A people without a memory are fair game…

I’d like to share an email that was sent to several Filipino American who were members of a discussion forum. I was copied by a friend. The sender, has been living in the States (or lived) for some time and has become active in Filipino American forums on the internet.

After posting some of  the good that can come out from reintroducing Spanish, citing direct benefits for the appreciation of Filipino culture and history. among others, the poster was bombarded by the other members that kept on pressing that the move of getting Castillian back will be an educational disaster – to them the fact is that there is no historical basis for Spanish to be considered as among our language. The poster responded:

Hola *****, ****, todos–

No, you didn’t understand what I was trying to say. You are hearing what we have always been told:

1.  Spanish was never the language of the Filipinos.

2.  It’s impossible for Filipinos today to learn Spanish.

3.  Spanish is irrelevant for the Filipinos.

4.  What we see today as the Philippines and the Filipino nation is all that has ever been, all that ever will be.


1.  Spanish is now once again an official Filipino language.

2.  A lot of young Filipinos would want to learn Spanish if they had the means. In fact, a lot of young Filipinos are now studying Spanish because they realize that it is an asset.

3.  A young Spanish historian told me that in Mexico at the time of independence, Spanish was not the lingua franca. In no former Spanish colony, practically, was Spanish the only language. It was in the course of the development of the new republics that the education system was developed and Spanish was spread.

4.  Spanish has been irrelevant for the Filipinos, we have been taught that it is irrelevant — as you yourselves, who should be the first to debunk this fallacy, as “tisoys” should have done, but have perhaps wanted to keep it a language for the kitchen and the family gatherings, but have not bothered to cultivate it in order to write in it and defend it, as many of your great-grandparents did while they knew that it was inevitable, that their own descendants would turn their backs on Spanish and embrace English, nay, even aspire to become estadounidenses.

We were taught that it was irrelevant.

And today, what?  Look at that country today.  Look at it from your ivory towers in the States or wherever you are.

I’m ashamed of you.

Really, and find your shortsighted tisoy arrogance completely anachronistic, passé, proper to our parochial past.

I am speaking on behalf of your great-grandparents and great-greatgrandparents who never meant revolution to mean turning our backs on a rich culture and embracing a foreigner who wasn’t even interested in marrying into our race and spending the rest of their lives in our homeland.

Okay, please excuse me for the scolding.  You can do what you want with it.

But the tisoy culture of the Philippines made its contribution to making Spanish and the Spanish past hated, and giving the anti-Filipinos who were posing as nationalistic heroes more firewood for the bonfire.  Indigenism, Tagalog as the only Filipino language.  The moros and ethnic minorities as irrelevant.

It was Elizalde who discovered the Tasaday, who showed love for them. I had never before seen any Filipino acting as though the jungle folk were worthy of being loved or honored.

I don’t know what the story was behind the scenes, no doubt there will be Elizalde bashers.

But the descendants of the Spanish in the Philippines also have things to examine in their consciences.


We have a Hispanic Filipino memory and history that we alone — I believe — of all the former Spanish colonies — have not known how to value.

Instead, we have joined in with the idiots and dwarves — the midgets that were called midgets by our own Hispanic Filipino great-grandparents — who have thrown our Hispanic heritage into the dustbin, to emigrate to the United States.

Or to Australia, or to God knows where, and use the Philippines as their occasional residence, to “not lose their roots”.

Or the Sorianos and Zobels et al. who give away prizes to their pet artists and writers, good for them, at least they are paying lip service.

But oh!  What a shame, what a damn shame!  For all the good things that the United States of America did for the Philippines, that the U.S. trained bureaucrats and politicians have only learned to manage decadence and a culture of ignorance, as Pardo de Tavera described it.

OK, he dicho.

Por encargo de los difuntos.

I had to say this one day, and it’s out of the bag.

You can dish it out now.  I really am interested in what you will have to say.

Un abrazo,


I guess if you cave in  to insults and criticisms you lose, sometimes its best to fight!


5 responses to “A people without a memory are fair game…

  • Polprav

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  • nold

    @ Ako – I’m not familiar with Elizalde and the Tasadays but I believe what the writer was trying to express is how fast some people dismiss such works. Its like if its coming from some guy like that, it must be fraud.

    @ Jose Miguel – Your observation are true. We have to keep in mind that the revolution spoke Spanish – without it the propaganda in Madrid and Rizal’s writings would’ve been ineffective, irrelevant and impotent. Without Spanish, there would’ve been no unification.

  • josé miguel

    Arnaldo, we only have to take the course which leads us to the truth, no matter how perilous or how long it takes. And what is the truth?

    They say there is no historical basis for spanish to be considered as among our languages. This means then that our original constitution– the Malolos Constitution written in Spanish which was arbitrarily replaced is of no value to our history therefor to our nation. This means then that, our Academia Militar patterned after the Spanish frame of mind and replaced by American doctrines with a definition of who is friend and who is enemy is of no value to our history therefor has no relevance to the way we come up with a defensive response before an invading foreigner. This means then that much of our systems documented in Spanish does not have any value to how we define our national situation, how we respond to it, and how we decide on the options and act on it. This means that, there is really no problem with these systems having been replaced by people whose frame of mind, economic dynamics and defense characteristics, have already been infected by a developmental code which has been transforming us Filipinos from that of being nationalistic, to that of worshipping dependents on our American 1899 invaders, egoistic beings despising our own. Who transmitted to us this foreign code thru our education, defense, legislative, political system and culture?

    Is this not true even today? Is this not a problem? Are we supposed to conclude then that the American replacement of our original and organic system benefitted us today? Are we doing fine as a nation today. How are we doing in the world ranking in terms of economy, honesty, health, environment, food security and defense status?

    If we talk about historical basis, were we a filipino nation before the spaniards came to introduce their system? Were we a nation at all? Without the Spanish system would we even be able to talk today of recovering our inherited nation from the Americans and Chinese control?

    I just hope that they will not be just as arbitrary with their conclusions just as arbitrary in the way our Malolos Constitution, Academia Militar and our diferent systems have been replaced and brought us to what we are today as compared with other respectable nations of the world.

  • Ako Si Gundam

    But Nold, weren’t the Tasadays just a PR gimmick to bolster Marcos’ forest protection campaign in the south?

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