The Molave in us

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2019 - 12:00am

President Manuel L. Quezon once said “I want our people to be like a Molave tree, strong and resilient, standing on the hillsides, unafraid of the rising tide, lighting and the storm, confident of its strength.” I still find myself reflecting much on this especially in my most trying of times and it was only as I grew older that  I understood better what it took to be just like a Molave. Known for its durable wood, the Molave can withstand the toughest of storms – the kind that can be likened to the storms we face in our own lives.

But being strong, resilient and unafraid is so much easier said than done most especially if we do not understand what it takes to “weather the storm.” In my opinion, the problem we Filipinos often face is the fact that we do not know who we are – or at the very least, our identity as a people is not intact.

Perhaps we can put the blame on so many things such as external influences or the culture that purposely keeps us “dumbed down” (specifically my favorite reason), or the lack of courage to step up (my second favorite reason).

The truth of the matter however is, all these things put together is summed up by one root cause and that is the lack of love for country. Our love for country should be deeply rooted in us in such a way that it goes beyond celebrating our victories and is consistently practiced in our daily lives with the understanding that cutting corners, throwing trash properly or standing behind the yellow line is something we Filipinos can take seriously and follow with dignity.

Certain events in the past few weeks have shown us, and very blatantly, exactly how accustomed many people have become in terms of taking advantage of their own fellowmen, adding to the disease that is already deeply imbedded in our culture where pulling each other down or putting one over the other has formed part of the kind of people we are.

It is about time we remove ourselves and each other from these circumstances that contribute to the ills of society because it is by doing so that we prove our resilience. Resilience is not only about survival but rather about recovering from a serious setback which in this case is a recovery from the failure to fully recognize who we are. 

To know our worth, we must not only dig deep but also instill deeply the values that express our patriotism. We must understand that courage is essential for change and more so for advancement. With courage, we can learn to stand up and be confident of our own strength.

Times are truly changing for us but it is only our love for country that will effect real change – a task not just required by our government. It is the responsibility of every single individual to have the right participation and sacrifice in order to grow the nation as one.

When we know who we are, when we abide by rules with honesty, and when we build by the precepts of bravery, self-discipline , righteousness and patriotism, we are, and in the end, able to know ourselves enough to represent and stand with integrity.

The Molave tree is never swayed and as a people it is essential we build on a strong moral fiber that will enable us to stand tall. When we understand this, we begin to know ourselves. When we know ourselves, we can therefore complete the expression of genuine love for country.

As Manuel Luis Quezon therefore said, grow and be like a Molave. It is the citizenry that makes a nation and a strong nation is built on character.

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