O, Binibining Bayani | Part One

Apart from the “special” bunch of kids who wondered “bakit laging naka-upo si Apolinario Mabini?” the general consensus is that we, the typical Filipino population, have at least some knowledge of who our Filipino heroes are. However, if I asked right now “who is Teresa Magbanua, Marcela Marcelo, and Agueda Esteban?” I’d probably get several “uhm’s” and a few permissions to Google it. Don’t blame yourself though, I also didn’t know who they were before. Why? Let’s take a look at the history of history.

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Rizal Portrait, Wikimedia Commons

As of today, nearly all of us know reformist writer Jose Rizal as the national hero of the Philippines. However, what not a lot of us know is that currently, the Philippines doesn’t have an official national hero. This is in spite of the initiatives carried out as far back as 1995 when the National Heroes Committee recommended nine historically significant persons for the title. This included Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang. On one hand, it’s great that these people are recognized by the general population as prime examples of courage and nationalism. On the other, however, we can note the fact that the only two women on the list, Melchora Aquino and Gabriela Silang, are probably also the only two women we can recall from colonial Philippine history. We can cite a lot of reasons, with fingers immediately pointing to our basic education curriculum. However, can we really put all of the blame on the DepEd? Not exactly.

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Artist depiction, bibliodyssey.blogspot.com

Women’s rights movements have dated since the 1840‘s. It has had immense success especially in the areas of suffrage and labor. However, we must also acknowledge the overarching stigma in our society affecting females – degradation. We associated women with inferiority, ironically, because of the roles we gave them in the first place. Women during the colonial period were limited to being homemakers; and although we have given them right to be educated, we educated them as housewives. This cycle continued until it was inculcated. Many have accepted this limited role, simply because it had become the way of life. It is because of this association that we tended to overlook the roles women played in the revolution; “those are men’s jobs” we would assume. With the misplaced roles we have assigned them, even today’s educational curriculum fails to adequately represent just how big a role women played in the fight for our freedom. Not only did they keep supply lines and medical support running, some have even taken on a front line roles in combat. Yet, it simply is more convenient to remember them on the sidelines with their cooking and sewing. What a shame.

Like I said, not all the blame falls on our educational system, yet I also believe that it’s time to stop clinging to a mistake, even if it took us decades to make. We need to further recognize women in our historical records and our curriculum. All of which would trickle down for the better; for if we knew the reality of the potential women had historically, we will be able to progress well into a future of equity.

Who should we include? Come back next week for part two.


National Commission for Culture and the Arts


Aldrinlimequila (Photos)

Cemeteries are Worth More Than Bill Gates

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“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” 

You’ve probably already heard this quote; and to this day it holds true. However, despite death’s inevitability, not a lot of people think about it nor plan for it. No, I am not about to sell you a life insurance plan. I will tell you, however, that it is for this reason that I can honestly say that cemeteries are worth more than Bill Gates’ riches combined.

One Filipino dies ever hour because of kidney failure. End-stage renal disease currently only has two methods of treatment. Firstly, there is dialysis. However, despite advances in medical technology, most patients never see a return to their normal lives. Furthermore, because of its high cost and physical demands, some patients end up spiraling down depression. The more effective treatment is through organ transplantation. This, however, also has its own issues. According to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, there are over 7,000 patients in the Philippines who are in need of a kidney transplant. This statistic only accounts for those on waiting lists and doesn’t yet account for those who have not sought treatment for end-stage renal disease.

We currently have a shortage of donors. It takes great amounts of courage and generosity if you’d want to donate one of your kidneys. Furthermore, while living on a single kidney is possible, its not without its challenges. It imposes a dietary limit we have to adhere to, lifestyle changes to cope with lesser renal capacity, and more. In essence, we need both our kidneys. However, what if we ask the question: do we really need them…after death? Nearly 500,000 Filipinos died in 2011 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. They estimate that around 1,300 of us die each day. Despite death being inevitable for every single one of us, I doubt that more than a few of us realize the opportunity that awaits us. We fail to see the chance to give someone else a second life upon the end of ours; that is through being an organ donor.

It may be because of different reasons. We may have simply overlooked the option, may not know about it well enough, or may even have some apprehensions about being an organ donor. Here’s a brief of what you should know about it. Prior to your death, you will have full control over which organs you wish to donate, and all of your decisions shall be honored with the utmost respect upon your death. This can be done through an organ donor card or through the option presented on the back of all Philippine driver’s licenses. If you choose not to be a donor, that choice shall be honored as well. Being an organ donor does not mean that once you fall ill or experience an accident, you will not be treated anymore and will have your organs harvested asap. You will get the same, full medical care as that of a non-donor. Only upon the meeting of all criteria to merit a clinical death will your body be assessed for possible transplant procedure. Once successful, you would have given another soul not only a new kidney, but also a new chance to live their life once again. You will have the opportunity to give someone a new breath of life – literally. And you may even give someone the opportunity to see for the first time in their entire life – to see the beauty this world has to offer, and to finally see every single person that as loved them in their life.

Talking about death may not really be the best subject in the world, but the beautiful irony of it is that it presents the opportunity of starting a new life. It is inevitable, why not take the task and make a difference!

For more information regarding organ transplant, visit the National Kidney and Transplant Institute website or contact them through their trunkline – 924-3601 to 19.


National Kidney and Transplant Institute

Philippine Council for Health Research and Development

The Philippine Star