Whenever a Filipino makes the news, every Pinoy in the planet is sure to be beaming with pride and joy, while proclaiming the words “Filipino Pride” for all the world to hear. Filipino, or Pinoy Pride, means being a credit to the Filipino nation by doing well on an international level on any chosen field. It also means being proud of their origins, their cultural aspects and individuality. Pinoys know that being proud of a fellow countryman’s fortune is nothing that has to be hidden from plain sight—it is celebrated, flashed on the news, shared, liked and Tweeted for weeks and weeks to come.
Over the past decades, many Filipinos have excelled in their chosen field and have become famous though out the world because of their achievements. Recently, a number of Pinoys once again made the entire country rejoice. From sports, to beauty pageants, to winning reality shows and more, here’s a recap of the top Filipinos who recently made headlines all over the world.
1. Manny Pacquiao
The Pound for Pound King is back! After suffering back to back losses against Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley in 2012, he made a stunning comeback in his fight against Brandon Rios in November of last year. Though many were saying that he wasn’t quite the dynamo that he used to be five years ago, he is still the best fighter in his weight division. Pacquiao’s performance was likened to that of a virtuoso, as critics noted that he has grown to be an intelligent fighter over the last few years. As of this writing, the Pac Man is currently preparing for his rematch against Bradley, slated to take place on April 12 of this year.
2. Megan Young
A tall and willowy young lady with skin the exquisite color of melted caramel became the first Filipina to be crowned Miss World last year. Megan Young was crowned Miss World 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, making her the first Filipina to hold the title since the pageant’s creation in 1951. During the preliminaries, she also won the Top Model competition. Her grace, beauty and poise won over the judges, and she has been an early favorite of fans worldwide.
Megan started her career as a TV host, model and actress in the Philippines. As of the present she is based in London and is expected to visit 40 countries as part of Miss World’s Beauty with a Purpose campaign.
3. Michael Martinez
During last month’s Winter Olympics opening parade, a lone figure carrying the Philippine flag brought a lot of pride for the country and a love for ice skating in a land that doesn’t see even a day of winter. Michael Christian Martinez was the only athlete representing the Philippines and was also the first figure skater to ever represent Southeast Asia. The 17-year old is also the youngest figure skater in this year’s Olympics.
Martinez’s story is worthy to be the plot of a feel-good movie. As a young boy, he suffered from asthma. He badly wanted to take up a sport, but his health condition wouldn’t allow him to do so. One day, after seeing some skaters in the mall, he decided to give it a try and since that day, he has never looked back. Determined to make it to the Olympics, Michael and his mother worked to get the money to support this costly endeavor. In the world of competitive ice skating, coaches, travel and equipment do not come cheap. It came to a point where they had to take out a mortgage on their home so that he would be able to compete in this year’s Olympics. Unlike his competitors, Michael only had four months of dedicated training for the Sochi Winter Olympics because they had trouble coming up with the funding. He made it into the finals, and he finished 19th overall. He is considered to be someone to watch come the next Winter Olympics.
4. Bruno Mars
The man behind the famous songs “Grenade” and “Treasure” made headlines when he performed at the last Superbowl Halftime show. Displaying his skills as a showman and his range as a singer, his performance was greatly applauded and was thought to be highly enjoyable and authentic. Recently, he was ranked number one on the Forbes 30 under 30 List.
The famous singer-songwriter was born Peter Gene Hernandez to a Filipino mother and a Puerto Rican father. He has won two Grammys and is scheduled to have a series of concerts worldwide within the year.
5. Hailee Steinfeld
This Filipino-American young actress first gained fame for her performance in the remake of the movie True Grit in 2010. Her outstanding performance earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards in 2011, making her one of the youngest Oscar nominees in that category.
Last year the 14-year old charmer starred in a remake of Romeo and Juliet as Juliet Capulet, and she was also in the film Ender’s Game. A few more projects are lined up for her, and expect to see more of her as she has 4 movies coming out within the year.
6. Rose Fostanes
Rose Fostanes’s story calls to mind a scene in the Heath Ledger film A Knight’s Tale, wherein Heath Ledger’s younger version asks his father if it was possible to change a man’s stars. Fontanes certainly proved that it could be done.
Fostanes left the Philippines when she was 23 years old to work as a caregiver. She arrived in Israel in 2008 to work for an ailing woman in her 50’s. While working for the woman she also moonlighted as a lead vocalist of a band that regularly plays in a bar in Tel Aviv. In October 26, 2013, she auditioned for X Factor and sang a Shirley Bassey song, “This is My Life”. She got a standing ovation for her performance and advanced in the competition, ultimately emerging as the winner.
Now the 47-year old serves as an inspiration, not only for her fellow Filipinos but for other talented people out there who are patiently waiting for their big break. She has openly admitted to being a lesbian, and she is an outspoken member of the LGBT community.
7. Robert Lopez
You must have been hiding under a rock if you haven’t heard the hit song “Let it Go” from the Disney animated movie “Frozen”. That song was composed by Filipino-American Robert Lopez.
Lopez wrote his first song at the age of 7 and graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in English. He has a very successful career as a songwriter and is best known for his musicals. He is the co-creator of the Broadway hits Avenue Q. and The Book of Mormon. He has also written music for TV shows such as Scrubs, Phineas and Ferb, and The Simpsons.
He wrote the songs from “Frozen” with his wife Kristen. Recently he won an Oscar in the Best Song Category for “Let it Go”. He has won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award in the previous years for his work, making him one of only 12 people who have won all 4 awards.
Indeed, last year and the first quarter of this year have proven to be very auspicious for the Filipinos. Aside from Megan Young, 3 more Filipina beauty queens did very well in last year’s international pageants. Bea Rose Santiago was crowned Miss International 2013; Mutya Datul won Miss Supranational 2013, and Ariela Arida won 4th Place at last year’s Miss Universe Beauty Pageant.
This year has a lot more in store for Filipinos who will be competing in different fields. Let us support them, pray for them and continue cheering them on. Keep the Filipino pride alive!