Today was an important day for us Filipinos.
Many of us stood in line for hours, braving heat and humidity, defying hunger and thirst.
For those who could have worked instead of waiting in line, it meant lost income. For others, it simply meant a lack of material comfort.
In places such as Ifugao, it entailed a trek of at least four hours through God knows how many mountains. Elsewhere, it entailed crossing rivers or even seas, praying that the waters and winds would allow them safe passage back home.
No one really knew what to expect. Would we find our names on the list? Would the machines work? Would our ballots be read properly?
Would this work at all?
Certainly there was a lot of complaining. There were reports of intimidation and violence. There were stories of women fainting and men being shot at, of many giving up and going home.
Yet, go out many of us did.
Senior citizen or first-time voter, man or woman, student or professional, rich or poor — it didn’t matter. All were there for the same reason.
You could see it in their eyes, no matter how long the wait: This day was important to them. They knew their vote mattered.
They all wanted to vote.
It wasn’t even about who they were voting for anymore.
It was about exercising a right and fulfilling a responsibility.
It was about doing what they thought was best for the Philippines — something honest, sacred, and heroic.
So today, I am proud to call myself Filipino. Because everyone who voted was a hero.