Our passion with the American dream is turning into a Filipino nightmare. Our people have become a paradox of the Filipinos of yesteryear. They now laugh at such virtues as filial respect and obedience. They think these virtues are horribly, hopelessly old-fashioned. They scoff at our traditional hospitality, our warmth and friendliness, because they have been enslaved by the crass materialism of the age. Is it so hard to believe that we can remain Filipinos and still march onward, ever onward to our national destiny? Are our minds so narrow, is our intelligence so limited that we cannot realize this truth? Can we not see that we can adopt the foreign ways and yet retain the enduring, the admirable qualities that can make the Filipino great? Have we been so westernized that we find the Filipino way alien to our mode of living? The Filipino way is our legacy. It is found in the determination and fortitude, the determination that made it possible for our brothers in the mountains to build the breath-taking rice terraces.
It is found in our courage, in the courage that sustained us at Mactan, at Tirad Pass, in Bataan. It is found in our simplicity and modesty, in the beauty of Angelus at twilight, and in the sincerity of our devotion to our God and our country. These qualities are still in us – in all of us. They are still in our minds and in our hearts. We can still dig them out if we would only forget about our obsessions with brown Americanism. We can still dig them out if we would only dig hard enough. I am looking for a Filipino. I cannot find him among those who shout self-righteously about nationalism and nationalization. I cannot see him among those who preach about Filipinism but whose preachings are empty and meaningless. Will my search be long and vain? It will be. I am afraid unless we wake in time. It will never end unless we realize the sacredness of our heritage, unless we see the richness and the beauty, the glory and the wonder, the promise and the fulfillment of the Filipino vision.