The people we look up to

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star

Last Friday, the Philippines marked its “Day of Valor” to remember the heroes who walked in the infamous Death March of 1942.

We are walking across new battle lines today, and heroes are not just the brave men in uniform.

They could be queens of an empire or queens of the home, for as “Superman” himself, the late Christopher Reeve, once said, a hero “is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

My father, the late Frank Loudon Mayor, who passed away in 2010, is my hero. He was, and continues to be, the wind beneath my wings.


I asked several personalities from various fields, including a seven-year-old student, who their heroes are.


Nedy Tantoco, Rustan Commercial Corp. chairman/CEO

I believe it is admirable how Queen Elizabeth II has successfully reigned for almost 70 years (69 years last February 2021) over her country and commonwealth realms with grace and dignity. Over her reign, she has witnessed unifications, wars, parliamentary shifts, scandals, milestones, and so on. Yet she has managed to retain the glory of her kingdom and respect of her people. Her longevity, elegance, and dedication are truly commendable.

Personally, I would say my mother, Gliceria Rustia-Tantoco. She has an enduring legacy in Philippine retail and established a standard that paved the way for Philippine retail to flourish. This she did while impressing fundamental lessons upon her family of professionalism without compromising the indispensable value of family.


Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte

Everyone who consistently wears a mask and face shield properly is, to me, a hero.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

Every person must look to his parents as heroes. I realized this when I became a parent myself. The fulfillment of being a parent comes with the challenges of raising a family properly and working to provide for their needs. But if parents do their jobs well, they are a force multiplier for good –– meaning they can develop God-fearing, upright, and productive citizens who can contribute positively to society.

That’s the reason why I look up to all the single parents, who must take on the responsibility of rearing their children on their own. Ask those raised by a single parent, and they will all tell you how their lone parent is a true hero, and rightfully so.

Single parents should be acknowledged as the unheralded, silent heroes who on their own are able to help mold the future of our country. They are the modern-day heroes.


Gary Valenciano

Jesus would be my hero. As clichéd as it may sound... He’s the only SUPERHERO who literally died so that the world might be saved from the consequences of their wicked ways. And He’s the only superhero who rose from the dead and who longs to be in everyone’s heart.

Trying to think of any other hero who can claim all this... Nope, none!

Angeli Valenciano

Apart from the Lord Jesus, on earth, my superhero would have to be my father, engineer Donato Tongol Pangilinan. He was a corps commander at UP, a Vanguard, an Upsilonian, a civic leader in Quezon City, a Jaycee, a Rotarian and so much more — always emphasizing family and hard work.

He and my mom taught us how to work during summer vacations and instilled in us the importance of faith, discipline, community service and prayer. When I wanted to take MassCom or Theater Arts, he insisted on a Business Administration degree at the UP, which proved to be the right decision. He also taught me how to drive, to shoot with a rifle, play billiards, basketball and darts, and to invest in real estate. He encouraged us to pursue our musical and artistic talents. Lastly, he taught me to have a lasting marriage and to stick it out in sickness or in health, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer... for him a vow was a vow. And love and forgiveness were the keys to achieve this.

Rocco Uy de Baron, student

My hero is God because He’s great and mighty. He created the world and made it happy and everyone stays in peace. He also created us.

In real life, my hero is my Mommy because she loves me. She made me, and my sisters Nala and Suki. That’s why she’s important.

(You may e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

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