Thursday, July 10, 2008

Three things they never taught me about Philippine History

I'm 39 years old. But have I grown wiser? If you rate me based on my knowledge about Philippine history, the history of my own beloved country, perhaps I have grown a measly three notches higher because of the three things I learned about Philippine history, which, strangely, I never learned in school! I plan to write about these lessons a long time ago, but I procrastinated. But after learning New Knowledge #3, I blew my top and here I am.

New Knowledge #1. Our first "President," Emilio Aguinaldo, ordered the killing of Andres Bonifacio.

I never knew that til I enrolled in the University of the Philippines and scoured its library. Did I sleep in my history classes, in all ten years I was in the elementary and high school? My God I could not believe it! I was Salutatorian in elementary and 5th Honorable Mention in high school and I didn't know this very important detail in Philippine history? Wow!

Andres Bonifacio was an "illiterate" while Aguinaldo was a well-educated man. Bonifacio was about 34 years old while Aguinaldo was about 28. When the Katipunan was at war with Spain, Aguinaldo's camp in the Katipunan succeeded in letting go of Bonifacio as Secretary of the Interior, because he was illiterate. Bonifacio went berserk, and the quarrel between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo tore the Katipunan apart (hmmm, reminds me of CFC and FFL tsk tsk we have never learned?). So Aguinaldo ordered the execution of Bonifacio to keep the Katipunan together. It was war time, folks. Some hard decisions had to be made. I understood that.

But was there a chance this was never taught in any of my history classes? I do not want to point an accusing finger but I just feel betrayed. As a young boy I used to draw images of Philippine heroes. Wow, I simply loved them. At one point I asked my teachers, how did Lapu-Lapu die? How did Mabini die? Early in life I learned that a lot of our heroes actually died of old age! Emilio Aguinaldo included. The only heroes who died "in action" were Jose Rizal, Gregorio del Pilar and the three priests. But nobody told me Andres Bonifacio was executed by Aguinaldo! He may have ordered the execution of another one, and that's in the next section.

New Knowledge #2. General Antonio Luna was assassinated by Aguinaldo's men.

Nobody told me this!

Antonio Luna was a very strong commander, and it irritated a lot of Aguinaldo's men. Antonio Luna saw that many soldiers were lazy and he wanted tough discipline. Aguinaldo, on his part, was somewhat insecure of Luna and was afraid he would threaten the unity of the Katipunan. So he did he order the execution? Hmmm. I wouldn't say that yet. But it was Aguinaldo's men who killed Antonio Luna in a very treacherous manner.

New Knowledge #3. Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim.

Lapu-Lapu was the representative of the Sultanate of Sulu in the Visayas. No wonder he resisted Magellan to the teeth. I learned this only a week ago, when I read the speech Sen Dick Gordon made during the inauguration of the Lapu-Lapu statue in Luneta.

Why is this piece of information important to me? Because to not teach it in school is to desecrate the very hero that we proudly proclaim as the first Asian to repel foreigners! Why did no one ever tell me that Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim? Were we ashamed that we proudly bannered ourselves as a Christian nation, and yet we had a Muslim as our first hero? Come on! Whose pride did we feed there? Whose hypocrisy did we promote?

We know for a fact that Jose Rizal renounced his Catholic faith, and the Jesuits persuaded him not to. We know that many of our heroes are in fact Freemasons, who are excommunicated from the Catholic Church! The Katipunan was patterned after Freemasonry! Doesn't that teach us something?

Perhaps it is time to teach those important details about history in school. This is so we are forced to look inside ourselves and find out who we are and what we need to learn!

I'm a Filipino in heart and mind. History teaches me who I am and what I need to become. To not teach me the failings of my countrymen is to stunt my growth as a Filipino. We must appreciate what is good in our culture. But let us not forget the lessons of our history. If we don't teach history well, we lose the lessons and the growth that springs from it.

I am a Christian. I accepted Christ because of who He is in my life, and not because of the proud history of the Catholic Church. I am aware of the wrongdoings attributable to the Catholic Church, yet you see me profess Catholicism because of the ideals it stands for, which are enshrined in the Bible and the sacred traditions. So this I know, the manner by which Christianity was brought to this country was a shame, and Lapu-Lapu reminded us of that, and we ought to heed the lesson that gives us!

May the Department of Education, Culture and Sports heed my call. Amen.

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