It’s the 75th anniversary of the first stamp of the Philippines and the Philippine Postal Corp. celebrated with the launch of the Living Legends—Outstanding Filipinos: Series 1 stamps at the Manila Central Post Office on Feb. 26. The theme? “Salamat: Pagpupugay sa mga Alamat.”
Living Legends—Outstanding Filipinos: Series 1 is the second of three categories of stamps released by the PHLPost for the milestone.
“We must honor our countrymen who have excelled in the fields of sports, theater and visual arts, science and technology, because they represent the true Filipino spirit of sipag, malasakit at pagmamahal sa Diyos at bayan. The stamps we issue today are not only meant for delivery of letters but more importantly to deliver hope,” said postmaster general and PHLPost chief executive officer Norman Fulgencio.
He described the stamp design as artistic and modern “pop art stamp.”
In-house designer Rodine Teodoro later explained to us the design concept, saying that the retro pop art theme is a nod to the era of a number of the honorees. “We want to show how colorful their careers were and their contributions to the Philippines in their respective fields.”
Ryman Dominic Albuladora and Eunice Beatrix are the other in-house designers who worked on the stamps.
Bowling icon Olivia “Bong” Coo, an honoree, said, “This is simply amazing, to be given this recognition at this age . . . I remember the biggest recognition I got when I was inducted in the International Bowling Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas in 1993, but this has surpassed all the honors I have received as an athlete. I never imagined that I would be immortalized on a commemorative stamp. Wala po ako masabi, tuwang- tuwa po ako.”
The bowling champ later said she hopes that the youth would be inspired to get into sports. “When you get into sports you will be able to serve the country through that sport. They will be able to make our country proud. It can be any sport that they want.”
Painter Romulo Galicano, also an honoree, said, “Una sa lahat, itong talent ko na ito, nagpapasalamat ako kay Lord. Kailangan maalagaan ko ito ng mabuti para magbigay ng inspirasyon sa ating kabataang mahilig sa sining.”
Veteran actress Rosa Rosal was represented by a great-nephew. Another veteran actress, Gloria Romero, was represented by daughter Marites Gutierrez.
Dr. Baldomero Olivera, who is in the United States, attended remotely. “It’s really a great honor. I certainly hope that a lot of young people will consider science because that will help our country in the future,” he said.
Dr. Ernesto Domingo Ochoa, another honoree, said, “Isa lamang po ang mensahe ko. Ang aming problem na aming gustong solusyunan ay hindi pagkakapantay-pantay kapag ikaw ay may sakit. Ang problema po sa kalusugan ay hindi sakit, ang sakit ay alam naming gamutin. Ang problema ’pag ikaw ay mahirap 60 percent ay namamatay nang hindi nakakita ng doktor o nars, samantalang ang mga mayayaman ay hinahanap ng mga doktor. Kaya pinaglalaban ko ang universal health care.”
Basketball star Ramon Fernandez expressed how thankful he was. “After 24 years of taking action in the court, I humbly rest on the laurels of the great games that I played . . . I thought my sports credentials would end there. I thought I would have gone back home to Cebu with all my bags packed, with my golf set and new fishing gear, ready to embrace full retirement.
“But wow, I am going home with a once-in-a-lifetime bonus. I am going home with a priceless commemorative stamp recognizing this humble probinsyano . . . Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine myself on a stamp. Akala ko pang-Jose Rizal lang ang stamp, pati pala kaming mga buhay pwede rin pala.
“When people address me as a living legend, it makes me feel truly special. But this commemorative stamp is the most concrete validation of the title which I hope I am worthy of . . . May this inspire [other athletes] to reach for their dreams, to work hard with the right values intact, and they always fight and play for greatness.”
Actor-turned-politician Vilma Santos attended the event via Zoom. She thanked all her fans and said she wouldn’t be where she is today if it weren’t for them.
Veteran actress Susan Roces, another honoree, was present. She said, “Matagal-tagal na rin na hindi ako nakakatanggap ng love letter na may selyo . . . Malaking bagay sa akin ang selyo. Maliit pa akong bata ay minulat na sa kaisipan ko ng aking ama ang pangongolekta at ang kabuluhan ng bawat selyo sa iba’t ibang bansa. Hindi ko inisip na darating ang araw na ako ay magiging kabilang sa pinaparangalan sa post office. . . Hindi masasabi ng anumang salita ang karangalang na binibigay ninyo sa amin ngayon.”Roces also paid tribute to her fellow honoree, Rosal, who was known for her work with the Red Cross. “Sa totoo lang po, siya ay nagsilbing inspirasyon sa aming mga artista na lumabas sa aming comfort zone at tumulong sa mga nangangailangan . . . Hanggang sa edad niya ngayon ay walang humpay ang kanyang interes sa pagtulong sa kapwa.”
Actress Nora Aunor was also honored with a stamp.
PHLPost has printed 215,000 copies of the 10 designs, at P12 each.
The winners of the first PHLPost Art Competition 2021, done with the Art Association of the Philippines, were also awarded at the event. Artist Ranier Angelo Bolivar’s entry “Pagsibol” won the top prize and P100,000. Second place went to Emil Jay Gulang’s “In Time,” and he received P70,000. Siegfried M. Dela Torre’s “Jesters Blue” got third place and P50,000.
They were chosen out of more than 300 entries sent by artists from all over the country.
The Stamps and Official First Day Covers are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office. Tel. 85270108, 85270132; facebook.com/ PilipinasPhilately.