We Should All Be Ambassadors

"Think about the belief system of Filipino drivers that make them behave in that manner. And think of how we can change that belief system."

When you go on trips abroad, I am recommending certain rules you may want to follow so you can be a good ambassador for our country.

When you see something extraordinary in another country, like a Singaporean driver following traffic rules, do not say “buti pa dito, maayos magmaneho ang mga drivers; di tulad sa atin na kung mag-maneho parang may pambayad, kapag nakabangga kakamutan ka lang ng ulo.”

Instead, I encourage you to think about the belief system of Filipino drivers that make them behave in that manner. And think of how we can change that belief system.

Another rule I insist you follow is to be kind to fellow Filipinos you meet, especially OFWs. And please do not react as if someone slapped you in the face when you are mistaken for an OFW.  I have seen some Filipino tourists who suddenly act snooty when other Filipinos ask them how long they have been working in that country.  Well sorry that you were mistaken to be someone who made sacrifices for their family to live and work abroad!

Some, if not most, of the Filipinos working abroad are already treated as second class citizens by their hosts. There is no need for their fellow countrymen to treat them the same way.

Being kind can be as simple as offering to take their pictures when you see them taking selfies.  Yes, OFWs also want to enjoy the sights like tourists, especially on their days off. 

Take the opportunity to talk to foreigners, in the queue to buy tickets, or when you share your table in a restaurant.  Proudly state you are from the Philippine. There’s no need to use your accented English.  If we find it cute that the French speak in stilted English, I am sure they will not think less of us if we speak English in our own manner.

Ask them about their country and tell them about the Philippines.  Encourage them to visit the country.  Tell them about the local places you’ve been to, like Vigan, Laoag, Bohol, Boracay, Palawan, Baguio, Davao, Cebu.  Hence, it is imperative that you balance your being a local and global tourist so you can promote our local sites.

And when they ask about security in the country, tell them that the Philippines is peaceful and safe.   It is not as others portray it to be. Tell them it is not true that “since July last year, more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions”.

By being friendly and kind to all that we meet, we show them the warmth and friendliness of Filipinos.  No tourist wants to visit a country where the citizens “feel both hopeless and helpless”. 

And when an American tourist says that the Philippine Vice President herself said that there is no rule of law in our country, just smile and answer back “We have our own version of Dan Quayle and Benedict Arnold”.

About the Author
Mr. Leo Querubin is a Certified Management Consultant, a Master Project Manager, A Certified International Project Manager and a Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management with over 30 years of extensive, international experience in planning and implementing large scale IT projects. He is currently a Managing Consultant at Indra Philippines handling the Public Administration, Education and Healthcare markets.
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