Badasses need not always take the form of gun-slinging, sword-swinging, balbas-sarado macho men. A lot of Filipinos are pretty damn astig in their own right. To commemorate Independence Day, we've come up with a list of seven Filipino hotshots who've earned a rightful spot in the badass club.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Let’s take a quick look at this guy. Multimedia journalist. Pulitzer Prize winner. Work
experience includes The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News,
The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.
and raised in the States, Jose Antonio Vargas has a knack for coming out. He came
out of the closet when he was a high school junior after watching a documentary
on Harvey Milk, and only six months after the Matthew Shepard murder. He also came
out as an undocumented immigrant (that’s the politically correct term for ‘illegal
alien’ for you boneheads out there) in an essay published by no less than The New York Times. That’s a pretty hardcore way of outing yourself, if you ask
me. Vargas is now a strong advocate of the DREAM Act, which seeks to improve what
he feels is a broken immigration system in the US.
Juan Ponce Enrile
There’s definitely a lot to say about our 88-year-old Senate President. Keep in mind that you probably weren't even born yet when Manong Johnny served as Marcos’s right-hand man during Martial Law. But in 1986, he became a protagonist in the massive citizens' revolt that would eventually be known as People Power. Since then, JPE has maintained a prominent political career in the face of five different administrations. He also played the part of an honourable presiding officer in the recently concluded impeachment trial of ex-CJ Corona. This octogenarian can school both panels on their laws (“I’m sorry to tell you I’m teaching you corporation law,” and “What is culpa?!”), and even cite constitutional provisions from memory sixty (sixty!!!) years after passing the bar. Senate President Enrile earned his place in our history books not only as the sharpest, but also the wisest man in our first successful impeachment. Objections? I dare you to take him to court.
Jose Abad Santos
Pop quiz. Can you name the three people found on the one thousand peso
bill? Yeahhh, didn’t think so. Well FYI, they're Josefa Llanes Escoda, Vicente Lim, and
Jose Abad Santos - heroes of resistance during the Japanese occupation. And
one of them just landed on our badass list. Jose Abad Santos is arguably one of
the greatest heroes of World War II and the most loved Chief Justice of the
. When the war broke out, Pres. Manuel L. Quezon
fled the country
moved the seat of
government to the US
Along with his cabinet members and VP Sergio Osmena, they took a submarine to escape the invading
Japanese Imperial Forces. But Jose Abad Santos was all, “It’s
ayt, bros. Ya’ll hide in the States while I stay here and take care of my
country.” The Japanese Military Command forced him several times to swear
allegiance to their flag, but he refused time and again. Needless to say, the
Japanese were royally pissed and Jose Abad Santos was shot to death.
His last badass words to his son: "Don't cry, Pepito. Show them that you are brave. It's an honor to die for your country. Not everybody has that chance."
Don’t be too ashamed if the entirety of your knowledge on physics
is drawn from Big Bang Theory's Leonard and Sheldon. We hardly understand the theory of relativity either. But Filipina astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes not only
understood Einstein’s groundbreaking theory, she also proved it beyond the confines
of our solar system. That's right, she verified the theory of relativity on a cosmic scale and came up with a new measurement for how galaxies are pulled together by gravity. Her findings also contributed to the profound scientific
mystery of Dark Energy, a force greater than gravity itself. And all by the age of 28. Sounds like
this chick came straight out of a sci-fi movie, no?
MVP may have not made it to the top 40 richest Filipinos, but he makes the list as one badass businessman. At the rate he's going, there seems to be no stopping the guy! Pangilinan is the owner of gigantic companies such as Smart Communications
, Cignet Digital TV, and TV5 Network
. It definitely takes a badass to penetrate the local broadcasting
industry that's been dominated by two major networks for decades now. He owns two PBA teams, and is even thinking of buying the NBA's Sacramento Kings! In addition, MVP is also either chairman or CEO of the following companies: PLDT
, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, San Beda College
, et cetera et cetera. In other words, if you live in Metro Manila, he basically owns you.
Two common Google searches linked to our tenth president are: “was Ferdinand Marcos a bad president” and “is Ferdinand Marcos a bad person.” It’s
no surprise that his name has become a synonym for dictator, what with his
twenty-year rule marred with human rights violations and widespread corruption.
But there’s no denying the man’s brilliance and eloquence. As a law student at 23,
Marcos represented himself in the Supreme Court and successfully reversed a
murder conviction against him. This, while reviewing for the bar, and topping
it to boot! Who does that?! A badass motherf*****, that’s who. His first term
as president saw the Philippines
get a taste of economic prosperity. There was immense improvement in
infrastructure (he built more schools than all his predecessors put together),
stable government finances, and secure foreign policies. Under Martial Law,
ordinary Filipinos were scared sh*tless and had never been so disciplined in
their lives (and haven’t been since). On brains and balls alone, notorious
Ferdinand Marcos is a certified badass.
Ninoy Aquino is the national symbol for sticking it to the man. With an early start at politics, he was paving the way as a force to be reckoned with. He became mayor at 22, governor at 27, and the nation's youngest senator at 34. Ninoy was President Marcos' fraternity brother and also his staunchest critic. He always had the spine to blast the administration for its corruption and extravagance, even going as far as calling then-First Lady Imelda "the Philippines' Eva Peron." He consistently gave a finger to Marcos' militarized government, and was eventually swept up and thrown into prison. In 1983, Ninoy's assassination was the catalyst that pushed the people over the edge. The overwhelming support for this man ultimately catapulted his wife Corazon to the helm of the anti-Marcos movement. The people grew some balls and told Marcos to GTFO, which ushered the nation back to democracy. It's a collective sentiment that Ninoy Aquino will always be the "best president we never had."