Global Pinoys

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By Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye

Speaking Out

Sunday, March 2, 2014

TWO more names have been recently added to a growing list of Filipinos who have distinguished themselves in the international stage.

Michael Christian Martinez, 17, a long time resident of Muntinlupa City, did not win a medal in the recent Sochi Winter Olympics. But he won the hearts of millions.

Truth is Michael did not need any medal to make his mark. Just making it to the Winter Olympics - after overcoming severe handicap - was victory enough.


Who would have thought that this erstwhile asthmatic lad from the tropics would be competing with the world’s best in an ice skating event?

To be able to compete in Sochi, Michael had to train for almost four and a half years with none of the usual logistical support enjoyed by international athletes. He donned a competition attire which was donated by a kind-hearted designer who read his Facebook appeal for a presentable Olympic costume. Moreover, his training leading up to the Olympics was marred by injuries.

In 2011, he tore two ligaments in his ankle. In April 2012, Martinez tore a medial ligament in his knee. He suffered a fractured ankle in 2013. Each time, Michael needed at least three months to recover.

A bad fall almost prevented Michael from competing in Sochi. Doctors had to perform several x-rays on Michael’s hips before he was given clearance to compete.

The effects of these injuries, however, did not show at all as Michael - for two minutes and 50 seconds - dazzled the international crowd with his agility and grace. The rest, as they say, is history.

Rose “Osang” Fostanes, 48, a native of Taguig City, had been a caregiver for most of her life. During the last six years, she took care of a middle-aged woman in Tel Aviv.

Until X Factor Israel, Osang had no social life. When interviewed by an X Factor host, why she was all alone at the park while waiting to be auditioned, she replied: “You are the very first one to talk to me.”

At 47, under-height and overweight, Osang was hardly the type who would make it in an international singing competition.

But it took only two lines of Shirley Bassey’s “This is My Life” for Osang to catch the attention of the judges. All four gave her a resounding “Yes” vote.

As if to forebode the outcome of the competition, all her fellow contestants gave Osang a standing ovation during the second qualifying round. Osang wowed her competitors with her rendition of Lady Gaga’s “You and I.”

After a brief visit in the Philippines, where he received a hero’s welcome, Michael has resumed his quest for an Olympic medal. He left for Sofia, Bulgaria, to compete in the World Junior Figure Skating Championships starting March 13.

Osang, who flew in last week for a brief visit, is now recording her debut album. Also in the works for Osang is a concert tour in Israel, Australia and Las Vegas.

Michael Christian Martinez and Rose “Osang” Fostanes – who both fought against all odds and prevailed. Two more names which make us proud to be Filipinos.


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