The Philippines was discovered by Magellan when he embarked to search for the Moluccas Spice Island on March 16, 1521 on behalf of the King of Spain. From that time on, the Philippines has been a colony of Spain and the United States of America and subjugated by the Japanese Empire. I can truthfully assert that from the moment we gained our “independence” from the Americans; we have lost all opportunities to regain our national identity. It is not because the Americans played us well but it is due to the inability of our government leaders to sustain what our former and nationalistic leaders started.
Perhaps, it is not the fault of the Filipino people that these events became useless except for its used in quiz bee competitions. We cannot blame the people for its lack of cooperation to government. I cannot fully understand what President Kennedy means when he said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” when our country is run by government officials who capitalize on their position and clout to get their “return of investments” after spending millions of pesos during campaign.
Since the time of President Corazon C. Aquino until the rule of his son former President Benigno C. Aquino, we have not seen or feel the fruits of economic improvement as they have promised. As the treasures with which our government promised never reached the bottom of the society; people will continuously disregard the search for national identity for what is more important is that which satisfies the basic needs of the Filipino people. Nationalism as concept is almost untenable if people remain hungry, deprived of basic access to education, health and means to support a decent life. Nationalism will remain as a concept discussed within the halls of academic pursuit and subject matter of countless papers and news article but will not ring a bell among the common Filipino.