Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20: National Thank You Day

Years back, when I got my issue of Reader's Digest, I noticed it published the results of a survey done to find out which countries were most grateful. As it was with their previous surveys, Reader's Digest people scattered people anonymously and observed the behavior of the country's citizens, counting the number of times "Thank you" was said.

I really thought the Philippines would score pretty high, considering how we're known for our hospitality. Imagine my dismay when I found we only ranked #22! And the top scorer was, of all places, New York! You'd think that in a place as busy as NY, people would have less time to say thanks!

Now I am wondering what ever happened to the value of gratitude taught to us as little kids as well as the importance of saying thank you. Have we become too busy? Or is it that we really have  taken a lot of things for granted these days?

Inspired by this revelation, Toblerone spearheaded the “National Thank You Day” initiative. This eventually led to Mayor Alfredo Lim officially declaring October 20, 2007 to be Manila’s first “National Thank You Day.” In 2009, the day also saw the celebration of the first Thank You Day Awards where Filipinos recognized former President Corazon Aquino as the person Filipinos should be grateful to the most.

Seeking to further embrace the idea, Las Pinas City Representative Cynthia Villar proposed House Bill 5466, which aims to designate October 20 as a national holiday. She is supported by her husband, Senator Manny Villar, who has filed Senate Bill 1106 for the same purpose. For the Villars, these bills were meant to promote the “celebration of the Filipino bayanihan spirit of according respect for the elders, warm hospitality and distinctive courtesy, and a commitment that the Philippines takes pride in its age-old respectful values.”

Now, Toblerone is supporting the initiative to make “National Thank You Day” an official day in the Philippines. Known for its signature triangles of smooth Swiss chocolate, Toblerone wishes to encourage Filipinos to maintain a mindset of gratitude. Thank You days must not just be on October 20 but every day of the year. Toblerone is now the official 'Thank You' chocolate of the world.

I'm all for this and it makes me even more aware of inculcating the value of gratitude in my children. Right now, even if it's just a glass of water or juice that our yaya brings me during meal times, I make it a point to say thank you. And when the driver brings us home, after a late night outside, I make sure that we thank him too. And I'm glad that habit has rubbed off on my kids who I have heard many times thanking the driver as well.

To find out how to make October 20 the National Thank You Day of the Philippines, visit and sign the online petition.

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