Ever since I was a boy, the words, “Crab mentality” have often been used to describe the Philippines and Filipinos, in general. It has also been fashionable in many years to complain about the state of things. Not that there wasn’t enough reason to complain. Manila’s international airport is a dump, everyone agrees— Filipinos and everybody else have said said so. And if you really need a “Microcosm”, we need not go far, a simple drive along EDSA with its perennial potholes and patch up job is more than enough to characterize how things are in the Philippines.

Columnists in every newspaper, and commentaries on Radio, television and on blogs have made an industry on pointing out what’s wrong with our nation. My point is, those realizations, and pointing things out, “How bad” things are, or the “Ugly state of things” is worn out.

To put it simply, we don’t need to be told how bad things are, because we already do know.

We don’t need to know that there aren’t enough text books to go around or classrooms aren’t enough, but we do need to have a discussion on what can we do to make it right.

We certainly don’t need to have a discussion on whether or not English or Filipino is the right medium, as if either could be done without, and as if both aren’t equally important. As if that was the right question to ask instead of, “Are teachers up to their stuff regarding their training?” or “What can we do so teachers can do their jobs?”

We don’t need a discussion on the merits of Charter Change— because at one point there should be a discussion on it, but that’s not the right question. The right question should be, are focusing on addressing issues that business leaders are telling us are the reasons why they aren’t choosing the Philippines? The Global Competitiveness Index argued— it is corruption, inefficient government, lack of infrastructure and lack of stability in public policy that are the primary reasons why investors don’t want to invest in the Philippines.

What we need to do now, is “How do we fix things?” How do we make things better? And when we have asked those things, we act. And for the most part, there is genuine hope that things are moving forward, if only in little bits and pieces. MMDA, PAGASA are just examples of how things are moving forward.

Over the years, it has been put forward that Filipinos are naturally, “Lazy”, or “dumb,” and worst— both. When I think of families and children forcing themselves to study, to finish school, to have a better life, does that sound like a culture that’s inherently lazy, dumb or without hope?

I see a nation with Faith in the Future.

I see a nation dreaming of a better tomorrow. It is a lesson many of our leaders have yet to embrace, but it is a lesson that we should as a society, and as a nation welcome. And it is that belief, I believe, is slowly permeating across how government works, and how the private sector does business.

Yes, we are a poor nation. And yes, there aren’t much resources to go around. We have people who barely eat once a day, and people who have no electricity or food, or access to clean water in an age where phones have artificial intelligence, and airplanes basically driving themselves.

Can we let go of our cynicism, and embrace a ‘we can’ attitude? Can we have Faith in the Future, and the Willpower to not only design that future, but to build it?

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • Nik

    Self-flaggelation is a practically a cottage industry.

    Nationalism has been degraded to some sort of “We suck” status; any who don’t automatically agree (or instead try and defend the country) are termed ‘pseudo-nationalists.’ When in fact the roles are actually reversed.

    There is a difference between solution oriented critiques (as in critiques based on research/evidence with a clear end goal in mind) and just ‘hating for hating sake.’ Too often we skew towards the latter, forgetting the former. It’s a flaw noticeable as well among our intellectuals (looking at Frankie).

  • Manuelbuencamino

    Well, the thing is this… Everybody is a critic and everybody is a problem-solver these days. And both can wear you out. 

    And when you think about it, there are more problem-solvers out there than there are critics. 

    Just check out the responses to columnists in every newspaper, and commentaries on Radio, television and on blogs…one commentary and dozens of unsolicited solutions are put forward. Criticism fathered the think tank and consulting industry. 

    And when you really think about it, too many cooks spoil the broth.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Oops I think I just criticized the solution to too much criticism.

  • ang propinoy blog ang isa sa mga pinakamahusay na political blogs sa pilipinas. malaman ang mga mga blogs at malaman din ang mga comments.

    • cocoy


  • Joe America

    Criticism is a natural beginning to change.
    The difficulty in the Philippines is that there is so little follow-through
    with solution to the problems that people so easily identify. People have to be
    willing to take the risk of letting go of the current ways of doing things. You
    can’t change and not change at the same time.


    I also think the Aquino administration is
    taking a number of refreshing steps in the right direction, and I hope it lasts
    past the next election.


    What seems to be missing is the
    “seminal thinker” with hands on influence.


    Take text books, which you mention, and
    throw in an enormous classroom shortage (61,000) and a gigantic teacher
    shortage (54,000). When will the Philippines recognize that it can USE
    TECHNOLOGY to solve its problems? It does not have to see solution only in a
    budget increase.


    kids a tablet computer and an internet hookup and toss the ratty, weather
    logged textbooks. Put the best teachers on line instead of in crumbling school
    rooms and let students study under the mango tree. Halve the demand on teachers
    by using the internet to leverage top teaching talent. Leap the Philippines
    PAST other nations by developing an internet based teaching style that leaves
    the 1950’s model behind and ends the relentless, fruitless struggle to keep


    Solutions exist for the bold, and the issue
    is whether or not Filipinos have the insight to find them and strength to implement them.


    • Joe America

      Sorry about the spacing, I cut and paste and get that.

    • GabbyD

      actually joe, this may work, given there are 30 dollar tablets from india…

  • GabbyD

    ah, yes. 100% like.

    lets move on from stating the obvious.

    • Anonymous

      That is a big assumption —  that “…it is obvious.”

      • Manuelbuencamino

        Well, well, well Upn you finally posted something I agree with. Keep it up!