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Remembering my mother Angela and paying tribute to all mothers

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by Fidel Valdez Ramos

 

Throughout most of my life, I have been trained and schooled to be an officer and a gentleman who regards and respects woman as co-equals of men. 

 

The Philippine is blessed to have a society that puts premium on the Filipina as a warm, caring, sharing, and respected individual borne out by the strong regard for our mothers who are the main anchors of our homes and families.

 

With the first stirrings of nationhood kindled by Filipino propagandists in Madrid, Spain in the last quarter of the 19th century, the concept of Philippines as our motherland became a rallying cry.

 

Motherland was, and still is, the term that nurtures a sense of belonging to a homeland, and identity distinct from others, and a longing for our people to prosper to be free. 

 

This clarion call to love our motherland led to the birth of the Philippines as an independent nation. The idea still keeps millions of expatriate Filipinos and overseas workers across the globe attached enduringly, to the land of their birth.

 

In a larger context, the globe is more intimately known as Mother Earth. Environmentalist also refer to the earth as Mother Nature—which has deeper meanings that cherish roots, renewal, continuity, sustainability and survival.

 

All these concepts are rooted on the universal meaning of motherhood which intrinsically is our eternal umbilical cord to the future.

 

The intuitive respect that Filipinos hold for their mothers and their treatment of women folk as co-equals, augurs well for a nation like the Philippines that continues to search for sources of strength in order to attain a bountiful destiny.

 

The role of a mother in the life of every child is essential in the nurturing of one’s basic character and fulfillment. Unfortunately, a mother is almost always taken for granted until she is gone. 

A mother is usually there when she is needed most. She is always ready to make even the supreme sacrifice, and enduring trait that drives a Filipino mother in today’s modern world to work as domestic helper, caregiver or entertainer for the sake of her children.

 

Mothers go to great lengths to assure their children’s better future through their honest labor and devotion to duty. It is this deep sense of sacrifice and selflessness that many Filipino leaders, in and out of government, seem to have forgotten. 

 

Libraries have been filled with the heroic feats of great men, and few great women leaders. However, only a few have been written about the often-seen greatness of mothers. In 2004,  the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation (RPDEV) co-published with Media Touchstone Ventures, Inc. a commemorative book on Angela Valdez Ramos titled “In A Class of Her Own,’ authored by our family biographer Melandrew T. Velasco. It is also modest contribution to a handful of tributes to mothers and the Filipina as a person in her own rights as primus interpares among Filipinos.

 

Closer to home and family, my sisters, Letty and Glory, and I are supremely grateful to the Almighty for the gift and the advantage of having a mother like Angela Valdez Ramos. 

 

Our parents raised, nurtured and challenged us their children to value education, honesty, hard work and frugality. They also taught us to be respectful to elders and to those in authority to obey the law and to love God, country, neighbors, and nature.

 

In grateful remembrance of our mother, the Angela book was offered as a gift to others. Her roots, her upbringing, her role as wife to a public servant in a changing world, her caring motherhood under sometimes difficult circumstances, her selfless volunteerism as a civic worker in war and her exemplary life as practicing Christian – all these are encapsulated in this humble tribute.

 

Our loving mother we now know was in a class of her own among peers and contemporaries in generation. 

 

This is also our salute to the timeless caring, sharing and daring of the Filipino woman on the centennial of the Feminist Movement in the Philippines in 2004, and now in celebration of Mother’s Day.  

 

Mabuhay and Mga Kababaihang Filipina! Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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