When I was a kid at family gatherings, my elders would recall how, in 1969, as Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Gloria Diaz won the Miss Universe title. They repeated her snappy answers to the host’s questions. They told the story as if it were part of epic tradition, like the Iliad to the Greeks or the Nibelungenlied to the Germans. Gloria Diaz assumed the stature of Paul Revere in his midnight ride or Henry V thrashing the French at Agincourt. Even her name sounded mythical: Glory Days.
Face it, we don’t huddle round the fire to talk about Lam-Ang or Bernardo Carpio. We don’t listen to tales of Bonifacio at Pinaglabanan. We hear how Gloria Diaz would welcome the man from the moon with a change and a shave. (Possibly the shave was not part of her answer, but that is how it was handed down.) Is it a feat of courage? Try keeping your wits about you when you carry an entire judgemental nation’s hopes while standing on a stage in a swimsuit exposed to the judgement of the planet. There are many kinds of battles. In the one we are taught, the heroine didn’t kill 20,00 men, but she did slay the board of judges.
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