I’ve always posted something about this monumental day in our history. I know this is late but better than never. I’ve been commemorating the holiday myself, albeit in my own quiet way, by reading old notes and books about Manila.
Maligayang Araw ng Pagkakatatag, Siyudad ng Manila!
Last June 24 amidst the rain, floods and gloom brought by the monsoon, Manila celebrated its 440th year of founding.
You hardly hear anything about “araw ng Manila” these days. Aside from those employees asking around if they will be entitled to an extra pay because of the holiday, no one really goes around town celebrating.
Is it because Manila no longer understands the meaning of its ‘founding”? or is it because Manila has ceased to be home to the descendants of the families, whose ancestors celebrated it with much gusto, that once dominated its society?
Manila today is a busy, frantic and overwhelming place for a first time visitor. I consider it among my favorite place to just walk around. If you can stroll around Manila you can pretty much survive everything in this world. Every time I visit the place I enjoy it more and more, it still have surprises up its sleeves. Too bad that conservation and protection of its cultural and heritage sites has been, for the most part, mismanaged by the city government.
What also needs to be celebrated is the founding of the official state. A capital would not exist without a country – the founding of the capital, Manila, then coincides with the establishment of the official state.
In the past, the foundation day of Manila was stopped because one of its past mayor believes that Manila was never established by the Spaniards. I forgot who reinstated it but I’m thankful that someone else did. Some historians still insist that Araw ng Maynila should not be celebrated because it pays homage to its Spanish conquerors who destroyed the Muslim local communities.
But what is not discussed is that those Mohammedans who came to Manila and established their bamboo castles were settlers too, bringing with them their Bornean culture, tradition and religion. They too, like their Spanish adversaries, displaced small native families to establish rule.
So do we then look for when did those non-Muslim river dwelling natives found Manila? Do we continue to peel the onion until nothings left of it? Because if we continue with this thought we might find ourselves hearing the Chinese convince us that they found Manila first, hence, the rightful owner of our country.