The Kamalaysayan Imperative

Prof. Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Asian Social Institute (ASI), Manila

and International Acedemy of Management and Economics (IAME), Makati

Founder, Kamalaysayan (Kaisahan para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan)

O u t l i n e :

PART I: The “Kamalaysayan Imperative:

A. Misconceptions about History

1. It is not a Book or a Pile of Books

2. It is an “Ever-Unfinished Novel-Life”

B. Knowledge of History vs. Sense of History

1. Remembering, not Memorizing

2. The Kamalaysayan Habit

C.   The ‘Brief Summary’ Challenge

PART II.  “3-D View” for a Real Sense of History

A. Detalye – facts remembered due to significance; history researchers’ similarity to police investigators and news reporters.

B. Daloy – the storyline. “KahaNgaBuk” – history as a continuum

1. The matter of dates & periodization of our history – chronology and time lapse;

2. Two vital questions for every event considered “historical”— “why?” and the irreverent “so what???” 

C. Diwa – The spirit – the intention and worldview

1. Positive Intent— Our Own Collective Quest for Truth About Ourselves

a. Intellectual Honesty

b. Point of View: The “Tayo” Discourse

2. Integrative and Dynamic Worldview.

PART III. Special Topics

A. Collective Heroism and Noble Ethics

1. Collective Heroism

2. Noble Ethics

a. Bayanihan: Our Long-Standing Culture of Synergy

b. Kartilya ng Katipunan: MagpakaTao at MakipagKapwa-Tao

B. Brief Review of Economic, Political and Cultural history of the Philippines

1. What our Eleventh-hour Autobiography Omits

2. Our Short But Yet-Unended Chapter… As Slaves

3. A Future for Ourselves and Our Posterity

D. Vision for a Real, “Live Bayang Magiliw”

C. Personal Biography in Larger Context (of history of family/clan, community, nation); the role of your own or of your parents’ decision-making.



The ‘kamalaysayan’ Imperative

By Prof. Ed Aurelio C. Reyes


I.  Sense of History as an Urgent Imperative.

Questions: (to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Does” sense of history” mean that one knows a lot of facts? Explain*.

Why do many students dislike the study of history? Are you one of them?

Is the need for sense of history among our people an urgent one? Why?

Why is our collective ignorance about our own history unfair to us?

Input Article:

SENSE of history or “kamalayan sa kasaysayan” (“kamalaysayan” for short) means a keen interest in, and working knowledge of, the main threads and most significant events and developments in our nation's LifeStory, and a consistent conscious effort to apply the lessons and frames of history to present tasks of opinion leadership and decision-making. Such sense of history would help enable the people to grapple effectively with the problems of the present and chart a bright future for this and the coming generations. 

As of now, there is a gross lack of consciousness among the people about our national heritage, as evidenced by the absence of unity on a clear national purpose and direction and by the dominace of foreign over Filipino role models. There is also the widespread aversion to historical subjects. This is due to the usual way they have been taught in the school, using approaches that impose the memorization of so many names and dates but fail to trace the more essential strands of development all the way to their present-day consequences.

Should anybody be surprised, then, that many Filipino children aspire to be come American or Japanese citizens when they grow up?  Don't their parents, trying to earn dollars, prefer to sell their products and services, at times even themselves, to foreigners?  There is an urgent need for all of us to go back to our roots, in a vibrant enhancement of our sense of history. Urgent because the process becomes increasingly difficult as the problems of alienation and fragmentation worsen, as the present batch of children grows up ignorant, even contemptuous, of their national identity. This is unfair to our Inang Bayan because there is actually so much beauty and greatness to be loved, if only these are known enough and cultivated for more greatness for the present and future.

We are all called upon to do our share in an urgent education-promotion campaign to strengthen and enhance the people's "kamalayan sa kasaysayan," their sense of history.  Otherwise, many more Bonifacios and Rizals may have to die, including us or at least some of our loved­ones,  before we realize the need to move together towards a future of  real freedom and real progress.  And if more heroes are indeed killed for espousing these ideals, most of us may not be prepared to even take notice. 

A. Misconceptions about History

1. It is not a Book nor a Pile of Books


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Why do people think of a book when History is mentioned? Is it wrong?

How can we relate one’s life to one’s history to records of his life?

Is History a summation of past events? Explain.

How complete can a historical record possibly be?

Input Article:

FOR many people, history is defined as a record of the past.  One common ilustration is a thick book.  But this is like equating your life to your auto-biography, or worse, equating you to your mere image in the mirror. No, history is the very life, across a definite or indefinite stretch of time of actual existence, of an individual or a group of individuals or an entity formed by individuals like an institution or a corporation.  It is not a mere record of it’s birth, activities, experiences, and death, but the very content any such recording seeks to capture.

History is not an image or a written record; although we do have historical images and historical records.  Just as you cannot equate Nature to Science, because Nature lives and Science can only observe and study it, you cannot symbolize history with a book, even a very thick one!  

As the long and ever-unfinished “novel-life” of a collectivity of individuals living in a specific part of the world for millennia, the history of the Filipino people is their collective life as lived --  as experienced, as witnessed, as suffered, as enjoyed, as learned from – by batches or generations of the same Filipino people, and not as merely recorded in books and documents, even if it were possible to record it completely. 

For one thing, any written record can only pertain to past events, and the past events in the life of this nation form only part of this life. There is the very real current circumstance being addressed right now by the actions (including non-actions) by the Filipino people as individuals, local communities, sectoral and occupational groupings, and as a a national community.  And there are the future events still being shaped by plans and quiet factors and the molding of character of our citizenry.  History is not a relic of what is completely past. It extends indefinitely from past to present to future, making up a continuum in time called “KahaNgaBuk” (Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas) belonging to only one unbroken and seamless stream.

For another thing, any written record cannot make a complete reflection even of past events.  The observation, recollection and recording ofdthe events definitely reflect the choices made by the recorders and writers according to their personal judgments as to which events, which actions and which persons and entities the records would focus on. Chances are, these would be all about “super-stars” and their “super-feats.”  Chances are, the actions of the ordinary people would be downplayed if not altogether ignored.

2. It is an “Ever-Unfinished Novel-Life”.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Do you agree that a diary notebook is lifeless even if it carries dramatic entries?  Do you get emotionally involved in a story if both script and acting are realistic?

Do you sometimes thank or blame your parents for your kind of life now?

Input Article:

HISTORY is life, your life, our lives! 

History is not a lifeless diary notebook with exciting dramatic entries, or a thick but equally lifeless book.  History is a living story, a long-running but still ongoing “telenovela” with real-life characters like you and me, a “novel-life.”

And exciting suspense can be felt, because we are deeply involved in the story, literally. We are not just wartching it, and we don’t know what kind of chapters this living story of our lives will be emerging from decisions we now make.  History does not only invite us to eagerly await these coming episodes, as in “Abangan ang susunod na kabanata!”  It challenges us to actively participate in shaping up these forthcoming chapters, without any certainty on whether we shall succeed in getting the desired favorable future and to what extent we possibly can, given the complexity of many factors.  Patterns have been established in past chapters, but will they repeat themselves predictably in the future?

Indeed, what sort of future episodes of this ever-unfinished novel-life are still forthcoming will be the result of all the actions or non-actions we now take together, hopefully guided by lessons from the past and with full sincere concern for the well-being of the coming generations.

Our own children and grandchildren may either thank us or blame us for the kind of lives they will be living in their own time.  With our own very real and exciting lives now, we are going to be their past history


B. Knowledge of History vs. Sense of History/

1. Remembering, Not Memorizing.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Do students of History courses see the need to really understand the lessons?

What is the difference, if any, of schooling and real education? Explain.

What factor makes us remember things we don’t take pains to memorize?

Input Article:

IN HISTORY courses, most of the students do get to memorize a lot of data and develop hatred for the subject because of this horrible mental burden, but only a handful, relatively, can make any sense of what they have memorized. And they see no need to understand these at all. After all, most schools are all about memorizations, exams and grades and, eventually, diplomas.

Education is quite another thing altogether.  How many of our students taking up history subjects, for example, are being helped to develop their investigative and analytical skills?  Such skills are needed to have a real grasp of circumstances, analyses and decisions of the past, to draw from them a maximum dosage of inspiration and practical lessons, and to apply such heritage to opinion leadership and decision challenges of the present.  Helping them develop such skills is education, not mere schooling. 

In this context, the data found useful in analysis would be easily remembered, the ease of remembering is directly proportional to the usefulness.   Do you have the need to memorize a telephone number that you call almost everyday? No!  Its usefulness makes it easy to memorize. You never need to memorize any number or e-mail address you almost never use; you just have to know where to find that listed in a public or private directory. 

So with dates in history. You need the specific date of an event for an analysis you are doing?  That’s when you need to go to the books or the Internet, which “memorized” the data for you.  If such data is so useful you’d want to use it often, and then you will get to remember it. There’s practically no need to memorize!

2. The ‘Kamalaysayan Habit’.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

What are the consistent practices that constitute the Sense of History habit?

What do you understand of the phrase “trivial details”? Give examples.

Are all sequences of historical events completely different from one another? 

What would be the equivalent of nearsightedness in viewing history? 

Input Article:

WHAT is the “Kamalaysayan” or Sense of History Habit?  It is the habit or consistent practice of:

a. being interested more in the essential significance of events, rather than on their trivial details;

b. being interested in the real reasons and the immediate and longterm consequences of the events;

c. being on the lookout for parallels, distinctions and lessons from such events, to apply to present-day challenges of opinion-leadership, decision-making and honorable citizenship; and

d. taking the long view in the changes, for better or for worse, in the lives of the people. 

D.          The ‘Brief Summary’ Challenge.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

How long will it take you to present a summary of our people’s history?

How important are specific names and exact dates in a such summary?

Can you estimate how long was the pre-Spanish period in our history?

How much of the ordinary people’s views and actions should be included in a summary of Philippine history?

Input Article:

CAN you take the longest historical stretch of time you can comprehend and summarize it in five minutes or a few paragraphs?  Ask Jewish friends to summarize their entire history for you in a few minutes and they can do it without long stretches of silence and without details.  Actually, if you ask them for details, they would give you as much details as you want, and take the whole day even with just the Biblical accounts.  If we ask Filipinos, even Philippine History professors, to summarize the history of our own people the result will be quite different. 

The reason is that we all have the tendency to get bogged down in unrelated details, like names of persons and places (and even of Spanish boats), and an endless list of dates.

The summary of our history should clearly take account of the thousands of years when Spanish colonialists had not stepped on our soil. The fact that we know little about those periods, because the Spaniards destroyed our ancestors’ writings about them, does not mean we cannot play up whatever it is that we do know and gives us much reason to be proud, like the seacraft-riding synergetic communities, the rice terraces, the people’s spirituality and belief in the afterlife, our shaman healers, our system of writing, and our reputation as hardworking, peaceloving and unbelievably honest traders!  The moment we begin with Magellan the summary of our history as a people, we have already chosen to ignore thousands upon thousand of years of freedom and collective greatness and to limit our summary to the last handful of centuries.

Our summary should also seek to reflect realities as lived and felt by the millions of our people in their own local communities, and take care not to fall for the formal declarations claiming to declare independence or democratic dispensations.  This summary should therefore be from the viewpoint of the Filipino people, not of the elected or unelected officials claiming to speak for them but are alienated from the lives of the majority, much less the viewpoints of foreign people who had one time or another coveted our resources or controlled our lives for their own interests.

Read the summaries of Philippine history as carried in the pages of foreign encyclopedias, and you will see how your own summary as a Filipio should not be written. Read summaries of Philippine history as carried in the pages of foreign-oriented tourism entities, and you will see how your own summary should not run. 

II.  “3-D View” for a Real Sense of History


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

How does being three-dimensional relate to being realistic or life-like?

How can the study of history be made much deeper and more vivid than just reading about past historical events in flat pages of a history book?

Input Article:

THE TERM “three-dimensional” is applied on realities and representations that have thickness and depth, which would differentiate Bonifacio’s face squeezed into the ten-peso bill from the same face represented in his statue in front of the Central Post Office. 

But a history book, which has physical dimensions occupying space and therefore three-dimensional is still “flat” if it simply lists events with data on dates and on identities of persons and places (or even of boats!) and fails to capture the breathing life and significance of those events chosen to be included as “historical.”

That would only be “good” for a memorization-oriented and grades-indicated schooling system where correct answers on exam papers in terms of memorized data eventually translate into diplomas in the hands of graduates who had learned to hate historical subject matters and are only too glad to forget all that they had memorized if they had not earlier done so. Such memorization of data from all the data-rich but essentially flat books represent the first “D” in the “3-D view of history.”  Unfortunately, “D” as in “Detalye” is practically the only “D” in the way history is being taught in our schools.

Detalye, Daloy and Diwa.  Attention to each of these, and dynamic integration of all three,  is what the “3-D View of History” is all about.


A. First ‘D’: Detalye.

Detalye – facts remembered due to significance; history researchers’ similarity to police investigators and news reporters.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Does the presentation of much data insure the info is essentially complete?

Have there been errors of fact carried in official textbooks on History?

Should Filipino children growing up abroad be familiar with our history?

Are the historical accounts that we read in the books the accurate “final word” on the historical events they pertain to?

Are participants automatically more credible informants than spectators?

Input Article:

D” as in “Detalye” is practically the only “D” in the way history is being taught in our schools.

Essential Completeness of Information

And so we were made to memorize the fact that the Katipunan had a Code of Behavior known as the “Kartilya” and that it was written by Emilio Jacinto, but we have retained no familiarity at all about its contents and much less were we taught the impact or the basis of such writing. We have been taught that our archipelago had been named Filipinas after Philip II, but we have never been given a backgrounder as to the character of that Spanish monarch, and we learned later and quite accidentally from private reading how historically despicable that monarch was. It’s as if we were forcibly given the collective name “Iscariot” and merely told that the name came from no less than the Bible! 

Fairly recently, even the contemporary government leaders made much of the document Acta de Independencia which was read in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, and on the basis only of that document’s title transferred “Independence Day” to June 12 every year and more recently spun a high-impact, broad, expensive, even lucrative, centennial commemoration of that event on the basis of the title and assumed intent of the document and not on the basis of its contrary content.  But who of them bothered to read the long texts from the document enough to see how that Acta merely shifted subservience from Spain to the United States and mandated our own flag to have the same color as a form of saluting the latter’s own Stars and Stripes?

Worse, what we have been made to memorize was not all factual. The textbooks may have been changed but the date the Philippines was supposedly discovered by Magellan is still singing in our minds (to the tune of a song by a popular Visayan comedian-singer) as March 16, 1521. And the Katipunan flags are still being presented as an “evolution” even though they were unit flags that had no real design influence on one another. And the labels that history textbooks have attached with finality to some of our more prominent heroes have not been subjected to critical inquiry as to the validity of the judgments and implications lodged therein.

Effect of Familiarity of Non-Familiarity

Considering all these, when a friend who eventually joined Kamalaysayan was asked what he had earlier known of our history, he said, “Nothing really.” 

And with all the memorized data having fallen off from his brain, an old expatriate Filipino when his son who was growing up in California asked him pointblank with a sneer, “What is there to be proud of in being Filipino???” could only stare in silent frustration, and then shout out “Basta!” to end the conversation with an assertion of parental authority. 

Actually, there is much to be said to answer the child’s question, and it’s there in our history. But the parent, having only memorized and later forgotten details in his old history lessons, could not find answers in his mind.

Accurate?  No, Just Most Credible

Those of us who fully uphold the principle of intellectual honesty consider the value of accuracy of data given in historical accounts. The intention is to present “the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth” in all historical accounts, so that our people, availing themselves of enough such information, may be enabled to make their own observations, analyses, conclusions and recommendations for the resolution of present-day dilemmas. 

But even the best of intentions and the best of efforts to gather and present only the facts are impeded by objective difficulties in ascertaining and verifying facts from the past.  Policemen face dificulties in solving a would-be murder case even if they arrive at the crime scene only a few minutes from the occurrence of the killing, and all the witnesses and all the relatives and friends of the victim are still available for questioning, Media reporters, especially investigative journalists have a hard time hitting the most important angles to that same murder story even if they could interview everyone.  It is definitely more difficult to investigate a hstorical event that happened a century ago!

This is why the matter of accuracy is generally an ideal to be pursued in earnest, while researchers and writers of historical accounts have had to be contented, at least temporarily, with presenting their data in the order of their comparative credibility of the conflicting sources of information and the comparative plausibility of the conflicting data.  Which source is more credible about a Katipunan event in 1896, a mere spectator writing a few days after the event or a direct participant recalling the event after 30 years?  There are no simple answers to questions like this, especially if various possible motives are to be considered fully.

For this reason, an account on a historical event four centuries ago may still be drastically altered is new research could unearth additional data supportive of the version of the story that was warlier dismissed as improbable.  Even the history book should be alive, with its accounts forever open to refinements in reliability.  Some of the students taking a Philippine History course this semester may turn out to be a future discoverer of one fact or another that would force a drastic revision of historical accounts that we have been made to memorize as “sacred.” There is no such “sacredness” in the living study of  history!


B. Second ‘D’: DaLoy.

Daloy – the storyline. “KahaNgaBuk” – history as a continuum

1. Relate the Dates: Chronology & Time Lapse.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Can a date be historically significant alone by itself? Why or why not?

The Battle at Pinaglabanan is called the “First Major Battle” of the Kati­punan against the Spaniards. How can we tell if this is true or false?

Why is there a need to discern a flow, a storyline, in our history?

Input Article:

DETAILS are important if the fibers of fact are woven by critical analysis into a profound comprehension of the second “D” in the framework: Daloy or Flow. 

A date in history is proved significant only in relation to another date. This relation establishes chronology and time lapse. Chronology: the people of Pasig under the Katipunero Gen. Valentin Cruz assaulted and overran the Spanish garrison at Pasig on August 29, 1896; the following day, the victorious Pasiguenos joined the bigger Katipunan group in the Battle of Pinaglabanan, established to have been held on August 30, 1896, but stubbornly still billed as the “First Major Battle of the Katipunan,” a debacle. What a gross chronological inaccuracy, this label, just to be able to say that the first victory of the Katipunan was in Binakayan, Cavite!

This was pointed out in 1996 by Pasig historians led by the recently-deceased Dean Carlos Tech, to then National Centennial Commission chair Salvador H. Laurel, who promised a correction but such correction did not come. Let’s deal with the time lapse, and  consider this: we fully revere the heroism of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar’s last stand at Tirad Pass that delayed by some years Aguinaldo’s oath of allegiance to the American flag, but pay little attention to the fact that heroism at Mactan delayed by 44 years, or almost half a centrury, the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.

The details are to be fully established and proportionately appreciated only by finding their appropriate and actual places within the storyline of history.  Otherwise, the glimpses of scenes do not make up a logical flow in the minds of the students.  Such comprehension of logical flow would be an invaluable factor in making them feel the very real connection between our heroic ancestors of historical chapters past, giving them full reason to be proud of a rich bayanihan and kabayanihan heritage that would surely inspire and guide them in present-day and future chapters in this same lifestory of this same nation. 

Without any sense of daloy or flow, of storyline, our familiarity with Philippine history would be akin to watching the same dramatic slapping, fighting and love-making scenes in a third-rate movie that we had all seen in the television promo and finding no storyline because in the first place the producer had not required the scriptwriter to make one. What kind of historia has no istorya?  Ours, the way we have been teaching this in schools!

2. No Need to Memorize Dates!.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Is the forced memorization of dates a factor in the unpopularity of History as a subject in schools?

Was Magellan’s voyage chronicler correct about his dates?

The bombing of Pearl Harbor is recorded to have happened on December 7, 1941; why do Filipinos say it happened on December 6?

By how long did Lapu-Lapu and the people of  Mactan delay our colonization by Spain?

Were Rizal’s La Liga Filipina and Bonifacio’s Katipunan founded within the same week?

Input Article:

DATES, dates, and more dates. This is not about what an otherwise lonely bachelor would have or try to have to overcome his loneliness. Neither is this about oversized raisins. I'm talking about dates in our history, the kind of dates my teachers made me memorize (and made me hate history as a subject).

When it comes to "Dates in Our History," the first one that many people remember is March 16, 1521. After all, we were all made to memorize that date as that of Magellan's discovery of the Philippines. So wide has been the familiarity, the degree of mass memorization, that a popular comedian singer, Yoyoy Villame, started one of his songs precisely with what supposedly happened on that date. So wide and deeply-entrenched has been its mass memorization that many would raise their eyebrows way past their foreheads whenever I say we were memorizing the wrong date all along.

Yes, the history books have quietly been corrected in more recent decades. They now say March 17.   What happened was Pigafetta, Magellan's chronicler, had failed to account for what has become a science-based international convention of adding or subtracting one day whenever one crosses the Pacific Ocean, depending on direction. Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor date; it was already December 8 here but the official date is the date of event where it happened. Magellan's discovery happened here, so the date is March 17.

No Big Deal!

But what's the big deal, really? Save for some degree of embarrassment that we were almost swearing by that date as gospel truth, it really didn't matter much if it was the 16th or the 17th. The event and its consequence was and will be the same even if we were all to agree, arbitrarily of course, that it happened on “February 45, 1521”! 

A date in history can be shown to be of any signifi­cance only as we relate it to another date.  Interrelating two dates shows their chrono­logical order and the time lapse between them. Only in the order or the time lapse or both can we find any significance -- understanding, pro­found lessons and inspiration -- in those dates. Part of what was exciting about the founding of Rizal's La Liga Filipina and Bonifacio's Katipunan, with widely disparate aims, is that they both happened within only five days in mid-1892!

Take March 16 or 17, 1521. What is significant about that? We know that within a few weeks from that date, native forces in Mactan led by Lapu-Lapu annihilated those of Magellan, and even killed this conquistador, in battle. After being routed, and subsequently almost finished off by the forces of Humabon in mainland Cebu, the Spanish expedition, or what was left of it, packed its bags and fled homeward. It was still 1521 then. Let me relate that date (1521) now to year 1565 when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was able to finally establish Spanish colonial rule in our archipelago. Subtraction tells us that our Victory at Mactan postponed by 44 years, roughly half a century, the Spanish colonization of our history.

I would prefer having our pupils and students remember that data (the roughly-half-century delay) more than exact dates which can even turn out to be inaccurate or at least debatable (like the place we were memorizing to be the site of the first mass). It's good that many people are somewhat familiar about Bohol's 85 years (almost a century) of freedom from Spanish rule due to Dagohoy's successful revolt, without really memorizing the starting and ending years. For those who wish to know, these dates are in the history books, anyway. Data storage is a function of records, from scrolls and books to microdiskettes and CDs; the human mind was created for greater things, like thinking, analyzing, appreciating.

March 16, 1521 is not even a date in our history. On that date, Magellan was about to "discover the Philippines," but even he didn't know that-- it was to happen the following day. Our ancestors couldn't care less. And even when he came and he saw and he tried to conquer, the heroes of Mactan foiled his attempt. And set back Spanish intrusion and domination over us by about half a century. 

What did happen on March 16, 1521 in our history was what our ancestors were doing all over the archipelago on that date and in the decades that came before and the decades that followed.   What kind of civilization was flourishing here before the Spaniards destroyed our culture and historical records? We practically don't know. How much do we know about our history beyond memorization of unrelated dates that are more important to foreigners than to our ancestors? Beyond when, where and who and what, do we also ask how and why?

Time Lapse: Lesson From a Ruler

There is an important realization to be had with the help of any one-foot ruler. If we take the Chou dynasty chronicles of B.C. 722 as the hypothetical starting point, and 2006 as the end, we have had at least 2777 years of written history, or about "230 years per inch" on the ruler. It was only in the last 484 years, or roughly a mere one-sixth of this entire time span, that we have been under Spanish and American domination. Looking at a one-foot ruler, therefore, we can say that we are relatively familiar with only its last two-inch segment, from the "10" marking to the end. We know next to nothing about almost the entire length (ten inches) of that ruler!


3. Two Vital Questions for Every “Historical” Event.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

About any historical event, which of the questions are most important to ask?  Who? what? when? where? how? how many? why? so what?

As the economic hardships suffered by the Filipino people continue to worsen, blame should be laid entirely on whoever is in power.

Is it possible or desirable to  trace the effects of centuries-old events on present-day lives of the students who just study such events?

Input Article:

IF ANY event in the past is to be considered “historic” or “historically significant,” the significance of that event should be fully established by answering this pair of earnest questions:  First, the inquisitive “Why?”    Second, the irreverent “So what???”  These questions would elicit explanations that clarify the place of that event in the continuum of the flow, the “storyline” of our collective history.

The question “Why?” seeks to understand the events and circumstances imediately preceding the event, including the motivations and capabilities of the people involved.  Things, even accidents, do not just happen; they are caused.  If we do not know the causes or reasons of an event, we have a very shallow familiarity of it (we just know that it happened). Even if we fully know the details, including exact sound and color and exact names and places and precise minutes, even seconds, of occurrence, if we don’t know the reasons why the event took place, we really don’t know about it.

The question “So what?” seeks to validate the judgment that the event is indeed of historical significance.  It seeks to establish noteworthy consequences, which are of two kinds: first, the immediate consequences, which would carry our consciousess forward along the storyline; and, second, tge present-day consequences, which would convince us that the event has an effect on our character and our lives and is therefore worth remembering, worth studying by present-day students. This establishes the relevance of historical studies to contemporary lives, our own lives now.

So what if the illegitimate authoritarian regime of President Marcos (1974-86) got a lot of loans from foreign creditors and so what if the extremely popular President Aquino chose to announce to the world a policy to pay all those loans to the last cent?  So what?—well, we all carry now the giant (still growing)  foreign debt burden. All of us are paying now, including those who were born way after 1986!  The worsening economic hardship we suffer now is the never-ending consequence of those loans to Marcos and that policy of the Aquino administration.  And yet, people of shorter memory would blame only Aquino’s successors and all “corrupt” government officials for our economic woes!


C. Third ‘D’: Diwa.

Diwa – The spirit – the intention and worldview

1. Positive Intention—Collective Quest for Truth.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Do we know nothing at all, or do we know enough, about our history?

What of the things we were made to memorize in earlier History lessons are now being held in serious doubt?

What did Jose Rizal, Austin Craig and Conrado Benitez discover in Chinese historical records about our ancestors?

Input Article:

IF BLACK Americans find much inspiration in Alex Haley's Pulitzer-winning true-story novel, titled Roots, which traces his own ancestry and bloodline history through seven generations back to a small village in Africa, so might Filipinos all over the world find some sort of invigoration of the psyche by finding and cherishing our own roots.

Of course it would be wrong for anyone to say that we know absolutely nothing about "pre-Spanish Philippines" (term not coming from our own point of view). After all, we did study in class about "waves of migration," the datus, the aliping namamahay and saguiguilid, the baranggays and the so-called "trials-by-ordeal."  Much of these really have to be rediscussed in an honest-to-goodness review.

For example, it turns out from wider research that the migration pattern in our region of the world was all southward, so how could we easily believe now those “waves of migration” going northward?  We were told that the Indonesians and the Malays joined our aborigine Aetas here to become our people’s ancestors!  

Really now, how much do we know about the lives of our ancestors during the time of "Philippines 1000"? How were they during the time of Christ? Believe it or not, they were already here that early, in fact, much earlier. At the time Jesus Christ was being crucified, our ancestors already had the renowned Banaue rice terraces and the Manunggul Jar (3,500 years old by now), which proved their belief in the afterlife. 

In a chapter he wrote for the book Philippine Progress Prior to 1898, which he co-authored with Conrado Benitez, Austin Craig cited passages in Chinese history, including chronicles covering the Chou dynasty (B.C. 722), describing active interaction between the Asian mainland and what later came to be called the Philippine archipelago.

Rizal, in his "The Indolence of the Filipinos," asserted that "the Filipinos have not always been what they are," and cited as witnesses to this point "all the historians of the first years" after Magellan's expedition. Wrote he: "Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Malayan Filipinos carried on an active trade, not only among themselves but also with all the neighboring count ries. A Chinese manuscript of the 13th Century, translated by Dr. Hirth, which we will take up at another time, speaks of China's relations with the islands, relations purely commercial, which mention is made of the activity and honesty of the traders of Luzon, who took the Chinese products and distributed them throughout all the islands, traveling for nine months, and then returned to pay religiously even for the merchandise that the Chinamen did not remember having given them."

And the little we know, from Rizal, Craig and the others, is not anything that describes the "notorious Pinoy" that we now tend, with resignation, to identify ourselves with. On the contrary, we do have reason to be proud of our ancestry and heritage, if we could only diminish our collective ignorance and disinterest in our own lifestory as the people of these islands.

a. Intellectual Honesty in Seeking and Sharing Learnings.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

True or False—One should never put in a history textbook anything that cannot absolutely be ascertained and verified.

Is humility the same as politeness? Is honesty the same as absolute certainty?

Participation in discussions on historical toics should be limited to scholars with the highest of academic attainment.

True or False -- those who are sure should always be forcefully assertive.

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INTELLECTUAL honesty and real humility based on such honesty are part of any honest-to-goodness search for learnings and any attempt to discuss such learnings.  No one would be at real peace while fooling himself into accepting that one knows to be wrong or essentially inadequate (also wrong) information.  We cannot afford to accommodate in earnest any intentional lies, distortions, tricks, and half-truths for any reason whatsoever.  We have to acknowledge  what is at any point not yet really known or established. 

Therefore, humility in the context of intellectual honesty is not the mere politeness of the hypocrytical type. It is a genuine admission to self and public whatever measure of uncertainty actually exists, because “the more you know, the more you realize that you do not know.”  Any inform­ation released should be cited as to source and also labeled with its status of certainty, i.e. whether it is a proven certainty, a likelihood, a possibility, etc. Because we need reliable information, all who spread inaccurate data labeled as “certain” shall be made to lose their cre­dibility; let not such dishonesty, or at least irres­ponsibility, be taken lightly, for such mal­practices and misdeeds would erode the validity of our discourse.

Because we need the widest breadth of participation, we should shun im­mature impatience and elitist arrogance that would discourage many from participating. One who is secure about the validity of his own point can very well afford to speak his truth “quietly and clearly” and not to condescend or dismiss with arrogance the other persons’ declarations. Only those who cannot rely on the real merits of their points are often tempted to employ psychological, structural or other means, to assert their point among those who remain unconvinced.

b. Point of View: The Need for the ‘Tayo’ Discourse.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Is the matter of Rizal’s alleged retraction of crucial importance within any context of historical study?

Can you possibly agree with the assertion that “In 1521, Filipinos Discovered Magellan!”? Explain.

Should there be any relationship between claims of some areas as sites of  historical events and the histories of their local communities?

What comes to your mind when you come across these: “Sila” Discourse; “Kami” Discourse; “Tayo” Discourse?

POINT of view is most important in this question: Whose history are we studying anyway?  The answer should define which viewpoint, what flow and events, which details, are to be given focus in the study.

Personal and Collective Histories

If we are studying the biography of Dr. Jose Rizal, it is important to seek out to the best of our capabilities the truth in the “Retraction Controversy.”  If we are studying the history of the Filipino people as a whole, discussions about Rizal’s alleged retraction can be mentioned but the crucial question would be: what, if any, was the effect on the people of Spanish claims that Rizal retracted. Did the people stop believing in what he wrote?  If we are studying the biography of Ferdinand Magellan, even the name of his brother-in-law who got involved in his project may really be significant. Otherwise…. 

And we come to the matter of “discovering” or “rediscovering” the Philippines. From whose point of view do we talk about regarding this 1521 event? From the point of view of Europe, thitherto ignorant of our islands and our people existing beyond what they had thought to be the edge of a flat world, Magellan did discover the Philippines, no ifs, no buts, and no sense “re-discovering” us, either. From our point of view here in what they and only they can have reason to call “Far” East, from the view of Filipinos then, now and to come, we discovered Magellan and whom he represented, a pink-colored people of heavy metal clothing, greedy for gold, with powerful weapons, big boats, peculiar behavior, symbols and rituals. And we did not have any reason to “rediscover” him, either.

From the point of view of studying the respective local histories of Limasaua and Butuan, as communities, who have been rivals for the controversial distinction of hosting the first mass in these islands, the challenge has been to make any connection of relevance of that mass to any felt impact in those local histories. Failing to establish any, both communities must admit that the competition pertains not to any noble effort to complete their own heritage but entirely to the lucrative monetary potentials of the claims, used in luring in tourists.

Indeed, for example, aside from tourism valuie now, what has been the impact on local history and sense of pride of Leytenos in the dubious disctinction that a certain incompetent but superstar American general  chose the shores of Leyte to land on in returning to recolonize the Philippines?  With due respect to those who seek a sense of pride from pure luck, the self-respecting Filipino, proud of his own people’s heroic heritage, would find the MacArthur landing hereabouts a cheap kind of glory.

The ‘Tayo’ Discourse

The “Tayo” Discourse, according to the “Pang-Tayong Pananaw,” seeks to correct earlier frameworks of study of our people and our history, and seeks to reestablish what was destroyed by the colonizers when they came here.  It seeks to redeem our original sense of collective self-awareness and collective self-esteem, an inner view of our collective selves that is far more important than impressions of us in the eyes of other peoples.

Before the Spaniards came, our ancestors had already developed a system of writing using symbols representing syllables. This is what is now called baybayin or pantigan, more popularly called by its coined name, “alibata.” Unable to understand these writings, the Spanish clergy ordered them destroyed after judging them as “works of the devil.”  Few artifacts survived, including the copperplate found in Laguna a few years ago.  We have reason to believe that these writings told our ancestors of things about our ancestors, the original pang-tayo view, where we are the subject, the speakers and the addressees in the discourse.

Spaniards made several attempts to write to inform their own people in Spain about us – about our people and our land.  This was the “Sila” Discourse, where the Tagalog-speaking Spanish friar would be saying “Sila na mana Indio ay mana tonto…” in explanations addressed to their fellow-Spaniards. The Americans continued this pattern, with the pro-colonalism politicians and writers telling their fellow-Americans that we were unfit for self-governance.  The Taft Commission made sure that Philippine history be rewritten, this time from the American colonizer’s point of view. Many of the early Filipino historians maintained such basically foreign viewpoint. That was the “Sila” Discourse.

Earlier, in the last decades of Spanish rule, Rizal and the other activists of the Propaganda Movement carried on a “Kami” Discourse.  These were articles and orations from us, about us, but addressed to Spaniards and other Europeans, telling them that we were a noble race being oppressed by Spanish friars and colonial authorities.  “Kami ay marangal; kami ay inaapi.”

What we urgently need now is the “Tayo”  Discourse.  We have to have Filipino opinion leaders addressing Filipino audiences about Filipino characteristics, woes, aspirations, common efforts, and directions.  We need to tell ourselves the Truth about ourselves from the inermost recesses of the Filipino soul, and stop falling completely for foreign standards, judgments and remote analyses about our own lives as a nation. Such homegrown consensus, taking consideration of foreign viewpoints but no longer beguiled or intimidated by them, would be an important component of our efforts to really build our sense of nationhood.


2. Integrative and Dynamic Worldview.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

How valid is the question, “Who should really be our national hero?”?

Do you know the national hero of the United States of America?

Which peoples have the tendency to overdissect and focus on specific elements, the westerners or the orientals?

How many candidates for “national hero” do the Filipino people have?

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WHO should really be our national hero?  We have often heard this question, or have even joined in raising it.  Anyone who thinks within the 3-D view of history would be careful not to simplistically, much less emotionally, choose between Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio.  The question is not a valid one to ask; it is divisive in its inception. 

The Americans, who told us in the early 1900s that we needed to have a national hero, do not have one. And therefore they see no need to quarrel over the comparative merits of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Lincoln, whom they call and venerate as, collectively, their “Founding Fathers.” But the U.S. government with its colonial intentions saw value in keeping the Filipino people divided among ourselves over a lot of things. On this specific question they really succeeded and so we are still divided. Answering the question is to perpetuate this useless divisiveness.  It falls within the intellectual tendency strong among westerners to dissect things and overproject particles and individuals, as opposed to the more oriental and more spiritual predisposition to focus more on the integration of things.

Rizal and Bonifacio both shone and led in different periods of our history. Each one of them responded to a specific set of socio-political circumstances that differed from that addressed by the other. And the response of one in his own time and circumstance cannot be fairly compared to the response of the other to the latter's own challenging circumstance.  And there isn’t even any real need to compare them. 

Rizal took on from the period of Gom-Bur-Za when there was nascent collective consciousness of our distinction from, discrimination by, and basic equality to, the colonizers. There was need to amplify this further, and this could best be projected in political debate and other forms of competition with the colonizers in their own games and in their own country. Rizal led in this Propaganda Movement along with Marcelo H. del Pilar and Graciano Lopez Jaena, and, in their own distinct way, Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo. They were also able to learn and show from their own experience the futility of any further expatriate struggle for reform. Rizal persisted in the struggle for reform, but brought it home. He founded the La Liga Filipina, and his experience of being arrested and exiled to Dapitan showed that even this was no longer workable.  (Rizal came out with a statement in December 1896 condemning the Revolution, but even the Katipuneros understood it to have been made under duress -- he was a prisoner in anticipation an execution, and, contrary to popular belief, he was not perfect.)  

Bonifacio really learned a lot from the writings of Rizal, Plaridel and the others, but integrated them appropriately and creatively with his own studies of indigenous pre-Spanish philosophies and of the beliefs of proto-nationalist protest Christianity in the great tradition of Herman Pule's Confradia. Contrary to popular belief that he was semi-illiterate, Bonifacio understood three western languages, was a philosopher and a brilliant literary writer, whose statesmanship was superior to most others. He was in a good position to lead in the birthing of this nation and he did not balk at this. He formed the Katipunan, led it in a moral and ethical education campaign and organizing work for four long years, before finally presiding over a state assembly (‘Asamblea Magna’) in Pasig that decided to start the Revolution by the next rainy season. He led in planning and undertaking the brilliant military scheme for a Katipunan victory in August 29-30, 1896, which could have succeeded if only the Katipunan contingents from Cavite had shown up to perform their assigned role of capturing Intramuros.

Bonifacio was responding well to challenges that had to be faced in his own time in our history, quite different from the challenges that had to be faced by Rizal. So why compare them?  Or why compare only them?  We have Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Jacinto, Marcelo del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Tandang Sora, Gregoria de Jesus, Antonio Luna, to name only a few more, and they are all national heroes and heroines in their own right, whose heroism was given the opportunity to be fulfilled and made known to us due to the heroic efforts of countless other Filipinos now unknown to us. 

Lapu-Lapu did not single-handedly repulse the Spanish invasion force the way the biblical David faced Goliath alone in combat.  It was a collective victory won by our ancestors steeped in the synergetic spirit of bayanihan.  It was only the history book writers, akin to the sensational mass media, that plucked out certain names to be projected as bida, leaving the rest to be forgotten as a “cast of a thousand extras.”  


III. Special Topics.

A. Collective Heroism and Noble Ethics

1. Collective Heroism.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

What do you think of the concept of “collective heroism”?

Would you consider the Filipinos a whole nation of heroes? Why or why not?

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WE ACTUALLY need to avoid putting our national heroes on top of un­reachable pedestals, separated from their overlapping respective teams. Plucking out names to be projected as superstars has had a divisive effect all these decades and centuries! 

We have thus downgraded millions of real heroes and heroines, including our own ancestors and even ourselves, just because their names have not been mentioned in history books!  Really, we have long been, and still are, a nation of heroes!

To the question “who should teally be our national hero, Rizal or Bonifacio?” let us answer: Both and a whole lot more!

2. Noble Ethics.

a. Bayanihan.


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Has the word “bayani” been always a noun?

Is bayanihan limited to the practice of carrying house together?

True or False—The original “Boat People” among our ancestors lived the Bayanihan spirit.

Was Bayanihan always a practice of communities?

Have you heard of “Lupang Tagalog”? What idea does the term elicit?

Was the Bayanihan philosophy practiced in the building and operation of the Banawe Rice Terraces?

Was the Bayanihan philosophy promoted and practiced by the Katipunan in leading the 1896 Philippine Revolution?

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THE WORD “bayani” first appeared in our ancestors’ vocabulary as a verb, which meant – and still means – “to work for the community without seeking equivalent monetary or commodity payment.”  The nearest noun form of that verb in that sense was “bayanihan.” 

The usual visual portrayal of this shows group of grunting but smiling men and women carrying on their shoulders a nipa house mounted in lateral bamboo poles.  The most well-known painting depiction of this was done by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. But bayanihan teamwork was also applied to such farming tasks as preparing the ricefields, actual planting of seedlings, and harvesting the palay from the golden bowing stalks. Simply put, the principle states, “we all work together on the fields of each one of us.”

Longevity of Bayanihan in Our History

How long have the people of these islands lived the principle of synergism in the practice of bayanihan?  Let’s consider these four research items dealing with as many periods in history that plot the points along a very long timeline.

Item 1 comes from the revised edition of the book, Agos ng Dugong Kayumanggi: Isang Kasaysayan ng Sambayanang Pilipino (Quezon City: Abiva Publishing House, 1997, p. 114 by Dr. Jaime B. Veneracion, a contemporary historian at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and former head of the nationwide association of historians and history enthusiasts, called Asosasyon ng mga Dalubhasa at May-Hilig sa Kasaysayan (ADHIKA) ng Pilipinas:

 “Bayanihan  (being) a system of cooperation among the ancient Philippine communities.  This practice traced its roots to the customs of the ancient Filipinos, called Austronesians, inside their large dwelling boats (balanghai) still in the open sea traveling gradually to the (Philippine) islands. The principle of mutual help among riders in such boats was rooted in the fact that each passenger had to do his or her part of the work in order to prevent the boat from sinking and getting them all drowned. In the ultimate analysis, therefore, bayanihan was being practiced for the common good.”

The foregoing item translated from a passage in Dr. Veneracion’s book establishes the practice of bayanihan to have started for our ancestors long before start of Spanish colonization a mere half-millennium ago. 

Item 2 notes in an 1860 Spanish dictionary that the phrase “obra comun” in the second definition of “bayani” stands as proof that bayanihan was in practice by communities at that time.  By then, the Spanish colonizers and mainly the friars and missionaries had had three centuries of penetrating the islands and attaining a functional literacy in our own vernacular languages, as such was their approach (instead of teaching Spanish to the “Indios”), and the dictionary compiler had enough basis in determining common word usages.

Item 3 is composed of research results about “Lupang Tagalog” orally shared with this writer by a close Kamalaysayan colleague about the practice of bayanihan having flourished in large tracts of free territories long after these were supposed to have been covered and transformed by the Spanish colonial authorities. 

Research on the phenomenon of “Lupang Tagalog” has discovered that it covered vast areas in Pasig, Cainta, Taguig, and adjacent areas, where Spanish rule was allowed to “hold sway only on paper,” with paperwork like regular reports all “in order” but with the people enjoying fully the continuance of their previous agrarian arrangements akin to all extant descriptions of the bayanihan system.

This item, which establishes the fact and even likelihood that bayanihan and other practices of our people persisted under conditions of “dual power” in many areas of the archipelago, in fields beyond the reach of the campanario of the parish church, is one of the many subjects of a work-in-progress of Velasquez to be published soon by Kamalaysayan probably in partnership with the city government of Pasig. 

Item 4 comes from current experiences in the Cordillera, specifically in the majestic rice terraces area in Banawe, Ifugao. The Rice Terraces were constructed by community labor, and for more than a millennium they were operated also by the community. This makes them a greater wonder than the original “Seven Wonders of the World” that were largely built by slave labor and owned only by the royalty or elite.  The Rice Terraces operated that way were extremely sustainable for thousands of years.

Consider this excerpt from the website of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The paper, titled “Efforts at Protecting Traditional Knowledge: The Experience in the Philippines,” was prepared and submitted by Atty. David Daoas as then chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples under the Office of the President in 1999.  The excerpt speaks of a still-existing but gradually dying practice of bayanihan in that historic area (underscoring mine):

“Economic forces brought about by tourism industry are changing traditionally accepted procedures of resource utilization.  The expanding woodcarving industry, which caters to the need of tourists, had depleted muyong resources of primary wood species.  Thus, economic forces directed against natural resources are compounding ecological problems of the watershed.

“The tribal economy comes from financial contributions of Overseas Contract workers (OCWs) which has direct impact on indigenous arrangement.  There are 137 OCWs in two barangays of Hingyon that has a total population of less than 1,500.  xxx  With readily available cash, the inhabitants find it doubly difficult to stick to the old bayanihan system replacing it with paid labor.  In most cases however, people are not interested in paid labor arrangements. 
“Terrace labor becomes highly dependent on family members.  When family labor is not available, terraces are left uncultivated.  Cash availability, outmigration and lack of water for irrigation are factors affecting the increasing number of neglected terraces and forest areas.”

Item 4 also comes from orally shared reports from a relative in Zambales and a close friend in Bulacan.  An old aunt, who was living alone in a house near the beach in Botolan, Zambales, related to me how she would participate in the daily early-morning pukot.  A group of fishermen and other people would be pulling a stretched fishing net from the water to the shore and haul in a good amount of fresh fish still wiggling and jumping about when dumped on the sand.  All who participated in pulling at the net ropes, whatever amount of strength was put in (my aunt, already past sixty by then), could get as much fish as they wanted to get. Everyone understood that it was only for personal or family consumption, that no one was selling, and therefore would get only what they needed for the day.  Without refrigerators, they preferred to immediately throw back into the sea whatever excess there was, if any.

That account of the pukot arrangement straight from a regular participant has held a rich wealth in profound moral and ethical lessons relevant especially for urban people like me.  A close friend in Bulacan told me recently that a system called batarisan, another word for bayanihan, was still being practiced in some pockets of his hometown.

Item 5 is a pair of passages from the Internet on bayanihan still being alive in Northern Luzon:

This comes from Estrella L. Suyu, who teaches at the Cagayan State University, Carig, Tuguegarao, Cagayan:   “Filipinos are characterized by its close family ties such that majority of married couples with children lived with their parents. The value of bayanihan, sharing, cooperation, brotherhood, self-responsibility, respect, love, peace, and dignity, are still very much alive in Cagayan.  Old songs, proverbs, and poems are still sung today,  alongside the instruments Kuribaw, tulali and the kuritang produced by Ibanags. These produced warlike or sad music. It also exhibits the beauty of the unoni, the berso, and the pabattang (proverbs and the advises through songs) which convey Ibanag history and their mores that the ethnic group keep sacred and inviolable.

And this comes from a publication of the United Nations University in 1994: “Some social observers have pointed out that seemingly crucial elements of tradition and culture that have existed in Japan and the Republic of Korea are not present in the Philippine situation. There is no such thing as a Filipino culture. Instead, we have a universe of micro-cultures with a great variety of diverse characteristics. The Ilocanos are known for hard work and clannishness, while the peoples of Central Luzon exhibit their own version of the communal spirit in what is called bayanihan. The diversity of cultural traits and traditions of the Philippines could be an asset in this respect, and not a liability.”

Bayanihan is still alive to this day! Barely alive, but still alive. All these items taken together would indicate a very long longevity period, long enough to span millennia on end, that witnessed the people of these islands living by the synergetic principle of bayanihan.


A Historic Leagacy Being Wasted

Our ances­tors and even some of our contemporaries have called their practice of human synergism "bayanihan," which eventually yielded our word for heroes and heroism. Unfortunately, this important cultural resource of our nation has faded away especially in the past few centuries since we came under foreign subjugation.  Western-style individualism has made our people divide and quarrel in the face of crisis, instead of rallying and working together to face it. 

It was also obviously well-intentioned that a group showcasing Filipino folk dances for all of us and even other peoples to appreciate would carry the name “Bayanihan.” But the tribute being paid by the dance troupe became counterproductive as soon as the dance company started to eclipse the principle in popularity, up to the point that people would equate the word bayanihan to folk dancing. In my experience of surfing the Internet’s “search engines” I found more searched items referring to the dance troupe than to the principle it was honoring by carrying its name.

While the bayanihan spi­rit can aptly be shown in portrayals of men carrying a nipa hut to­gether, it has been a superficial curiosity, even counterproductive, without the necessary profound comprehension and reverence, much less practical application, that the principle deserves. 

If we may add another historical note, the very birth of our nation towards the end of the 19th century was made possible through a four-year gathering process by a unity-oriented organization that has since been remembered only for its bravery: the Katipunan.

Few Filipinos know that the 1896 Revolution was the first-ever unified enterprise of the diverse communities in the Philippine archipelago and that the outbreak of fighting had to be preceded with a long period of painstaking socio-cultural research, house-to-house education and organizing work focused on the internalization of the unifying ethical, even spiritual, tenets of the Katipunan as spelled out in its "Kartilya."

For many Filipinos, both the Katipunan and the Revolution was a matter of battles won and battles lost. We can't blame them. History books and commemorations have emphasized battles and military figures over nation-building and statesmen.  Actually, bayanihan was the moving spirit of the Katipunan!  If we are to summarize the 14 lessons in this seven-page Kartilya, the whole lesson is magpakatao at makipagkapwa-tao. Surely, the second part of that resonated well with our people’s bayanihan culture.

Bayanihan is a heroic legacy of all Filipinos. But we are allowing it to be wasted, when its successful application can raise our nation from the morass of worsening poverty that our people are suffering today!  This is the reason why the National Economic Protectionism (NEPA) and the other member-entities of the DakiLahi: Filipinos for Life network it has recently joined are calling for a bayanihan-inspired call for pambansang tangkilikan or mutual support among various enterprises, entities and citizens for collective gain and upliftment. 


b. Kartilya ng Katipunan: MagpakaTao, MakipagKapwa-Tao/


(to be answered in writing before and after reading the Input Article)

Do you expect that most of the 14 lessons in the Kartilya ng Katipunan would pertain to bravery in the armed struggle against Spanish rule?

Was the Katipunan “quite understandably” male-chauvinist?

From the Katipunan’s official view, who were the Tagalogs?

The Katipunan was at war; its members could not afford to focus on self-refinement as persons.

Input Article:

AS EARLY as their elementary-grade Philippine History subject, Filipinos are likely to have come across the title, Kartilya ng Katipunan written by KKK leader Emilio Jacinto.  In the pre-martial law days we even had a representation of this in our twenty-peso bill, showing it to be a thick book with that title in the cover.  Some books, like Gregorio F. Zaide’s enume­rated some lessons, from an English translation published by Epifanio de los Santos, but scarcely was this discussed in class, save perhaps the mention of the title itself, the only thing that somehow stuck in our minds.  It never altered our wholesale image of the Katipunan as a brave fighting force, willing to kill and die for the arttainmant of our freedom.

In 1992, before the centennial of the Katipunan founding, history researcher and antiques collector Emmanuel Encarnacion was able to buy an original surviving copy of the Kartilya from the Epifanio de los Santos collection. He got this for a seven-digit amount from a private collector who had earlier refused to let its contents be photographed or copied. Encar­nacion could not afford the other precious document then also in the hands of that private collector, the Jacinto Notebook, but he was nonetheless glad for he could afford to pay for the Kartilya and bring it home in ecstasy.  He then called the National Historic Institute to send its official reporters over to finally reveal its contents to the nation.

A few immediate surprises greeted NHI and the general public. The Kartilya is not a thick book that was being shown in the twenty-peso bill, it is not even officially titled “Kartilya.” It is a very thin pamphlet of seven small pages, the last one of which is an application form to join the Katipunan. And its actual title is a long one, Sa May Nais Makisanib sa Katipunang Ito.

The footnote on page one was also a surprise, a gift to national unity. It clarified for one and all that whenever the Katipunan used the term “Tagalog,” the official reference is to “all who were born and raised in this One-archipelago; therefore be one a Visayan, an Ilocano, a Pampango, etc., one is a Tagalog just the same.”  This belied earlier and even stubbornly-persisting allegations that Bonifacio’s consciousness and the revolution that he led concerned only the region that we now call Tagalog.

And then, the biggest surprise of all.  The Katipunan spirit enshrined in the “Kartilya” is not exactly the way we thought it would be – fighting spirit, anger and wrath and bravery and killing the enemy even at the risk of getting killed. The emphasis was on how the Tagalogs (referring to the native Filipinos) ought to live—in honor and in unity.

The Kampanya para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan (Kamalaysayan) immediately saw it fit to help publicize far and wide the Kartliya’s contents. Considering the consiousness context, the message emphasized the pleasant surprise element by starting with a teaser, something like this:

Having recognized Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan mainly for their bravery and their love for country, most Filipinos would perhaps be predisposed to guess that most of the points in that KKK Kartilya (primer) would pertain to anger and bravery. Out of the Kartilya's 14 lessons, how many, if any, would be about matters aside from anger, fighting and bravery? What's your own guess? 

Let's check out what really is the proportion, by reading the following points from the Kartilya,. Try to see also whether there would be any points deserving to be adopted as your own guides in life...   (This would be followed by a slow reading of the 14 lessons of the Kartilya in Tagalog; later on also as translated into English Tagalog by the now-departed Paula Carolina Malay, as follows…)

"A life that is not dedicated to a noble cause is like a tree without a shade or a poisonous weed.

"A deed lacks nobility if it is motivated by self-interest and not be a sincere desire to help.

"True piety consists of being charitable, loving one's fellowmen, and being judicious in behavior, speech and deed.

"All (persons) are equal, regardless of the color of their skin. While one could have more schooling, wealth or beauty than another, all that does not make one more human than anybody else.

"A person with an noble character values honor above self-interest, while a person with a base character values self-interest above honor.

"To a (person) of honor, his/her word is a pledge.

"Don't waste time; lost wealth cam be retrireved, but time lost is lost forever.

"Defend the oppressed and fight the oppressor

"The wise man is careful in all he has to say and is discreet about things that need to be kept secret.

"In the thorny path of life, the man leads the way and his wife and children follow. If the leader goes the way of perdition, so do the followers. (The first part is an observation of the relationship of husband and wife during the time of the Katipunan; for the present, the equivalent is to say that the parents lead the way and the children follow, then proceed to the main point about responsible leadership.)

"Never regard a woman as an object for you to trifle with; rather you should consider her as a partner and helpmate. Give proper considerations to a woman's (physical) frailty and never forget that your own mother, who brought you forth and nurtured you from infancy, is herself such a person.

"Don't do to the wife, children and brothers and sisters of others what you do not want done to your wife, children and brothers and sisters.

"A (person's) worth is not measured by his/her station in life, neither by the height of his nose nor the fairness of skin, and certainly not by whether he is a priest claiming to be God's deputy. Even if he is a tribesman/tribeswoman from the hills and speaks only his/her own tongue, a (person) is honorable if he/she possesses a good character, is true to his/her word, has fine perceptions and is loyal to his/her native land.

"When these teachings shall have been propagated and the glorious sun of freedom begins to shine on these poor islands to enlighten a united race and people, then all the loves lost, all the struggle and sacrifices shall not have been in vain."

How many points about anger and bravery were you able to count? Which point do you like best? Please pass on the word about the Kartilya to others.  It is no less than a precious treasure unearthed for the guidance of present generations of this heroic race, a pleasant surprise to all who had thought they really knew what was there to know about the Katipunan and our people’s history.


B. Brief Review of Economic, Political,

and Cultural History of the Philippines.

1. An Attempt at a Summary.

For translation and reformatting (from Pagtitipon Ceremony):

NKK: Ngayon ay handa na ba tayong sumagot sa Tatlong Tanong sa Kasaysayan, na kahawig ng ipinasasagot noon sa bawat umaanib sa Katipunan?

LAHAT: Handa na kami, Kapatid! / buod ng kasaysayan ng ating bayan / ay amin nang nababatid.

NKK: Ano ang kalagayan ng ating bayan / bago dumating ang mga mananakop na dayuhan?

LAHAT: Maraming libong taon / na ang ating mga ninuno / ay namuhay nang malaya, mapayapa at masagana, / may unti-unting pag-unlad, / may namumuong pagkakaisang / likas na tumutungo sa pagkabansa, / at may malusog na pakikipag-ugnayan / sa nakapaligid na mga bansa //  Ang ating mga ninuno / ay may mayamang kultura / at maayos na sistema ng pamahalaan / na pawang sinira ng nanakop na dayuhan.

NKK: Ano ang naging kalagayan ng ating bayan / magmula nang ang buhay nito ay pagharian ng mga dayuhan?

LAHAT: Sapilitang binuo ang isang kolonyang bayan / ngunit pina­natiling hatí-hatí ang mga mamamyan. // Mula noon, tayo’y inalipin at pinagsamantalahan / sampu ng ating mga likas na kayamanan. // Hinawakan ang ating kaisipan, / inudlot ang pag-unlad ng ating wika, /    at ang ating karanglan at kakanyahan bilang sambayanan /ay niyura­kan at ipinalimot, / laluna sa kabataan. // Ang ating kabuhayan ay pinakinabangan ng mga dayuhan / at ng ilan nating mga kababayan. // Habang nagkakandakuba sa paggawa / tayo’y naging mga pulubi at alipin / sa sariling bayan at maging sa ibayong-dagat. // At sa halip na umunlad, / buhay nati’y lumubha nang lumub­ha / sa paglipas ng bawat / maghapon at magdamag.

NKK: At ano naman ang magiging kalagayan ng ating bayan, sa san­daling makalaya tayo sa paghaharing dayuhan at sa ibinunga nito sa ating mga pag-uugnayan, ugali at isipan?

LAHAT: Ang likas na kayamanan / at lakas-paggawa ng Inang Bayan / ay maiuukol na sa kapakanan at pag-unlad / ng kanyang mamamayan. // Maibabangon at maisusulong na natin / ang ating kabuhayan, / mati­tigil na ang pagpapaalipin / mga ating mga kababayan / sa kináng ng salaping dayuhan, / at magiging maaliwalas ang hinaharap / para sa ating mga anak.


2. Significant Pages from the Past.

For translation and reformatting

(from Prof Reyes handout in Phil. History Course, IAME ):

Mahalagang mga Pahina sa Nakalipas ng Pilipinas

Ni Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

               “Upang malaman mo ang kinabukasan ng isang bansa, dapat mo munang buklatin ang aklat ng kanilang nakaraan.”  Sinabi ito ni Jose Rizal sa pinakabungad ng kanyang sanaysay na pinamagatang ”Ang Pilipinas, sa Loob ng Isandaang Taon.” 

Si Andres Bonifacio ay nagtaguyod sa ganitong pagpapatampok sa kahalagahan ng kamalayan sa kasaysayan (o “kamalaysayan”).

Kaya naman gumawa rin siya ng babasahin ukol sa nakalipas nang bahagi ng ating kasaysayan, at isinama sa palagiang pagsubok sa mga umaanib sa Katipunan ang pagtatanong ukol sa mga kalagayan ng Pilipinas bago nasakop ng mga Kastila ang ating kapuluan, kalagayang umiiral sa ilalim ng paghahari ng mga Kastila sa kasalukuyang ginagalawan nila sa sarili nilang panahon. at ang tinatanaw na bukang liwayway ng bagong araw ng mahal na kalayaan.”

Makabubuting balik-aralan natin ang “Kahapon” ng ating lahi.

1. Noong Unang Panahon (? - 1500 AD):

Maraming libong taon na ang mga tao sa kapuluang tinatawag ngayong Pilipinas ay namuhay nang maayos, sagana at mapayapa. Ang ating mga ninuno nakilala sa pagiging mga taong marangal, masipag, at matapat at pinagkatiwalaan ng mga tao sa mga kalapit-bayan. May sariling mga batas, panitikan at mayamang wika ang ating mga ninuno, may malakas na pagpapahalaga sa kalikasan at mga bagay na ispiritwal, at nagtuturingang magkakapatid. Umiiral noon ang diwa ng “bayanihan.” Ang salitang “bayani” noon ay pangunahing ginagamit bilang isang pandiwa na ang ibig sabihin ay paglilingkod sa kapwa at sa buong komunidad nang hindi nagsusukat o nag-aasam ng kabayaran. Madalas tawaging “Pre-Spanish” ang panahong ito, bagay na mali sapagkat ito ay uniral nang mahigit pa sa libu-libong taon at masyadong napapatampok ng ganitong katawagan ang isangkatlong libong taon (333 taon) lamang na umiral ang paghahari dito ng mga Kastila.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Manunggul Jar; baranggay/balanghai (malalaking bangkang tirahan), Banawe Rice Terraces; Sultanato ng Sulu;

2. Pagbigo sa Unang Tangkang Manakop ng mga Espanyol (1521):

Humigit-kumulang kalahating libong taon na ang nakalilipas, dumating dito ang mga sundalo at paring Kastila at sinakop nila ang ating kapuluan. Sa una nilang pagdating, natalo sila ng ating mga ninuno sa Mactan at napatay ang kanilang pinuno.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Lapu-Lapu, Humabon; Magellan; Enrique

3. Tagumpay ng Espanya sa Ikalawang Tangka (1565):

Napilitang umuwi sa Europa ang mga nakaligtas sa labanan, at lumipas pa muna ang halos kalahating daang taon bago sila bumalik upang sakupin tayo. Nagtagumpay silang makapagtatag ng kolonyal na paghahari sa ating mga ninuno maraming dako ng kapuluan, na tinawag nilang “Filipinas,” na ang ibig sabihin ay pag-aari ni Haring Felipe II ng Espanya. Sapilitan nilang pinairal ang walang-bayad na pag­papatrabaho, laluna sa pagtatayo ng mga simbahang bato at pagtotroso para sa mga ginagawang galyon (barko). Nagtambal ang Espada ng pamumuwersa at ang Krus ng pagkontrol sa pag-iisip upang ganap na malupig ang ating mga ninuno. Ang nauna nating mga panulat, at mga bagay na kumakatawan sa mayamang kultura ng ating mga ninuno sa nauna pang panahon, ay pawang sinira ng mga Kastila. Ngunit ang mga komunidad sa Kabundukang Cordilyera sa Hilagang Luzon at sa malaking pulo ng Mindanao, gayundin ang maraming katutubong tribo sa mga bundok ay hindi nila nasakop.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Legazpi; Haring Sikatuna; Raha Soliman; Lakandula; Salcedo

4. Mga Pag-aalsa (1570?-1840):

Lumaban pa rin ang ating mga ninuno. Nag-alsa sila sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng kapuluan. Iba’t iba ang naging mitsa ng mga pag-aalsa, ngunit Pero hindi nagkakaisa ang kanilang mga paglaban, kaya’t natalong lahat ng mga Kastila ang mga pag-aalsang ito.  Upang mapigil ang pagkakaisa ng mga Pilipino, sinupil nila ang pag-aalsa ng isang rehiyon o probinsya sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng mga taga-ibang rehiyon o taga-ibang probinsya.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Dagohoy; Diego at Gabriela Silang; Magat Salamat; Sumuroy; Magalat; Palaris; Hermano Pulê (Apolinario de la Cruz)

5. Panimulang Pagkakabuo ng Pagkakaisa (1870):

Nang tatlong daang taon na silang naghahari rito, at hindi na rin matiis ng ating mga ninuno ang kaapihan, nagkaroon na ng mga pagsisikap para sa pagbabago at nagsimula na ring makaramdam ng pangangailangang magkaisa bilang mga katutubo ng kapuluang ito. Ayaw pumayag ng mga Kastila, at lalo silang nagmalupit. Pinatay pa nila ang tatlong paring Pilipino na sa palagay nila’y namumuno sa paglaban ng ating mga ninuno.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Padre Jose Burgos; Padre Gomez at Padre Zamora; Paciano Mercado (Rizal);

6. Kilusang Propaganda ng mga Pilipino sa Europa (1870-1892):

Mayroon namang mga pamilyang Pilipino na nagpadala ng kanilang mga anak sa Europa para mag-aral. Doon ay nakita ng mga ito ang kalagayan ng mga Kastila sa sariling bayan at nakilala ang mga karapatang dapat tinatamasa ng lahat ng tao sa mundo. Sa pamamagitan ng pagsusulat at pagtatalumpati, pa, ipinalaganap nila sa mga Kastila ang pang-aaping nagaganap sa Pilipinas, at humiling ng mga pagbabago ng pamamalakad rito. “Kilusang Propaganda” ang itinawag rito. Pinatunayan din nilang ang mga Pilipino ay mayroong mga angking kakayahan na kapantay, o mas malaki pa nga, sa kakayahan ng mga Kastila at iba pang taga-Europa. Naging matagumpay sila sa pagmumulat sa mga kapwa-Pilipino at mangilan-ngilang Kastila ngunit wala ring nagbago sa pamamalakad ng mga Kastila sa ating kapuluan.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Jose Rizal; Marcelo del Pilar; Graciano Lopez-Jaena; Juan Luna; Felix Hidalgo; Antonio Luna

7. Pagtatayo at Pagkakasupil ng La Liga Filipina (1892):

Isa sa mga namumuno sa kanila ay umuwi sa Pilipinas at nagtatag ng isang liga o samahan na mapayapang mananawagan ng ilang pagbabago sa pamamalakad dito ng mga Kastila, ngunit kaagad itong sinupil at ang pinuno ay ipinadakip.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Jose Rizal; Apolinario Mabini; Andres Bonifacio

8. Pagtatatag at Paglaganap ng Katipunan (1892-96):

Kaya’t nakita ng ilang Pilipino na kailangan nang ganap na lumaya ang Pilipinas sa dayuhang paghahari at kailangan nang gumamit ng dahas upang talunin at palayasin ang mga Kastila. Itinatag nila ang isang lihim na samahan, ang Kataas-taasang, Kagalangang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan o Katipunan, na mabilis namang lumaganap sa buong kapuluan. Ang mga kasapi ng samahang ito ay hinubog muna sa kamalayan sa kasaysayan, sa kabutihang-asal, sa pagkakapatiran at sa pagmamahal sa Inang Bayan upang maging matibay na batayan ng kanilang katapangan.  Sa buong panahong ito si Rizal ay naka-exile sa Dapitan.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Andres Bonifacio; Emilio Jacinto; Pio Valenzuela; Ladislao Diwa; Teodoro Plata; Josefa Rizal; Gregoria de Jesus;

9. Pagsiklab ng Rebolusyon at Pagsilang ng Bansa (1896):

Apat na taon makalipas ang pagkakatatag ng samahang ito ay sumiklab na ang paglaban. Ang samahan ay naging isang gubyerno na may pangulo, gabinete, hukbo at mga konseho ng taumbayan sa iba’t ibang probinsya at munisipalidad. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, sama-sama nang lumaban sa mga Kastila ang mga Pilipino sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng kapuluan. Nabuo ang kanilang pagkakaisa sa kamalayan at pagkakaisa sa pagsisikap. Noon nabuo o “isinilang” ang bansang Pilipinas.  

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Andres Bonifacio; Emilio Jacinto; Tandang Sora; Mga Katipunero

10. Pagkatalo ng Kastila, Pagpasok ng Amerikano (1898):

Dalawang taon nilang nilabanan ang mga Kastila bago natalo ang mga ito. Pumasok naman sa eksena ang mga Amerikano na nagpanggap munang kaibigan, at nilansi ang namumuno sa mga Pilipino sa panahong iyon upang pumayag na sila ay makasingit sa pagpapasuko sa mga Kastila. Nagsapakatan ang mga kapwa-Puti. Binili ng mga Amerikano ang ating kapuluan at ang lahat ng nakapatong dito, kasama na ang mga Pilipino, sa pamamagitan ng isang kasunduan. Binili nila ito sa mga Kastila na natalo na natin sa dalawang-taong labanan. 

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Emilio Aguinaldo; Apolinario Mabini; Antonio Luna; Emilio Jacinto George Dewey; Macario Sakay;

11. Marahas na Pananakop ng mga Amerikano (1899-1912):

Matapos nito, mga Amerikano naman ang sumakop sa ating bayan. Ang una nilang ginamit ay napakalakas na armas at makahayop na kalupitan. Lumaban pa rin ang ating mga ninuno pero hindi nila nakayanan ang matinding lakas ng mga pwersang Amerikano at naging mahina naman ang umagaw sa pamumuno sa kanila sa pangkalahatan. Ang mga namuno at nagtaguyod sa patuloy na paglaban ay tinawag na mga bandido. Pwersahang pinasuko at pinatay ng mga Amerikano ang mga ito sa pamamagitan ng paggamit sa buu-buong komunidad bilang mga “hostage.” Buu-buong probinsya, rehiyon at isla ang sinunog ng mga tropang Amerikano, laluna ang Samar matapos makamit ng komunidad sa bayan ng Balangiga ang isa sa pinakamalaking pagkatalong militar na dinanas ng mga Amerikano sa kasaysayan ng kanilang hukbo..

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Antonio Luna; Macario Sakay; Miguel Malvar; Lukban; Pres. MacKinley; Gen. Jacob Smith; Gen Arthur MacArthur

12. Mapayapang Okupasyon, Pagkontrol sa Kaisipan (1902-1946):

Nang madurog na ng mga Amerikano ang paglaban ng mga Pilipino, ginamit naman nila ang edukasyon, ang eleksyon, ang pelikula, ang musika, ang telebisyon, gayundin ang mga sigarilyo at tsokolate, para mahawakan at mapagharian ang buhay at kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. May mga makabayang patuloy na nagtaguyod ng kulturang Pilipino at nagpalakas ng kilusang manggagawa. Samantala, nagtayo ang Amerika ng puppet government sa Pilipinas na ang tawag ay Commonwealth.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: William Taft; Thomasites; Fidel Reyes; Amado Fernandez; Atang de la Rama; Crisanto Evangelista; Pres. Manuel Quezon; Claro M. Recto

13. Pagsingit ng mga Hapon (1942-1945):

Nang magkaroon ng mga digmaang pandaigdig, nasakop ng mga Hapon ang ating bayan dahil hindi naging maayos ang paghahanda ng depensa ng Amerikanong heneral na may pananagutan dito. Tumakas siya at ang mga sundalong Amerikano patungong Australia, at ginamit pa munang panangga ang magigiting na sundalong Pilipino. Nagmalupit ang mga Hapon, tulad ng bangis ng unang pagsalakay ng mga Amerikano, at kinamuhian sila ng ating mga lola’t lolo, na umasam na bumalik na sana ang Amerikanong heneral ayon sa ipinangako nito. Nagsulong ng kilusang gerilya ang maraming Pilipino.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Gen. Douglas MacArthur; Gen. Yamashita; Pres. Jose P. Laurel; Ka Luis Taruc

14. Pagbabalik ng Amerikano, Huwad na Kalayaan (1945-1947):

Bumalik nga ang paghaharing Amerikano nang matapos na ang digmaan. Ibinigay na sa mga Pilipino ang pormal na independensya, at ibinaba na ang bandila ng Amerika. Pero bago gawin iyon ay nagpwersa muna ang mga Ameikano para pumirma ng mga kasunduan ang papasok na pamahalaang Pilipino. Ang mga kasunduang ito ay nagbigay-daan sa mga Amerikano na kontrolin pa rin ang ekonomiya, kultura, hukbo at pati ang pulitika ng mga Pilipino. Kaya’t ang kalayaang ibinigay nila ay naging huwad at pabalat-bunga lamang.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Gen. Douglas MacArthur; Pres. Sergio Osmeña; Pres. Manuel Roxas;

15. Mga Administrasyong Pilipino, Pagpasok ng Martial Law (1946-1986):

Nagkaroon ng sunud-sunod na mga administrasyon na pinamumunuan ng mga presidenteng Pilipino, at may panahong ang humawak ng kapangyarihan ay ang hukbong sandatahan sa ilalim ng tinatawag na martial law. 

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Presidenteng Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, at Ferdinand Marcos; Claro M. Recto; Jose Sison;

16. Paglaban para sa Demokrasya  (1972-1986):

Unti-unting nag-ipon muli ng tapang at lakas ang mga Pilipino at nilabanan nila ito hanggang tuluyang bumagsak. Nagpatuloy muli ang mga pagsisikap ng mga Pilipino na bumuo ng isang lipunang tunay na maka-Diyos, makabayan at makakalikasan, isang lipunang tunay na malaya at maginhawa.  Sa huling apat na taon ng paglaban at sumali na nang maramihan ang mga mayayaman at middle class.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Ferdinand Marcos; Jose Sison; Macli-ing Dulag; Jose Diokno; Lorenzo Tañada; Benigno at Corazon Aquino; at daan-daang libong mga aktibista at gerilya na di na naging bantog o gaanong bantog ang mga pangalan.

17. Panahon ng mga Sentenaryo (1992-1999): Sa pagpasok ng mga taon ng mga makasaysayang sentenaryo, nagsimula na ring tumingkad sa hanay ng taumbayan ang kamalayan sa kasaysayan. Kabilang sa pinakamahalagang mga sentenaryo (ika-100 anibersaryo) ang sa pagtatatag ng Katipunan (1892-1992); unang sigaw para sa Kalayaan (1895-1995); pagsiklab ng Rebolusyon at Pagsilang ng Bansa (1896-1996); Kamatayan ni Jose Rizal (1896-1996); Kamatayan ni Bonifacio (1897-1997); Deklarasyon sa Kawit (1898-1998); Paghahari ng mga Amerikano (1898-1998); pagtatatag ng Republika ng Pilipinas sa Malolos (1899-1999); at simula ng Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano (1899-1999).

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Kampanya para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan (Kamalaysayan); daan-daang libong lumahok sa Sentenaryo ’96; Pres. Cory Aquino; Pres. Fidel Ramos; National Centennial Commission.

18. Panahon ng mga Kaganapan sa Demokrasyang Pilipino (2000- ?)  Sa kauna-unahang pagkaka­taon, ang nahalal na Pangulo ay siyang pinili at iginiit ng mga maralitang mamamayan na na mayorya ng botanteng Pilipino, ngunit dadalawa’t kalahating taon pa lamang sa poder ay tinanggal siya sa pwesto ng kombinasyon ng mga maniobrang nagsimula sa isang di-natapos na impeachment tiral sa Senado, humantong sa malalaking rali na pinamunuan ng Simbahang Katoliko at mga institusyon at samahan ng mayayaan at middle class na malaking bahagi ay mga istudyante ng mga paaralang Katoliko (hindi pa botante), na kinampihan ng militar na nagrebelyon at ng Korte Suprema na nagluklok sa Bise Presidente bilang bagong Pangulo kahit walang batayan sa Konstitusyon.  Samantala, patuloy na lumalakas sa hanay ng mamamayan ang pag-aangkin ng demokratikong lakas, sa pagsisikap ng mga institusyon at samahang tunay na nagtataguyod ng demokrasyang nakabatay sa pagsasanib-lakas ng mamayan na hindi na aasa sa tulong ng iba. Kasalukuyang pinalalakas ng mga organisasyon ng lipunang sibil ang mga lokal na kilusan at mga lokal na pamahalaan at pinagsasanib-sanib ang mga lakas ng mga ito tungo sa tunay na demokrasya.

Mga pangalang dapat tandaan para sa panahong ito: Pres. Joseph Estrada; Pres. Gloria Arroyo; Cardinal Sin; atbp.

Ang “KahaNgaBuk”

               Ngayong nabalik-aralan na natin ang mga yugto sa nakaraan ng ating lahi, kilalanin naman natin ang pagdudugtungan ng kabuluhan ng nakaraan, kasalukuyan at hinaharap, na matatawag din natin “Kahapon,” “Ngayon” at “Bukas.”

Upang idiin ang pagdudugtungan ng mga ito, ang pagiging bahagi nila ng iisang kabuuan na tinatawag nating “kasaysayan,” ang “Kahapon,” “Ngayon” at “bukas” ay buuin natin sa iisang inimbentong salita, ang “KahaNgaBuk.”  

               Mula sa “Kahapon” ay hugutin natin ang mga praktikal na aral at ang inspirasyon, at gamitin natin mga ito “Ngayon” sa  ating ginagawang mga pagsusuri, desisyon at aksyon, alang-alang naman sa mga mabubuhay sa ating lipunan “Bukas,” alang-alang sa atin mismo sa ating pagtanda, sa ating mga magiging anak at sa kanila pang mga magiging anak.  Sa pamamagitan lamang ng ganitong pagkilala sa dugtungan ng “KahaNgaBuk” ay magkakaroon tayo ng mas buhay na pagtanaw at pagpapahalaga sa ating kasaysayan, sa hindi pa tapos na dula o nobela ng ating buhay bilang lahi at bilang bansa.

               Sa ganoon ay hindi natin kaiinisan ang kasaysayan bilang isang subject sa pag-aaral na pumipilit sa atin na magmemorya ng saku-sakong impormasyon -- mga pangalan ng lugar, pangalan ng tao at mga petsa ng iba’t ibang pangyayari -- na wala namang silbi sa ating buhay sa kasalukuyan.


What Our Eleventh-Hour Autobiography Omits

I HAVE SHARED what I realized with the aid of a 12-inch ruler as a timeline tool for the review of the entire stretch of our written history:

There is an important realization to be had with the help of any one-foot ruler. If we take the Chou dynasty chronicles of B.C. 722 as the hypothetical starting point, and 2006 as the end, we have had at least 2777 years of written history, or about "230 years per inch" on the ruler. It was only in the last 484 years, or roughly a mere one-sixth of this entire time span, that we have been under Spanish and American domination. Looking at a one-foot ruler, therefore, we can say that we are relatively familiar with only its last two-inch segment, from the "10" marking to the end. We know next to nothing about almost the entire length (ten inches) of that ruler!

    If we used, instead of a ruler, the twelve hours on the face of a clock, we can say that we know next to nothing about the first ten hours. Our knowledge of Philippine history is an autobiography that starts at the eleventh hour!  We have to have the will to recover a collective memory of the first ten hours and much more so we can know ourselves.  Some research I did yielded elements that made me exclaim to myself, “Mayaman tayo! Hindi nga lamang halata!”  This resulted in an article very similarly titled and it was published in Tambuli ng Dakilang Lahi magazine (2nd issue, April 2006) and I was asked by the quarterly LightShare Digest book magazine to come out with an English version, which I also present below:

Will to Inherit

a Dozen Distinct Endowments

(Legacy from our ancestors of many thousands of years before the half-millennium so far of foreign domination.)


By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Lead Founder, Kaisahan sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan (Kamalaysayan); Executive Convenor and Secretary-General, Katipunang DakiLahi para sa Pambansang Pagsasanib-lakas (DakiLahi); professor of Philippine History, International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME); and author of a number of books on Philippine and world history.


ORMAL History is supposed to be limited to written History, according to the western system of scholarship which also treats periods with no written historical accounts as “pre-history,” and relegated all non-written evidences of past events and cultural patterns only as the coverage of Archeology. It’s good that the word kasaysayan is not a mere translation of the term history! Kasaysayan covers the interconnected oral and written narrations (salaysay) of events and social behavior patterns that members of a community or of a set of communities deem significant (mayroong saysay) to them.

Our sense of history, or whatever little of it remains in our hearts and minds, will serve us well if it can develop within our self-image a sense of pride that we collectively deserve to have. Living according to our heroic heritage will surely improve our lives and allow us to discern a collective sense of purpose for our nation and for the world.

For thousands of years, even preceding the time of Christ, we, the peoples in the archipelago now called the Philippines, had our own system of writing which, in the account of Andres Bonifacio, entire community populations knew how to use. This is now known as “baybayin” or “pantigan” (also known by the foreign-based coined word “alibata”). But almost all the pieces of writing that existed at the beginning of Spanish colonization and the artifacts of indigenous religions were destroyed on orders of the Spanish clergy who branded the whole lot as “works of the devil.” For this reason, entire libraries of written historical accounts vanished in giant pyres and this accounts to a large extent for our collective amnesia.

Over the centuries, even oral history suffered its own disconnections and all elders who possessed unpassed knowledge had had to bring all the information with them to their graves. We have scarce information on our traits and our lives over those millennia, but we have enough information concerning at least a dozen things that we should all cherish as treasured truths. They form part of a great inheritance from our forebears. Obviously, they did not write out a will for us to have this inheritance, but we are the ones who can have the will to really live and preserve this rich legacy!

As labeled here by titles that all begin with the same Tagalog syllable ‘ba,’ these points should strongly influence our collective self-image as the peoples of the Philippines:


(Divine Spark at the Innermost Core or “Loob)

Overflowing goodwill towards one another and towards the rest of creation has been our nature. Coupled with this goodwill at the very core of our being (Magandang Loob) has been the innermost sense of self-confidence in our own individual and collective capabilities (Lakas ng Loob) in the pursuit of goodwill-directed endeavors. Our own genesis legend of Malakas at Maganda, far from being a mere copy of the Jewish biblical version, pertained not to beautiful and strong physical bodies as widely interpreted, but to the innermost being – souls with the divine attributes of being all-good and all-mighty, of magandang loob” andmalakas na loob.”  With these divine attributes at the core of our traditional concept of Tao (Human), the two-fold prime directive, “MagpakaTao at Makipagkapwa-Tao” implies a profound quest for individual and collective perfection similar to the “Taoist” perfection ideal, and consistent to the assertion about the innermost core of our being created “in the image and likeness of the Creator.” Such two-fold prime directive is all we need to keep in our spirit, thoughts and actions so we could all attain full development and harmony as individuals, as communities and as a nation within the broader Human Family. With “kagandahang loob” and “lakas ng loob” our ancestors worshipped Bathala as the deity that lived within them, with the intensity of adoration and prayer manifested in the intensity of their will to live these same divine attributes. This really beats physical gestures and words of adoration repeated half-consciously!


(Living Quarters Within Nature’s Bounty)

Not yet contaminated with the mental framework of Scarcity, which underpins much of human greed that was later introduced by western colonialist behavior, our ancestors co-habited and interacted very well within healthy eco-systems. Our tribal ancestors were like all other indigenous peoples the world over living in harmony and abundance with the rest of nature in their undisturbed home communities.  They cared for, and were nurtured fully by, their living quarters, with this last term deliberately meant to carry a double meaning:  they lived healthy lives in their common “house” as given them by the Creator, and this “house” actually lived with them as fellow family members in a home. Part of our natural resources has been our indigenous culture which values and cares well for the rest of such resources, fully enjoying the reality of symbiosis with them.


(Teamwork in Producing; Loving Care in the Sharing)

The usual translation of the contemporary word bayani into English is “hero.”  But bayani had much earlier emerged in our vocabulary as a verb, meaning, in infinitive definition, “to serve the community without expecting any equivalent material compensation or reward.”  With many of the early communities in these islands having come from many a large boat called balanghai, in these floating schools for synergetic living, we developed bayanihan, the love-based energy exchange of unmeasured community services and teamwork in various activities. The bayanihan praxis has persisted to this day, notably in small- and some large-scale tangkilikan mutual-support systems. By teaming up our capabilities, which in many circumstances have been diverse, we would magnify the strength of the individuals in synergy and apply this synergetically-magnified total working strength on bountiful natural resources. The abundant fruit of such community efforts would be divided, not along the rigors of precise accounting mathematics but in the spirit of love and caring that goes well beyond the minimums of fairness and equitability. 



(Boat Figurine on a Burial Jar)

Estimated to be 3,500 years old when discovered in a cave in Palawan a few decades ago, the Manunggul Burial Jar exhibited something that easily distinguishes it from other burial jars. On its lid is a figurine of a rowboat with two persons aboard, a boatman with a paddle and his serene passenger. Research has uncovered the symbolism behind this design:  Someone had just died and he or she is being accompanied (ihinahatid) across the river of death onto the opposite bank of the Afterlife.  This indicates an already deep sense of spirituality among us at the time of our ancestors who lived around that cave a millennium and a half before the time of Jesus Christ!  It has also signified our hatíd culture which is still very much alive to this very day.


(Honorable, Sustainable Partnerships) 

The experience of the ancient Chinese in trading with our ancestors and their descriptions of us as super-honest trading partners, paying fully, at times even excessively, for Chinese goods that were simply left at our beaches with no one on hand to receive and assess them. Such was the practice that persisted over centuries; accounts on these could not have landed in the official annals of Chinese history if the stories had a narrow experience base. The word suki has come to mean a sustained relationship of trust and of mutual concern for one-another’s needs, a pattern that could last only if founded on the trustworthiness of both parties. We were really noble trading partners over many centuries before we were forced by colonization to adopt what Rizal called the ways of slaves. It was also Rizal (in his essay on “indolence”) who discovered in Europe some valuable references to the ancient Chinese chronicles describing the known honorable traits of out ancestors as trading partners.


(Doctors for Holistic Health)

Our long tradition centered on the babaylan (shamans, usually female) indicates the efficacy of folk health care systems that combined the well-studied use of appropriate herbs with spiritual rituals and practices to maintain health and to cure specific illnesses. Much of our traditional health practices were drastically suppressed after having been dismissed as mere superstition or, worse, witchcraft. The colonizers even declared practitioners of these as open targets for murder. But many of these practices are now being recognized and revived by bio-medical physicians and spiritual healers who understand and appreciate well the holistic health paradigm now gaining ground around the world since the last few decades of the 20th century.


(Genuine Community Spirit)

The word baranggay (with a single g if used as an English word) is currently understood in the Philippines as the political sub-division of a municipality, city or district and the word is now widely used to refer to a place, the territory under the jurisdiction of the baranggay captain/chairperson with a council, a court and other instrumentalities and personnel. The term has even been delimited further to refer only to the baranggay local government structure and officialdom. The term originates from the name of the large boats, called balanghai, that brought in early settlers into our islands. Balanghai as boat became the boatloads of people (families or clans) living together as a community. Formally, even the Spanish word barrio and its current equivalent baranggay, should really refer to community and not the local government setup. Our earlier balanghai or baranggay communities, like their tribal counterparts, were real collectivities in effective joint stakeholdership, where collective creativity evolved, stabilized, and continually developed systems of mutually-beneficial arrangements and ways to meet their needs. Each of the adults forming the community was an active stakeholder, a TagBalay,” and the tagbalays’ designated officials, if any, were not above them but were to be their servant-leaders. With the enthusiastic cooperation of enlightened baranggay officials, we can revive our present-day barnggay communities into genuine communities uplifting the people’s lives and providing a firm foundation for genuine democracy to flourish in this country. Our ancestors had shown the way!


(Abundance in Creativity)

“Baroque,” a word applied in describing the “extravagantly ornate” and very colorful art painted on Filipino jeepneys of decades ago, is defined as a style in art and architecture emphasizing dramatic, often strained effect and typified by bold, curving forms, elaborate ornamentation, and overall balance of disparate parts. This is not only observable in jeepneys and minibuses of old (before they were regulated to be color-coded, by route) but also in a whole lot of practical tools and furnishings, leading some art critics to conclude that Filipino visual artistry “hates empty space.” The abundance of elements and colors in the designs of Pinoy brush-wielders may have been derided by critics with views molded by western schools of art, but may have been more reflective of our ancestors’ gratitude for the abundance of natural blessings in our tropical archipelago, that contrasted with the European mileu of winters and scarcity which probably underpins the preference for visual minimalism. Our people have always been abundantly creative, and our visual artists have always availed themselves of the limitless varieties of color in the palette of Mother Nature herself. Thus we have very colorful weaves, paintings, sails especially vintas, even foodstuffs, thanks to our festive, abundance-oriented creativity.


(Justice as Compassionate Healing)

Our early justice system was founded on the principle of profound understanding (taróng) of one another to prevent offenses and redress them if they happen. It was reconstructive and reformative and far more effective than the vindictive and penal system we have later borrowed from western jurisprudence. Whenever a community member commits an offense against another or others of the same community, the latter’s primary concern is for the genuine healing of the wounds inflicted. These were wounds of the aggrieved and even the spiritual and social wounds of the offender. The community considered itself as the biggest victim of the offense, since the binding fabric of mutual trust ultimately is the one put in serious jeopardy. With the aim to fully and deeply understand but not condone the offensive act, the community’s leaders and mediators work carefully to decide proper and constructive ways of restitution as part of the healing for it, and the community eventually emerges even more unified than before.


(Synergetic Interweaving)

Our "walis tingting,” or coconut-reed broom is widely used in the Philippines where it is called " in the Filipino language. It has been a favorite metaphor in illustrating the saying, "in union there is strength." After all, it is easy to break all the reeds one by one but together they are formidable.  This broom goes beyond the saying and illustrates synergism. Still, as a symbolic illustration of synergism, the banig or our native mat made out of leaf-strips woven together is apparently better.  Similarly, all the weaves, from g-strings to garments, to mats to blankets illustrate the same practical value. The groupings of indigenous peoples in our archipelago, including both the colonized and the preserved, have had long tradition of weaving, with the widely varied fibers or leafstrips representing the synergetic interweaving of the very lives and sentiments of the people making up each community or tribe.  Long-range close companionship of all these divergent tribal and non-tribal communities across the archipelago, as symbolyzed by our closely-knot weaves, represent our deep-seated aspiration for building a dynamic unity (synergy) in real nationhood.


(Universal Literacy)

Although we are peoples of rich oral traditions, we have had a system of writing for thousands of years known by both men and women. But the Spanish colonizers had our writings destroyed as “work of the devil.”  Some artifacts have survived, like the copperplate “document on a debt write-off” found about a decade ago in Laguna. It is known by such names as “baybayin,” “alibata,” and “pantigan.” According to Andres Bonifacio’s “What the Tagalogs Should Know,” this system of writing was known by all, including the women. This is something superior to literacy under the Spanish rule where the women were effectively excluded.  In fact, research on this indicates that such writing was used not only in recording literary works but in everyday communication among ordinary folks pertaining to day-to-day topics.


(Farming the Mountains)

Cited a few years ago as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations, the Banawe Rice Terraces in Ifugao province were earlier dubbed “Eighth Wonder of the World,” while in many respects exceeding the merits of most of the “original seven.” These were built up collectively as a technological wonder by our Ifugao ancestors and used productively for more than three millennia, applying the bayanihan system.  Each step in the sprawling giant staircase was called payao in our native Ifugao language.



E KNOW VERY LITTLE of that long period of our history where we lived in collective honor and freedom. The least we can do now is to seek earnestly to discover and remember well what little our historical amnesia affords us to remember.  Instead of such hardheaded persistence in thinking that we have always been the way we’ve been in just the past half-millennium, let’s develop the will to proudly inherit and fully live our honorable and heroic heritage, deserving to be emulated by the rest of Humankind.



C. The Personal Biography in Larger Context (of. history of family/clan, com­munity, nation); the role of your own or of your parents’ decision-making.


D. Vision for a Real, Live ‘Bayang Magiliw’.

for translation  (from Prof Reyes work-in-progress, Bagumbayan: Dugtungan ng Kabayanihan)):


‘Inang Bayang Magiliw’ 


Sa aktibong mga tagbalay,

Malalakas na baranggay,

Bayang Magiliw natin ay…

Gawing tunay, b u h á y !



URO PORMA at salita. Ito raw ang pagsasabuhay natin sa ating pagkabansa. Mayroon nga tayong pambansang pamahalaan, pambansang bandila, at pam­bansang awit. At palagian nating naririnig ang panawagang dapat tayong magkaisa.

Ngunit mayroon ba tayong isang Kaisahang nakikilala at nadarama upang batay doo’y kusa at likas na magkaisa at di na kailangang pakiusapan pa?  May nakikilala at nadarama ba tayong dugtungan ng mga salaysay ng ating mga karanasan sa isang kasaysayang mga taong karaniwan ang pinagtutuunan ng pagsubaybay?  Nadarama ba natin ang isang tunay na pagkakapit-pulso sa pagkakadugtong-dugtong ng ating mga buhay, nakikita ba natin pagkakawing-kawing ng ating nagdurusang mga sikmura at bulsá? 

O tayo ba’y nag-uugnayan lamang dahil sa nagsisiksikan tayo ngayon sa iisang hawla na may mapuputing bituin at mga rehas na pula? Daan-daang taon na ang nakalilipas na panahon mula nang tayo’y basta na lamang inangkin bilang kolonyang “engkomyenda” ng Kahariang Espanya, at pagkatapos ipinagbili, ipinasa-pasa, hinati-hati at sama-samang pinaghaharian hanggang ngayon sa pamamagitan ng isang pambansang istrukturang kontrolado ng mga galamay ng mga mapang-api’t mapagsamantala at ng mga kababayang mga galamay nila? 

Sa ganitong kalagayan, naisasagawa ba natin nang malaya ang pagpapakaTao at pakikipagKapwa? O pati ba ang ating mga puso at isipan ay naalipin na, kaya’t di na natin kilala ang ating Ina, na siyang tinatawag sa bawat pagkatakot at pagkabigla? Di na rin kilala ni ang diwa ng Bathala na buháy pa rin ngunit nabaón na sa kaloob-looban ng ating kaluluwa?  Ganap ang pagkaalipin kung di na kinakailangan pa ang anumang rehas o tanikala! Tayo kaya…?


‘Bayang Magiliw’

Kinakanta natin sa bibig, sapat nga sa marami ang dito’y makinig, ang tinatawag nating “Pambansang Awit ng Pilipinas” ay di na gaanong pinahahalagahan ng lumalaking bilang ng ating mga kababayan.  Kapag pinatutugtog nga sa mga sinehan, iilan ang nag-aabalang sumabay, at ang marami sa pagtayo man lamang ay halatang napipilitan. Inaalis pa ito sa bungad ng ilang palatuntunan, dahil sa maliliit na problemang teknikal tulad ng pagkakasira ng plaka o tape na nagdadala ng tugtuging ito. May nakapagsabi tuloy minsan, “Kung di natin makanta ang pambansang awit, di tayo karapat-dapat na magkaroon ng pambansang awit!”

Marami pang ibang dahilan kung bakit walang malugod na pagpapahalaga ang ating mga kababayan sa pambansang awit na kilala rin sa pamagat na Lupang Hinirang.  May mga kapatid tayo sa isang bahagi ng Kabisayaan na gumawa ng sariling bersyon ng pambansang awit sa sarili nilang pampook na wika, dahil sa ang titik ng orihinal ay nasa ibang pampook na wika kahit ang huli ang siyang nagluwal ng ating pambansang wika. May mga kapatid rin tayong nagagalit sa huling linya ng kanta, dahil ang kahandaang mamatay ay nagpapahiwatig raw ng pagkatalo.

Anu’t anuman, ang halos lahat sa ating mga kababayan ay di nakakabatid sa kahulugan ng unang mga kataga ng awiting ito.  Inaakalang pareho ang kahulugan ng “Bayang Magiliw” sa pamagat na “Lupang Hinirang” o sa orihinal na mga katagang “Tierra Adorada,” inaakalang pareho rin ang kahulugan ng Bayang Magiliw sa mga katagang “Patria Adorada” na pinakasimula ng mahaba at makasaysayang tula ng isa sa ating mga pambansang bayani o sa salin nitong “Pinipintuho Kong Bayan” na ginawa ng isa pa sa napakarami nating mga pambansang bayani. Ikaw na bumabasa nito ngayon, di ba’t ito rin ang iyong pag-aakala? 

Ngunit kung talagang tititigan natin nang husto ang mga katagang “Bayang Magiliw,” makikita nating kaiba, o may pasalubóng na direksyon ng pagmamahal, ang katagang ito kung ihahambing sa “Lupang Hinirang,” “Tierra Adorada,” “Patria Adorada,” at “Pinipintuho kong Bayan.”  Lahat kasi ng mga ito ay nagpapahayag na minamahal natin ang ating bayan. Ngunit sa mga kataga namang “Bayang Magiliw,” ang bayan ang nagmamahal at gumigiliw sa mamamayan.  Oo mga kapatid, ang Bayang Magiliw ay bayang gumigiliw.

Sa aking palagay, may dalawang dahilang maaaring pinagmumulan ang ganitong pagkalitó.

Una, marami talaga tayong sinasabi, ginagawa, inaawit o isinisigaw pa nga, nang hindi naman natin napag-iisipan muna nang husto. Lalo na kung ang karanasan natin sa Lupang Hinirang ay limitado sa paggalaw na bibig o sa pasibong pakikinig.

Ikalawa, na malamang na kasinghalaga o mas mahalaga pa sa una, wala tayong kabangyaman ng karanasan ukol sa bayang nagmamahal!  Ang lagi lamang naididiin sa ating isipan ay dapat nating mahalin ang ating bayan, pag-alayan ito ng sikap at talino at maging dugo at buhay kung kinakailangan!

Tunay namang kailangan at karapat-dapat na mahalin natin ang ating bayan.  Si Gat Andres Bonifacio ay gumawa ng isang 24-na-saknong (stanzas) na tulang Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan, at anim na saknong mula rito ay kilala natin ngayon sa awiting Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa. Ngunit si Bonifacio rin ang nagbuo ng angkop na simbolo para sa bayan ayon sa diwa ng Katipunan, ang Inang Bayan.  Ang isang ina ay ni hindi maiisip ninuman na pag-uukulan at tatanggap lamang ng pagmamahal ng anak nang hindi niya ang pauna at mas malinaw na gumigiliw sa kanyang mga anak.  Kaya’t sa aking palagay, ang tunay na kahulugan ng “Bayang Magiliw” ay matalas na lilinaw sa ating kamalayan kung iisipin nating ito ang ating “Inang Bayang Magiliw”!

Ngunit tulad ng sa “Madre España” na pinag-ukulan ni Bonifacio ng tulang Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas, wala tayong madamang anumang pagmamahal sa atin ng ating bayan. Sa pagkakaunawa kasi natin sa ating daan-daang taóng karanasan, ang inaakala natin na ang bayang dapat mapagmahal ay ang pamahalaang naghahari, nang-aapi, at nagsasamantala sa atin.  Serbisyo publiko ang bukambibig ng mga pulitikong nakapwesto sa pamahalaan, pati na ang mga opisyal na pinili nilang magpatupad ng kanilang mga patakaran. Ngunit sa karanasan ng napakarami nang salinlahi ng taongbayan, kulang na kulang dahil sa katunaya’y pakunwari lamang ang pagkakalinga ng pamahalaan sa mamamayan, sapat lamang  para maihalal muli ang mga pulitiko o para magkaroon ng kaunting bahid man lamang ng pagiging kapani-paniwala ng kanilang pagkahalal-muli.

Paano nga naman tayong magkakaroon ng ideya ng “bayang magiliw” ang taongbayang deka-dekada nang binibiktima ng pamahalaang ang tunay na amo naman ay kapakanan at pagkagahaman ng makapangyarihang mga dayuhan,  kung ang isang administrasyon ng pama­mahala ay inilubog tayo sa matinding pakakautang, kung ang kasunod na administrasyon na walang pagkilala sa pagiging lehitimo ng nauna ay nangako naman sa buong daigdig na ang lahat ng mga utang na iyon na ilegal at di pinakinabangan ng mamamayan ay babayaran natin, kung ang isa pang administrasyon ay hibang sa magastos na ambisyong maging “bagong tigre” ng Asya, at ang kasunod naman ay naalis sa pwesto sa bintang na pandarambong (kahit di naman napatunayan ang bintang), at kung ang kasalukuyang administrasyon ay nagmamadaling ipagbili nang halos libre ang natitirang mga likas na kayamanan ng bayan at isangla sa mga dayuhan pati ang kabuhayan ng ating mga anak at kaapu-apuhan? At ang lahat ng kanilang mga patakarang ipinuwersa sa ating buhay ay nagbubunga ng papabilis pang pagbigat ng pasaning buwis at papabilis ding pagliit ng mga serbisyo sa tao.  Sino ang makakaisip na ang isang pamahalaan na kumakamkam, pumipiga ng buwis sa lahat nating galaw, nangangako nang napapako, nag­papalusot, nagmamalupit at nagpapagamit nang lubusan sa patakaran at kapakanan ng mga dayuhang negosyo, ay maaaring maging isang “bayang magiliw”?  

Kailangang ilinaw sa lahat ang katotohanan: ang pamahalaan ay hindi ang Inang Bayan. At kung inaako ng alinmang administrasyon o pamahalaan ang mga karapatan ng estado sa pagpapasya sa patrimonya ng Taongbayan, batay sa pagsabing halal daw naman sila ng Taongbayan, dapat ilantad at labanan ang ganitong kasinungalingan!  Kailangan nating hanapin, kilalanin, iligtas sa pagkakabusal at pagkakagapos, ang minamahal nating Inang Bayan upang kamtin niya ang kakayahanng bigyang-kaganapan ang sarili niyang karampatang katungkulan na gumiliw at lumingap sa kanyang mga anak!   

At sa paghahanap ay hindi na tayo kailangan pang lumayo. Sapagkat sa ating pagkakabuo sa isang buháy na kaisahan, tayo mismo ang Inang Bayan.  Oo, ang taongbayan mismo, ang lahat ng mga tunay na nagpapakaTao, at batay dito’y nakikipagKapwa-Tao sa pagkakabuo ng kaisahan ng mga tao (bayan), ay siya mismong Inang Bayan

Ang buo at ang mga bahagi ay nagmamahalan; ang buo at ang mga bahagi ay iisa. Ang mga bahagi bilang indibidwal na mga kaluluwang may katawan (tao), at ang tunay nilang kaisahan bilang sari-saring lawak ng mga pamayanan (bayan) ay kapwa nakapaloob sa napakahalagang katagang taongbayan.  Kung ang mga katangiang pantao ay ilalapat natin sa bayan, ang angkop na simbulo ay Inang Bayang Magiliw!

Ngunit hindi pa ito nakikilala ng karamihan. Kaya’t sa patuloy na paglala ng hirap sa buhay dito sa ating lupang tinubuan, nagpapasya ang dumarami sa ating mga kababayan na iwan nang lubusan ang ating bayan, iwan na ang gobyernong di na sukat makakuha ng respeto ninuman (kahit ng mga dumidikit dito upang maambunan ng biyaya) at iwan na rin kahit ang maliliit na sirkulo ng mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ng bawat isa, makawala lamang sa ganitong buhay dahil wala na ngang kapag-a-pag-asang nakikita pa rito.  Paparami ang nangingibang-bansa, paparami rin ang nagpapasya na lamang “maglungga” sa sari-sarili na lamang pamilya.

Ngunit tulad ng aking naisulat sa “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng Lahat Nating Kapatid,” may nagaganap ring paglitaw at paglaganap ng isang namumuong pag-asa. Ang pinagmumulan ngayon ng ating pag-asa, ay ito: Paparami ang nakakakita na sa liwanag ng katoto­hanan ukol sa ating kahirapan. Paparami na ang nakakatuklas na kaya palang ma­unawaan ng karaniwang mamamayan mismo ang pinakabatayang mga prinsipyo ng paglago o pagbagsak ng ekonomiya. At paparami ang nagbibigay na ng importansya sa pag-aaral na ganito upang di na sila patuloy pang malinlang ng mga naghuhugas-kamay na mga opisyal sa tulong ng maka-dayuhang “economic experts.” 

Kaya’t nabubuo na sa hanay ng mamamayan ang “political will” na maigiit ang karapatan nila bilang maytaya (stakeholders) na aktibong lumahok sa pagsusuri, pagtatalastasan at aktwal na pagsisikap sa pagbabangon ng ekonomiya kahit man lamang sa sari-sarili nilang mga pamayanan. Malinaw na nilang nakikilala ang katotohanang ang pag-asang makabangon ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas ay nakabatay sa mga lokal na eko­nomiyang malalakas at nagsasanib-sanib ng lakas!

Nalalapit nang maitanghal ng dumaraming nagkakaisang mamamayan ang tunay na Inang Bayang tunay na malaya at mapagkalinga. Malapit na nating maitindig ang di-sukat maiwanang Bayang Magiliw!


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