bounty and help. We work slowly and scantily. We are afraid to exert ourselves in toil. We prefer a life of ease and take pride in it, not knowing that there is dignity only in work. We feel no compunction in living on the labor of others. This is singularly true of that numerous group of small land-owners who are content with the meager income from the rent of their land, instead of working it themselves, and from their own sweat gain greater profits. These are the people who constitute our middle class who should be the back-bone of the body politic. They are a liability in our social structure. Their idleness is a drag upon the economic and social advancement of our country, too heavy for any people to carry. They form a stagnant pool which breeds anemia into the blood streams of the body politic and will cause its certain death unless they awake to their responsibilities and realize their ignoble existence.
This appraisal of the character of our people today may sound too severe. You will realize that I would be happier if I could only shower praise upon my countrymen. But my responsibility as head of this Nation compels me to face and state facts, however disagreeable they may be to me or to our people, for it is only thus that we can remedy existing evils that threaten to destroy the vitality and vigor of the race. Because I have not lost faith that there is, within us, all the spiritual and moral forces needed for the building of a great nation, I am ruthless in pointing out our present shortcomings. Our task—it is a heroic task—is to awaken and apply these faculties so that our people should become what of right they should be: morally strong, virile, hard-working, refined, enterprising, persevering, public-spirited.
Social and political conflicts have been the crucible in which the dynamic faculties and virtues of man have been tempered and fused. Chivalry and the Bushido, as well as the industrial revolution and the advancement of science and art, are the offspring of death-struggles of man against man or of man against nature. It is in a sense our misfortune that God has not visited such trials and vicissitudes upon our people in adequate measure. We would be a stronger, sturdier race if we had faced such ordeals. Much as we have endured during our quest for liberty, our sufferings are as nothing compared with the price paid by other peoples. Nevertheless, while we were engaged in our fight for freedom, our nation produced men of great worth and character. But—Bonifacio, M. H. del Pilar, Mabini, Luna—where are their equals now? Who can compare with Rizal, with his serene wisdom and his great courage, his spirit of self-sacrifice preferring death to slavery? Who is there that can tread the level of loyalty and gallantry exhibited by Gregorio del Pilar who, like a Spartan soldier, offered his life as a holocaust to duty? There were many others, giants all, who lived in those days and gave luster to our name. They are dead, and it seems that their individual and civic virtues were buried with them. But the sparks still glow within us, and I know that in an emergency they can be fanned into a flame that will fire our souls with heroic determination.
But why wait for an emergency? Are we so devoid of every sense of responsibility that we are willing to let fate determine our course of action? Such is unworthy of purposeful men. I want our people to grow and be like the molave, strong and resilient, rising on the hillside, unafraid of the raging flood, the lightning or the storm, confident of sits own strength. If we have the will to survive and the will to achieve social efficiency, we can not delay this task of spiritual regeneration. Let us begin to mold the typical Filipino.
Besides, we are truly facing an emergency. The emergency is real. It is at hand. Unless we bring out and use all the energies of which we are capable, we shall not for long enjoy the blessings of liberty and peace.
Some leaders of men have advocated the strenuous life; others a life of danger and adventure. I offer to you the useful life, devoted to self-improvement and the service of the state. It must be rooted on character, self-discipline, and work. It should glorify productive enterprise, a high sense of responsibility, and the ethical virtues. Its objectives are personal perfection and social efficiency.
Today the Filipino is a sad and unimaginative man, perhaps because he has been too long subjected to foreign domination. His sadness is reflected in his speech and his songs. They are of renunciation and disappointment. You see it on the canvas that he paints; you read it in the stories that he writes. If we regenerate his spirit and change his outlook, his songs will be of joy, his paintings of glory, his stories of achievement. Let us endow him with optimism sand valor, and with the love of adventure of his forebears.
To attain these aims, it is imperative to fashion the culture and character of the people, so as to provide them with spiritual and physical energies of the highest order.
To insure the accomplishment of this task of national spiritual reconstruction, we shall formulate and adopt a social code—a code of ethics and personal conduct—a written Bushido—that can be explained in the schools, preached from the pulpits, and taught in the streets and plazas, and in the remotest corners of our land. We shall indoctrinate every man, woman, and child in its precepts. By every means and power at my command, I shall strive to enforce its principles and to require that they be so universally and constantly observed, that our children may breathe it in the air and feel it in their very flesh. Every Filipino is a part and an objective of this great national movement, the success of which depends upon his own success in building up his character and developing his faculties.
This undertaking—the regeneration of the Filipino—constitutes the paramount interest of my administration. My most cherished ambition is to see it realized. It is the greatest prize that I can crave for my life. I call upon all the teachers, the ministers of every faith, the political and social leaders, and particularly upon you the young men and young women to be at the vanguard of this crusade.
Every official of the Government will have to cooperate, and ignorance of, or failure to live up to, the rules of conduct established, will be a bar to public office. There will be some superficial men, self-appointed guardians of democracy, who would brand this movement as the first step towards totalitarianism. Let us not heed them. It is the concern of democracy to raise the character of the people to the highest peak, for democracy itself can only survive and be effective to promote the common welfare, if the people are intelligent, virtuous, and efficient.
We have attained our freedom, but our spirit is still bound by the shackles forged from the frailties of our nature. We owe it to ourselves and our posterity to strike them down.
We are Orientals. We are known for our placidity and passivity. In the world of humanity we are looked upon as a quiet and smooth lake from which the adventurous and enterprising may reap enjoyment and gain. I refuse to allow the Filipino to be so regarded. We shall be a flowing stream, a rippling brook, a deep and roaring torrent, full of life, of hope, of faith, and of strength. Through self-discipline we shall harness all our energies, so that our power, spreading over the length and breath of this Land will develop its resources, advance its culture, secure social justice, give puissance to the Nation, and insure happiness and contentment for all the people, under the ægis of liberty and peace.
Other peoples of the world are straining themselves to attain higher levels of progress and national security. We shall not lag behind.
The Filipino people are on the march, towards their destiny, to conquer their place in the sun!
Cultural aspect of the speech
Positive and Negative traits of Filipinos Every country has its differing values and stereotypes, and the Philippines is no exception. We Filipinos firmly believe that our country has the best values in the world. Although we have been colonized by several countries, many core values from our ancestors remained intact and are still honored to this day. Filipinos are not perfect, but we have great characteristics and qualities every one of us should be proud of. Below I've listed some of the most well-known positive and negative traits of Filipinos.
Positive Traits of Filipinos
1. Hospitality - This is one of the most popular qualities of Filipinos. Foreigners who have gone to the Philippines find themselves falling in love with the warm hospitality they are shown. It's a different kind of value system, which has existed for thousands of years. Here are some examples of the hospitality that Filipinos show, not only to foreigners, but also to their fellow citizens:
- When a person visits a friend's house, the host greets him or her with a very warm welcome. The host will immediately let their visitor sit down and will prepare a meal or a snack plus drinks for the visitor. The host will insist that the friend not leave the house with an empty stomach. A host will always make sure you had a great time visiting them.
- People offer their guest room to visitors if they're going to spend the night.
- Meals offered to guests are very special. A host always finds a way to prepare great tasting food that her visitor wants to eat.
2. Respect - This is often observed—not just by younger people—but also by people of all ages.
- Children respect elders by saying "po" and "opo," which mean "yes," when answering their elders.
- Children or young adults also show respect by putting their elders' hands on their foreheads.
- Filipinos also show respect at work by making a bow to their employers.
3. Strong Family Ties and Religions - Filipinos value their families so much that they tend to keep families intact through the generations.
- Families go to church and pray together because their religion is important and creates a strong bond, marking God as the center of their lives.
- Families make sure to have quality time together especially after a day's work. Just watching television or eating a family meal will be valued and prioritized in everybody's schedules.
4. Generosity and Helpfulness - Filipinos are generous people. Even when we have very little, we always share with those around us.
- During special occasions such as birthdays or "fiestas" —parties when people from other places visit your home to celebrate with you—there are lots of foods specially prepared for everyone! Friends, family, friends of friends, and even strangers can gather and they are always willing to share food and help out.
- When a neighbor is in trouble, Filipinos are always ready to help them.
5. Strong Work Ethic - Filipinos are hardworking people to the point that we are willing to work almost the whole day just to feed our families. That's how Filipinos are.
- One example of a hardworking person is a farmer. They earn so little but they still work very hard for not much compensation.
- Filipinos always find creative ways to earn a living, like creating a small business from their home where they sell foods or other items for the convenience of their neighbors.
6. Love and Caring - Filipinos are the sweetest and most loving people in the world. I'm not just saying this because I'm a Filipino; if you know us well, you will soon figure this out.
- Men are so sweet and romantic when it comes to love. They will send their beloved flowers, bring her to a very romantic place, text her sweet quotes, and tell often how special she is to them.
- Filipino women are also romantic and very caring, which often makes foreigners want to marry them. Women tend to prepare dinner before their husband comes home. They are loving, and value the relationship, always staying faithful to their husbands. They love deeply and sincerely.
Negative Traits of Filipinos
1. Crab mentality - There are some of us Filipinos who got a bitter view at competition—that if we cannot win, then no one will. Instead of helping each other to be successful, we even make ways to pull them down like discourage them from taking great opportunities, or destroying their image. This is because we want to be the only one at the top. If only we would see the achievements of our neighbors or colleagues as an inspiration to reach our own goals instead of considering them as threats. We should realize that the success of each Filipino will contribute to the improvement of the country, and this can help all of us to be successful as well.
2. Procrastination or “Mañana Habit “ - This is another habit which keeps the development of our country slow. Look at the government projects which have been left undone for years. If only they were completed immediately, then many Filipinos would have already benefited from them. This is also true with many of us. Instead of working on a task while there is much time, we wait for the deadline because we feel lazy to start on them, or we want to use the time in other things. Of course, the outcome of our completed work would not be of high quality because they were rushed.
3.”Bahala na” or “come what may” habit - This is another habit that destroys the image of Filipinos. Instead of doing something to make things happen, we tend to just leave the outcome to whatever that could happen—come what may—we say. For instance, instead of studying for exams, some students may spend more time in computer games and gimmicks, while leaving their chance of passing the midterms to luck. We could attribute this habit to faith, reasoning out that God will help us become successful. However, as the Christian saying goes, “faith without work is dead”. If we have some goals, then we need to work in order to achieve them.
4. Hypocrisy (being a double-faced person) - As a country which claims to value morality, most of us try to live up to the standards set by the traditional society. However, as no one is perfect, many of us are not actually able to sustain these standards. The fear of being an outcast has forced a lot of people to live a double standard life. To hide our failure in following a norm, we tend to be condemning to those who are caught red handed. A perfect example could be the criticisms faced by those who become pregnant outside marriage. The sad fact behind this scenario is that some of these critics could have actually engaged in premarital sex too—only that no proof is visible.
5. Ningas cogon - In Spanish, “ningas cogon” means a burning cogon grass. This flaming grass quickly burns out—and this best describes one of the worst Filipino traits. Most of us are very good at this. We are excellent at starting projects or idea execution. Nevertheless, after a few hours or days, we lose the excitement, and we become too lazy to finish what we have started.6. Filipino time (tardiness) - Instead of being something to be proud of, ‘Filipino time’ brings a negative impression to our people. The Filipino time is usually associated with tardiness. When the invitation says the program will start at 7pm, it is expected to begin at 9pm. When the date is set at 3pm, the partner will arrive at 5 o’ clock. This has not only caused conflicts in relationships, it also discourages others including foreigners from getting involved in supposedly productive activities as too much time can be wasted on waiting.
7. Gossiping - Filipinos are fond of talking about others’ business. It is not true that only women are into gossiping. Even men can also be nosy on other people’s lives. Sadly, this does not bring any good to the subjects. Secrets are brought out; failures and flaws are emphasized; and relationships are destroyed. Worse, as gossips are passed around, they tend to be twisted until the final story becomes too far from the original—thus, causing more damage. 8. Blaming others (irresponsibility) - Filipinos, can sometimes be too self-righteous. When mistakes happen, we do not want to take the blame, so instead we point at others. This shows how we can be irresponsible for our actions. This attitude destroys team work, and reliability becomes an issue. This habit is also popular among our public officials. I know you know what happened during the Yolanda crisis. The rescue and rehabilitation operations in the Yolanda affected areas became slow, courtesy of the blaming habits of our politicians in position.
9. Inconsideration (being thoughtless of others) - This habit could be a result of having too many things on mind—have to find money for kids’ tuition, need to look for a better job, stress over a drunkard or unfaithful spouse, and other problems. We become insensitive to the needs of other people because we need to focus on ourselves first. However, this country could be an easier place to live in if we were thoughtful enough to show kindness to one another. These problems will be easier to deal with if we will help each other get over them.
10. Ignoring or not following simple rules and instructions - Laws and regulations are created to make communities harmonious. However, how can we achieve that peaceful neighborhood if we cannot even follow the simplest rules like crossing on the pedestrian lane and not loitering around? It is not enough that we demand change in our government. We should also strive to start change in ourselves by being disciplined citizens even in the smallest ways.
11. Attention grabbing (being an ‘epal’) - It is natural for Filipinos to attract attention bystanding out as we are a fun and people loving race. Nevertheless, it is a different thing to be an “epal” or “kapalmuks”—simply, being an attention grabber. Sometimes, in our desperate need to be the center of attention, we do things that are already embarrassing like butting in conversations as a know-it-all or by being scandalous. This habit is also common to our politicians. Instead of prioritizing their duty to give the best service to the people, they rather prioritize their thick faces to grab attention that will bring them more chance of winning in the next election. But thanks to our vigilant netizens, this kind of politicians earn more shame than fame.
12. Being onion-skinned or too sensitive - Another habit or attitude that we need to change is our being too prideful which usually results to being oversensitive. If we think highly of ourselves, then we have the tendency to put a wall around us and that signboard on our forehead saying, “I must be respected.” Therefore, when someone makes a joke or a not so positive comment about us, we feel like we are not respected and we get offended. If all people in the country do not know how to accept constructive criticism, then we can never expect unity.
13. Living beyond their means (social climbing) - One of the reasons why a lot of Filipinos live in poverty is because of overspending. Since most people want to live an elite lifestyle, many resort to social climbing or living beyond their means. Sometimes, some of us think that as long as we wear designer clothes and shoes, and we send our children to the most expensive schools, it is alright to be swimming in credits and loans.
14. Passivity (lack of leadership) - Filipinos’ lack of initiative for change is also one reason why our country does not progress. We keep on complaining against the government and other societal issues. However, we do not do anything about them. One of our excuses is the lack of faith that our small actions can bring change. However, the worse reason for this could be our lack of care for what is happening around us. Common Filipinos also lack courage and confidence. If you can notice it, in classrooms, churches, or conference rooms, most of us don’t like to sit in the front seat.
Values Education in School
Values education is ingrained in every tradition of the Filipino culture. We were all taught how to greet elderly people properly, respect our neighbors and love our family at a very young age. But over a period of time, these values are slowly fading away and we tend to become hypocrites. Perhaps a major responsibility for the corrective action lies on our leaders in different walks of life. Nevertheless, educational institutions can also play a significant role in die promotion of values. It is important to maintain the values education in school to help students in building a good character. We need to emphasize the promotion of harmony and social change to lessen social problems such as corruption in the government, colonial mentality, and etc. that afflict the Filipino people. Here are some strengths and weaknesses of the Filipino that are very evident; family orientation, hard work and industry, and faith and religiosity were among those counted as Filipino assets. Extreme personalism (trying to give personal interpretation to actions), lack of discipline, and colonialism were cited as examples of shared liabilities. As one nation, we must not stop doing what is right. Let us not forget what our parents and teachers taught us when we were young. Make our country great again by teaching the students what they need to know and understand.
Filipino Patriotism: Then and NowFilipinos back then, tend to show patriotism a lot more than we do now. They are willing to sacrifice themselves just to s how how much they care and love our country. Many Filipinos had shown this kind of patriotism. They once fought for our country using all of their strength and until their last breath. If we're going to look back to our past, Filipinos back then considered patriotism as a serious matter. In order to attain a better country, one must show their great patriotism and it means that you are willing to offer everything you have even your precious life for the sake of your own country.
But in the Philippines, today, we are lacking in patriots largely due to the diffusion of Filipino values, culture, influence of conquistadores, and the confluence of historical bad governance. The Philippine State is in dire need of statesmen who truly understand the basics of politics—politics being defined asthe systematic study of the state—the state being defined as having four basic elements: territory (the Philippine archipelago, its waters, subterranean shelves, etc.), people (the Filipino people who are nationalistic and patriotic), sovereignty (freedom from foreign dictates), and government (a body politic composed of delegates who are considered to be representatives of the people to stand and fight for Filipino interests, dreams, aspirations, and hopes).
For as long as our political leaders blind us of these things, for as long as the Filipino people refuse to learn, for as long as we remain mediocre, for as long we could not change our self inwardly, for as long as we refuse to change, nationalism and patriotism will only be words in the dictionary.
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