I think I'm beginning to understand foreigners who think we tend to go overboard with the "proud to be Pinoy" bit.
On Facebook, there are these pages like Amazing Places and Fascinating Places that feature awesome photos taken in scenic spots all over the world. You see comments by people of various nationalities, usually expressing awe at the beauty of each place.
If you read the comments of photos taken in the Philippines - that of Mayon Volcano or of our beaches or other nature spots - you will surely come across more than one "proud to be Filipino" comment. And it seems we're the only ones who do this. There are photos taken in Las Vegas, in Montana, Indiana, several places in the US, but you never see a "proud to be American" comment anywhere. Same goes for photos from different countries. I have yet to see a "proud to be Canadian" or "proud to be Aussie" comment in these threads. (I think I'd be annoyed if every photo of the Eiffel Tower had some "proud to be French" comment.)
Is there really a need for us to declare how proud we are every chance we get? I'm sure every person in the world is proud of whichever country they come from, but it seems we have a greater need to convince others that we are no different.
I'm beginning to see this "proud to be Pinoy" phrase more as a defensive statement rather than a simple declaration of something true. It's as if not saying it meant the opposite. It's as if the whole world thought little of us and this was our way of fighting back. Maybe deep down, this is what we really believe.
And we want so badly to change what we perceive to be their image of us.
We hunger for compliments and recognition. Every bit of praise is like a major victory. We'll latch on to it and beat our chest and say "you better believe it!" instead of simply and confidently nodding in agreement. "Proud to be Pinoy" is a battle cry, something to keep our spirits up, and yes, one can say that the Filipino fighting spirit is a good thing to have. I just wish we weren't in battle mode all the time.
I would love to see the day when Pinoy triumphs all over the world are too many to count that we take them for granted, when every compliment we get for the beauty of our land is something that makes us simply smile in humble gratitude, maybe even shrug a bit because it's something we're so used to getting. I dream of the day we no longer feel the need to cry out "I'm proud to be Pinoy!" because that would merely be stating the obvious. Because we'd know deep in our hearts that the world already thought highly of us. And if they didn't... well, we couldn't care any less. Because love and pride for our country would be something each Filipino knew, not something we needed for the world to believe we had.
Nothing is more rewarding for a songwriter like me than to hear other people sing songs I've written. But a song becomes extra special when it touches people in ways one never quite imagined.
"Shine" has always been one of my favorite compositions. It won Second Prize in the 1996 Metropop Song Festival, but it wasn't a hit until Regine Velasquez recorded it in 2004 for a SkinWhite ad. It still surprises me that something I wrote as a love song has also appealed to others as an inspirational song. Choirs have sung various arrangements of it. My friend Mike Kilayko from Guam, whose work entails providing music and musicians to Japanese clients, told me how the song seems to appeal to Japanese people, too. Maybe it's the easy-to-recall melody, or the waltzy feel. For those who have sung it in singing contests, it's a song that provides them an opportunity to showcase their high notes.
The song's appeal, I recently realized, was broader than I thought. My college best friend Dedette shared with me this video of a blind, autistic girl named Sam who sang "Shine." I must say, it's the most heartwarming rendition of the song I've encountered. She seemed to be in her own world while singing the song, you'd never guess the pure tones were coming from her. What a blessing it is to have written a song that could bring out the best in someone so special.
You make me shine, shine
Like the stars in the heavens
You keep me shining through
With the love that you've given
I'm shining on
All because of you
The song is all about bringing out the best in others. I'd like to think the song has brought out the best in Sam, and people have seen a side of her and of autism that they perhaps have not seen before. Sam has also inspired and brought out the best in other people - those who have loved and supported her, as well as those who have heard her sing for the first time. Reading the comments on that page, she has brought people to tears and renewed their faith in God and in what is possible.
As for me, boy, what an honor and a blessing to know that somehow I have made this kind of a connection with someone so special. It's people like these who make a songwriter like me shine. Thank you for singing my song, Sam.
I am so proud of my friends Dodjie and Bambi Fabian, the people behind Wedding Expo Philippines, the biggest bridal fair in the country (or is it in Asia?). Dodjie was a fellow member of the Ateneo College Glee Club and we've been friends all these years. Bambi and I both took Communication, although I was a batch ahead. My mom was ninang at their wedding. I admire this couple so much. I'm amazed at all the hard work they've put into building their company into what it is today.
Wedding Expo had its 20th Edition a few months ago, for which this version of the song was created. This was performed by the Ateneo Chamber Singers, which I am part of.
We'll be singing this at tomorrow's 21st Edition of Wedding Expo at the SMX Convention Center. For details, click HERE.
Now for my own share of shameless plugging, the song EVERYTHING I NEED is available HERE. I have my own booth, too, at Wedding Expo. If you're a soon-to-wed, Wedding Expo is definitely something you need to go to.
My name is Trina Belamide and I'm a songwriter and record producer.
GreatSongsToSing is my online store and I thank you for dropping by! Do comment on my blog posts. I'd love to hear from you!
Learn more about me on www.trinabelamide.com.