Isang panayam ang ginawa ng Ako Ay Pilipino sa butihing maybahay ni Kagalang-galang Ambassador Virgilio Reyes ukol sa ating pahayagan. Ang kanyang kasagutan ay nag-iwan ng isang hamon sa bawat Pilipino sa Italya: Ako ay isang Pilipino: Nasaan ako ngayon, Pasaan ako bukas
Have you read Ako ay Pilipino.
What do you think of the magazine?
What are your observations of the Filipinos in Italy?
Yes, I get a copy of Ako ay Pilipino and am proud that such a newspaper is available as a special section of an Italian media conglomerate.
I am intrigued by the name – Ako ay Pilipino – it poses challenging questions. What does it mean to be a Pilipino, what constitutes Pilipino pride? There is, of course, no right or correct answer because being Pilipino outside the home country is an emerging phenomenon seeking to be defined.
2014 is my third and last year in Rome, and these are my observations on how the Pilipino is defined in Italy:
At the outset we set ourselves apart from other migrant nationalities in Italy, by defining the Pilipino through our cuisine, costumes, dances, etc. – visible aspects of our culture that can be easily shared. However thirty years since arriving to the country, we are still sharing the same aspects of our culture, as if we are stuck in time, simply looking back to what we left back home – we do not project a forward look of our culture.
Non-Pilipinos define us through our innate characteristics — smiling people, religiously catholic, reliable and good workers. Good qualities that we can build on by taking advantage of the learning opportunities offered by Italy. Filipinos tend to be are harsh on themselves because they are content receiving a regular paycheck, having a roof over their heads, and carrying on with life left behind. We do not take pride in our potentials by pushing the limits of our capabilities, challenging our abilities and reinventing ourselves so that the Pilipino can make a mark in the world.
We also define ourselves in terms of remittances that boost Philippine economy, annual celebration of the national day in Italy, proliferation of Philippine regional associations, and quick response to the country’s natural catastrophes. All efforts are inward-looking, exclusive to Filipinos. I think we should be able to define the Pilipino as one with great potential.
There is a favorite sport among Filipinos: constant criticism and bickering that bring down, weaken and distort our sense of self and pride. We easily denounce corruption in people who are not us (mostly those in government), but do not see the petty corruption we commit in our daily lives. We condemn the Filipino crab mentality (nice buzz word) but do not catch ourselves when it happens up close. When a good and successful event happens, Filipinos take pot shots at faults with no alternative solutions; or question motives with no certifiable evidence. There is a disconnect between an abstract idea and actual application to the self.
We do not give time to step back and reflect on our actions and their consequence. We do not look into ourselves why we splinter into new groups when we disagree with the decision of a majority. Why?
Ako ay isang Pilipino: Nasaan ako ngayon, Pasasaan ako Bukas….
Wife of H. E. Ambassador A. Virgilio.
Born in Manila. Partly raised in Batangas City and educated by the Religious of the Good Shepherd (St. Bridget’s College) and in Manila by the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (St. Theresa’s College). Dabbled in post graduate studies in Sociology in the USA, Netherlands and Italy.
Co-founder and currently Executive Director of the New York-based The Global Share Resource Foundation (www.globalshare.org). Retired as manager at Citigroup Inc., in 2008. Past involvement includes managing a Philippine government-run program for Out-of-School Youths; co-founding the Maria Montessori Cooperative School, a nonprofit educational institution, co-founding the Youth and Student Travel Association, an educational travel program; and founded and managed Artists' Village, Inc. that assisted Filipino artists launch their careers.
Current Executive Director – European Network Filipino Diaspora, (ENFiD) and European Representative – Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
One son, Paul-Philippe, a NY lawyer and recently wed to Meghan Towers, also a NY lawyer.