Today we celebrate the 115th year of our Independence. Although the country is far from being completely 'free' I still believe we need to be thankful for certain liberties we do enjoy in our lupang hinirang.
Sadly, we tend to take the true meaning of freedom for granted. For most of us, June 12 is just another holiday we don't have to wake up early and commute to work.
You see all the years we lived abroad, our family would try to assimilate in our assigned location to the best of our ability. This meant speaking the language, eating the local cuisine, adapting to the climate as well as being friends with the locals.
Yet on the 12th of June, we would brush off the dust from our Filipiniana outfits and attend the flag ceremony at the Embassy. We would sing loudly the national anthem with our right hand over our hearts. Later, we join the Filipino community activities such as partaking of Filipino dishes, participate in festivities featuring our cultural dances and attending the formal reception at the Embassy.
I remember distinctly when we were stationed in Brussels, Belgium, I was around 11 years old. My mother forced us (my sister and I) to join the other children of my father's colleagues in the Embassy to perform the Itik Itik dance. I had no idea what it was, I didn't even speak a single word of Tagalog so I had a difficult time performing the dance. I looked quite awkward. Till this day, we laugh our hearts out when we remember how I became the ugly duckling in that Itik Itik dance. :D
Those were the good old days!
So for me, I always associate June 12 with Pinoy pride. A time to dress up in our finest Filipiniana outfit and be truly proud of being a Filipino, inside and out!