Now that Filipinos are finally beginning to realize that they should buy locally made products, there is nothing on sale that is made here, from chicken parts to vegetables and fruits to apparel, every thing is imported or smuggled by people whose names we know but do not dare mention.Most of our industries have collapsed exponentially in the past decades, despite protective legislation. Who was it who pontificated--I think he was a president-- that it is cheaper to buy than to manufacture or to plant? However, the recent nose dive of the global financial system and the USA's economy have belied the efficacy of that short-sighted policy; it seems that we may not even be able to borrow the funds we need to buy our daily sustenance.
When the melamine milk scare became banner headlines for several days, I suddenly remembered how my mother used to insist that we drink milk from a dairy farm owned by one of the Aranetas, Vicente I think, brother of J. Antonio who eventually became my father-in-law. I don't remember the brand of that locally produced and bottled milk but I do recall that it was delicious and creamy but, unfortunately, not always available at our neighborhood store, Cherry grocery. Nevertheless, my mother was relentless in her support of Filipino industrialists.
Shortly after WWII, I was sent to St. Theresa's kindergarten and my first pair of leather shoes, courtesy of grandpa Dr. Alfredo Guerrero, was purchased at a posh store on the Escolta called Squires Bingham. I was fascinated by a kind of x- ray machine which showed whether the shoes were a perfect fit. However,as soon as Elpo rubber shoes and Gregg Shoes opened their doors that is where we shopped for our footwear , my college graduation shoes came from there. Along Legarda street in Manila, there was a row of shoe shops where my mother and I went for made-to-order party footwear, usually of the same fabric as one's formal frock.. Then Marikina blossomed into the country's shoe center; hundreds of shoe makers held regular shoe and bag fairs, a must see destination in those days. .
Cherry Grocery, now Foodarama, used to give personalized service so . I would often hear my mother dictating her weekly shopping list on the phone and in a couple of hours a small van would deliver our supplies. She would always punctuate her sentences with "Local", "LocaL", "LOCAL!" and when I once asked her why, she said, rather annoyed, that the grocery people (Tsinoys) would always ask her whether she preferred the imported brand. Our chocolates were Serg and Cocoa Ricoa; she frowned at Peter Paul ( which had a coco nutty flavor I loved) because these were manufactured by an American Company in Laguna, Franklin Baker I think, and although the wife of one of the American executives,Janet Walker, was a friend we never bought Peter & Paul and had them only when Mrs. Walker brought us children a boxful.
That was also why I was never addicted to pop drinks. To this day, I do not take Coca or Pepsi colas, in any form, with my meals, like most of my contemporaries. My siblings and I grew up on Cosmos sarsaparilla, buko water and home made fruit juices or an occasional glass of wine. Believe it or not, my mother used to venture into the wet market in San Juan to buy tapa and longanisa but when we needed processed foods it had to be by Ram. Naturally, that obssesion to "Buy Filipino " was explained to us children, even if Mother was probably not sure we quite understood. She would expound on how ridiculous it was to export our raw materials to industrialized countries only to buy them back as pricey processed goods. That was why it was and is vital for the Philippines to industrialize, she never tired to illuminate us. Industrialization meant more jobs for Filipinos, higher technological levels and a better life.
But all those incipient industries have since then withered on the vine for many reasons among them the colonial mentality of us Filipinos which we seem to have nurtured instead of extirpated, and later, blind adherence to the GATT and WTO and now globalization. Many of those Filipino industrialists did not turn out to be as patriotic as we hoped, instead of expanding the textile industry, remnants were smuggled from the USA; local food manufacturers folded up faced with intense competition from foreign firms that merely packaged goods for the local market. Eventually, we were told that it is cheaper to buy rice so the most fertile lands were converted into unproductive (but lucrative) subdivisions and golf courses.
Many of my mother's contemporaries espoused those nationalistic policies and practiced what they preached and now we can see that they were right after all and that lack of patriotism has an extremely high cost. It may not be too late to start again.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Certainly, there were many other patriots who were unjustly branded bandoleros and insurrectos but we know even less about them than those young men in that photograph, all in their twenties, dashing in rayadillos, with well-groomed long hair. To the Americans, Macario Leon Sakay was the most politically dangerous because he had formed a juridical entity, the republic, in the inaccessible mountains of Rizal, which aimed to continue the First Republic , dismembered by the capture of Pres. in 1901. Gen. Sakay ‘s final objective was independence from USA colonial rule.
The invasion of the Philippines at the turn of the was a hot electoral issue in the USA as it did not turn out to be a “splendid little war” like the invasion of Cuba and Puerto Rico, but an embarrassing “dirty little war” that was taking much too heavy a toll on American lives. Astutely, presidential candidate William McKinley professed his benevolent intentions and said God himself told him to “civilize, educate and Christianize” the . In American media, our iconic representation was a naked black savage baby with a boar’s teeth necklace, cuddled by a loving Uncle Sam. No mention at all that Filipinos had already established the first republic in Asia.
Believe it or not, Filipino resistance was described as fierce by correspondents then . The Americans were inconvenienced, to say the least, with the establishment of the First Republic in Malolos shortly .after Spain surrendered to them at the mock battle of Manila on 13 August 1898 and while they waited for reinforcements, this fledgling Republic held sway over twenty five provinces with Pres. Aguinaldo corresponding with the sultanates of Jolo and Sulu. The Filipinos began to establish schools including a military academy and had the audacity to send an ambassador to the Paris to prevent the sale of the Philippines to the USA. .
Macario Leon Sakay and his group were among those who believed it was their sacred duty to the nation to continue resisting the USA and re-establish the Filipino republic. As the scandalous invasion infuriated the anti-imperialists in the USA, the Anti Sedition law and Brigandage Act were passed in 1901 by the Philippine Commission to officially put an end to the war.. , Filipinos who continued to resist American supremacy for whatever reason would be called insurrectos, bandoleros, tulisanes and ladrones subject to arrest and death by hanging, and forever maligned in Philippine history books as common criminals. .
The rescue of my “bandoleros” began as late as the 1930’s when former revolutionary leaders, like Artenio Ricarte, published their memoirs in local newspapers and magazines. In the 1940’s , nationalists like often alluded to the” bandoleros” whose “… names are not now held in grateful rememberance…” . and by 1956, Antonio K. Abad , member of the Philippine Historical Society, published his book with a somewhat cautious title: : GEN. MACARIO L. SAKAY, WAS HE A BANDIT OR A PATRIOT ?
In their lifetimes, historians, and also came to the rescue. More recently, in 1995, Orlino A. Ochosa published BANDOLEROS, OUTLAWED GUERRILLAS OF THE , 1903, 1907.. Ever controversial, Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim has commissioned a statue of Gen. Macario Leon Sakay to be unveiled on 13 September, the first monument ever to Tondo’s heroic “bandolero”.
Gen. San Miguel’s long and arduous patriotic quest did not only inspire other “renegades” like General. , ( Prof. Ochosa said he was the latter’s personal hero) but also American writers like Vic Hurley who dedicated ten pages of his book , JUNGLE PATROL, to “…the most serious menace to the peace of the Philippine Islands…”; he was described as a “sincere insurrecto” even if Hurley’s work was about the Philippine Constabulary which the American colonial government established precisely to pursue revolutionary fighters branded bandoleros, tulisanes and ladrones by the Anti-Brigandage Act of 1901.
According to Prof. Ochosa, Gen. San Miguel was the “ the last bonafide insurrecto” of the First Republic who continued fighting against the American invaders after Gen. Vicente Lukban (of Balangiga fame) was captured and Gen. Artemio Ricarte ( a.k.a.Vibora) summarily exiled to Guam . Macario Leon Sakay and his group were waging guerrilla warfare in the mountains of Rizal while Gen. San Miguel was fighting the enemy in Cavite and Batangas until he perished in the ferocious battle of Corral-na bato in 1903.
In Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo’s book about the , he stated that upon returning from Hong Kong, “…the old revolutionary chief, Señor Luciano…presented himself to receive orders….” And he then saw action in Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Morong, , Pampanga, Tarlac and . Prof. Ochosa also said that there is not record that Gen. San Miguel took part in the truce of Biak-na-bato, or that he was in Hong Kong with Aguinaldo.
In these turbulent times, when the Philippine Republic is in danger of Balkanization, we should all emulate Gen. San Miguel’s rejection of factionalism for the sake of the greater good, for the overriding interests of Inang Bayan. Prof. Ochosa included one of San Miguel’s memos to a Major Alba in his book: “ I entreat and request that you abstain from meddling with the Katipunan affairs …Today more than ever, the union of the province is needed, and I have sufficient personnel to prevent the province [Bataan] from becoming divided against itself, or some towns from declaring themselves independent from others. …”
Ironically, there are streets, parks and plazas, even schools named after Filipinos of lesser stature and paltry achievement. Not a single pathway nor barangay center is named after a true nationalist and patriot like General Luciano San Miguel, another “bandolero” whom we must rescue from undeserved oblivion.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Assuming the Thomasites were given a thorough briefing of what life is like in the tropics, they must have still had worst cultural shock which the majority of them endured quite heroically.
In the records of the War Department of the USA (“Doorway to the archcives of our national greatness”) the Philippines, Manila and the Filipinos were described from the cynical eyes of the conqueror: “Many have taken advantage of the opportunities offered for education by the Jesuit order, and have been carried through the classics, but then the majority seem to have suffered from the ‘civilization’ offered them”—a cryptic statement worth reading between the lines.
The Thomasites were probably warned about the terrible weather, described in the War Records as such: ”The blistering sun or something else has burned both ambition and emotion out of him [the Filipino] if he ever possessed either…With the possible exception of some parts of the interior of India and Arabia, it is doubtful if there is any hotter climate than that of Manila. The islands reach within four degrees of the equator The temperature is not so very high but the humidity excessive.”
The unnamed rapporteur of the War Annals warned that , “…The most extreme care must constantly be exercised to keep one’s physical condition properly toned all summer long. The hottest days in the year are in May and June. ..For seven months in the year, from April to October, no one but the poorest laborer goes out of doors unless compelled to between 8 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. ..In Manila, the whole population rises at 4 and 5 a.m. and gets the work of the day out of the way until 8 o’clock. …At sundown Manila wakes up.”
After the weather advisory, came a language situationer as they were sent to these islands to teach English, Judging from the War Annals, they must have been told something to the effect : “Practically nothing , but his [the Filipino’s] curiosity , which seems insatiable, will stir him from his rut and the vocabularies of hundred of thousands of the tribes men lack anything that answer for ‘Thank You.’
Even then it was observed that Tagalog was the language of commerce: ” Of the dialects, the most important is Tagaloc (sic). It is spoken by fifteen hundred thousand Tagals is Luzon and the adjacent islands. Ten thousand girls have often been heard chattering Tagaloc (sic) all at once in a Manila tobacco factory. …The native aptitude in the use of modern writing material is beyond doubt ..” The report quotes a Spanish priest who sardonically said that , “ the natives no longer use arrows and spears against us, but pen ink and paper , and fables, calumnies and jokes…”
Was there peace and order? The Thomasites arrived five months after Pres. was captured , yet the Philippine-American war was till raging. A month after they landed , Filipino Revolutionary forces led by Gen Vicente Lukban wiped out a whole company of American soldiers in Balangiga, Samar, which in retaliation was left a “howling wilderness” by American General Jacob Smith. In Laguna, parts of Central Luzon, Negros, Leyte and Cebu, fighting was still going on , guerilla style, in defense of the First Philippine Republic. . Generals Macario Sakay, Luciano San Miguesl, , and Julian Montalan were still up in arms even if had been arrested and exiled to Guam.
As they were fielded to various provinces, did the Thomasites notice that communities were being uprooted and reconcentrated (hamletting) ? Crops were being destroyed (scorched earth) to prevent the Filipinos from supporting the revolutionary fighters, according to historian Augusto . de Viana, .resistance continued in the islands but with the passage of the Bringandage Act of 1901, those who continued to resist USA domination were labeled insurgents, tulisanes , highway men and outlaws.
An American linguist of the time, Mary I. Bresnahan wrote:” It continues to be speculative if the Filipino's purported desire to learn English was genuine or not. Documents tell us about Filipinos trembling with fear inside their huts built on stilts as they expected the intrusion of the cruel Americans reputed to be blood thirsty giants bent on killing even the most trusting among them. Unsure about the real motives of the invaders, the Filipinos did what they thought would please the Americans the most. And that was to learn their language, ---English." ("The of the Philippines, The Imposition of English during the 1898-1901 Period" by Alfonso L García Martínez, Law College of , 1982).
When the meeting was finally called to order and minutes approved, a Paranaque constituent asked for the floor and began to tell us about their cultural projects like preparations for the coming feast day of Our Lady, the revival of Paranaque’s once famous embroidery industry which specialized in “pina calado” ( an exquisite sample was passed around) . A barangay captain brought in a few sepia photos of scenes of Paranaque during the crepuscular years of the Spanish Empire, which reminded a young lady resident that the last salt beds of Paranaque ( two endangered hectares) had to be preserved so future generations. Another person clamored to protect the last mangroves from irreversible destruction.
Then history came into the picture when , for some reason, the Caloocan representative said that was born there and that she went to Manila probably because she had become involved with the Katipunan. I could not resist finishing the Gregoria story so I said that after Andres Bonifacio was killed in Maragondon, Cavite, she married his aide-de –camp, , and they spent the rest of their years in the house of Ariston Bautista in Quiapo where they raised a large family.
Before we knew it, the NCR Tourism Council was discussing Filipino national identity, its weaknesses and how it should be strengthened through the opportunities given by sustainable tourism development. It all became clear to us, the histories of cities and municipalities comprising the NCR are so intertwined , geographical and political boundaries so porous and traditions so similar that the council should draft a cohesive, collective tourism plan that will benefit the whole and all its parts.
A week after that, I was invited by the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) to lecture on tourism to a Saturday class made up of professionals, diplomats, educators, media practitioners and writers. As an advocate of cultural, historical and I started out by telling them about a recent anniversary of a day care center in Tondo ran by a foundation with the assistance of teachers from a nearby university. When asked to give a message, I decided to address the children, aged five to nine. I asked them in the vernacular for the name of our country. They became pensive but no one gave an answer. I was perplexed because we had just sung the national anthem. Neither did I get a response when I asked for the name of the city. However, when I asked for the name of the barangay captain, a chubby grandfather type sitting with other local officials, they all screamed his name with genuine affection.
Where does one learn about the country? Maybe we take it for granted that pre-school children know that they are citizens of the Philippines so there is no conscious effort to teach love of country, no deliberate attempt to instill in the very young the values of patriotism and nationalism; my country first; my country above all. Someone exclaimed that she learned love of country at home, where else? If you do not learn that at home, then you must learn it in school, I ventured. The room resounded with lamentations, almost like a weeping and gnashing of teeth, about the dismal state of education in the country today.
The subjects that were assiduously taught to us before merited an hour each-- Philippine history, civics, social sciences, art appreciation, English phonetics—but are now lumped together, ostensibly to give more emphasis on science, math and English, preferably via computer. So, if you don’t learn how to love your country at home, if it is no longer taught in schools, where can Filipinos learn about who and what they are? Could tourism be used as a didactic tool? Through tourism, can we acquire a sense of place and eventually a “pride of place”? Hopefully, “pride of place” can lead us to love of country. By promoting cultural, heritage and historical tourism for the domestic market, will this strengthen our national identity? (email@example.com)
Tourism gives the illusion of glamour so being Secretary of the is a most coveted post. Tourism looks like easy work , lots of fun and loads of money. Every little town aspires to become a tourism destination so foreign currency can pour in. Curiously, despite all the aspirations and since the Department of Tourism was established about four decades ago, the highest recorded tourism arrivals have not gone beyond 3 million.
Since one of our development goals is to make tourism a veritable lifestyle , the “culture of tourism” should be instilled in every Filipino at a very early age, which means that the Department of Education has to make a conscious and determined effort to teach Filipinos to love the Philippines and be proud of being Filipinos. The DepEd has to make sure that in all public and private schools, academic and vocational centers, the pupils are consciously and assiduously taught, at the very least, cultural and visual patriotism. The DepEd once had an excellent campaign to make all Filipinos learn at least ten historical turning points, ten native songs, ten heroes, historical landmarks, heritage sites, artists, works of art, etc.; is that being continued? How can you promote your country effectively if you know nothing about it? How can you invite foreigners to come to your country if you are not sincerely and deeply proud
of it and if you are not sure that it is a good thing to be Filipino?
Once the above goals are achieved, it might take generations if we do not begin now, then the values which we seem to have lost might finally resurface: Sslf-respect, a certain self-confidence, self- reliance that will stimulate creativity and originality, cleanliness, honesty, a natural courtesy and refinement, a pride of self and pride of place; these values and virtues are building blocks for a stable and sustainable tourism industry.
Tourism is necessarily multi-disciplinary which is something local committees and commissions are starting to realize. As mentioned above, the DepEd plays a vital and essential role in the formation of citizens who are tourism advocates and workers. Because tourism is the marketing of a country’s natural resources and its built heritage resources, the construction of a sustainable tourism industry includes urban planners, architects, engineers, both in government and the private sector. It also includes carpenters, masons, carvers, painters , contractors and other . Let us not forget the clergy. Local government officials more so than national ones are the main protagonists of a sustainable, tasteful and appropriate tourism industry.
Even the police and the military have a vital role in the construction of tourism, not only because they guarantee the physical safely of local and foreign visitors but also because they can enforce the existing laws that protect the environment and natural resources as well as cultural, historical and heritage resources all of which are valuable and irreplaceable tourism products.
All the above-mentioned sectors should be melded into a sort of national philharmonic orchestra with an energetic and dedicated conductor who knows the musical score by heart and who makes sure that everyone follows the rhythm and cadence of the musical composition. That should be the of the republic, with the secretary of tourism playing the role of the orchestra’s musical director.
It's indeed sad but a painful reality in this day and age, that we have
to bear this burden of a lack of national identity. The diaspora
has sent off many of those who would have borne the brunt of educating
our youth to many foreign lands to work their magic for others, many of
our best minds are better appreciated (and better rewarded) elsewhere,
our disappearing middle class will continue to be frittered away by
the west with all its come-ons……all these because of the necessity
to provide for a better life not possible in our own Inang Bayan.
It has helped materially, but…….
You posed so many good questions that deserve to be answered
….yes, we of the diaspora would hope that we get the things done
right in our time, that the "fair hopes of the fatherland" fulfill the enormous
responsibility on their young shoulders given the proper impetus.
We must never give up the hope, and we thank you for your insightful thoughts.
it will boost the Philippines Economy...
I was young child. I guess because I didn't know about it and wasn't
offered in school nor could my parents afford ( money wise)
to let us explore the Philippines.
about this again. I would love to go or help out!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Those who remembered (like Mayor Alfredo S. Lim) celebrated the birthday of Padre Jacinto Zamora last 14 August, With Jose Burgos and Mariano Gomezm he championed the cause of secular priests during the 19th century. They believed it was a travesty and an injustice for religious priests, (called friars) to hold on to the parishes which most of them were using to wield political power and from where they relished socioeconomic privileges. GOMBURZA , a password of the Katipunan, is how we refer to the heroic triumvirate.
Although Padre Zamora was originally from Pandacan, (where his memory is dearly revered) he served in Intramuros and Cavite where he was implicated with a workers mutiny in 1872, so brutally repressed by the colonial authorities who rounded up, captured, arrested, tortured, summarily executed and exiled anyone remotely suspected of sedition and rebellion. The three priests were implicated by a certain Zaldua who turned government witness thinking he would be spared the garrote.
According to the historical grapevine, Padre Zamora was given to gambling; he had a group of card-playing friends and one of them sent him a cryptic note about gun powder and ammunition being ready (meaning the gambling paraphernalia) and, unfortunately for the young priest, that fell into the wrong hands and was used as evidence against him. Padre Zamora did not leave a substantive body of written works, like Jose Rizal and other Propagandists, none of his sermons are extant but he was said to have contributed to the underground press of his time. His death and the terrible circumstances and manner of execution has made his (as well as
As it was, during the period that led to the Cavite Mutiny and to the reformist campaign of GOMBURZA the natives, then called indios, appropriated the tern Filipino which was used to refer to Spaniards born in the
Strikingly different were those times, compared to what its going on these days . Last week, Governor Joey Salceda of Albay was reported to have declared during a television interview that we are ”genetically destined to fail as a nation state” or some such barbarity. An erstwhile congressman and close adviser of the president, Mr. Salceda certainly did not mince words as he demolished our past, present and future in one fell swoop. He mindlessly denigrated the sacred memory of Filipino heroes like Padre Jacinto Zamora who gave up their lives for a nation they envisioned ; he deliberately dismissed the efforts of millions of Filipinos who are making ends meet and keeping the country afloat, and worst, Mr. Salceda has totally obliterated our future as Filipinos. What are we to be, entities without any sovereignty, jurisdiction or identity?
Could that be why Fr. Jacinto Zamora went mad at the last minute? Was he gripped by a sudden desperation that perhaps all would be for naught?
One wonders if the Thomasites were ever told that teaching English was part and parcel of the "policy of attraction" of the
That idealistic and adventurous group of American teachers arrived five months after Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo was captured and barely a month after they landed, Filipino Revolutionary forces led by Gen Vicente Lukban wiped out a whole company of American soldiers in Balangiga,
In Laguna, parts of Central Luzon, Negros, Leyte and
Be that as it may, the Thomasites were well-received, Filipino children attended the newly-opened public school and because there was a dearth of teachers, many young people enlisted for intensive teacher- training courses to help the Thomasites with their tasks. Even schools established by Spaniards helped the Thomasites. In 1902, the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán published a textbook, “ Mañga Onang Turô sa Uicang Inglés “ by Tagalog Professor P. Ulpiano Herrero and Spanish friar.Francisco García. It had 482 pages of English language lessons explained in both the Tagalog and Spanish.
Eight years later, in 1916, another disquieting report was submitted by Henry Ford to US President Woodrow Wilson: "Although, as based on the school statistics, it is said that more Filipinos speak English than any other language, no one can be in agreement with this declaration....Spanish is everywhere the language of business and social intercourse...In order for anyone to obtain prompt service from anyone, Spanish turns out to be more useful than English...And outside of Manila it is almost indispensable. The Americans who travel around all the islands customarily use it." (The Ford Report of 1916..”The Use of English”)
These educators were the children of the Revolution and the
As it was, the Thomasites program was hampered by the fact that it was difficult for the Filipino populace to learn English for unlike the vernacular languages, English is not written as it is spoken. In that same 1916 report, Mr. Henry Ford was quick to observe: “… They (the natives) are practically without phonic standards in acquiring English and the result is that they learn it as a book language rather than as a living speech. ".
When the "Monroe Commission" came to the islands to assess the educational system and the state of English instruction by the Thomasites, the conclusions were cautious: "Upon leaving school, more than 99% of Filipinos will not speak English in their homes. Possibly, only 10% to 15% of the next generation will be able to use this language in their occupations. In fact, it will only be the government employees, and the professionals, who might make use of English."
As it turned out, the Thomasites did not only teach English, they also taught American values, American history and their way of life. In all the public schools set up during their time, they taught Filipino school children how to tend gardens, plant vegetables and fruit trees that eventually improved their diet and health. They also popularized sports and physical fitness. The Thomasites composed many songs that we still sing today like “Planting Rice” , “My Nipa Hut” and “I was poorly born on top of a mountain.” If Filipinos learned democratic values from them, they must have also learned a lot from us. I wonder what their letters to home were like.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thank you so much for writing about the babaylan. I recall seeing in some books materials believed to be used by babaylan for healing and other “mystical” rites. I wonder if the National Museum might have similar artifacts in their collection.
Thanks so much again, and let me tell you how much I enjoy reading your column
,(Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA)
Olympia, WA 98504-5330)
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Apolinario Mabini was remembered and honored by the City of
Mabini wrote in classic Tagalog like the majority of our forbears and there were words like “timawa and katimawaan” which had different meanings and connotations in the 19th century. Mayor Lim observed: “ Noong unang panahon ang timawa ay isang taong hindi datu, sultan o rajah, hindi siya maharlika o mandirigma, ngunit hindi rin siya alipin. Ang timawa ay taong may kasarinlan at kalayaan; malaya siya sa pagkilos, pag-iisip at paggawa. Sa kasalukuyan para bagang iba na ang ibig sabihin ng , timawa dahil ito’y naglalarawan sa isang taong siniil ng karalitaan at kahirapan kaya marahil di siya tunay na malaya.”
Then, the Mayor read Mabini’s fourth commandment: “ Ibigin mo ang iyong Inang bayan na higit sa iyong sarili, nasa kaikalawa siya ng Dios at ng iyong puri. Siya ang nakaisa-isang Paraisong pinaglagyan sa iyo ng Dios sa buhay na ito; siya lamang ang pinalikawan ng iyong lahi; na kaisa-isang mana mo sa iyong pinagnuno; at siya lamang inaasahan ng iyong angkan; dahil sa kanya’y, nagtitikim ka ng kabuhayan, pagsinta at pag-aari; natatanawan mo ang katimawaan, kapurihan sa Dios.”
He continued with the hero’s fifth and sixth commandments: “Pagpilitan mo ang katimawaan ng iyong bayan bago ang iyong sarili, at papaghariin mo sa kanya ang bait, ang katuwiran at kasipagan; sa pagka’t kung timawa siya ay matitimawa rin ikaw at ang iyong kamag –anakan. Kasunod nito ang Ika-anim sa mga tunay na utos: ‘ Pagpilitan mo ang kasarinlan ng iyong bayan, sa pagka’t ikaw lamang ang tunay na makapagmamalasakit sa kanyang ikasusulong at ikatatanghal, ang kanyang kasarinla’y siya mo naming kalayaan o kaluwagan, ang kanyang pagkasulong ang kayamanan mo sa lahat ng bagay at ang kanyang pagkatanghal ang siya mo naming sariling kabantugan at kabuhayang walang hangan.’ ”
The seventh commandment is still relevant, said the Mayor: “Huwag mong kilalaning sa loob ng iyong bayan ang pangyarihan nino mang tawo na hindi sa lagay ninyong magkakababayan pagka’t ang boong kapangyariha’y sa Dios nagmumula at ang Dios ay sa konsiencia ng bawa’t isa nangungusap; kaya’t ang tawong ituro at ihalal ng mga konsciencia ng sangkabayanan ang siya lamang makapagtataglay ng tunay na kapangyarihan.”
These are but a few of Mabini’s principles and policies that were used to forge a new independent nation and build the
> onslaught of “cross and sword”? After the bloody revolts
> against their sworn enemies, the early Spanish missionaries;
> after burning churches and disfiguring Christian icons and
> after the painful betrayal of community members, the
> babaylans had to devise effective survival methods. They
> either fled to the mountains or adopted Christian ways to
> co-exist with the colonial order
> Mr. Adelbert Batica, a Filipino expat,
> sent his comments to my article “Silencing the
> babaylan”. He wrote: : “The babaylan, as well as the
> symbols and images associated with them may have totally
> disappeared except where they have reappeared as modern-day
> healers and "hilot" who most often use oraciones
> as part of their healing practice. But, I would propose
> that they were actually resurrected, "reinvented"
> if you may, under a Christian context.”
> Indeed, there are several religious
> communities led by women like the “Ciudad Mistica de
> Dios”, at the foot of the sacred Mt. Banahaw that uses
> the Bible and Christian prayers as the basis of their own
> stylized rituals. Curiously, the “Ciudad Mistica de Dios
> “ began with the “Iglesia Mistica Filipina” founded
> by Suprema Maria Bernarda in 1915. Mr. Batica observed:
> “The old ladies who act as prayer leaders at many
> religious devotionals including novenas (especially for the
> dead) seem to be carrying on the dynamic of the
> "babaylan", although in this day and age instead
> of being armed with amulets she wears scapulars, religious
> medals, and usually carries a prayer book or
> "novenario" and a rosary.”
> Mr. Batica also said: “ This
> reincarnation of the babaylan may not be too obvious in the
> urban areas of the Philippines, but in my view they are
> active and very present on the more provincial and small
> town scenes.. The family of the deceased is offering a
> "pamisa" or observing a "patapos" for
> the their departed loved one, they would usually turn to a
> prayer leader, instead of the family offering the prayers
> themselves because chances are, they would not be familiar
> with the rituals and the protocols for these devotions
> while the prayer leader is considered an expert.”
> Mr. Batica has personal knowledge: “ Many of the
> prayer leaders I knew in my hometown were
> > either single old women or widows who decided to
> dedicate themselves to the church or to their own
> interpretation of religious life. They, in turn, handed
> down what they knew about traditions, prayers, rituals to
> younger women...and the cycle goes on. And yes, some of
> the prayer leaders in my hometown were also believed to
> have healing powers and to
> > invoke the spirits of the other world in their healing
> sessions. Truly, old (represented by ancient beliefs in
> anitos or spirits, for example) and new (christian symbols)
> working hand in hand to keep body and soul healthy.”
> Mr. Batica speaks from experience:: “Of
> course, mine are just mere observations and added
> interpretations. But would you believe that I even saw
> this kind of dynamic - the animist blending in with the
> Christian, in such far away places as Peru and Cuba? The
> reason I say this is because I had the privilege of being
> assisted by "curanderas" (healers) in my
> Strangely enough, in the Philippines, the women
> healers of “Ciudad Mistica de Dios” and similar
> communities do not want to be called descendants or heirs of
> our babaylan tradition. Could it be because they are wary
> of being associated with superstition and witch craft?
> Evidently, the black propaganda against babaylans started by
> early Spanish missionaries centuries ago lives on.
The BABAYLAN, a native priestess or spiritual leader in the days of datus and rajahs, has always been a subject of fascination to latter day Filipina feminists. There is no self-respecting conference on the empowerment of women that does not conjure the spirit of the babaylan directly after the national anthem is sang. So beguiling is the babaylan, members of the gay population insist that they are the rightful descendants and heirs of those enchanted women , a contention belied by a variety of historical evidence ranging from ancient epics and ritualistic formulae to the travel chronicles of Pigafetta and de Loarca who came to these shores with Magellan and Legazpi, respectively..
Antonio Pigafetta did not know they were called babaylan and referred to them as “viejas” , old women, because that was what they were. By the time a woman became a full-fledged babaylan, she was already middle-aged and menopausal for it took almost a lifetime to master that gift those sacred rituals and songs and to assimilate the wealth of ancient wisdom. That being the case, self-styled modern day babaylans like dancer Myra C. Beltran and singer Grace Nono, are probably too green to aspire for such prominence. After all, the babaylan was a pillar of native society together with the datu, the panday and bayani ( warrior); they were not only spiritual leaders but also guardians and harbingers of culture values and tradition. Pigafetta wrote about how the “viejas” danced on a cambay cloth, chanting and drinking wine, playing reed trumpets (flutes probably) to pay homage to the sun . One of them sacrificed a pig, which revolted Pigafetta, and dipped the tip of her reed flute in the pig’s blood and marked the fore head of her busband , companions and community members. .The vieja (babaylan) did not mark the Spaniards with pig’s blood , a bold and meaningful statement that went above Pigafetta’s head.
By pointedly excluding the Spaniards, according to Fe B. Mangahas,(“The babylan historico-cultural context”, Centennial Crossings, 2006) Pigafetta’s babaylan explicitly marked a space between them and the foreigners, an ominous warning of impending conflict and disaster. It was the antithesis of those blood compacts between native men and foreigners ( Magellan and Rajah Kulambu) , alleging equality and brotherhood. The prescient babaylans were right after all, in the centuries that followed and in myriad ways,
Sixty years later when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi came, his chronicler Miguel de Loarca, called “ vieja” by her real title—babaylan—but denigrated her as “possessed by demons whose body is hurled to the ground, foaming at the mouth after so much chanting and dancing….” In fact, de Loarca was terrified as he associated the babaylan’s being “possessed “ to her having healing powers potent enough to raise the dead , and the gift of prophesy.
As expected, the early missionaries like Fray Ignacio Alzina were wary of the babaylans. To the natives, their revered priestess was the medium between them and the gods. The babaylan performed the pag-anito rituals for abundant harvest which was the very cycle of life and they were known to divert plagues and pestilence away from fertile land to the gushing rivers. To Fray Alzina and other missionaries like him , the babaylan was a formidable obstacle to Christianization , who had to be discredited, if not destroyed and forever silenced.