WATCH: Rio Alma pens poem for Hidilyn Diaz, Maria Ressa, Leni Robredo

National Artist Virgilio Almario, also known as Rio Alma, shared an inspiring poem he penned for the "three stars on his flag" – the Philippines' first Olympic Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo, and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa.

The Filipino author and poet posted his piece on Facebook on Friday night, October 8, dedicating his latest work, "May Tatlong Bituin ang Aking Watawat (My Flag Has Three Stars)," to the three Filipino women who have brought him the hope, pride, and light he believes the country needs.

May Tatlong Bituin ang Aking Watawat

May tatlong bituin ang aking watawat:
Hidilyn, Ma Ressa, at Leni Robredo.
Tanglaw ko sa gabi hanggang sa sumíkat
Ang araw ng layà’t liwanag sa táo.

Mahusay lumitis sa anumang hámon,
Marangal ang ísip, matatag ang bisig;
Malinis ang puso’t walang panginoon
Kundi katarunga’t bayang iniibig.

May tatlong bituin ang aking watawat:
Hidilyn, Ma Ressa, at Leni Robredo.
Tanglaw ko sa gabi hanggang sa sumíkat
Ang araw ng layà’t liwanag sa táo.

Lagìng malikhain at di natatákot
Sa dahas at banta ng kapangyarihan;
Bagyo ma’t pandemya ay handang maglingkod
Para sa pag-unlad, ginhawa ng bayan.

Halina’t magpugay, magkaisang lakas!
Isigaw sa lahat ng panig ng mundo!
May tatlong bituin ang aking watawat:
Hidilyn, Ma Ressa, at Leni Robredo.

Alma's post also featured portraits of Diaz, Robredo, and Ressa, as well as a raised fist holding up the Philippine flag.

Video version

On Wednesday, October 13, Alma released a video version of the poem on his Facebook account. The video features actress Iza Calzado reading the verses out loud to a montage featuring the three women:

Alma, 77, is a critic, translator, teacher, and literary historian "who has revived and reinvented traditional Filipino poetic forms, even as he championed modernist poetics," according to the DFA website.

He was proclaimed a National Artist in 2003 and elected chairman of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in 2017. He also sits as the chairman of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), a government agency mandated to standardize and promote the Filipino language. – Rappler.com