Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our “Distorted” History

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice – Mark Twain

Last week my daughter took her 2nd Grading exam prior to their ten days Ramadan vacation. She did very well. But as usual the ever “unsatisfied” mother lamented she made one mistake in her Social Studies subject on the question -

Who is our National Hero?
a: Jose Rizal
b: Andres Bonifacio
c: Emilio Aguinaldo

Bea wrote down “b”. Perhaps na malik-mata lang, because when I asked her the same question she answered “Jose Rizal”. But then again, is it really Rizal? Ask any soldier in the Philippine Armed Forces and they’ll tell you Andres Bonifacio is their National Hero. In fact, we are the only country in Southeast Asia who championed a pacifist/conformist as our number 1 “idol”.

Rizal didn’t want a revolution. He does not want an independent Philippines. On the contrary, he prefers the role of a loyal vassal. What he want was a “voice” in the halls of power; an “Indio” representative in the Spanish court. In other words, his okay that we remain a subject of Spain as long as we have an envoy wailing our grievances in front of the king.

We didn’t choose Rizal as our National Hero. He was picked by our American colonial masters because he served their purpose. They favor a “docile” personality for Filipinos to look up to rather than a bolo-wielding “war-freak” the like of Bonifacio. To make him looked more appealing to the populace, so called “Filipino historians” buttered his character to create an aura of an “extra-ordinary” person.

Elementary history books told us his father was a farmer, a profession which connotes a humble beginning. But even then, one can’t afford to send his son to any exclusive schools in Manila and Europe if one was just an ordinary farmer. One can’t afford to support his son’s “bohemian” lifestyle in the Old World if one was just a mere land tiller. Even the prefix “Dr” is false. Oh yes, his more than capable to operate on his mother’s receding eyesight. But he didn’t finish his medical study nor took a medical licensure examination. Thus, technically, his not allowed to use the title "Doctor". Words like “poor”, “intellectual”, “patriot”, for me, aptly described more a man named Apolinario Mabini; a man who through sheer hard work, over-came poverty, educated and became a noted “illustrado” of his time.

Just recently, questions pop-upped on the authorship of the poem “Sa Aking Mga Kababata”. History detectives like Ambet Ocampo asked, “Where’s the original document of the said poem”? The oldest “copy” in archive was dated during the American colonial era. I simply ask, how on earth a man who felt more at home talking “Si, Senor” and wrote his master pieces in Spanish also wrote “Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salita mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda”.

I’m not instigating “Rizal-bashing” here neither do I judge the man by his “lingua franca”. I admire him for his personal achievements and I believed his love for his motherland was unquestionable. What I’m trying to emphasize is history should be transparent and not twisted or supplanted for the benefit of some power-that-be or because the truth is too ugly to accept. We should tell it as it is and let future generations be the judge of the action of their forefathers.

By the way, who do you think killed Magellan? There is no known document supporting the claim Lapu-lapu did it. What they have was written eye-witness account of two Spaniards. If we are to believe Pigafetta, then Ferdie was a victim of “mob-lynching”. Kuyog ang ikinamatay nya!


  1. mga kano ang pumili kay Jose Rizal kasi sya lang ang walang nasabing masama sa mga kano. pero for me, it's andres bonifacio

  2. Bino, hehehe, wala syang nasabing masama sa Kano kasi hindi nya na naabutan. Mas nauna syang namayapa bago tayo sakupin ng Kano. : D

  3. deep. magkakasundo kayo ng mga anak ko. :-) it's andres bonifacio for them.

    i have yet to read the book they're talking about and they say it has some truth that are not known.

    eneweiz, that bit about lapu lapu is interesting ha. maaaring totoo yun.

  4. even the history of any history, it is distorted. i've read somewhere that history are written by the victorious.

  5. bing, idol din pala ng mga anak mo ang batang gumagawa ng pamaypay. : )

    RJ, the victorious always wrote history on their favor so that future historians like Ocampo can straightened it out and had something to do. : D

  6. Same here. Mayber we're in the same wavelength when it comes to heroes.if you ask me, i have been a loyal andres bonifacio fan, i am just sad there's no holiday set for him, or meron ba?

    I didn't like Rizal, ewan ko lang,pero he seems so gay to me, but then again, maybe not, what with all his girls. Arggghhhh.

  7. sheng, meron namang bonifacio day (november 30 ata). natawa ako dun sa ayaw mo kay rizal dahil mukhan "binabae" at babaero. >: D

  8. It is known that Rizal was installed by the Americans over Bonifacio for a very obvious reason of self interest. The Yanks wanted Pinoys to emulate a benign scholar and not a feisty warrior :)

  9. rizal was a very "conscious" hero. he practiced how he'd fall after being shot. very vain.

    i vote for bonifacio. atapang a tao. :D

  10. bw, if the Spaniards destroyed our culture, what the Americans did was to "domesticate" us.

    atticus, yan din ang sabi ni Ambet. Rizal was a conscious hero. Ayoko ng taong sobrang bilib sa sarili.

  11. ako, idol ko pa rin si Rizal kahit babaero siya hehehe, ayoko kasi nang madahas na tao e hahaha....although bilib rin ako kay Bonifacio pero angat pa rin sa kin si Rizal....malaki ang naging impluwensiya ng Noli at Fili sa akin e lol

    pareho naman silang bayani yun nga lang may number 1 at no. 2, may kanya-kanya rin tayong bayani sa puso natin, yun ang mahalaga

    hanggang ngayon ba pinagdedebatehan pa kung sino ang national hero? hindi ko masyadong kilala kasi si Bonifacio ( mahina ako sa history e hehehe), popular lang siya sa Monumento, sa limang piso at matapang na tao ;-) although I respect you and other's opinion...the bottom line is si Rizal pa rin ang national hero hehehe, kuha mo? lol

  12. Sardz, hanggang ngayon may debate dyan. Meron pa ngang debate kung tatawaging bayani si Aguinaldo o hunyango. : D

    Wala akong paki kung sino-sino ang ating mga bayani. Ang sa akin lang ay dapat malinaw ang pag kasulat ng ating mga nakaraan.

  13. Excellent take on Rizal. Exactly how I feel. Good write-up!

  14. bertN, thank you, sir.

  15. If you have read Ambeth Ocampo's Rizal without his overcoat ( and I bet you have), you will find out that Rizal was just an ordinary Filipino who was in love with his country. So did Bonifcacio. For me, they did extraordinary things for the Philippines like all the other heroes of the land. But I bet you, they never wanted the honor.

  16. Anonymous, c'mon. Rizal was conscious of his status and Bonifacio wants to be king of the tagalog region. What they want was more than honor.

  17. Both are National Heroes.

    The choice I think was between the Brawn of Bonifacio or the Brain of Rizal.

    The Americans may have chose Rizal. But after our Independence our Leaders never argued it otherwise. So we need not think the Americans made that choice only.

    A good number of people at first glance maybe inclined to chose the STRENGTH of Bonifacio rather than Rizals way..

    But many likewise found the literary WORKs of Rizal to had a more lasting impression to the Filipino as a nation. To which Rizal's works is even recognized by other countries.

    Hence, the popular figure of speech "The Pen is MIGHTIER than the Sword".

  18. Tom Tax, you made a good argument there. But you should also take into consideration that we never actually gain our "total" independence until Mt. Pinatubo kick the Americans out of the Philippines.

    It is true that the pen is mightier than the sword but in times of danger "wise men keep their silence" and in a revolution "action speaks louder than words".

    Bonifacio does not only possesses brawns but brains as well. Read Ocampos "Bonifacio's Bolo" to know more about the man.

    BTW, thanks for dropping by.