April 9 marks the Philippines’ Day of Valor, or Araw ng Kagitingan, as we all know it. On this day, we commemorate the historical Bataan Death March, where thousands of Filipino and American soldiers suffered and died to defend our country against the Japanese forces.
I am proud to be a Bataeno, having been born and raised in one of the most historical places in the Philippines. Perhaps this is where I developed my love and appreciation for history. Perhaps this is where my passion for heroism grew.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “hero”? Perhaps you think of the people who have died for our country, like Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, and our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. Or maybe you imagine the superheroes in movies, with the capes and the x-ray vision and the Batcave, who save the world against giant monsters and falling planes.
The truth is, heroism does not have to be as grand as that. I believe that anyone could be a hero as long as they have the passion and commitment to S.A.V.E. the day.
S – Serve
The great Muhammad Ali said “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth,” and nothing could be further from the truth. Having the heart to put others’ needs before your own, in ways big or small, is an act of heroism in itself. In this materially-centered society, it is easy to fall into the trap of being motivated by money, by the desire to gain instead of the desire to give.
This is what I love about doing volunteer work. As a youth advocate and a motivational speaker, I have always been passionate about making other people better and happy. In the last 20 years, I have literally helped thousands of people through my voice acting school (Philippine Center for Voice Acting) and volunteer organization (Voice of the Youth Network). I advocate the “pay it forward” principle, where instead of GIVING BACK, I encourage them to help others the way I have helped them.
A – Agent of Positive Social Change
Change is the only constant thing in this world, and you and I will always be part of it. The only question is, what kind of change are you contributing?
Being a hero is not just a matter of being the one to rock the boat, but being the one to rock it for the better. Many people would spend their lives complaining and looking for the next government official or celebrity or businessman to come and change their situation or the society’s situation. What we need to realize is that we have 2 options – be a VICTIM of change or an AGENT of change.
Being an agent of change means you are proactive instead of reactive in changing things. When you’re reactive, it means something has already happen, and you are simply responding to it. When you’re proactive, you initiate change. When you are an agent of change, you do 2 things: GO and CREATE.
V – Visionary
Nothing great in this world has ever been accomplished without a vision. Vision is a mental picture of a purpose, and every great leader has one for themselves, their country and the world. Vision is important because in order for something to be created in reality, it has to be created in the mind.
My vision is to make the Philippines the center of voiceover excellence in Asia. I envision the Philippines to be a nation great and excellent people. When you have a vision, your life move towards that vision, regardless of how the journey turns out.
E – Empower
Heroism is about selflessness and selflessness means that you give others the power, so they can bring out the best in themselves. Empowering others is having the ability to fade in the background so they could be in the limelight. I always say that inspiration and motivation has expiration. That is why it is important to go beyond inspiring and motivating, and give other people the venue and opportunity to be able to use their talents and skills.
True heroes do not seek awards or recognition for what they have done. For them, knowing that other people have become happy and better is more than enough.
A salute to all the heroes of the past, and the heroes of the present – and that’s me and you. Let’s work together to S.A.V.E. the future of our country and the world.