December 6, 2022

“Hanggang saan aabot ang P20 mo?”
Sounds familiar? This is a line from an ice cream advertisement that became a hit several years ago. It is peculiar but I’d often remember this whenever I pay my fare in the jeepney. Every time I recall this, I’d say to myself, “Bente pesos, di pa bayad pamasahe ko.” I would shake my head as I hold a crumpled and stained P20 bill in my hand that’s probably been in the hands and pockets of numerous people and touched the filthiest surfaces too.
Filipinos are known to be respectful, hardworking, and dedicated individuals, but have you ever wondered why only a few of us leave poverty despite all the pains we go through spending more than half the day working and stressing about money? You may automatically blame the corrupt government for the situation you find yourself in, that despite the rich resources and endless potential of the country, there is still lacking opportunity and employment.
Have you ever stopped the blame-game for a second to think where else it could have gone wrong? After busting yourself and going on a non-stop struggle for a month and finally receiving your paycheck where do you first go?
You can’t deny that if the saying, “Work hard, play harder” was a person, it would be us. We may say that we worked hard, but at the end of the day, bad habits would render that hard work useless.
A lot of us glorify luxurious names rather than their usefulness. Despite finding it hard to put food in the table we prioritize how presentable the plate and spoon would be. We’d spend beyond our means because we care about what other people think. We desire what is sosyal. Everyone would know at least one person who acts and behaves in a way that makes you think they are rich individuals. Is our behavior or is the brand we wear really define our financial stability? Or is it just a façade?
The one-day millionaire syndrome affects a lot of Filipinos. We save for months then we’d eventually spend it and lose it all to our own addictions, online shopping, and gambling among other things. We crave the fun of playing pokers, card games, and cockfights.
Have you noticed that poverty-stricken areas have the largest family sizes? It may be due to the lack of education but poor family planning has led to further poverty.
We are also undeniably picky with jobs. We want a high-paying job that requires only a minimal effort that needs no expertise, but that is impossible isn’t it? It is just deluding oneself that’s why we fail to see through the scams that promises P20,000 every hour if you would just pay these anonymous online agencies P500. It is stupid yet a lot of people still fall for it.
So, instead of just relying on the government for help, try to start with yourself. Success does not happen in an instant. It takes effort, not just a week or a month. It may take years to fully get rid of old habits but if you start today small steps make big changes. Be realistic, start small like trying to take on those low-paying jobs around the neighborhood then you can build from that and then start a 30-day savings challenge. “Hanggang saan aabot ang bente pesos mo?” The answer is, “P20 goes a long way.”