PHILIPPINES - Overshadowed by the bad news on hostilities in Zamboanga and the pork barrel scandal is this bit of sunshine. In the coming Miss Universe Pageant in the United States, we have not one but three Filipino beauties competing for the crown. We have Miss Philippines, of course; but Miss Canada and Miss Gabon are also Filipinos by blood if not by citizenship.
Filipinos are all over the world such that every time there is a disaster or terrorist attack somewhere, our Department of Foreign Affairs has to verify if we have any of our countrymen among the dead or wounded.
Writer Jessica Zafra said it long before that the Filipino diaspora is part of our secret plot toward world domination because many children all over the world are being raised by Filipino nannies and are imbibing Philippine values. Remember, two front-line heirs to the British throne, the princes William and Harry, were raised by a Filipino woman who has since retired in Bacolod.
In 2005, during a Palace state dinner for visiting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, I sat across a middle-aged, fully coiffed Filipino woman whose place card, partly hidden by the floral arrangement, identified her as "Mrs. Musharraf."
Curious, I asked why she was not on the presidential table. She replied that she was not the wife of the Pakistani president, rather she was married to the president's brother.
Filipino wanderlust goes a long way back, long before we came up with the familiar tags "balikbayan (returnee)" and "OFW."
In 1417, a large group of people from Sulu, led by Paduka Pahala visited China, to pay tribute to Chinese emperor Zhu Di. On their way home Pahala died in Dezhou, Shandong province where the emperor ordered a tomb erected for him. Part of the Sulu sultan's 300-strong entourage stayed on, thus their descendants are a mix of Chinese and Filipino blood though the Philippines, as we know it today, did not exist yet in 1417. National Artist Eddie Romero collaborated with Chinese director Lili Chou on a historical film based on this tale that was shown as "Hari sa Hari" (1987).