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Dapat Magsaya Ka: A British Girl’s Touching Memoir About What She Learned from Filipinos

Raising an eyebrow to this statement, he further speculated to me, “Why not? Japan is a small island. It is one people and one language. Look how much they did.” (The Japanese had a huge part to play in the Second World War, where the Philippines was oppressed greatly.)

I may not believe his theory is true, however, it got me thinking further. I am a firm believer in the power of “What if.” These two words hold greatness and the ability to overthrow Kings, Tzars, Governments, and change laws. The Filipino people are an amazing wonder to behold. I have always believed their greatness is underestimated, that they have so much strength to show the world. They are the only nation I know of that still smiles after a disaster. After the fearsome Typhoon Haiyan, many lives and homes were lost or destroyed. Yet a video of the people dancing among the wreckage to “Happy” by Pharrell was the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen. The Filipino heart is truly a wonder. They share and give and love.

Sophia Woodleigh Dapat Magsaya Ka: A British Girl's Touching Memoir About What She Learned from Filipinos

A friend told me that storms here are named after each letter of the alphabet. He told me that easily in one year they can go through the entire alphabet, and in one night they had two years’ worth of rainfall. I was astounded; they laughed.

Everywhere I go here I see God. Sure there are many statues of Jesus, stickers exclaiming “God is with us,” and even atop skyscrapers: “In God we trust.

” But I truly see God everywhere. I saw it in two young boys selling bananas by the road. The heat was unbearable, the traffic was throbbing, dust and dehydration saturated the mood, yet they were laughing and smiling at each other. I have met many people with wealth, power, and education. None of them looked like those two. I don’t mean aesthetics. I mean their hearts.

What if our people were not oppressed by Government powers? What if our police force was not corrupted by money? What if the Filipino people had not sold their talent, skills, and handiwork to the Chinese? What if the taxes went to the people’s healthcare and not in the pockets of senators? What if the tools given to kill ourselves was not at so low a price? (Cigarettes and alcohol are incredibly cheap and “rewards” to buy more are given, shown from a Marlboro advertisement.)

What if what if what if.

I suppose that many countries in similar situations to the Philippines can say the same thing. I do not know their hearts but I know this one.

Throughout history, the Filipino people have altered the future in the name of sacrifice. Their hearts so moved by political leaders fighting for their causes that movements are created. One drop in the water creates larger ripples. They do not believe that death is the end; but instead the beginning. Jose Rizal, for example. Philippine’s national hero who lived during the Spanish colonial rule. For 300 years, the Filipinos lived under their dictators. Until one man came along who changed history. His death instigated a number of events to occur leading to the liberation of this country.

Sophia Woodleigh Dapat Magsaya Ka: A British Girl's Touching Memoir About What She Learned from Filipinos

During the 70’s, senator Ninoy Aquino fought for democracy against the Marcos dictatorship. He was sent to exile in the US, but longed to return to his homeland to fight further. When asked in an interview of whether he feared death upon his return, his answer became the battle cry of millions. I still see it on signs across the country. He said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

He was assassinated and his legacy began.

Dapat magsaya ka. I must endure this life. I must learn from my people. Death must not be the end of living; it must not be the end of joy or prevent us from doing good deeds. It must be a reminder for us all. Of how short life truly is. We are but flowers fading. Every day we live, we are dying. We must face this reality head on and leave a legacy that those we leave behind can be truly proud of. That God can be proud of.

The Philippines may not rule the world, but the nation that rules with God truly is the most powerful country in the World.

Sophia Woodleigh Dapat Magsaya Ka: A British Girl's Touching Memoir About What She Learned from Filipinos

As printed on the Philippine currency,

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
Psalm 33 v 12