Thursday, May 13

Being Pinoy

Seems to me being a Filipino is not too bad after all. These past weeks I've seen 3 or 4 Pinoys, a couple of them being half-breeds, that have been basking in the limelight of global scope. I mean it's not that we've not had any big names up there before, there's Leah Salonga for one, but a class act from a so-called third rate country like us, is almost always hard to come by. So, it makes for a fresh source of pride and inspiration when we hear of Pinoys making the leaps and bounds every now and then in the international scene. Anyways...

The two half-breeds are finalists in the American Idol contest, Jasmine Trias and Camile Velasco. Both grew up and are based in Hawaii. For the record, I don't normally ogle into these kinds of voyeur stuff about the blesseds and beautifuls, I just happened to walk past it while channel-surfing one a boring day, the day when I was nursing a horrible flu (still am) and had nothing better to do.

It was a marathon run of all AI episodes, from day one of audition, down to the finals where only 8 hopefuls remained. Well, I didn't regret spending the rest of the afternoon glued to AI, watching these two cute-as-a-button girls with impressive singing prowess. And my, what a following they have.

I particularly liked Camile because of her unique demeanor, there was both a perpetual smile and an impassioned writhing across her face when she sings. From my point of view, and in spite of her american twang, she's all filipino to me. Sadly, she was voted out around April. It was her nerves that got the better of her. But Paula Abdul, one the judges who make critiques of their weekly performances, advised her to move up to the West Coast and try the recording industry. I guess with the talent and face like hers, sans the nerves, every door of opportunity will gladly open at her beckon...

Meanwhile Jasmine is now in the remaining four final contenders (two blacks, one white, one amerasian). Which means she's having a field day. Win or lose, I'm very sure she's going to be a great pretty kickass with a honey voice, in Hollywood.

The other one I'm talking about is Manny Pacquiao. I didn't use to think much of this guy, having seen him fight in a local arena. With the corn-coloured highlight on his hair, an ugly tattoo, that pubescent moustache that seemed out of place, and to top it all a sloppy stance in the boxing ring, I dismissed him as one of the hopeful provincianos who'll be a one-hit wonder and will eventually be lost in obscurity someday. But I was much too wrong.

The Manny I saw fight last Sunday in Las Vegas opposite the hardrock Marquez of Mexico--well, he was just unstoppable. I probably still think he didn't have the class of a Marquez, his hands were all over the place compared to the very controlled movements of his opponent, but he took blows in and out with the bravest of heart. He floored Marquez three times in the first round, I thought that was the end of it, but owing to the technical rules which I don't care to know about, the fight dragged on to the last 12th round.

Cramps, blisters and all, it was only later in an interview that we learned of Manny's torture and heroism while trying in every round to knock his opponent down, and not forgetting to ask for divine intervention. The game ended in a draw, a fate I guess worse than death, it being a consolation for both boxers to at least not have lost. In his broken english, he said it was all for country. And it would be a shame not to give him the respect he long overdue deserves.

Last, is a Major General who authored the analysis report on the alleged abuses of Iraqi detainees in a US-kept prison in Al Gharaib. I saw him only in a CNN live feed of the US senate hearing over the issue, where he was asked to testify and answer queries about his investigations. Well, you guessed it, he's Filipino although by citizenship he's whiter than white. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. His name is Antonio Taguba, second highest ranking Fil-Am officer in the Pentagon.

In that hearing, he was to be seen as sitting upright, relaxed but very attentive, answering all questions thrown at him with candor, great insight, intelligence, direct sentences with no loose ends. It was not only once or twice that he was candidly praised by senators, both democrat and republicans, in spite of their partisan bunglings,for his honesty, bravery---it was almost overwhelming to hear it, but he took everything in stride, and smiled with a half-smile as if to say thank you but let's get on with this...It was just so humbling to know he's Pinoy.

Well, we're not such a sorry lot after all...That satiates my week comfortably until I know who the next president will be. Ta.

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