The Filipino Heroes We Salute This 2019

Here are the people who proved there’s still hope for us yet.

With every negative headline we read, there are stories of everyday Filipinos who continue to prove that the Filipino is still worth fighting for. These are heroes who, in their own capacity, do what they can to help their fellow Filipinos and stand for what they believe in.

Take a break from the Philippine news cycle and read up on these inspiring stories from the country’s finest.

Roger Casugay, hero surfer

In the thick of the surfing competition of the Southeast Asian Games 2019, this surfer gave up his shot at gold to save his Indonesian competitor from drowning. A hero in every sense of the word, Casugay is set to be awarded with the Order of the Lapu-Lapu by President Rodrigo Duterte.


Joanna Sustento, Yolanda survivor and climate justice warrior

In 2013, Sustento lost her mother, father, brother, sister, and nephew to Typhoon Haiyan. The loss turned her into a survivor and environmentalist bent on waking people up to the climate crisis around us. On September 16, she staged a lone protest in front of local gas companies, calling them out on their contribution to global climate change.

Angel Locsin, hero of philanthropy

The actress proved to be just as heroic as her on-screen character Darna when she was recognized by Forbes Asia as a Hero of Philanthropy. She might be a celebrity, but Locsin has proven more than once that she’s willing to go above and beyond to help indigenous peoples, victims of natural disasters, and victimized women and children.

Virgita Diaz, elementary teacher

It’s common knowledge that teachers in the Philippines earn very little, but that hasn’t stopped this elementary teacher from buying togas and graduating caps for her students. After learning some of them couldn’t afford to buy these graduation items, Diaz took it upon herself to spend more than her take-home pay (of only P6,600) to give her students a graduation they’d remember.

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Manolo Ebora, patriot

Last November, Ebora proved that he had more courage to defend Philippine territories than many politicians in office. When a Chinese “naval warship” told him to sail his ship away from Scarborough Shoal, captain Ebora defended the Philippine sovereignty over the area, a feat our lawmakers have failed to do.


Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes

Judge Solis-Reyes is the woman responsible for putting the guilty members of the Ampatuan clan behind bars. For 10 years, she has presided over the biggest criminal case of the decade: the Maguindanao Massacre, which saw the murders of 58 people. Solis-Reyes was the second judge to receive the case in a raffle draw in court after the first judge, Luisito Cortez, turned down the case out of fear for his family’s safety. After receiving the case, Solis-Reyes declined police security despite the danger the case posed on her safety.

The delivery persons who brave rain or shine to bring our packages

Grab, FoodPanda, Lalamove—all these delivery apps have made life convenient for us at the cost of those who deliver them in the first place. These delivery persons deal with traffic, head loads, and rude customers to deliver meals they can’t afford, even at the threat of rude order cancellations. Their job is to make our lives easier, even at the cost of their own.


The OFWs who leave behind their children to raise someone else’s

The unsung working class heroes of the decade. Everyone knows the struggle of overseas working Filipinos, but it’s good to be reminded of the sacrifices they make for their families—particularly the nannies who leave behind their children for the prospect of better pay abroad.

This is hardly a complete list of the hundreds of heroes that go unsung everyday in the Philippines. Share your heroes in the comments down below.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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