Hidilyn Diaz lifts not just weights. She lifts an entire people.

After 97 years, the Philippines finally bags an Olympic gold medal thanks to Ms Hidilyn Diaz. Diaz is now a pillar of Pinoy Pride, the cornerstone of an entire national identity. If one could draw this national identity, it would look like an inverted pyramid with a tiny elite of excellent Filipinos at the pointy bottom holding up the massive rest of the pyramid above it.

Indeed, the weights Diaz needed to lift to bring home that gold are nothing compared to that involving her weightlifting feat today. She has the pride of an entire nation on her shoulders. Everyone wants a piece of her — because there isn’t much in the way of anything else that props up Pinoy Pride.

This being an election campaign year makes her role in society particularly tricky. On the aggrieved embittered side of today’s politics are partisan camps in control of the country’s biggest media conglomerates, its most influential private Catholic schools, its state universities, and its most encompassing morality radar stations. As such, while the scramble for a piece of Diaz’s personal brand may be vicious, it has already likely been won thanks to the Opposition’s institutionalised social engineering machine.

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The reality of that inverted pyramid that describes the character of Philippine society does not change, however. There is probably only one other individual who can relate with the journey Hidilyn Diaz is only beginning today. That person is Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao, after all, was once at that same pointy end of the inverted pyramid that Diaz finds herself at today. Pacquiao at the zenith of his boxing career was Pinoy Pride embodied.

Today, Hidilyn Diaz is the new Manny Pacquiao. She lifts an entire people. Her achievement is claimed by an entire nation. In truly excellent societies, the pyramid drawing would look a bit more normal. It would be standing on a broad base of the collective achievement of their peoples with an elite set of achievers at the top representing a happy bonus to all that.

It does not take a structural engineer to appreciate the rock-solid nature of a pyramid standing on its bigger end. In the case of the Philippines, the spectacle of an upside down pyramid teetering upon the formidable shoulders of Hidilyn Diaz seems to be a picture that satisfies the pwede-na-yan sensibilities of most Filipinos. Perhaps, like Manny Pacquiao, Hidilyn Diaz will go on to become a senator someday and maybe even become president, essentially getting proper institutions to help with her job of propping up an entire people. Until then, the world champion weightlifter has the job cut out for her. For now.

17 Replies to “Hidilyn Diaz lifts not just weights. She lifts an entire people.”

  1. I really hope she doesn’t experience what happened to Onyok.

    Hidilyn Diaz won for the Philippines but she’s the one who accomplished it, not the country or the people of the country. Claiming that her win is the accomplishment of the people as a race is clearly credit grabbing and the false sense of pride is just embarrassing. Besides, I don’t really see Japanese people flooding comments section with “Proud to be Japanese” comments every time a Japanese Olympic player wins a medal in the Olympics.

    1. That’s because they’d already got their Olympic gold medal since… 1928: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikio_Oda

      And now they have 156 Olympic gold medals and counting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_at_the_Olympics

      While in our country, we only have a total of 11 medals since we’d joined in the Summer Olympic games in 1924: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippines_at_the_Olympics

      No wonder why we’d got hype so much when Hidilyn Diaz got a gold medal for the 1st time since our country had joined the Olympics and we’d only got almost a dozen of medals. What REALLY went wrong compare to Japan?

      1. Even so, the false sense of pride is just embarrassing. What are people proud of anyway that they kept chanting their false sense of pride and why? Besides sports and Olympics, Japanese people really have things to be proud of such as their quality products.

  2. Hidilyn Diaz lifts weights then lifts the spirit of the entire people. GRP freeloader Gogs lifts only a personal ego entirely his own.

    Thanks to this article, it gives the ‘entire people’ something to reflect about. This shows that a careful well-thought-out messaging spells the difference between the real deal from amateurish pretender.

    1. What is so freeloading of refusing to be part of the Proud To Be Pinoy bandwagon?? What is so freeloading about pointing out the historically poor medal count of pinoys and asking why? If you personally contributed 1 cent towards attaining the gold medal then I apologize.

  3. I don’t think anybody is credit grabbing Hidilyn’s win. That’s a kind of literalism. She happens to have volunteered to represent the PH, and she is assumed to be one of the best at the sport. I haven’t seen writers here complain about Wesley So representing the US. Is it more appropriate for an American to be proud of Wesley because of the nation’s status ? Does dignity depend on that? A set of a few irresponsible leaders can cause the failure of an entire generation of people. Like one commenter said… Filipinos have been practically making it on their own. And since you used a pyramid as a metaphor, the assertion that an Olympic win is only a personal one won’t stand. It takes the strength and participation of each unit to build a conglomerate with stuctural integrity.

  4. I’m wonder who first introduced the phrase “Proud to be Pinoy” as a battle cry in competitions or when was this adopted till it became a tradition.

    If this ‘battle cry’ would be changed somehow to something more palatable to this community and be introduced as that alternative phrase for rendering support by the collective Filipino maybe there would be less misunderstanding and acceptance.

    If this happens will the pinoy experience of enthusiasm and frenzy, its attitude of lending support (to athletes who normally ask for said support for inspiration) be any much different?

    With the alternative battle cry, being as compatriots or as captive fans, I presume the pinoy experience and attitude will probably still remains the same… that being just the usual/normal expression of love, happiness, support and “pakikiisa”.

    But will this community have a change of heart and rid itself of its fixed mindset and lift that strict thought of pinoys as owning or being party to or claiming entitlements to whatever achievements or accomplishments of others?

    Indeed, they’re just words but messaging can spell the difference.

  5. To the dynamic duo of Gogs and No Data:

    What’s truly embarrassing is in calling out others while trying to pass/own another people’s achievements as an argument you’re not even a party to of said achievement. It’s typical of Pinoy poseurs posturing as World Citizens.

    What’s being done here really is to arbitrarily give themselves that phony licenses of exemption to appear special, in a way, different from others. But, in reality, it’s a mean, dirty strategy concocted from the minds of escapist free-loaders… the hypocrites are simply baduy as well!

    Wallowing in a ‘colonial’ mind-set are for losers, whose mentality and reverse-pride are anchored on the achievements of Western champions. Simply, just a surrender-mentality… a crazy western-envy with an even crazier notion of self-identification without contributing anything really. In other words, it’s a free-loading-mentality.

    Writing about a claimed ‘simple point’ for the ‘entire people’ he called ‘baduy’ for nine long years, Gogs delivers nothing. Gogs got himself a disciple in No Data but miserably fails to make himself believable.

    1. The topic is the Olympics. Facts. One gold medal ever for the Philippines. EVER. In the history of the Philippines. As of this moment Japan has 18 gold in this Olympics alone. Australia has 14 gold in this Olympics alone. You don’t see Germany & Japan celebrating like it is the end of the world. The simple reason is they spend their energy preparing not celebrating. Why do you care so much about me just because I can read the sports section. ONE Gold?? End of the Philippines. Celebrate like nuts. Low standards. Proud to be pinoy pa more!!!! The world should block off their theaters every December and show pinoy movies. Pinoys #43 in the medal count with 2. Watch out world , here come the proud to be pinoys! They have 2 medals.

    2. Nod, Gogs is right, the topic is about the Olympics and your standard must be low to none if you’re proud to be Pinoy only because of 1 gold medal. Do you even realize that the false sense of pride people are celebrating are just a sign of their massive hunger for Western validation without them even realizing it?

    3. Rather than be a part of the solution to a national aspiration, Gogs would rather add to the problem by doing nothing then blames an entire people instead except himself. Interesting… “it’s a ‘baduy’ problem after all!”

      Gogs would rather channel his energy “representing another country which is not the Philippines” and instead choose to celebrate and openly rejoice the triumph of foreign champions he amusingly identifies with but culture-wise he does not belong to. We’re told, Gogs refers to this as KSP.

      An extremely proud starstruck Fan freeloads… err, proclaims:

      “I LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT THINGS I CARE ABOUT. Olympics : Mark Spitz, Mary Decker Slaney, Ben Johnson, Flo- Jo, Elizabeth Manley, Nadia, Michael Jordan, Bobby Knight, Bruce Jenner before he became Caitlan.”

      Gogs is a novelty among GRP writers. He feels he’s under-represented. He’s a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.

      He sees China as a country-participant in the Olympics with a completely different problem:

      “They already lead the Olympics ( at this moment) when you prorate the gold and silver medals. Yet the athletes feel they have to apologize for a silver medal. No, I don’t believe it is right either.”

      (“Anything less than a gold is being seen as athletes being unpatriotic by furious nationalists online. Nationalism in China has risen sharply in recent years as its global influence grows.”)

      He applies a different standard for his action though.

      There’s an underlying difference between the Chinese nationalists and Gogs. The Chinese netizens, in their minds, do it out of nationalism. Gogs does it out of his own hubris, narcissism and schadenfreude:

      “Putting a very sharp needle into the balloon known as Pinoy Pride since 2012.”

      Just happily acting like a tourist in his own native Philippines, Gogs only wants to be served. No Data does not have much anything to say but echoes the sentiment of his master as a golden cheerleader singular. Clap… clap…

      1. See what I care. I find it fascinating that someone who is so proud to be pinoy lives off my every word as if I was Shakespeare. You have to mention me and call me out in a blog that I did not author. I thought being proud to be pinoy was its own reward. I am not part of your flock and you can’t leave it at that. If being proud to be pinoy is such a special thing why take time away from it to hammer those who are not with you?? All of this hatred from you because of ONE gold medal. Mark Spitz won 7 of those in Munich. ONE gold medal and you hate me. Because I was on to something.

        1. There’s no hate for you Gogs. Hate is about when someone usually gets annoyed whenever a self-enterprising Taho vendor passes by his humble abode. And it’s not even about that “ONE gold medal”. I don’t consider myself a rabid sports fan. I’m in to other things so never did join nor bandwagon in ‘Proud to be Pinoy’. Though I’d always consider those who represent the country and made the country proud as our Pinoy Pride and they have my support.

          Can we not accord the same to deserving Pinoys, Hidilyn Diaz and Manny Pacquiao too and others in sports what we accorded Filipino painter Juan Luna in arts who won gold medal for his Spoliarium in the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884 in Madrid, Spain?

          It’s all about the proposition, whether or not the assertion being acceptable and/or its advocate, believable. The motive… the so, what?!

          You give your opinion, you get a reaction. It’s about the coming together of different perspectives of things and being appreciated or otherwise.

          Egos are at play… what you’re trying to say about others can be thrown back to you and still be appreciated as equally correct.

          You say: “I am not part of your flock and you can’t leave it at that.”

          “If being proud (insert: what Gogs cares most about as his own reward) is such a special thing why take time away from it to hammer those who are not with you??”

          Have always knew you’re on to something. I have to admit you’re a good writer… no, a much better writer, more than the average me. Coming on strong all the time, all through your life, I hope you stay true as you seem.

          I’ll leave you with this “makabagbag-damdamin” song of Beatle Georgie for your pleasure and inspiration:

  6. I heard Diaz trained at Malaysia for two years and couldn’t return to PH due to pandemic. She didn’t even get to any highly sophisticated training facility to workout but there she is. Her military career helps her to focus and taught her discipline to get what she wants. PH is so lacking and behinf in sports science and nutrition behind. China, Japan, South Korea, and Iran are already eating healthy and perfecting their routine to compete. Japan and Korea already sent their baseball talents like Shohei Ohtani and Ha-Seong Kim to play at the MLB in US and now they are thriving.

    Here in the US, I’m working out outside and to my nearest gym to manage my weight and taking supplements to recover my body and burn extra calories because my job required me to stay fit and mentally active. I don’t know why Filipinos in PH couldn’t do the same as a blue-collar worker or for policemen. Is it because of road traffic, loss interest in science and nutrition, too much BS and wokeness in TV and films, or nobody informing them the slow process and methods on how to go far and achieve at least minimal success?

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