It is heartwarming to know some Filipinos have been receiving prestigious awards and recognition in their fields of interest.It helps boast our image in the international arena and thus, their outstanding achievements have become an engine to elevate the Filipino image to a certain level; and as kababayans, we savour the honor bestowed on them, albeit that we have not met them personally, let alone to know who they are or where they came from and how they master their chosen fields to receive the awards and accolades and international attentions.
And who among Filipino Canadians would know Franz Ontal, a native of Victorias, Negros Occidental, the head inspector training of the United Nations’ Organization for the Protection of Chemical Weapons which won recently the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize was given to OPCW for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons from Hitler’s gas chambers to the Syrian Battlefield. Ontal is one of the members of the watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapon.
The 49-year old Nobel Prize winner, according to Rene Ontal, a Manhattan based brother, graduated at La Salle HIgh School in Bacolod Class 1980; completed undergraduate degree in biology and started his premed studies at La Salle College in Bacolod. He immigrated to New York and served as a paramedic and emergency medical technician instructor with the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. In 2008 Franz left for Hague, Netherlands and began his service with the OPCW as a medic for the chemical weapons inspector and disposal teams, and later as head of inspector training for OPCW, a position he presently held when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded.
Ontal is the fourth child of six children of the late Dr. Pat Ontal, company physician for Victorias Milling Corporation and the former Lydia Teves Gamboa. Franz Ontal is based in Hague.
Among the favorites to win this once-in-a lifetime Nobel Peace Award include Malala Yousafzai. a teenage Pakistani education activist, who was shot by the Taliban by championing the girls’ right to education; and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.
Wow, a Golden Oscar Statue is a dream for everybody in the entertainment world! Considered as the ultimate recognition of talents! And here,our kababayan, Roberto Lopez, together with his wife, lyricist Kristin Anderson Lopez won the Best Original Song “Let It Go” from the record-breaking $1 billion dollar sales worldwide, the Disney’s animated film, “Frozen” based on the Hans Christen Andersen’s ” Snow Queen”.
Lopez. 39. was born and raised in New York by parents of Filipino descent. Since his stint in the entertainment, Lopez had won many awards including 3 Tonys, a Grammy for “The Book of Mormon” and Emmy Award for his work on “The Wonder Pets”; and the latest, the highest award, an Oscar award.
The husband and wife team is excited that”Frozen” might be adapted as a Broadway Musical; and they are looking forward, that because of the phenomenal success, a possible sequel might be in the drawing board!
And who would not forget the two Filipinos at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. As one of the Olympic sports commentator, the performance of Michael Christian Martinez was fully recognized and honored,as one of the finalists in the free skate program. “It’s wonderful to see a talented young man from the Philippines to reach this point of success.” And he became the darling of the press and when he returned to Manila, he has become a celebrity and received all the support leading to his quest for the 2018 Pyeongchang, Korea Winter Olympic! And also inspired other young men and women to try figure skating!
Maclean Magazine, a national Canadian magazine, featured him in the current issue; in the Metro, a tabloid circulated in some leading Canadian cities, marked him as one of the best five olympians to be remembered after the 2014 Sochi Olympic; and in some sports sections of various Canadian newspaper, as covered by the Canadian Press, his name was written in big bold letters; and the various editorials and columns, his selflessness, his kindness, during the speed skating events, by giving his spot to Denny Morrison, a silver and bronze olympic medalist in speed skating, has become one of the most unforgetable events! Some of the golden, silver and bronze medalists were not given such glowing write-ups and coverage. And Gilmore Junio, born and raised in Calgary, a speed skater hopeful in Team Canada, has all the attention and recognition, much bigger and bolder than a gold medal!
With these kababayans who have been given such international recognitions, everyone, even myself, is prouder as a Filipino. And these are our latest heroes!