Monday, September 15, 2008

from Antonio Barrientos

Dear Ms. Araneta:I am from Talisay Batangas ( a coastal town just below Tagaytay City) and I first heard the story of Sakay (he was known only as Sakay during that time-possibly no one was telling the people that Gen. Sakay was a revoluionary, a freedom fighter) from my mother who also heard the story from her mother who during the time of Gen. Macario Sakay was only a teenager. According to my mother, she was told by my grandmother that Gen. Macario Sakay and his fellow revolutionaries used to passed the river where my grandmother and other women were washing clothes. As I recall it right, the women according to my grandmother's account were terrified and extremely afraid because news were circulating (possibly American propaganda) that Gen. Sakay was a tulisan whose group were known to abduct women and extort from people wherever they passed. But based on my grandmother's account, nothing really happened everytime the General pass by. It seemed the group of Gen. Macario Sakay was ostracized by the people because the latter loss in the propaganda war (press releases) but their honor untainted. I think this account that I heard from my mother as a young boy (I am now 55 -years old, born in 1953), was a credible evidence that Gen. Macario Sakay was an honorable man, and a true hero. He was indeed vindicated and History is rewritten.
Yours truly,
Antonio Barrientos
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

Saturday, September 13, 2008

from Fe Panaligan Koons

Congrats! I am sure you helped in the Macario Sakay memorial/statue daw ba sa Tondo.. mabuti naman at naparangalan na si Sakay.. Long time overdue. glad to know that Mayor Lim is supporting these things.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rescuing my "bandoleros"

By” bandoleros” I mean Generals Macariio Leon Sakay, Lt. Col. Lucio de Vega Lt. Gen Francisco Carreon, Major General Leon Villafuerte, Major Benito Natividad and Lt. Col. Julio Montalan whose singular group picture was taken in 1906, shortly after they were lured to surrender but ignominiously betrayed by the American and Filipino negotiators. .
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 Katagalugan republic, in the inaccessible mountains of Rizal, which aimed to continue the First Republic , dismembered by the capture of Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1901. Gen. Sakay ‘s final objective was independence from USA colonial rule.

The invasion of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century 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 Filipinos. 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.. Henceforth, 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 Claro M. Recto 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, Teodoro Agoncillo and Renato Constantino also came to the rescue. More recently, in 1995, Orlino A. Ochosa published BANDOLEROS, OUTLAWED GUERRILLAS OF THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR, 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”.

Another bandolero

In his captivating book, “BANDOLEROS”, OUTLAWED GUERRILLAS OF THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR, 1903-1907, historian Orlino A. Ochosa tells us that Gen. Luciano San Miguel served the Revolution since 1896, as a stalwart of the Magdiwang council, was probably a rabid “Bonifacista” and continued fighting against the American invaders, in defense of the First Philippine Republic. But, despite his being a die-hard follower of Bonifacio, Gen. San Miguel( with Gen. S. Alvarez) decided not “ to attack the Magdalo headquarters in Naic (Cavite) to rescue the Supremo from prison…” after the fatal Tejeros convention because San Miguel and Alvarez “…would have no part in any bloody plan which would lead the Revolution to nowhere but its fall…” They believed that the blood and lives of revolutionaries should be consecrated to no other purpose but the “Kalayaan ng Inang Bayan…” That intruiging fact was revealed by Prof. Ochosa.

Gen. San Miguel’s long and arduous patriotic quest did not only inspire other “renegades” like General. Artemio Ricarte, ( 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 Philippine Revolution, 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, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija. 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.(

It must have been tough

It must have been tough for the Thomasites who arrived in Manila on 21 August 1901. After a month –long sea voyage aboard US Army transport “Thomas” (which is why they were called Thomasites) .
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. Emilio Aguinaldo 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, Artemio Ricarte, and Julian Montalan were still up in arms even if Apolinario Mabini 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 Americanization of the Philippines, The Imposition of English during the 1898-1901 Period" by Alfonso L García Martínez, Law College of Puerto Rico, 1982).

National identity and tourism

Why do tourism meetings I attend always turn out to be a collective pondering over national identity? At a recent gathering of the National Capital Region (NCR) Tourism Councils, at the Paranaque City Hall, I had resolved to speak less and listen more inasmuch as the City of Manila was represented by someone else in the first two meetings. People trickled in mindless of the time so it took ages to form a quorum; but I could not complain as I myself had arrived late , having underestimated the distance from Manila to Sucat.

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 Gregoria de Jesus 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, Julio Nakpil, 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 heritage tourism 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? (

Constructing tourism

Tourism is often associated with traveling to places away from home and arranging tours for those who come here and see what the country is like. Tourism is often presented as a factor of economic growth as it generates livelihood in many sectors like the hotel and restaurant industries, retail shops, transport, cultural and health, guiding and gaming, the list can be endless. In the Philippines, tourism is supposed to contribute at least 10 per cent of the GDP even if it is lumped with the service sector.
Tourism gives the illusion of glamour so being Secretary of the Department of Tourism 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 construction workers. 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 role of the president of the republic, with the secretary of tourism playing the role of the orchestra’s musical director.

from Rudy Bolipata of Richmond, VA

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.


from Gloria Lily

Yes, tourism will be a great tool to promote nationalism and patriotism!
Also, I strongly believe that if we have a sound Tourism program
it will boost the Philippines Economy...
It's too bad that I didn't have the appetite for it (tourism )when
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.
Please let me know when there is a discussion or forum
about this again. I would love to go or help out!