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A couple of weeks ago I heard two random pieces of information that stuck in my head.
The first was that Spain, like Greece and some other European nations, is in the grip of a recession and its unemployment rate is a shocking 25 percent.
The second was that the Philippines is now a creditor nation. We've lent a billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund. The international media has noted that while many economies are struggling, ours is doing pretty well. Pundits say the Philippines is one of the breakout economies of the next decade, and "Asia's perennial underachiever is outperforming."
Then it occurred to me that these two random bits may be connected. They need money, we have money, their real estate prices are plummeting...
Let's buy Spain.
1. We can afford it.
1.1. Thanks to our Army of World Domination - the overseas Filipino workers who send money home every month - we've got funds.
1.1.1. They laughed at us because we were willing to take the jobs they didn't want to do in their own countries. Some of them even used "Filipina" as a synonym for maid/domestic helper.
1.1.2. They made fun of us because we welcomed the call centers and BPOs to take the jobs they didn't want in their own countries. "Oh look at the cute brown people who have American accents."
1.1.3. How's your sense of humor coming along?
1.2. After the Spanish-American War, Spain sold us to the United States for about two bucks a head for a total of 20 million dollars. So there is a precedent for one country buying another, and Spain set it.
1.2.1. Nobody asked the people of the Philippines how they felt about being sold to the US. I guess they figured that since the turn of the century Filipinos were busy overthrowing their Spanish colonial rulers, they wouldn't mind switching "owners".
1.2.2. Ah, so you owned us. Haha!
1.2.3. Here's a useful guide for pricing: According to this inflation calculator, 20,000,000 in 1898 dollars is now about $555,555,555.56.
1.2.4. Obviously we'd have to negotiate the final price, but it sounds feasible.
2. We have a history.
2.1. Of course Greece and Iceland seem nice, but we don't have the kind of history with them that we do with Spain. I mean, you can't just shrug off 333 years of colonial rule.
2.2. This is a great opportunity to redress historical grievances. Not just the history of the Philippines but the history of imperialism, colonialism, clerico-fascism, etc.
2.3. The Philippines shook off the Spanish yoke over a century ago, but colonial mentality has not been eradicated. This sudden reversal of roles would be like shock therapy, zapping Filipinos' feelings of inferiority instantly.
2.4. Oye, mestizos.
3. As the owner of Spain, we would not only enjoy unimpeded visa-free travel to that country, we could opt for...hang onto your seats...European Union citizenship.
3.1. We could give ourselves EU passports so we wouldn't have to line up for Schengen visas or visas to most countries ever again!
3.1.1. Ever ever again! (Add maniacal laughter here.)
3.1.2. Since we're not petty, we'll grant Spanish citizens fast-track visa application procedures so they can get their Philippine visas in four weeks.
3.2. Naturally we'd take over the highest levels of the Spanish government and institutions, but leave the day-to-day operations to them. We're not crazy.
3.2.1. Will the director of the Museo del Prado kindly send Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez to my house immediately.
3.2.2. Inform Pedro Almodovar that we have an idea for a movie.
4. Given our talent for soaking up languages (As my friend Guillermo Ramos says, "Nausukan lang ng tambucho ng British Airways, nagka-English accent na") - exposure to so many native speakers would have us speaking Spanish fluently in a month.
4.1. Then we can finally read Jose Rizal's novels in their original form,
4.2. As well as many of the most important documents in our history.
4.3. Paradoxically, learning to speak the language of our former colonizer would enable us to deal with the issues of national identity that vex us to this day.
5. We would own the reigning Futbol World Cup, UEFA European Football and Davis Cup (tennis) champion teams.
5.1. As Filipino citizens, their best players would now be qualified to represent the Philippines in international competitions. I'm sure the Azkals would not mind sharing the field with Iniesta, Xavi or Silva.
5.2. Nadal, Verdasco, Ferrer could give the Philippine Davis Cup team a boost.
5.2.1. Did you know that Dwight Davis, the man for whom the Davis Cup is named, was governor-general of the Philippines from 1929-32?
5.2.2. Rafa, I'm a Federer fanatic myself, but I have some friends who are dying to meet you.
5.3. Our racing, cycling, rugby and basketball teams would also get a boost.
6. Regarding the unemployment problem in Spain: we are certain that many young Spanish would find jobs quickly in the Philippines.
6.1. Say no more. We understand better than anyone the reasons people leave their countries and families to seek economic opportunity abroad.
6.2. Speaking to the Financial Times, the head of Brasil Investimentos and Negócios said, "There is such high unemployment in Spain and Portugal, they should send their people over here [to Brazil] to get work – they can work and then send money back home [to Europe] and then go home themselves after 10 years!" Well lots of Brazilians come here to find work. Come over, we'll find something for you to do.
6.3. Filipinos have no problem working in the service industries or living in the homes of foreigners and raising their children. In times of need we can't be too picky. Interestingly enough, the word muchacho/muchacha has been part of Pinoy lingo for a long time, though the last time I heard it was in a movie where Bella Flores or Zeny Zabala was oppressing the maid.