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Culture: A Freedom or Constraint

The Philippines is one of the most culture-filled countries in the world. I realize
that the opening sentence may be a bit biased given my nationality and my allegiance to
the Philippine flag but a full immersion in the Filipino lifestyle could prove my
statement to be more than true. As a nation which has been colonized for a total of three
times and which has close trade relationships all over Asia, the Philippines has absorbed
these countries beliefs and customs, in addition to the traditions of the original
inhabitants of the archipelago.

As a result, the Philippines has become a montage of varying festivities, religions,


gods and goddesses, literature, transportation, goods and many more. We are known for
our hospitality and genuine warmth, our year-long fiestas in celebration of the days of
our patron saints, our incomparable devotion to God, our nipa huts and vintas and
public jeepneys, and our deep sense of family and community. It should come as no
surprise that one of the greatest sources of income for the government is tourism. All
year round, foreigners flock to our tropical paradise to experience something completely
different from what they grew up with.

The diverse and unique culture of our nation is something that is meant to be
celebrated and not repressed. It is an asset that keeps our country economically afloat
and the Filipino spirit very much alive. Our culture is the figurative dove set free from
the cage; it is that which marks our identity in this vast planet; it is that which sets us
apart. Some may argue that in the advent of rapid globalization and innovation,
adhering and conforming to a global standard of acceptance would be ideal. Dug into
further, this could mean shedding some of our heavily ingrained practices to make way
for new technology. Nipa huts would soon be replaced by towering condominiums;
statistics show that the percentage of Christians attending mass every Sunday is
becoming smaller each year; fiestas are losing more of its pomp and circumstance every
year. I believe this should not be so. Just like a tree that grows to last centuries, our
nation needs to have well-placed roots to keep us grounded and to provide a foundation
for all the things to come. A countrys roots is in its culture. In contrast, innovation is the
countrys branches, spreading out far and wide to catch more sunlightmore
opportunitiesto grow as a nation and as a people. This just shows that innovation and
culture dont have to be mutually exclusive; theyre two beautiful things that could coexist and form a synergy that would bring greater good to a nation.