The Outstanding Filipino

“You don’t blog anymore!” my dad complained a few weeks ago. The absence of blog posts is indicative not of the lack of events, but the overabundance of them — but right now, let me talk about my dad.

2010 TOFIL Awards

Last night, my dad was named as one of six Outstanding Filpinos for 2010 (known as the TOFIL Award). The award is given to modern heroes who have made major contributions to national development. His fellow awardees were Dr. Esperanza Cabral for Government/Public Service, Dr. Ray Catague for Public Health, Ms. Shirley Halili-Cruz for Arts and Culture, Dr. Anthony Leachon for Medicine, and Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. for Education. You can read their individual write-ups here.

2010 TOFIL Awards

Now, my dad has always been famous, even when I was growing up, though I didn’t understand it until I got older. My dad has spent his life working on long-term change to improve the country. In an AVP last night, he said that his purpose as a writer was to show the world how brilliant the Filipino was. He wants his students to go out into the world and excel in their fields, and to never feel inferior about being a Filipino. Something about his speech moved me deeply, and it took me a bit to realize what it was.

Whenever I talk about the Philippines with my boyfriend (he is not Filipino), I’ve gotten very passionate and emotional about it. I told him in tears how much the HK tourist bus fiasco upset me. I told him how proud I am of Boomzap and why I love representing the company and the country to the world. I told him about the Manila chapter of the International Game Developers Association and how important it is for the local game development community to grow. I told him the only reason I keep teaching is that I want my students to get into game development and continue what my generation has started. Listening to my dad last night, it became very clear to me where my furious, almost inexplicable love for the Philippines came from. I got it from him.

2010 TOFIL Awards

Dad never explicitly taught me to be this way — I must have picked it up being around him for 28 years. When people hear that I’m a writer or a professor, they always think I’m following my dad’s footsteps; honestly, it was never a conscious decision, and it still isn’t. I make games for a living, and that doesn’t have any kind of grand impact on the world! But I am proud to be a Filipino game developer, and I will continue showing the world that Filipinos are brilliant at it. And on a personal level, I’m quite happy to sit in the front row and watch my dad like a proud stage daughter. Congrats, Dad! I’m so proud of you 🙂

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