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    Posted September 30, 2011 by
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    “When Private Opinions Becomes Public”

    “Terrifyingly Important Opinion”

    “Speak My Nation”

    While inside a taxi, I started a conversation with a 33 year old cab driver known as Edward. I told him it was odd that I was able to hail a taxi so quickly on that cloudy afternoon weekend just after payday.

    "It's slow today, Edward said. “The weather is bad. Everyone wants to stay home."

    He taps his fingers on the steering wheel while looking out the windshield. There was a bottleneck. We were stuck in the middle of the road with the sound of the heavy rain almost drowning the voice of the news announcer on the radio which Edward seems to be listening to carefully.

    "This week is not good." Edward sighed.

    During that 15 minute ride, Edward, married with 2 kids, told me he’s a high school graduate.

    “It’s hard to make ends meet. It’s a crisis.” He said.

    Lately, I find myself having conversations with different people about our country’s economy and it seems the mention of the phrase “the poor getting poorer” is becoming very common.

    English writer, Jan Struther said. “Private opinion creates public opinion. Public opinion overflows eventually into national behavior…That is why private opinion, and private behavior, and private conversation are so terrifyingly important.”

    It appears some people have the tendency to relate and establish their living and survival on what they hear daily which, in this case, seems to influence and beget an unpromising mental and emotional view and disposition.

    I wondered why I don't hear aggressive, constructive and sound words from people about survival, improving livelihood and making it through.

    I went around Metro Manila, Philippines and found Delia Elicanal and Raymon Gabriel.


    Nephews and nieces


    Delia Elicanal, 55, single, from San Juan City, has worked in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia as a domestic helper.

    I spoke with Dr. Lourdes “Honey” Carandang, a clinical psychologist who has more than three decades of practice, teaching and research, and told her Elicanal’s story.

    Dr. Carandang said. “As with my own study, in a certain level of society, their lives (Overseas Filipino Workers) don’t really change much. She came back. She’s quite strong. She was able to come back and see that she doesn’t need to work in another country.”

    Elicanal helps her nieces and nephews. “They’re having difficulty landing a job.” She said.

    I also talked to Professor Henry Prudente about Elicanal. He is an economist who teaches Finance and Economics at the College of St. Benilde and, for the past 10 years, at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

    Prudente explained since most Filipinos are inherently entrepreneurial, it’s not a surprise Elicanal started her own business.

    “From being a domestic helper, she is now an entrepreneur and an employer.” He said after watching Elicanal’s video where a woman was working behind her.

    “We could take a page out of her book. More power to her. I think she is a great role model.” Prudente said.

    On the right track

    From Quezon City, Raymon Gabriel, 38, with his wife, Malou, owns a medium sized business. They have two children.

    Gabriel said they have made adjustments in their business to conform to the changes in the economy. “I can say we’re on the right track.” He added.

    He explained that the struggle with the time between his family and the business is the number one problem they are encountering right now.

    Gabriel said it is important that they stay where they are right now and plan for the future.

    Prudente explained “You can see it in him. He wants to keep on pushing even against the multinationals – even if it’s a difficult economic climate.”

    Dr. Carandang said Gabriel exhibits flexibility, resiliency and adaptability. “He also has willingness to accept what’s happening. It’s an optimistic view point in spite of what’s happening.”

    On Gabriel’s advice, she said. “He’s giving hope to people. (He said) Keep your passion. Keep your motivation.”

    “He is able to do what he is advising so that makes his advice more credible.” She added. “To see an example that you can survive – to know that it can happen, that is a big thing.”

    On Elicanal and Gabriel’s mention of prayer, Dr. Carandang said “It is very Filipino. Our spirituality is somehow a big factor in coping. It is usually something people really turn to.”

    “Whatever is happening to them externally, they have a sense of self. They still have their values, optimism and belief in God.” Dr. Carandang explained. “They’re quite inspiring. They’re ordinary people. They do not have much in life. It should inspire people from different walks of life to hear what they’re saying.”

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