By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(April 1995)

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HEN I WAS just starting this syndicated column series for the Kamalaysayan Media Service and neither the Mabuhay News Service nor the Philippines News Agency had yet joined in the Kamalaysayan network as an active participant and media carrier, one of the first items I came out with was about the Kartilya, the code of behavior for the Katipuneros. Considering that this column's reach has greatly broadened since that time, especially with its issues now being fed to the Internet, it may be appropriate to repeat the message of that column item. Those who have read it the first time, probably in Baguio Midland Courier or Palawan Sun, my earliest carriers, would find it worth their while to review this, now that the Sentenaryo '96 climax month (August 1996) has come.

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, as translated from the original Tagalog by the late Paula Carolina Malay (words in parentheses come from Kamalaysayan). Try to see also whether there would be any points deserving to be adopted as your own guides in life...

"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.

(Kamalaysayan Media Service)

Interactive Review of the 14 lessons of the Kartilya ng Katipunan



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