Be Your Hero

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By Perci Cendaña

Youth Advocate

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


IN SOME cultures, August is the most inauspicious month. They refer to it as the ghost month, a period when it is believed that luck runs dry and misfortunes come. In August, some businessmen for fear of bad luck do not open new ventures, enter into contract, hire new staff, move office or begin construction. This month is not warmly anticipated, in some ways, it is feared.

Young people in the Philippines remember August as the time of the sabayang pagbigkas when they put on their barong, terno, and other traditional wears for Linggo ng Wika activities, which coincide with the celebration of the birth on August 19 of President Manuel Quezon, regarded as the father of Filipino Language.

For us Filipinos, August, more than anything else, is the month of heroes.

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As a nation we celebrate National Heroes' Day every fourth Monday of August and a quick review of history will tell us why August is really a "heroic" month. Two of the three in GOMBURZA were born this month.

The "GOM", Father Mariano Gomez on August 2, 1799 and the "ZA", Father Jacinto Zamora on August 14, 1835. Marcelo H. Del Pilar, editor of the La Solidaridad, was born on August 30, 1850. Nationalist and one of the stalwarts of the golden age of the Philippine Senate, Lorenzo Tañada, was born on August 10, 1898. Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983. In the Cry of Pugadlawin, Katipuneros tore their cedulas in defiance of Spanish rule on August 23, 1896.

The word hero becomes more interesting and layers of meaning are added when translated to Filipino. Our word bayani is rooted in the context of our nation, the bayan. The bayani represents and embodies outstanding acts for country. The bayani lived, fought and died for the bayan. The bayan is not an abstract concept, the bayan is the people.

In finding contemporary meaning in the life and works of our heroes, we are reminded of our sublime duty and responsibility to our fellow Filipinos. Heroism is about imagining how things could be better for our communities, schools and the nation. It is defined by selfless acts. In a sense it is about serving and inspiring others.

The youth are always vilified because many feel that they are too individualistic and have no concern for others. But history will tell us that the youth are always in the forefront of fighting for and serving the nation. This narrative continues up to now. In last year's awarding ceremonies of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO 11) in Malacañang, the representative of the national finalists Carla Cucueco of the Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid articulated it well. She said “I refuse to call this generation a me-generation but indulge me in changing it, as proven by the youth in this room today, in calling it a we-generation, or rather, a TAYO-generation, because ours is a generation that innovates and finds solutions for the welfare of this shared world, for the welfare of our country, the Philippines."

To those young people who serve and inspire, join the search for TAYO12. Log on to www.tayoawards.net.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 28, 2014.

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