False, shallow pride
Last year, a lot of people here went crazy drumming up support and voting for the Puerto Princesa Underground River to be included in the New 7 Wonders of the World list. I gave not a single fuck about the voting, nor for the place; the underground river is nice enough, but I have to say it’s a bit underwhelming. I was reminded about it just now after seeing a quick segment on Balitanghali reporting on the increase in tourists who want to see the river. For fun, I Googled “palawan underground river underwhelming” and came upon this site, which detailed how the New 7 Wonders of the World contest wasn’t even affiliated with UNESCO in any way and actually seems more like a scam than anything else. This is a pretty good post on the topic as well, and I commend the writer for saying, “Filipinos are notorious for voting in online polls. If it is something which can be spun as a matter of national pride, Filipinos will come out in force online, which is exactly what they did here.” More on that in a bit.
Predictably for some Filipino commenters, a handful of them immediately went on the defensive, denouncing any Filipino critics for their supposed lack of pride in the country and falling back on that favorite comment, “Let’s be proud na lang imbes na mag-criticize”. I’m happy to see someone ask incredulously, “Did you even read the article?” True–since it’s a huge scam in the first place, should we even be proud that we took part in a scammy project?
I wish major organizations and companies would refrain from holding online polls. Not everyone cares about participating in such polls, and the ones who will win are those who are mainly supported by their countrymen. You’re not going to get a real picture of which person or place is truly the best. You’re just going to end up with the ones who received overwhelming votes facilitated by extensive get-out-the-vote campaigns fueled by so-called nationalistic pride. Just take a look at the number of Miss Philippines contestants who won Miss Photogenic in previous Miss Universe competitions. Just take a look at Efren Peñaflorida’s win as a CNN hero, which was most likely brought about by a crazed voting frenzy by Filipinos (I maintain that either Doc Hendley or Betty Makoni should have won). It looks like we Filipinos just want to grab any bit of glory that we can, and doing so by sheer force of numbers.