THE Philippines was all abuzz last week, Wednesday, the 30th of June, and it was not just because the third installment of the Twilight saga movies was opening.

It was the inauguration of the 15th President of the Philippine Republic, in the person of the only son of a couple regarded as modern-day Philippine heroes, Ninoy and former President herself, Cory Aquino. Many call it another manifestation of the triumph of democracy in the country, and highly regard the inauguration as another historic event in Philippine history. It is an inauguration akin to that of President Barack Obama in 2009, complete with memorabilia and all that jazz.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

But what is seemingly extra special is that contagious feeling of renewed hope, that infectious optimism that the Philippines is now on its way to recovery and change for the better. Watching the inauguration rites on tv (admittedly after I was duped into believing Eclipse was not yet opening that day) I feel that sense of patriotism and happiness at the thought that maybe there is hope for our country after all.

I did not vote for Noynoy. He was my second choice, and although the last circle I marked was that for presidency, I stuck with the "pilot". I felt it was too premature for Mr. Aquino and watching his indecisiveness prior to his announcement that he would run, I believed I was doing him a favor by not shoving him into the presidential seat unprepared, and seemingly prompted only by all media hype after his mom's demise. Nonetheless, it was good to know that the sweeping majority of Filipinos have spoken, and as one guaranty of democracy, their voices have been heard and held supreme.

I liked Noynoy's speech - it's full of power, conviction and that shining ray of hope, enough to ignite our hearts. A popular impression was that he sounded like Obama, only speaking in Tagalog this time. Maybe, but I hope he will be more than just all rhetoric, and that he will surpass the scholarly O, now being criticized for lacking in action.

Unfortunately, on his first day in office, the public notes not just one, but four mistakes committed by the Office of the President. "Mga kapalpakan sa unang araw sa Malacañang", I heard people say several times. It's heartbreaking, and not just because it dampened the renewed hope we all felt just the day before, but because we choose to be too critical and judgmental, instead of encouraging and trusting.

Do you remember your own first day at work, doing new things, laboring on tasks you have never done in your life? You must have felt like a bumbling idiot every step of the way. Now imagine that, ten times, or probably even a thousand times over, with the weight of the country on your shoulders. P-Noy's task is, in every aspect, Herculean - he would have to deal not just with the actual pressing issues, but with deeply entrenched mistrust in public office and bureaucracy.

The election of a person whom most believe will be this country's redeemer and catalyst for change is just the initial step. P-Noy is no god, and no superman. He will be needing all the help and cooperation he can get, and it will not help that we are criticizing his every move. We said we want change - we now have hope for that, or so we would like to believe. Shouldn't change start from within us? (serendipity.couch@gmail.com)

"Be the change that you wish to see in this world." - Mahatma Gandhi