Becoming world-class Filipinos

“BROTHERS, our greatest enemy is ourselves.” –General Antonio Luna.

Now how did this famous Filipino line come to reach Irish motivational speaker and author Mike Grogan?

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are now scattered all around the world. In his treasure trove of life and work experiences, Grogan has travelled to 39 countries and lived in six of them. He noticed a trend. In so many of these countries, he met Filipinos; and to him, they stood out.

“They’re different. There’s something unique about them that I didn’t see in the others.”

When he noticed the pattern that followed a series of positive experience with OFWs, he came to the Philippines to see if the positivity held up. “That was two years ago, and now there’s no chance that I want to leave.”

“The Filipino makes me a better person,” Grogan said proudly—something shocking considering the vast majority of Filipinos are dissatisfied with their country and their race.

This prevailing “self-deprecation” of Filipinos in their own societies makes Grogan and his team echo the statement of General Antonio Luna: The Filipinos’ worst enemy are themselves. Given his experiences, Grogran and his team travel around the country reminding people of the greatness of the Filipino people.

“It’s like the story of the butterfly—it cannot see its own wings, nor how beautiful these are.”

Mary Gabaya and Kevin Romana join Grogan in his talks. “They’re the heart of it,” Grogan described his staff. He explained that their stories are what people always find easy to relate to, and resound with the vast majority of fellow Filipinos. They spread the message that Filipinos can be world-class, held back only by their own self-limitations.

The team has delivered 62 talks in the three months since they’ve begun, and aims to accomplish around 40 talks every month. Grogan’s book, The Rise of the Pinoy, was published just this year. The first two chapters are available for free on his website:

At the moment, Grogran is particularly interested in speaking to public schools and is offering free talks for them. Parties interested in inviting Grogan and his team can contact Gabaya at +639174941297 or e-mail her at

“I am convinced that we will see a First World Philippines in our lifetime,” said Grogan.

An Irishman is a believer. Are you? Erika Blanche Gocuan
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