AGM-Proud-to-be-PinoyI have observed a growing dismay of netizens over “Proud to be Pinoy!” posts when people of some Filipino descent are acclaimed in the international stage. Here are some examples of such posts:

  • Marlisa Punzalan wins 2014 X-Factor Australia! Proud to be Pinoy!!!
  • Katriz Trinidad wows judges of The Voice USA! Proud to be Pinoy!!!
  • Bruno Mars rocks at the NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show! Proud to be Pinoy!!!
  • Gilas Pilipinas, our national basketball team, wins one game at the 2014 FIBA World Cup! Proud to be Pinoy!!!

These disgruntled netizens insist that Filipinos have no reason to be proud of the achievements of these people because they are not Filipino citizens. Marlisa is Australian. Katriz and Bruno are from the US. Many players of Gilas Pilipinas do not look like Filipinos and do not have Filipino-sounding surnames. So, why get the credit for their accomplishments?

I think one of the reasons why we are quick to identify with them is the fact that for Filipinos, life revolves around the extended family. There is always a reason to gather everyone. Grandparents, parents, uncles, aunties, cousins, and even godparents–all are invited to birthday, baptisms, graduations, weddings, etc. Our kinship network is vast; every one is a tito or tita (uncle or auntie). Sure, Marlisa is Australian; but don’t tell that to her relatives from Samal, Bataan. She’s Pinay and has made them all proud to be Pinoy!

Well, I will rejoice over the honor our country receives through the achievements of Filipinos and others of Filipino descent. In my book, they are still Pinoys. So, yes, I am proud to be Pinoy!

But you know what else I am proud of? It is the growing involvement of Filipinos in taking the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. For many centuries, the Philippines had been considered a mission field. Today, however, the Filipino Church is a growing mission force–with excellent opportunities and increasing resources to “make disciples of all nations” (see Matthew 28:18-20). Working toward achieving such spiritual impact on the world is worth so much more than winning a talent contest.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving Filipinos. Because of this love, and the honor you give us to serve with you, I would say, “I’m proud to be Pinoy!”

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