The following essay was written by Mr. Janus Isaac V. Nolasco, University Researcher at the Asian Center, University of the Philippines. It was published on 24 June in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
It is probably no great leap to say that many Filipinos lack knowledge of and appreciation for Asian societies, save perhaps their own. More knowledgeable about and oriented toward the United States and Europe, they arguably find the French Revolution more familiar than, say, the Meiji Restoration. Filipinos probably feel more at home with Zeus, Hera and the other occupants of Mount Olympus than with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
I wish that a lot more Filipinos know and appreciate Asia. But I am not just speaking here of loving Japanese animation, listening to Korean pop music and watching Korean movies, or traveling to other Asean countries during long weekends. Studying Asia is not just about entertainment, tourism, or memorizing facts, dates and the details of famous personalities in school. More importantly, it is also about moral education and nation-building.