I was buying food at 7-11 the other night when I glanced down on a newspaper carrying an article about a recent international survey that says Filipinos rank fifth as being the happiest people on this planet. The findings made me smile — hardly surprising me at all.
Why? Here are the facts:
For us, having no money is not much of a problem. Really. As long as loved ones are around, we feel A-okay. Most of the time, mere togetherness is enough. Starving together can even be a deep, bonding experience.
You must already be aware of our supreme fondness for parties or small gatherings, and of our intense romance with the videoke. Horrific belting out for several barangays to hear could turn into volatile situations once in a while. In the spirit of fun, however, off-key singing is generally acceptable.
In spite of our country’s economic afflictions, each year there seems to be a mall sprouting, like a mushroom, at some corner of a city; Something which fosters more groupings and better camaraderie. Not to mention we probably manufacture the greatest number of cheap, most delicious assorted chips and crackers in the whole world. Oh, that last one doesn’t count, does it?
We might boast of a low suicide rate, too. The motive for taking one’s life could just be a ramification of a liaison turned dreadfully sour – which manifests of our over-the-top passionate nature as well.
Pensive, quiet gals like me are looked upon as different, or odd. Yeah yeah you’re right, I am weird. You’d feel out of place and sometimes be ridiculed (as I have been all my life) if you aren’t the boisterous, big talker type. At faculty meetings – with all of us female teachers clustered in a room – the propensity of my colleagues to endlessly babble all at the same time never ceases to amaze me. I often imagine myself grabbing something, anything around me that I could stuff into one or two of my co-teacher’s mouth, just to lessen the din.
Everyone dances here regardless of religious affiliation, political persuasion, or the contents of their refrigerator. A shrinking violet that I am, I have thought of all the number of hours I reluctantly spent practising with my siblings to prepare for our performance at every relative’s party in my pre-teen and early teenage years. Hours that could have been spent reading English classics and mastering the art of penning mushy-mushy yet wonderful tales. I swear I could have ended up giving Jane Austen a run for her money. But then, it’s also a blessing my parents instilled in their children love of dancing; even though they’ve got this one daughter who’s been marked for bashfulness all her life.
Well, it’s gratifying to broadcast now that I can finally dance sans any morsel of shyness. In front of an audience. I mean in front of my favorite and sole audience. My cat.
Indeed, we’re a bunch of happy happy people.
In view of my penchant for strong dance beat, choreographed dancing, and fun videos, I include an old favorite of mine from 1989: Dino singing and bopping to his hit “I Like It”: one of those trip the light fantastic tunes that make me get up and dance to this day.