A clarification about my allegiance

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Photo: Sapían PNP.

In the ongoing congressional hearing over ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, Rep. Rodante Marcoleta questioned Gabby López, the media giant’s chairman emeritus, about the latter’s loyalty to our country. In a humorous scene, López was made to recite the first line of the patriotic oath, commonly known in Tagálog as the “Panatang Makabayan“. He was able to do so, but with the help of his lawyer.

This hilarious moment reminded me of a few years ago when José Mario de Vega, a rude history professor from PUP Santa Mesa, disparagingly questioned my loyalty to my country just because I keep on acknowledging Spain’s pivotal role to its establishment. I believe he isn’t the only one who has misunderstood me. For many years, I have been accused as a colonial-minded Filipino who is a blind follower of Spain. So just to clarify: my loyalty remains to my country, not to Spain. But like José Rizal, I regard Spain as my “patria grande“, as Filipinas is my “patria chica. Historic Spain (not the modernist one that we have now), in a historico-poetic sense, is our mother. In the immortal words of National Artist Nick Joaquín:

“For three and a half centuries we lay within the womb of Spain; the Revolution was our violent birth… the basic form, the temper, the physiognomy, Spain has created for us”.

Is it, therefore, a sin to give credit where credit is due? My loyalty remains to my country. My love for it is deepened by accepting basic historical truths, free from hatred and exclusivist notions of patriotic sentiment. It is even more intensified because of the Spanish language —THE LANGUAGE OF OUR PATRIOTS— as it has enabled me to decipher much about my country’s past.

And one more thing. My loyalty lies with Filipinas, not “Pilipinas” nor “Philippines”. The latter two are aberrations brought about by WASP miseducation.

¡Viva Filipinas para siempre!

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Intrepid then as now

If a picture paints a thousand words, so do vintage photos teach us about the present.

The following wartime photo was recently shared in the Facebook group WW II Philippines by Pepito Achicocho. And it is as amusing as it is disturbing.

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February 3, 1945 – “Jap snipers fire at civilians and U.S. troops as we enter Manila, Luzón, P.I. Here a few take shelter on Rizal Avenue as bullets whistle overhead.”(NARA).

The photo offers us a glimpse of Rizal Avenue, popularly known as Avenida (because it was originally called Avenida Rizal upon its creation in 1911). With all the civilians found on the sidewalks and some youngsters calmly peering through the windows from the upper floors of houses, it would have seemed an ordinary day. But it wasn’t. The date on the caption says February 3, 1945 — the date when the month-long and bloody Battle of Manila commenced. And with US soldiers in full battle gear and position, it is obvious that it was not a good time to hang around to say “¡Hola!” to neighbors.

But that is an irritating chink in the Filipino’s character, our being “usisero” (rubberneck or being curious at the wrong time).

Usisero comes from the Spanish verb “ociosear” which means to laze around or loaf about. From that verb comes the adjectives “ocioso” for men and “ociosa” for women. In time, these Spanish words gave birth to the Tagálog noun “usisà” and Tagálog adjectives usisero (“usisera” for the ladies). While the noun’s connotation has evolved and has spawned respectability especially when translated into English (inquiry, probe), the same cannot be said for the adjectives as they are always used to disparage people displaying gung-ho behavior in the midst of danger, as exemplified by those civilians in the photo.

Is such a foible really innate in the Filipino? For if we look into our past, we will discover the embarrassing usisero trait within us. We have been committing it numerous times. In fact, we do it whenever we encounter unusual occurrences that can endanger. During the coup d’états of the Cory Aquino administration, not a few usiseros perished or got wounded during various firefights between rebels and government soldiers. In street scuffles, riots, and gunfights, onlookers are a common sight. When Taal Volcano erupted early this year, more intrepid travelers trooped to Tagaytay rather than avoided the place just to view the eruption as close as possible, with some even venturing to the sulfuric crater itself. With the advent of live streaming, don’t expect this decades-old behavior to dissipate in the coming years.

We can trace this annoying usisero trait to our stubbornness of character because being one is a show of defiance against law and order. Take a look at the events that transpired during the lockdown. The number of quarantine violators was enough to block out the sun. Every day, we read news about people who give no regard to social distancing, of people violating liquor bans, of those who refuse to wear face masks, and those daring ones who defy the curfew. Worse, those who are supposed to enforce quarantine rules and regulations are the violators themselves, with some of them doing it even before the sun rose up (I like it when they call it mañanita).

Yesterday was the first day of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila and other selected regions. From being placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine beginning on March 16, certain measures were eased beginning yesterday to jumpstart an economy that has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Malls and other establishments, for instance, were allowed to operate. But this doesn’t mean that the threat of COVID-19 is already gone. Social distancing still had to be strictly practiced. Unfortunately, people didn’t bother about such things, as can be gleaned from the following photos.

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SM North EDSA (Photos: Mark Samson).

The similarities between the World War II picture and the mall photos are irritatingly striking.

In her now-viral Facebook post, actress Vivian Vélez, exasperated with all the stubbornness she’s been seeing left and right, called on the authorities to just lift the quarantine measures since people do not follow them anyway.

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She’s right: the hard-heads would only endanger the lives of medical frontliners with their recklessness, not to mention prolong the economy’s bleeding. So might as well let them wander off to their peril. It’s their choice. The government was not amiss with its warnings about the dangers of COVID-19, anyway. Matirá na lang ang matibay.

We don’t need more of this stubbornness of character. It has to end somewhere in our history’s timeline. Or will COVID-19 end it for us?

The medium is the key

I’ve been noticing a lot of new and younger historians today, giving lectures, interviews, and tours here and there, working extra hard to multiply their followers in their respective social media accounts. Many are probably looking forward to becoming “the next Ambeth Ocampo​” or something to that effect. And even more are willing to become iconoclasts, eager to rewrite historical canon when opportunity knocks. Nothing wrong with that. But Filipino History is a complex study. It is incomparable to the histories of other nations. Our history is more about discovering new data and thrashing out the older ones. Because ours is a sad case, is in fact tainted with lies and absurdities (“leyenda negra“, hispanophobia, regionalism, ultranationalism, etc.). Our history does not need a simple rewrite. It requires effort for self-justification of the Filipino and a reaffirmation of what it really is. It needs an interpretation based not on nationalistic emotions but on hard data. Because our country’s history, to put it more bluntly, offers salvation of identity. This identity is power for it will return the dignity and swagger that we once wielded. It is the kind dignity that will enable ourselves to FIGHT all elements that dare trample on our beaten and tired souls.

Our true identity is locked away inside the forgotten chest of history. Today’s new breed of historians need not destroy it, for doing so will only do more harm to our already damaged culture. All they need is a key to unlock it. That should be their sole purpose today. Historians should not act like celebrities. Rather, and modesty aside, they should behave more like superheroes (loser by day, crime fighter by night). In reality, they really are. The Filipino Historian has a far more nobler purpose. He does not merely dig through sheets of yellowing paper to uncover hitherto unknown data and simply write about it, no. The purpose is to unravel and expose in order to help the Filipino self to recognize who and what he really is.

However, the Filipino Historian, who is also a writer, is not spared from the travails and hardships brought about by economic realities. More often than not, this reality serves as a hindrance to that noble purpose we speak of. But let not these deprivations discourage the Filipino Historian, for the fruits of their labor are for the betterment of their patria.

But where is that key? It’s not difficult to find: our forefathers who used pen and paper to elucidate and express their thoughts and ideas in aspiring for a better Filipinas left us just that — a medium in which to disseminate what was on their minds. That medium is the key to interpret our muddied history. 😉

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Siren / Sirena

Marra PL. Lanot is a poet, essayist, and freelance journalist. She has published articles and columns in newspapers and magazines on the arts, culture, and politics. She also translates poems from English and Filipino into Spanish, just as her own poems have been translated and published abroad into foreign languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Dutch, and Japanese.

From Likhaan portal.

SIREN
Marra PL. Lanot

In the dead of lockdown,
a siren rips the air
from ambulance to ambulance
from hospital to hospital
like a long gasp for breath.
The sun cannot cut it,
a storm cannot drown it,
the hungry children can’t grasp
the death it portends,
and the stray cats and dogs,
like the children, cannot
see the stars up high
for the waters are too murky
to drink, the garbage cans are empty
because restos are closed
and nobody throws anything anymore for beggars or for homeless animals.

Only the frontliners feel and face
the end every minute
trying to save lives.
And prayers grow longer
and longer with the names of those
who succumb to the virus.
In the dead of lockdown,
a siren rips the air
from ambulance to ambulance
from hospital to hospital
like a long, long gasp for breath.

coronavirus-k7d-U100113382963s-1248x770@El Norte

Photo: Leonoticias.

Below is my Spanish translation of “Siren” Marra PL. Lanot’s latest poem which was inspired by our health frontliners’ perilous battle against the deadly coronavirus pandemic. To those who don’t know her, Marra is the daughter of journalist Serafín Lanot, the wife of celebrated poet Pete Lacaba, and the goddaughter of legendary writer Nick Joaquín.

SIRENA
Marra PL. Lanot
(traducido del original en inglés por Pepe Alas)

En la mitad del encierro,
una sirena rasga el aire
de ambulancia a ambulancia
de hospital a hospital
como una bocanada larga para respirar.
El sol no puede cortarla,
ni la tormenta puede ahogarla,
los niños hambrientos no pueden comprender
la muerte que presagia,
y los perros y gatos callejeros,
no pueden como los niños
ver las estrellas en lo alto
porque son demasiado turbias para beber
las aguas; están vacíos los botes de basura
porque están cerrados los ambigús
y ya nadie arroja nada para los mendigos ni para los animales vagabundos.

Tratando de salvar vidas
sólo los en la vanguardia sienten y enfrentan
el fin cada minuto.
Y se alargan más y más
las oraciones con los nombres de aquellos
que sucumben al virus.
Una sirena rasga el aire
en la mitad del encierro,
de ambulancia a ambulancia
de hospital a hospital
como una larga, larga bocanada para respirar.

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Spanish in the time of COVID-19

A follower on Twitter suggested that I tweet a Spanish word every day.

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That gave me an idea. Since many are locked up inside their homes because of the quarantine, might as well come up with a way to introduce the Spanish language to bored Filipino millennials. I thought of starting with the Spanish equivalents of words and phrases that are closely associated with the ongoing pandemic. Waiting for this crisis to end is the best time to study Spanish. Without further ado, here we go…

asymptomatic – asintomático, asintomática

bat – murciélago

boundary – perímetro; límite

clinic / health facility – clínica

community quarantine – cuarentena comunitaria

contagious – contagioso, contagiosa

coronavirus – coronavirus

COVID-19 – enfermedad del coronavirus

curfew – toque de queda; horario límite

disease – enfermedad

doctor – médico, médica; doctor, doctora

enhanced community quarantine – cuarentena comunitaria mejorada

face mask – máscara protectora; mascarilla

front line – primera línea; vanguardia

health – salud

hospital – hospital

lockdown – bloqueo; encierro

nurse – enfermero, enfermera

outbreak – brote

pandemic – pandemia

panic buying – compras de pánico

personal protective equipment – equipo de protección individual

quarantine – cuarentena

quarantine pass – pase de cuarentena

senior citizen – persona mayor

severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – coronavirus 2 del síndrome respiratorio agudo grave

Sinophobia – sinofobia

social distancing – distanciamiento social

state of emergency – estado de emergencia

symptom – síntoma

treatment – tratamiento

TikTok – locura

virus – virus

work from home – trabajo a distancia; teletrabajo

World Health OrganizationOrganización Mundial de la Salud

A guide to Spanish pronunciation:
1) Like all Filipino languages (Tagálog, Ilocano, Hiligaynón, etc.), Spanish is a phonetic language. Thus, it is pronounced as it is written, and viceversa.
2) The letters B and V sound the same: both are pronounced as in the English B (boy, boat).
3) The letter H has no sound.
4) The letter Z is pronounced either as S or as TH (as in thick or thin), not like the Z in English (as in buzz).
5) For words that end in a vowel, or N and S, the next to the last syllable is stressed.
6) Words that end in consonants, except N and S, are stressed on the last syllable.
7) If the word has an accent mark, then that syllable is stressed (rules 5 and 6 are therefore ignored).
8) Click here for more.

Remember: Spanish is NOT a foreign language. It’s as Filipino as chicken adobo and the calesa. And it’s easier to learn than English.

Keep safe, everyone.

A review of Brother Andrew González’s “Language and Nationalism: The Philippine Experience Thus Far”

I am reposting an undated book review written many years ago by the late chemist-historian Pío Andrade Jr. He was a researcher and regular contributor to the Filipino-Chinese weekly magazine “Tuláy” published by Teresita Ang-See in Binondo, Manila. Andrade was the author of the best-selling and controversial book “The Fooling of América: The Untold Story of Carlos P. Rómulo“. In this book review, Andrade countered the claim that Spanish was not widespread in Filipinas during the US colonial period.

A REVIEW OF BROTHER ANDREW’S BOOK: “LANGUAGE AND NATIONALISM: THE PHILIPPINE EXPERIENCE THUS FAR”
Pío Andrade Jr.

Brother Andrew González’s treatise “Language and Nationalism” was praised in the foreword by Cecilio López as “the most exhaustive and up-to-date treatment of the language problem in the Philippines”.

It may have been up-to-date when it was published, but by no means could it be described as exhaustive. One look at the list of references shows the absence of very important sources such as the following:

1.) The Official Census of 1903.
2.) The Ford Report of 1916, which shows that the use of Spanish was more widespread than commonly admitted.
3.) Pío Valenzuela’s History of Philippine Journalism.

There are many big and important facts on the language question that are not mentioned at all in Brother Andrew’s book, such as the fact about Spanish being the language of the Revolution, the role of Spanish in effecting the unity of the various Filipino ethnic groups which made the 1896-1899 Revolution possible, the role of the Chinese Filipinos in disseminating the language of Cervantes all over the country due to the fact that the Philippines was the most thoroughly educated Asian colony in the last decades of the 19th century, and the fact about the much higher circulation of Spanish language dailies than either the Tagálog or English dailies in the 1930s.

Brother Andrew González, FSC, uncritically accepted the figure of 2.8% as the percentage of Filipinos who can speak and write in Spanish at the turn of the century given by Cavada Méndez y Vigo’s book. This book was printed in 1870, just seven years after the establishment of the Philippine Public school system in 1863 by Spain.

Surely by 1900, more than 2.8% of the Filipinos were speaking and writing in Spanish and there was incontrovertible proof behind this assertion.

Don Carlos Palanca’s Memorandum to the Schurman Commission listed eight Spanish-speaking provinces in the islands in addition to the 9 Tagalog-speaking provinces which, according to him, are also Spanish-speaking. To this total of 17 Spanish-speaking provinces, Don Carlos added that there were only five other provinces where “only a little Spanish is spoken”. Don Carlos Palanca was the gobernadorcillo of Binondo and the head of the Gremio de Mestizos (Chinese Christians were the ones referred to as mestizos since the Spanish half-breed was called criollo).

William Howard Taft’s 1901 statement after his tour of the Philippines clearly says that Spanish was more widespread than Tagalog.

This fact about Spanish being even more widespread than Tagalog in the entire archipelago is further attested to by the well-documented fact that American soldiers during the Fil-American war had to speak bamboo Spanish to all Filipinos —not bamboo Tagalog— in order to be understood without any interpreter. There is still that other fact about the early occupational government of the American Military in the Philippines having to publish in Spanish, not in Tagalog, all its official communications in order to be understood by the Filipino people. An English translation was appended whenever necessary for the consumption of the Americans themselves.

This official use of Spanish by the Americans themselves went on up to 1910 when they started to issue communications in English but still followed by a corresponding Spanish translation of the same. In view of this fact, if a Filipino national language needed to be established other than English, the correct choice should have been Spanish, not Tagalog.

A big fault of Brother Andrew’s book lies in his uncritical acceptance of Teodoro Agoncillo’s “The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan”. Agoncillo’s history book has already been proven to be heavily distorted by omission of facts, false interpretation of events and documents, and by outright lies. The omission of these other facts was done because the same could not be reconciled with Mr. Agoncillo’s own personal bias in the narration and teaching of Philippine history. An example of Brother Andrew’s fault with regard to his uncritical acceptance of Agoncilo’s distortion of history is the conclusion that the founding members of the KKK (Katipunan) were Filipinos of lowly origin. The founding Supremo of the KKK is Andrés Bonifacio and it is not so that he is of lowly origin. Bonifacio was definitely not a poor man when he got into the Katipunan.

Nor were the other Katiputan charter members. Agoncillo also failed to mention that the Philippine economy was booming during that decade and that Bonifacio, unlike most other Filipinos, approved of the torture of a captive friar.

The years 1900 to the Commonwealth period (1935-1941) were not well researched by Brother and Doctor Andrew González. Thus, the language issue affecting the Filipinos then was not well discussed. Had Brother Andrew researched more on the language issue of that period, he would have found out that as late as the 1930s, Spanish dailies outcirculated either the Tagalog or English language dailies.

He would have found out also that the use of Spanish during the following decade of 1940 was bound to even get stronger had it not been for the devastating 1943-1945 war.

The strength of Spanish is evidenced by the majority of cinema films shown between 1900 and 1940. These films, even if made in Holywood, were in Spanish subtitles and talkies. And several of the Philippine produced full-length films had all-Spanish talkies.

Another important fact not found in Brother Andrew’s book is the role of the Spanish language in assimilating and integrating the Chinese emigrants into mainstream Filipino society. The 100,000 Chinese in the Philippines at the turn of the century spoke Spanish in varying degrees of proficiency. The Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce since its establishment in 1904 wrote its minutes in Spanish until 1924. When they ceased using Spanish in their official meetings and minutes, they reverted to Chinese, not English. Today, strange as it may seem, the last bastion of whatever Spanish language is left are the Chinese Filipinos, and not those of Spanish descent except the Padilla-Zóbel family that maintains the annual Premio Zóbel.

Finally, Brother and Doctor Andrew González treated very superficially the question of nationalism and language. There should have been more discussions on the point that adopting a foreign tongue, or using foreign words, are not per se against nationalism. If nationalism is love for one’s country and foreign words and language can best help literacy and communication, it is nationalistic doing so.

Neither did Brother and Doctor Andrew González realize that nationalism in the question of language can be destructive as has been the case in the Philippines. Doing away with Spanish orthography and the cartilla, the educational authorities did away with a very inexpensive and very effective method for teaching reading skills to the young. Exterminating Spanish in the schools made the Filipinos today estranged to their Hispanic past and made Filipinos prey to nationalist historians who misled several generations of Filipinos in the sense that Spain had done the Philippines very little good when the contrary is true.

What is the prime purpose of language? Is it not to make us understand one another better? Yet, Brother and Doctor Andrew González’s book gives the impressions that showing nationalism is the prime purpose of language.

To be fair to Brother Andrew González, we want to think that he is a victim of too many distortions found in Philippine History including the history of language among Filipinos. Thus, the remark of Cecilio López in his introduction to Brother Andrew’s book “Language and Nationalism”, that it is “the most exhaustive and up-to-date treatment of the language problem in the Philippines”, is only true in the sense that the very few books on the same subject are mostly superficial.

Perhaps it will be correct for us to recall a Spanish saying that says: En el país de los ciegos, el tuerto es rey.

DEFENSORES DE LA IDENTIDAD FILIPINA. History blogger Arnaldo Arnáiz (left) and the late chemist-historian Pío Andrade Jr. (right). Behind Arnaldo is eminent historian Fr. José Arcilla, S.J. (photo taken on 26 June 2009 at the Instituto Cervantes de Manila‘s former site in Ermita, Manila).

What you don’t know about Emilio Jacinto

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Today is the birth anniversary of Emilio Jacinto (15 December 1875), the so-called “Brains of the Katipunan”. Historians have written how proficient he was with the Spanish language, but it is not widely known that his native tongue was not Spanish nor even Tagalog but Tondeño, a Spanish patois (or variation of Chavacano) that was spoken in Tondo, Manila. It was his friend, Katipunan Supremo Andrés Bonifacio, who taught him how to read, write, and speak in Tagalog. And since Tondeño was close to the Spanish language, Bonifacio sent him to Spanish-speaking La Laguna to take charge of the establishment of a Katipunan chapter in the said province. It was there where he died and was buried (16 April 1899).

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Spanish and the Filipino Identity

The blogpost that I wrote about Andrés Bonifacio received too much backlash (even from a writer friend whom I thought has already freed herself from Hispanophobia). But it was to be expected because the Supremo has been highly revered for many decades as a freedom fighter who went up against “tyrannical Spain”. In the said blogpost, I also took the opportunity to include how Spain virtually created our country, that we were united under one language which is Spanish. That line also triggered another emotional comment from a well-known academic whom I also thought to know better than I do.

No, they’re not united under one language!” he said.

Time and again, I have always contended that the Spanish language is the basis and the foundation of our Filipino National Identity. Why? Because it is the language that united our various tribal groups, forming themselves into one “Filipino nation”. To begin with, one must first understand that the term Filipino is merely a concept; there is no such thing as a Filipino race because our country, even up to modern times, is made up of several “races” or “tribes” (anthropologist Jesús Peralta would rather call them ethnolinguistic groups) such as the Tagalog, Cebuano, Bicolano, etc. Secondly, the early history of our country, much of it written in Spanish, serves as basis for my views. In our history under Spanish rule, these tribes became united under one umbrella group which we now call FILIPINO. To make a long story short, our identity was forged during the more than 300 years of Spanish rule, and not before nor after it. There were no Filipinos yet before the Spanish advent. And even if we were not colonized by the US, our identity was already in existence — created, completed. It was already intact. Buó ná ang paguiguing Filipino natin bago pa man tayo sinugod at sinacop ng Estados Unidos de América. There was nothing more to add to it.

Familia Filipina

A typical Filipino family during the Spanish times (photo supplied by the Biblioteca Nacional de España to ABC).

 

But to make it more clear, the Filipino Identity is the product of the Filipino State that began to exist in Spanish on 24 June 1571. The Filipino State was founded together with Manila on that same date, with the government having Spanish as its official language. Since then, the tedious process of cultural amalgamation among the more than 170 tribes / ethnolinguistic groups (particularly those who accepted the King of Spain as their rightful sovereign during the Manila synod of 1599) began. Cultural dissemination (which included Christianization and the Humanities) from the West assisted in this long process.

We Filipinos are essentially Hispanic —have become Hispanic— by virtue of History and Culture. And even Faith. And the Spanish language, more particularly its literature as embodied by the works of Rizal, del Pilar, Mabini, Guerrero, Paterno, Apóstol, Balmori, Bernabé, etc., proved to be the unifying thread in this development. No wonder former Senator Recto wrote that “el español ya es cosa nuestra, propia, sangre de nuestra sangre, y carne de nuestra carne“.

At this point, I should say that realizing the importance of our national identity will give us more dignity and nobility than this so-called “Pinoy Pride” that we have been harping around since the arrival of social media in our country. Let me just add that because of the Spanish language, together with the Culture and Faith it brought with it, I now know where I stand in the midst of the ongoing onslaught of neocolonization/globalization. 😉

It is, therefore, wrong and anachronistic to say that Islam arrived in our country first. What country? As mentioned above, there was no Filipinas yet when the first Muslim scholars, traders, and imams arrived. And they were not scattered all throughout. They were only in limited places such as those very few areas in Mindanáo. Even Manila wasn’t a practicing Muslim enclave (they were to some extent converted, but those who converted them did not stay long enough, unlike the Spanish friars who remained here and died with the natives). Also, and quite obviously, Islam did not unite our disunited tribes (that was one of the greatest errors of the Arab missionaries). Because if they did, then we wouldn’t have those heritage churches and bahay na bató that we marvel at today. Besides (then as now), the Moros were into looting and pillaging towns and kidnapping non-Muslims (most especially the Visayans) for their slave trade.

The foregoing is in no way anti-Islam but simply history. They really did it. And up to now, the Abu Sayyaf is still continuing that “legacy”.

To cap this off: by not using Spanish, by not incorporating it to our daily lives, we are in effect betraying Rizal and those many other great personas from that bygone glorious past who we have either enshrined or accepted as our national heroes. Much of our country’s (true) history is written in that language. Moreover, it is one of the most widely spoken languages all over the globe and is even the second most spoken language in neocolonialist United States of América. Indeed, the Spanish language opens up not just a gateway to appreciate our oft-misunderstood past but also a path towards the opening of new trade horizons with more than a dozen Spanish-speaking countries that will surely enliven our economy.

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Just rummaging around some old files…

Look what I found in the archives of the Círculo Hispano-Filipino Yahoo! Groups of Mr. Andreas Herbig of Germany! Here I received a welcome message from Mr. Ramón Terrazas Muñoz of México. I just realized that I was only 22 years old when I became an online activist for the Spanish-language cause in my country. And now I’m 40 years old… time flies so fast!

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¡Miren lo que encontré en los archivos del Yahoo! Groups Círculo Hispano-Filipino del Sr. Andreas Herbig de Alemania! Aquí recibí un mensaje de bienvenida del Sr. Ramón Terrazas Muñoz de México. Me di cuenta de que tenía sólo 22 años cuando me convertí en activista en línea por la causa del idioma español en mi país. Y ahora tengo 40 años… ¡el tiempo vuela rápidamente!

Our country’s history and identity are in Spanish

Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg

La Cruz de Borgoña, our first flag.

The history of our country was documented in Spanish. Let me briefly count the ways…

The forging of our islands into one nation was done in Spanish, from the day it was founded to the day it was defended from rebels. The writers who asked for reforms from Mother Spain wrote in Spanish. The proclamation of our independence was read out in Spanish. Our first constitution (Constitución de Malolos) was written entirely in Spanish. The deliberations of our first congress (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 that fought against the US invaders were in Spanish. Our poets who decried US colonization (Claro M. Recto, Cecilio Apóstol, Jesús Balmori, Fernando Mª Guerrero, etc.) wrote their anti-imperialist verses only in Spanish. THE LYRICS OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM WERE ORIGINALLY IN SPANISH.

José Rizal’s final love letter to all of us was written in Spanish.

Think about it.