Philippines is Chaotically Cool and Happy

Jim Paredes (aka apojim) shares his perspectives on Australia and the Philippines. He writes:

first thing that strikes me every time I return to Manila from abroad,
especially when I come in from Australia, is the high level of chaos
that rules our lives here. The airport is still somewhat orderly, but
it kinda ends there. After coming out of the NAIA or Centenial airport
and hitting EDSA, one is amazed, no, shocked and depressed at how
disorderly and wild the traffic is, how dirty and shabby the buildings
are, how unsightly the power lines are that hang across a big portion
of the sky and how undisciplined and cavalier the people are about
crossing the streets and using the side walks. Are there even
sidewalks? I’m not sure."

His observations are so right on!
I still experience this cross-culture shock whenever I fly back to
Manila. People here in the U.S. complain too much about law and order,
but I just shrug them off. They haven’t seen chaos until they go out
there and travel to developing countries.

However, in spite of the apparent chaos in the Philippines, there’s a
weird sense of orderliness once you get used to the system. And
Filipinos, even though generally poor, are relatively happy, because like Jim says, we know how to party.

"I am quite sure why we Filipinos come out among the top of surveys as
one of the happiest people in the world. There are nationalities that
seem to have it all but have high suicide rates and stress levels.
There must be a heavy price they are paying for all that orderliness.
But I am sure, we Filipinos could be even happier with a little more
dedication to law and order, and adherence to systems and social
programs that will benefit the greater number."

But I think there are levels of happiness. There’s egocentric
happiness–you’re happy because you’re contented and don’t know a
better alternative. There’s ethnocentric happiness–you’re happy
because of your close relationships with your family, friends, and
people with the same sets of beliefs. There’s worldcentric
happiness–you’re happy because you’re doing service to others
regardless of gender, race, religion, and nationality, and you’re aware of
global issues and take them on with grit and a smile.

Having said that, I think that people in developing nations are
relatively happier, but their happiness is grounded on egocentric and
ethnocentic levels. For example, the Philippines is a very
religious country, mostly Catholic. They generally find happiness and
contentment from their religious beliefs. They are happy but
their happiness is grounded on egocentric (they don’t know a better
alternative to Christianity and their superstitious beliefs, may agimat ang dugo ko!) and ethnocentric  (close-knit relationships with friends, families and sense of national pride, go Manny Pacquiao! hero namin yan! )

I seldom hear politicians, religious leaders, and people in the media
talk about happiness at a worldcentric level. It’s the business people
who are mostly doing something to elevate the mindset of the people via
education and improving the economy of the country to make it more
competitive in the global economy. For example, Ayala Corporation taking on Social Corporate Responsibility. Or, maybe I’m just tuned in to the wrong Filipino channel?

But anyway, I think Jim is right.

"Perhaps, the real purpose of the Filipino diaspora is not about
surrendering our nationality or becoming less Filipino. Maybe it is for
us to learn from societies that subscribe to the more straight and
narrow paths, while we in turn teach them to lighten up and enjoy life
the way we naturally do."

Exactly. Salamat apojim!

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