Cultural educationand lifelong learning
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - February 8, 2020 - 12:00am

An individual’s historical awareness is dependent on one’s level of cultural consciousness or education. Our culture shapes us and forms our identity. We Filipinos are a mix of races and connecting Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao is determined by how much we understand and embrace our culture and heritage.

Culture is the foundation of education and through it, sustainable developments as well as good governance becomes its product. More often than not we hear about programs that encourage our youth to “invest” themselves in farming and agriculture. I can’t help but remember the time I went to a region in Spain called Extremadura. It was there where I learned from the locals how farming was not only their way of life but also, and at a time of crisis, how local farming made them famous for their Jamon de Bellota which opened doors to tourism and uplifting the economy.

Who would have thought that a small town called Cáceres in the east of the region, with a simple way of life, could bring such impact in their economy as a whole? My visit to Extremadura was not meant to explore their agriculture but the adventurer in me decided I should and local farmers took me from one farm to the other and looking back, this experience opened my eyes to how much we Filipinos can do considering our resources.

While hiking along their “fincas” and talking to a rabbit breeder who was already in his late eighties, he told me his biggest problem - his children. While business was so good for the farmers in this town, they were getting old and their children were no longer interested in the business having lived long in Spain’s major cities which took them to other levels of interest. Considering that the autonomous community of Extremadura played a major role at the height of crisis, it was sad to hear how the next generation failed to see the value more so the treasure that was right before their eyes. In the Philippines, we are doing everything to entice the next generation to be interested in programs such as farming and it is my firm belief that if our youth, combined with new technology and their quick sense really enter into such programs then the hope for the generations yet to come is a real game changer for the Philippines.

But in order to make them fully understand, we need to fall back on cultural education. Our children need to be well informed and innovations are crucial in getting them fully invested. From putting the likes of agriculture in the school’s agenda to linking agricultural programs on social media are just a few ways to get things started and connect what our generation knows to what they can do to move forward.

Thanks to my Lolo Peping Roces, my interest in farming was honed. We often spent time talking about these things and the farm life to me is not just interesting, it is also potentially money making.

We spoke a lot about importing, breeding, and growing things in our farm, some of which prospered. I learned so much about land value from him as well as the patience in waiting on some prospects.

In 2014, some people thought it funny that I was interested in breeding the same kind of pig many rave about as they try different kinds of jamon. Since then, I have met some farmers who actually do this with our own native resources which I never thought possible. Cultural education paves the way for progress in our society. If we do our parts to help educate and govern with this mindset, the next generation will not only be open to more options locally but have the chance to expand globally. Learning is lifelong hence therefore, we must continue to go back to our roots and seek for the wisdom that is much needed to propel our future as a nation.

The goal of our generation, our father’s generation and even our great grandfather’s must be aligned for the new generation that needs guidance, more so inspiration. It is therefore very refreshing to see and hear government agencies as well as lawmakers following this path. It is time to pay things forward and now is certainly the best time.

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