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Remembering Two Great Filipinos

On June 19, 2022, we commemorated the 161st birth anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, National hero of the Republic of the Philippines. Traditionally, we have always had this celebratory event on the day of his birth, and on his death anniversary on the 30th of December as instituted by Emilio Aguinaldo through a decree in 1898.

We might ask: how have these celebrations helped us in realizing the impact of his contribution to today’s Philippine society? How much do we truly honor his memory in our lives as Filipinos?

As we reflect on these questions, it is serendipitous that a few days from now, on June 24, we shall also honor the life of former President Benigno S. Aquino, III on the first anniversary of his death. We see in this great man one Filipino who truly gave justice to the memory of our National hero. He was a man of honor and quiet dignity, propelled by an extraordinary patriotism and inspired by his family’s tradition of service to the country. He lived a life that truly honored not only the legacy of his parents, but Rizal’s gift to the Filipino people.

Rizal fought for independence from Spanish colonial rule. He has become all the more relevant to us today as a powerful symbol of courageously standing up for the truth, and for what is right. To the millennials of today, Rizal’s life mirrors the value of excellence, and of putting at the service of the common good one’s endowments and abilities.

It is not what we do on Rizal day or on his birth anniversary that really gives our National hero the honor he deserves. It is how we live our lives as Filipinos after the celebration is over.

The late President Noynoy has shown us a great example of this. He lived that famous quote from Rizal, “One only dies once, and if one does not die well, a good opportunity is lost and will not present itself again.”. He lived and he died well as a Filipino.

Our country is fortunate to have been blessed with these two great Filipinos.


Birthday greetings to my youngest daughter Ginny on June 25. She is an IT specialist working in Makati, after her stint in Minnesota, USA.


“Cowardice rightly understood begins with selfishness and ends with shame.” ― José Rizal, Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not)


“ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” - Romans 2:7


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