El lanzamiento suave de la Sociedad Hispano-Filipina

¡Hoy es un día maravilloso! Por fin, la página web Sociedad Hispano-Filipina ha sido lanzada el día de hoy por el joven hispanista Jemuel Pilápil.

PEPE ALAS

Jemuel ha estado trabajando en esta página web durante los últimos meses. El lanzamiento de hoy es sólo un lanzamiento suave ya que hay varias pestañas y enlaces/secciones que necesitan ser desarrollados. Pero hace semanas le sugerí que la lanzara justo a tiempo para el Día de la Hispanidad de este año. Y para este lanzamiento suave de hoy también contribuí con un artículo sobre la que se puede leer aquí.

la Sociedad Hispano-Filipina es una creación por Jemuel, un estudiante autodidacta de la lengua castellana (nunca se matriculó en ningún instituto de idiomas), y comenzó el año pasado como un grupo de Facebook. Los primeros miembros de la sociedad son de su círculo de amigos que también son amantes del idioma español, y sigue creciendo la membresía. Pero ¿de qué se trata el grupo? Aquí están los objetivos y los deberes jurados:

  • Divulgar, difundir, promover, y mantener lo vivo el idioma español.
  • Animar a los filipinos que aprendan español.
  • Crear oportunidades para practicar y disfrutar el idioma como por ejemplo viajes, reuniones, lecturas, deportes, conferencias, o cualquier actividad interesante.
  • Celebrar la existencia de la cultura hispana en Filipinas.
  • Vincular a todos los grupos hispanohablantes.

Debe recordarse que hace muchos años, tres compañeros míos (Señores Guillermo Gómez Rivera, Arnaldo Arnáiz, y José Miguel García) y yo planeamos lanzar una página web similar (pero con una gama mucho más amplia de alcance que incluye una “propaganda” para contrarrestar la leyenda negra) pero nada se materializó. Carecíamos de fondos, tiempo y los conocimientos técnicos tan necesarios. Es por eso que estoy muy feliz de que Jemuel la haya hecho por nosotros. Sin duda, Jemuel Pilápil es el “Isagani de El Filibusterismo hecho carne”. Con su Sociedad Hispano-Filipina, el idioma español tiene un futuro muy promisorio en Filipinas.

Enrique Zóbel, el renombrado filántropo, fundador del Premio Zóbel, y miembro del famoso Clan Zóbel de Ayala, dijo una vez esta memorable frase: “No quiero que el español muera en Filipinas”. Con la apariencia de la Sociedad Hispano-Filipina en el ciberespacio, la tecnología más utilizada hoy en día, tal muerte nunca sucederá, y más especialmente, siempre y cuando que tengamos la Madre de la Hispanidad como nuestra guía y patrona.

PEPE ALAS

Nuestra Señora del Pilar es la Madre de la Hispanidad. Esta es su imagen en la Catedral de Imus en la Provincia de Cavite.

¡Feliz Día de la Hispanidad! ¡Viva la Virgen del Pilar! ¡Felicitaciones a la Sociedad Hispano-Filipina! ¡Celebremos esta victoria con cervezas y rosarios!

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Similarities between Spanish and Tagálog

Bahador Alast is known in YouTube for making videos of people of different nationalities and cultures who compare similarities between their respective native tongues. Last Christmas, he uploaded a video titled “Similarities Between Spanish and Filipino”. It features two young women: Claudia from Perú, whose first language is Spanish, and; Joan from Filipinas, whose first language is Tagálog.

It is fun watching the reaction of these two young ladies whenever they discover that many of the words that they use daily in their respective languages are actually the same. It has to be considered, though, that both are out of the loop when it comes to their respective countries’ shared heritage (both Filipinas and Perú are daughters of Spain: Filipinas was a captaincy general while Perú was a viceroy). Unbeknownst to many, of the 30,000 root words found in Tagálog, more or less 5,000 of them are Spanish — and we are just talking here about root words, not words! In addition, both Spanish and Tagálog are phonetic languages, truly a perfect match!

But it’s not just Tagálog that was augmented by Spanish. In fact, the languages of all Hispanized (Christianized) ethnolinguistic groups benefited as well from this linguistic infusion caused by more than three centuries of Spanish rule.

Filipino is considered as the national language of Filipinas. The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino teaches us that it is a standardized variety of the Tagálog language. But linguistically, there is really no difference between Filipino and Tagálog. The issue even became controversial especially among other ethnolinguistic groups in Filipinas that are not Tagálog speakers, and I agree with them. That is why I no longer refer to Tagálog as Filipino (in the same manner that I refuse to call my country Philippines or Pilipinas). Tagálog is simply a majority language in Filipinas. Other than that, I already pointed out in a speech last year what the true Filipino national language should really be.

This fun video by Alast can serve as an introduction of sorts for Filipinos, Tagálogs in particular, who are in search of their national identity from a historico-linguistic point of view.

El castellano, único idioma nacional

El abogado Tirso de Irureta Goyena vivió en una época cuando el idioma español era el idioma filipino predominante pero fue poco a poco de ser “devorado” por el idioma de los invasores estadounidenses: el inglés. Alarmado por el ataque, escribió varios artículos para defender el estado de la lengua española en Filipinas.

En este blogpost publico uno de sus artículos titulado “El Castellano, Único Idioma Nacional“. Este artículo fue seleccionado de su libro POR EL IDIOMA Y LA CULTURA HISPANOS. Es una colección de ensayos suyos que fue publicada en 1917.

En “El Castellano, Único Idioma Nacional”, Irureta Goyena argumenta por qué el español debe ser el único idioma nacional de Filipinas.

El Señor Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena (con su chófer japónes). Foto cortesía del fotógrafo Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, nieto del Sr. Goyena.

EL CASTELLANO, ÚNICO IDIOMA NACIONAL
Tirso de Irureta Goyena

Algunos opinan, al parecer, por la dualidad de idiomas en nuestro país, sosteniendo que ambos á dos, el castellano y el inglés, pueden constituir á la vez los idiomas nacionales de Filipinas. El idioma castellano es el idioma de un pasado de tres siglos, el idioma de las tres primeras centurias de civilización europea en el país, el idioma de epopeya y de los patriotas de la época revolucionaria. El inglés es el idioma del presente, de la nueva nación dominadora fuerte y jovén, y es la lengua, al mismo tiempo, más difundida en el Extremo Oriente, con cuyos países sostendrá Filipinas en lo futuro sus más íntimas relaciones comerciales y políticas. Ambos deben, por consiguiente, conservarse; ambos deben ser, en fin, los idiomas nacionales de la futura república filipina.

Somos los primeros en sostener que no laboramos contra el idioma inglés. Somos partidarios, consiguientemente, de la convivencia amistosa en el país de ambos idiomas. Sostenemos que el inglés no solo debe conservarse, sino que su conocimiento debe seguir siendo objeto de difusión. Pero entendemos que el castellano, ha sido, es y deberá ser el único idioma nacional de Filipinas.

Es indudable que si los filipinos pudieran poseer ambos idiomas á la perfección, sería esto lo más ventajoso para sus intereses. Pero el poseer, dominándolos, dos idiomas á la vez, y dos idiomas de léxico tan rico y tan variado como el inglés y el castellano, es cosa imposible para un pueblo en general, para una colectividad compleja y numerosa, como es toda una sociedad nacional, como es en este caso el país filipino. El poseer á la perfección dos idiomas á la vez es privilegio reservado á ciertos y determinados indivíduos dotados de especiales aptitudes filológicas. Y si extremamos las cosas, notaremos que aún aquellas personas que pasan por conocedoras de dos idiomas diferentes, dominan más uno que otro, y que, salvo rarísimas excepciones de inteligencias muy privilegiadas, no obstante poseer dos idiomas, piensan y sienten en uno de ellos exclusivamente, realizando una traducción mental de sus ideas y pensamientos de un idioma á otro.

Y ese idioma en que piensen y sienten las personas poseedoras de dos idiomas distintos, será su verdadero idioma propio, y no aquel en que exprese sus ideas y sentimientos después de haberlos traducido en su interior del idioma que brotó espontáneamente de su corazón ó de su inteligencia. Y ese idioma en que se pinesa ó se siente, cuando se refiere á todo un pueblo, ó á una gran parte del mismo, es su verdadero idioma nacional. Y es indudable que infinidad de filipinos piensan y sienten en castellano, y piensan y sienten de tal manera en este idioma, que mejor expresan en él los estados diversos de su alma que en cualquiera de los idiomas nativos.

La mejor demostración de este aserto la tenemos en nuestro insigne Rizal. En medio de las penalidades y sufrimientos de una cárcel, teniendo de cara á la muerte y bajo la tremenda exaltación patriótica de sus últimos momentos gloriosos, cogió la pluma para entonar un canto de despedida á su patria, es decir, á su madre, á nuestra madre común, su adorada Filipinas, y aquel sublime corazón habló en emocionantes é inspiradísimas estrofas castellanas.

Pero se dirá: ¿no tiene Suiza tres idiomas nacionales? ¿no tienen dos Bélgica, el Canadá y la Confederación sud-africana? ¿Por qué no ha de poder tenerlos Filipinas? Y nosotros contestaremos diciendo que esto es no tener en cuenta en absoluto la forma y las circunstancias bajo las cuales Suiza, Bélgica, el Canadá y la Unión del África del Sur tienen varios idiomas nacionales.

En primer lugar, no existen en ninguno de esos países varios idiomas nacionales, sino que los que existen son varios idiomas oficiales, idiomas á los cuales se les ha dado carácter oficial, por ser los idiomas de nacionalidades distintasexistentes dentro del mismo Estado. En la república de Suiza hay una mayoría de cantones alemanes, esto es, cantones de raza alemana, de costumbres alemanas y de idioma alemán, varios cantones franceses, ó sea, cantones de raza, costumbres é idioma francés; y un cantón de raza, costumbres é idioma italianos. No es, por consiguiente, que en Suiza todos los suizos hablen indistintamente los tres idiomas. Sino que hay suizos que poseen el alemán como único idioma nacional y lo utilizan exclusivamente, otros el francés, y otros el italiano. Claro está que esa proximidad y convivencia hace que muchos suizos alemanes hablen el francés, y muchos franceses alemanes el alemán. Pero lo hablan como uno cualquiera de nosotros hablaría el ruso ó el japonés, esto es, no como un idioma nacional, no como un idioma propio, sino como un idioma extraño adquirido por el estudio y por la práctica continuos.

Lo mismo ocurre en el Canadá. En el Canadá hay un Departamento ó Estado, el de Quebec, cuyos habitantes son, en su mayoría, descendientes de los antiguos colonos franceses, y que hablan consiguientemente el francés como idioma nacional. Y en los restantes Estados del Dominio, puede decirse que su mayoría están constituidos por colonos de raza inglesa, y que tienen, por lo tanto, al inglés por idioma propio. Más, como no podía evitarse que de hecho algunos colonos franceses fuesen á establecerse á Estados de raza inglesa, ni que colonos ingleses fuesen á vivir al Estado de Quebec, por no inferir agravio á ninguno de los dos, se han declarado á ambos idiomas, el francés y el inglés, idiomas oficiales. Pero no puede decirse que ambos á dos, y para todos los canadienses, sean el inglés y el francés los idiomas nacionales.

En Filipinas no ocurre esto. Hay una minoría de filipinos, descendientes e individuos de raza española que tienen al castellano naturalmente como idioma propio y casi por decir único. Hay algunas localidades donde filipinos indígenas, de pura raza nativa, como Cavite, San Roque, Caridad, Zamboanga, y aún muchos de los que en Manila y en otras capitales importantes viven, que no poseen asimismo otro idioma que el castellano más ó menos adulterado. Fuera de estos focos, que si son una excepción, lo son á favor del castellano, tenemos una gran masa de origen homogéneo, el malayo, y no dos ó tres nacionalidades distintas como ocurre en Suiza, Bélgica, Austria ó el Canadá.

No hay que pensar, por consiguiente, que la gran masa de filipinos tenga dos idiomas nacionales, porque no tienen todos ellos más que una tradición, unas costumbres y son de una misma raza. No existen aquí para los efectos del idioma dos nacionalidades distintas, una situada, por ejemplo, en Luzón y otra en Bisayas; y los mestizos americanos son una minoría microscópica, en muchos de cuyos descendientes, se ve el curioso fenómeno de adoptar el castellano ó alguno de los idiomas nativos, dejando por completo el idioma inglés.

Si todo esto es absolutamente cierto, no cabe duda que podrá haber filipinos que hablen los dos idiomas, el inglés y el castellano, pero en uno de ellos solamente pensarán y sentirán, y ese será su verdadero idioma nacional. Y en verdad, quizás existan excepciones individuales, pero de los dos idiomas, aquel en el cual piensan y sienten los filipinos es el idioma castellano. En él pronuncian sus discursos los políticos; en él impresionan y agitan los oradores á las masas populares y proletarias; en él brindan y se expansionan las sociedades de recreo; en él cantan los poetas; en él luchan los periodistas, y en él hablan y escriben los hombres de ciencia del país. Y si el caudal científico y literario de Filipinas, no es, cierta y afortunadamente de hoy, sino que data de ayer, es innegable que la mayor parte de las obras científicas y literarias, y la prensa filipina, son obra de unos pocos de la generación de ayer, y de unos muchos de la generación de hoy, de la generación nueva, que expontáneamente sigue pensando y sintiendo en castellano, que es y deberá ser, por consiguiente, no el único idioma, en absoluto, pero sí el único lenguaje nacional de todos los filipinos.

Este blogpost fue publicado originalmente en ALAS FILIPINAS.

History is not just about heroes

I noticed that many popular historians today, including various Facebook groups and pages tackling Filipino History, focus mainly on personalities (José Rizal, Andrés Bonifacio, Gregorio del Pilar, etc.), if not events (Cavite Mutiny, 1896 Tagálog Rebellion, the first at-large national election of 1935, etc.). But history is not limited to people and explosive occurrences. We should also consider the coming of tools as history, as media that changed people’s outlook towards everything else. The bahay na bató, the calendar, book printing, the introduction of new crops, and even the cuchara and tenedor have all contributed to the evolution of what is now the Filipino. May these historians up their game so that their fans would not become mere hero worshipers.

Related image

So what in the world am I talking about? Just go to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy of Nick Joaquín’s iconic Culture and History and find out for yourselves. After a thorough reading of this book, I assure you 100% that you will LOL at many of today’s Filipino historians.

The amistad between Nick Joaquín and Guillermo Gómez Rivera

This newspaper clipping was published on 16 May 1992. It appeared in the now defunct Newsday and was written by Jorge Seurat (pen name of priest-poet Fr. Gilbert Luis R. Centina III). The column explains the least-known friendship as well as the converse similarity between writers Guillermo Gómez (whose birthday falls today) and National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquín.

PEPE ALAS

 

The great Nick Joaquín, proclaimed “National Artist” during the glorious years of Ferdinand Marcos, has turned seventy-five. Three-fourths of a century. And as he ages into immortality and mythology, the English language appears to be on the way out in the Philippines. Overpopulation, lack of funds, and diploma mills are seeing to that.

This is so, because English has not taken root as Spanish did take root. And if the English language has a Filipino writer like Nick Joaquín, it is because Nick Joaquín’s real language is Spanish. By Hispanizing English, he has succeeded in Filipinizing it. And lo, in the very Filipino works of Nick Joaquín, English has become Filipino! After 92 neocolonial years of deception and bitterness, we only have this writer who can be considered significant in what we may call “Philippines Literature.”

But Nick Joaquín had to will this Filipinization of English. Rizal and Recto did not have to Filipinize Spanish through their writings. Spanish was already the Filipino Language when they wrote in it without having to choose it from English or “Filipino.”

Nick Joaquín,s merit according to his ardent follower, Don Guillermo Gómez Rivera, is his having been able to pour into English a good part of the essential message of what has been Filipino since 1571. No other writer in English has done this.

Gómez Rivera, a generation or two younger than Nick Joaquín, is the Nick Joaquín of contemporary Filipino literature in Spanish. Were Gómez Rivera to write in English as he does in Spanish, he would sound almost, if not exactly, like Nick Joaquín. If Nick Joaquín is a continuation of Claro M. Recto, who wrote in Spanish in local English letters, Gómez Rivera is the continuation of Nick Joaquín back in the same language of Rizal and Recto.

This is so because both Nick Joaquín and Guillermo Gómez Rivera actually belong to the same Filipino tradition even if they don’t write in the same language. Of course, if Nick Joaquín were to write in Spanish, he would in turn sound almost, if not exactly, like Guillermo Gómez Rivera. Don Lorenzo Marasigan’s portrait for his two daughters, Cándida and Paula, has become alive, both artistically and literally. The young man, Anchise, is Guillermo Gómez Rivera, and the old man is Nick Joaquín, and the burning city that both are leaving behind is our country, ravaged and ruined in almost every sense of the word by this despicable galungóng-brained “democracy” that would condemn our people with the Bataán Nuclear Plant. And, possibly, vacuum of power after frustrating so brazenly the national elections without our people really knowing about it until after a few months, or years, later.

And Guillermo Gómez Rivera wrote a poem in homage of Nick Joaquín after the latter had dedicated to him a copy of his play, Portrait, in book form, saying in Spanish, “A Guillermo Gómez Rivera, el nuevo Colón de la música filipina…” this was so, because Gómez Rivera, after recording his third long-playing of Filipino songs, in their original Spanish versions, asked Nick Joaquín to listen to them. Nick Joaquín obliged and enjoyed listening to Gómez Rivera’s singing of “El collar de Sampaguita” with Bert Buena’s rondalla. He went to Gómez Rivera’s office library, that of Solidaridad Filipino-Hispana, Inc., at the third floor of the Citadel Bldg. on Bonifacio Street, way back in 1969. Since then, Gómez Rivera has held Nick Joaquín in utmost reverence and, as a member of the Academia Filipina, he has suggested to the Fundación del Premio Zóbel, to adjudicate, one of these years, the said prize to Nick Joaquín.

The poem titled “Nick Joaquín prismático,” is worth transcribing and translating here:

Traductor de la historial por toda una / generación perdida en inglés./ Maestro / que enseña la verdad: / —luz opurtuna / para los que no tienen / ni alma ni estro

(“History’s translator / for entire generations / lost in the English language. / A teacher who teaches / the truth, that pertinent light / needed by those / who misplaced / their soul / and their poetry of life.”)

Pues,  el candor y el arte. / La sapiencia de toda una cultura: / —la cultura que es la de Filipinas— es la ciencia; / es la gloria; / es toda la emvoltura / de este gran hombre prismático — trazluz / del madero / que alzamos hoy en cruz.

(“Because candor, art / and the knowledge / of an entire culture / which is Filipino / is the science, the glory, and the whole shroud / of this great and prismatic man / who stands / as the background light / for the planks of wood / we’d now lift into a cross.”)

Ese es  / Don Nicolás Joaquín, / flamante / fragua de este país / de sordociegos, / tabla de salvación / del ignorante / que perdió sus estribos / y sus pliegos.

(“That man is / Nick Joaquín, / the burning torch, / over this country of deaf-mutes… / He is the phalanx / of redemption / for those that ignore / what is truly Filpino / because they have lost / their documents / and the running board / upon which they could have stood.”).

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Don Guimò!

First published in FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, with slight edits.

Where have our heroes taken us?

All writers seek fame, or at the very least, a certain level of attention from a niche audience. Those who deny this are downright liars. For what writer wouldn’t wish for his works to be read? That’s the purpose of writing something in the first place, in order for it to be read.

I might never become a well-known writer anymore for various reasons (or excuses): I’m a full-time, night shift employee; I have a severe case of complex regional pain syndrome, thus debilitating my thought processes, and; I procrastinate too much. My circumstances at home are not what one might consider as conducive for a writer, let alone researching. Then there’s this cute little thing called the Internet taking much of my time. But why shouldn’t I use it? After a stressful night’s work and a horrible commute to and from the office, I’m left with less energy to even lift a book. I’d rather watch Momoland’s mind-boggling choreography just to relax my mood (yes, I am a frustrated dancer, no kidding), or check for updates regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or look for some annoying celebrity to bash on Twitter.

Having been exposed to too much Internet usage through the years, I also noticed that my attention span has gotten short. While researchers are still divided on the issue, I can tell from experience and self-observation that it has really contributed to my reading and writing woes. There were times that whenever I read a book, I couldn’t finish a page without doing something else on the side. And while browsing through pages, my mind compels me to look for links to click whenever I encounter unfamiliar words or terms, or to even scroll down further to hasten my reading, looking for just the juicy parts. It’s gotten that bad.

You might say that at least, I can still blog. Well, yeah, but not as prolific and as capable as I used to when I was still blogging in ALAS FILIPINAS or FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES. So if the skies have dimmed my chances of becoming a writer, what more of becoming a well-known historian? At any rate, whether or not my above-mentioned reasons (excuses!) hamper my researching and writing, I still find it impossible for me to become recognized as a historian, no matter how hard my wife tries to market me as a “young historian” (what the hey, I’m nearing forty, and there are many other historians younger than me who are now rivaling the great Ambeth Ocampo in terms of prominence).

I don’t want to sound like I’m self-pitying or anything like that, but it’s true. I cannot become a recognized historian for three major reasons. Number one, I’m not a good public speaker. Number two, I do not belong to the academe (I’m not a history teacher, just a corporate slave). And lastly, my views on Filipino History are raging against the flow. Like mad, I should add.

If you notice, many popular historians today deliver speeches and give out lectures, seminars, and interviews (that’s why I call them celebrity historians, haha). While I may have done the same a few times in the past, I didn’t sound as good nor as convincing as them. As I always say, I’m more of a scribbler than a talker. Whenever I receive invites to do speaking engagements, there is always hesitancy from my part. It’s either I find it hard to say no, or my excited wife successfully prods me to accept them. Then there’s the second part: I am not a history professor. Many people online have mistaken me for one, and I find it very flattering, of course. But I am a mere slave to my corporate boss, always cowering down whenever I receive bad grades at work (and I always do, maybe because my heart and mind are somewhere else — treading the cobbled streets of 19th-century Intramuros, haha 😔).

But even if I could talk like a mesmerizing statesman and teach history in a famed university, I still find it highly unlikely that I’d become a well-known and respected historian. As I have mentioned earlier, I go against the flow. I’m not saying that many other historians before me didn’t. Many of them up to now still disagree with each other. But my views regarding popularly accepted history are so unpopular that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines might as well send me to jail. 😂

I don’t consider Andrés Bonifacio and his KKK cohorts as heroes; I brand them as terrorists. I don’t consider Ninoy Aquino, Jr. as a martyr; I brand him as a traitorous opportunist. I don’t consider Juan Luna as a patriot; I consider him only as the greatest painter in our country’s history; I don’t consider Marcelo H. del Pilar as the “Father of True Filipino Masonry”; I’d rather call him as a True Filipino Penitent. I don’t consider the Silang couple of Ilocos as heroes; to my eyes, they were traitors. I don’t consider Lapu-Lapu as the “first Filipino hero”; I brand him as a delicious fish served in Magallanes Square Hotel.

Poor Pedro Paterno has been painted as a villain to the point that we have become convinced to ignore his contributions to scholarship and literature which I believe are still important (El Problema Político de Filipinas; Nínay [the first Filipino novel]; La Antigua Civilización Tagala; etc.).

I refer to my country as Filipinas whether in English or in Spanish; Philippines and Pilipinas are aberrations created by misled/twisted nationalists schooled in an English-only educational system (that’s why I use “Filipino History” instead of “Philippine History”). Unlike many Filipinos, I do not disrespect my national identity by calling myself as Pinoy or even Pilipino. I abhor Taglish. I still use the original orthography whenever I write in Tagálog. And the only national language that I still recognize —as recognized by most national heroes that we enshrine today— is the Spanish language.

I do not and cannot accept that the three centuries of Spanish colonization were generally oppressive and cruel in light of clear documentation to the contrary. I couldn’t for the life of me even call it “colonization”. The polo y servicios were boon, not bane. And the uprising that occurred during the late 1890s was not a revolution but a rebellion.

Today, we again celebrate National Heroes Day to remember the heroism of our forefathers who fought against foreign oppression. But what foreign oppression comes to mind whenever we are called to remember the sacrifices of our patriots? In the introduction to the first book that I wrote (the biography of World War II hero Abelardo “Captain Remo” Remoquillo), I took the opportunity to rant about this.

Perhaps due to either rote memorization or desensitization, or both, Filipino students have somehow become accustomed to the idea that all of our National Heroes existed in the same era. This is understandable because whenever we speak of our country’s past, it would almost always be about our three centuries under the Spanish Empire. But then, there’s always this sinking feeling that most of our heroes existed only during the Spanish Occupation. For instance, the bulk of our National Heroes comes from that bygone era: José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Emilio Aguinaldo, etc. Only to an interested few will the realization sink in that some of those heroes who we thought were from the Spanish era were in fact more active during our country’s war against the United States of América than they were against the Spaniards. These were Apolinario Mabini, Antonio Luna, and Miguel Malvar to name a few.

But when it comes to the three-year Japanese regime, we could hardly remember names. There’s Josefa Llanes Escoda, José Abad Santos, and Vicente Lim, but they ring a bell only because their faces and names are plastered in one thousand-peso notes. Outside of currency, do we even know what kind of heroism did they display during those fearsome years under the Land of the Rising Sun?

All this doesn’t mean that I refuse to accept historical facts. Of course I do. I simply refuse to accept opinions. Facts and opinions are different from each other. I accept hard data presented by historical research, but not opinions formed by them, especially opinions formed by an English-only education with an agenda that has little to zero understanding of our country’s Spanish past. Take the Katipunan rebellion of 1896, for instance. When government forces discovered the existence of the Katipunan in late 1896, what happened next were bloodshed and the senseless killing and torture of innocent Spanish friars and other individuals who went against the rebels’ way. Did ordinary civilians welcome the “revolution” participated in mostly by Tagálogs? No they didn’t. For most Filipinos living far from where the action was, life went on. While it is a fact that there were Katipunero recruits from all over the country, the truth was that there was no national sentiment that supported the Katipunan rebellion against Spain. Civil society was against it.

It should be noted in the preceding paragraph that the Katipunan was discovered by government authorities. Keep in mind that it was an underground organization. Simply put, the Katipunan was an ILLEGAL ASSOCIATION no matter how hard a Pantayong Pananaw zealot will try to picture it with dainty colors of patriotism and love of country. Such zealots might argue that the Katipunan had lofty ideals of freedom and nationhood, thus excusing it from illegalities. But so does the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf who try to picture themselves as the patriots and martyrs of (their fantasy land called) Bangsamoro. Should we consider them heroes too?

Mimicking the Katipunan’s belligerence towards lawful society, Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and his Magdalo group did the same thing twice in the past against the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Should we, therefore, erect monuments to Trillanes as well and consider his rebellious friends as the new Katipuneros? After all, they rebelled against the Arroyo government to fight corruption and injustice, didn’t they?

The New People’s Army has been waging a “revolution” for decades. If they win, Bonifacio will surely displace Rizal as our country’s leading national hero. That’s why most of the time, I’m tempted to believe in that cynical saying that history is written by the victors.

One man’s hero is another man’s villain, so the saying goes (hello, Apo Marcos!). So after reading this, I entreat you, dear reader, to reflect the significance of today’s celebration. It’s a holiday, anyway. Ualáng pasoc, cayá maraming horas para mag-isíp-isíp. Having said that…

Why are we so obsessed with national heroes? It seems to me that we are the only country in the world with a surfeit of patriots. And we keep on looking for more. Our government has enshrined such heroes as models that we should look up to and emulate. And yet we are still one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Where have our heroes taken us? Or better yet: what has our idolatry for these heroes done for our country?

Oh, and one more thing: Rizal retracted and there’s really NOTHING you can do about it.

Uicang Español = Uicang Filipino (Buwan ng Wika)

At dahil “Buwan ng Wika” ñgayón, pahintulutan niyó po munà acóng gamitin ang uica na sariling atin.

Ñgunit…

Ang español ay uicang Filipino. Hindî itó uicang bañagà. Atin itóng pag-aralan, pagyabuñgin, mahalín, at gamitin sa pang-arao-arao na paquíquipagtálastasan sa capua nating Filipino. Sapagcát sa uícang itó nabuô ang ating pambansáng identidad (identidad nacional). Sa uicang itó nahubóg ang ating nacionalismo. Sa uicang itó binigquís ang ating mg̃a isla, at pinagbuclód ang ibá’t-ibáng raza sa ating archipiélago/capuluán. Yumaman ang vocabulario ng ating mg̃a uicang catutubo (tagálog, bisayà, ilocano, etc.) dahil sa uicang español. Itó ang uicang guinamit ng ating mg̃a bayani para macamít ang ináasam-asám na casarinlán… ¿Hindí ñga bat itó ang uica ng ating pambansáng bayani? Sa pamamaguitan ng uicang español, nilabanan ng maguiguiting na Filipino ang mg̃a manlulupig at mananacop. Sa uicang español din cumalat at tumibay ang ating cultura. Ang tunay na casaysayan ng Filipinas ay nacasulat sa uicang español. At higuít sa lahát, ang ating pananámpalataya sa Dios ay umiral at namulaclác sa pamamaguitan ng uicang español.

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Hindí mababauasan ang ating pagca-Filipino capág tayo’y nagsásalita ng español. Bagcús, maguiguing más completo pa ang ating pagca-Filipino sa uicang itó.

Samacatuíd, ang tunay na Uicang Filipino ay español, hindí tagálog.

¡Mag-aral na ng uicang castila sa Instituto Cervantes de Manila!