‘There’s hope’

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

THAT was one of the most significant phrases uttered by a young Filipina before an international audience a couple of weeks ago when she was crowned Miss International. To the question about what she would do if she wins the crown, Bea Rose Santiago, conscious of how the Philippines was ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda weeks before, answered:

“The whole world saw how my country suffered. One by one, other countries helped. I would like to thank those who helped my country in our darkest hours. You have opened my heart and eyes on what can we do to help each other...If I become Miss International, I would uphold international camaraderie. I will work to sustain the spirit of sympathy and spirit of hope. As long as we work together, there is hope.”
That she got the crown indicated affirmation of her hope.

Miss International’s simple but positive response to the question before a gathering of people that represented the global community showed an unusual sensitivity and insight into the social network that binds all humanity together.

Her winning the crown is really an expression of a keen understanding of why the human race has prevailed on earth across the centuries. And when she said that for as long as we stick together, we will prevail, I recall the cliche: In unity, strength!

One really cannot dare say that the destruction our country suffered from super typhoon Yolanda is God-given and is meant to try our strength and endurance as a people.

It is as if the power beyond ourselves is trying to determine and ascertain how far we can go, how vitally we can depend on the strength of our spirit and on the faith we hold for the power beyond ourselves who has always stood by us in times of great need.

The competition that the 23-year-old Masbate student participated in was on its 53rd year. She was the fifth Filipina winner during the more than half-a-century stretch of the beauty competition. Which means that our country won the crown five times.

It could possibly be a record that has remained unsurpassed by all the nations that have joined the contest until now. If so, it is an enviable record.

My other point is that coming from a small archipelagic nation in the Pacific Ocean, it is also a feat for the Philippines to be able to stand and protect its position amidst the conflicting national interest of the nations that have staked a claim on the islands spread out on the sea.

We have laid claim to a fabled rich island-group almost within our territorial door and stood our ground regardless of the claim of another nation, which is much, much bigger than us. It is a global diplomatic wonder, especially since it has drawn “sympathy” from other countries.

At any rate, before I would be drawn farther from our original topic of singing paeans to our Miss International beauty queen, I would like to close by affirming the fact of a Filipino saying that only small things can make the eye blink and shed tears.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2014.


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