There are only a few people whom I look up to. I am not easily persuaded by just anyone. Not to have a very high standards in life, not to be a person of boast, it’s just, I only idolize those whom I see peculiar characteristics at. Someone whom I see a semblance of a person who deserve such kind of social prestige. You might see some random posts of mine having the fandom in me– being an avid fan of someone, of something, of anything that captures my heart and the whole lot of me.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is one of those whom I TRULY idolize. She’s everything. She’s one of a kind. She’s intelligent, beautiful, brave, independent, fair, humble, just, God-fearing.. basically everything! You’ll very seldom see such kind of person in the whole wide world. Nobody compares. Nobody dares.
When I read BUKLOD’s Facebook fan page post last week saying that Miriam Defensor- Santiago will be in the campus on the 27th, I shared the post immediately. But when I saw the time of her arrival, my smile just turned reverse. It was announced that the Forum would be on 3pm onwards. Sadly, I got a class during that time—my SOC 130 class, Social Psychology. (I noticed I am mentioning this class very frequently, baka akala nyo ito lang klase ko ha? lol) My heart sank. I had a scheduled exam prior to the event and I thought, I wouldn’t be able to come.
But the air went smoothly on me. Mam Tin Alagad cancelled the exam on that day due to consistent public demand. My classmates (and me) were requesting Prof to re-schedule the exam instead so we will be able to be there at the forum. Good thing, she listened. She told us, “Okay. Hindi lang naman sa loob ng classroom tayo natututo e, dapat sa labas din”. I was so lucky to have such kind of a professor/future adviser then. Very understanding and considerate. Thanks, Mam Tin!
It was Tuesday this week and I was planning of how am I going to do my tasks so I can have all the time to attend to the forum of Senator Santiago. I reviewed my planner and I have adjusted all my works and activities on the time of the event. I was really excited then to see such epitome of intelligence and delightful courage. I wanted to make everything smooth and clear.I was like, “Kelangan ko syang makita. Baka wala nang iba pang chance..” I was really, really excited.
On the 27th, a Wednesday, I got classes from 7am to 10 am. The next class was supposedly on 2:30 which got cancelled. After my last class, I went to a grocery to buy some foods. I was with Diane and Julius. We were chatting about the forum later then and everyone of us were very excited. Diane had to go to a fieldwork for one of our major classes and she was contemplating if she’ll go out there or will just fall in line outside the hall so she can be accommodated early inside. She said, “What time ba yung kay Miriam?” Julius answered, ”2pm.” And Diane, who is also a fan of MDS was a bit panicky. She just screamed, “ÓMYGOD! Dapat pumunta na ako sa field!” I and Julius laughed thinking that that “field” Diane was pertaining to was the field beside the hall where the forum will be conducted. But, clueless, we were wrong. It was the field she was about to visit for her fieldwork. We thought, she was that excited to fall in line that early (10am) to witness the event. LOL
I went back to dorm and took a very quick nap. I woke up at around 11:30am and ate my early lunch. Afterwards, I went straight to Baker Hall where the event will be hosted, few hours away. Imagine how hot the weather was during a summertime in the Philippines on an 11:30am. I brought two bottles of water so I can have myself hydrated as I was waiting in the line under the summer heat. Brrr, para kay Miriam! But I have an umbrella, worry less. A few more minutes later then, Diane and Bianca arrived on the hall falling in the same line where I was. They had even surpassed a girl who was standing next to me. Bad girls! Haha. Julius arrived too. It was around 11:45 when we got there knowing that the event is at 2pm. Most punctual kami eh.
The line was really unorganized. There was no definite ‘end and start of the line’ and the organizers seem didn’t care. Cause if they did, they must’ve organized the lines so it’ll be fair for those who arrived early. They have announced that they were going to open the hall at 1pm, which did not actually happen. It was around 1:30 when they did. I understand they have many things to do, but they should’ve expected for what’s going to happen. But any ways, the long wait, [as far as I think of], will be worth it.
We were so lucky, no. We worked for this. To finally get in. We were seated just a few rows from the stage having the expectation to see the senador herself up close. It was before 3pm-ish when she arrived and the crowd was REALLY REALLY REALLY screaming!
As she was walking down the red carpet (yes, may pa-red carpet), my fur were standing. As in! I was quite teary-eyed upon seeing her. Finally! I just stared at her as she approaches the stage and I was like: “OMG! Sya na talaga yan. Oo, sya na!” When she was introduced by the Vice President of the Chancellor, as she reads the curriculum vitae of Senator Miriam, I can’t help myself but to clap and clap and clap. Her CV was just.. ahh! More than IMPRESSIVE! I cannot even describe and find the words to express how impressed I was. I couldn’t find any exact modifier that can describe her vitae. She was once a UP girl. Graduated Valedictorian during elementary and High School. Graduated MAGNA CUM LAUDE in UP, pursued masters, law and doctorate. She finished her masters degree within 1 year. My God! 1 year! And her doctorate within 6 months. My God! 6 months! She had an average of 1.1 in her Law School. My God! 1.1! Studies at different universities in America like Harvard University. My God! Harvard! *hyperventilates* Me be like: “How to be you po?” She’s that kind of superwoman! You couldn’t ask for more. Feeling ko alikabok lang nya ako. Isa lang akong neuron ng utak nya. Hahaha. I was searching [and stalking] her via internet yet I failed to know something. I have just known that she was also a beauty queen, not once.. but twice. She got it all. Bow down to idol Miriam Santiago. Just bow down.
The sound system was poor. We cannot hear clearly and audibly from the all-in-one-package-woman guest of honor. Everyone was shouting, “Maic!” or “Speaker!” or “Sound!”. And nobody from the organizers responded from the rants. I don’t know where they were. They should’ve checked the sound system beforehand. They should’ve prepared for more because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event especially to avid fans out there, including me. We failed to listen to all the parts of her talk. The sound was unclear and you wouldn’t understand the speaker even if we were just few steps from the stage. The sound was so vague. I was really upset. Madam even said. “Ano ba ‘to, sabotage?” True indeed. They should’ve.. nahhh! Nothing would happen.
She handed her two books with her: Stupidity is forever and Stupidity is forevermore. I am now looking forward to have a copy of mine. I was so envious of the one who won the book with the Senator’s signature during the mini game before the honorable guest speaker arrives.I want them so bad. If I had the copies with me, I promise to read that in one sitting. Yes, I assure you, one sitting.
Hearing only a few words from her, I was still impressed. She was discussing the strength of UPLB, the empowering students and the whole community. Not to be biased about it, but I know, she was just telling the truth. She has so many plans for the agricultural sectors, for the development of Philippine economy, for what is fair and just, everything evolved around her future plans for the country. She asked for our help to make these happen. I was just staring at her the whole time. I can’t still believe that the person I dream of becoming (naks!) was just a few steps away from me. I was so star strucked!
I was just quite disappointed that there were no open forum that occurred. I was really looking forward for this for so long. I have some things I wanted her to answer. She has an event afterwards and she has to leave early. And knowing that she is suffering from a sickness, I guess she cannot afford to stay any longer on the poorly ventilated Baker Hall for few more hours. I felt sad then. As she was leaving, my ‘fan girl feels’ doesn’t get declined yet. There is still my hope, this very little hope, that I will be able to shake hands with her even if the crowd was very eager and wild to pursue the same thing too. Diane handed me and pull me over the door at the left side near the swimming pool. We ran as fast as we could so we will be able to see her more up close and [hoping] that we can shake our hands with her.
AND IT WAS A SUCCESS! I fought hard, pushed myself to the very limit, pushed and pulled everyone in front of me, so I can have my goals get achieved. And yes, achievement unlocked! I was able to shake my right hand with her for about 4 to 5 secs. And I should say, that was one of the best 5 seconds of my life. She was smiling as she stares at me. She might be thinking, “ang competitive naman nitong batang ‘to, hinawi ang daan para sakin.” But that was so real. I did that for her. My smile never vanished in my face. I can’t believe that was happening. That very moment, I was wishing, “Sana nung nahawakan ko yung kamay ni Miriam, sana lumipat kahit konti yung talino nya sa akin.” Haha. This is already an achievement to a fan kid like me. Sadly, I haven’t got the chance to take a selfie or take a photo of her because I might lose grip of my phone and that will be a very challenging thing to do since that was a fast-paced occurrence and I only had a borrowed time. But that was enough, I was able to touch such a woman naman e. I am totally okay with that.
After the convoy left the Baker Hall, I should now get my umbrella along with Julius’ back which I have surrendered with the committee earlier. We were issued a stub numbered 39 as a proof that the umbrellas we’ll be getting were ours. So I took very good care of the stub and made sure I won’t lose it. But when I was about to get our umbrellas, My God! They can’t see where they were! And I have the same case with other UP students complaining to Buklod about finding their malamang-nawala-na umbrella. It pissed me off! I was really contemplating beforehand if I am going to surrender my umbrella to them since I can just hide it in my bag. Yet I did– due to the virtue of honor and excellence. I don’t even see the point of surrendering your umbrella to the organizers when watching a political forum. brrrr! This is bureaucracy. But any way, I got our umbrellas back. I searched for this. And this is what I think Miriam wanted to engrave to me– never be afraid to achieve what really is yours. Be brave enough to conquer the crowd. Let your reason be your motivation. And I did this to achieve a goal– see an idol of mine.
Miriam is an icon of the Philippine history. She is the woman of strength, a woman who stands on her beliefs. She is the leader the country is needing. We need someone who has the concrete plans for the country in all aspects, someone who values education the most, someone who envisions positive things for the Philippines, someone who reflects the real Filipino race, and someone who will risk everything for the sake of the country as a whole.
Miriam is one of those whom I bow my head down. One BIG SALUTE to you, Madam Senator! You will always be my idol. I will forever be an avid fan of yours.