Due to recent political controversies involving the leaders of our country, many Filipinos hung their heads in shame. Shameful of the President’s several lapses of judgment. Shameful of what the motherland has become in the eyes of other nations… Then came Typhoon Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy). Though deep in mourning, Filipinos once again can hold their heads u… AGAIN.
He was eighteen years old. He was a construction worker. He saved more than 30 lives. He died‚Ä¶ a Filipino hero.
Muelmar Magallanes lay in a coffin at an evacuation center near their riverside village in Manila , yet his life is being told as one would hear that of a Saint‚Äôs, or that of an angel‚Äôs.
Muelmar was safe at home with his family on Saturday, September 26, 2009, when tropical storm Ketsana unleashed his wrath in Manila and surrounding areas.
The Magallanes family refused to leave home amid the heavy rains, of which they have grown used to. But Muelmar and his father evacuated the entire family when the riverbanks gave way to the rushing water.
Armed with a rope tied to his waist, Muelmar tied his three younger siblings to the string and carried them safely to higher ground. He then came back for his parents. With his entire family safe from the fury of the rampaging flood, Muelmar decided to go back and rescue his neighbors who were trapped on the rooftops of their homes.
He ended up making several trips, and eventually saved more than 30 people.
Exhausted from his exploits, Muelmar was back with his family when he heard a frantic cry of help from one of his neighbors, Ms Penalosa, as she and her 6-month old infant were being swept away on the Styrofoam box they were using as a makeshift lifesaver.
He dived back to the muddy water after the mother and daughter who were already bobbing dangerously among the debris. He again braved the strong current and refused to consider his fatigue until he has brought the Penalosas to safety. Then he was gone.
Witnesses saw his body being carried away by the charging flood water. They can do nothing but watch.
Neighbors found his body on Sunday, along with almost 30 others, who like him, perished in the flood. The official death toll now stands at 240 with more than a hundred missing.
Muelmar Magallanes and many others selflessly sacrificed themselves and has proven that, yes, in the Philippines , chivalry is not dead.
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