MANILA, Philippines—The COVID-19 pandemic has given a different dimension to how Filipinos should view today’s Independence Day celebration, according to 2019 Binibining Pilipinas titleholders.
“The relevance of this pandemic to our Independence Day is the manner of people going through so much change and yet growing to be better and stronger for the nation,” Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Aya Abesamis told the Inquirer in an online interview.
“This pandemic has taught us to be one in being resilient in terms of watching out for each other, helping each and every one, and have an optimistic mind no matter what the challenge and circumstances are,” she added.
Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Emma Mary Tiglao noted how “unprecedented” the global situation is.
“But like the challenges and battles fought by our ancestors, I have faith that together we can overcome this pandemic. Not even the physical distance can keep us apart in our hearts and in spirit,” she said.
“It is the time to celebrate the strength, resilience, ‘bayanihan,’ and resourcefulness of Filipinos, and to pay tribute to the thousands of dedicated healthcare workers who are out there risking their lives so they can help save the lives of other,” she continued.
Miss Globe Second Runner-Up Leren Mae Bautista echoed Tiglao’s sentiments, and said, “let our celebration of Independence Day be a reminder to give appreciation to our modern day heroes, our frontliners. And that during this pandemic, now is the time for solidarity, unity and hope.”
As the country’s flagbearers in the global beauty arena, the Bb. Pilipinas queens also see the Philippines’ Independence Day celebration in a more glimmering light.
“As a national beauty titleholder, just the name and thought of the Philippines exudes so much power, courage, strength and pride,” Abesamis said.
“The independence of the Philippines has showed how much determination and hard work we Filipinos exemplify. It’s the strong love for the country, history and people,” she continued.
Bautista mused: “As a citizen with this much platform, voice is our power, especially in this trying time. We are all reminded of what our heroes did for our country during that celebration. It keeps me hopeful that one day, we can all unite as a nation. Let this day remind us to get lessons from the past and keep steadfast amidst the challenge we face today.”
For Tiglao, being a representative of the Philippines in the international stage has made her see the country’s Independence Day celebration “as a perfect time to look back to our past with gratitude, to celebrate and to thank all the great Filipinos and Filipinas who paved the way for what we have now.”
She also asked: “Isn’t it nice that we have the freedom to express ourselves, to be who we want to be, and to be given different opportunities?”
The Bb. Pilipinas queens also reminded their fellow youth to discover the significance of celebrating the country’s independence in their own lives.
“With or without any festivities, I remain hopeful that the younger Filipino generations will continue to learn from our nation’s past. Our country has had a long history of struggle for independence, to be free. We have come a long way and it’s something that we should never take for granted,” Tiglao shared.
Abesamis agreed: “Through the celebration of Independence Day, the youth may clearly understand our history and how hard our people have fought for this independence for all of us to be united, together as Filipinos and uplift everything locally and internationally.”
For Bautista, the Independence Day “is a reminder for every Juan about the journey that we Filipinos have gone through to claim our land as our own and to gain the rights that we deserve. With what’s happening in our country right now, all of us especially the youth must understand that we shouldn’t turn a blind eye, we must protect our rights and our freedom.”
The Philippines is celebrating today the 122nd anniversary of its independence from Spanish occupation, which spanned over three centuries.
“Our Day of Independence is also a beautiful reminder that we have and we will always come out stronger from any adversity by coming together and being united in spite of our nation’s diversity,” Tiglao said.