The HERO of the year.

November 29, 2009

-Efren’s acceptance speech at CNN Heroes 2009

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry. Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need. So to each and every person inside this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers … you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream, and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be. Mabuhay!” – Efren Peñaflorida, Jr.

Although my topic was all about immigration and OFWs and stuff i just really wanted to write something about this truly remarkable man.

I personally believe that the heroes of the Philippines are the OFWs who work as much as they can, until their bodies ache, not eat until they can help it, live without the company of their loved ones and the most important of all- sacrifice their own lives to serve other people.

This man pretty much did exactly everything i defined a hero to be and more…

As i was laying in my bed, sick and all i flipped through my tv channels in a slower pace than usual. I passed CNN and a man being featured in a setting that was awfully familiar caught my attention that eventually stopped me from pressing the next channel button. I saw street kids running towards  this yellow pushcart that contained notebooks, a blackboard, the Philippine flag pushed by this man name Efren Penaflorida. I was so confused as to first, why is the Philippines on CNN again? Then i thought maybe it’s the elections or some bad thing again. Second, who is this man? why is HE on CNN?? then as i watched this feature more i found out that this was about the stories of modern heroes of today.

Watching him accept his award as the CNN hero of the year, i cant help but feel proud that he’s from the Philippines and that someone from my country can achieve more than anyone from there can possibly dream about. This pride is different from lets say the pride i feel when Manny Pacquiao wins, or some members of the Jabbawockeez are filipinos, or a Filipino singer was featured in Oprah or something like that. This pride was actually a very inspiring one. it inspired me to change my perspectives in the world and how i live. now i always feel like that i have to think about someone aside from myself everytime i do anything. how will my actions affect the people around me? am i going to create a positive change not only in my life but in everyone else’s? am i going to make her/his day today? simple questions like that spark my mind and heart before every decision i have to make each day just because of this one man who most likely had the same questions running through his head when he was thinking of a way to get out of his own unfortunate situation before and look where he is now.

Efren Penaflorida spends his days teaching less fortunate children in the streets simple literacy skills and helping them avoid the path to gang membership to have them live and grow to be better people. it doesnt get any more inspiring than that.


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