I’d like to ask you as question today. Who inspires you? Since this blog focuses in on Philippine topics, let’s stick to people who inspire you, who also have some connection to the Philippines. It can be anybody, living or dead, historical in nature, or a currently popular person. Even an unknown person could be inspiring, if you have found out something about the person that you find inspiring. Why do you find them inspiring? Have you been inspired by this particular person for the long term, or only recently?
As for me, let’s have a look at some people who inspire me.
Fidel V. Ramos – Fidel Ramos was a General in the Philippine Army when Ferdinand Marcos was basically a dictator here in the Philippines. In 1986, when Cory Aquino ran for President against Marcos, and most people agree that Marcos stole the election, Ramos was the first person who stood up against his boss, President Marcos. It is generally agreed that the action that Ramos took was the beginning of the downfall of the dictator, which ushered in a re-birth of Democracy in the Philippines. Later on, in 1992, Ramos was elected President of the Philippines. Under Ramos, a lot of things started turning around in the Philippines. Economic advances were made, and many people (myself included) believed that the Philippines was on the path to success under Ramos. Unfortunately, after Ramos left office, things turned back around and headed in the wrong direction in my opinion. Also during the Ramos Administration, peace was reached in Mindanao between the Goernment of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front. Because of his actions against Ferdinand Marcos, and his actions as President of the Philippines, I feel inspired by Ferdinand V. Ramos.
Datu Toto Paglas – I wrote a while back about the death of Datu Toto Paglas. Toto was a Mayor of a small town in Maguindanao in the 1990’s and after serving as Mayor of the town (which beared his own name, which is also that of his father), he worked for world peace. During his term as Mayor of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao, Toto brought capital investment into the town, namely a banana plantation, Fruitera. Fruitera provided employment for the residents of Datu Paglas. Toto instituted a policy which basically was that it was not allowed to be lazy in Datu Paglas town. Everybody had to work! Toto brought peace to his community, something that was rare in that part of Mindanao in it’s day. A lot can be learned by studying the actions and policies of Datu Toto Paglas.
Louise Lynip – I came to know of Louise Lynip through Jim Cunningham, a regular LiP reader for years now, and a soon-to-be resident of Talakag, Bukidnon. Louis Lynip died a couple of years ago, but she was a real dynamic lady before her death. Lynip, an American, came to live in Mindanao in the 1930’s, and started an Orphanage here. During World War II, when the Japanese took the Philippines, Lynip went into hiding in the hills and mountains of Bukidnon. At some point during the war, the American forces found out that she was in hiding in Mindanao, and sent a submarine to secretly get her and take her to safety. She was taken to Australia by the US Navy and remained there until the war was over, in 1945, when she returned to Mindanao. At that point, her orphanage took roots in Talakag, Bukidnon, not far from Cagayan de Oro City. She remained in Talakag until her death in 2006. Just about 2 months prior to her death, Feyma and I visited the Bethany Children’s Home and met Louise in person. What a wonderful lady! I was quite saddened by her death, but I also felt so happy that I was able to meet her before she passed. Thank you, Jim, for providing me with the opportunity to be inspired by Louise.
Bebe Metillo – I have written about Bebe Metillo many times on this site, but for those who don’t know, Bebe is my Bisaya teacher. I have known Bebe for a little more than a year now, since August 2007, and in that short time, Bebe has had a tremendous impact on my life. A very positive impact. Bebe’s biggest influence on me, of course, is the teaching of language that she does for me. On top of that, though, Bebe offers me so much more – cultural input, encouragement, etc. I really feel so lucky to have found Bebe, and I also have to thank another reader of this blog for introducing me to Bebe – that was through Shannon, who used to live here in Davao and was a missionary. I believe that Shannon has since gone back to the States, but if she reads this, I offer my sincere thanks to her.
Feyma Martin – Yes, last, but certainly not least is my own wife, Feyma. We were married in August 1990, so more than 18 years now. In that time, I have learned a lot from Feyma, and I value her friendship over that time. Feyma deserves special mention too, having put up with me for so long. I am not always an easy person to deal with! Honestly. Feyma has been my friend, my confidente, and has given me a wonderful family. Without her, my life would not be complete.
Of course, there are others who inspire me, but these are the ones that have a real Philippine connection. Through these people, in one way or another, my life has been changed, for the better too. Some have had very indirect influence on me, others have a daily effect on my life. I thank all of them, though.