2nd Place: The Place Where We Stand On


How do we influence the value system of the youth? How do we encourage the honing of their skills and the intellect? Does our present society reward the very ideals and values they uphold?

“Teaching them to work hard through their talent and skills so that they can get a reward is a blessing received in this trying time. I want the young to learn that staying home is not a useless exercise, rather it [could be] a drive to earn for themselves and their families using one’s talent and skill,” organizer Atty Gonzales RJ expressed.

With joy, we share with you the 2nd place winning essay “The Place Where We Stand On” answering the essay question “How Could the World Be a Safer Place for You and Me?”

2nd Prize Winner | Caraga Regional Science High School, Surigao City

Maria Karyl Coro Balogbog

We live in different truths and circumstances. We walk on different pathways, and yet, one string connects us all- the aspect of being human. The thing is, all of our lives are intertwined more than we can ever imagine. It comes without saying that although we live miles apart, we are one in a global community where we impact each other from the smallest to the largest scales. When it all comes down to it, we realize that even in rare situations in which we face the same obstacle in life, not everyone is equipped to even know what’s going on, much less fight it. We live in different realities, but it’s our choice to stop once in a while and stare at the one big reality where we all live on, one that we neglect even if shoved right under our noses, one that describes the privileges and injustices that we fail to point out. The obvious, but at the same time is hard to notice is the reality.

The saddest realities are often those that are hard to understand. In order to make the world a safer place for you and me, we need to be selfless. No matter what may come, our communities will never be ready as long as we only think about what’s good for ourselves. Most of us don’t care about an issue, unless we are directly affected by it. There are people who would not move a muscle to solve a problem, if they are not concerned by it. That is the mentality that burdens our progression as a nation. When we fail to see how our privilege can turn us into a blind, cold-hearted beast, we become one.

It is important to take into perspective that even when hindered by a common dilemma, the world would still not walk in the same direction altogether because we stand on different roads. Some of us stand in the fine line between suffering and peace. Others are in either of the sides. A lot of us don’t even have the time to know where they stand on. However, one thing is definite. We don’t realize our separation until we are forced to look beyond where we are.

To fight something that may possibly end the world, it would take not just a single hand; not just two or three; not even merely a couple hundred. It takes every single one of us to stand up and protect those who are unable, to help those who can, and to alleviate the enemy together with one sole focus in mind. With that said, we must all participate in a system that would otherwise not work unless all the parts do what they need to. Every time you think that it is too much work for you, or if it gives you inconvenience, imagine everyone else who are doing their parts without delay in order for you to have time and think about what you don’t want to do for others. In light of the ongoing pandemic that currently afflicts our world, it is the perfect time for us to know what we can do for our nation and our fellow people. You don’t have to be rich to help out. You don’t need to be a government official to do what’s best. You don’t need to be a health worker to treasure the life of others.

I am a student. I am far from being an important figure in our country. I am merely a teenager who has access to news and information. However, I understand my privilege and what I need to do for my people. Not everyone is blessed enough to have what I have; I am healthy and able to eat more than three times a day. For those who have much lesser, the only thing I can do to help is pray that the people with the capacity to help are opening their hearts in this trying moment. I stay at home to avoid contracting the disease, not just for myself but for my loved ones. I practice proper hygiene and healthy routines. In my own simple ways as a young citizen, I am doing my part for the country.

I learned from this experience that we, as humans, suffer from the same things. We get sick. We need money to survive. We need shelter. But in order for all of us to get through these things, we need something more than just our biological components. We need our humanity. That tinge of pain in your chest when you see a homeless child begging for food in the streets. That compassion you feel when you help others. That guilt you can’t get off your mind every time you refuse to share what you don’t really need. Our humanity doesn’t make us humans. It makes us people who walk in the same road in order to guide those who are lost and support those who cannot walk, to laugh and cry with each other. To see the dark shadows of what may come and the bright light of hope that tells us we can do everything.

Everything that we experience is God’s way of teaching us a lesson. When we realize that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, we start to appreciate the simple things that we do for each other. No matter how sad a reality is, we must accept it. That is the only way to move forward, and to improve what we have. Whenever we do what’s right, a part of our humanity glimmers in appreciation. The rest of the world does, too, although we cannot see it. A spark travels along us, and it burns brighter when we contribute for the greater good. No one needs to be alone in this storm. No one deserves to die in the hands of something that we can prevent.

We must fight hand-in-hand and face the monster in the sky. Of course, wash your hands always and don’t forget to wear your masks! Together we will heal the place where we stand on.

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