san miguel beer, bonifacio, aguinaldo, hong kong, hkia
If only I could sleep in these long haul flights, air travel would be a pleasant experience. But the thought that the flying metal tube I’m in is flying over the freezing region of Canada’s Nunavut territory, with North Pole not far looming, keeps me wide awake. I got an hour sleep and woke up with a stiff neck and a terrible headache. And there’s still 9 hours left before we reach the land of Bruce Lee.
I like using HK for my connecting flights to and from US because they don’t require any visa (even after that terrible Luneta hostage incident, thank God!); you could step out of the airport when you want. I’m used to it compare to say Narita in Japan or Taipei. I had half a day to spare in HK and thought of going downtown but there’s that protest in the central area. I don’t want to gamble missing my flight back to Singapore.
Filipino’s has been coming to Hong Kong for hundreds of years; they studied, worked, lived and became revolutionaries here; sending our women as domestic helpers in this region only started in the latter part of 1900’s. In fact, our well-to-do families employed Chinese yaya before, now it’s the other way around; we have college graduates accepting these menial jobs in China believe it or not.
Hong Kong was instrumental in our quest for independence even after the Spanish withdrew from our land. Aguinaldo was summoned by Ambassador Pratt in Singapore from his Hong Kong residence. Remember our flag was seamed in this former British colony by Filipinos who fled from political persecution. The so called Filipino Junta, active until 1903, operated freely in the island, protected by British laws. This community was comprised mainly of rich and educated Filipinos, this group took to writing and funding propaganda activities to advance their revolutionary cause. While Aguinaldo (and his men) are credited for establishing the Junta, Filipinos had been involve in plotting against Spain in Hong Kong even before he came.
Lately, there have been talks of making Bonifacio the first president. Some celebrities and historians wanted to dislodge Aguinaldo. This is not new; a movie for the upcoming Metro Manila Film Fest appears to be banging the drums for publicity and unfortunately is being supported by some historians. I could not understand why there’s a need to push for this; Sacay proclaimed himself president, he too should be declared president?
Whether Aguinaldo defeated Bonifacio fair and square (most likely not, he was in Cavite) or his Caviteño brethren gifted him with a victory is history. We should trouble ourselves with educating our children how long our leaders have been arrogant, corrupt and cruel; not only against the people they governed but towards each other, so they’ll vote for better leaders—if not become better leaders themselves. Look, soon we’ll have Binay in Malacañan and we’re arguing about Bonifacio’s presidential term?
We have a long inventory of historical blunders that we have to impart to our children; to cover these, worst, lionize those who stole and murder their fellow countrymen during our wars for freedom is a disservice to out history as Filipinos.
We have to be honest to our young Filipinos. Speak of the great sacrifices and heroic deeds but never edit out past mistakes. Young minds need not be fed with crazy propagandas but historical truths.
Enough of these “who’s better: Rizal or Bonifacio” kind of questions; we’re wasting our time with this.
Let’s talk about beers here for a moment. San Miguel Beer enjoys a good following around here in Hong Kong; I am always proud of our quality export products. This must be the result of their proximity to us or maybe because our Chinese businessmen have links to this land; I read that they have subsidiaries in mainland China. They’re probably brewing there as well. Someday all that beer would have made in China labels. The Filipino Taipans are believers in investing big money in the mainland; that means money made from Pinoy lasinggeros are invested in China. Not only are we allowing them to build military airstrips in the fringes of our country, steal our sea turtles, they get capital courtesy of our big businesses too.
I remember telling some German friends before that we have a great beer that dates back to the Spanish times and that they should try it one day. I’ll never forget the remark of one of them telling me that “there must be a German there somewhere” brewing. I later found out that the guy’s right; Germans where tasked by the Friars to help them brew their first barrels of beer in San Miguel’s distillery in Manila.