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AITOpinion, Anna Tayag, Student Stories

Sham on You


Column | Anna Tayag

As I was slothfully browsing my crowded newsfeed, I stumbled through a “Disgusting.” status update from a friend with a link to a travel blog. It wasn’t a surprise to see an article about the New 7 Wonders after they announced the results. However, the author’s rather cranky about the outcomes.

Campaign founder, Bernard Weber. Photo courtesy of http://msnbc.msn.com

It’s a sham – the idea, and the polls and of course the results according to the article. The author rants about the 7 Wonders List and rages on the credibility of the polls.

See article by The Guardian

Somehow, I also think it’s an intelligently crafted advertisement to boost tourism, which is truly beneficial for developing countries that haven’t the funds to throw ads on the game field. Not that I think it’s bogus, but why is it a poll and not a critical scientific UNESCO study, with all the heritage qualifications and cultural preservation blah being argued about? It was the year 2007 when I voted for the Puerto Princesa Underground River, and I thought it was a knock-out win for the Philippines. I mean, Filipinos update their Facebook status daily even when they have no permanent jobs or bachelor’s degrees or a full square meal. Funny how Facebook was originally made for the high-end socialites of Harvard, Stanford and Oxford and now fisher folks, vegetable vendors and saleswomen have it. Is Facebook the great new equalizer? I guess that’s a story for another article.  Going back, I believe the New 7 Wonders List is an ingenious way to give attention to some of the unnoticed beauties of the world. And it made the Filipino love its country again.

Years of oppression and “cold colonialism” definitely stirred up a hunger for Filipino pride and deep nationalism. But it was so deep that you won’t see it very often (except of course whenever Manny Pacquiao thrashes a trying-hard Mexican or an arrogant, self-obsessed American). Nationalism somehow got lost in the stream of personal ambitions and selfish desires. No wonder the 7 Wonders Poll became a hit. It gave the Filipino a chance to feel wanted by the world, to experience the Lea Salonga and Efren Penaflorida pride.

The New Wonders hype presented the Filipinos a platform to be nationalistic again. But being patriotic means more than just pausing when you hear the National Anthem. And it is definitely more than just voting in a poll.

If you are one of the people who thought of leaving the country after graduation, I guess I’m talking to you. How could you, after years of being identified as a Filipino not realize how much you owe to this country? You vote for Palawan but you’d trade it for snow. You’d be polishing shoes and feeding pigs in the States when you can help your countrymen and seriously, you owe it to them. Don’t ever think that it’s the country’s responsibility to employ you or promote you or fulfil your egotistic wishes.

To the hypocrites who study in “The University” and plan to be slaves in America or Singapore, I have three words for you. Shame on you.

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About aitsalimbay

The official newsletter of the UP Asian Institute of Tourism.

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