Terrible things happen.

Amidst all the debates, hate talks, rumors, blames and cries of sadness and sympathy, a mind seeking positivity can do a lot of difference.

Together with the rest of my country, I am deeply sorry and sympathetic for the victims of the recent HK tourist bus hostage drama. Lives were lost, dreams were shattered and anger and atrocity filled the air. It is completely inevitable that resentment is felt against the Philippine's officials and government due the tragic conclusion of this event. It is completely predictable that Hong Kong nationals feel dim towards the Filipinos. This is human nature. One feels ill towards another who just hurt his brother or sister. However, wherever you look at it, this is an incident brought about not by the entire Philippines as a nation. Filipinos never wanted these people to die. Neither did we want anyone to even get hurt. But just like how we understand people in grief, Filipinos have to understand that Hong Kong nationals are also mourning right now. May we respect them as much as we want them to understand
that this is not the entire Philippine's crime.

Aside from this horrendous incident, another international scene caught our attention. Venus Raj -- the Bb. Pilipinas Universe who was almost dethroned due to her inconsistent records -- just claimed herself as a perfect girl without any "major major" mistake which she had to correct before William Baldwin in the question and answer segment of the prestigious Miss Universe pageant. To be included in the top 5 was a big surprise for many, especially for the non-supporters of Raj. But at that moment, Filipinos were suddenly swept by a rush of optimism and hope. Venus Raj makes it to top 5! She's almost there. Why not? She has always been the favorite as what can be seen from the online poll of the Miss Universe's official site. But just right after the golden question was delivered, everyone's head seemed to suddenly turn down.

Seriously? No major mistake in your 22 years of life?

But who are we to contest if Venus Raj deems herself perfect? But when ABC and other international media outlet began talking about this "major major" baffle by Ms. Philippines, I can't help but think: In a matter of 2 days? How much national humiliation can a country really take? I was on the verge of rejoicing with the rest of the country in the belief that Venus Raj will stir up the nation's spirit into something more positive by bringing home the crown... until that disappointing moment.

Nevertheless, she was on the 5th highest spot in front of the rest of world. That is already something to be proud of. Definitely, there are plenty of reasons that brought Venus Raj in that position. And to bring the country's pride to that level I think is enough reason for me to be grateful for her.

In less than a week's time, all these things happened. And all these have put our nationalistic spirit in to a very despairing low. But come to think of it... these are just two things... two reasons as compared to the thousands and possibly millions of reasons for us to be thankful that were part of this country. Look around. See the wonders of the places that only Filipinos can enjoy. See the magnificence in our values, traditions, culture, history and heritage that make our country one of the most colorful in the world. See our outstanding people who have made have left the world in awe like Lea Salongga, Charice Pempengco and Manny Pacquiao among the orders. And most importantly, look inside of you. See the Filipino spirit which has always been heroic, courageous, loving, nationalistic, kind-hearted and compassionate. This is how our ancestors brought us up. And to dwell on these negativities may make us forget these beautiful things that are more worthy of remembrance. This negativity's a great distraction. It distracts us from doing the more important thing: which is to work for change and for development.

Two sad events versus millions of reasons to be thankful that we're Filipino. It is only up to you if you'll want yourself to dwell on either the negative or the positive reasons.

For the Hong Kong people, I am one with my country in extending our most sincere apologies and condolences for what this incident has caused.

And to William Baldwin and the rest of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, I am also one with my nation in saying: So she says she's perfect, so what? You don't always see a 22 year-old with a 22-inch waist line, a stunningly beautiful morena skin, and an innocent and non-pretentious face.

Go Venus! You did a good job. Not everyone can make it to top 5 .

Terrible things happen. It is only up to us if we will let them drag our positive spirits down.
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