WRITERS PEN | REPORTINGS & ESSAYS

Heroism: In the DNA of the Modern Day Filipina

Michaela Ramas

One Filipina-Australian writes about the legacy she inherited from the brave women of the Philippine revolution.

      This year’s flag ceremony held Saturday 20th June 2015 marked the 117th Anniversary of Philippine Independence Day at the Parramatta City Town Hall. 

The event was organised by Banag-Banag Inc, (Visayan-speaking organisation in New South Wales) spearheaded by the incumbent President, Marissa Dionson-Bala and hosted by the Lord Mayor Cr. Scott Lloyd who welcomed the Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama and his delegation deserving of honourable mention, Hon. James Anthony R. Cuenco, Cebu City Councilor, and Mr Franklin Seno, Member of Cebu City Sister City Commission and other members of his staff.

I felt compelled to share my personal insight into a very moving event by Banag-Banag Inc. I prefer not to dwell on the historical account of the strong sisterhood city relations between Parramatta City and Cebu City for that has been written and documented well in the past by the local media, nor am I going to comment on the well-constructed formal speeches on the day as that went well as can be expected of our politicians.

I knew well what to expect in terms of the formalities but I was not expecting to witness something more that hit me to the core!

What struck a cord with me was the comment of the Aboriginal Elder at the press conference of how he was deeply moved by it in tears.

My heart went out that day to the audio-visual tribute to the Women Heroes of the Philippines put together by Dr. Gil Marvel P. Tabucanon.

I would like to congratulate him for the exemplary work! What struck a cord with me was the comment of the Aboriginal Elder at the press conference of how he was deeply moved by it in tears.

I wish to reverberate his sentiments expressed in appreciation of the women of our culture. Like him, I was touched beyond emotion of these Filipino women in their act of heroism to free the Philippines from Colonial Spain. This somehow connected with me in what it means for me to be brave and honest to one’s self, to stand by what I believe in and not let anyone get in the way of achieving the common good, and just like what the Aussies would say “to have a go”.

In hindsight, I believe the tribute does not end with the narration on the heroic Filipino women of the Spanish Colonial era. The Filipino women’s heroism continues today in many parts of the world by way of their many significant contributions to society from all walks of life.

In Australia, they are part and parcel of the multicultural landscape in many pockets of society often working behind the scenes. Their nurturing and loving nature in support of their families, their community and their devotion to God are what makes them resilient in adapting to other cultures effortlessly.

The Filipino women will always look after their family’s best interest and caring for them is on top of their priority list. I believe that as a community, it is essential that women in general be recognised and accorded with the love, respect, and reverence that they deserve. As the saying goes, ”The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world”.

Furthermore, I give credit to the women of Banag-Banag Inc of which I am certain Dr Gil’s inspiration came into view. I stand tall and proud as the first female president of this esteemed organisation. The women behind the scenes at Banag-Banag have surfaced on top with their best foot forward, doing extremely well with juggling a career, family and community work.

I say this to all the other Filipino women leaders in our community as well.

The dedication and determination to succeed is indeed in the DNA of a true Filipina.

Michaela “Michelle” Ramas is a Past President of Banag-Banag Inc. (2007-2008).

Photo credits: Melchor Velasco and Edward Locides

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