Just had a great chat and lunch with Sr. Gomez Rivera. This living legend’s historical lectures both disturb and amuse me all at the same time.
“Disturb” Because he reveals the ugly lies hidden just beneath the surface of Filipino historiography. His voice speaks the truth of how Filipino history is still being manipulated and used to favor the interest of groups who wants to destroy the “Filipino”, and these people, unfortunately, has partly succeeded as we accepted to manage decadence and a culture of ignorance.
When will we finally lose our culture, our identity as Filipinos?
The Ermitense Leon Ma. Guererro, the prince of Filipino poetry warned us “Filipinos” against joining these “idiots and dwarves” who have thrown “our” heritage to the dustbin – because of this careless attitude, we continue, willingly to be “degraded into the condition of disenfranchised beggars”.
“Amuse” yes, because he perfectly blends history and humor. Humor that always ends with his hysterical laughter! No-one could tell stories like Gomez: history, literature, politics, arts, writing, books — all rolled up in his interesting accounts of life as Filipino.
It must be his dancing, writing activities and his voracious reading habits that keeps him fit physically and mentally. He’s in better shape than most people my age – what’s shocking is that he eats all kinds of fast food! I remember my friend saying, “he would outlive both of us!”.
I hope he will give us more of his works for many, many years to come. Eres el mejor, Sr!
We owe him a great deal of thanks for the many lessons he shared with us. He has finally agreed to have his books “digitalized”, a project that I had proposed a long time ago. Pepe and I can’t wait to get it started!
11 November 2009