In just a few hours, 2009 will end. A new year shall arrive. And I thought what better way to end 2009 than by honoring the country’s most respected individual or group, particularly those who made headlines, gained prominence, and brought honors for the motherland. I believe it’s also a good idea to do this every year. So allow me to make it a tradition, my humble way of honoring annually the best that this country has to offer.
The award for the 2009 FILIPINO OF THE YEAR goes to none other than — THE FILIPINO PEOPLE!
First off on top of the list is our 1986 EDSA heroine, the late President María Corazón S. Cojuangco vda. de Aquino, popularly known as Cory Aquino, who passed away last August 1. Her imminent death due to colon cancer brought back the so-called “Cory Magic” (the phenomenon which toppled the Marcos dictatorship) to the Filipinos and paved the way for the sudden and unexpected rise of her quiescent son, Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Noynoy took advantage of this Cory Magic and ran for the presidency. Right now, he is on top of the surveys for the upcoming 2010 Philippine National Elections.
We also have Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiáo, champion athlete, number one pound-for-pound boxer, and a political wannabe. His recent victory over Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto last 14 November 2009 eventually made him the first boxer in history to win seven world titles in seven different weight divisions, prompting famous and legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum to declare that “Pacquiáo is the greatest boxer I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen them all, including Ali, Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard.” Even boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is terrified to square it off against Pacman. But all this stardom might disadvantage him once he rejoins the dirty world of politics next year.
Efren Gerónimo Peñaflorida, Jr. is another breakthrough. The founder of Dynamic Teen Company won recognition last November 22 when he was named as the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year for his commendable “pushcart classroom” (he calls it Kariton Klasrum) aimed at educating poor children and to keep them away from the corruption of the streets.
Of course, YouTube sensation Charmaine Clarice “Charice” Pempengco shouldn’t be left out. The petite singing sensation from San Pedro, La Laguna earned the admiration of millions of people who saw her astounding vocal exhibitions on the internet. More importantly, she gained fame in the US, the entertainment capital of the world, via The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show (even Oprah was teary-eyed). Many singing legends in the US took notice of her talent, particularly Celine Dion (they even sang together in a New York City concert!). There were also reports claiming that Charice would have been included in Michael Jackson’s This Is It series of concerts had it not for the King of Pop’s untimely demise.
The abovementioned Filipinos have brought honor and pride to the Filipino race. It is of course worthy to honor each and every one of them as this year’s Filipino of the Year.
However, I just couldn’t ignore the Filipino people as a whole.
Yes, FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and ALAS FILIPINAS would like to declare the whole Filipino Nation as this year’s winner of the 2009 FILIPINO OF THE YEAR Award. And this is because of the immense outpouring of support that they gave to their fellow Filipinos who were victimized by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
It was during these troubling moments when the Filipino Nation’s sense of intestinal fortitude –not to mention unity– was tested yet again. Metro Manila was crippled by massive and destructive flash floods never before seen in its history. Seventy five percent of the nation’s capital –including surrounding provinces– was inundated by floodwaters, displacing thousands of families and killing scores of unsuspecting people. Typhoon Ondoy’s backlash continued weeks and even months after the killer floods. But the Filipinos’ unique spirit of bayanihan reigned supreme. Everybody –regardless of social standing, religious belief, race, or political inclinations– helped out in the tragedy by donating food, clothing, money for temporary shelter, basic necessities, etc. Political rivalries were ignored for the sake of the victims. The rich showed that not all of them are stingy and greedy. Even celebrities were seen wallowing in the floodwaters to assist those who were stuck in the water. Individual and private donors were always visible in evacuation centers. Every one made their share.
It is times like these which makes me feel so damn proud to be a Filipino!!!
To the Filipino Nation, take a bow. You are God’s precious race!
May everybody have an exciting New Year’s Eve!