Today I was wanting to write about Thailand and how similar this land is to us. As my good friend and BKK travel partner puts it, it’s like our parallel universe. Their narrow roads are just like ours (Libertad, Pasay!) – minus the unruly drivers and honking cars. I must say they’ve gone ahead of us in terms of well-planned public transport systems. Therefore Bangkok, even if it looks much like Manila – has tolerable traffic and courteous cab drivers. I like them.
Much ado about that. This morning I’m choosing not to rant about what we lack here in the Philippines and decided to focus on some Pinoy pride (good news at last!).
Our kababayan, Efren Penaflorida won CNN Hero of the Year! Yey! *dances* I’m doubly-proud because he hails from where we live, the province of Cavite. Watch the full video of his awarding here: Efren Peñaflorida wins CNN Hero of the Year 2009
Efren “Kuya Ef” Peñaflorida is a teacher and social worker in the Philippines. He has been named “CNN Hero of the Year” in 2009 for his outstanding advocacy to educate Filipino out-of-school youth through “pushcart classes. “Peñaflorida grew up in Cavite City. During his early days in school, he experienced being harassed and threatened by gangs near their school. Despite this, he still managed to finish his studies.
His growing concern for the unschooled children in his hometown led Peñaflorida to establish Dynamic Teen Company (DTC). At that time, he was only sixteen. He envisioned this organization as a tool to reach the underserved Filipino youth by providing free tutorials. He asked three fellow high school students to devote some of their time to teach children in the slum areas every Saturday.
After ten years, DTC has gained around 10,000 memberships and conducted tutorials for approximately 1,500 children.Today, DTC’s “pushcart classroom” also teaches basic reading and writing to street children.
It feels good to read about something we can be proud of as a Filipino. Now we know that anyone can be a hero – regardless if you have little or plenty, if you live in a third-world country or otherwise. There is a hero in each one of us waiting to be tapped for service.
I think we should be noticing these things more deliberately instead of some lousy Pacman scandal.
To see pictures of my Bangkok adventure, check out my Facebook account.