I AM A FILIPINO

(Carlos P. Romulo (former Secretary-General of the United Nations))


I am a Filipino - inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such I must prove equal to a two-fold task- the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future. I sprung from a hardy race - child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries, the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope- hope in the free abundance of new land that was to be their home and their children's forever.

This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation, every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promise a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is a hollowed spot to me.

By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereof - the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wild life and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals - the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them and in trust will pass it to my children, and so on until the world no more.

I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes - seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapulapu to battle against the alien foe that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor.

That seed is immortal. It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gergorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst fourth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malaca��ang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication.

The seed I bear within me is an immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of dignity as a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen many thousand years ago, it shall grow and flower and bear fruit again. It is the insigne of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the unending search of my people for freedom and happiness.

I am a Filipino, child of the marriage of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I am of the East, an eager participant in its struggles for liberation from the imperialist yoke. But I also know that the East must awake from its centuried sleep, shape of the lethargy that has bound his limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits.

For, I, too, am of the West, and the vigorous peoples of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet that once were ours. I can no longer live, being apart from those world now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon shot. For no man and no nation is an island, but a part of the main, there is no longer any East and West - only individuals and nations making those momentous choices that are hinges upon which history resolves.

At the vanguard of progress in this part of the world I stand - a forlorn figure in the eyes of some, but not one defeated and lost. For through the thick, interlacing branches of habit and custom above me I have seen the light of the sun, and I know that it is good. I have seen the light of justice and equality and freedom and my heart has been lifted by the vision of democracy, and I shall not rest until my land and my people shall have been blessed by these, beyond the power of any man or nation to subvert or destroy.

I am a Filipino, and this is my inheritance. What pledge shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries, and it shall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears when they first saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of the battle cries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan to Tirad pass, of the voices of my people when they sing:

Land of the Morning,Child of the sun returning���Ne'er shall invadersTrample thy sacred shore.

Out of the lush green of these seven thousand isles, out of the heartstrings of sixteen million people all vibrating to one song, I shall weave the mighty fabric of my pledge. Out of the songs of the farmers at sunrise when they go to labor in the fields; out of the sweat of the hard-bitten pioneers in Mal-ig and Koronadal; out of the silent endurance of stevedores at the piers and the ominous grumbling of peasants Pampanga; out of the first cries of babies newly born and the lullabies that mothers sing; out of the crashing of gears and the whine of turbines in the factories; out of the crunch of ploughs upturning the earth; out of the limitless patience of teachers in the classrooms and doctors in the clinics; out of the tramp of soldiers marching, I shall make the pattern of my pledge:

"I am a Filipino born of freedom and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance - for myself and my children's children - forever.

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I first read this speech by CPR when I was still in high school, and it is still my favorite. It reminds me that despite all the hardships, despite all the things that happen in our country, our people still endure.

As in the words of that song that we always used to sing at flag ceremony from elementary to high school (do they still sing it now?):

Ako Ay Pilipino

Ako ay Pilipino, ang dugo'y maharlika
Likas sa aking puso, adhikaing kay ganda
Sa Pilipinas na aking bayan
Lantay na perlas ng Silanganan
Wari'y natipon ang kayamanan ng Maykapal
Bigay sa 'king talino, sa mabuti lang laan
Sa aki'y katutubo ang maging mapagmahal
Ako ay Pilipino, ako ay Pilipino
Isang bansa 'sandiwa ang minimithi ko
Sa bayan ko't bandila laan buhay ko't diwa
Ako ay Pilipino, Pilipinong totoo
Ako ay Pilipino, ako ay Pilipino
Taas noo kahit kanino, ang Pilipino ay ako...

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I Am A Filipino
(Translated from the original Filipino by Layamaria)

I am a Filipino, my blood is noble and free*
Natural to my heart, are noble aspirations
For the Philippines that is my country
Pure Pearl of the Orient
Where it is as if all the bounty of the Creator has been brought together
My God-given talents are meant only to do good
For me it is inherent to be caring and loving
I am a Filipino, I am a Filipino
One nation, one soul is my aspiration
For my country and flag I give my life and soul
I am a Filipino, a true Filipino
I am a Filipino, I am a Filipino,
My head held high to anyone, the Filipino is me



Comments

  • ellamae14 said Oct 19, 2007...
    now you've waken up the nationalism in me. : ) I've read that from highschool too. I love it. Thank you for posting. From reading it I had a glimpse of my young idealistic days. now i'm more realistic and practical than idealistic.
  • Lioness said Oct 21, 2007...
    "I am a Filipino" used to be our piece during an elocution contest back in college. I am glad to read it again. I memorized only a few lines back then, and reading it now, it sure is a very meaningful piece worth passing to the next generations to come.I get teary-eyed when the "Ako ay Pilipino" is being sung in school. Thanks for reminding!
  • che-che said Nov 26, 2007...
    .....npkganda lalo na ung literature na ginawa ni carlos romulo...that is so interesting.......
  • einstein_rudolph03 said Nov 27, 2007...
    It is so nice poem that Romulo did.Talagang napakaganda ng poem na ito......pero kung si rudolph d. flores jr. ang gumawa mas maganda pa joke uli!!!!! ah tekalang poh binabati kopo ung mag mag aaral sa university of batangas lalo na ung mga 1-3 shs speacially sina angela,jem,almira giselle,joash,rachel,deverly,myzel at sa lahat ng one three shs hi nikko nga pala............
  • alexdelantar said Aug 6, 2009...
    I am incorporating CPR's classic speech in my forthcoming bool on Public Speaking in Education. Carlos P. Romulo was one of the very few Filipinos who, with superior values, rose to prominence.
  • monique said Aug 18, 2010...
    wazzup.... am do you know the summary of this poem?? the revived one??

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