By Kyra Ong, WYA Asia Pacific Intern
Hospitality. This is the most common terminology that describes how Filipinos welcome foreigners or tourists who visit the country. This trait of the Filipinos towards their visitors is undeniably exceptional. Whenever a visitor stays in a Filipino home, there will be a feast or a grand celebration as it is somehow a tradition for us to prepare bountiful Filipino cuisine for guests to have a taste of our culture through food. In addition, a cheerful family would typically be ready to accommodate and spend time with the visitors. To add to that, Filipino families are often more than willing to share not only their meals but their entire home as well. As a matter of fact, Filipinos would usually greet their visitors with the phrase “Feel at home!” to ensure that they are at ease during their stay. For Filipinos, it is a pleasure and the country’s honor to accept foreigners as visitors and build genuine relationships and friendship with them.
Just last week, the World Youth Alliance President, Mr. Obadias Ndaba came to the Philippines all the way from New York. It was an extreme joy for the staff and the interns of World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific to witness how he was warmly accepted by the Filipinos, especially the members of WYA in our activities and events during his visit. Last Thursday, January 24, the regional staff and interns accompanied him to a seminar entitled “Teachers: Molding Future Generations” for the Education students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMAR). Unexpectedly, he was welcomed by a splendid and entertaining cultural show featuring the rich history of their city (Marikina) and of the Philippines through native dances and choral presentations by the very talented PLMAR dance troupe and chorale. It was indeed a surprise not only for Mr. Ndaba, but also for the staff and interns as well.
Hospitality is certainly a trademark of Filipinos. But there’s more to the Filipino culture to be proud of. The Philippines is wealthy in terms of history and culture. Culture represents a form of genuine wealth that should be preserved as it is a manifestation of one’s identity. As a group of teachers expressed in their blog (http://pohnpeimet.blogspot.com/2009/08/importance-of-preserving-ones-own.html), “by preserving culture, one keeps the traditions and family values… one keeps their personal identity intact.” Moreover, as embodied by the vision of WYA, culture plays a very significant role in the authentic development of every person in society.