My Country Is Better Than Your Country: Philippines – Part 1

After a brilliant start to our “My Country Is Better Than Your Country” contest, Lorena Valencia de Sosa showed off beautiful Panama.  But after a few jabs at the Phillipines, Elaine Yap is here to put up a fight for why her country is the better choice for Term 7!  In a two parter, Elaine gives her best argument for a CCMBA trip to the Philippines!

Where are you located? Metro Manila, Philippines


What are your top 3 reasons why Duke CCMBA should do a residency in your country?

1. Friendly and Multilingual People

Filipinos are naturally friendly and hospitable. In fact, the Philippine nation scored the highest in Humane Orientation among the 50 nations observed in the Cultural Dimensions in the GLOBE study. Filipinos are world famous for their nice smile.  “The Filipino Smile” is often a key takeaway from visits to the Philippines. It can mean several things. It can mean hello, good bye, I’m sorry, I’m shy, thank you or just plain I’m happy.   Filipinos are also multilingual.  The Americans established our education system, which is also the reason why our English literacy rate is so high.  In fact, the Philippines is the largest English speaking population in Asia with 90% English literacy rate in a nation of 94 million people. It is very easy to speak to any Filipino in English. Filipinos are natural care givers, always willing to lend a helping hand.  Care giving is one of our biggest exports in the Philippines, with all the domestic help and nurses proliferating households and hospitals worldwide.  According to the Lonely Planet, they are among the most easy going and ebullient people in the world.  These are the kind of people you want to be around with if you’re looking for a vacation of pure rest and relaxation.

2. Beautiful Unadulterated Nature

The best thing about our tourist destinations is its variety and unexploited feel to it: From tropical white sand beaches to rain forests to tall mountain environments with stalagmite caves and even sand dunes, we have it all here!  With 7,107 islands comprising the Philippine archipelago, this is not a surprise.  The only thing we don’t have is cold, bitter snow.  We only have two types of weather per year, rain or shine.   Our coldest temperature here is a cool 22 C, which we consider our “winter” season.   Our vacation spots aren’t as crowded or commercialized as other famous tourist spots like Thailand and Costa Rica, where everything seems to be completely packaged.   In contrast, there is still a lot of adventure that can be had:   A common provincial experience in the Philippines involves riding a rickety bus, a tricycle (our version of a tuktuk), a jeepney, a fisherman’s boat to get from one uninhabited beach to another.

3. Premiere Entertainment Hub

The Filipinos love eating, socializing, shopping and the night life.  In other words, Filipinos know how to have fun!   International media portrays the Philippines to be a country of backwater military encampments and overpopulated shanties. But in fact, Metro Manila is among the most cosmopolitan and busiest cities in Asia.   We have several world class malls including the Mall of Asia, the largest mall in Asia, as well as the Greenbelt shopping center, with its own beautiful outdoor park in the middle of the complex.  We have hundreds of restaurants featuring any type of cuisine. Clubbing and bar hopping is a staple on most nights.  Lastly, Filipinos love to sing. There are countless of Filipino finalists in American Idol. Almost all hotel pubs in Asia have Filipinos as singers. In fact, we are the only country that considers the karaoke machine as a staple household appliance!

If Tony O’Driscoll had to create a blog page on your country what would be the political, social, and economic tensions he would describe?

Societal: From Colonial Mentality to Filipino Pride

The Philippines has among the strong affinity in Asia for Western culture, having been colonized by the Spaniards for 300 years and the Americans for 50 years.  Because of this history of subordination, the Filipinos tend to see everything foreign to be better than what they have.  This means, tourists are almost treated like gods when they come visit the Philippines.  But lately, an emerging Filipino pride has come about, where Filipinos are becoming more and more proud to be Filipino. Budget airlines make it easier for people to explore the country and help establish a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the Philippines. More Filipinos are rising up internationally, most especially in the entertainment industry, where we have 1 Filipino finalist for every single American Idol season. Most recently, a T-shirt made by a famous Filipino designer has found its way to every single proud Filipino’s closet.  It’s a proud time to be Filipino.


As for Muslim societal tensions, these are very contained to the Southern island in the Philippines that is over 1,300 KM away from Manila and is only accessibly by plane or boat. In visiting the Philippines, you will often not see any muslim influences until you go to the Pearl market, where muslim traders proliferate the trade of these pearls.

Political: From Iron-Fist Martial Law to Corrupted Democracy

The Philippines was under Martial Law for 20 years under President Ferdinand Marcos’ era.  This was a time of great progress for the Philippines, but also a time of great human oppression.  The Martial Law was over thrown in 1987 through People Power and now the Philippines is governed by a democracy.  Since then, while the country has progressed, corruption and lack of discipline is still rampant.  Big debates arise as to whether the country really needs a democracy or an iron fist leader who can set people straight.

Economic: From Rice Basket of the World to IT Outsourcing Hub

The Philippines used to be the rice basket of the world in the 1960s. Lands are     fertile and all sorts of crops can be planted. However, there is not much interest in farmers to continue to be farmers. Also agrarian reform has deregulated the land and allowed each farmer to sustain themselves.  However these farmers lack the technology and funds to maximize the land.  This is a common reason for poverty in the provincial area.   However, a new industry is emerging that is less dependent on natural resources:  IT Outsourcing is booming in the country and we have even overtaken India as the world’s #1 call center country. Schools are beefing up their IT programs, call centers are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere. Jobs are rampant.  People are earning more, learning more and in fact, in a very recent HSBC study, the Philippines overtakes South Africa, Australia, Panama and several other nations to become the 16th largest economy in the world.  Whether this is sound statistics is another question, but it gives Filipinos something to be hopeful for.

 To be continued …..

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