Posts Tagged ‘manny pacquiao’

pop goes the world: flag of our fathers

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today29 November 2012, Thursday

Flag of Our Fathers

“Ang mamatay ng dahil sa ‘yo…”

How many times have we sung the national anthem as students, right hand over our hearts, listening to the stirring martial tune as our flag waved proudly in the breeze?

Few can fail to be touched even to some small degree by the emotions that the sight of the flag evokes within us. National pride and unity, patriotism, and our hopes and dreams for our country are all mixed up in the red, white, and blue and the vibrant yellow of the eight-rayed sun and three five-pointed stars.

So inspiring to its citizens are a nation’s colors that we emblazon clothes and objects with this icon. Search the Internet for “clothing with Philippine flag” and you’ll come up with a lot of images of such clothes and shoes for sale.

One of many Internet companies that offer Philippine-flag themed apparel. Image here.

Perhaps the most famous promoter of the use of Philippine flag on clothing and merchandise is champion boxer and lawmaker Manny Pacquiao. He set a fashion trend and in so doing changed culture norms; Filipinos who were once ashamed or embarrassed or too colonial-minded to proclaim their origin now wear such clothes abroad, as a mark of pride in their national and ethnic identity.

But in so doing, the country’s most accomplished athlete of all time – and those who wear clothes and gear with flag designs – may be breaking the law.

Republic Act No. 8491, approved by the Tenth Congress on 12 February 1998, prescribes “the code of the national flag, anthem, motto, coat-of-arms, and other heraldic items and devices of the Philippines,” otherwise known as the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.”

Chapter I, Section 34 prohibits a wide gamut of activities that may “cast dishonor or ridicule upon the flag or over its surface.” It is expressly forbidden in line (e) to “wear the flag in whole or in part as a costume or uniform.”

This is the reason that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office had to pull its Manny Pacquiao commercial from television. In the TVC, Pacquiao is seen wearing a jacket with the flag on its front. The PCSO, being a government agency, naturally had to comply with the law once this provision in the Flag Law was pointed out to them.

Champion boxer and lawmaker Manny Pacquiao in the Philippine pride jacket he made famous. Image here. 

Which brings us to the question:  how relevant is the Flag Law to present times?

The same section, line (g), prohibits the printing, painting, or attaching a representation of the flag “on handkerchiefs, napkins, cushions, and other articles of merchandise,” something that we see a lot of in gift shops nowadays.

Line (h) prohibits the “display in public [of] any foreign flag, except in embassies and other diplomatic establishments, and in offices of international organizations,” but they do this sometimes in front of hotels and conventions centers when foreign dignitaries are visiting.

Line (i) does not allow the use or display of the flag as part “of any advertisement or infomercial,” but this has been done, not only for products but by government agencies as well.

Line (j) forbids the display of the flag “in front of buildings or offices occupied by aliens,” but what if the office building houses both a government agency and foreign embassies?

There is also a provision on illuminating the flag at night (Section 6, but this is sometimes disregarded) and for a flag-lowering ceremony by government offices every Friday afternoon (Section 18), but I have never seen this done.

And these are just the provisions pertaining to the flag; there are still more, concerning the motto (yes, we have one, it’s “maka-Diyos, maka-tao, makakalikasan, at makabansa,” but when was the last time you saw or heard this anywhere?), the coat-of-arms, the great seal, and “other heraldic items and devices.”

Going over the entire law, one gets the feeling that it was written in the 1930s or some other conservative point decades in the past, rather than a mere fourteen years ago.

Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, a vexillology and heraldry enthusiast, wrote an interesting column in 2005 on this topic, calling RA 8491 “an example of a badly, and ignorantly, written law.” He pointed out contradictions and said the enforcement of some its provisions are “absolutely impossible,” especially with respect to its display in public.

The flag law was amended in 2010, but the changes do not address all the inconsistencies. It still forbids the wearing of the “flag, seal, coat-of-arms (in whole or in part) as part of a costume or uniform as a fashion accessory or merely as a design element,” but allows these to “be incorporated as part of the uniform of Filipinos representing the Philippines in international sports, cultural, or scientific competitions or official functions with the approval of the NHI [National Historical Institute].”

This law needs to reflect more accurately the spirit of the age. In these times, with technology allowing the easy reproduction of the flag image upon all sorts of items, it is virtually unenforceable anyway. And why curb the enthusiasm of Filipinos to display their flag on clothing or items, as long as this is not done in a disrespectful manner?

“Let your freak flag fly,” goes a popular saying. All some of us want is to be allowed to carry the image of the flag of our fathers close to us, to remind us always of our Inang Bayan, that we have sworn to die for, if the time should ever come. *** 

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pop goes the world: the culture of negativity

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  28 July 2011, Thursday

The Culture of Negativity

This being a column that looks at the world from a cultural perspective (in the social anthropological sense), I am attracted to descriptive terms using the formula “culture + (trait) = label for social phenomenon.”

Last week I wrote about the culture of impunity. This time we look at negativism, and how endemic it is in our culture.

Doomsayers abound – the media are full of them, as are street corners. This is not to say that their points are not valid; more often than not, they are. And it is often strong negative emotions that elicit the strongest reactions, and make people discuss them with force and spirit.

Perhaps it is our superstitious side that does not wish to dwell on good news, because to be humble about such things is considered better than talking about them lest disaster and ill luck follow. The strong collective nature of Filipino society also regards talking about one’s achievements as bragging. People who do so are considered show-offs – mayabang - and through various forms of social sanction are taken down a peg –  being shamed or criticized in public is one such way.

About the only achievements that may be celebrated publicly are in sports (Manny Pacquio and the Azkals’ victories), academics (the annual crop of the universities’ summa cum laudes), and showbiz (Charice and other Filipino performers doing well abroad).

However, what is sad and counter-productive is when good news, especially in government, is disbelieved or taken for granted. Achievements are shrugged off and gains set aside as only to be expected. “Dapat lang,” is often the response, with a disdainful sniff.

President Aquino mentioned this in his State-of-the-Nation address the other day, when he said, in Filipino, “Let us end the culture of negativity; let us lift up our fellow Filipinos at every opportunity. Why do others delight in looking for whatever is ugly in our country? And is it so difficult – almost a sin – to say something good?”

After his speech, brickbats were hurled at him left and right, with the exception of some columnists. He left many issues unaddressed, they said. Yet has he done nothing right?

This is not to say everything has gone as it should. There is still much work to be done. The reality of poverty, the inequality of wealth distribution, the lack of local jobs that has led to the Filipino diaspora, is something that we have to confront.

Says an American friend, who has made many Pinoy friends online and because of its people has come to love the Philippines: “I know how sad the state of the Philippines is. It saddens me so much. I see the poverty and how cheap human life is. I see a culture of privilege and caste. I see a bankrupt philosophy buried in a religious dark age. It’s as sad as anything you might find anywhere.

“What is even sadder is how the people could have had such a different path.”

We could have been on a different path a long time ago, if we had chosen to take one before, if we had not deviated from the progressive path we were on in the ‘60s;

If Marcos and martial law did not take us down a dark and bloody road that set our nation back decades, and from which we are still trying to recover. While he and his First Lady built much massive (and blocky and boring) infrastructure, that is just window-dressing compared to the ills of the culture of impunity they embedded and that we are still suffering from, and the lives lost during the First Quarter Storm and well into that regime that we are still mourning;

If Gloria Arroyo and her ilk did not set out upon a path of greed and drain our nation’s coffers almost dry.

Now, after decades of abuse at the hands of such leaders and their cronies, how can we expect President Noy, now taking our country upon the daang matuwid, to fix all these societal problems in a matter of 365 days?

Some analysts say the gains he cited in the SONA as current were taken out of context. Are there then no achievements that may be attributed to this administration? To say that is to negate all the hard work put in the past year by the current crop of government leaders and workers, which is not fair to them.

In short, di na tayo na kuntento. Shouldn’t we be grateful for something at least, rather than the nothing that we might have had if things hadn’t gone as well as they have, considering?

In the end, it’s a question of what we truly want and how badly we want it, and if we are willing to work together – rather than against each other – to achieve it.

But then again, do we know what we really want? And what is it that we should want?

Here’s a story about that, from Hong Kong writer Nury Vittachi’s mystery novel The Feng Shui Detective (2000):

 Blade of Grass, the things you want are the things you do not want. Hear the ancient story of the man who knew what he wanted.

He was walking by the riverside when he saw an Immortal. The man was very curious. He looked at the person from Heaven.

“I suppose you want something from me?” said the Immortal.

“Yes,” said the man.

The Immortal touched a stone with his finger. It changed to gold. He said: “You can take.”

The man did not go. He stayed.

“Do you want something more?” said the Immortal.

“Yes,” said the man.

The Immortal touched three rocks nearby. They turned to gold. He said: “You can take.”

But the man still did not go.

The Immortal said: “What do you want? What is more valuable than gold?”

The man said: “I want something very ordinary.”

The Immortal said: “What do you want?”

The man said: “Your finger.”  ***

Azkals image here. President Noy here. Marcoses here. Book cover here.

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pop goes the world: the social effects of manny pacquiao

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 12 May 2011, Thursday

The Social Effects of Manny Pacquiao

In recent years, one of the most interesting phenomena ever to emerge from Philippine media is the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon. There has never been anything quite like it before.

The various forms of mass media are saturated with news about Pacquiao – before, during, and after a fight – from television to radio to the Internet. It seems almost as if time stops in the country when Pacquiao fights; the crime rate is even said to drop significantly, something that would be a good topic for a research study.

What’s so fascinating about Manny?

Manny Pacquiao is a Filipino boxer who, from the deepest obscurity and poverty that most fighters come from, has punched his way into world consciousness and sport history as the “greatest pound-for-pound fighter” ever to grace a ring. His feat of going up eight weight classes, gaining pounds yet never losing his speed, flexibility, and power, has never been done before or since.

In general, fighters tend to stay within their weight class or go up a class or two (which means going up in weight). However, the added poundage takes a toll and as per the Peter Principle, they will hit their “level of incompetence” perhaps a class or two above their original one, unable to eke out any more success from that point on.

As an athlete, Pacquiao is incredibly disciplined. He maintains a strenuous daily training regimen which includes running several miles a day, sparring with several partners, and calisthenics.

His hard work has paid off. He has suffered only three losses – in 1996, to Rustico Torrecampo; in 1999, to Thai Medgoen Singsurat; and in 2005 to Erik Morales, an indignity he avenged in twice, in 2005 and 2006. Once he hit his stride after that, under the able coaching of American trainer and former pugilist Freddie Roach, he has not lost any of the 14 fights he has had since.

Because he has beaten many Mexican fighters, the US sports media bestowed upon him the monicker, “The Mexicutioner”. As a play upon his name, and because of his successive victories against fighters of many nations not just Mexicans, including Hatton (UK), Clottey (Ghana), and, most recently, Shane Mosley (USA), he has been likened to the power-packed enemy-chomping video game character “Pacman”.

Image here.

He offers each fight, each victory, to the nation (pagmamahal sa Inang Bayan); he is prayerful (madasalin), dropping to his knees to thank God after each fight; he indulges his Mommy Dionesia, wife Jinkee, and children (pagmamahal at pagpapahalaga sa pamilya); despite his wealth and lofty stature in sport and politics, he also is an average man prone to temptation with beautiful women (machismo, pagiging tunay na lalaki.) These are attributes deeply embedded in Philippine culture; he is therefore the Pinoy “everyman” that the majority of the masang Pilipino can relate to, and his successes have made him a symbol for the Philippines and Filipinos, his efforts a matter of national pride.

Jinkee, Manny, and Dionesia Pacquiao. Image here.

Prior to the Pacman phenomenon, boxing in the country existed under the radar of the vast majority of Filipinos. It was perceived as a bloodsport, a cruel and inhumane activity participated in by men of poverty hoping to earn a living from prize money. For decades, the popular sport was professional basketball, under the auspices of thePhilippine Basketball Association.

After that, with the success of “Amang” Parica and Efren “Bata” Reyes in the international professional billiards scene, that sport enjoyed a run of popularity, as evinced by the sprouting of billiards halls in nearly every town, and the purchase of pool tables for the homes of those who could afford them.

Despite the achievements of Flash Elorde, Rolando Navarrete, Gerry Peñalosa, and Luisito Espinosa in World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association matches, it had to take a Pacman and his steady stream of exceptional international victories for boxing to enjoy a resurgence in this country.

Every Pacquiao fight is now aired over multiple mass media channels – pay-per-view cable television, delayed telecast on free TV, for-pay screenings in movie theaters, radio broadcasts, updates on the Internet via news articles, Facebook updates, and Twitter, and between people using mobile phone texting.

Image here.

Round-by-round news of his fights are almost inescapable, being passed around even through word of mouth. Try riding a taxi during a fight; the driver will update you the moment you step inside.

Such a media phenomenon seems to have spawned some social effects, not the least of which is the new popularity of boxing. Undercards are now being seriously watched and the boxers followed, unlike before Pacman when undercards had the same relevance to viewers as the opening acts in big-name concerts (people tend to ignore them and think of them as necessary nuisances). Former undercard boxers such as Nonito Donaire have gone on to gain their own fans.

Boxing and mixed martial gyms have sprouted up in many areas of the country, with more young men than ever hoping to fight their way into the ranks of multi-millionaires, while the out-of-shape hope to get buff.

There are less men in churches on Sundays when there are Pacquiao fights.

Media, particularly print, tout that “there is no crime on Pacquiao fight days.”

Also most telling, Pacquiao has become a symbol of Filipino pride around the world. The persona of Pacquiao has become a sign connoting abstract concepts such as Filipino-ness, national pride, and love of country.

He has entered the national mythos, and that is not the least of his achievements. In Joseph Campbell’s concept of the monomyth or “hero’s journey”, a hero from the ordinary world is chosen to enter a realm of strange events; if he accepts the challenge, he must perform tasks and face trials. If he survives, the hero earns great gifts or boons which he may use to improve the ordinary world if he returns to it successfully.

This Pacquiao has done – entered the strange world of international boxing, performed tasks impossible for other boxers, and earned prize money and learned skills that he uses to better the lives of his fellow Filipinos.

For many, Pacquiao is a true hero, and his accomplishments have made changes on our culture, the effects of which we are discovering as his story still unfolds.    ***

Time magazine cover here. Joseph Campbell image here.

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the manny pacquiao doll

[Published as a "Pop Goes the World" column in Manila Standard-Today on 17 February 2011]

“A doll,” says Wikipedia, “is a model of a human being.” Going with that definition, this three-foot figure of world-famous boxer and Philippine congressman Manny Pacquiao is indeed a doll. Now how many Philippine celebrities have dolls made in their likeness – or international celebrities, for that matter?

Dolls have been around since the early days of human civilization, made of whatever material was at hand – bone, cloth, wood, stone, wax, ivory, porcelain, and an array of other materials. They are a “candidate for the earliest known toy, having been found in Egyptian tombs from 2000 BCE,” laid with great care beside the dead person’s body, signifying that the doll was a precious possession to them in life.

In the modern period, most of us are familiar with dolls as traditional toys for girls, such as the indomitable Barbie. Most dolls are female and can serve to socialize young girls in gender-based behaviors in terms of dress, hair, makeup, perhaps serving as “practice” tools. Male dolls made for female play are after-thoughts or accessories, like Barbie’s Ken.

Boys play with figures that are military-themed or that in general have links to traditionally masculine roles. (Can you say “GI Joe” or “Transformers”?) However, to distinguish between male and female toys, and to dissociate from the feminine connotation of the word “doll”, toys for boys are called “action figures”.

Nowadays, with doll-making technology advanced enough to copy the likeness of an actual person, dolls are being made that look like celebrities. What could this mean?

The root word of “doll” is the Greek eidolon, meaning “image, idol, apparation, phantom, ghost,” which could also be linked to the word “idol” – “an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed; or, any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.”

Gods and goddesses are super versions of the human, with human characteristics blown up to exaggerated proportions – beauty (Venus), martial prowess (Mars), wisdom (Athena), and so on. As their physical representations, idols and religious images can be considered a kind of doll, being models of (super)human beings, with the aspirational and admired attributes greatly emphasized.

Celebrities are the modern-day idols, the focus of awe and worship of adoring fans. In fact the actual terminology and practice of fandom verges on the religious – favorite actors/performers are called “idols”; the word itself has crept into Filipino usage, the way we say “Idol ko si Derek Ramsay.” Their pictures are taped to bedroom walls while pocket-size photos, sold for ten or twenty pesos each,  are carried around in wallets, the way posters or calendars of “Mama Mary”, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or the Holy Family used to be tacked to walls and stampitas with the gilded halos around the heads of saints were tucked into wallets and books.

Dolls of celebrities are a socially acceptable way of creating images of showbiz idols that one can bring home and gaze at adoringly, without fear of social sanction or other repercussion stemming from a bending or skirting-around of a norm.

What does it mean that a doll is made in the likeness of Manny Pacquiao?

The likeness, though a caricature, strove to be as faithful to the real thing as possible, even down to the tattoos.

The cult of Pacquiao has reached idolatrous proportions as exemplified by this tribute to his fame and prowess. Even while still alive, Pacquiao, a present-day gladiator, has already been deified, by this means accorded immortality of a sort. This plastic doll made in his image, down to the tattoos, may now be purchased by admirers who can adore him at their leisure and convenience, much like displaying a santo on the family mesa altar or attending Sunday Mass at their chosen time and church.

As a doll he can be worshipped in an intimate way not possible with a flat, two-dimensional photograph. One may imagine seeing Pacquiao in the round, from all angles, in this instance with the well-developed muscles and facial hair signifying strength, masculinity, and determination – the attributes of Hercules – and honored as such.

This particular doll is a caricature, a version of the real thing that exaggerates the idolized attributes. For idols, patterning after the real thing is not possible or even not desired, because the good characteristics are inflated while the bad are minimized or deliberately omitted. Just as the Venus of Willendorf and other mother goddess figurines from prehistory have no faces but disproportionately large breasts and vulvas signifying fertility, so the Pacquiao dolls need not be accurate and faithful to the original, as long the idea of Pacquiao-ness is conveyed.

A friend has one of these dolls, displayed in a prominent place in his home that he has outfitted like a shrine to his idol. The cult of Pacquiao is growing; remember that the word “cult” is embedded in the word “culture”, and Pacquiao and his greatness as being worthy of elevated levels of admiration have evolved into a meme replicated in Philippine culture.

In this cult, Pacquiao is the new god – he shall redeem Filipinos from international disgrace as a failed nation with his victories in prizefights, he shall deliver us from our idiocies and trespasses with his common sense, and he will save the country from itself through the sheer force of his good intentions.

Bonus shot: empty pizza boxes. As a collector’s item, the question arises – what for? Well, no one ever claimed idolatry is practical.

All definitions quoted from Wikipedia. Photos taken at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Drive, Makati City, on 16 January 2011. Shot with a Nikon Coolpix L-21.

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pop goes the world: pacman and pinoy pride

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 18 November 2010, Thursday

Pacman and Pinoy Pride

Galit talaga si Pacman sa guwapo. When he’s up against handsome foes, he rearranges their faces into less attractive patterns.

That’s one of the many witticisms buzzing in the grapevines after Sarangani congressman and champion boxer Manny Pacquiao’s latest victory in the ring. His masterful control of the prizefight againstAntonio Margarito of Mexico impressed the denizens of spectators at the Texas venue and all around the world.

The event promotional poster. Image from here.

And Filipinos, true to form, busted out with the wisecracks after the win. (It would have been a different story if Pacquiao had lost.) Upon seeing Margarito’s face swell to twice normal size during the beating he took from Pacquiao, friends I watched the fight with said, “His last name suits him – maga ritoAt maga roon.”

Kidding aside, it was obvious before the fight that Pacquiao would have to work hard for this win. Kibitzing with officemates last Friday, I predicted that it would be a Pacquiao win by unanimous decision in 12 rounds. My friends were all for KO or TKO. But Margarito had the weight and height advantage, and was sturdy and robust compared to that peanut brittle Ricky Hatton, who went down under Pacquiao’s pokes – those weren’t even serious punches – in the second round.

At the pre-fight weigh-in. Image from here.

Manny would have to wear down the Tijuana Tornado; and he did it like the worst tropical typhoon that ever devastated a landscape, drowning Margarito under a barrage of blows to the kisser and quenching the fire of his long-armed jabs.

A Los Angeles-based Filipino friend, Ray San Juan, said of the fight: “It was like Zen watching Manny control the game. He was like water, just flowing with the energies of the match, as opposed to Margarito’s listless flat-footedness.”

Margarito tried to defend himself, but in vain; the accuracy of Manny’s punches were such that his glove would ram in between Margarito’s arms that were shielding his face.

First one of Margarito’s eyes swelled, then blood flowed from a cut, then the other eye ballooned, as did his bruised cheeks. After a Pacquiao makeover, Margarito’s own mother wouldn’t have recognized him.

“I really punished his face,” said Manny in the after-fight interview. Yet Manny had no stomach for his handiwork; he looked pleadingly at the referee to end the fight, full of pity for his determined foe, but Margarito, peeking through puffy eyelids, declared he would soldier on. Pacquiao would have wanted a fight stoppage to spare Margarito any further injury. “Boxing is not for killing each other,” he declared.

The Pacman Makeover: De La Hoya, Diaz, Hatton, Cotto, and Margarito after their bouts with Pacquiao. Image from here.

They fought a good fight. Both are valiant warriors, excellent examples of specialists of the sweet science. They persevered though beset with challenges – Margarito and his obvious dehydration, a factor that contributed to his weakness and slowness; Pacquiao and his weight gain to move up a class.

At the finish, viewers were left with admiration for Margarito’s grit and Pacquiao’s matchless strength, speed, and skill. Ray added, “Even the Mexicans at the sportsbar where we viewed it cheered for Pacquiao.”It’s great to hear about them cheering for the Pinoy Mexicutioner. It’s obvious they know a great thing when they see it. The admiration for the strong, speedy, and skillful transcends national boundaries.

Margarito cowers beneath the onslaught of Pacquiao’s punches. Image from here.

But Margarito didn’t let Manny get off unscathed. Pacquiao had to see a doctor after the fight to have his ribs checked out, the area Margarito kept raining with blows. The physician gave him a clean bill of health, but this is a lesson to Manny not to be complacent. He said in an interview that as early as the second round, he knew he could control the fight.

If so, then he should have finished it early, to reduce the risk of injury to himself and to his opponent. I met the great heavyweight prizefighter Muhammad Ali some years back, and he was a pitiful sight, hands shaking from Parkinson’s, unable to make eye contact. I’d rather not see Manny reduced to that. His own coach, Freddie Roach, a competent boxer himself, also suffers from that disease, which commonly afflicts boxers; if Manny would spare himself that by retiring soon his millions of fans would be happy. Anyway, he has a new job as a politician; why not settle into that?

Once again, Pacquiao has made the Philippines proud. But let us ask ourselves how much of our pride in Manny is genuine happiness for an extraordinarily talented individual, and how much of it is vicarious satisfaction. Manny works very hard for the fame and fortune he now enjoys; is it fair for an entire nation to ride on his coattails?

Let us, in our own various ways, eke out achievements that in themselves will bring honor to the country. I agree with my friend Ray when he says, “Manny will teach us one thing, [and that is] to push the envelope beyond our preconceived borders.”

I started my career as a sportswriter, and even back in the day, the local boxing stables were already full of pugilistic talent – Luisito Espinosa, Rolando Navarrete, and others. Perhaps all they needed was a Freddie Roach; if they had a coach as good, who truly cares for the wellbeing and success of his fighters, who knows what heights they could have reached?

Manny and Freddie after the 19 November 2009 fight against Miguel Cotto. Manny’s face is practically unmarred after going twelve rounds with Cotto; Freddie’s face shines with joy. Image from here.

In the same manner, stellar songbird Charice, another source of Filipino pride, had the good fortune of being discovered on Youtube and of being taken under the wing of starmaker David Foster.

But those are the breaks of the game, and it does not fall to everyone to enjoy such opportunities. Still, you’re one up on the competition when you’re prepared, therefore the extreme importance of a quality education and proper training for those seeking employment and entrepreneurship chances.

We cannot let the successes of individuals be our only source of national pride. When our entire country, through collective effort, has lifted itself up from the muck of corruption, complacency, and poverty; when consistency and fairness mark the justice system; when human rights are respected and all are deemed equal under the law; when all that’s amiss is fixed, then we can truly be proud of ourselves as Filipinos.  ***

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