American Legacies to the Philippines

I have now been living in the US for five years now. I am continually amazed at the great diversity in the society. It is amazing how people of so many diverse cultures, languages, religion and race can live together harmoniously and productively. Surely there are still instances of discrimination, but the openness and tolerance I generally see is unparalleled anywhere in the world.

American society is a secular one, driven by business, science, technology, leisure and the military. However, the greatest legacies of the US during its colonization of the Philippines were its educational and health systems. We have also patterned our political system after the American model; but I fear that has been a bane to us. The fifty years of American rule of the Philippines were a lot more benign and enlightened than the 300 years of Spanish occupation, whose main legacy was our Christian faith.

Teaching and healing, these too were the main activities Christ did during his life on earth. The Americans probably taught us more about being authentic Christians than the Spaniards did by shaping our health and educations systems. And beyond the blandishments of Hollywood and its world of glamor, America has always had a special place in the hearts of Filipinos. Education and health are the essential roads to development. They are also powerful instruments in dispelling superstitions. I have spent most of my productive years in these two areas of human endeavor.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

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