Obama’s State of the Union Address: The Quiet Heroism of Filipina Nurse Menchu De Luna Sanchez

By N Mark Castro


Sandwiched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President wife Jill Biden, Filipina Nurse Menchu De Luna Sanchez is feted for her exemplary work during the rampaging Hurricane Sandy, as US President Barrack Obama acknowledged her.

“We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, she wasn’t thinking about how her own home was faring. Her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe,” the US president said. 

Here was a humble woman, an ordinary woman, who could have come from any nationality, doing her daily work without any delusion of fame, yet simply focused in delivering the best service she could, day in and day out, for the past 18 years, with but a hope that she could provide for a better future for her children.

When crisis of Hurrican Sandy came, she rose above men, rose above titles, and showed to the world that heroes are made, not born.

And if it weren’t for the CCTV camera, the world will never know her act of heroism, not even those young souls she saved on that fateful day.WHAT SHE DID

Hurricane Sandy rampaged throughout New York, cutting the power at NYU Langone Medical Center and threatening the lives of what news media would term as “at-risk infants”. In short, they’re sick and weak and could die without the proper intensive medical care.

Sanchez, a veteran of disastrous typhoons and flood in the Philippines, managed to craft a plan to transport the 20 sick and weak infants to safety, with complete disregard for her safety and the status of her own home. She led doctors and fellow nurses to carry the 20 babies down 8 flights of stairs with only mobile phones to light the way.

Her leadership wasn’t just born on that fateful day nor her intricate knowledge of mitigating disaster shine through. What came out was a simple woman, a maternal woman, who would do anything to everything just to save the life of an infant. There’s no label for it. There’s no training for it. There’s only a heart for it.

Little did she know that there was a camera in the hospital that recorded her heroic deeds.

Little did she know that the President of the United States of America would see her actions.

Little did she know that she would be invited and feted for her exemplary work in the President’s State of the Union address, embodying the American Spirit, nay, the Human Spirit.

Little did she know that the whole world would know of it.


On the other side of the spectrum, Menchu De Luna Sanchez has stirred a hornet’s nest from the earth of her birth, with just about every politician gearing up to congratulate her.

In a country of 100 million people, political self-promotion has become such a pervasive norm that politicians lay claim to deeds funded by the very public that they are serving, hence, the invention of the word Epal.”

For the longest time, there has not been a public project in the entire 7, 107 islands of the Republic of the Philippines that has escaped from the claws of either a politician or a government official.

Whatever the project is — whoever funded it, they would paste their face on it. And it isn’t because they are wanting in attention (although that may be true as well), it’s that they want their faces and names to be etched in the minds of the voting public.

Sad, really, because they have lost the very ideals that brought them to their places, that was once admired by the constituents they had wanted to serve. Ironically, the very same attention that they have sought would not only be lost but be equated to the lack of performance they have done.

Most of the current politicians running for the Philippine Senate or Philippine Congress right now, bar none, would love to have their pictures taken with Menchu De Luna Sanchez. She might even be officially sent for by the country of her birth just so they could have that photo-ops with her.

But, instead of congratulating her … why not just exemplify the acts of heroism she’s done and let these politicians quietly do their jobs.

Then they’ll have an entire nation, if not the world, watch as to how we have turned things around.

Then the entire country can proudly proclaim to the world …

Yes, we are proud to say Menchu De Luna Sanchez is one of many in our country.



About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the Southeast Asia Director of JUMP DIGITAL Asia, which is an internationally-awarded and fully integrated digital marketing agency with 5 out of 10 offices in the ASEAN region. He is also the Secretary General of the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, managing and assisting the traffic of investments between the Philippines and Indonesia. He shuttles between Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, and Australia. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on February 14, 2013, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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