Living Life in Hard Mode a.k.a. The Philippines

By Renzo Guevara
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I’ve been in this country all my life. I used to think it was the greatest place on earth. Tropical islands, huge variety of food and spices, colorful culture, and Jollibee. What more could a kid want? I grew up and I soon realized what that is.

Help.

The Philippines is a very complicated place to love. On one hand, it’s a country that has great people, good values, and multiple opportunities. On the other hand, it has horrible people, questionable values, and a severe lack of opportunities.

It’s a win-lose situation here.

You know it's bad when seeing good news on the timeline is more surprising than seeing the bad nowadays. I wake up, see that the pandemic response is (heavily) flawed , I feel angry/ sad about it the rest of the day, then I go back to sleep and repeat.

If we’re not busy fighting other countries, we’re going at it with each other. Neither benefits anyone. If there’s one good thing I can say about Filipinos, it's that they’re really headstrong about their values. Religious, political, conservative, liberal, or just any other opinion. They will take it to their grave if they have to. And yes, that is also a bad thing.

The pandemic hit the whole world hard but not as hard as we have it back here. When we were ranked as one of the worst places to be in amidst COVID-19, I wasn’t even surprised. If anything, I’m more shocked that the rest of the world didn’t realize it sooner.

More than just the pandemic.

I can go on forever about the Covid response in the Philippines but that’s a narrative that everyone knows too well already. You think 2020 was the start of the bad?

We’ve been on the struggle bus for so long.

Where do I even start? WiFi sucks, cities are overcrowded, trying to survive the traffic before someone in your car celebrates their birthday for the second time in one sitting is impossible, half the time, we don’t even know what the heck the government is doing.

It’s just tiring to have to live through it all every single day. Like dang, pick a struggle at least, not throw it all out one after the other.

It’s more “fun” in the Philippines.

Even though I can go on forever about the problems the country has, it would be wrong for me to say that there’s no redeeming factor to it. In fact, there’s a lot.

Sometimes, they just cancel each other out.

Filipinos know how to have fun. Festivals, gatherings, hospitality, humor, sense of unity, plus, the country has some beautiful scenery. These are all just a fraction of what can be experienced here.

Even though leaving the country behind is becoming more and more attractive each day that passes, I can’t fully say I despise it. Maybe it’s because it’s the place I’ve known all my life, or maybe I just like a little challenge. Either way, the Philippines is a country you just love to hate, or the other way around whatever floats your boat.

Pretty cool, right?