Is it true that our history is not true?

I met with some friends  a couple of days ago and had an interesting discussion about Philippine History and the need to bring it closer to the mainstream Filipino. A hearty Filipino breakfast was served as usual in the generous home of  a man who I admire and respect not only because of his accomplishments in Filipinismo but for the kind of person that he is. He welcomes me as if I’m someone who belongs to his house, and he always listens to what I have to say about history — to think that I’m young and hold no authority in history like him. Of course, these meetings are not complete without his amazing recollections of how it was back then, how everything was before, and how it started to change afterwards. I’m a sucker for stories about life in Old Filipinas. Admittedly, I’m such a zealous antiquarian (people who know me well know what I mean); my fascination with our unique history, our past, has brought me around the country. I’ve always wanted to study and appreciate it more. This desire of discovery only increases as the day goes by.

At first I thought that this love, this interest in Filipino history, is innate in every Filipino. But of course, as you grow older, you understand that there’s lack of real appreciation and awareness among us. History is regarded as mere dates and events, no thanks to our schools’ superficial approach in history education. We’re fed with stories of blood-spattered revolts and fierce struggles but never did they teach us the appreciation of our language, culture, and traditions — all integral ingredients of what we know today as Filipino. Sometimes, the past is not easy to deal with especially if our minds were trained to think in certain ways — thus, we can’t blame the Filipinos of today if they prefer the American lifestyle and culture. As for this generation, we started with the ABCs and the MTVs — the American dream is what we want just like what the disillusioned Federalistas who urged us years ago that America would make Filipinos Americans. The generation after the 1896-1898 revolution were all Americanized, not by choice of course but through brute force. This new master successfully reoriented this country in less than a century, something that they failed to do in the other Spanish colonies they invaded. And this has a lot to do with the Spanish language. So effective was their imposition of their ways on us that we began to feel ashamed of our Hispanic first names and started trading it with theirs (we are already talking about our NAMES, ladies and gents). We naturally would want to rid ourselves with what we perceive is wrong — what we were taught to be wrong.

Instead of having a history which teaches us to connect with our past, we inherited a divisive one, history lessons that are out to cleanse out and destroy the memory of our founding fathers. Revisions stop us from appreciating our rich culture and heritage. We try to find more faults, more errors, when we already know they exist. We forget many important things because we were taught to read history in a way that we’ll make us continue to be sightless of what had transpired. We were already educated and cultured when the Americans came — we seem to forget this fact. We were not backward and godless like what the Americans wanted us to believe — we had a Republic for crying out loud, the first in Asia, an institution which they destroyed. Teaching history was perverted to suit the view of a few. Their view and those who allied with them: the Americanist, who believes the Yankees gave us civilization. And then there’s the nationalist historian, who believes in the edenic principles of an untouched, pristine Philippines but still end up calling it Philippines, as if it existed before the Iberian colonizer came. Many would belittle what I say as mere Hispanist chatter, but some of these heralded historians can’t even define what a Filipino means. Even Agoncillo wrote that it’s hard to plainly describe what is a Filipino — this coming from our premier historian. So what do we expect from students? What can we do about it? This is the question we all must ask ourselves.

We already know what the problems are. We know the revolution spoke Spanish and that the greatest generation of Filipinos that ever lived were not only speakers of Spanish but were artists of the highest order. So what’s with the cold shoulder towards the Spanish language? Are some people afraid of the potential that Filipinos might achieve? That they we might finally uncover the well filled with lies and deceit in our history? Why is it being largely ignored? Some argue that there is no more use for it. Some probably out of contempt and hate; they simply don’t want it around. We have to be reasonable, as I’ve been saying in my previous posts. we now live in a world where English is the language in the world of business. This is an advantage, definitely, and it would be a mistake not to use it. But continuing to suppress the Spanish language and avoiding its inclusion from our schools is unjust. By this, we continue to separate our children from our written history of almost 400 years!

Sometime in the early 1900s, the Americans started reorienting the Filipino mind. The forced imposition of English and the restructuring of the government commenced. Prominent Filipinos even started to push for statehood but the Americans never even intended to marry into our society. Their intention was clear right from the moment they took Intramuros: neocolonialism. American dream? It remained a dream forever. The American never had the intention of giving political equality to a nation which they deprived of its independence. They destroyed the first republic, a government whose existence they failed to recognize. To them, we were considered as lowly “negroes” and savages in the worst epoch of the modern world. They justified their occupation with benevolence and democracy. The genocidal war against those who resisted is probably the greatest cover up in our modern history. Why is this not taught in school? Because it would be too harsh for the America that we know of from history books. They were, after all, according to our books, benevolent.

English was introduced only in the early 1900s at a time when Filipinos were already using Spanish as the language (as Srª Soledad Lacson-Locsín calls it). Something that many historians try to dismiss but with overwhelming documentation (in Cebú, the Acta de Gobierno and almost all government papers were written in Spanish until the mid 1900s; this was prevalent in most of our old towns) available in written Spanish. It’s impossible to deny that its status was indeed national. It’s historical revisionism to claim that it never was. How many people spoke Spanish is subject to debate, as some contemporary historians claim that it was not even spoken by one percent of the total population, a gross exaggeration in my opinion. The Ford Report indicates otherwise as it details the widespread use of Spanish. Carlos Palanca made similar observations in a separate document. Pío Andrade, Jr. has written that much of Chinatown spoke Spanish! As if our literary giants who wrote in Spanish were not enough to convince us that there is a need to bring it back. We have yet to see a Rizal or even a Recto equivalent from our English writers. Our contemporary writers’ work would turn pale in comparison to our Hispano writers. I know it’s an unfair comparison but this happens to be the truth. Some might never had the chance to learn it but this was because of the conditions brought by the new political rules imposed on us. History shows us that the Spaniards public school intended to teach it at the end of 1800s. It failed because the Spaniards were preoccupied with issues of empire survival (Spain was then undergoing political crises). There was no one to teach the language. What I believe is that there were varying degrees of how the language was used, but its status as the official language was never in question back then. Its decline started when it was removed and replaced with English. The role Spanish played in our national history is an enormous one. Add to this is the more than twenty thousand adopted Spanish words that we have in Tagalog. This alone should be enough to bring it back in the classrooms. But why are we encountering so much resistance in its reintroduction? Let me go back to my earlier statement, “we were taught wrong”, for if we understand its value, historically we would never give it up. It was the late senator Blas Ople who said that its removal was a “strategic error” on our part. It was a blunder of epic proportions. How I wish all our children can read Rizal, Recto, Mabini and all our great men of letters in their original.


47 responses to “Is it true that our history is not true?

  • Rusty Gomez

    let me post thins link to my Facebook page: Philippines Re-Hispanization. Thanks.

  • Cedrick Sandus

    Of course, what a fantastic blog and informative posts, I will bookmark your site.Best Regards!

  • De AnDA

    @ Lance – Thanks for dropping by. Don’t feel in anyway that I’m brushing your ideas aside. Its awesome, this interest of yours. Like what I’ve said not a lot shares the same. Feel free to share your thoughts here man.

  • Lance Baker

    @All – Ok, thanks for the chat, see you some other time. Best regards to all.

  • Lance Baker

    @ De AnDA – I did answer your question…

    “As for your question about Australia…
    it is a country that has a culture made up of all past inhabitants, in their struggle to adapt to the harsh geographical location”.

    …aborigines are included as past inhabitants.

    As for me, what is my cultural background?
    I am a descendant of the convicts (white slaves) in Australia. My great great great grandfather, who was a convict, after spending 10 years of being chained up breaking rocks for the english occupiers, was given a small piece of land to live in Western Australia, and now here I am🙂
    Cheers.

  • Lance Baker

    @ De AnDA – To answer your first question “if they were Malay (or Bornean), what makes them different from the other foreigners, who like them, sailed from their native lands to seek fortunes in these islands we now collectively call – Philippines?”
    I suppose to that extent you are correct, and with that in mind, every single country in the entire world is made up of foreigners from some other place. There is no such thing as an ethnically pure culture anywhere in the world. So allow me to put on my philosopher hat, to answer this🙂
    First we must define “what is a culture?”
    My personal answer to this is…”A culture is a peoples’ lifestyle that has adapted to match the geographical location with which they reside”.
    So keeping this in mind, we can surely agree that people of the Philippines had already adapted to their geographical location prior to the spanish occupation. So they already had a culture. The spanish however, were different, they wanted to “impose” their spanish culture onto every place they invaded / occupied to make it similar to that of spain. It was a forced change, and it was not as happily accepted as some people lead us to believe. Apparently it just drove the deep seated prehispanic culture “underground” but did not remove it. So what is more important when referring to a culture? Is it the deep seated one, or the superficial one portrayed in fear of punishment or death by the occupiers? That deep seated culture, I believe, still exists in forms today.
    The problem with a discussion on Philippine culture is, that most filipinos have adopted the roman catholic religion from the spanish. Therefore to accept that anything happened prior to the spanish occupation, was also to accept the Philippines forefathers had a different religion or belief than roman catholic. I believe this is the deep routed reason why there is strong opposition to investigating prehispanic culture in the Philippines.
    As for your question about Australia…
    it is a country that has a culture made up of all past inhabitants, in their struggle to adapt to the harsh geographical location.

    • De AnDA

      @ Lance – Well, I would have to dispute the “impose” part on your answer, as new documents, those that were previously swept under the rag had revealed to us that majority of the separate tribes had freely accepted the Spanish rule. But this of course does not make traitors out of them since there was no country yet to speak of then. Now to the “geographical” adaptations of the early people, you’re right, some of them still exist – in fact some of them are still in the mountains and ironically, we are trying to Christianize and educate these poor tribes – something that the missionaries tried then. History will never be confined to one single phase, its constantly evolving. The trouble sometimes is that we tend to edenize our concept because we are taught to be this way. Its like the question I had for you, which you never answered, do you feel that the aborigines are more Australian than you? (I’m assuming your of European descent). Its a historical fact that people moves to places where they would forge unions and some form of government, whether its for their God or King, its just how it is. And us being products of this often violent unions of foreign and indigineous must realize that we need not to omit anything but study how we came to be and where are we destined to be🙂

  • juanlu68

    I still remember the conversation that I once had with an American diplomat during my posting in Singapore. He´d already had a few drinks and his tongue was more that mellow …
    He acknowledged to me how proud he was of the Filipino submission achieved by his country in Filipinas.. how proud he was about the demeanor of Filipino politicians in the hands of American occupation forces in Filipinas now and in the past.

    He described Filipinos to me like the “easiest catch of all times” and the “easiest conversion” to the American way of life.

    I´m sure that if Filipinas would gear again to recovering their Hispanic roots, all Hispanic countries in the world would embrace the movement, would help in the restoration of historic buildings, heritage and so much more…
    But it´s a movement that has to come from the Filipinos themselves, it´s a movement that Filipinos would want to have themselves, not imposed by anyone.

  • Isabel de Ilocos

    Dear Guillermo,

    I would love to learn that old Tagalog Abecedario. Spanish and Tagalog grew up together. It is absolutely true and real that the imposition of English and the repression of Spanish meant that Tagalog became forced into marriage with English and lost perhaps 50% — if not more — of its wealth and richness, upon being mutilated, separated from Spanish. English then took over and we have Taglish.

    Don’t get me wrong: I love English. But after living in Chile for 25 years and recovering Spanish I know that we Filipinos as natural linguists NEED to recover the wealth of Spanish that would allow us to make friends with our Latin American sisters and brothers and — absolutely — with our SPANISH brothers and sisters as well. Maybe the Filipino mestizos were taught to be antipáticos and not to love their fellow Filipinos. But there are millions who speak Spanish and would embrace us if we could only communicate our stories to them, and listen to theirs.

    Abrazos y recuerdos,
    Isabel

  • Guillermo Gomez Rivera

    Nold’s article is a profound and complete analysis why we are U.S. WASP slaves, both in the material as well as the mental (spritual) sense, due to the braiwashing we got from a Filipino history that is not true.
    Nold’s article is so profound and so complete that the brainwashed, cursed with the blindness of a perpetually low IQ, will even revolt against it.

    For instance, most of us who may love Tagalog as our native national language do not realize that American WASP colonialism even went to the extent of removing the original Tagalog Abecedario of 31 or 32 letters and had Lope K. Santos (threatened by libel suits by Dean C. Worcester for being the editor of MUling Pagsilang, the Tagalog Section of El Renacimiento Filipino published by Martin Ocampo and edited by Teodoro M. Kálaw and Fidel Reyes) write a so-called “Purist” “Balarila” to impose the invented ABAKADA to replaced the mentioned 31 letter Abecedario.

    Traces of the old Abecedario can be seen when Kapampañgans write in their own language. And that old ABECEDARIO was the same one for Visayan, Ilocano, Bicolano, and all the other principal languages and dialects of these Islands.

    The ABAKADA so crippled and ridiculed Tagalog that today when Filipino-based Tagalog is taught, our children are made to spell Tagalog words in English. Why cant our children even spell Tagalog words as Balagtas, and AMA ng WIKA did when he wrote the original Florante at Laura. Tagalog has been sureptitiously destroyed with the excuse of “freeing” it from the “Spanish Friars”, but an analysis of that “freeing”, as sponsored by U.S. neocolonialism is the destruction of Tagalog itself as a language.

    Are our Tagalistas not aware of the fact that Tagalog is not used as our first Official Language like Japanese is used in Japan and Chinese in China? Are Tagalistas no aware that Tagalog is being forced to give way to English in its own craddle.

    Yes English is good and useful. But do we have to kill our own mother to give it way in our lives. There is something profundly wrong with our Tagalistas today. At the bottom they are but vile INGLESEROS.

    Now, were is that so-called “PInoy Pride”? Why is there no “Pinoy Pride” to put Tagalog, or Filipino, ahead, or even at par, with English as our legislated medium of instruction and our official language in our courts.

    There is not even enough Tagalog press to speak of in this country?

    Puro lang English. That is why the neocolonizers took pains to really uproot Spanish even if they had to kill millions of Filipinos doing just that from the start of the Fil-Am war up to the present time.

    After Spanish was uprroted, what is now being uprooted is Tagalog along with Cebuano, Kapangpañgan, Ilocano, Bicolano, Ilongo, etcetera.

    While Tagalog produced real literary gems when Spanish was its companion language in these Islands, Tagalog today is a dying language with English as its companion language. And to kill Tagalog for sure, for sure the entire English Alphabet, with Ñ as a concession, is now being rammed into Tagalog.

    That is why we have to start from the top in our Filipino restoration movement. And to start from the top is to start with the restoration first of Spanish.

    Congratulations Nold, Pepe and Jose. You are in the right tract. Never mind those who say we have to go back to 3,000 years to look for the Filipino. They are just trying to misled us. They are the U.S. WASP forces in disguise. Let us first go back 100 years ago and let us then see if we can go back to the 3,000 years that they say we need to attend to. Kalokohan. Manlilinlang pa rin.

    Guillermo Gómez Rivera
    former National Language Committee Secretary
    of the 1971-73 Philippine Constitutional Convention

    • Akó si Gundam

      Perhaps, sir, we can start with reintroducing the use of diacritics in written Spanish, Tagalog, and other Filipino languages. Diacritics have always been a mark of elegance and utility. Sadly, it’s most likely because of WASP influence that we have dropped using them.

      I bet José Rizal, Andrés Bonifacio, and Jesús Balmori would be spinning in their graves had they learned that we’re not spelling their names right.

      It’s time we bring them back.

      • Akó si Gundam

        Pepe, I’ve been thinking of setting up a facebook group for that purpose. I’ve suggested it to Aldrin Fauni-Tanos (the other guy who also writes Tagalog with diacritics) and he’s all game for it. What say you? And you too?

        If we wanna get the language back in the country, we might as well teach our countrymen to write Spanish words and names properly.

      • Pepe

        Sure. And if you really want to be that strict with the use of original Filipino orthography, then we have to advocate the use of letter C instead of K which was almost not used during the time of our forefathers. Regards.

  • De AnDA

    @ Pinoy prde – What is your basis for saying that? Really, I would like to know Sir (or Ma’am).

    @ All – Interesting, we received a very disturbing warning from a former DOT secretary about these articles. Flattering, because someone like her took the time to read what we had to say, we don’t know what she meant by her message. She wanted this to stop. Interesting.

  • the showroom manager

    @Pinoy Pride- Ang mga taong katulad mo ang walang naitutulong sa bansa dahil sa makitid mong tingin sa ating kasaysayan.

    Basahin mong maigi na may bukas na pag-iisip ang nilalayon ng post na ‘to bago ka magbigay ng comment.

  • Pinoy Pride

    People here are just too in love with everything Spain. Kaya tayo napagsasamantalahan ng mga banyaga dahil sa pagiisip na ganyan. Wala kayong naitutulong sa bansa.

  • ruben s.hernando

    If I may put in a word or two, it is really a tragedy that Spanish is no longer taught in schools. Todays generation will not appreciate the original Spanish versions of Noli, Fili, the writings of Mabini, and others. Maybe thats too intellectual for some, so let me put it this way…just take a look at our old TCTs or Transfer Certificate of Titles. They are in Spanish, or at least they are in English and Spanish. I once read a title for a burial lot in La Loma and it was in Spanish!
    But even overlooking that, how can we ignore our heritage, we have been under Spanish rule for nearly 400 years. Those churches and mansions we are now trying to preserve were built during the Spanish time. It may be true that the Americans were benevolent, if you overlook Balangiga and their treatment of Sacay and Mabini. But still many old school Filipinos consider Spain as our mother country. After all, we have been under Spain for 400 years, and we were threatened by “foreign” invasion twice. One by the Dutch, the other by the British who actually occupied the Philippines for two years. But the Spanish authorities managed to defend the country and repel the invaders. Americans were here for less than fifty years, and at the first serious invasion by an enemy, they abandoned the country to suffer in defeat, and was almost by passed in 1945 but for the stubborn efforts of Gen McArthur. Hows that for American benevolence?

    • josé miguel

      American benevolence can be glimpsed at these sites:

      1)http://jmgpatria.blogspot.com/2009/06/american-invasion-continues_7055.html;
      2)http://jmgpatria.blogspot.com/2009/07/tnew-yorker-anals-of-american-history.html;
      3)http://jmgpatria.blogspot.com/2009/07/selves-and-others-us-genocide-in.html

    • De AnDA

      @ Ruben – Thank you for your comment. In a way, we Filipinos are all closet admirers of our Hispanic past. It aint wrong, I believe it deserves a second look, but it has been demonized to the point that we are no longer capable of accepting undisputed historical facts, we fantasize about the “what could’ve been”, and this is sad. There’s no undo button in Filipino historiography🙂

  • Pepe

    Hahaha! He’s beaten up really bad, amigos!

  • josé miguel

    Lance, why only 30,000 years? Could it not have been more than 30000 years? Why not 50000 instead? Why not include the africans since latest research have shown that the first asians came from africa?

    From whom did the Africans originate? Where does the culture in the Philippine archipelago you were saying encompass? Does it not encompass in the lands in Malaysia and Indonesia also?

    The way I percieve this post of Arnaldo, it is not about a claim that everything began with the Spanish. Instead, it is about recovering that historical gap which is composed of codes of our development, not as individuals, not as tribes, nor as regions, but as, a nation. It is about recovering our inheritance. This is important for us filipinos because without this, we will continue to be what we are today– selfish individuals, no love for our people, despising our own people, no point of reference for our being one people of a nation. And this painful existential emptiness was filled with worshipping dependents of the americans.

    This post is about making us filipinos of today aware of that gap in our history. It is about making us aware that it does not seem to exist because precisely it was taken away by the americans and repaced it with their own synthesized developmental code which includes a corrupted form of what they claim to be the filipino history and the transmission of their language of imperialism into our delicate throats.

    This post, I percieve, is merely about recovering that lost element which has a tremendous power to unite as filipinos once more and liberate us from the chains of dependency on the americans for decades. This post is all about recovering our self-respect, returning to our own home and charting our own destiny.

    • josé miguel

      The phrase on my third paragraph “…was filled with worshipping dependents of the americans.”, should instead be, “…was filled with worshipping dependency on the americans.”

      • De AnDA

        I hope that Mr. Lance drops by again and share more of his opinion about these things, his arguments are important not only to Filipino geography and to the our historiography more generally, but perhaps more significantly, to drawing the line where we the “Filipinos” came from. Prehispanic, or should we now call it PreFilipino, could have not started in the banks of Pasig or that bamboo kingdom of the Bornean Rajahs it started when a man named Legazpi set forth the acquisition of a territory for his King and his Religion. For there was no sense in establishing a capital city if there’s no country to speak of. 40 years after Lapu-Lapu defeated the invading Spaniards, there was still no unified nation — makes you wonder what has happened for four long decades, was there any native consolidating the tribes and islands? it took another Spaniard, whether we like it or not, to launch this idea to fruition: a single unified Filipinas. This has taken to long, I’m getting carried away LOL

  • De AnDA

    @ Lance – Thank you Sir for dropping by. Perhaps you misunderstood what I said, and yes, I totally agree with you that we already have culture 30,000 years before the Spaniards came, maybe we could stretch it further back, who really knows about these things to confirm, really. But when it comes to the origin of the identity called “Filipino”, we can only attribute it to the Spaniards. Sure, we could have been Mohammedan but clearly there were significant changes as one by one the separated islands were being conquered and swallowed up by the expanding Spanish empire. There was a shift from our once pragmatic society to single unified entity. The founding of the capital Manila was the beginning of what we now recognize as the Philippines. Whether we agree with this view or not, collected and combined – this is how the country was formed.

    • Lance Baker

      @ De AnDA – It’s ok, I am very interested in Philippine history. There are many things from pre-spanish times that are still part of the philippine culture today. The craftmanship of Philippine wood carvers, potterers, jewellers and artists in general is very much a pre-spanish ability. Additionally to this, the Philippines exported their wares internationally prior to the spanish arriving. This can be proven in such places as the excavation in front of the church grounds in Boljoon in southern Cebu. In fact, one of the skeletons, dating back to 1400 was wearing a double linked gold chain so intricate, it matched the quality of modern times (and this gold chain was made in the Philippines). All I ask is for people to please take some pride in your past, you were very advanced prior to the spanish occupation, don’t attribute every ability to outside influences.

      • De AnDA

        @ Lance – Thank you for visiting the site. I appreciate your interest in Filipino history, not many people, even Filipinos, study this islands historiography like you do. Now, allow me to discuss to you my thoughts of the “Prehispanic” idea, which many people considers originally “Filipino”. Meaning truly “Native”. It is a fact, I believe that even those people who studies these “native” culture considers them immigrant. In fact, history books nowadays make certain that Filipinos celebrate their true origin by calling the “Balangay”, the catalyst of the true Filipino nation. which brings us to this question, “if they were Malay (or Bornean), what makes them different from the other foreigners, who like them, sailed from their native lands to seek fortunes in these islands we now collectively call – Philippines? Is it because they sailed here first? or walk the land bridges that was said to have existed before? The simple fact is that the culture we are taught to be advance, this ellusive “prehispanic” culture, is also from closest asian neighbors -who had brought their art here and disappeared.God knows what happened to them afterward. You’re from Australia, let me ask you, does that mean that the Aborigines, historically, are the founders of your nation? is there such a thing as preanglo era there? do you see them more Australian as you are?

  • Pepe Alas

    Hello Gundam,

    Don’t worry. It’s utterly foolish to demonize the English language or any other language for that matter. Although my love for our native Spanish language is inconceivable, I couldn’t really imagine myself demonizing the English language. I even write better in English compared to Spanish and Tagalog.

    I am only against the way the English language is being used by the WASPs as a tool for economic slavery.

    I guess you must have referred to our small argument in Facebook several days ago. I asked my Facebook friends if they agree to bring back Spanish as an official Filipino language. You replied, “get rid of Tagalog first”. That was the main reason why I said that English should be removed as well if we are to get rid of Tagalog.

    If you didn’t write anything about getting rid of Tagalog, I wouldn’t have replied the same about English. It’s that simple. =)

    Regards to everybody!

    Pepe

  • Pepe Alas

    @Lance Baker — Early Malay/Indonesian/Negroid settlement in what is now known as the Philippine archipelago is no longer contested, Lance. So it’s just a waste of words to try to “reeducate us.”

    30,000 years of Filipino culture? In order to define what Filipino culture is, you should first determine the meaning of the term Filipino and its manifestations to what we are now.

    It is apparent that you don’t know about it, Lance. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have wasted your time typing almost two hundred words of insignificance.

    • Lance Baker

      @Pep Alas – so you assume I don’t know what I am talking about. Ok, you say that I should first determine the meaning of the term Filipino. Well, I suppose I am one of the few people here who actually do know what the original term “Filipino” meant. Back in the early days of spanish occupation, the word “Filipino” referred to a full blooded spanish person born in the Philippines (eg. Spanish mother & Spanish father). At that time, a native from the Philippines was called an “indio”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to fight or argue with anybody here. I just look at history with an unbiased eye.

      • Pepe

        Excuse me. I do not assume that you do not know what you are talking about. Just check this out (your own words):

        “The filipino culture had 30000 years of culture before the spanish arrived (500 years ago).”

        What “Filipino culture” are you talking about? It is as simple as this — any third-rate historian worth his salt will tell you that there was no Filipino culture at all before the Spanish arrived. Whatever culture that was there already was not singular but plural due to the very hard fact that the archipelago we now talk about as the Philippines were composed of myriads of tribal nations aggressive and untrustful towards each other.

        Then you say that you look at history with an unbiased eye?

        Nobody does not treat history, or even any subject matter, without impartiality. Sad to say, that is another awful truth. I choose to side with the good. Therefore, that makes me biased already. Show me the person who treats history without any bias at all and I will worship him from crown to foot.

        So let us put it this way: COMMON SENSE dictates that we should only be biased towards the LOGICAL and not the absurd, Lance. With what you said about not fighting or arguing with anybody here, you of many people should be able to discern that.

        Regards.

  • Lance Baker

    The Philippine archipelago was settled at least 30,000 years ago, when migrations from the Indonesian archipelago and elsewhere are believed to have occurred. Additional migrations took place over the next millennia. Over time, social and political organization developed and evolved in the widely scattered islands. The basic unit of settlement was the barangay (a Malay word for boat that came to be used to denote a communal settlement). Kinship groups were led by a datu (chief), and within the barangay there were broad social divisions consisting of nobles, freemen, and dependent and landless agricultural workers and slaves. Over the centuries, Indo-Malay migrants were joined by Chinese traders. A major development in the early period was the introduction of Islam to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from the Indonesian islands. By A.D. 1500, Islam had been established in the Sulu Archipelago and spread from there to Mindanao; it reached the Manila area by 1565. In the midst of the introduction of Islam came the introduction of Christianity, with the arrival of the Spanish.

    The filipino culture had 30000 years of culture before the spanish arrived (500 years ago). Why do you assume that everything began with the spanish?

    • Isabel de Ilocos

      Hi Lance,

      To propose the recovery of our historical memory of Hispanic Philippines is _not_ to deny everything that came before. But Hispanic Phil. (1521-1913) is closest to our modern selves, yet we were conditioned to hate it, we were taught to idolatrize Tagalog but we were not taught classical Tagalog either (for ex. after reading the correspondence of Rizal with his family in Tagalog I learned to love Tagalog much more than the Pilipino classes I received in grade school and high school). We have been taught to love English and want to leave the Phil. to “mag-abroad” and hopefully become U.S. residents. And this has to do directly with what happened — the cataclysm for our national psyche — of the destruction of the Hispanic Filipino world and soul. That Hispanic-Filipino world and soul was actually the fusion of indigenous culture with the Spanish culture that tried to destroy that indigenous culture but instead was changed by it. And that construct binds us today to the approx. 500 million(?) Hispanic Americans and Spaniards today — instead of being the orphans we have been, not knowing who we are, not loving our environment, full of conflicts and confusions, and alienation.

      Regards,
      Isabel

      • Lance Baker

        @ Isabel de Ilocos – Firstly let me explain something about myself before you confuse me with the average Westerner. I was born in Western Australia. I am 47 years old. My first experience of the Philippines was in 1983 in Luzon during the Marcos era. I was also there during the election when Corizon Aquino was elected. In those days I learnt enough tagalog to get by, but by no means an expert. I spent 6 months living in Tandang Sora, QC during that time. I had also spent time up the north of Luzon. Maybe I have spent about 18 months total in Luzon in my early life. During those times, I have dined with the rich in Makati, drank with the military in Antipolo, and shared lambanog in squatter houses in Las Pinas, as just some examples.
        I have also spent a lot of time in the Visayas. In fact I have lived in Cebu for the last 7 years. Unlike most foreigners staying in the Philippines, I am a resident of the Philippines. My home is on Mactan Island very near to where the Battle of Mactan happened. I have also travelled extensively around the Visayas region. I love the Philippines, maybe more than some indigenous filipinos I have met.
        Now, the reason I told you all that….
        From my experience, geographically speaking, tagalog is really only spoken “at street level” in a small part of the Philippines…southern Luzon. When I was up north the street level talk was Ilocano, I am not sure if it still like that now. The street level talk in Visayas is naturally visayan. In Mindanao it is either visayan or malay.
        I know first hand that it is considered very rude to speak tagalog in visayas, and it is almost forbidden in mindanao. Equally, if I went up to most people in Manila and said “maayong buntag”, they would not have a clue what I said. If I said “magandang umaga” to somebody in mindanao they would sneer at me and turn away. Governments have been trying to unite the Philippines with a common language in the past. When they “invented” Pilipino (a “so called” combination of the languages, but really…and obviously…predominantly tagalog) the remainder of the Philippines rejected it. It is this inter-regional rivalry that has brought about the government endorsed english language usage as some accepted common form of communication throughout the Philippines. At some form it has actually worked. So perhaps the introduction of english as a national language was more of a political solution to the inter-region communication problem, rather than a preparation to immigrate to the US.
        I noted at the end of your post, concerning “not loving our environment”. It has be documented that the pre-spanish Philippine people were very environmentally conscious. They treated the rivers, ocean and land as gods, and actually worshipped then at times. They had a great respect for those because they knew fully it was what sustained their lives, not modern day shopping centres.

  • De AnDA

    @ Bryan – The Federalista’s was a delusional faction but we can say this of course because we have the benefit of studying their actions now. I can just imagine their disappointment. Steps toward abolishing any local language is wrong, this is what the Americans did [so no, I’m not calling for the removal of English hehehe]. While the Spanish Friars – for all the demonization they got from our great historian are not even credited for preserving our local languages for if they have not studied and recorded them [preached using them], we would’ve lost many of our languages a long time ago. I have no problems with English as evident in my writings. What I contest is how we are FORCED to use it. I’ll give you an example: while I was in Cebu’s Capitol, an old couple approached me because they were having difficulty understanding a government form they’re trying to complete – its all in English! We have embraced this foreign language to the extent that we’re slowly suffocating the life out of our native languages. It now sits side by side with Tagalog as our official language. We have more than enough English subject from Elementary to College – but look at our curriculum, it seems that we have forgotten to study OUR languages – one of which of course is Kastila. So while Puerto Rico, technically a US state, has fought for their Spanish language, here’s our republic – acting like a puppet of the Yankee imperialist colossus, desperately trying to please them with our pro-English policies. Yeah sure, you can repost this, I just hope it won’t badly affect your readership😛

    @ Gundam – This article was a response to Pepe’s question – I’m not aware of any notices he has sent calling for the abolition of the WASP language. I get your point – and yes, we would want to avoid that. English will continue to gain hold of our society in expense of our fragile local languages. Just look at our policies in economy and education. There’s nothing we can do to even make a mark on this seemingly powerful influence they have over us but we have to do something in the name of our ancestors.

    • the showroom manager

      @nold- readership? as far as i know, i have my wife, some two or three occasional commenters, and you so i don’t think that my blog would experience a huge drop😀

      gundam is correct in saying that both languages can be reconciled. we must get the best from both cultures. teodoro kalaw said it well: “our ambition is to conserve the best of our virtues and get the best of foreign virtues, in order to create a nation more excellent, which is the aim and essence of true nationalism.”

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  • Akó si Gundam

    @ the showroom manager: Really? That self-styled “prince of Luzón” was a Hispanophobe too? Well, I’m not that surprised, I thought he was a nutcase to begin with.

    @ Nold et al: Just be careful not to demonize English completely (though Pepe’s sending me feelers that its going in that direction). Polarizing this would only hurt your dampaign. I think it’s possible to reconcile the legitimacy – history, socio-cultural – of BOTH English and Spanish in the country.

    • the showroom manager

      @gundam- you might be referring to pedro paterno as the prince of luzon. ilusyonado nga talaga with coat of arms ala salakot. but he has made some studies (self-serving or not) about pre-colonial philippines to show that we’re already “civilized” and advance his claim to royalty.

      he even ventured to say that that civilization ranked alongside other great civilizations. credit goes to him for trying to do research about us and publishing the first filipino novel, Ninay.

      • Akó si Gundam

        Oh crap, I thought you were referring to Paterno. Pardo de Tavera palá! Sorry, good sir. I guess I’ve become dyslexic.

        Pardo de Tavera was right in giving the pragmatic reasons for the shift to English. At that time, the British Empire was at its zenith, and the US was at its colonizing spree. It would’ve proven wise to master the tongue of the master of the world.

        Strangely, during the first years of American rule. the US used Spanish in communicating with the Filipinos. The Yanks were encouraged to learn it as it was, in Taft’s words, the lingua franca. Even the first schools they established were conducted in Spanish. DLSU is such an example.

  • the showroom manager

    BTW, i’d like to repost this in my blog with your permission😀

  • the showroom manager

    Thanks for a very informative article, Nold. You highlighted the main points clearly about the importance of the Spanish language and how we used to “own” it back then.

    If one would look closely on how it was erased from our culture, it was during the 1900s and officially in the 1920s. The prime mover of this is was TH Pardo de Tavera (yes, he’s the brother of Juan Luna’s wife and Rizal’s close friend). A leading intellectual during that period, Pardo sees colonial education under the Spaniards as one that condemns modern ideas. He justifies the use of English on pragmatic grounds. It’s better suited as a medium for science and democracy. Under the Americans, he was instrumental on policies that would have a lasting effect on us. Pardo wanted Filipinos to “start anew”.

    On a personal note, I think that his intentions were sincere. Rabid nationalists were quick to label Pardo as a traitor. His advocacy was clear: the transformation of Filipino mentality along the lines of Western science. English was one of the keys. He wanted our country to progress at a rapid pace.

    But now we ask ourselves at what cost?

    To borrow your words:
    “Instead of having a history which teaches us to connect with our past, we inherited a divisive one, history lessons that are out to cleanse out and destroy the memory of our founding fathers. Revisions stop us from appreciating our rich culture and heritage. We try to find more faults, more errors, when we already know they exist. We forget many important things because we were taught to read history in a way that we’ll make us continue to be sightless of what had transpired.”

    I believe that we stressed too much importance on English that we traded a lot for it. We need the best of these cultures to make better Filipinos. Learning Spanish is one huge way of taking back what is ours and use it as an advantage in the modern world.

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