My brother was named after our Lolo Pedro (Alan Peter), while I was named after our Lola Juliana (Pilar Juliana)
A man came up to me and held up a piece of paper that had yellowed with age. At the bottom was a signature I recognized even as a child. It was my father’s
This is a refrain from a song in my ipod shuffle, which I hear a couple of times a week when I’m out biking or running. I often ponder on that song and wonder what I have done to make, not only myself proud, but my parents, and the people around me? I wonder if people ever ask themselves what they have done to be proud of this country.
I had planned on posting this on June 12 in celebration of independence day, but as usual got caught up with a billion things. Delayed as it is, I think we should all ask ourselves that question. As a human being, as a God fearing Filipino, does my existence contribute to the general welfare of the people around me, my country? Do I complain about what’s wrong with this country before asking myself what have I done to make it better?
It’s a serious question but depending on your mood, you can answer it lightly or with as much as serious thought as you wish to put into it.
I’m choosing to answer this from a personal point of view, as in what I am personally proud of, and also collectively, as in my views on what we as a people can be proud of¦
1. As a mother, I am proudly raising my two daughters to be responsible citizens who care about others and the environment we live in. During the summer, I had each of them list their energy-saving tips and ways of saving the environment (subject of a future blog). I try to expose them to all aspects of Filipino life, so they understand that there is still so much poverty around us and that each of us can do something to make a difference. I want them to be cognizant of the fact that life is tough for many. Their baby brother Gabriel did not have an easy life. He could not breath without assistance, could not eat without a tube in his mouth.
So every year, we celebrate Gabriel’s life with a 12-hour fundraising and awareness multi-sport event for the benefit of children with disabilities (www.gabrielsymphony.com). I hope my daughters will grow up to be compassionate Filipinos who care about the well-being of others.
2. We Filipinos take pride in our love of family and respect for our elders. We take care of our parents and grandparents. We are proudly the best caregivers in the world, from doctors to nurses to caregivers; our professionals are sought worldwide. But government must not lose focus on the fact that as we supply the world with our human health care professionals, we must also plan on how to take care of our own. These were some of the issues I have been working on locally and abroad, most recently at the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Cape Town last April (future blog). We need to focus on improving access to healthcare for our own people.
3. I am proudly promoting the cause of health and fitness. I cannot talk enough about how important it is for each one of us to be responsible for our own health. It does not come for free. One must eat well, exercise and live a healthy life. For more on my health agenda, visit my official website www.senatorpiacayetano.com
4. I am proudly fighting for a greener cleaner Philippines. We are working on the passage of the sustainable forest management bill. We are also trying to increase awareness and compliance with our solid waste management law (RA 9003). More and more Filipinos are aware of the need to segregate waste. And yet according to Ecowaste Coalition, of the 42,000 barangays only 2,000 have a segregation program and an MRF (material recovery facility). Is there one in your barangay?
5. We were all born into this country that is rich in natural resources. I am proudly sponsoring bills to declare many of these areas as protected areas. I have called on Filipinos to vote for Tubattaha and our other natural treasures on www.new7wonders.com. But what have we each done to contribute to the preservation of these Philippine wonders? There are rivers and mountains that need to be restored and rehabilitated all over the country. You can each take up a cause close to your heart. (there are a lot of causes, more on these in future blogs)
6. I am proudly working towards the attainment of our Millennium Development Goals in 2015. We need to decrease our infant, child and maternal mortality rates. Today, there are still many women in the rural areas who die of childbirth, simply because they do not have access to a childbirth attendant (a certified midwife, nurse or doctor). Many newborns are underweight, malnourished and sickly because their mothers did not have pre-natal care. Access to prenatal care is vital.
7. I am proudly promoting breastfeeding. Many mothers still do not know that they are capable of exclusively feeding their baby for the first six months with their breastmilk without the need of supplementing with formula milk or food (visit my breastfeeding blog on www.bestforbabies.wordpress.com)
8. Filipino women are the bedrock of our homes and our society. I proudly support women empowerment thru my Pinay In Action programs. Every year, we celebrate Women’s Month in March with an all-women’s run and expo. My team, headed by national team tri champ Ani de Leon goes around the country giving talks on empowerment to young girls and teaching them how to run.
9. I proudly support the Philippine teams that compete in international competitions. These athletes work hard, despite the limitations in training facilities, financial and sometimes even moral support. They persevere and excel..and bring glory to our country.
I could spend a whole day on this list. But the point of this exercise is to get people to think, just as the song goes, â€œwhat have you done today to make you feel proud?
How does a sleepytrigirl who has been a night owl most of her adult life become a triathlete or a morning athlete -runner, cyclist whatever?
It was a process. It started with the death of my son… Running consoled me..
As I added on the mileage, I decided to train for a marathon (the Chronicle Marathon in SF in 2002) to help me deal with my grief. At that time, I was an entrepreneur then working at home, which allowed me to do my runs at sunset, my favorite time. Before that I was a practicing lawyer, doing my runs in the evenings and weekends.
But right after the marathon, I was so sick of running and needed something else to do. My brother Lino, friends Earl Medina and Patrick Joson kept bugging me to try the tri. Lino lent me his yellow mountain bike that he bought, I think, in the supermarket. I’m not kidding!
Despite my bike being an eyesore and my not knowing which was the front or back side of my bike helmet, I managed to learn to ride with cleats and even survived a few scrapes and stitches..
I disciplined myself to sleep earlier than normal so I could wake up earlier than normal to bike. After about a month of this, I had to leave for the US to be with my dad who was very sick…He needed a liver transplant and as it turned out, Lino gave our dad, 2/3rds of his liver…
We eventually took my dad home. I did my first duathlon that weekend (5k run-20k bike-2.5k run). Lino also joined and finished the race, a mere 4 months after the liver transplant. I actually won that race. Sadly, my dad died the week after…Lino and I went for a run when they took him away. It was the only way I knew how to console myself.
I continued to do duathlons, waking up early to bike or run. Fast forward a few months, I ran, uhh.. I mean, I ran for public office as a senator. I squeezed in a run or bike wherever I was. Some of the more memorable ones were, running around a church compound in the pouring rain.. running in a state-of-the-art track oval on a moon-lit night in Lanao del Norte, surrounded by soldiers and the PSG.. biking through Cavite, just me and Dags (our ever reliable former Tour, now bike mechanic), shaking hands with people in the jeeps and going down at every market we passed… Oh, and how could I forget, biking up Baguio via Marcos highway.
As fate would have it, I won, became a senator and went back to a more predictable training schedule – that is morning bike rides and runs 4-5 days a week before starting my workday and 1 or 2 afternoon/early evening sessions. Last year, I started swimming regularly and made the shift from duathlon to triathlon. Today, I do both.
How does a sleepytrigirl do it? Believe me, with much difficulty. I come from a family of late sleepers. I’m used to working past midnight. When I reviewed for the bar exam, I studied til 3 am in the morning everyday, ran in between review classes, joined a half marathon a month before the bar exams and got typhoid fever, but that’s another story…I guess that’s just the kind of schedule that works for me…
These days I’m a sleepytrigirl who needs to constantly review her schedule to balance work and family time, speaking engagements, meetings, study time, training and yes, sleep… I have no fixed sleeping time, and no fixed waking time. Some days, though rarely, thank God, I’m up at 5am (like the days when I biked from my house to Batangas). Other days, even more rarely, thank you, thank you God (!!!), I sleep at 6 am (when we had marathon sessions in the senate and the day after election- that’s at the campaign headquarters). I just do what I can every single day.. and at night, my girls and I thank God for all the blessings.. and then, I pray that my daughters let me sleep and I wake up with a smile without having to hit the snooze button 10x.
Why do I do it? Because…
– i like being fit, I hate being fat and I love to eat.
– i love to race…and race well. But I need to train well, if I am to race well..After the grueling campaign period, Philippine team manager Melvin Fausto signed me up for and olympic distance duathlon (10k run-40k bike-5k run). I knew I would suffer…After the first 10k run and the 40k bike, I was dragging my feet to finish the last 5k. I was so slow, I was almost walking and one of the race marshals, Rene Zablan, who was on a bike beside me kept saying, “out of shape ka ‘no?”..and, “gusto mo nang maglakad ‘no?” I wanted to bop him. But everything he said was true and I realized it wasn’t fun doing this when you haven’t trained well.
-I love being around all these disciplined crazy people who work hard and persevere in the pursuit of victory.
-I love seeing friends and meeting new people at races.
-I love the bond I have with my dua/tri/cycling friends, some of whom have become very good friends.
– when Im out there running and biking, I have peace.
Please check pinayinaction.multiply.com soon for more updates on running, triathlon, fitness and women’s health.