Today, the country celebrates (is it?) the Philippines’ independence from Spanish rule 112 years ago. The Declaration of Independence was read in Cavite Viejo (now Kawit) and was led by General Emilio Aguinaldo. On the said day too, the Marcha Filipina Magdalo or the national march (Lupang Hinirang) was sung in Spanish. The piece was composed by Julián Felipe and was performed by the San Francisco de Malabon Marching Band.
Of course, what is our image of independence day but that of the National Flag. The flag was hand-stitched in Hong Kong (oh di ba, imported?) by three Filipinas, namely Marcela Agoncilio, Lorenza Agoncilio and Delfina Herboza.
On that historic day in years passed, the flag fluttered gloriously.
These days however, so many things with regard to our roots and history have to be reviewed and pondered upon. Filipinos have always been accused of being forgetful and added to that, short-sighted. In short, it is not only a hungry people; it is also a blind one. 112 years have passed but still Filipinos are enslaved. And sadly, they are enslaved to fellow Filipinos, to the select few who continue to distract and “stupid-ify” the masses. There is still yet a genuine revolution that would emancipate the masses from their lack of education and capabilities.
For me, that revolution need not be bloody nor should it be a media-whore. It doesn’t need the people gathering in the streets. Instead, it must begin in the realm of education. Education is and will always be the key in liberating the poor from their sorry state. Why, wasn’t that also the key the illustrados used in order to see things in better view?
Before I dream of a country very much concerned with cultural heritage and preservation, before I fantasize of living in a country whose people has taste and sensibility, before I imagine being part of a nation that has an appreciation for fine art, I must first make sure that my fellow Filipinos are educated. Likewise, before some wise-crack sets a campaign against corruption, he should first feed the souls and minds of his people. In order for people to collectively work and fight its own problems, it must first KNOW what these are and WHY they cause such maladies.
Education is key and Independence Day celebrations would make more sense not only if Filipinos memorize the dates or the people but know why they should be proud of their country.