¿Se le puede arrebatar un idioma a un pueblo? Desgraciadamente, la respuesta es sí. Mire y averigue…
I came across this ugly Facebook discussion last year.
The clueless but hateful FB user in this screenshot besmirched our country’s Spanish past, a wondrous period in our country’s history that I have sworn to defend since I was a teenager. So here is my response to his accusations (which, in fact, is what millions of Filipinos also have in their equally clueless minds):
1) “polo y servicios” —> This actually benefited the natives more than the Spanish authorities. Aside from churches, the purpose was for public works such as roads and bridges that were meant for the natives themselves. Many of these are even still being used today. Unknown fact: those who were recruited to render polo y servicios were given a daily wage.
2) “land-grabbing” —> The Spaniards were the ones who brought here the concept of land titles in the first place. Pre-Filipino natives didn’t really own land. Most, if not all, didn’t have a permanent settlement. They moved from place to place, from forest to forest, especially when the land didn’t wield much for them anymore.
3) “demonization of local languages” —> On the contrary, the friars studied the local languages and even wrote grammar books to preserve them. There were even prayer books in the native languages.
4) “creating classes between them and us (peninsulares, insulares, indios)” —> These were for taxation purposes. Such classification still exists today: those who have higher salaries are taxed the most compared to those who earn lesser, such as the ordinary rank and file. Essentially, nothing really different then as now.
5) “guardia civil” —> They were the PNP of those days, a peace-keeping force against “tulisanes” (bandits) and other lawbreakers. Note: members of the guardias civiles were indios, not Spaniards.
Lastly, don’t treat José Rizal’s novels as if they’re history books. They aren’t. They’re fiction, written by a very young Freemason who was a huge fan of French satire.
Suggestion: if you really want to argue about Filipino History, learn Spanish and read original Spanish texts. Don’t rely on textbook history. 🙂
I have a few complaints on Quezon’s Game after having seen it last night with my wife (to celebrate her 43rd natal day):
1) Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar was a bit off to be the setting for Manila. It was too wide open to the elements, too much sky to be seen, with even a mountain for a backdrop. Vigan, Ilocos Sur or Intramuros would have been more believable.
2) There was too much English dialogue between Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmeña, and between Quezon and his wife Aurora. They spoke more in Spanish, of course.
3) Emilio Aguinaldo never conversed in English with fellow Filipinos. In fact, he had a disdain for it.
4) The rather contemptuous observation of a Jewish-run Hollywood is a recent one.
5) I heard Quezon utter “puñeta” only once.
While it has no overall significance to our country’s general history, Quezon’s Game was still a good period film that offered viewers a glimpse on the behind-the-scenes political maneuverings of a US-sponsored Commonwealth of the Philippines, not to mention another least-known human side to Quezon. Raymond Bagatsing showed us another convincing performance, Audie Gemora was a spitting image of Osmeña, and the white actors playing their white historical counterparts were all laudable in their thespian duties.
Also, Quezon’s Game was the second consecutive movie “game” that made my tears roll: the first was Avengers: Endgame. 😂
Unos días antes el Día del Libro 2019 (27 de abril), el Instituto Cervantes de Manila anunció en sus redes sociales que producirá un recital del famoso poema “Mi Último Adiós” de José Rizal. Invitó a filipinos hispanohablantes y estudiantes del idioma a participar. El recital fue grabado el mismo día dentro de la Biblioteca Miguel Hernández del instituto, y fue dirigido por el actor Pepe Gros. Se le dio una estrofa del poema a cada participante que luego recitó frente a la cámara, pero sólo se mostró una línea en el resultado final para dar cabida a más participantes. Krystal aparece en la sexta pantalla, y yo en la novena. El vídeo fue lanzado el miércoles pasado. ¡Feliz viendo!
What’s your favorite Rizal poem? Chances are, you won’t be able to name one save for, of course, the usual stuff they taught us in school: the very last one he wrote. Do you even know how many poems he wrote? Are you even aware how exquisitely beautiful his verses are, and what are the usual themes of his poetry?
(as expected, I hear crickets chirping)
You see, Rizal was first and foremost a POET, a passionate bard who masterfully versified his profound love for Filipinas. He began his writing career as a poet and ended it as a poet. He is not all about the Noli and the Fili. He is not all about the Propaganda Movement. It is most unfortunate that he can no longer be understood by today’s generation when, at the turn of the 20th century, our forebears were cut off from his culture by a new language —THIS language I’m using right now— imposed by a nation experimenting with imperialism. When Rizal and his contemporaries were already soaring like Cervantes and Clarín, those hapless Filipinos who came after them had to learn anew the ABCs of another culture. So now we read him through bastardized and oftentimes annoying English translations. Unfortunately, we never soared like Shakespeare and Tennyson using the English language.
There was one, however, who came close: Nick Joaquín. But he was on a league of his own: his first language was Spanish, and many attribute his mastery of English, aside from his being an indefatigable bookworm, to his proficiency of his mother tongue (English and Spanish are cognates). It can even be argued that his translation of Rizal’s valedictory poem was more superior than the original. Perhaps among all Rizal translators, it was only Nick who was able to capture the imagination and depth of the national hero as well as the spirit of the Filipino.
But since we have been linguistically cut off from that faraway culture, our REAL culture, not all of us can be Nick anymore. Not all of us can be Rizal anymore.
Why is Rizal a hero to you?
Rizal is a hero not because of his defiance to authority. He is a hero because of his deep love of country, a burning love that can only be understood by reading his verses (NOT his novels) in the language in which he wrote them. This is something that all patriotic Filipinos should think about every time Rizal Day falls, so that its celebration will not be rendered futile.
It is sad to note that the essence of Rizal’s heroism today has degenerated into mere hero worship and opportunistic commercialism. There is nothing wrong in honoring Rizal, but it is best that we thoroughly understand what his heroism really is all about. Understanding him is the best way of honoring his memory.