Are you a hero? Can you be a hero? What does it takes to be a hero?
Very simple question but it seems so hard to answer. The heroes we knew are dead people. People who died fighting for freedom such as Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Diego Silang, Gregorio del Pilar and many others are our heroes. For non-Filipinos, these heroes are unfamiliar to you. In India, Mahatma Gandhi is highly regarded as their national hero. In the United States, George Washington is a popular hero while in many Latin American countries, Simon Bolivar is famous. William Wallace is well remembered by the Scots. So, who should be considered as modern hero?
Because of the economic hardship the country had been experiencing for several decades now, millions of Overseas Filipino workers or OFW are tagged generally as modern day heroes for the dollar remittances they contribute every month. These much needed remittances are vital in preventing the Philippine economy from sinking.
Teachers and other professionals, on the other hand, are also considered modern heroes for their tireless, valuable and committed service to the nation despite the meager salary and benefits they are receiving.
Rescuers of the 911 tragedy and other similar events are all modern day heroes.
A 20-year old high school student, Robin Garcia, sacrificed his own life in rescuing about 8 students and teachers by twice returning under the rubble of the collapsed Christian Colleges of the Philippines in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija to retrieve survivors in the devastating Luzon Earthquake of July 16, 1990. Garcia was killed by an aftershock hours after the quake while trying to rescue more survivors. He was posthumously given several awards and tributes for his heroic deed by the Boy Scout of the Philippines, Office of the Philippine President and many others.
Another hero on this tragic incident in Philippine history is Florencio Agapito.
Vicente “Enteng” Tagle
On July 12, 2000, a 50 ft garbage mountain at the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City collapsed due to torrential rains and killed almost 500 garbage scavengers on their makeshift houses. In the said tragedy, the 10-year-old Enteng Tagle saved the lives of his one year-old brother and his 8 year-old playmate. This heroic deed of Enteng was featured in the September 2002 issue of the Reader's Digest.
Driving is a decent occupation. So when you are asked, what’s your occupation? You should say with honor and dignity “I am a driver”. In 1996, a Filipino taxi driver in the person of Emilio Advincula, has been cited for his honesty when he returned jewelries worth P2 million pesos and thousands of dollars to his passenger after discovering these valuable things were left on his taxi. Since then, countless drivers emulated what Advincula’s heroic deed.
One of the most tragic incidents of the early 1990s is the sinking of the pagoda in Bocaue, Bulacan. On July 2, 1993, a pagoda was carrying several hundred Catholic devotees in the annual pagoda festival when it sank into the muddy Bocaue River. This tragic event led to the death of about 279 people, including children. Sajid Bulig was one of the heroes in the said incident when he saved 4 children out of the river. Unfortunately, Bulig also died in that tragedy.
It doesn’t take much to be a hero. Just being honest is already a heroic deed. Obeying traffic rules and simply being a law abiding citizen is already a great contribution. The courage to help others and to save lives is indeed immeasurable acts of heroism. We can all be heroes in our own little ways. Be a hero!