For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Literature and Humanities teacher in one of the private high schools in the area. In the curriculum, the students read about 9 to 10 novels a year; but other than the usual classics that are covered in Literature programs, I have also included books that are designed to make them better individuals.
One such book is “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” by Alex Lacson.
Mr. Lacson noticed that we Pinoys are a rather unpatriotic lot. We reject our local products in favor of imported ones; we don’t pay our taxes; we put down our country in jokes and in conversations with foreigners; the foreign embassies are always full; heck, the most popular course in college is one that gets us out of the country.
Long story short, he wrote a book in an effort to goad each of his countrymen into believing in his struggling country again and to take action to helping the Philippines out. He split this effort into, you guessed it, twelve chapters, each one tackling a specific action that we can do to help the Philippines.
Chapter 3 of the book is about buying locally-made products. I felt quite strongly for this one, as I grew up in America, where, when I lived there, there was a strong “Buy American!” campaign; and I’ve seen first hand how South Koreans will not patronize anything else but their own products.
It frustrates me to no end why we refuse be like that, and are quite the polar opposite of it. In fact, for one of my introductory reflection assignments for that chapter, one student summed up what the whole class, and probably the whole nation, felt about our homegrown goods: “I don’t use Filipino products to the point that I don’t even know what they are.” Wow.
So my assignment for this chapter went like this: for one week (which I now regret, I think it should be longer) they will buy and use only Filipino made products and replace the imported products they use everyday with them. At the end of the experiment, they write an essay on how it went. There were a few groans, but being good kids, they went through with it.
A week has passed and in come the essays. I found some humor in what some of them said (“this was my first time eating a Champ”) but all in all I, with a very serious heart, really poured through them, hoping that the results would be something positive for the Philippines.
The more common product switches were: Hapee for Colgate; Magnolia butter for Anchor; Artwork, Penshoppe on any other local brand for Guess and its ilk; Piatos for Doritos; no McDonalds or any other international fast food chain, but Jollibee, Greenwich and the others instead; local jams/spreads instead of Smuckers; Nips for M&M’s; and many more.
The verdict? For the vast majority of the products, there was very little to no noticeable difference in quality. The students were a bit surprised by this, and as a result of this assignment they also wonder why we as a nation turn up our noses on the things we make, when the quality isn’t that bad. Many are now very willing to make the switch for good and will encourage their parents to do so, too.
Well, I’m posting this news here because I’d like to challenge the readership of this site to do the same. Why not make a conscious decision to replace the imports that we love so much with local equivalents? You may be as surprised as my students were.
I my opinion, Swiss Miss has nothing on our native tsokolate drink. I use Hapee for my toothpaste. I use, and vastly prefer, Human Heart Nature instead of OFF! for mosquito protection. I haven’t ordered from any fast food other than Jollibee and Chow King this year so far. I buy local snacks for the kids (in fact, I prefer the barquillos and otap to the chips). Heck, this has affected me to the point that I have sold my Nokia phone and bought myself a dual-sim model from the Philippines’ first mobile phone brand, My|Phone.
Yup, I’ve gone Pinoy…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.