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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

BY RENE SAGUISAG: ON PRESIDENTIABLES' CATFIGHT - TAKING THE HIGH GROUND


DECEMBER 18 -Good that the brewing catfight between "presidentiables" Mar and Digong is off. Sabunutan? Why is the focus on the two? Is "presidentiable" Senator Miriam past tense? She can be more, errr, more colorful than either. Had Flash Mar and Fighting Digong fought and improved the chances of either, there may be no stopping Manny Pacquiao in 2022. I am glad that he sponsors a chess tournament while keeping us guessing on who his next foe is. The fight is scheduled a month or so before the May 2016 elections. The polls rate him in the winners' circle, which saddens me. He should be telling us what his plans are as Senator Pacquiao, given the seeming Inevitability of Manny. Candidates, particularly presidential candidates, must take and keep the high ground. Interesting is the series of presidential debates in the US. But, wait, why is Republican Donald Trump doing well in the US surveys with his insensitive anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-women, etc. rhetoric? More presidential Hillary Clinton is doing well for the Democrats. I often recount that during the Marcos era, when we would talk of politics, the consensus reached is that the popular bet is one who evinces an image of "madaling lapitan." In my case, it also helped that along with others, as a human rights advocate, I served countless martial law victims (pro bono, o puro abono, ang mga abonado, 'di abogado). Our lawyers' group of MABINI had Joker Arroyo, Tito Guingona, Joey Lina, Bobby Tañada, and me, in the Senate. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Lynn Lopez ONE NATION UNDER ONE CROWN - We're all a little pageant crazy and that's OK


DECEMBER 24 -It’s been three days since Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach, a.k.a. Miss Universe 2015, a.k.a. Queen P, bagged the third Miss Universe crown for the Philippines, ending what is now referred to as the 42-year drought of Miss Universe titles and making good on her promise to avenge the country after Manny Pacquiao’s defeat at the fists of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. earlier this year. Given that three days is a pretty long time nowadays, when memes are churned out relentlessly mere minutes after a newsworthy event, I think I’ve had ample time to process what went down and think about them clearly and objectively. Oh who am I kidding. I still talk about the pageant every chance I get, and I’m still hungrily scooping up every related tidbit I see and dispense it to others. I’m nowhere near as passionate about beauty pageants as gay Filipinos are purported to be, but I think I’m more of a beauty pageant nerd than a lot of people I know. Waking up early to watch Miss Universe was practically a family ritual when I was growing up (As a kid, my favorite Miss Philippines was Geraldine “Pebbles” Asis. Anybody know what she’s up to these days?).
I enjoyed the hell out of Miss Universe 1994 when it was held here and could tell you so many details about the pre-pageant events (Anybody remember the hoopla about Miss Israel’s terno?). These days, I tend to post one Facebook update after another to share my insights and chat with a like-minded friend while watching a competition. So yeah, you could say my enjoyment of pageants is several steps above “mild interest,” a fact that surprises people who know me. I’m very much aware that pageants are problematic, that they encourage women to compete based on looks, and that they imply that there is a standard of beauty that should be adhered to. I recognize the irony that an event that focuses on women are still largely determined by men, whether it’s the judges or the trainers, a seemingly large chunk of which are gay men, who may have an ingrained idea of how women should look, walk, and dress. And yet it’s satisfying to see any Miss Philippines do well and to watch people from other countries praise and defend their candidates. It’s a complex relationship. Watching Miss Universe was somewhat discouraging for a few years as we (yes, we, because one Filipino represents everyone, dammit) failed to land even in the semifinals until 1999 when Miriam Quiambao became the first runner-up. After that, we enjoyed a string of Miss Photogenic awards, which were largely determined through online voting and which we most likely won because there is no one like Filipinos for banding together and ensuring online victories. And then in 2010, Venus Raj glided across the stage in a queenly manner and sparked amusement with her use of “major, major” in her response to the Q&A. Her performance landed her a fifth place finish (fourth runner-up), but it was the highest the country has ever placed in Miss Universe in a while. Shamcey Supsup did her one better the following year, becoming the third runner-up, and Janine Tugonon got the closest to the crown the next year as the first runner-up. Ariella Arida took the third runner-up award a year later, and Mary Jean Lastimosa landed in the top 10 the next year. It was a string of near-hits, so understandably, pageant fans were left wondering if Our Year would ever come and what it would take to win. Getting so close to the crown was a satisfactory feat; actually winning it would be a total triumph, especially for a country that ardently values beauty pageants and enjoys every bit of international renown that it can get. So it’s not unsurprising that people are going crazy over Pia Wurtzbach’s victory. READ MORE...

ALSO By Fr. R. Aquino: Respectfully dissenting ('NO BIO, NO BOTO')


DECEMBER 21 -By FR. RANHILIO AQUINO
The Supreme Court seems to have lifted the last obstacle to the Comelec's enforcement of its "No Bio - No Boto" mischief. While those opposed to what Mel Sta. Maria has aptly characterized as "the emasculation" of the electorate and of democracy heaved a sigh of relief when the high court TRO'd the ill-advised measure, the reprieve was short-lived. The power of the Comelec to regulate elections is beyond doubt. In fact, in statutory construction, the law student is appropriately warned that when Comelec regulations stem from a grant of constitutional authority, no statute may derogate from them. It is of course a different matter when the poll body's rules effect legislation. But it is not power we are dealing with here but the fundamental policy of any democracy that the governed be given every possible opportunity to consent to their government. It is reasonable that there be registration procedures for voters. But anything beyond that -- especially when it threatens to disenfranchise those who would otherwise be qualified and eligible to vote -- is, borrowing Dean Sta. Maria's metaphor -- an unwelcome "vasectomizing" of the power of the electorate. No Bio - No Boto means exactly that: It is a threat to disenfranchise those who would otherwise be able to vote, but who have not submitted themselves to the biometrics requirements of Comelec. Expunging them then from the voters' list? But does that not run afoul of the doctrine of vested rights -- considering further that the right at stake here is not some right arising out of contract or negotiation, but the fundamental political right to vote?  READ MORE...

ALSO: By XIAO CHUA - Bakit sinasabing kakaiba ang Pasko sa Pilipinas?


DECEMBER 24 -By XIAO CHUA Alam natin na ang Kapaskuhan ay hindi naman talaga taal na Pilipino. Pagdiriwang ito ang pagkakatawang-tao at kapanganakan ng itinuturing ng marami na tagapagligtas ng sanlibutan mula sa kasalanan, ang ating mahal na Panginoong Hesukristo sa isang sabsaban sa Betlehem. Dinala ito ng mga kolonyalistang Espanyol kasama ng relihiyong Katolisismo. Ngunit, makikita na dahil tayo ang isa sa pinakamalaking bansang Kristiyano sa Asya, inangkin na rin natin itong parang sariling atin at gumawa ng iba’t ibang tradisyon at kultura upang ipakita ang ating pagdiriwang. Pasko ng mga Pilipino: Mga Tradisyon Dati, Simbang Gabi ang simula ng Pasko; ngayon, Setyembre pa lang Pasko na. Napakabiswal nating mga Pilipino sa ating paniniwala. Gusto natin kongkreto at naipakikita ang pagmamahal natin kay Kristo at sa kapwa batay na rin sa kanyang panuro. Nariyan ang exchange gifts kapag may Christmas parties, ang monito/monita, at ang pagbibigayan ng Aguinaldo o pera at regalo. Ang “Misa de Aguinaldo” na tinatawag ding “Simbang Gabi” na idinadaos ng madaling araw mula Disyembre 16 hanggang ika-24 ng Disyembre, at ang “Misa de Gallo” naman sa tuwing Pasko. At dahil nga biswal tayong mga Pilipino, ano pa nga ba, kundi nagkaroon tayo ng Panunuluyan, kung saan ginagaya natin ang paghahanap ng kwarto ni San Jose at Santa Maria para maisilang si Hesus. Inangkop na rin ito ng isang grupo ng maralitang taga-lungsod para sa kanilang pakikibaka para sa pabahay kasama ang Urban Poor Associates. Maluha-luha pa rin ang aking mga mata kapag naaalala ko ang pangangaroling namin ng kaibigan kong si Mirdad at ng best friend kong si Mayo noong kami ay bata pa sa Tarlac. Tapos dinadala ako ng mama at daddy ko sa Araneta Center Cubao upang mapanood ang C.O.D. Christmas on Display kung saan gumagalaw ang mga manekin sa saliw at musika ng Kapaskuhan. At siyempre, sa malapit lang, dahil bongga ang mga Pilipino, nariyan ang Giant Christmas Tree sa Araneta Coliseum na binubuksan pa noon ni Kuya Germs. Ngayon, meron nang Giant Lantern Festival sa San Fernando, na may mga higanteng bersyon ng parol na isinasabit ng mga Pilipino sa kanilang bahay, simbolo ng talang patnubay ng mga mago para sambahin ang Panginoon. At siyempre, nariyan ang Belenismo sa amin sa Tarlac. Ang belen ay sinimulan ni San Francisco de Asis sa Italya upang muling isagawa ang kapanganakan ni Hesus gamit ang mga totoong tao. Kinalaunan, mga istatwa o cardboard ang ginagamit dito. Noong 2007, sinimulan ni Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay ng Tarlac Heritage Foundation ang Belenismo na isang patimpalak ng pabonggahan ng belen upang ang Tarlac ay maging Belen capital ng Pilipinas. Noong unang taon na iyon, ang nagwagi ay ang PNP Belen na ginawa ng 24 na pulis. Noong 2014, ang AFP Belen naman sa Camp Aquino ang nanalo, na ginawa mula sa recycled materials ng 200 sundalo. Ngunit higit sa lahat, huwag nating kakalimutan na kakaiba ang paskong Pinoy natin dahil sa pagmamahalan ng pamilyang Pilipino. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Bino Realuyo - Dear Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015, Confidently Beautiful, With a Humble Heart


BY BINO REALUYO What a humbling experience to watch your circuitous path toward the Miss Universe crown. It is easy to get lost in your triumph, easier even to fail to see the message. It is easy to participate in the glory of winning, especially yours, especially retrospectively, although none of us will ever know what it was really like for you making an attempt for the Miss Philippines crown three times, how those years must be like when you were the only one who could see your star consistently shine. However, in the coming year that you will wear your crown and your dream, we need to remind those of us who waited for forty-two years for this moment not get blinded by the glitter of gems, but to remain focused on the transformative power of your humble story. Humility has become so rare in our age of tribal nationalism. When Filipinos say they waited for 42 years for another Miss Universe crown, we didn't expect it to turn into a global telenovela switched on the moment the wrong winner was announced. As I write this, the fires are still burning in the heart of those who couldn't simply translate "defeat" or "grace" into their native languages, but instead resorted to spewing hateful and highly personal online sound bytes. The tribal conversations quickly left the deeply human and traumatic realm of public humiliation and entered a dark mob-like online rant about how Colombia deserved a back-to-back win, and expectedly made a downward spiral into conspiracy theories. It is disturbing how quickly the global village showed its ugly horn, unable to recognize the truth in the story from the fantasy of wishful thinking. The message of winning humbly is lost on many of us. Even more, the idea of resilience in the face of numerous defeat. If anyone understands how to transcend the agony of losing, it is you, the breadwinner of your family since you were 11 years old. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

ON PRESIDENTIABLES’ ‘CATFIGHT’: Taking and keeping the high ground

MANILA, JANUARY 4, 2016 (GMA NEWS NETWORK)  Published December 18, 2015 By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG - Good that the brewing catfight between "presidentiables" Mar and Digong is off. Sabunutan? Why is the focus on the two? Is "presidentiable" Senator Miriam past tense? She can be more, errr, more colorful than either.

Had Flash Mar and Fighting Digong fought and improved the chances of either, there may be no stopping Manny Pacquiao in 2022. I am glad that he sponsors a chess tournament while keeping us guessing on who his next foe is. The fight is scheduled a month or so before the May 2016 elections. The polls rate him in the winners' circle, which saddens me. He should be telling us what his plans are as Senator Pacquiao, given the seeming Inevitability of Manny.

Candidates, particularly presidential candidates, must take and keep the high ground. Interesting is the series of presidential debates in the US.

But, wait, why is Republican Donald Trump doing well in the US surveys with his insensitive anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-women, etc. rhetoric? More presidential Hillary Clinton is doing well for the Democrats.

I often recount that during the Marcos era, when we would talk of politics, the consensus reached is that the popular bet is one who evinces an image of "madaling lapitan." In my case, it also helped that along with others, as a human rights advocate, I served countless martial law victims (pro bono, o puro abono, ang mga abonado, 'di abogado). Our lawyers' group of MABINI had Joker Arroyo, Tito Guingona, Joey Lina, Bobby Tañada, and me, in the Senate.

READ MORE...

In 1987, given the Edsa euphoria, I ran and won without having to spend a single centavo of my own. Were I to run today for the Senate, I am told maybe I'd need half a billion to contend! Anyway, hirap na nga akong lumakad, tatakbo pa! At sino aampon sa tigulang? Ampunin Si Rene was a 1987 blockbuster; in Metro Manila, only Orly Mercado beat me.

Oh, yes, this weekend, I will have my first meeting with my graduate students in San Beda Law. My assignment is the legislative process. I can draw from my Senate stint. In general, I can agree with Bismarck who said two things the people should not see being made: laws and sausages. I can add a third, "presidentiables."

Rene Saguisag is a former senator who authored RA 6713, The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.


By Lynn Lopez: ONE NATION UNDER ONE CROWN - We're all a little pageant crazy and that's OK Published December 24, 2015 11:12am By LYNN LOPEZ

It’s been three days since Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach, a.k.a. Miss Universe 2015, a.k.a. Queen P, bagged the third Miss Universe crown for the Philippines, ending what is now referred to as the 42-year drought of Miss Universe titles and making good on her promise to avenge the country after Manny Pacquiao’s defeat at the fists of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. earlier this year. Given that three days is a pretty long time nowadays, when memes are churned out relentlessly mere minutes after a newsworthy event, I think I’ve had ample time to process what went down and think about them clearly and objectively.

Oh who am I kidding. I still talk about the pageant every chance I get, and I’m still hungrily scooping up every related tidbit I see and dispense it to others.

I’m nowhere near as passionate about beauty pageants as gay Filipinos are purported to be, but I think I’m more of a beauty pageant nerd than a lot of people I know. Waking up early to watch Miss Universe was practically a family ritual when I was growing up (As a kid, my favorite Miss Philippines was Geraldine “Pebbles” Asis. Anybody know what she’s up to these days?).

 

I enjoyed the hell out of Miss Universe 1994 when it was held here and could tell you so many details about the pre-pageant events (Anybody remember the hoopla about Miss Israel’s terno?). These days, I tend to post one Facebook update after another to share my insights and chat with a like-minded friend while watching a competition.

So yeah, you could say my enjoyment of pageants is several steps above “mild interest,” a fact that surprises people who know me. I’m very much aware that pageants are problematic, that they encourage women to compete based on looks, and that they imply that there is a standard of beauty that should be adhered to. I recognize the irony that an event that focuses on women are still largely determined by men, whether it’s the judges or the trainers, a seemingly large chunk of which are gay men, who may have an ingrained idea of how women should look, walk, and dress.

And yet it’s satisfying to see any Miss Philippines do well and to watch people from other countries praise and defend their candidates. It’s a complex relationship.

Watching Miss Universe was somewhat discouraging for a few years as we (yes, we, because one Filipino represents everyone, dammit) failed to land even in the semifinals until 1999 when Miriam Quiambao became the first runner-up. After that, we enjoyed a string of Miss Photogenic awards, which were largely determined through online voting and which we most likely won because there is no one like Filipinos for banding together and ensuring online victories.


VENUS RAJ

And then in 2010, Venus Raj glided across the stage in a queenly manner and sparked amusement with her use of “major, major” in her response to the Q&A. Her performance landed her a fifth place finish (fourth runner-up), but it was the highest the country has ever placed in Miss Universe in a while. Shamcey Supsup did her one better the following year, becoming the third runner-up, and Janine Tugonon got the closest to the crown the next year as the first runner-up. Ariella Arida took the third runner-up award a year later, and Mary Jean Lastimosa landed in the top 10 the next year.

It was a string of near-hits, so understandably, pageant fans were left wondering if Our Year would ever come and what it would take to win. Getting so close to the crown was a satisfactory feat; actually winning it would be a total triumph, especially for a country that ardently values beauty pageants and enjoys every bit of international renown that it can get.

So it’s not unsurprising that people are going crazy over Pia Wurtzbach’s victory.

READ MORE...

Full disclosure: I didn’t get to watch the pageant live (See? Not 100% crazy about pageants), and I merely received updates via Facebook. Hearing that she looked gorgeous in her evening gown and delivered spot-on responses during the Q&As was a relief and even generated approving comments from the people I was with at the time, who aren’t big pageant fans but were still interested to know that Pia had a strong chance of winning. She is Miss Philippines after all.

And that’s really why her victory is celebrated. It’s a thrill to finally win after so many close calls. Plus, the Philippines doesn’t have a ton of international clout, military might, and cultural influence, so people just overflow with nationalistic fervor when one of our own is recognized on the international stage.

We could sling mud at one another in defense of the presidential candidates we support, but we readily rally around a Filipino who is up against the world, and Miss Universe is just one of those things that make that happen.

And if you don’t believe that’s true, just check out how Filipinos have risen to her defense against bashers after the botched announcement during the pageant, and wait until the inevitable welcome-home motorcade and celebration for Pia when she gets back.

Lynn Lopez is an editor, a freelance writer, occasional illustrator, delinquent yogini, and full-time critic of many things.


By Fr. R. Aquino: Respectfully dissenting Published December 21, 2015 3:34pm By FR. RANHILIO AQUINO


By FR. RANHILIO AQUINO

The Supreme Court seems to have lifted the last obstacle to the Comelec's enforcement of its "No Bio - No Boto" mischief. While those opposed to what Mel Sta. Maria has aptly characterized as "the emasculation" of the electorate and of democracy heaved a sigh of relief when the high court TRO'd the ill-advised measure, the reprieve was short-lived.

The power of the Comelec to regulate elections is beyond doubt. In fact, in statutory construction, the law student is appropriately warned that when Comelec regulations stem from a grant of constitutional authority, no statute may derogate from them. It is of course a different matter when the poll body's rules effect legislation.

But it is not power we are dealing with here but the fundamental policy of any democracy that the governed be given every possible opportunity to consent to their government. It is reasonable that there be registration procedures for voters. But anything beyond that -- especially when it threatens to disenfranchise those who would otherwise be qualified and eligible to vote -- is, borrowing Dean Sta. Maria's metaphor -- an unwelcome "vasectomizing" of the power of the electorate.

No Bio - No Boto means exactly that: It is a threat to disenfranchise those who would otherwise be able to vote, but who have not submitted themselves to the biometrics requirements of Comelec. Expunging them then from the voters' list? But does that not run afoul of the doctrine of vested rights -- considering further that the right at stake here is not some right arising out of contract or negotiation, but the fundamental political right to vote?

READ MORE...

The two sections dealing with suffrage in the Constitution incline towards the right to vote: the first rejects any substantive requirement that might limit the right to vote; the second provides for ways by which the illiterate and others similarly situated might vote. In the light of these two provisions, is it not rather clear that the No Bio - No Boto policy is dreadfully off-key?

So sacrosanct is the ballot that huge and acrimonious debates have centered on the accuracy of the count, and the reliability of the machines that are supposed to count. But more sacrosanct than the vote should be the voter, and his right to cast his vote. And rather than putting obstacles in the way to the polls, Comelec should be enticing people to vote, making it easier for citizens to determine who should govern them!

Might the Honorable Court no favor us with a second look?

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino is the dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law.


By XIAO CHUA: Bakit sinasabing kakaiba ang Pasko sa Pilipinas? Published December 24, 2015 2:16pm By XIAO CHUA\n\n


By XIAO CHUA

Alam natin na ang Kapaskuhan ay hindi naman talaga taal na Pilipino. Pagdiriwang ito ang pagkakatawang-tao at kapanganakan ng itinuturing ng marami na tagapagligtas ng sanlibutan mula sa kasalanan, ang ating mahal na Panginoong Hesukristo sa isang sabsaban sa Betlehem.

Dinala ito ng mga kolonyalistang Espanyol kasama ng relihiyong Katolisismo. Ngunit, makikita na dahil tayo ang isa sa pinakamalaking bansang Kristiyano sa Asya, inangkin na rin natin itong parang sariling atin at gumawa ng iba’t ibang tradisyon at kultura upang ipakita ang ating pagdiriwang.

Pasko ng mga Pilipino: Mga Tradisyon

Dati, Simbang Gabi ang simula ng Pasko; ngayon, Setyembre pa lang Pasko na.

Napakabiswal nating mga Pilipino sa ating paniniwala. Gusto natin kongkreto at naipakikita ang pagmamahal natin kay Kristo at sa kapwa batay na rin sa kanyang panuro.

Nariyan ang exchange gifts kapag may Christmas parties, ang monito/monita, at ang pagbibigayan ng Aguinaldo o pera at regalo. Ang “Misa de Aguinaldo” na tinatawag ding “Simbang Gabi” na idinadaos ng madaling araw mula Disyembre 16 hanggang ika-24 ng Disyembre, at ang “Misa de Gallo” naman sa tuwing Pasko.

At dahil nga biswal tayong mga Pilipino, ano pa nga ba, kundi nagkaroon tayo ng Panunuluyan, kung saan ginagaya natin ang paghahanap ng kwarto ni San Jose at Santa Maria para maisilang si Hesus.

Inangkop na rin ito ng isang grupo ng maralitang taga-lungsod para sa kanilang pakikibaka para sa pabahay kasama ang Urban Poor Associates.

Maluha-luha pa rin ang aking mga mata kapag naaalala ko ang pangangaroling namin ng kaibigan kong si Mirdad at ng best friend kong si Mayo noong kami ay bata pa sa Tarlac. Tapos dinadala ako ng mama at daddy ko sa Araneta Center Cubao upang mapanood ang C.O.D. Christmas on Display kung saan gumagalaw ang mga manekin sa saliw at musika ng Kapaskuhan.

At siyempre, sa malapit lang, dahil bongga ang mga Pilipino, nariyan ang Giant Christmas Tree sa Araneta Coliseum na binubuksan pa noon ni Kuya Germs.

Ngayon, meron nang Giant Lantern Festival sa San Fernando, na may mga higanteng bersyon ng parol na isinasabit ng mga Pilipino sa kanilang bahay, simbolo ng talang patnubay ng mga mago para sambahin ang Panginoon.

At siyempre, nariyan ang Belenismo sa amin sa Tarlac. Ang belen ay sinimulan ni San Francisco de Asis sa Italya upang muling isagawa ang kapanganakan ni Hesus gamit ang mga totoong tao. Kinalaunan, mga istatwa o cardboard ang ginagamit dito.

Noong 2007, sinimulan ni Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay ng Tarlac Heritage Foundation ang Belenismo na isang patimpalak ng pabonggahan ng belen upang ang Tarlac ay maging Belen capital ng Pilipinas.

Noong unang taon na iyon, ang nagwagi ay ang PNP Belen na ginawa ng 24 na pulis. Noong 2014, ang AFP Belen naman sa Camp Aquino ang nanalo, na ginawa mula sa recycled materials ng 200 sundalo.

Ngunit higit sa lahat, huwag nating kakalimutan na kakaiba ang paskong Pinoy natin dahil sa pagmamahalan ng pamilyang Pilipino.

READ MORE...

Pasko ng mga bayani: Pasko sa Kasaysayan

Sa kanyang ikalawang nobela na El Filibusterismo, pinansin ni Dr. José Rizal na bagama’t sinasabing ang pasko ay para lamang sa mga bata, ang mga bata ay maaaring hindi naman natutuwa dito.

Pinagbibihis ng mga bagong damit at sapatos upang pawisan at pagtyagaan ang ritwal ng misa, at kapag marumihan ang kanilang damit, ay mapapagalitan at makukurot lamang.

Matapos nito ay papupuntahin daw ang mga bata sa iba’t ibang bahay, magmano sa mga nakatatanda at gagawin ang pinagagawa sa kanila—kumanta, sumayaw, at gumawa ng mga nakatutuwang bagay. Kung hindi nila gawin ito mapapagalitan at makukurot lamang sila.

Bibigyan sila ng pera ngunit kukunin lang naman ito ng kanilang mga magulang at hindi na ibabalik sa kanila.

Ano ang nakukuha nila sa Pasko, mga pasa ng pangungurot, at masakit na tiyan sa sobrang pagkain ng mga keyk? Para kay Rizal, “baptism of fire” ito para sa mga bata.

Hanep talaga si Rizal, tila isang anthropologist na tahimik palang pinagmamasdan ang mga bata tuwing pasko, o hindi kaya sarili niyang karanasan ito noong bata pa siya?

Anuman, sinasabing ang pinakamalungkot na pasko ni Rizal ay nangyari noong December 25, 1896. Nakakulong si Rizal sa Fort Santiago, malayo sa piling ng mga mahal sa buhay, mga magulang at sa mahal niyang si Josephine dahil sa kanyang pagmamahal sa bayan.

Pinaghahandaan ang kanyang depensa sa isang paglilitis kinabukasan na malamang sa malamang ay magpapataw sa kanya ng parusang kamatayan.

Noong mga panahon na iyon ng 1896, nagpapasko sa larangan ng labanan ang mga kasapi ng Katipunan.

Noong 1941, ang mga lolo at lola natin na beterano ay nagsisimula nang lumaban noon sa mga mananakop na Hapones, Disyembre kasi nang magsimula ang digmaan sa Pilipinas.

Noong Marso 1945, matapos mapulbos ang Maynila at maging second most destroyed Allied city in the world, nakita ng kompositor na si Felipe de Leon ang pagkawasak at isinulat ang isa sa pinakamagandang awiting pamasko sa Pilipinas, ang “Payapang Daigidig”: “Payapang panahon / Ay diwa ng buhay / Biyaya ng Diyos / Sa sangkatauhan / Ang gabi'y payapa / Lahat ay tahimik / Pati mga tala / Sa bughaw na langit.”

Ang mga maliligayang pasko at mapapayapang gabi natin at ng ating mga anak ay hindi lamang biyaya ng Diyos, kundi dulot din ng mga Paskong isinakripisyo ng ating mga bayani.


Dear Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015, Confidently Beautiful, With a Humble Heart Published December 24, 2015 11:26am By BINO A. REALUYO

What a humbling experience to watch your circuitous path toward the Miss Universe crown. It is easy to get lost in your triumph, easier even to fail to see the message. It is easy to participate in the glory of winning, especially yours, especially retrospectively, although none of us will ever know what it was really like for you making an attempt for the Miss Philippines crown three times, how those years must be like when you were the only one who could see your star consistently shine. However, in the coming year that you will wear your crown and your dream, we need to remind those of us who waited for forty-two years for this moment not get blinded by the glitter of gems, but to remain focused on the transformative power of your humble story.

Humility has become so rare in our age of tribal nationalism. When Filipinos say they waited for 42 years for another Miss Universe crown, we didn't expect it to turn into a global telenovela switched on the moment the wrong winner was announced. As I write this, the fires are still burning in the heart of those who couldn't simply translate "defeat" or "grace" into their native languages, but instead resorted to spewing hateful and highly personal online sound bytes. The tribal conversations quickly left the deeply human and traumatic realm of public humiliation and entered a dark mob-like online rant about how Colombia deserved a back-to-back win, and expectedly made a downward spiral into conspiracy theories. It is disturbing how quickly the global village showed its ugly horn, unable to recognize the truth in the story from the fantasy of wishful thinking.

The message of winning humbly is lost on many of us. Even more, the idea of resilience in the face of numerous defeat. If anyone understands how to transcend the agony of losing, it is you, the breadwinner of your family since you were 11 years old.

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For the last three years that I have tried, people are laughing at me and
saying that I was trying too hard. And my answer is yeah, I really am trying hard.
I try my hardest because this is what I want.

Indeed, there is grace and humility in losing, and you demonstrated that for the few minutes that you were the Miss Universe First Runner-up. You called it, destiny, and gently surrendered to your fate as second best. Fortunately, the universe had a better plan for you. Even when you were ultimately declared the true winner, your hesitant walk to the front stage was one full of sympathy and tenderness for the other woman who was humiliated in front of millions by Steve Harvey's humanly error. Even with the crown on your head, you made an attempt to comfort the suffering Miss Colombia, risking being ignored or rejected by the other scorned candidates. For you, kindness is more important than ambition. The crown can wait, a human touch can't.

Amid the ruinous noise, you humbly reached out to Miss Colombia by publicly apologizing for an error that wasn't even yours to own. And Miss Colombia somehow managed to post pictures on her Instagram of herself winning the Miss Universe crown, considering public testament by one of the judges, Perez Hilton, that you were the unanimously voted first placer.

Before you even start your Miss Universe voyage, your legacy in humility is already being written. Never mind those who doubted you, never mind those who are still bashing you online, never mind the latinas who still think winning Miss Universe is their birthright, never mind the obstacles that you have yet to face in the coming years, we, the Pianatics, are here to do our part in our bayanihan. You have reminded us in the past twenty-four hours to search within and elevate our human values against angry mobs. You have transformed a beauty pageant of glitter, appearances, and high-heeled logic into a pageantry of virtues and human decency. You have taught us already to never give up on our dreams and move forward with grit. You are showing the world what it means to be a daughter of the global village, and how she must carry herself on the ashes of controversy. But most of all, your triumph is embedded in your humility, a message so desperately needed in a global village that keeps getting battered by hubris, impulsive reactions, and lack of self-awareness.

Pianatically Yours,

Bino A. Realuyo


Born and raised in Manila, Bino A. Realuyo is the author of the acclaimed novel, “The Umbrella Country” (1999, Random House) and the poetry collection, “The Gods We Worship Live Next Door” (2006/8), which won a Philippine National Book Award. He attended graduate studies at Harvard University with a full fellowship from the Kennedy School of Government's Center for Public Leadership. Since he left Manila as a teen, he has lived in New York City and Latin America. His website:
http://binoarealuyo.com/ 

This article was first posted on Huffington Post. It is reposted here with the author's permission. - See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/548974/opinion/dear-pia-alonzo-wurtzbach-miss-universe-2015-confidently-beautiful-with-a-humble-heart#sthash.6ytxJd01.dpuf


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