Right On Stage!
Have you been on stage? Or at which stage are you in life right this very moment?
The Stage speaks volumes of our totality – our being, our personality, our backgrounds, our representation, our experiences, our feelings, even our needs, our achievements and failures, our dreams, our life, and, our past, present and future. It is the portal that introduces us to the world, reel and real.
Lights, camera, action! I bet we all have our share of firsts on stage back at school and by now, may not believe we actually do; a ballet or piano recital, a Tinikling dance, a balagtasan for Linggo ng Wika, a United Nations contest, a literary contest, and so on. Can you still remember borrowing from your kapitbahay a pair of shoes? Or your mother calling a gay friend-make-up artist so you will look your best? Or your father bringing along a couple of film rolls to make sure he keeps a mementos of your so-called “Kodak” moments? And, you surely not miss your stage grandparents who are so proud of your one-liner participation in a play! If we were the shy type and have not had any of these firsts, still we may consider the stage as a part of us. We may remember those classmates and friends who spoke on stage about theirs and their parents’ hardships so we could finish school and, all the adventures we had and our parents’ fears while we are growing up. Those graduation or prom speeches are few of the many speeches thrown before us and have inspired us.
During my university acquaintance party, I remember one moving welcome-to-freshmen-remarks of a senior student. “I sat at that seat, quiet and too shy to even mutter I was hailed at Gen San,” he exclaimed pointing to the seat at the end of a row leading to the comfort room. “But look at me now,” he added. “Manny Pacquiao who is also born at Gen San, is no longer my only image of Filipino nationalism but myself too, we are, all who struggle for our nation’s progress...” Right on stage commenced the millions of nurses, doctors and engineers employed all over the world now. They who pursued their dreams outside the country were able to somehow help finance our ailing economy. Sad but true, right on stage too is where government officials took oath of service but failed to serve with all their hearts, with all their minds and with all their strength. Hence in Japan, came nearly a hundred thousand of Filipinos who wish to give a better future for their family. I know I should not and will only speak ill of our government once I exercise my right to vote and on the premise that those I voted vehemently abuse the authority we entrusted to them. But the bottomline I guess is to discern who has the lesser evil in their being. In their white barongs and elegant dresses they claimed, “If I will be elected as president, I will build more schools and educate more Filipinos. If I will be elected as president I will eradicate poverty, corruption and all illegal practices.” Nah, we all hear those false promises! All known presidentiables are all fit to serve but who are more harmless? We still have two months to think and think again for the president who will stand up on stage for us for the next six long years.
Big congratulations to Mercy Ebara for winning UTAWIT last year and for giving hope to Pinoys to showcase their talents to Japanese friends. Warm greetings to industrious and loving Filipino parents here whose children will finally graduate this March. I am sure that your children will be forever grateful for the fact alone that you gave them the right to education. Watch out for the rigid campaigns this April and for our National Election on May! Though we are physically absent in our country, we must not forget that we still belong to a nation worth living and dying for. Let us vote and let our vote counts for our children and their children’s children!
The Stage can well highlight our highs and lows in life. I think Michael Jackson’s is one unique example. He rose to stardom with his spectacular dance moves on stage but up to his death got mocked. We may not have the chance to appear on stage but is not our life like those right on Stage?
“ THE ULILA FOUNDATION, SERVING THE INDIGENT CHILDREN SINCE DEC. 1, 2008”
As an Assistant English Teacher (ALT) here in Japan, I never forget the poor children of my hometown in Zamboanga City. I started collecting clothes and school items in Japan and send them to the Philippines for free distribution to indigent children. On December 1, 2008, I established The ULILA Foundation which aims to collect used/new clothes and other usable items for the indigent Filipino children in my hometown in Mindanao and in Manila through ABS-CBN's Sagip Kapamilya. I collect usable items from my neighbors and friends after my teaching job and did this daily since December 1, 2008 until now and send those items in Zamboanga City and Manila. Last March 2009, I visited the Philippines for one month and did my outreach mission in Zamboanga City with my former students as volunteers. From Dec. 2008 to January 2010, I was able to collect and send a total of more than 60,000 pieces of assorted school supplies and clothes and still on going with my daily collection of relief goods after my daily teaching job in Japan.
According to my Japanese friends, co-teachers and Japanese students, I have inspired them not to throw their usable relief goods and made them realize that there are children on the other part of the world (Philippines) who need them. They are happy to donate clothes and other items for the indigent children after I introduced them about the cause of my foundation. I was able to help many indigent children in Zamboanga City wear good clothes and have school supplies even I am miles away from them.
My life experience as an indigent orphan motivated me to this passion of coming up with a foundation to help the children like me. It was already in my mind to do what I am doing now even before I left the Philippines. When I arrived in Japan, I discovered that Japanese and other residents in Japan have many usable items that they don't use and just throw them during garbage collection days. This finally made me come up with the foundation's goal of collecting relief items for the indigent children in spite my hectic teaching schedule.