A few years ago, National Artist Virgilio Almario declared foremost Tagalog poet Francisco Balagtas a hero during the celebration of the National Literature Month and the unveiling of a monument. Almario said heroism, for many, is confined within the context of war and dying for the country or for others. Balagtas neither went to war nor died for the country. Instead, he dedicated his life to writing, to creativity, and his works live on, continually enriching us and showing a way to edification and greatness.
Not everybody can or has the chance to die for the country or for others. Heroism does not only blossom in big events or grand gestures.
It can happen on ordinary days and in commonplace instances, as well as through simple gestures.
It may even be unseen and unacknowledged.
Ordinary work is elevated with passion, integrity, selflessness, excellence — a journalist seeking out the truth; a teacher guiding the young; an activist changing the world for the better for all; a rescuer comforting an abandoned dog; an engineer making sure a bridge is safe for everyone to use; a farmer tending to vegetables to nourish us; a painter interpreting life to provoke us; a filmmaker crafting visions to expand our conciousness; an environmentalist watching out for the existence of a mangrove forest; a nurse making sure a patient takes her medication; a social worker checking on the homeless; a scientist searching for a cure; a singer soothing our fears; or a writer wielding words of insight and beauty.
These acts, seemingly usual, imbued with little sacrifices, are touches of heroism that make the world a better place.