Ramos champs 20th National Oratorical Contest

By Charlie L. Simon

Ralph B. Ramos, a senior AB English student, waved the banner of Capitol University in the national arena as he champed this year’s National Oratorical Contest organized by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines Sons and Daughters Association Inc. (VFPS&DAI) last March 31, 2012 at the Veterans Center, Taguig city.

Trained and accompanied by Prof. Cesar Z. Gamba of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ramos won over 7 other contestants from prominent universities in the country such as Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Rizal University and University of the Philippines-Los Baños among others. Themed “Honor and Protect the Legacy of World War II Veterans”, the contest is now on its 20th year of commemorating the braveness of Filipino war veterans as part of the country’s annual celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan every 9th of April.

Style and Strategy

21 year-old Ramos said that his victory was “unexplainable” and that until now he is still wondering how it happened. “I did not expect to win. I was nervous when I found out that famous universities are joining the competition,” he said.

Also, he shared that instead of being intimidated, he just prayed it all during their rehearsals. “…I think my edge against them was my voice. And every time we did our rehearsals I didn’t give much in my performance for them not to know my style,” said Ramos pertaining to his strategy.

He also shared that aside from his voice, his speech was also an edge against the other competitors. “…Maybe because my speech was more on the reason why we need to honor our veterans while for others were just retelling the past,” said Ramos about his speech.

Recognized by the judges as “the best speech ever delivered so far on the 20 years of existence of the contest”, his speech was written by Mr. Gamba who also served as his trainer.

High-Profile Event

Ramos met different VIPs in the contest including President Benigno Aquino III, Secretary Leila De Lima, former President Fidel V. Ramos, Japan and USA ambassadors to the Philippines and other high profiled personalities in the country.

For him, the awarding ceremony was the best part of the event for he was able to deliver his piece in front of the President and other VIPs. “I was more nervous with my performance during the awarding than during the contest,” Ramos said.

Asked about what the VIPs told him after his delivery, he shared that they were amazed with his speech. “When I received the trophy from Pnoy, he asked about my parents and said ‘sayang, sana nandito sila kasama mo’. He also asked me how Cagayan de oro is after Sendong,” he added.

The contest was his debut national competition as an orator since he is more on performing arts being a four-year Glee Club member.

“Mr. Gamba told me to search for international oratorical competitions,” he replied when asked of his next step as national champion orator.

Teething troubles

Before the contest he admitted that there were financial constraints along the way. Aside from that, his body was also adjusting to the weather and when they arrived in Manila he contracted a fever. “It was about 35° degrees when we got off the plane and it seemed to continue increasing as we travel,” Ramos said.

When they arrived at the place, he also had some cough but luckily the coughing did not intervene during his deliberation of his speech, and he was thankful that despite that he still won by surprise.

Inspired by many

Ramos shared the best part of his speech by saying, “victory is the child of struggle, that joy blossoms from suffering and that redemption is a product of sacrifice.” It pertains to our father veterans who for him are indeed worth venerating.

His inspiration also included dear people who were key to his success. First was Mr. Gamba who trained him. He also acknowledged Dr. Luvismin Aves for giving some tips, together with Mr. Macabinlar, Dr. Montecalvo, Dr. Lumbay, Dr. De Ocampo and 2010 champion of the same contest, Mr. Joey Licera. He also thanked the College of Arts and Sciences and the CU community as a whole.

“It is not the IQ that will lead you to fame but it is the EQ. Whatever your achievements are, stay humble. Don’t let yourself be fooled by money, always think that you are just a man,” he said.

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