What’s a parent to do?
On the one hand, there is history to be made for our junior golfer Ashia in becoming the first Chrsitian-Muslim Zamboanguena and Mindanaoan to join the ICTSI Lady’s Open in Baguio.
This prestigious event will prepare Ashia should she turn pro in golf less than four years from now. At 13, Ashia will only be playing as junior golfer amateur and should she win the game, will only get a trophy while the pro will get millions in pot money.
Right now, we have no plans for Ashia to eventually turn pro. We’re only after a possible golf scholarship being offered by numerous US universities for junior golfers like her. You see every year, US universities with golf varsity teams need about 300 junior golf players but they only come up with less than a hundred in the US so they hunt for good players in the Philippines, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea and Thailand. Many of the golf pros playing with Ashia are already there in the US.
Ashia’s joining the Lady’s Open would bring her nearer to that US scholarship target as she gets exposure and test her skills playing among the professional legends of Philippine golf.
Ashia has prepared for this game and we have spent considerable amount of resources getting her good golf pros or golf trainers (after a bad tournament in a recent US tournament made us realize that Ashia really needs help from professionals and we should not scrimp on cheaper but less effective golf trainers, pls read).
She had started to gain confidence by winning local golf tournaments and getting known for it.
Then the Zamboanga siege happened. Yes, I talked to some rich friends and clients of the my public relations and online reputation firm and they extended help, which they channeled through the Red Cross and other agencies since my non-government organization in Zamboanga – Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (Kris) is not ready yet to undertake such a mission.
I should already be happy and contented with such move in doing something concrete to help my beloved Zamboanga.
But then I realized such move appears inadequate and superficial. OUR FAMILY and Kris and all our supporters must do something more than give foods and relief goods. We must help in the rebuilding of this great city now being avoided by business investors, local and foreign tourists; and generally everyone who had initial plans of either visiting Zamboanga, doing business in Zamboanga or making it their home.
That need cannot be fulfilled by simply throwing relief goods to the evacuees and refugees. To show love for Zamboanga, we must go there to show that it is safe and to get materials to promote it online, something that my staff – adept in the online wars and campaigns – are adept at doing.
And so I broached the idea to my family and gotten mixed reaction. My Muslim wife Ann, ironically is so much against it as she gets feedback from Tausig relatives of planned retaliations from the families of slain and imprisoned MNLF. Fortunately, Ashia herself is supporting it and is willing to sacrifice her historic game she prepared for three months.
I had no problem with eldest Arizza, Kris Library administrator, who did a fund-raising of her own and would have flown here alone at the height of the war had we not prevented her.
On the personal level, my trip here would have the effect of me losing a new PR and communication deal from an old client – a Senator -- who would have wanted me to do a communication plan project for several months starting THIS WEEK. To me that is the BIGGEST loss as it affect my business firm’s logistical needs and that of my family as well.
But we made our choice.
Today, instead of having a grand vacation and enjoying the sweet amenities and the old world charm in a 5-room villa in our favorite Baguio Golf and Country Club where Ashia is playing, the entire family will be mixing it up with war-shocked children who will receive our relief goods, school supplies and books intended for war evacuees being sheltered at the Divisoria Elementary School.
I know there have been other donors who went before us and gave so much more, but we think by coming to this beautiful city begging for our help is the biggest help we can give it. We are giving it the gift of ourselves, our time, our career and financial sacrifices.
If we have to convince people to trust the peace and order stability of the city, no one can do it better than the Zamboanguenos themselves! And that means getting out of our comfort zones.
And this is the challenge to all Zamboanguenos now living outside of Zamboanga – to put aside all fears to come here and tell the world when they return that Zamboanga is back on its feet. Zamboanga is back in business. Zamboanga will rise again. Zamboanga will be great again!
Vamos a Zamboanga! Great to to be home!