I previously wrote a blog about Ricarte a week ago after reading a 1920’s article by Kalaw. I have to add something to that after I stumbled upon some interesting pictures of him.
Below are three telling pictures of El Vibora. The first one is the Japanese memorial dedicated in his honor – this was obviously made for their countrymen alone (it has no English nor Spanish sublines).
The second one, a smug shot taken while he was a prisoner in Bilibid Viejo in Manila. The American’s had just taken over and found resistance from men who originally took part in the Filipino Spanish war. The defiant picture of the young Ricarte speaks about the struggle the Filipinos like him had to endure under the Americans. Men like Ricarte, suffering the pain of how they were robbed of freedom and glory continued the fight against the new invaders.
I found out that some of Ricarte’s descendants lives near where my relatives in Gen. Trias resides. I was told that there are numerous Ricartes now living in the US. Times has changed, I wonder what the recalcitrant Ricarte would think of his descendants. If I have time I’ll try to look for these people. I want to hear their stories.
Ricarte was living quite a comfortable life in Japan when he was given an opportunity to go back to his land to “help” and “pacify” his kababayan, under uncertain conditions he did. Aside from teaching Spanish at a University he also had this food shop called Karihan there. Curry is a south east Asian flavor and it seem that the enterprising husband and wife was cashing in on a Japanese fascination. The shops name suggest the man’s undying love for his country. I wonder what would have happened to him if he resisted the temptation of again joining the war against the Americans, this time as an ally of the Japanese.
We have to try to understand more the lives of our heroes, so we can, individually and collectively, as a nation, relive their heroism.
A story is told about how Ricarte while in Japan, wept uncontrollably seeing Atang de la Rama perform kundiman. When I hear the patriotic song’s lyric, “Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya. Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila. Gaya ng pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa”, I don’t know why but Ricarte comes to mind – Perhaps, because I believe he’s got that kind of love for his country.