Filipinos are resilient people. We always find a way to smile during the hardest of times. We always try to spin the bad news into a good one. We always help others even though we are also in need. The best of times are yet to come for the common Filipino. So to inspire the new generation, let us look back to the Filipinos who made a difference and achieved a feat that is almost forgotten by today’s youths.
Nobel Prize Awardee
Dr. Frankie Arcellana, a son of national artist Francisco Arcellana, was a member of the governing board of the International Physicians for the Prevention Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.
Woman of the Year in 1986
In 1986, the late President Corazon Aquino received various international awards such as the Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year, the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, the United Nations Silver Medal and the Canadian International Prize for Freedom. She was cited for setting the example of nonviolent movement for democracy, which later was also tested in Burma, South Africa, Poland and Chile.
Most Decorated Filipino
Carlos P. Romulo was perhaps the only Filipino who received 82 honorary degrees from different universities and international institutions and 74 decorations from foreign countries, including the U.N. Peace Medal, the World Peace Award, the Four Freedoms Peace Award and the US Presidential Medal for Freedom. In 1945, the African former colonies nominated Carlos P. Romulo for the Nobel prize for peace for espousing “independence” for the former colonies of Asia and Africa.
Gold at European Art Contest
In 1880, Juan Luna joined the Madrid Exposition where his painting, “The Death of Cleopatra” won the second prize. This masterpiece is now on exhibit at the Museo Nacional de Pinturas in Madrid. In 1884, Luna’s huge painting, “Spolarium“, won the first Gold Medal at the Exposicion Nacional de Bellas Artes, also in Spain. Coincidentally, another Filipino, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo won the second prize in the same event for his painting, “Antigone“. Luna’s Spolarium depicts fallen gladiators being dragged to an unseen pile of corpses in a chamber beneath the Roman arena. Considered as the largest painting in the country, it has a height of 4.6 meters and a length of 7.72 meters. It is now on display at the National Museum in Manila.
Other Filipinas Played Kim in Miss Saigon
With her petite figure and powerful voice, many think that Cezarah Campos Bonner is the perfect version of Kim, the young heroine in the internationally acclaimed musicale, “Miss Saigon“. The 27-year-old Cez, who has previously played Kim in the London and Sydney productions of Miss Saigon, shared the role of Kim with Lea Salonga in the Manila staging of the musicale, which run from October 2000 to March 2001.
Filipino Song Had Foreign Versions
Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak” sold millions of copies around the world and had versions in Japanese, English, French, and German. It is reportedly the most recorded Filipino song worldwide.
Filipino Compositions Won Awards
Ryan Cayabyab‘s composition “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika” won the grand prize at the Seoul International Song Festival in 1978 while his “Mama” won the grand prize at the Kajistan Song of Asia Festival in 1991. His composition “Paraiso” won the top prize at the Tokyo Pop Music Festival in 1992.
Choir of the World
In 1995, the UST Singers won the “Choir of the World” grand prize and four other first prizes at the 4th Llangallen International Eisteddfod in Wales, UK. The competition was reportedly the world’s oldest international choral competition. In 2001, the UST Singers was voted “Best Choir” at World Choral Festival in Puebla, Mexico.
In 1958, Concepcion Aguilar was recognized as “International Teacher of the Year.”
In 1974, Filipino organist Socorro de Castro became a champion in the International Electrone Grand Prix, which was held in Tokyo, Japan.
International Clothing Brands
Filipino clothing brands Bench, Sari-Sari, Ba-yo, Penshoppe, Plains and Prints have already opened stores in other countries.
A Planetoid was Named After a Filipino
The minor planet Biyo, which has a diameter of four to nine kilometers and was formerly called planet 13241, was named after Dr. Josette Biyo, a teacher at the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo City who won the International Excellence in Teaching Award during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in the United States gave the name.
First Filipino Olympian
David Nepomuceno, a Filipino serving in the US Navy, was the first Filipino Olympian. A sprinter, Nepomuceno was the country’s sole representative to the 1924 Olympics, which was held in Paris.
Asia’s First Airline
The Philippine Airlines (PAL), which was established in 1941, takes pride in being Asia’s oldest commercial airline. However, huge financial losses forced its owner Lucio Tan to close the airline in September 2000. It resumed operations a few months later. The first commercial flight in the country was recorded on March 15, 1941 when a twin-engine Beech Model 18 owned by PAL carried five passengers from Manila to Baguio City in 45 minutes.
Architect of Brunei’s Palace
Architect Leandro Locsin designed Istana Nurul Iman, the palace of the sultan of Brunei, which has a floor area of 2.2 million square feet.
Main sources of information include Zoilo Galang’s Encyclopedia of the Philippines and Julio Silverio’s Diksyunaryo ng mga Unang Pinoy.