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That elusive progress

As I end the year 2023, I look back at the countries I visited after the lockdown and travel bans. Generally, I do not entertain envy and I genuinely feel good if someone succeeds, especially if that someone is a good person. However, I must admit that during and after each visit I made to another country this year, I really felt envious. I still felt happy for them but I also felt sad for our own country. Why is progress so elusive to us?

I am not going to say that nothing has improved in our country but I believe that we could do a lot more because every Filipino deserves more and is capable of doing more.

Back in April, our family visited four countries namely Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Netherlands. All four countries are in the top 10 happiest countries in the world. If you want to know why, click “Lessons from the happiest countries in the world.” 

My next trip was with a childhood friend to celebrate our 50 years of friendship in June in Singapore. The feeling of envy was stronger here because it’s closer to home and I couldn’t help but imagine where we could be now if we were also blessed with a leader that worked for the common good back in the 1960s, or at least put our act together after we toppled the dictatorship.

My last trip was with my husband and a big group of top performers of a company he consults with. I was really looking forward to the original Holy Land Tour with Dubai as stop-over but because of the war, Holy Land was replaced with Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed the trip with a new perspective on the Arab Emirates. How I wish the Philippines could be closer to them in progress, especially after our tour guide showed us the before and after photos of these progressive cities – they were almost barren lands in 2000! I realized, “Oh my! All my kids were already born when they started their frenetic construction of the tallest, biggest, most expensive, and all the Guinness-World-Record-worthy structures they could build!”

All these countries – Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Netherlands, Singapore, Dubai and Abu Dhabi – seem to be taking care of their citizens. Their needs are