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The J Spotter

Personal insights from the J Spot author J. Angelo Racoma
( this site has moved to http://jangelo.racoma.net )

The J Spotter » Pat Evangelista: CRAZED--Filipino Idol

Pat Evangelista: CRAZED--Filipino Idol

This is an article published in the 22 October 2004 edition of the Philippine Star (sadly, the Star does not make available its archives online, but you may click here for the Google cache). It makes one, especially a Filipino, think, are we really awful? Are we really a country with awful politics, awful places, awful traffic, awful, awful people. I'd think we do indeed have awful politics and awful traffic! But awful people? I guess we do have a handful of awful people. But what country doesn't?

- Angelo



Filipino Idol
CRAZED By Patricia Chanco Evangelista
The Philippine STAR 10/22/2004

I went to London last May to represent the Philippines in the International Public Speaking Competition. I gave a speech that celebrated the Filipino identity, telling the world that being Filipino is something that must never be denied.

When I competed in the local eliminations, they gave us the topic "A Borderless World." It was inevitable, at least for me, to speak about the Filipino Diaspora. It's true, I was out to win, and I used a feeling that is very much alive in the Philippines today: condemnation.

We have a family friend who used to be close to us. She and her family sent all their kids to America to a better life, a better future. It hurt to have them leave, but people are entitled to their choices. They came back a couple of years ago. They invited us to dinner, and so there we were in their living room, along with their brand-new furniture and 50-inch flat-screen TV. The adults started talking about the Philippines at least our old friend did. She said that she is glad, so glad, that her children have been saved from this god-awful country of ours. A country with awful politics, awful places, awful traffic, awful, awful people.

Im a Filipino. Im one of those "awful" people. And I was outraged.

I didnt say anything then. What could I say? But when the competition gave me the platform to speak about a borderless world, I spoke I said everything I wished I said years ago. I was like a madman on a soapbox, I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave, said they deserved to be pushed down the road to hell on a handcart. Traitors and turncoats, I called them.

And I won obviously not because of content. Sabi ko nga, angas, kaya minsan. Sometimes confidence can save the day. I still blush when I remember what happened. In London, I didnt win on my own. I was lucky enough to be under the tutelage of some of the best minds in the country. Great writers like Krip Yuson, Gemino Abad, Butch Dalisay, Boo Chanco and Ed Maranan, along with former ambassador Ed Espiritu took me under their wing. They never told me what to do or say – I would never have said what I did in the finals if I didnt reach that conclusion on my own. They asked me questions, listened to what I said, and opened my eyes to a less narrow and more holistic perspective.

I almost didnt go to London. Money is tight, and asking for government support at a time like this is difficult, close to impossible. However, it is a wonderful thing to have corporations such as Shell Philippines who believe in giving back to the country. They sent me to London with a ticket, a smile and a "good luck." Like I said, I as lucky.

With the support of so many people, family, friends and the grace of God, I won. Hey, Im Filipino. I went home with cameras at my face and questions like: "How does it feel to put the Philippines on the map?" I was 18, and I have to admit, I was thrilled. Im not the first Filipino to win, and Im not going to be the last. But unlike a lot of winners, I have something else going for me. My mentors and relatives are some of the most prolific writers in the country, and they made d@mn sure people knew what I did. In other words, I have built-in publicity. Cool, huh?

The other day, I was reading the paper and found the story of an 11-year-old girl named Faye. It was a paid ad by Bread of Life Ministries. "Unknown to her countrymen, this 11-year-old girl brought honor to the Philippines. She represented the country two weeks ago in the Intercontinental Science Quiz Net in Australia. Out of 57 countries represented, Faye garnered first place for the Philippines. Germany came in second, the United States came third."

Faye's story is an extraordinary one. Given financial constraints, especially since her mother was raising Faye on her own, they went to various congressmen for aid. Only one was willing to help them in exchange for the senator taking credit for the childs former achievements (and there were many). Her mother did what any self-respecting mother would have, she refused. Mother and daughter went to Australia by dint of their own savings. They collected her "Best in Physics" award in Brisbane and moved on to Sydney for the Quiz. They were aided by none other than a "kind" Filipina on the plane, who very kindly stole their luggage, passports and plane tickets, leaving the pair with carry-on luggage. They sold their clothes for food, and begged for help from Filipino officials. They were given an overnight stay in a hotel, but no more. They had to check out the next day, and with no money for transportation, they walked the two kilometers to the tournament site.

They were shocked by the sight that faced them. Each competitor had his own cheering squad, a band and a flag. Young Faye had no one other than her mother. In the final round, Faye was the only Asian left competing and was cheered on to victory by her fellow Asians, the Japanese. It was a Japanese diplomat who helped them secure temporary passports, with the prize money only sufficient to bring them back home.

It is tempting to blame everything on a country that claims it is looking for heroes and does not acknowledge them. The article draws parallels to Jasmine Trias victory, why give the Hawaiian winner of America Idol the red carpet to Malacanang, when a homegrown 11-year-old girl went through hell and high water to bring honor to the country? After the Southeast Asian Games, there was no one, not a single member of the National Sports Commission to receive our athletes. True, they did not win but they faced their competitors with a dignity and a skill that befit Filipinos. They too represented the country.

It is tempting to revert back to the old Filipino condemnation. Awful politicians, awful government, awful people. But it would not be fair. Faye herself said, in spite of everything, "let us love our nation, for no one else will." Brave girl that.

I was lucky to be at the right time and the right place, to have the support of so many people, bringing me the opportunities I have today. Some people are not so lucky. I do not deny Jasmine Trias' moment in the sun. Her talent is as real as anyone else's and we Filipinos love the glitz and glamour of spotlights and cameras. Yet her success has drawn a stark contrast to those who have succeeded yet were not recognized.

Butch Jimenez, one of the greatest speakers I have heard and another of those people who see the value of giving to the country, gave a speech to the graduates of UP Diliman. He said that theres something better than having a vision: its having a cause.

I found my cause. I was lucky to get the attention. I am grateful for the recognition. I am honored by the chance to speak my mind and to influence people. I cannot say that enough. Helping this one girl, and others like her will be my cause. It is disgraceful for such victory to go unnoticed. One article may not make a difference, but its a step.

For all those times that no one said it, I say this now.

Faye, congratulations. You did the country proud.
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You guys are so naive if not outright stupid buying the "Faye" story. If this story is true, why conceal the identity of Faye? Isn't her accomplishemnt the pride of the country? Where is Faye now? What school does she go to? It is pathetic and tragic that you guys including the columnist were taken for a ride by a stupid hoax. The next time, turn your BRAINS on and stop believing everything you read. No wonder why have such an awful country, awful people, etc...

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Sunday, October 31, 2004 12:08:00 AM  




This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:47:00 AM  




This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:48:00 AM  




This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:49:00 AM  




This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:52:00 AM  




This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:57:00 AM  




True, I never heard of her story up until now. Even if this story is true, then it only proves the point that our media in the Philippines is also awful. Like I said on my previous blog, the Philippine media is like "Tabloids on Steroids". If you have the money, you can pay them to publish anything you want just as she mentioned that this ad was paid by Bread of Life Ministries.

Now with regards to the "awful people", I believe that this is true. We have lots of good people but we also have tons of awful people. If you could open your eyes wider and view this country from an outsider’s perspective, then you will come to a conclusion that we are such a messed up country with messeup people.

Awful Government
Awful Diplomats
Awful Military
Awful Police
Awful Politicians
Awful Traffic
Awfully Dirty Streets
Awfully Polluted Waterways
Awfully Bad Economic Policies
Awfully Bad Growing Foreign Debt
Awful Media
Awful People - again some are, some aren't.
Awful Extreme Religion
Awful Moral Values
Awful Opportunities
Awfully misinformed people (Bad Media)

On her (Patricia Chanco Evangelista) speaking competition, she mentioned "I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave, said they deserved to be pushed down the road to hell on a handcart. Traitors and turncoats, I called them."

My Questions for Her:

Have you even considered thinking about the pain and suffering that these people go through leaving their loved ones behind in order to provide them with better financial support and better education?

Have you ever thought that these people did not choose this for fun but out of necessity?

Have you ever thought that the same people are the ones responsible to keeping our country’s economy afloat by sending dollars home ($5.5 Billion)?

Have you even experienced how Pinoy OFW's are treated in a foreign land only to come home and being treated much worse?

Have you even thought of asking yourself, why did they leave?

Have you ever thought of asking our policy makers why can’t we have a better opportunity at home?

Have you ever thought of asking about why do professionals leave to only become “house maids” or helpers in a foreign land?

Have you ever thought of asking why does our economy suck?

Have you ever thought of asking why do my countryman have the courage to find work in Iraq rather than stay at home and maybe die of hunger?

I think the answers are one of those mentioned on the list above.

She needs a “reality check” my friend! How could she be proud of her speech at the expense of "demeaning" your fellow countrymen? Probably she is one of those rich kids that grew up not knowing what hunger means!

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:59:00 AM  




Guy, thanks for the comment. Our country is, indeed, in trouble. Being an economist, I can only say that we have tough times ahead of us. We can only thank God for the US$ 5.5 billion (or isn't it now approximately US$ 7 billion annually) in OFW remittances that keep our economy afloat--this, though, is unsustainable, since it's been found that most of this amount goes to consumer spending instead of savings or investment.

On your last sentence, I'm not so sure about Ms. Evangelista's background, since I don't know her personally (she writes well, though; I've been reading her columns for some time--she also appears in Studio 23's Breakfast TV show every now and then). But being one of whose who have to tighten their belts in these tough times (I'm very much like the Philippine Government--I'm nearing a fiscal crisis of some sort! =) ), I can surely say that I'm not one of those rich kids that grew up not knowing what hunger means! =)

If my family and I could have the means to leave this country for greener pastures, then we'd surely grab the opportunity. As you said, it would not be for fun, but out of necessity.

Angelo

Posted by Blogger J. Angelo Racoma on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 9:43:00 AM  




This comment is addressed the the anonymous poster (above). Now that Faye's identity and existence had been confirmed, I think this is vindication enough to those who had to "turn [our] BRAINS on and stop believing everything [we]read." We did not stop at believing what we read. In fact, many of us did the necessary research, thus coming up, now, with the correct conclusion that Faye is indeed real.

Refer to these sites, for more information:
http://jangelo.blogspot.com/2004_11_01_jangelo_archive.html
http://www.cathcath.com
http://restyo.blogspot.com/
http://sacha.free.net.ph/notebook/wiki/today.php


Angelo

Posted by Blogger J. Angelo Racoma on Monday, November 08, 2004 3:48:00 AM  




You guys are so pathetic. Has someone authenticated
the science and math contests that this Faye won?
Where was the contest held, when and who were the
participants? Can someone actually confirm that the contest took place?

The story reeks with stupidity, like they were penniles and sold their clothes for food? Aw shucks ! Like what clothes were they wearing that made these cheapskate Aussies part with their beer money? And top this with a Jap securing them with temporary passports for their return home - blast me here pal - where they Japanese passports? And all of this misery caused by a Filipina who stole their passports, luggage, plane tickets and money - just like that eh? Stupid numnuts thief she was indeed, stealing useless stuff such as a Phil passport, luggage and plane ticket in Australia! Heck she could have saved herself some energy by just nicking the money. And because some claims she is FAYE, you guys believe the story? Horribly gullible and naive you guys are. Have you ever thought that this was the easiest thing to do to make the story appear authentic? Just ask some low life jerk to say , yes I am FAYE! And the Bread of Life Ministries, heck they're as quiet as dead. How come?

Common guys - wake up. This Faye story is a ruse. You have been taken for a ride. Seriously, you ought to be embarrassed with your stupidity.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Monday, November 08, 2004 11:29:00 AM  




Why don't you have the guts to come out with your real identity so the matter may be more properly discussed, huh? If we should be embarrassed by our stupidity, you should be ashamed of your cowardice ;-).

I do agree with your point, though, that we should continue taking things with a grain of salt (a bit). Birth certificates, anyone?

Posted by Blogger J. Angelo Racoma on Monday, November 08, 2004 12:21:00 PM  




DOES TRUTH NO LONGER MATTER?

The FAYE story at first glance appears too good or "cute" to be true. The incidents surrounding
the successive misfortunes of mother and daughter in their Australian sojourn are stuff for movies . The struggle to find money to make the trip, the emergence of a villain character who caused mom and daughter intense pain and suffering turning them both penniless , the tremendous sacrifices and sheer persistence to pursue the goal to participate in the contest, then the climax of the story, the victory of the suffering and the weak and lastly the emergence of a hero, a saviour in the person of the Japanese diplomat who helped in their repatriation
back to R.P. - all of these episodes so glaringly fictional typifies the fairy tale-ish Cinderella mold
and anyone with a resonably inquisitive mind will have second thoughts on the veracity of the story. But why did it find it's way into an editorial space of a national newspaper? All because of the source , the Bread of Life Ministries. The fact that Bread of Life is a Christian organization it is deemed to tell facts and not have the audacity and moral recklesness to publish fabricated stories. In other words, despite the many inconsistencies and imperfections, many "bought" the story because of the source. This is never a wrong assumption except when the Bread of Life Ministries slammed the door on the media and ordinary folks when confronted with questions that seek to clarify the veracity of the story. Such silence is disconcerting. A Christian organization is acting like a fly by night company running away from a scam operations when confronted by an investigation.

Given that Bread of Life had shut its doors to the public, we can only rationalize and use a fair measure of logic in coming up with an answer.

In my own opinion, the Faye story is very likely a hoax. Consider these scenarios :

a. If the contest was represented by 57 countries, did Faye represent the Philippines? How was she chosen? Was there a selection process held in Philippine high schools ? Was the Phil Dept of Education involved? Or did Faye join the contest as a private citizen? If she went on her own as an individual she would not have the credentials to represent her country. So why was she trumpeting to the world that she won it for the Phils? And why was she surprised that the RP embassy did not support her - she went on her own without the govt's saction in the first place.

b. Does anyone have proof that the contest ever happened ? Where was the venue in Australia? What date did the contest take place? Who sponsored the contest?

c. Filipina stealing their passports, luggage and tickets.. Who was this Filipina? Was she a passenger in the plane, a relative , a stranger? How could it be possible for one person to steal all your money unless she robs you at gunpoint.

d. Selling clothes for food. For those of us who have been abroad in the U.S or Canada and Australia, it is normal to see clothes donation bins in strip malls. Donated clothes are then sorted and cleaned and the good ones sold at second hand stores and proceeds are given to charity. A charitable organization manages this operation. In such an advanced country like Australia people don't steal clothes off your backyard clothesline. Poor choice of a storyline. The writer has no clue of the western culture.

e. And lastly, why did Faye’s mother conceal her daughter’s achievements in Australia and Indonesia? Was there something to be ashamed of?

The inconsistencies and exaggerations goes on and on and the longer you read the story the more incredulous it becomes. Given the above points alone, I have every reason to believe that the Faye story is bogus. It reads like one, it feels like one and with the refusal of Bread of Life to explain their side, it smells like one. The admission of someone to be the real Faye only satisfies one side of the coin. We need to prove the other side and a certification from Australia and Indonesia that these contests did happen dispels the myth. We are still waiting but the response is not forthcoming which means that the contest did not happen. One poster even in another forum suggested that perhaps the Bread of Life with its international network conducted the contest. Nice try.


The sad part is people seem to take the Faye story in stride and say , well, it doesn't matter if Faye is not real, what is important is the message. This kind of mentality does not speak well of the person's sense of personal values. Deception is not exactly inspiring. Some people have taken the Faye to story to further God's truth in Scripture. What a tragedy. An international math website ( NET MATHEMATICS http://net-mathematics.wikiverse.org/) had posted Faye's story on their in the news section only to pull it out when the debate on its authenticity started hitting the web. What a shame. Have we become a country where truth no longer matters?

G. USHBAN

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 12:59:00 AM  




G Ushban:

Very well said. Point very well taken.

Your comment deserves a blog entry in itself. I'll be re-posting this for the reading pleasure of others. =)

Angelo

Posted by Blogger J. Angelo Racoma on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 1:15:00 AM  




This is my response to Patricia Evangelista’s article specifically in reference to “the Filipino People who chose to leave.” I've posted on annonymous because I don't have a log on to this site yet but I'll sign my name at the end.

EXCERPT of Filipino Idol
CRAZED By Patricia Chanco Evangelista
The Philippine STAR 10/22/2004

“We have a family friend who used to be close to us. She and her family sent all their kids to America to a better life, a better future. It hurt to have them leave, but people are entitled to their choices. They came back a couple of years ago. They invited us to dinner, and so there we were in their living room, along with their brand-new furniture and 50-inch flat-screen TV. The adults started talking about the Philippines at least our old friend did. She said that she is glad, so glad, that her children have been saved from this god-awful country of ours. A country with awful politics, awful places, awful traffic, awful, awful people.

Im a Filipino. Im one of those "awful" people. And I was outraged.

I didnt say anything then. What could I say? But when the competition gave me the platform to speak about a borderless world, I spoke I said everything I wished I said years ago. I was like a madman on a soapbox, I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave, said they deserved to be pushed down the road to hell on a handcart. Traitors and turncoats, I called them.” END OF EXCERPT.

I would like to offer some fact to Patricia regarding “Filipinos who chose to leave.”

1. Working abroad, enduring the loneliness of being apart from their loved ones, many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) console themselves with the thought of the money that they can send to their family back home.
For them, the sacrifice is worth it because they can generally earn more abroad. OFWs diligently remit money back to the Philippines—to send their children to college, pay for the household expenses, or help out a younger sibling or needy relative. The money sent back to the Philippines by Filipinos working abroad has become a vital component of the national economy, which is why OFWs have been dubbed as modern-day heroes.
Source: Manna from abroad, Posted: 1:46 AM (Manila Time) | Aug. 15, 2002 Inquirer News Service with INQ7.net

2. Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye … a “substantial chunk” of the gross national product comes from the OFW’s remittances. Last year, 7 million Filipinos working or living abroad sent an estimated eight billion dollars, an amount nearly equal to the country’s agricultural output.”
Source: Global news, 30 Oct 2004

3. Remittances are an important source of income for many developing countries. According to the World Bank, $111 million was remitted worldwide in 2001. Of this, about 65 percent went to developing countries, with half of that money going to countries considered to be “lower-middle income countries.” For some countries, remittances are a major source of foreign exchange and are an important addition to their gross domestic product.

Top Ten Remittance Recipients Among Developing Countries, 2001
1. Mexico $ 9,920,000
2. India $ 9,160,000
3. Philippines $ 6,366,000
Source: Remittances from the United States in Context, By Kevin O’Neil, Migration Policy Institute, June 1, 2003

The data above probably does not include remittance from permanent residents in Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, etc. where our kababayans (countrymen) chose to follow where their opportunities can take them. It also does not include retirees’ choosing to retire in the Philippines and bringing back with them their dollar pensions. Yes, we are in the millions “who chose to leave” the Philippines. One bad apple doesn’t make the whole basket rotten. You take it out and throw it away. One bad experience with your favorite food doesn’t make you stop eating it again. Before you condemn us all to hell think what we have done for the Philippines and will continue to do in the future. Recommend you set your sights within the Philippines not towards us “who chose to leave.” Set you sights not on people who send or bring money back to the Philippines but to those who take it out in the millions of dollars at the expense of Mr. Juan de la Cruz (Filipino taxpayer). There are plenty of (awful) people in the Philippines to condemn to hell.

Patricia Evangelista is the daughter of couple of my “teenhood” friends and it is with a heavy heart that I am writing about this unfortunate affair. Even if I have read or heard her speech in London beforehand I will react to the article supposedly the same way no more and no less. My reaction will still be objective and non-personal. Her aunt objected when I recommended a “chill pill” and “reality check” for Patricia.

I recommended a “chill pill” for Patricia because condemning us “who chose to leave” is a very harsh reaction just because she had a bad experience with a close family friend.

I recommended a “reality check” in defense of those “modern heroes” (8 million of us) who chose to leave the Philippines bringing in revenue, honor and recognition to the Filipino people.

Yes Patricia’s speech was beautiful. Winning the competition gives credit to herself and Filipinos around the world. However, such accomplishment does not give her the right to “condemn us all to hell on a handcart.”

Remember, you may receive thousands of “at-a-girl” but it only takes one “oh shit” and you may find yourself back to square one.

Some of my friends said I took her article “out of context.” Yes of course I did in defense of the 8 million Filipinos who do not know her. I’m not discounting Patricia’s speech or her accomplishment. On the contrary I‘m very proud of her for winning the London competition and for being a Filipino. However, after reading her article and speech several times I still came out with the same conclusion – misdirected aggression. Or, should I say frustration. I can understand her resentment towards their family friend but to condemn all of us to hell because of one bad experience, I believe is uncalled for and irresponsible. Like I said one bad apple doesn’t make the whole harvest rotten. If Patricia was upset and defended the Philippines and Filipinos, because of the comment of a family friend who left the country, stating that she was glad she left this “god-awful country of ours”... and awful Filipino people, then Patricia should have used the words “our family friend” instead of “Filipinos who chose to leave.” Or, she should have specifically condemning their family friend instead of referring to the 8 million plus Filipinos who chose to leave.

Carefully analyze her words. She wrote, “I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave, said they deserved to be pushed down the road to hell on a handcart. Traitors and turncoats, I called them.” I’m not native of the English language and I still have difficulties with it sometimes but I think there’s no mistake about my interpretation (regardless whether written by an 18 or 58 year old). She didn’t condemn her family friend (or the likes of them) that caused her torment. She condemned “the Filipinos who chose to leave.” Regardless of her bad experience and or her inspiration that generated the winning speech, 8 million people minus one family friend should have been spared from her wrath.

Freedom of speech as her aunt mentioned is a very wonderful thing however it must be accompanied by responsibility. I should know – I’ve been defending freedom for 25 years. You can not shout “FIRE” inside a crowded theater without the risk of causing harm due to a possible stampede and invoke your right to “freedom of speech.” Or, change lane in a busy freeway with no proper signal and maneuver without risking an accident and say I’m entitled to “freedom of movement.” With population explosion compounded by internet technology the world is not as big as it used to be. Freedom comes with responsibility. You don’t just shoot from the hip. You need to consider collateral damage. I acknowledge Patricia’s motives to be admirable and honorable but her frustration should be managed and her aggression needs to be guided to the right direction. Eight million people don’t deserve to be condemned to hell on a handcart.

Ube Juan Kanduli (UB1)

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Friday, November 12, 2004 12:18:00 PM  




Another comment worth a blog post in itself. I'll make sure to post your comment in my main pages. =)

Angelo

Posted by Blogger J. Angelo Racoma on Friday, November 12, 2004 12:48:00 PM  




She is the "traitor", achieving something at the expense of others. This girl lives in a dreamland or a bubble, I can’t wait for her silver-spooned face to see the reality back home. She needs to visit Payatas in QC or Smokey Mountain, let her inhale the stench and see how most people survive in these conditions maybe she will understand why some of us decided to leave to find a better future not for ourselves but for our family.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Saturday, November 13, 2004 2:09:00 AM  




i agree with what others had felts toward Faye's story..whether it was ture or not, it doesn't really matter to me at all, what is important i think is the truth that lies underneath...
and what we learn...

Posted by Blogger steffe on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 10:50:00 AM  




G. USHBAN was right after all. Unfortunately the Faye story is a fake.

http://flyingroc.org/comment.php?id=90

http://news.inq7.net/nation/index.php?index=1&story_id=18074

We lied because no one loved us, says 'whiz' kid ma

Posted 04:37am (Mla time) Nov 14, 2004
By Blanche Rivera
Inquirer News Service



Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the Nov. 14, 2004 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer


"YOU CAN withdraw the scholarship. I only have my mom," Faye Nicole B. San Juan told her school principal in a text message five days ago.

And so Faye, the 12-year-old girl whose tall tale of winning an international competition was proven to be a fabrication, did everything she could to keep one parent by her side.

Faye lost her father recently when her mother, Cathy San Juan, discovered that her husband had been married all along to another woman. Faye's parents separated last year.

Cathy, in a separate "confession," told her pastors that she came up with the incredible story of her daughter winning an international competition in Brisbane, Australia, because she felt that nobody loved them.

Before her church, youth group, classmates, teachers, the government and the media, Faye supported her mother's delusion that she, a Grade 6 pupil from Quezon City, had bested the representatives of 56 other countries in an international science quiz.

Now, on the brink
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of losing her scholarship and future, Faye has begged the leaders of her church, the Bread of Life Ministries (BOLM)-Valenzuela, and her school, St. James College, not to hurt her mom.

Faye's and Cathy's accounts of how they made up the story were revealed to the Inquirer by officials of the church group and Faye's school.

BOLM, which had originally supported their story, said later that it had found the San Juans' claim to be not true and issued an apology.

"It was the two of us who thought of this. But please do not hurt my mother," BOLM pastor Titus Varona quoted Faye as saying after he and other pastors extracted what they said was a confession from them.

Leaders of the BOLM questioned Faye and Cathy for almost three hours last Wednesday at the BOLM-Valenzuela office when doubts on the truth of their story persisted.

After hours of questioning, Faye, sobbing, told Varona that she and her mother had concocted the whole story of her triumph in Brisbane, Australia, and in Indonesia, where she also claimed to have won a Math competition in February, according to church officials.

Faye had opened up to Varona after the pastor related his own sad experience of coming from a broken family.

"She just started crying and was crying the whole time," Varona told the Inquirer in a phone interview yesterday.

Faye said her mom had been detached and depressed, often staring into space since her father left, according to the pastor. Cathy would frequently spank her for little mistakes, Faye said.

"And then she said they thought of the story. They planned it to somehow get back at Faye's father," Varona said.

How this would work against Faye's dad, the girl did not explain.

"Faye has not shown any signs of problematic behavior. It's her mother who seems to be suffering from depression and psychological turmoil because of the separation with Faye's dad," Arnel Salgado, principal of St. James College of Quezon City said in a phone interview, recalling previous talks with Faye's mom.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 2:40:00 AM  




Dear Ube Juan Kanduli,

Are your eyes so blinded with anger that you did not read the other parts of Patricia's article? You zeroed in on that specific quote and attacked her based on those incriminating lines, yet you chose to ignore the sentences before and after wherein she explains why she said it. She clearly writes that she said those things in order to win. It was a competition, therefore she was relied on strong emotion and strong words (condemnation, traitors, turncoats, hell on a handcart) to achieve the desired effect: audience response and victory.

In case you missed it, here are the lines that accompanied the quote you so carefully analyzed:

"It's true, I was out to win, and I used a feeling that is very much alive in the Philippines today: condemnation. I was like a madman on a soapbox, I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave... And I won obviously not because of content. Sabi ko nga, angas, kaya minsan. Sometimes confidence can save the day. I still blush when I remember what happened."

Posted by Anonymous anna on Friday, June 03, 2005 5:42:00 PM  




anna's right, if you wanna comment on something that Pat said, then you should read the whole article not just the part that you want to, because there are such things as context clues and if you don't get the whole meaning then you're fooling yourself with the wrong details...

and if only you people are exposed to the real things that's happening to the philippines then you'll be able to understand why Pat said those other things... if you're some rich kid studying in a rich school who is oblivious to what's happening to our country, then just back off...

Posted by Anonymous kit on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 4:59:00 PM  




Dear Ube Juan Kanduli,

Did you even read Pat Evangelista's speech that made her win the competition? Try looking it up. It's "Blonde and Blue Eyes".

You are so blinded by anger at Patricia, that in the end, you don't even get it.

To Patricia, don't listen to these hateful people. Or maybe you can. You know, get some fuel for your writing. Haha. I am a fan. Good luck and more power to you.

Irene Evangelista

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