Photo by Cel Palaganas

I am a true-blooded Cebuana, born and raised in this small city of Cebu. But is my heritage enough to call myself a proud and loving citizen?

Earlier today, I saw an old woman throw away trash from her food basket to the corner of a small eskinita where I pass by every day. That corner displayed a mountain of uncollected trash that who knows since when.

I took the jeepney. When I reached Colon, the driver signaled a vendor to come so he can buy rags for his jeep and said, “pagdali kay ‘go’ na!”. The vendor then replied, “dah, tuo ba ka ana uy!”

Yesterday, I saw a woman chug on her ice water and mindlessly throw the plastic away on the ground, where she was standing. Along with this piece of trash is more garbage thrown by many who think that the city is a huge trash can.

As you go and explore the city, you will see homeless people, young and old, draining themselves in thoughts of how they can survive another day without food and shelter.

As the day passes, women stand by the dark alleys at night to sell their bodies to random strangers to earn easy cash.

Is this the kind of Cebu we want the world to know of?

As I pondered, I figured that we can do something about the growing problems of our society. Let us stop blaming the government because we can only blame ourselves. A small action can make it big in the long run. Let us help in the betterment of Cebu, starting by becoming better ourselves.

Share your blessings

There are hundreds of thousands of poor people in the Philippines. Let’s face it, the Philippines is not just about the beautiful beaches and landscapes we see on Facebook every day. The Philippines is also about the people. If you see a homeless guy, hungry with nothing to eat, buy him a hot meal. It is a small act of kindness but it can change his perspective on life. You may not make a huge impact on the big world yet, but you can make an impact on his own, little world.

Follow the rules

Please, if there is a sign that says “No J-Walking”, “No U-Turn”, or “No Throwing Of Garbage”, follow! Honestly, it is really shameful to even see signs that say “No Urinating In This Area” (and find out people to start peeing in that same area). A green light means go, red means stop and orange means proceed with caution (and not hurry). A simple mindfulness of the basic rules can make a huge difference

Support local businesses

Local businesses help the economy. If you know someone who is opening a small eatery, buy their food and help share their business page on social media. New businesses also help open many jobs for other Filipinos. So instead of saying “wa’y free taste?”, tell them how much you appreciate them for doing something instead of asking for freebies!

Stop complaining

Complaining is not exactly a bad thing, but complaining without action is. But, who wants to hear our rants anyway? Instead of talking bad about the government and big corporations for not doing enough, take the time to think about what you can do and do it!

Keep your trash in your pockets/bag

I remember getting reprimanded by my parents every time I throw away a small piece of trash, even candy wrappers, or even spitting on the ground. I remember my mother used to tell me to keep my trash in my pockets if a trash can is not available and my father telling me not to spit everywhere (I think I just discovered how to spit at that time, haha). These words stuck on me up until today. And now, I cringe looking at those who do things that my parents told me not to do. The land that we live in is not garbage, let us not treat the Philippines as that.

Respect the elders

I often witness this in the jeepneys when senior citizens are not given priority by the passengers and the drivers. If you see one coming, please move and give way for them to be able to sit right away and comfortably. This also goes for the pregnant and the disabled. We also want to sit right away and more comfortably, too, but they need it more than we do.

Get educated

Education is very important, but I am not talking about the 4-year college course at a university. Though that may help, a bigger help is to educate ourselves on how else we can help improve our country. Let’s put our slow internet connection to good use, shall we?

Love your country

The listed above are not hard to do if you do it by heart. Do you love the Philippines? Do you love Cebu? If so, doing these ways won’t even bother you. Love is not a feeling, but a choice. If you choose to love the land of our forefathers, the same land that was fought for by Jose Rizal and many other heroes, then the future generations will learn to love the same land that raised their ancestors.

If you can love other countries, why can’t you love your own?

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