Filipino culture and tradition

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez - The Freeman

I have a few tattoos on my body, all of them inked by a favorite female artist of mine. She is also in demand and hard to schedule with but every time I get a chance to drop by her studio for a session, I always make sure that it would be worth it. Being a tattoo enthusiast that I am, I also dreamed of having a piece by national artist Apo Whang Od even if it means trekking up a mountain to do so.

The pandemic has restricted me to travel thus my dreams of being able to reach her now become impossible. However, her technique was shown through the internet for a small amount of money. Imagine, a precious technique supposedly sacred and only to be done on special people will be available to the world if you pay. That sparked the argument between a vlogger known as Nas Daily and Whang Od's clan.

While it is an honor to be showcased to the world, adding monetary value to culture and tradition shrinks not only to the country but also to the world. The backlash from the international audience also demerits what could have been only ours in the first place.  When we take a look at other mysterious traditions in other cultures, we don't also get to have a hand at it all. It will only spoil the mystery in it all.

For whatever it's worth, I guess it is too much to focus our energy on issues such as these with so much going on the internet. We can always re-channel that to other things, such as winning medals in the Olympics. We recently took home four medals, which is such a feat. In the previous attempts of our athletes, clinching even one medal was very hard to do.

Maybe the next few years before the Paris Olympics will be a learning curve for the government to also look into these sports that need their support. The current medalists and qualifiers would want to go for another try at attaining victory. From this day on until 2024, we wouldn't want them to be robbed of that opportunity, right?

If you ask me at this point in my life, I'm not so sure if I am a proud Filipino. There is a part of me that is ashamed at how we cannot even identify for ourselves what is sacred or not. On the other hand, I am happy that we are making it good in the global arena. Yet I understand that knowing one's identity goes beyond the feelings but the extent of the willingness to sacrifice.

Now that we are here, I could only look up at the sky and the color of my skin. Maybe there is a reason why our identity is threatened, and I just couldn't figure it out today. Maybe one day soon we can lift our heads high and wave our own flag.


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