Once popularly known as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas," the Philippines may have reached the summit of success in terms of political and economic growth and prosperity before it celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence in 1998. However, it took several successions of brilliant and brave leaders that put the Philippines on the political map and enjoyed being the center of attention in Asia and the world.
I always admire the greatest heroes the Philippines has ever produced. Rizal considered one of the most remarkable men of the Malayan race, has touched the minds and souls of Filipinos and other foreign nationalities through his works and writings that are bold and extraordinary.
As a kid, I've been keen on Rizal as a hero, and at my higher level of study, I've deeply understood his life and his sacrifices for the common good of the Filipino people. When the Philippines was under the rule of Spanish authorities, we were suppressed in our freedom; to express and defend our rights as Filipino People. However, learning about his personality makes me emulate his ways, becoming keenly observant and inquisitive about the current events that are taking place in our political, economic, and social atmosphere. During Rizal's time, when liberty was invaded to keep in silence and follow the mighty tyrants, actions to defend the sovereignty failed numerous times; people fighting for freedom died with thorns in their hearts.
What could be the result of the massive war against giant oppressors versus the sharp bolos, stained rifles, and the power of writing of our heroes? Could the literary works of our geniuses make a significant impact on our freedom?
Today after hundred years of Philippine independence - 118th to be exact, we are looking back to the sacrifices fought by our heroes. We pay tribute to their greatness and valor as they died for the country without seeing the absolute freedom they aspired to. Rizal's teachings have been part of the educational curriculum for young Filipinos to imbibe his greatness and turn weaknesses into strengths. We now have the freedom of expression, and no one can take it away from us; this is the result of the battle our heroes fought centuries back.
Now we have been invaded by a colonial mentality where we almost copy and adopt technological advances; communications have improved and delivers instantly and in real time, and anyone is free to express their thoughts and views about political affairs with conviction. These changes are precisely opposite to what heroes from the past have experienced just to express their ideas and criticism against leaders and the government.
Today, the 12th day of June 2016, is another year of celebrating the success achieved by the Filipinos. We are now reaping what our heroes have sown. We might constantly encounter challenges and problems but we have proven our resilience. We continue to fight the battle and show inherent traits of bravery and valor inherited from valiant heroes. Our heroes of today may not exhibit boldness and a strong sense of nationalism, but our national heroes have done enough, and now we live in a nation built with blood and tears. What could be their thoughts and emotions if they have also experienced what we are enjoying now?
Now that I have grown up as an adult, I will continue to fight for freedom and have full expression of my views and insights to protect and uphold our rights. We have a long way to go, and we are still living in an uncertain world where others show signs of personal advances and taking away our absolute freedom. I am a Filipino born of the Malayan race, and I will show patriotism, kindness, and heroic deeds if necessary. I am a Filipino and will show greatness in my work, delivering excellence and prestige. As a Filipino, I will show dedication and loyalty to our country and be part of nation-building. I am a Filipino and will do my best in words, deeds, and thoughts.
© 2016 Del Cusay