The topic of yesterday’s sermon during our weekly Sunday service really caught my interest – “WANTED: Heroes“.
I was moved.
I didn’t know if it was because of all the talks I’ve had with Ako Ay Pilipino members about the slogan “Ako Ay Pilipino: Ako Ay Bayani”. Perhaps it was the things that have been happening in our country – whether wonderful, controversial or tragic. Perhaps it was that stirring in my heart caused by the awareness that indeed… our country is in dire need of heroes.
As I was writing articles for the Ako Ay Pilipino: Noon at Ngayon coffee table book, I would often wonder where among us lies the same passion that our national heroes had for our country. One article in particular remains close to my heart… the article “24” features Gregorio del Pilar – the boy general himself.
Upon sending my draft of the article to the AAP editorial team, I included a little rant at the end of the article:
Gregorio del Pilar died in battle helping Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo escape from American troops. Perhaps youth wouldn’t be wasted on the young if wisdom isn’t wasted on the old (i.e. Aguinaldo). Some decry that Gregorio’s tragic death is a result of blind submission to authority. In my opinion, that doesn’t make del Pilar’s death less honorable… just tragic.
Gregorio del Pilar died in battle at the young age of 24 years old. Eye-witnesses of his fall in Tirad Pass – even his foes, the Americans – speak of how bravely he fought, with much admiration for the courage, the passion, the leadership that he displayed.
He died for what? To save Aguinaldo’s neck? If I had my say on things, I would gladly trade Aguinaldo’s life for del Pilar’s.
Now, I admit I am little biased since I am not a major fan of Emilio Aguinaldo. However, this is the point that I want to drive:
Whether we realize it or not, something has changed in the Philippines. After the deaths of beloved Filipino icons like Francis Magalona or more notably, Mrs. Corazon Aquino, we have witnessed an upsurge of patriotism among us. We hear it in the music that our artists are beginning to come up with. We see it in print, in clothes, in slogans, in billboards…
A love for country and a pride in being Pinoy is being displayed in a manner I haven’t quite seen in my not-so-long lifetime of 22 years.
I read in an article once that the Filipino youth of today aren’t entirely apathetic. They love the Philippines and they are proud to be Pinoy. It’s not a matter of not wanting to be catalysts for change. It’s a matter of not knowing who to follow. They are asking, “Who will lead us? Who is worth following?”
We belong to a nation of youth-waiting-to-be-heroes. We are aware that there is a cause to fight for. We just don’t want to fight in vain.
Gregorio del Pilar fought because he loved the country. His mistake was that he thought that Aguinaldo had the same love for country.
Take a good look at this coming election’s presidentiables. How many Emilio Aguinaldo’s do you see?
Let’s not waste the passion and love for country that today’s Gregorio del Pilar’s have by voting for an Emilio Aguinaldo.