June 19, 2020

Exeter, Devon, England

I have a new pen pal. Her name is Princess Talaguit. Really. Princess is her actual name, not a title. She is from the Philippine province of Bicol. We have been Facebook friends for several month, but only recently did we start spending hours upon hours exchanging confidences online. I am always thrilled when I see that she has left me a message, and I hurry to answer it.

We became acquainted through a mutual friend, and then ever so gradually I began to realize what a delightful personality she possesses. As it happens, Princess is drop-dead gorgeous, but that is not what most attracts me to her. I’d be just as fond of her were she absolutely hideous to look upon. I know this to be true, because I made my mind up to it before ever seeing her true likeness. Originally, you should know, her profile picture was that of a well-known celebrity.

Ate, ako ay masyadong pangit,” she told me, when I asked why she hid behind someone else’s photo. “Sister, I am very ugly. You won’t like the way I look.”

But I already knew that it did not matter in the least. I liked this girl for her charm, her sweetness, her character, and most of all, for her kindness and unfailing respect toward an individual for whom I care a lot.