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.

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The Foolish Man Built His House


Remember that old Sunday school song? “And the rains came down and the floods came up.”

Well, apparently there are about 80 million fools who’ve decided to build homes in just about the most geographically disaster prone area in the world. Hurricane Katrina? We call that “September”

Dams exploding, cars all floating, and the Secretary of National Defense announcing on international television that all the local government can do is just say “sorry, we’ll try and do better next time.” Next time, he says! Meanwhile, the aptly named Mrs Arroyo (arroyo – n., a dry river bed that suddenly fills up with water after heavy rains) had a 30 second clip of her with a blank, listless stare broadcast on Chinese television.

Seriously, the good people of the Philippines deserve better than this, and for better or for worse the only way that things can improve is through the actions of private citizens and action groups. Church volunteers and corporate sponsors have already helped more people, more efficiently than the government has – and while it’s sad that Filipinos always have to wait for such a calamity before pitching in and doing public service, it’s also encouraging to see their speedy work and fast reaction time in helping those who are now homeless and destitute.

All the video coverage is probably not making things any better for the 3rd World but it’s good to know that while our institutions may not be the best in the world, our spontaneous markets for human kindness and charitable donations still work. It’s a foolish man who would place all his bets on governments and policies; sometimes you just have to believe in other people’s capacity to not leave you high and dry. Or in this case, drowning.

If you would like to donate and pitch in yourself, please go to the Philippine Red Cross Website.