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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The best of times, the worst of times

In Roman literature, Janus is "the god of good beginnings." He is a solar deity and doorkeeper of heaven. Janus is the patron of the beginning and end of things. The first month of the year is named after him. His chief temple in Rome ran east and west where the day begins and ends. His statue has two faces, one young and one old. Janus has a distinctive artistic appearance where he is commonly depicted with two faces, one regarding what is behind and the other looking toward what lies ahead. Thus, the Roman god is a representative of contemplation on the happenings of an old year while looking forward to the new one.

As we start 2007, let us look back at 2006, an interesting year, to say the least. Yet despite some setbacks, Filipinos remained resilient and optimistic. "You’re an amazing people," Rob, my American friend, would always say. We remain steadfast during odd times.

People’s Champ Manny Pacquiao is a living testament that Filipinos are world-class athletes. Pacman, as he is fondly called, always gets people at the edge of their seats with his deadly punches and brave heartfelt singing. This super fighter from General Santos City showed his mettle three times as he lorded over his opponents inside the ring. He kicked-off 2006 when he traded punches with Erik "El Terible" Morales of Mexico in a rematch at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. His second boxing feat was with Oscar Larios last July at the Araneta Coliseum in a match dubbed Mano a Mano. His victorious third battle was against Morales billed as the Grand Finale last November again at the Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas. He defeated Morales on a third-round knock-out which created overwhelming cheers to the entire Filipino nation. Morales acknowledged that Pacquiao was just too strong and too fast for him.

Another commendable achievement in the field of sports are the local athletes’ good showing at the Asian Games where they won a total of four golds, six silvers and nine bronzes from boxing, cue sports, golf, karate, tennis, taekwondo and wushu. Indeed, palaban ang mga Pinoy!

The endurance of the Pinoy mountaineers was tested when they confronted their greatest challenge – scaling the heights of Mt. Everest. With intense training and sheer determination to reach the summit and plant the Philippine flag, mountaineers Leo Oracion, Pastor Emata and Romy Garduce climbed the highest point at 29,035 feet. Witnessed on nationwide TV, these courageous mountaineers rappelled, gasped for air and walked along the snowy mountain paths of Nepal-Tibet. The whole nation rejoiced!

In the entertainment scene, fresh faces surfaced from reality-based TV programs. The Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition turned housemates or boarders ni Kuya into teen heartthrobs. From being ordinary teenagers the likes of Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Matt Evans and Aldred Gatchalian they are now household names. Likewise, the Pinoy Dream Academy showcased the talents of 20 scholars who vied for the highly-coveted prize that included a singing contract, P1-M cash, a brand-new car, a business franchise among other fabulous prizes. What’s best having this competition was the discovery of a new breed of talents who could not only sing, dance, play musical instruments but who could write songs as well. There were also Pinoy Idol and StarStruck that introduced exciting young talents.

However, the previous year was plagued with natural disasters such as the restless volcanoes and super typhoons battering the country. Four active volcanoes – Bulusan, Kanlaon, Mayon and Taal drove people away from their homes with threatening explosions. The torrential downpours and gusty winds brought by Milenyo, Paeng, Queenie and Reming damaged bridges, buildings, crops and created massive mudslides that buried houses, vehicles and bodies of hapless victims.

Let us now look forward to a brighter 2007 with hopes for peace and prosperity among ourselves. I look forward to a fair and honest election in May. No more guns, goons and money: I dream but what the heck! More achievements in the fields of academics, sports and the performing arts that will highlight the world-class talents of Pinoys both here and abroad. May we have a flourishing movie industry that will produce quality films that will showcase the acting genius of our actors. I pray that there be no more destructive calamities that will take the lives and properties of our kababayan. Let’s work hard, play hard and pray hard. Visit the original post.

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