Unhealthy governance

My mother-in-law’s partner of 30 years died yesterday due to complications caused by kidney problems. She was on life support. Her immediate family couldn’t keep up with the daily medical expense of ₱100,000. So with heavy hearts, they agreed to have the machine removed from her ailing body. Had they enough money, I think she would have made it.

Another relative of my mother-in-law died of breast cancer two weeks ago. Her case was more severe than that of my wife’s. Like my wife before her, she and her family also asked for monetary assistance since the expenses are too much for them. Had they enough money, I think she would have made it.I’m sure you’ve heard of similar horror stories (or maybe you’ve experienced this yourself). The lack of money spells certain death to those who are in need of immediate medical attention. But things like this is next to normal in hapless Filipinas, where only the privileged few are assured of extended life. I know of some people who made it through life-threatening ordeals. But they still survived because they had the wherewithal to do so.

No, the rich are not to blame, of course. The government is. While it may have several programs open to assist those in need of medical assistance, they are obviously not enough. Because if they are, my mother-in-law’s loved ones would still be alive today. My wife is still alive today because of the generosity of countless people. We didn’t ask help from the national government anymore because of all the hassle and red tape of doing so.

Need I mention that those government assistance programs were setup only for politicking? Case in point: who is the poster boy of the Philippine National Red Cross?

Senator Ping Lacson is right. The root cause of all our national problems is our very own government.

I see a total lack of priority for medical care among our national politicians. But of course. Winning the elections —and clinging to power afterwards— that should always be their top priority. Yet here we are, defending them tooth and nail against their rivals as if our very existence depends upon them.

A photo collage of this May’s leading presidential candidates (courtesy of LIONHEARTV).

It makes me wonder now, after all those ballyhooed TV interviews: do they really care for each and everyone of us? While they are all busy strengthening their positions in various surveys, the masses lay dying in hospital beds, penniless and uncertain if they would still make it the next day.

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Cavite Mutiny: what was it all about?

Infographic: Louie Chin.

The infamous 1872 mutiny in Cavite was the result of three events: the secularization movement within the Catholic Church, a cold war between two groups of Spaniards, and Masonic meddling. But let us begin with the Spaniard vs Spaniard rivalry.

Insular vs peninsular

For 256 years, Filipinas was ruled by the Spanish crown indirectly via a viceroyalty system called the Virreinato de Nueva España or the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The capital of this viceroyalty was in México. When México gained her independence in 1821, Spain began ruling our archipelago directly.

It is said that this direct rule was the start of real Spanish oppression, i.e., discrimination. But this discrimination was more racial than racist, and it was directed not toward the indios or natives (Tagálog, Cebuano, Ilocano, etc.) but toward fellow Spaniards. It was in fact the start of a conflict between two groups of Spaniards in Filipinas: the español peninsular and the español insular. To wit, the peninsular was a Spaniard born in Spain. On the other hand, an insular was a Spaniard born and bred in our country. Another term for the insular was Filipino, a demonym popularized by Luis Rodríguez Varela from Tondo, himself an insular (creole was another term used for the insular/Filipino, though rarely, as it was also used to refer to a Spanish half breed — half Spaniard, half indigenous).

When Filipinas was still under the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the insulares/Filipinos, since they are still technically Spaniards, enjoyed certain privileges such as exemption from tribute and the polo y servicios. They are also given choice positions in Church, government, and the military. However, all these privileges were taken away from them beginning in 1822, just a year after Mexican independence. Case in point: on 30 October 1822, Juan Antonio Martínez arrived as our country’s 54th Governor-General, and the first under direct Spanish rule (the king during that time was Ferdinand VII). Martínez brought with him a slew of peninsular military officers to replace their insular counterparts. This, of course, didn’t sit well with the latter who naturally protested. But instead of listening, the new governor-general had all protesters (including Rodríguez) arrested and exiled.

A series of unfortunate occurrences since then have beset the español insular who had felt betrayed and oppressed by the mother country. Many of them have lost key government positions (such as the coveted alcalde mayor post, equivalent to today’s provincial governor) to peninsulares. Even Spanish friars were not spared from the oppression.

Secularization movement

Secularization was a movement within the Church seeking for the transfer of parishes from the regulars to the secular priests. It was a crisis brewing since the 1770s.

There are two types of priests: the regulars, commonly known as the friars, and the seculars. The friars belonged to various orders (Augustinians, Dominicans, Recollects, etc.) while the seculars were under the authority of a bishop. During the Spanish times, the friars were mostly peninsulares while the few seculars were composes of natives and a few creoles.

The conflict between the regulars and the secular priests began when bishops insisted on visiting friar-run parishes. The bishops thought that it was their duty to check how such parishes were being handled. The friars refused their parishes to be visited by bishops, saying that they were not under the latter’s jurisdiction. But to make matters worse for the regulars, King Ferdinand VI issued two royal decrees —one in 1752 and another one in 1757— ordering the gradual takeover of the parishes by the seculars. A similar decree was issued by his successor (and half-brother), King Charles III in 1774.

In the ensuing years, the friars, most especially the peninsular friars, held on to their resolve not to budge from their parishes upon learning that various independence movements in Spanish-held South América were led by insulares and creoles, most of whom were members of Freemasonry, the ancient enemy of the Catholic Church. But two well-known pro-seculars in Manila would have none of this observation. These two were Fr. Pedro Peláez and Fr. José Burgos, both of whom were creoles. Of the two, Fr. Burgos was the most disdained for his adamant clamor for secularization.

El motín de ’72

1872 was the breaking point, when insular patience was filled to the brim and friar wariness could no longer be reined in. The insulares felt that that not only were they being oppressed by the peninsulares; they were also being driven away by them bit by bit. As for the friars, Burgos and the secularization movement had to be stopped if only to preserve the integrity and security of the Church from the onslaught of liberalism that was starting to plague both Europe and South América.

Exactly 150 years ago, during the chilly night of 20 January 1872, troops stationed at the Fortaleza de San Felipe in Cavite Nuevo (now Cavite City) mutinied against their peninsular officers, killing eleven of them. It was not a spontaneous mutiny — it had been a well-planned one. Well, almost…

The mutiny, as it turned out, was to start in Manila. Days before, the conspirators at the capital informed their Caviteño accomplices to start the mutiny in San Felipe as soon they see cannon shots fired in the air; the plan was to set the arrabal (district) of Tondo in fire to distract the authorities while the artillery regiment and infantry in Manila could take control of Fuerte de Santiago in Intramuros and use cannon shots as a signal for the San Felipe troops to start attacking their peninsular officers. But before this could happen, the mutiny in Manila was discovered. Leaders were promptly arrested.

The arrests in Manila were not yet known to those in Cavite. They stood vigilant by the bay, waiting for the signal. Finally, they saw what they thought was the signal — rockets firing through the air! That is when they commenced the attack. But unbeknownst to them, those were not cannon shots from their allies but fireworks coming from Plaza del Carmen in Quiapò, for it was the feast day of San Sebastián de Milán, the titular patron of the famous steel church in front of plaza del Carmen which bears the same saintly name.

That is why the mutineers in Cavite were caught in surprise when the soldiers who arrived there were not their allies but government troops. They were easily overwhelmed. Several more were apprehended the following day, and those included Fr. Burgos as well as two more priests: Fr. Mariano Gomes and Fr. Jacinto Zamora. Following a hurried trial, the three priests, including a state witness who testified against them, were sentenced to death garrote. Manila Archbishop Gregorio Melitón Martínez, nevertheless, refused to unfrock the three for he believed in their innocence.

At the time of his death, Fr. Burgos was at the height of his career as a priest. He was, therefore, a dangerous adversary among anti-secularists. This led to suspicions that Fr. Burgos was framed. Another suspicion is that there could have been an “unholy alliance” between insular reactionaries and Spanish friars to get rid of both peninsular infraction and the secularization of parishes. Be that as it may, one might find it strange that others who were implicated in the mutiny —Máximo Inocencio, Crisanto de los Reyes, and Enrique Paraíso— were not executed but merely exiled. Inocencio, de los Reyes, and Paraíso were all Freemasons. This leads to another suspicion: were they spared because of their affiliation to Freemasonry? It should be noted that the governor-general who signed the death sentence of the three priests was Rafael de Izquierdo, a high-ranking Freemason.

Nevertheless, the execution of the three priests brought forth a new force — the culmination of the process of the forging of our national identity, a process which began in 1565. On the day of their public execution in Bagumbayan, on 17 February 1872, the masses gathered to show their sympathy. On that day, the racial classifications that labeled them as indios, insulares, chinos cristianos, etc. no longer mattered to them. Together, they have become Filipinos, a term that they appropriated from the “oppressors”.

Today is the feast day of San Sebastián de Milán, the patron saint of soldiers. So here’s a query from a Catholic perspective: did he somehow prevent a disastrous civil war from happening 150 years ago? 🤔

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“Araw ng Biñán 2022” highlights 275th founding anniversary of Biñán as a pueblo

The City of Biñán is notable for three things: as an economic heavyweight in CALABARZON, as the place where national hero José Rizal began his formative studies (Biñán was also his parents’ hometown), and the site of many heritage houses. The last two reasons – its association with Rizal and its built heritage – make it as one of La Laguna Province’s most historic places. It is thus fitting that we briefly look back at the city’s colorful past as it commemorates its bicenterquasquigenary (275th founding anniversary) this year.

Before the Spaniards arrived, the area comprising Biñán today was part of an ancient settlement called Tabuco (now Cabuyao). Ancient Biñán didn’t have a large settlement that resembled today’s concept of a town or a city, but it was inhabited sparsely by Tagálog natives. Life then was primitive: the people survived through fishing, gathering fruits in the forest, and hunting wild boar.

When the Spaniards arrived, they established Manila as the capital of the newly founded Indias Orientales Españolas (Spanish East Indies), the forerunner of today’s Republic of the Philippines, on 24 June 1571. Immediately afterwards, they sought to discover more unexplored areas, particularly those surrounding the nearby lake which they later called Laguna de Bay. This territory included Biñán which was later turned into a hacienda by the Dominican fathers in 1644. The site was named Hacienda de San Isidro Labrador de Biñán. It was a large estate mainly dedicated to the planting of sugar cane with the smaller remaining land area reserved for the community (residents). A dam was built in Barrio Timbáo to support the hacienda’s irrigation systems. A large farmhouse built of strong materials and complete with stables, a well, and an orchard was constructed at the center of the hacienda. For clarification: a hacienda, although it has residents, was not a town although it may have already seemed like one. Under the auspices of both church and state, and usually managed by an inquilino (tenant farmer), the main purpose of the hacienda was not to generate profit but to administer the welfare of the tenants through the production of agricultural goods, i.e., farming, as well as to fund missionary enterprises while at the same time serving as a source of tribute.

But 1747 was when the hacienda of Biñán transitioned into a full-fledged pueblo or town with a core barrio serving as the población (town proper). Surrounding the town proper were barrios or visitas, today’s equivalent of barangays. The pueblo of Biñán was later reorganized as a municipio, today’s forerunner of a municipality/city. During that year, Archbishop Juan de Arechederra served as acting Governor General of the archipelago. King Felipe V was then the ruler of the Spanish Empire. Seven years prior, Miguel de Chaves had been appointed as Alcalde Mayor (today’s equivalent of a provincial governor) of Provincia de La Laguna. Ten years later, in 1757, the first appointed parochial priest of Biñán was Father José Monroy. On that same year, Fr. Monroy appointed Antonio de Santa Rosa as the first capitán of the town.

Ever conscious and proud of its history, the city government celebrates with much pomp and gaiety the three-day Araw ng Biñán, an annual commemoration of its cityhood (it became a component city on 2 February 2010), its liberation from the Imperial Japanese Army (3 February 1945), and the remembrance of its founding anniversary (4 February 1747; the date was just a designation to complete the annual three-day festivities). Looking back, it seems that Biñán’s economic and cultural blessings never seemed to falter. The city is blessed because it knows how to pay utmost respect to its past. And the ebb and flow of history tested but never shook down this town-turned-bustling city. Neither does it show signs of slowing down.

Originally published in the Facebook page of the Biñán City Culture, History, Arts, and Tourism Office (BCHATO). Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Dark Nazarenes

For the second consecutive year, the Black Nazarene procession was suspended because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But compared to last year, this year was stricter because COVID-19 cases have gone up again the past few days, with even higher number of cases compared to when the pandemic began in March of 2020. Devotees last year were still able to converge in front of Quiapo Church, but this year, all roads and alleyways leading to the church were blocked by policemen.

I’m very sure that Bongbong Marcos and Inday Sara Duterte‘s well-received caravan/motorcade held from November to December contributed a lot to the rise of COVID-19 cases. Thousands upon thousands, from Misamis Oriental all the way to La Laguna, trooped to see their political icons even though they knew that the pandemic was still ongoing. Both Bongbong and Inday Sara were treated by excited followers as if they were the Nazareno. They pushed, shoved, and jostled each other just to get near them. There was virtually no social distancing at all, as if their face masks were enough protection from the virus that has killed more than five million people across the globe.

But I don’t see anyone blaming Bongbong and Inday Sara for this irresponsible caravan of theirs, not even from their rivals. Why? Because they also held their own (though not as successful as compared to that of the presidential scions). Aside from the fact that those caravans were clearly a sign of early political campaigning (it’s not yet the campaign season, mind you), those motorcades were also an obvious COVID-19 superspreader.

How come when it comes to political conventions and the like, authorities do not have the same foresight as they do against the Quiapo traslación? What’s the story here? 🤔

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Health above foreign relations

Remember early last 2020 when Department of Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III refused to join the clamor to ban the entry of Chinese flights because he was afraid that we might offend China?

“We have to be very careful also about possible repercussions of doing this, in light of the fact that the confirmed cases of coronaviruses are not limited to China,” Duque said.

This was on January 30th, during a deliberation in Congress on why travel ban should be imposed against China where COVID-19 was then raging. This was just a few days when a 38-year-old Chinese woman who arrived in the country from Wuhan, China tested positive for the novel coronavirus. At that time, chances of containing the spread of COVID-19 in our country was still strong, and the said disease was not yet declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Had Duque reacted more as a health secretary than a mouthpiece for President Rodrigo Duterte’s Chinese-leaning government, who knows what might have happened to our country? For sure, the negative effects of the ongoing pandemic would have at least been mitigated significantly.

Now let’s compare Duque’s ill-considered move with an official act from way back 18th century. Toribio José Miguel de Cossío, Governor General of our country from 1721 to 1729, issued in 1723 a letter about the measures he adopted to prevent the entry of ships and products coming from France to prevent the spread of the black plague epidemic that was ravaging western Europe. Known as the “Peste de Marseille” (the Great Plague of Marseille), the epidemic cost the lives of more than 100,000 people.

Consider this: France and pro-Habsburg Spain were still reeling from the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). As a viceroyal executive, Cossío would have tried to avoid “offending” French trade by waiting for orders from Madrid (the monarch back then was King Felipe V, a central character in the said war). But compared to both Duque and Duterte, Cossío was able to act swiftly, proactively, and decisively, no longer waiting for any official order from the Peninsula. Time was always of the essence. Had Cossío been as political as Duque, the black plague would have easily spread in our country and all over Southeast Asia. That would have caused an 18th-century pandemic!

Unfortunately, Duque had to kowtow to Duterte’s subservience to China. So here we are now, going in and out of countless lockdowns.

Take note that communication during Cossío’s time was, of course, archaic. It would take months before the happenings in Europe would reach our shores. Also, it has already been made clear two centuries ago that best way to combat contagious diseases from other countries was isolation. It’s no rocket science. Yet here goes history again to remind health officials not to meddle themselves into politics when the health concern of the people is at stake.

Not to mention how wrong we are with the notion that the Spanish times were backwards.

Digitized archival documents downloaded from PARES. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The winds of Amihan: simple joys!

Amihan is my favorite season. My family knows too well how I really love the cold weather. Back in the day when we’re still financially OK (this was before Yeyette’s cancer), we would all troop excitedly to nearby Tagaytay which was less than two hours away just to experience the biting winds of Amihan. It’s colder up there. 🥶

Our favorite site in Tagaytay is the peak of Mount Súñgay, now known as People’s Park in the Sky, where we would all be enveloped in freezing clouds (people mistakenly think that they’re just thick fog). That’s why I’m frustrated that we can no longer experience the Amihan season there. Nevertheless, it’s still cold down here in San Pedro Tunasán, so I’m OK with that. We hardly even use our electric fans these past few days. It’s that cold. Tipíd na rin sa electricidad. 😃

It feels that it’s getting colder and colder as each day goes by, and I’m really loving it. There’s no more need to go to Tagaytay anymore. Perhaps God granted my simple wish, and I’m happy with that. Sa totoó lang, mababao talagá ang caligayahan co. Las alegrías sencillas siguen siendo una bendición...

View from our balcony. I love gazing at the nearby woods as the branches sway from the cold winds of the Amihan.

Cuenta tus bendiciones. Amén. 😇

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¡Feliz Año 2022!

Imagen: Shutterstock.

A todos los que leen esto: ¡qué tengan un año nuevo maravilloso y bendecido! A pesar de las tribulaciones de los últimos dos años, miremos hacia el futuro con fe, esperanza, y caridad. Qué Dios nos guíe y proteja siempre. ¡Feliz y Próspero Año 2022!

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Fun with flames: a brief feature of frolicking with felicitous fire in Filipinas

The sale and use of fireworks and firecrackers during New Year’s Eve experienced a sharp decline when President Rodrigo Duterte stepped in as the country’s chief magistrate. Ironically, in spite of his regime’s bloody reputation, the lighting of various firecrackers, fireworks, and the traditional bamboo cannons was strictly limited, was even close to being banned totally. But the result was positive: the number of firecracker-related injuries and deaths also spiraled down, experiencing an all-time low last year.

Photo: Rappler.

I remember a college friend of mine who regularly traveled to and from New York where her mom lives. She said that in The Big Apple, people go to public plazas shortly before midnight to witness fireworks displays. After the fiery and colorful welcoming of the new year, they all march back to their homes to celebrate. There was no playing of firecrackers there. That is why she finds the practice here very strange, perilous, and even absurd.

That was an eye-opener for one who has never traveled abroad. It made me wonder if merrymaking with small explosives and pyrotechnic devices has always been standard fare every New Year’s Eve in our country. Were there fireworks or at least firecrackers during the old days in Filipinas? We all know that pyrotechnic devices originated in China, and that they have been using them for hundreds of years. Since there were a lot of Chinese here even before the Spanish arrival, is it safe to assume that our pre-Filipino ancestors who were in touch with the Celestials have already experienced their primeval skies lit with brightly colored fire?

Actually, Rizal made mention of firecrackers and fireworks several times throughout his novel Noli Me Tangere. There was even a pirotécnico filipino (Filipino pyrotechnician) in the chapter La Víspera de la Fiesta (Eve of the Fiesta). Apparently during his time, the word that was used to call a firecracker was the Spanish word reventador which means, humorously enough, a troublemaker or a heckler. Those with a natural ear for etymology will easily recognize that the local word labintador originated from it.

In 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, I received an invitation from ABS-CBN to appear in their morning talk show Magandang Buhay to discuss Filipino traditions during New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. My knowledge of the topic is limited, so I had to broaden it up by asking people around. I received vital information about the topic from the late historian and economist Benito Legarda Jr. as well as from Fr. Jojo Zerrudo. Unfortunately, for some undisclosed reason, the show’s producers suddenly decided to change the program’s New Year’s episode at the last minute. Sayang. I was already prepping up for an energetic “¡Buenos días, mg̃a momshie!” greeting that televiewers would never forget. 😂 But of course, I cannot keep forever what Don Benito and Fr. Jojo shared to me. So I thought of sharing it now.

Don Benito was born in 1926. The backwash of three centuries of Spanish rule was still fresh during his time (in fact, his first language was Spanish). This is what he shared me:

I often spent New Year’s Eve with relatives with my age. What I remember is that we all use firecrackers and that some of the house boys improvise bamboo canons which were fired by kerosene. My late wife remembers a lot of noise, perhaps also fireworks during New Year’s Eve, including bullets falling on the roofs fired from guns.

So this means that fireworks and bamboo canons during New Year’s Eve were already the craze during his day.

Fr. Jojo, a well-known exorcist who holds parochial duties in the Diocese of Cubao, may not have come from Don Benito’s generation (he is only in his early 50s), but he is well-versed on local Church History. That is why he is also a good resource person on the topic. What he shared to me is more on the spiritual side since merrymaking with pyrotechnics is already a given.

It has been a tradition in the Church that people spend the hours of transition from the old to the new year by the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The year is ended by the recitation or singing of the Te Deum which is the official thanksgiving song of the Church. Then the first hymn of the New Year is the Veni Creator Spritus, the hymn to the Holy Spirit, for blessings for the new year.

Fr. Jojo also added something very interesting:

It would be good to make the distinction between the Noche Buena of Christmas and the Media Noche of New Year. People mistakenly think that Noche Buena is eaten at midnight of Christmas. At midnight, people are in Church for midnight Mass. It is the Media Noche that is eaten at midnight of New Year.

So this could only mean that the Noche Buena midnight feast that we all know was either a recent thing or an erroneous practice. Just this past Christmas Day, I was talking long distance with my Italy based aunt, María Rubia Alas-Capua. She has been living with her Italian family in Provincia di Cosenza since I was a kid. Curiously, she also said the same thing that Fr. Jojo told me. In Italy, where Catholicism also reigns supreme, the faithful do not have a midnight feast such as the one that we have here. At 11:30 PM, they are already in church for the midnight Mass. It’s either the people eat before or after that Mass. What I failed to ask her is how Italians celebrate New Year’s Eve.

But now that it seems that those days of “firecracking” are finally over, Filipinos have found a new alternative of making noise: open mufflers and vehicular horns, even if it’s not yet midnight. They’re cheaper and safer. But they’re more annoying. Why welcome the coming year with such nonsense? I just hope that all this noise pollution won’t spoil our Media Noche.

¡Os deseo un Feliz y Próspero Año 2022! ¡Qué Dios nos bendiga y nos guarde este año que viene! 🥳

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Was Rizal a clairvoyant?

On 1 January 1883, Rizal wrote something creepy in his diary…

WTF?! 😱

“Two nights ago, that is, on the 30th of December, I had a horrible nightmare where I almost ceased to exist. I dreamed that while imitating an actor in a scene in which he died, I felt vividly that I was short of breath and rapidly losing strength. Later, my vision would darken, and dense darkness, like those from nothingness, would envelop me — the anguish of death. I wanted to scream and ask Antonio Paterno* for help, feeling that I was going to die. I woke up weak and out of breath (my translation).”

Exactly thirteen years after that frightening nightmare, Rizal was executed by musketry in Bagumbayan. 😱

Speaking of Bagumbayan, Rizal mentioned that place six times in his novel Noli Me Tangere. But one of the most eerie references to it was when he narrated the carriage trip of his novel’s hero Crisóstomo Ibarra through Manila…

Pero estos pensamientos huyen de su imaginación á la vista de la pequeña colina en el campo de Bagumbayan. El montecillo, aislado, al lado del paseo de la Luneta, llamaba ahora su atención y le ponía meditabundo.

My translation: “But these thoughts flee from his imagination at the sight of the small hill in the field of Bagumbayan. The isolated hillock, next to the Paseo de la Luneta, now attracted his attention and made him pensive.”

His second novel, El Filibusterismo, was dedicated to the GomBurZa priests who were also executed in Bagumbayan in 1872. In his dedication, he wrote the following…

A la memoria de los Presbíteros, don Mariano Gómez (85 años), don José Burgos (30 años) y don Jacinto Zamora (35 años),** ejecutados en el patíbulo de Bagumbayan, el 28 de Febrero de 1872.

My translation: “To the memory of the priests Mariano Gómez (85 years old), José Burgos (30 years old), and Jacinto Zamora (35 years old), executed in the scaffold of Bagumbayan on 28 February 1872.”

Did he subconsciously foresee his own demise?

While he was writing El Filibusterismo, he also contributed to the propagandist newspaper La Solidaridad. The newspaper serialized his socio-political essay Filipinas Dentro de Cien Años (Filipinas a Century Hence) where he wrote about the possibility that the United States of América might occupy the archipelago should the latter become independent from its matrix, Madre España

Si las Filipinas consiguen su independencia al cabo de luchas heroicas y tenaces, pueden estar seguras de que ni Inglaterra, ni Alemania, ni Francia, y menos Holanda, se atreverán á recoger lo que España no ha podido conservar… Acaso la gran República Americana, cuyos intereses se encuentran en el Pacifico y que no tiene participación en los despojos del África, piense un día en posesiones ultramarinas. No es imposible La América del Norte sería una rival demasiado molesta, si una vez practica el oficio... Muy probablemente las Filipinas defenderán con un ardor indecible la libertad comprada á costa de tanta sangre y sacrificios.

My translation: “If Filipinas achieves its independence after heroic and tenacious struggles, they can be assured that neither England nor Germany nor France, and even less Holland, will dare take up what Spain has not been unable to preserve… Perhaps the great American Republic, whose interests are in the Pacific and who has no participation in the looting of África, may one day think of overseas possessions. It is not impossible… North América would be too troublesome a rival once she gets into the business… Most probably, Filipinas will defend with unspeakable ardor the freedom bought at the cost of so much blood and sacrifices.”

A few years after his execution, his prediction happened: the United States invaded and occupied his patria adorada.

Was Rizal some sort of a clairvoyant? I’d like to think so.

* Antonio Paterno was a brother of Pedro Paterno.
** Rizal made mistakes with the ages of the priests. Fr. Gómez was 72, Fr. Burgos was 35, while Fr. Zamora was 36.

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2021 MMFF: No Way Home

Filipino netizens have been warring against each other these past few days on the issue of Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)‘s dismal box-office performance. Many of them are blaming Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” when it’s not yet even showing in theaters. 😂

My friends and followers know me for my patriotism, but hey, I won’t sacrifice film connoisseurship nor my enjoyment for its sake. Ayusin muna casí ang calidad ng mg̃a película natin para namán maguíng caaya-aya siláng panoorín. Más binibida casí dito sa atin ang mg̃a actor quesa cuento at calidad ng mg̃a película. But in Hollywood, it’s the other way around. For instance, who was Chris Hemsworth before Thor?

Movie fans are after good stories; the actors in those stories are just secondary. Dapat ganoón din dito sa atin. Didn’t we all patronize Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park films even if we didn’t know more than half of the actors who were in them? So don’t think that just because a movie has a Toni Gonzaga or a Dingdong Dantes in it, it’s already assured of box-office success. And don’t expect me to sit for two hours over an MMFF movie that was produced with only profit as its main objective just to show support for #TangkilikinAngSarilingAtin — that’s torture! In Hollywood, they invest heavily in stories. Here, it seems that film producers invest heavily in movie stars. 🤦

So until the local film industry has finally shaken off all remnants of “Enteng Kabisote” and Vice Gandá movies from their reels, I will remain steadfastly cynical over the MMFF. Having said that, I’d rather watch “Spider-Man: No Way Home” than waste my money on garbage in the guise of “Patronize Pinoy”. Anyway…

(SPOILER ALERT!)

Ned Leeds and his lola are Filipinos. 😂

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