MANILA, June 12, 2005
(STAR) NOTES FROM THE EDITOR By Singkit  -  Now is the season to talk about heroes and martyrs, freedom and country, a time for pride and patriotism. The prevailing mood, though, is more of pessimism and frustration than pride, as–again–scandal upon scandal involving government officials of varying importance regale a populace increasingly under seige from high prices and difficult times.

So what have we to be proud about? Certainly not jueteng or incriminating CDs whether "manufactured" or "fake"–or both. Not political leaders grandstanding at every opportunity, fulminating over offenses by fellow politicians, or those making sweeping declarations of supposed achievements (99% jueteng free?) then having to make hasty "clarifications".

Look instead at ordinary Filipinos, those among the 80-something million who live and work honorably despite difficult circumstances and those who by sheer talent, dedication, and hard work succeed at what they do and make a difference in our national life.

In this issue we feature a few such heroes: an artist, a couple of designers-entrepreneurs, folks in a foundation reviving an industry–all proudly proclaiming "Filipino" on the international stage. It is our privilege in this line of work to meet many such people, and we have had the delightful job of telling their stories and, sometimes, helping them along. Not only at this time when we celebrate Philippine Independence Day will we highlight such achievements; we have been and will continue to do so week after week.

That is the best way we know how to celebrate our national day. Look past the headline grabbing scandals and find the real stories, the real heroes, the Filipinos who do our country proud.

Over dinner last week, talk turned to acquaintances who have of late had to hurriedly uproot themselves and their families because their immigration applications were unexpectedly approved, and how it seems several countries are laying now out the welcome mat for immigrants. Someone then made the comment that I should hurry up and file an application to this particular country before I go over the age ceiling. I know that comment came with good intentions, but no matter how much I may harp and haw about life in these islands, this is home–where my heart is, where I’ll stay. There are, after all, enough real heroes here to make being a Filipino still something to be proud of.

Happy Independence Day!

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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