Superman's Name is Efren

There's this old Pinoy joke that asks what Superman's or Clark Kent's real name is. Efren daw. Why Efren? In the first Superman movie, Margot Kidder, who plays Lois Lane, asks Superman: "Who are you?" To which Christopher Reeve, who plays Superman answered: "A friend" (In Filipino: Efren). Kaya Efren nga.

Filipino Efren Penaflorida does the whole Philippines proud by winning the CNN Hero of the Year award in 2009. Efren was cited for his Kariton Klassroom. His company, Dynamic Teen Company, brings education to poor children via pushcarts with the help of volunteers. Efren is a teacher himself who benefited from "education support" from organizations like World Vision.

For making it to the finals, Efren won USD 25,000.00. For winning the award, he won USD 100,000.00 in cash which he vows to use to continue his advocacy. He is quoted by the Philippine Star as saying that 10% of his winnings will go to church while 90% will go to support the projects of his company. "Nothing for me. I was here to represent the poor children of the Philippines."

Efren is an inspiration to every Filipino. He encourages each Pinoy to be the "hero to the next one in need." He gives thanks to the Lord Whom he acknowledges as having allowed him to receive the award. He then says that the Lord is "the reason why I am here."

See, I told you. Superman's name is Efren. S for Superman. S for Steward. Here is a perfect example of a person who is grateful, responsible, generous, and who gives back to the Lord and others with increase. Faster than a speeding motorcycle. Able to move obstacles with a single push. It's a bird. It's a kariton. It's Efren!

Kidding aside, congratulations to Efren Penaflorida and may he succeed in all his future endeavors. I saw him on TV the other day. Asked whether he had any plans to enter politics, his answer was a quick and decisive: "No." I suppose he will be for education what Tony Meloto is to housing.

I tell you -- we live among heroes daily. Well, some heels here and there too. But that is another story.

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, November 25, 2009]

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