In my travels as a diplomat, I have come to observe that the fire of nationalism burns brighter the farther you are from your mother land. When a Filipino spends time overseas, he tends to yearn for what he once called home, and in solitude, becomes more aware of the sacrifices he's had to endure for the sake of his loved ones.
There is a distinct sense of pride mixed with determination and selfless commitment present in every overseas worker. And with over 220,000 Filipinos here in Japan, it is remarkable to witness the enduring character of these so-called modern heroes. Despite being miles away from their families and their loved ones, the Filipino community here proves to be resilient and is recognizable because of their sense of solidarity, not just among their peers but to their foreign neighbors as well.
This is something I take pride in. To belong to a nation that has been through a lot, a nation that withstood the worst of calamities both natural and otherwise, and still managed to stand mighty and proud—that, to me, is something worth celebrating.
It is true that wherever you are in the world, you bring the Kapamilya spirit with you. You embody years of hardship and perseverance, and that in itself is something to motivate you to keep challenging yourselves into becoming globally competitive and successful.
As we celebrate Araw ng Kalayaan this 12th of June, may we all be reminded of our responsibility towards our nation: to be someone the whole country will be proud of and someone worthy of raising the flag of our country to keep the embers of nationalism burning. We are all keepers of the freedom our forebears have worked hard to attain, and that sacrifice is too precious to be put in vain.
Happy Araw ng Kalayaan, everyone!
AMBASSADOR MANUEL M. LOPEZ