Many times, I’ve carried that pride that as a Third Culture Kid, I experience, know and understand many things in life that non-TCKers don’t learn until later on in adulthood. Though we may not be experts yet (at least prior to formal training, education and qualifications), we can tackle whatever obstacles life throws our way because since early childhood, adjustment and adaptation are second-nature. However, though I have had this suspicion for awhile, it was confirmed today that while TCKs can know many languages, games and traditions of other cultures, it’s a sad reality that many of us don’t really know about our “passport” country’s fun culture until later on when we actively (or forcibly by our wise elders) to learn more about it.
I’m saying this because we celebrated the Philippines’ 114th year of Independence today! From which country? I’m not really sure… I guess, the U.S. but don’t trust me on that. And this is exactly what I mean! As a Filipino by passport and ethnicity (I am 1/16th or is it 1/32nd part Spanish???), I should know more things about my country asides from the fact that we have been colonized by Spain for 300-something years, sold to the United States (for a few million U.S. dollars after Spain lost the Spanish-American War) and occupied (or maybe colonized, as well) by the Japanese during World War II. Oh! And Ferdinand Magellan died in Cebu (my hometown) because he was killed by our first national hero, Lapu-Lapu!!! 🙂 This paragraph is just about the max of my knowledge of Filipino history! (Oh and we had the first, and maybe only, (mostly) bloodless revolution in world history too!!!)
Anyway, as I’ve been reflecting on myself and the rest of us Filipino TCKs, I felt that is high time we know a thing or two about our country! And for that, I was happy of today’s celebration! For one thing, we introduced the kids to classic Filipino games that they’ve never even heard of before! (I was shocked that my own brother never heard of one of the best games ever invented in human history!!!! And the fact it’s free!!! Come on!! Mind you, I suck at it, but I assure you, Patintero can out-fun Angry Birds any day!!!
Of course the kids also loved Bato Lata (or Tombang Preso or some other name I can neither pronounce or remember…)
And of course, what kid can resist getting free gifts?
If anything, I was happy that today exposed the Filipino TCKs here in Chiang Mai to the wonderful sides of our country! When the day started off, we (despite turning a certain ‘adult-ish’ age today, I still consider myself a child at heart) were practically clueless! By the end of the day, we conquered that milestone in life as we grew up and learn more about our country, our culture, our people and our pride as a nation.
Yes, we’re probably one of those countries who had been colonized and conquered more times than the average, but despite the trials we faced as a people, we are one of the happiest and rowdiest in the world (in my proud opinion, mind you) and we’ve stuck together through it all. I mean, hey! It’s more fun in the Philippines!
Anyway, those different influences are significant to our culture, making us one of the oddest (though I prefer the superlative, ‘most unique’) countries in Asia. We fought for our freedom and we’ve gained our well-deserved independence. Yes, though corruption, poverty and natural disasters still stigmatize the image of our nation, I am proud of the fact that we still stand. We maybe limping, but I know that as a people, we will hold each other hand in hand. Family, bonds and relationships, those are our strengths. Perhaps the rest of the world can’t see it. But I’m telling you, for a country that has been so much in the past centuries, the fact that we’re still holding our ground as a nation, never selling out a brother in a price of freedom, instead fighting side-by-side to gain our freedom, we are a great country.
And for finally, as a Third Culture Kid, I’m finally able to say, I’m proud to be a Filipina!