REFLECTIONS by Dr. R. Dante G. Juanta, OAM, JP, Retired Philippine Honorary Consul General, Adelaide, South Australia

REFLECTIONS by Dr. R. Dante G. Juanta, OAM, JP, Retired Philippine Honorary Consul General, Adelaide, South Australia

(Continuation of an address delivered on 9th June 2015 to Members of Filipino HACC (Health and Community Care Services) and other Guests in commemoration of the 117th Philippine Independence Day, held at Multicultural Aged Care, 94 Henley Beach Rd, Mile End, S.A.)
Part 3 and End
Today, the country looks forward to reclaiming its place alongside Asia’s most dynamic economies. The improved national position has allowed the Philippines to play a greater role in the enlargement and strengthening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in the ASIA-PACIFIC COOPERATION Group (APEC), and in the ASEAN Regional Forum through which the Philippines seeks to enhance regional understanding, consultation, cooperation, peace and prosperity.
I kept striking on four key words as I speak of Philippine Independence. The words are Freedom (Kalayaan), Independence (Kasarinlan), Light (Kaliwanagan), and Integrity (Karangalan). Their acronym “FILI” sits pretty well for the first four letters of FILIPINO and also the first four letters of FILIBUSTERISMO in Rizal’s second novel.
These four words have had their impact on my life since childhood, in my attitude and behavior, in my relationship to God and to others. They are attributes I tried best to practice, to follow in my time as your Honorary Consul General of the Republic of the Philippines here in South Australia for eleven years. They serve me like four pillars to lean on in my community service, in dealing with persons seeking help. They constantly guarded and guided me in all executive positions I occupied in Filipino organizations before becoming Consul in Adelaide.
In closing, I ask you to think seriously of ways to raise and maintain Filipino dignity and self-respect. Think how to live up to the ideals left to us by our ancestors, heroes and parents. I give you the following as guide.
1. Maintain social and cultural links with the Philippines, strengthen in your home, in your family the culture, the language, the values we brought to Australia.
2. As Filipino-born, make the self to be worthy of the legacy left to us, Kalayaan, Kasarinlan, Kaliwanagan, at Karangalan: Freedom, Independence, Light, and Liberty. What do these words really mean to you? Talk and jointly explore for answer with friends, with someone significant to your life.
3. We are people of Filipino descent. Mga ninuno natin ay Filipino. Dugo at karangalan ay Pilipino. It is action, hindi sa salita lamang. Read more, learn more, appreciate more our history and culture. Pass the knowledge on to grandchildren, to friends.
4. When visiting the Philippines, buy Philippine history book to read. Or, ask grandchildren who are computer-literate to help you search a segment in Philippine history you wish to learn about. Allow your grandchildren and yourself learn together, catch two birds with one net, so to speak.
5. Be proud of our language. Maintain speaking Filipino language to your grandchildren. Be patient. Spend time with them. Be like the mother of Jose Rizal, Dna. Teodora Alonzo who was Rizal’s first teacher, in reading and in writing.
6. Ituro sa mga apo, inculcate in children the value of our cultural heritage. How? Teach children some best elements of Filipino traditions, customs and practices, such as, belief and faith in God; pagmamano, that is, the practice of kissing parents’ and grandparents’ hand, asking for their blessing and also of God’s blessing; teach children to be respectful by addressing the elderly with words, like, “po”, “opo”, “kayo po”. Start today. It is never too late.
7. Be neighbourly. Extend a helping hand to new Filipino migrants especially in their period of settlement. They may not have relatives around to help them.
8. Be another Samaritan, expecting nothing in return when helping others. © rdgjuantaAugust2015

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