From Benham Rise to Philippine Rise: First Anniversary

I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to play a role during the first anniversary of the renaming of Benham Rise (the 13-million-hectare underwater plateau in Aurora that China was claiming theirs) to PHILIPPINE RISE.

Because of this event, I’ve witnessed head-on how genuinely patriotic and selfless Filipinos are, especially the Army, the Marines, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Air Force, and the volunteers. I mean, Northern Luzon Command organized this event to remind us Filipinos that Philippine Rise is ours, and that every reef matters. The organizers even invited scientists and divers for us to know the hidden underwater gems in store for the future generation.

We used the ships of the Philippine Navy and many of these men and women slept on the floor to provide rooms to the civilians. The touching part is, to them it was nothing because they’re doing it for the country. Many VIPs and officers also stood under the sun holding their flags, setting aside their high profiles for the Philippines. Nakaka-proud. Nakaka-iyak. Nakaka-taba ng puso.

Meanwhile, I was one of those who stood in the formation for about an hour (see pic), wearing blue shirt and cap while holding the Philippine flag. It was a simple role compared to others but it’s a big deal for me because of what Colonel Quemado said: “Konting pa-init lang po para sa bayan.”

PARA SA BAYAN. This phrase made me realize that indeed, these men’s labor is not in vain because they simply want to claim and nurture what God has blessed the Philippines with. This is God’s gift to us that’s why we’re fighting for it, and as General Salamat said, we will be good stewards of it. Ergo, even if I only stood and waved the flag there, even if my role was nothing compared to what everyone else did, I FELT SO PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO.

It’s a privilege to be a part of this historic event. I’d like to thank the Colonel (anonymity for security reasons) and GoShare for inviting us here. I’m looking forward to more mission trips with all of you. PARA SA BAYAN, PARA SA PANGINOON. 🙂