Mindanao women rising

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

Here in our street in Carigara, Leyte, the only reasons for anyone to hear sounds of shouting are the occasional bursts of drunken bravado and the unavoidable domestic spats that erupt now and then. My wife Arlene and I added a third --loud Olympic cheering. In our street, either nobody watches the Olympics, or nobody cheers as loudly as we do. A deeply-religious town, I suspect the others just pray the rosary.

Loud, boisterous, and often irreverent cheering is a bad habit we brought here from Cebu, born of the many per-per-view Pacquiao fights we took out. There are also two reasons to be loud on a Pacquiao fight. One is to irritate the neighbors who loathe boxing but who cannot do anything about the noise, outnumbered as they are in the neighborhood, 10 to 1, whenever Pacquiao fights.

The other reason to get so loud is to show who in the neighborhood is on pay-per-view and who is not. Those with PPV get to shout themselves hoarse three hours before those on free TV, by which time, of course, there is no more need to do any real shouting. And so it went here in Carigara when Hidilyn Diaz went for the gold and got it. The street went quiet. Eyes politely but penetratingly turned toward the house.

The same with Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial. In addition to the shouting I had added banging on the walls. Yesterday, though, all that Sturm Und Drang ended abruptly by the middle of the third round of Nesthy's golden quest. By that time, it was clear that Nesthy was spent and could do no more, her amazing run and superhuman effort good only for the silver.

It was as if Arlene and I swallowed all our noise in one gulp. And I wonder if the neighbors noticed. If they did, they probably did not know what it was all about in the first place. But despite the lost gold, Nesthy fought the fight of her life and did what no Filipino woman had done before in the field of women's boxing. My wife, ever the feminist, could not have asked for a better fight. The gold would have been just the bonus.

And so, while gold does remain a possibility with our remaining athletes, most notably the boxer Eumir Deodato, whose father must have named him after the legendary Brazilian jazz pianist Eumir Deodato who became immensely popular in the Philippines in the 1970s, the trailblazing feats of Hidilyn and Nesthy could not have pleased my wife more.

But more than my wife, I think the fact that both Hidilyn and Nesthy are women and they are leading or have led the attack for the Philippines at the Olympics could not have been lost on the ever-alert political pundits. If you do not believe this, consider the fact that the pandemic aside, the next big thing to this Olympics is the 2022 election itself just around the corner.

At the very least, even if they may not be interested, or have other plans at the moment, there should be a few offers for the two ladies to run for public office. Hidilyn, if I may say so, would be a sure winner for Congress. And the fact that both are from Mindanao should give the creeps to certain political groups. For this could be the era of Mindanao women. Of Hidilyn, Nesthy, and that other Davao lady whose name I need not mention.

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