Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I am a Filipino

Ruth Mabanglo is a poet and a scholar. Currently she is teaching Tagalog Language and Literature in the University of Hawaii. She has already received a lot of literary awards. One of her poems is I am a Filipino.

In this poem, the persona is reminding himself of his Filipino identity. Although he has left for another country, he remains a Filipino who wants to do something for his country. I do not know when exactly it started but Filipinos started leaving the Philippines for other countries such as The United States, Canada and Australia but one thing is for sure, the Filipinos who went to other countries believed that, where they went to are lands of milk and honey. Our country is in need of a lot of talented Filipinos but instead of helping our country, Doctors, Computer Programmers, Nurses, Teachers and a lot more other people go to other lands. This poem serves as a reminder that no matter where a Filipino goes, his heart and mind will still be connected to his Filipino roots.

Kristine Valenzuela

I Am A Filipino
Ruth Mabanglo

I am a Filipino--
With the ocean's breath,
With the forest's hair,
With suntanned skin,
With sight contoured by rain.
Allured by distant stars,
I travelled overseas.
The land was opulent,
I was overwhelmed by pleasure,
My life was refreshed.
My skull overflowed with memories:
The storm that ravaged
My unhusked rice,
The scorching sun that everyone
The dreams that my tongue
Could not express,
The despair that burned
In my mind.
How can I become lost?
Hawai‘i resembles the country
I left behind--
Coconuts are split
And I satisfy my thirst,
Stones are crushed
And I build my home.
Waves roar
And I ride them.
Dreams are woven
And my seeds flourish--
My tongue forked,
So too, my culture.
I look for my father's land
And my mother's child
In every girl and boy
That I could have conceived.
I open my diary
So they can read
The courage
Of Mactan's hero;
Or the Katipunan's revolution,
Or the death of the guerillas
During the time of the war.
They were merely amused,
They seem unaffected
Even when chastised,
By the bitter reality--
This is not their country,
This is not their culture.
I am a Filipino--
And this is what I will teach
My children:
You must return to your roots
Despite the wounds;
You must know the legend
Of your brown skin;
You must direct your zeal
And harness your dreams
In recognizing the past,
In the stored memories,
In your desired goals.
I am a Filipino--
I vow to release
My relatives and family from fear;
I vow to plant trust
In their hearts and minds;
I vow to be free
From any shame--
I am a Filipino with a shadow
Certain and clear;
I am a Filipino with children
Who will know their roots;
I am a Filipino with a soul
That will remain Filipino,
In whatever Country, in whatever Time,
In whatever Body.



Anonymous said...

Most of the Filipinos living in other countries usually disregard their nationality and sometimes, they are even ashamed to be a filipino. It is nice that this persona feels proud to be one because for me, we have many wonderful qualities that is uniquely filipino. We should pass our knowledge and traditions to the following generations and prtect or heritage. I for one, am proud to be a filipino! ;b

-- melinda yoingco, I-BS Comtech

Anonymous said...

this poem really makes me feel proud of being a filipino. a lot of people underestimate filipinos, but i think it's only because they don't know the kind of people that we are. this peom really speaks for me. :)
- annalou maxine l. pagador

Anonymous said...

A really nice poem that makes you proud to be a Filipino. It's good that the persona has not forgotten, intentionally or unintentionally, who he really is... a Filipino.

-Ceferino Luta III