Friday, June 29, 2007

10 people you should know if you're coming to the philippines

Here's a short list of people who you should try to be familiar with if you plan a visit to the Philippines. Try sprinkling a few of these in conversation. A mix of showbiz, politics and sports , one witty observer summed up Pinoy conversation as PBA: politika, basketball, artista. Who's on your list?

1. Jose Rizal-our national hero and definitely a name you will read on street signs, buildings, banks, match boxes, etc. He was shot for writing against the friars and the church during the Spanish regime.

2. Gloria Arroyo-current president of the Philippines. It's always a good idea to know who the big boss is coz you don't know who you might bump into in the airport.

3. Fernando Poe Jr. Called the King of Philippine movies, he was an action star who ran against Arroyo and some say the true winner of the 2004 elections. He died before he could substantiate this claim.

4. Manny Pacquiao-most popular Pinoy boxer. Most sought-after commercial endorser. Buoyed by his immense popularity and probably misguided by his friends, he ran for Congress and lost.

5. Nora Aunor-one of the country's best actresses. Called the Superstar and idolized by the masses, she is the epitome of the troubled artist, her career soars to great heights in movies like Himala, and sinks to pitiful depths as in her arrest for carrying illegal drugs. Now based in the States, she is said to be married to her female manager.

6. Vilma Santos-called the Star for all seasons(showbiz writers have a penchant for titles) there has never been a rivalry like that of Nora and Vilma. Fans actually fought in the street over who was the bigger star. She is now the governor of Batangas

7.Sharon Cuneta-dubbed the Megastar, she is not the best thespian or songstress, but a mix of luck, talent and undeniable charisma has made her an enduring star and top ad endorser. She is also partly responsible for the election of her husband as senator (see how showbiz and politics mix here?)

8. Robert Jaworski - called the Living Legend, a basketball player and coach you either love or hate, he is probably the only basketball pro who still played till his 50s.He was also once a senator of the republic(Yikes!)

9. Ferdinand Marcos. While some still consider him a great president, make no mistake about it, he was the bad guy whose legacy is still felt today. He and his wife Imelda placed the country in debt while enriching themselves for 20 years. Under Martial Law, the people lived in fear and protesters killed or tortured. We continue to pay for debts incurred under his rule while Imelda and her kin live in luxury.

10. Ninoy Aquino-the man who would be the thorn in Marcos' side till the end. He was jailed by Marcos for opposing his New Society and later exiled to the US. He flew back to Manila and was assassinated. It was a national outrage. His death sparked a massive eruption of unrest which culminated in the toppling of the Marcos government in Feb. 1986.

Some notable runners-up: Cory Aquino-widow of Ninoy and first female president of the Philippines; Lea Salonga-first Pinoy Tony award-winner; Joseph 'Erap' Estrada-action star-turned-disgraced president; Kris Aquino-daughter of Ninoy and Cory, our very own Paris Hilton/Oprah wannabe.

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