I knew ahead that Tony was already working on the book a few years ago. He sent an email to people that he hoped knew something interesting about Nick [though there were people that I wished he contacted]. I never replied since I don’t know the Nationalist Artist personally, but his writing.
Tony Joaquin took it upon himself [being the only other published Joaquin] to write the first bio for his uncle Nick.
Big thank you – bravo! Tony!
Nick’s excellent analogy on Philippine historiography leaves no doubts to many of his readers. His skillful arguments and formidable reasoning has become a standard among hispanistas.
His critics almost always ends up accusing him of “romanticizing” and “apologizing” for a past that for them was past not worth remembering. Some even suggest that he stick with fiction. But truth always comes to light eventually. As more and more evidence surface about our history, we suddenly realize that what seemed true were in fact lies.
Its always the “outsiders”, those considered “non historians” that always ends up cleaning the mess left behind by the zealous Filipino historians. It was Joaquin, through his classic historical essays, that corrected these errors and untruths peddled as hard fact in our standard history for decades.
I was one of those students who doubted the veracity of some of his contentions against standard history text. I’ll never forget the first time I read “Culture & History”. Since I was schooled in Philippine History by a wonderful Filipino American woman, I’ve always been a believer in the idea that America did us no wrong. That it was their “nation building” and “democracy” that took us out of the darkness into the light.
It was Nick’s essays that shook these beliefs and left me with the fervent desire to learn more about what I was told to be un-filipino traditions, culture and history.
15 years later, I’ve come full circle and just like many Filipinos who studied the true past and found their true self, so have I.