Hoy en la Historia de Filipinas: el nacimiento de Lorenzo Guerrero

Cuando hablamos de pintura filipina, las personas que vienen en la mente son Juan Luna, Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, y Fernando Amorsolo. Pero antes de estos nombres legendarios, la pintura filipina ya tenía un virtuoso en dicha forma de arte. Su nombre era Lorenzo Guerrero.

Lorenzo Guerrero

Lorenzo Guerrero,

Lorenzo Guerrero y Leogardo, nacido el 4 de noviembre de 1835 en el arrabal costero de Ermita que entonces lleno de tierras de cultivo, fue uno de los pocos maestros filipinos de pintura que florecieron durante la segunda mitad del siglo XIX. Perteneciente al famoso Clan Guerrero del dicho arrabal, Lorenzo fue el segundo de catorce hijos de León Jorge Guerrero y Clara Leogardo. Su padre era empleado del gobierno español en Filipinas como almacenero de la administración de rentas estancadas en el distrito de Pásig desde 1858 pero abandonó el servicio en lugar de jurar lealtad a la recién constituida República Española a partir del derrocamiento de la Reina Isabela II en 1868 durante La Gloriosa. Estudió latín en el Colegio de San José, y uno de sus primeros preceptores fue el Padre José Mª Guevara, un sacerdote filipino que luego fue deportado a las Marianas por supuesta complicidad en el Motín de Cavite en 1872.

Lorenzo se casó con Clemencia Ramírez en 1868. Tuvieron nueve hijos pero sólo tres alcanzaron la madurez. Eran: Manuel S. Guerrero quien se convirtió en médico; Fernando Mª Guerrero, considerado el «Príncipe de la Poesía Lírica Filipina», y; una hija llamada Araceli. Aunque ninguno de sus hijos ni nietos se convirtieron en pintores de renombre, dos de sus nietas (Evangelina Guerrero de Zacarías y Nilda Guerrero de Barranco, hijas de Fernando) se convirtieron en poetisas conocidas, continuando así el genio artístico de su lado del clan Guerrero.

Guerrero dejó algunas obras de valor perdurable y uno puede ver que su pincel tocó principalmente sobre temas estrictamente religiosos y escenas que representan la vida y las costumbres nativas. Sus bellas ilustraciones en la Flora de Filipinas del padre Manuel Blanco (Manila, 1877) serán recordadas. De las 253 placas firmadas (laminas) de la Flora de Filipinas, 35 fueron suyas. Sus dibujos tienen una individualidad propia y se distinguen por una gran precisión de detalle. Durante la guerra filipino-estadounidense, se le encomendó realizar diseños para los jefes y el uniforme del ejército revolucionario. También tuvo ocasión de dibujar plantas para su hermano, el Dr. León Mª Guerrero (el «Padre de la Botánica Filipina»). De sus pinturas sólo unos pocos han sobrevivido. Muchos fueron hechos a pedido y enviados al exterior; otros alojados en iglesias fueron quemados. Un número que permanece se encuentra en colecciones privadas y en unas iglesias de Manila.

Murió repentinamente de asma aguda el 8 de abril de 1904. El cortejo del día siguiente fue extraordinariamente largo e incluyó a muchos de sus alumnos. Fue enterrado en el cementerio de Pacò, pero más tarde sus restos fueron trasladados a la antigua iglesia de Ermita (ahora conocido como el Santuario Arquidiocesano de Nuestra Señora de Guía), en la esquina noroeste debajo del coro.

Lorenzo tuvo muchos estudiantes que también se hicieron famosos artistas. Escribiendo sobre Luna, José Rizal, el principal héroe filipino, escribió que había aprendido el arte de Lorenzo que era “un maestro que se ha formado casi por sí solo.”

Este cuadro, dado el título inglés “At River’s Bend” (en el meandro), es una muestra del ingenio de Guerrero. Fue subastado recientemente por el León Gallery.

*  E * L * F * I * L * I * P * I * N * I * S * M * O *

CULTURA GENERAL: El Dr. León María, hermano de Lorenzo, fue el padre del Dr. Alfredo León Guerrero. Alfredo se casó con Filomena Francisco, la primera farmacéutica filipina. Dos de los tres niños de Alfredo y Filomena se hicieron famosos nacionalistas: León María Guerrero se convirtió en diplomático mientras que Carmen, quien estaba casada con un sobrinonieto de Rizal, se convirtió en escritora nacionalista. Una de las hijas de Carmen, Gemma Cruz de Araneta se convirtió en la primera reina de belleza internacional del país. Gemma es también la madrina de mi hija menor Junífera Clarita. 😊
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Spanish in our history

I stumbled upon this interesting video by Paul who manages YouTube’s Langfocus regarding the brief history of the Spanish language. In just a little over eight minutes, he was able to explain its origins, how it spread out to different parts of the globe, commented on the Spanish-Castellano controversy, and even mentioned the countries that still use it as an official language.

At the 1:13 mark, however, Paul mentioned something hurtful (at least to me). “It also used to be an official language of the Philippines but it is not anymore”, he said.

 

But it’s true, anyway. Spanish was our country’s official language beginning 24 June 1571 but was unceremoniously booted out from the 1987 Constitution, the main reason being that there are only few Filipinos who speak it. While arguments about this reason continue to this day, particularly in various Facebook groups and pages concerning the Spanish language in Filipinas, it cannot be denied that the non-inclusion of the Spanish language in our present constitution is an act of gross disrespect towards our country’s history. In the words of the late Senator Blas Ople, we have “disinvited ourselves” from the Hispanic world when the framers of our present constitution removed Spanish. Just ponder over the following instances…

The proclamation of our independence was read out in Spanish. Our first constitution, the Constitución de Malolos, was written entirely in Spanish. The deliberations of our first congress, the Congreso de Malolos, were in Spanish. The official decrees and correspondences of our first president (Emilio Aguinaldo) and first prime minister (Apolinario Mabini) were in Spanish. Our newspapers which fought against Spain and the United States were in Spanish. Our poets (Claro M. Recto, Cecilio Apóstol, Jesús Balmori, Fernando Mª Guerrero, etc.) who decried US colonization wrote their anti-imperialist verses only in Spanish. THE ORIGINAL LYRICS OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM WERE IN SPANISH! The name of our country, Filipinas (and this does not exclude its variations Pilipinas and Philippines), is Spanish! Even our last names and our native cuisine are in Spanish!

Millions of ancient papers documenting our country’s history that are stored in our national archives are in Spanish, still unread, still waiting to be deciphered. That is why this language is an important part of our history and culture. And even in the realm of economics, Spanish is crucial nowadays. Multinational companies pay bigger salaries to Filipinos who can speak the language compared to those who use only English. That is why Spanish should not be made an optional subject in schools. It should be mandatory.

Finally, we have our national hero, José Rizal, who wrote his final love letter to all of us using the Spanish language. Yet here we are now, taking that love letter for granted by reading it only through translations.

Fellow Filipinos, think about it.

Would Rizal have won the Ultra Lotto prize money?

Last night, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) Ultra Lotto breached the one-billion peso mark when the jackpot hit a whopping ₱1,026,264,340. The prize money —the biggest lottery prize in Filipino History so far— is expected to even grow much bigger with each coming draw date.

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The hopes and dreams of millions of Filipinos here and abroad have been abuzz for the past several weeks because of this. But why not? With the continuous rising cost of commodities and record-breaking inflation rates, how can we blame them not to gamble twenty-four pesos or more for an Ultra Lotto ticket in the hopes of escaping our country’s decades-old economic miseries for good? Even the president’s daughter was tempted to try her luck several days ago. But the only way to win the lottery, really, is by sheer luck. Mathematicians will attest to this.

Speaking of history and luck, we can now say that José Rizal was one heck of a lucky fellow. Writer, painter, sculptor, political thinker, ophthalmologist, land surveyor, anthropologist, polyglot, farmer, grammarian, fencer, etc., he was the 19th century’s poster boy of a true renaissance man. He lived the good life as a child, having been born to well-off parents. He even had some of the finest ladies during brief intervals as a lover boy. Daniel Padilla’s song “Nasa Iyó Na Ang Lahát” fits him perfectly. 😂 Tapos guinauá pa siyáng pambansáng bayani. 

But wait — there’s more! In case you haven’t heard yet, Rizal also had another least-known attribute. And that is luck which he was able to use to win the lottery! Playing the lottery was, in fact, his (only) vice. Even while in Spain, he made it a point to save three to six pesetas a month for lottery tickets.

During his exile to Dapitan, Rizal was able to use luck to finally win the lottery. During those days, the lottery was managed by the Empresa de Reales Lotería Españolas de Filipinas, the precursor of the PCSO (part of the proceeds of the lottery games was used by the Spanish colonial government to generate revenues). Rizal won second prize on 21 September 1892. The jackpot was worth ₱20,000, and the winning number was 9736. But since he had shared his money to fund for the purchase of the lottery ticket with two other people, he had to share the jackpot with them. Those two were Dapitan Governor Ricardo Carnicero and a certain Francisco Equilor, a Spanish resident in Dipólog. Each of the three received about ₱6,200 which was still a huge amount during the 1890s.

What did Rizal do with his prize money? Being a good son, he sent ₱2,000 to his father who had just finished paying off some debts in Manila. He also sent ₱200 to his friend José Mª Basa, known in Filipino History as the one who had smuggled Rizal’s novels to our country from Hong Kong (as an aside, Basa’s great granddaughter Cristina was the wife of the late and controversial Chief Justice Renato Corona). The rest of the money was used to purchase a 16-hectare land in Barrio Talísay, the exact place where he had stayed during his exile in Dapitan. He also engaged in abacá business as well as setup a small school for boys and a hospital. He even funded the installation of a street lighting system in Dapitan. That’s how selfless he was. Hopefully, whoever wins that fairy tale Ultra Lotto jackpot would be as generous as our national hero.

The 16-hectare land which Rizal purchased using his lottery winnings is now known as the José Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape. Photo: Gerald Patrick Harayo.

Would Rizal have won today’s billion-peso jackpot if he were alive today? It’s a lucky guess. But whatever luck he may have had in winning that lottery, however, wasn’t enough to save him from being framed by Freemasons as the leader of the Katipunan rebellion which eventually led to his execution by firing squad. Sa isáng bandá, hindí palá puedeng mapuntá sa isáng táo ang lahát.

A La Patria (Emilio Jacinto)

Tengo problemas con el Katipunan, la sociedad secreta fundada por francmasones en 1892 para liberar Filipinas del gobierno colonial español. La historia general nos enseña que los Katipuneros eran patriotas, héroes que nos liberaron de la tiranía española. Pero he terminado con esa mentira. No estoy diciendo que, aunque francmasones, los Katipuneros eran malvados. Yo sé que muchos de ellos vivieron por un ideal — todos los revolucionarios/rebeldes lo hacen. Pero así lo hace la sociedad contra la que se rebelan. No es de extrañar que José Rizal nunca aprobara la rebelión de Katipunan: comprendió cuál ideal debía permanecer en pie.

Sin embargo, aunque no soy un seguidor de la rebelión tagala, soy un seguidor de la literatura, sobre todo de la literatura bien escrita. Arte por el bien del arte, como ellos dicen. Así que os presento un poema escrito por Emilio Jacinto (1875—1899), uno de los miembros más jóvenes y oficiales de más alto rango del Katipunan. Este poema titulado A La Patria fue dedicado a su patria chica, Filipinas. Se debe notar que durante el tiempo de Jacinto, el concepto de la patria significaba dos cosas: la patria grande y la patria chica. La patria grande inmediatamente se refiere a la Madre España. Por otro lado, la patria chica denota la localidad de uno: en el caso de Jacinto y sus compatriotas filipinos, es Filipinas. Pero en A La Patria que fue escrito el 8 de octubre de 1897 (de hecho, es su aniversario el día de hoy) bajo los cocoteros de Santa Cruz, La Laguna donde vivió como rebelde-refugiado, ya había declarado que su patria grande era Filipinas, “sin el yugo español”.

A los que han leído el Mi Último Adiós de Rizal, se puede notar fácilmente cuán similar es el poema de Jacinto con el del héroe nacional. El de Rizal fue escrito seis meses antes de que Jacinto escribiera el suyo. Ambos poemas están dedicados a Filipinas. Y están escritos en el estilo Alejandrino (verso de catorce sílabas métricas compuesto de dos hemistiquios de siete sílabas con acento en la tercera y decimotercera sílaba). Bueno, sin más preámbulos, os presento A La Patria por Emilio Jacinto.

Talambuhay ni Emilio Jacinto

Emilio Jacinto, el “Cerebro del Katipunan” (imagen: Bayaning Filipino).

A LA PATRIA
Emilio Jacinto

¡Salve, oh patria, que adoro, amor de mis amores,
que Natura de tantos tesoros prodigó;
vergel do son más suaves y gentiles las flores,
donde el alba se asoma con más bellos colores,
donde el poeta contempla delicias que soñó!

¡Salve, oh reina de encantos, Filipinas querida,
resplandeciente Venus, tierra amada y sin par:
región de luz, colores, poesía, fragancias, vida,
región de ricos frutos y de armonías, mecida
por la brisa y los dulces murmullos de la mar!

Preciosísima y blanca perla del mar de Oriente,
edén esplendoroso de refulgente sol:
yo te saludo ansioso, y adoración ardiente
te rinde el alma mía, que es su deseo vehemente
verte sin amarguras, sin el yugo español.

En medio de tus galas, gimes entre cadenas;
la libertad lo es todo y estás sin libertad;
para aliviar, oh patria, tu padecer, tus penas,
gustoso diera toda la sangre de mis venas,
durmiera como duermen tantos la eternidad.

El justo inalienable derecho que te asiste
palabra vana es sólo, sarcasmo, burla cruel;
la justicia es quimera para tu suerte triste;
esclava, y sin embargo ser reina mereciste;
goces das al verdugo que en cambio te dá hiel.

¿Y de qué sirve ¡ay, patria! triste, desventurada,
que sea límpido y puro tu cielo de zafir,
que tu luna se ostente con luz más argentada,
de que sirve, si en tanto lloras esclavizada,
si cuatro siglos hace que llevas de sufrir?

¿De que sirve que cubran tus campos tantas flores,
que en tus selvas se oiga al pájaro trinar,
si el aire que trasporta sus cantos, sus olores,
en alas también lleva quejidos y clamores
que el alma sobrecogen y al hombre hacen pensar?

¿De qué sirve que, perla de virginal pureza,
luzcas en tu blancura la riqueza oriental,
si toda tu hermosura, si toda tu belleza,
en mortíferos hierros de sin igual dureza
engastan los tiranos, gozándose en tu mal?

¿De qué sirve que asombre tu exuberante suelo,
produciendo sabrosos frutos y frutos mil,
si al fin cuanto cobija tu esplendoroso cielo
el hispano declara que es suyo y sin recelo
su derecho proclama con insolencia vil?

Mas el silencio acaba y la senil paciencia,
que la hora ya ha sonada de combatir por ti.
Para aplastar sin miedo, de frente, sin clemencia,
la sierpe que envenena tu mísera existencia,
arrastrando la muerte, nos tienes, patria, aquí.

La madre idolatrada, la esposa que adoramos,
el hijo que es pedazo de nuestro corazón,
por defender tu causa todo lo abandonamos:
esperanzas y amores, la dicha que anhelamos,
todos nuestros ensueños, toda nuestra ilusión.

Surgen de todas partes los héroes por encanto,
en sacro amor ardiendo, radiantes de virtud;
hasta morir no cejan, y espiran. Entre tanto
que fervientes pronuncian, patria, tu nombre santo;
su último aliento exhalan deseándote salud.

Y así, cual las estrellas del cielo numerosas,
por tí se sacrifican mil vidas sin dolor:
y al oir de los combates las cargas horrorosas
rogando porque vuelvan tus huestes victoriosas
oran niños, mujeres y ancianos con fervor.

Con saña que horroriza, indecibles torturas,–
porque tanto te amaron y desearon tu bien,–
cuantos mártires sufren; más en sus almas puras
te bendicen en medio de angustias y amarguras
y, si les dan la muerte, bendicente también.

No importa que sucumban a cientos, a millones,
tus hijos en lucha tremenda y desigual
y su preciosa sangre se vierta y forme mares:
no importa, si defienden a tí y a sus hogares,
si por luchar perecen, su destino fatal.

No importa que suframos destierros y prisiones,
tormentos infernales con salvaje furor;
ante el altar sagrado que en nuestras corazones
juntos te hemos alzado, sin mancha de pasiones,
juramentos te hicieron el alma y el honor.

Si al terminar la lucha con laureles de gloria
nuestra obra y sacrificios corona el triunfo al fin,
las edades futuras harán de tí memoria;
y reina de esplendores, sin manchas ya ni escoria,
te admirarán los pueblos del mundo en el confín.

Ya en tu cielo brillando el claro y nuevo día,
respirando venturas, amor y libertad,
de los que caído hubieren en la noche sombría
no te olvides, que aun bajo la humilde tumba fría
se sentirán felices por tu felicidad.

Pero si la victoria favorece al hispano
y adversa te es la suerte en la actual ocasión,
no importa: seguiremos llamándonos “hermano”,
que habrá libertadores mientras haya tirano,
la fé vivirá mientras palpite el corazón.

Y la labor penosa en la calma aparente
que al huracán precede y volverá a bramar,
con la tarea siguiendo más firme, más prudente,
provocará otra lucha aun más tenaz y ardiente
hasta que consigamos tus lágrimas secar.

¡Oh patria idolatrada, cuanto más afligida
y angustiada te vemos te amamos más y más:
no pierdas la esperanza; de la profunda herida
siempre brotará sangre, mientras tengamos vida,
nunca te olvidaremos: ¡jamás, jamás, jamás!

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.

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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.

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!