December 2, 2022

I dove into ice cold water and started the two hours of swimming to train for a competition that lasts no more than five minutes. In contrast to the ice cold water surrounding me, I am burning hot. As I stare at my coach steam rolling off my skin, I chant one word in my head: tayo. Weird that as a swimmer, I choose to chant a word that means to stand.
To me, this word means much more than to stand. It means keep going even if you are tired. It means getting up when you are beaten. It means rise even if everything is pushing you down. So, during my time in that pool, I wanted to remind myself to keep going and to stand against my fatigue so I can eventually get that gold.
Even now that I am no longer active in my event, I still carry this mindset and this word deep in my heart. No matter how I see it I am not alone in this kind of thinking. Filipinos are proud of this attitude to keep going and rise against any adversities. A prime example of this are the three countries that colonized our small country – from the Spaniards that made established a foundation for our nation to the Americans that taught us much, including betrayal, and finally the Japanese that gave us strength to rebel through cruel and brutal treatment. It is second nature for us Filipinos to stand together and fight like our bloody battle with the Covid-19 where we lost a lot of loved ones and hard working Filipinos.
Another meaning of tayo is together and we as a country love being together. We give each other strength and help each other carry heavy burdens so that no one would be left alone and everyone can survive. Just as our first president Emilio Aguinaldo said, “We cannot free ourselves unless we move forward united in a single desire.” Just like before, Filipinos will stand united when in need, somehow able to set aside our countless differences and together build a foundation that we refuse to let crumble. Tumayo tayo. Let’s us stand together. The persistent and stubborn Filipinos we are, let us keep getting up no matter how many times we are crushed.
All Filipinos know what it feels like to persevere, to fight and to stand. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete or a hard-working person just trying to get by despite the unfair prices of necessities right now. You know that you have to keep going. Sometimes, we would buckle under the weight of the world, but life is not about the many times we fail; it is about how we keep standing.So every time you fall, remember the word tayo and chant with me a word that means to stand rather than to stay buried in the ground.