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The new “Propagandists”

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I’d been having dreams lately, drunken dreams with their peculiar lucidity in which the Experience Trail, the High Seas seemed to call louder and louder, more and more insistently with a voice that was at the same time music—a siren’s song that almost threatened me if I refused to obey its quixotic urgings … –Sol Luckman–

The nuevas “Propagandistas” —el Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, Arnaldo Arnáiz, José Miguel García, and yours truly— convened for the first time this morning to discuss the formal founding of a website which would be the nucleus of our group (I playfully call it a “cyberclique”, LOL!!!).

We talked about our passion for Philippine History, how we got interested with the subject, and shared each other’s viewpoints on how to rectify the errors of this taken-for-granted field. Blithely, Señor Gómez likened us to Don Quijote, hopelessly fighting the windmills. We were like “madmen”, so to speak, because the topic of Philippine history is perceived to be reserved only in school. And we have to face it: we are like ants against rampaging elephants. But this knowledge that we have is our “curse”; we have to live with it. And we had to live through the somewhat belittled field of Philippine history for it encompasses everything that is truly Filipino, the very subject which in a way keeps us sane. For us, the study of Philippine history is a treasure trove of knowledge and discoveries about our past that has been taken away from us by a neocolonialist extragovernment.

After our meeting, I told the group that I’m so happy that our number has “grown”. This is because I thought that Señor Gómez and I are fighting a lonely war. The great Filipino scholar and I have known each other since 1997 (he’s been like a father to me). We’ve also been searching for like-minded people, but in vain. Historian priests Fr. José Arcilla, S.J., and Fr. Fidel Villaroel, O.P. would have been perfect allies. But as published men, they are on a league of their own. Besides, having them on board will only attract baseless and absurd accusations of “ecclesiastical bias” and “papism”. There’s also prolific researcher Pío Andrade, author of the highly controversial book The Fooling of America and a friend of Señor Gómez. But we couldn’t find him. And so it was a blessing that Arnaldo Arnáiz and I have met back in 2007; Having discovered who the real Filipino is through his own researches, he too started to look for like-minded individuals to whom he can share his thoughts. I happily introduced him to Señor Gómez (they later found out that they’re distant relatives). Then just last year, the mysterious José Miguel García found the three of us in cyberspace.

The rest, as they are wont to say, is history.

Some of those who know us should already have an idea of what we’re up to. This group, particularly the website that we’re planning to set up, will encompass everything that we’ve been fighting for all these years: the recovery of our national identity (which is based on our undeniable hispanic/latin physiognomy and culture), to counterattack the ludicrousness of the so-called leyenda negra (that the Americans “saved” us from the “evil clutches” of the Spanish Empire), the rectification of an ill-written and bigoted Philippine history, and the defense of the much maligned Catholic Church, the faith which brought the Western civilization to these once heathen shores. In one way or another, all this shall be realized by bringing back the Spanish language as an official language of the Philippines (or –perhaps– at the very least, to have it taught in all levels of education).

Here is a brief profile of my comrades:

We shall continue what our heroes fought for. The struggle for the conservation of our national identity espoused by one of the greatest Filipino Nationalists who has ever set foot on this planet, Senator Claro M. Recto, will never falter.

1.) ARNALDO ARNÁIZ has been a history buff for as long as he can remember. An astute researcher and a master when it comes to the life and psychology of national hero José Rizal, it is surprising to note that Arnáiz has had no formal training in historiography and historical research. He is, in fact, a business process outsourcing (BPO) professional and a jiu jitsu expert. Instead of taking up History, he pursued Computer Management and earned his degree from the University of Perpetual Help Rizal (now the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA).

Later on, Arnáiz took advantage of the BPO boom in 2002, earning six years of exceptional experience in call centers. His work ethic paid off in 2004 when he was promoted as a team leader (supervisor). In that designation, he helped lead a pioneer customer service account in APAC Customer Services, Inc., eventually winning the Best Team Leader award a year later. In between working as a call center supervisor and a traveler-photographer, he delves into the mangled world of Philippine history. Through his own, he was able to discover our true roots. But it wasn’t always that way in his younger years:

I’ve realized lately that I have become what I, as a younger man, hated to become: negligent of one’s history. When I was child, I can recall getting upset whenever my classmates would make fun of Bonifacio (the Andrés hatapang ‘di a tacbó joke). I don’t know why and where this started, but my history education as a child was better than the other kids in town. I have the luxury of learning from one of our well-off neighbours who had in their collection a vast array of titles, some are centuries-old books.

The rest of my History lessons was concluded in schools. Although the lessons were barely acceptable to my standards, I’ve always felt that it was insubstantial. In my adult years after college, I bought my own books to supplement my studies but not as avid as I once was. ‘Past is past’ they say, but unless you study them you will continue to make the same mistakes. As my favorite history quote goes, ‘One faces the future with one’s past’. I now try to regain some lost ground in my study of history. It’s never too late for all of us to study and preserve what is left.

A curious note: although Spanish is not his native language, Arnáiz is a staunch defender and advocate of the said tongue. Like the late non-Spanish-speaking senator, Blas P. Ople, this distant relative of Señor Gómez seriously deserves to be commended a Premio Zóbel medal once the said oldest literary award-giving body in the country is reactivated.

2.) To introduce Señor GUILLERMO GÓMEZ RIVERA would already be superfluous in the light of his myriad of accomplishments in the field of arts, literature, language, and history. He is described in Wikipedia as “a Filipino writer, journalist, poet, playwright, historian, linguist, and scholar of Spanish and British descent from the province of Iloilo”…

Gómez Rivera is an academic director of the prestigious Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española (Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language), the local branch of the renowned Real Academia Española based in Madrid, Spain, and part of the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española (Association of Spanish Language Academies). He is also a teacher of various Spanish dances, and is considered the undisputed maestro of Flamenco in the Philippines.

In addition to his contributions to Philippine literature and history, Gómez is also an accomplished linguist and polyglot. He speaks and writes fluently in his native Hiligaynon as well as in English and Tagalog. Aside from being an acclaimed master of the Spanish language in the country, he is also conversant in French, Italian, Portuguese, Kinaray-a, and Cebuano, and has made an extensive study of the Visayan and Chabacano languages.

Critics regard him as the Spanish equivalent to his friend Nick Joaquín’s English. Joaquín’s body of written works were discreetly about the “Hispanic soul” of the Philippines brought about by three centuries of Spanish rule. Joaquín’s stories in particular were sentimental, reminiscing the Philippine’s Spanish past as well as its decline. Gómez wrote on the same theme, more thoroughly about the decadence of the country’s “Hispanic soul,” but his style was much frank and straight to the point—the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) were the cause of Spanish decline in the Philippines. Also, unlike Joaquín, Gómez focused more on fiery essays than short stories.

He won a Premio Zóbel in 1975 for his play El Caserón (The Big House) which was published in 1976. He has since been a longtime master of ceremonies for the said award-giving body. Prior to this, Gómez won second place in the Premio Manuel Bernabé for an essay on the historical and nationalistic value and import of the Spanish language.

Much of the theme for Gómez’s poetry, as well as his essays and short stories, lie mainly on the destruction of which he calls the “Filipino Cosmos,” i.e., the destruction of Philippine languages and culture due to American neocolonization.

Gómez is a somewhat belligerent writer, as can be gleaned by his scathing attacks in his Spanish weekly newspaper Nueva Era against what he observed as local pro-compulsory “ONLY-English-language government officials” who he accuses as vile puppets of US WASP neocolonialism. Many of his writings boast of proofs against these people he accuses. Through his monumental body of literary works, he has advocated his Filipino readers to “rediscover” their Spanish past in order for them to gain knowledge of their true national identity.

Another way of doing this is through cultural dissemination, particularly through dance. Aside from sharing his knowledge of flamenco, he has made several researches on Philippine songs and dances, especially those of Hispanic influence, which he was able to contribute to the internationally acclaimed Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company. In fact, most of the Spanish-influenced native songs and dances choreographed by the said group can trace their origins from Gómez’s researches, which earned him the role of an adviser for Bayanihan.

He was also a recording artist, having recorded Filipino songs that were originally in Spanish, as well as Chabacano songs that were popular in areas were Chabacano used to be prevalent.

Gómez is also credited for reintroducing into the modern local film industry the now forgotten film Secreto de Confesión. It was the first film that was produced in the Philippines that was spoken and sung in Spanish (la primera película hablada y cantada en español producida en Filipinas).

He was also the National Language Committee Secretary of the Philippine Constitutional Convention (1971–1973) during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. As part of the committee, he fought for Tagalog to become the country’s national language. In the same convention, Gómez teamed up with other nationalists to preserve Spanish as one of the country’s official languages. Spanish, however, later was made an optional language (together with Arabic) from the Freedom Constitution of 1987 when Corazón Aquino took over from where former strongman Marcos had left.

Due to his tireless efforts in attempting to bring back the Filipino national identity based on Spanish, he is considered by some of his hispanist/nationalist friends, such as Edmundo Farolán, as El Don Quixote Filipino.

These astounding accomplishments (including those not written above!) should earn Señor Gómez no less than a National Artist Award for Literature and/or Dance and/or Historical Literature and/or Music (for his two-volume LP Nostalgia Filipina). Surprisingly, the credibility of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts spiralled down to the sewers when it chose to give awards to undeserving people such as those who glorify blood and gore on film.

3.) Unfortunately, I cannot discuss much about our compañero JOSÉ MIGUEL GARCÍA (not his real name) due to security purposes, no thanks to this corrupt, neocolonized, and LAME puppet government. For now, his real identity cannot be revealed (thus the reason the four of us don’t have a photo together). But this is all I can say about my tocayo: I am mighty glad to have someone like him on our side.

Call me pretentious; I don’t really care (been called worst names in the past). But now that there are four of us, I can proudly say that our heroes did not die in vain after all.

Those @-h0les who have been spreading blatant lies and stupidities about our country’s history will VERY SOON have their “beautiful day” in cyberspace.

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24 responses »

  1. It was nice meeting everyone. Its good to know that there are people who spend time studying history and making plans on how to bring it closer to the mainstream Filipino. I especially like the discussions on Education and Catholicism. I think we should focus on practical cooperation in areas where we share interests, if the Spanish embassy is willing to get involve and help then we should not close our doors because of fears that we’ll be branded as traitors. This attitude of hate and bigotry is what we are trying to defeat in the first place. Let’s bring all our voices together.

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  2. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for mi hermano. We’re gaining ground! I’m sure there are still other TRUE FILIPINOS out there. There couldn’t just be four of us…

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  3. You guys excite me… Let me be the first fan… ; ]

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  4. @ Pepe – Actually there were two more, but they changed their minds so, yes, four at the moment LOL

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  5. Dear Pepe:
    Congratulations to you and Arnold for starting this movement onward to True Filipinismo. The movement should be called MOVIMIENTO NACIONAL FILIPINO. Or ADELANTE FILIPINAS! Abrazo. Guillermo

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  6. Dear Pepe:
    You have placed a beautiful picture of Claro M. Recto. Just looking at it, I can almost hear his voice and all that he said in Spanish about Filipino nationalism as the only salvation of our misled youth who have no interest in getting to know their real national identity and fight for it. It was Claro M. Recto who thought of the idea of struggling for the triumph of Filipinism for “the pure pleasure of it.” In Spanish, it is “luchar por el filipinismo por el puro placer de luchar”. That is what we should all take into account once in a while, if not all of the time: to struggle for the pure pleasure of dong it and let all those indifferent among us go hang. They don’t know what they are missing. Abrazos a ti, a Arnaldo, a José Miguel y a muchos más. Vamos a luchar por el puro placer de luchar… ¡y que se chinchen!

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  7. Senores:

    Saludos!

    Primero de todo, yo querria decir a ustedes que yo conozco a una artista de la musica moderna muy muy talentoso. Se llama Josh Santana. El hombre trataba ayudar a promocionar el idioma espanol a traves de su disco que salio en el mercado hace un ano. Hasta el dia, esta promocionando sin parar asi con el espanol. la parte triste es que no pienso que recibe bastante apoyo de los hispano hablantes de Filipinas. creo que el problema es que, el esperaba que cuando alguien cantara en espanol, los hispano hablantes se despertaran. pero despues de lanzar el disco y sus canciones… nadie aparecio. (ni el instituto cervantes)

    a pesar de los problemas que tuvo, yo le admiro mucho por su valor lanzar un proyecto como eso.

    Creo que siempre necesitaremos ayudarnos con todo o cualquier cosa que haremos para la vuelta de espanol en Filinas. que lastima por el hombre pero no es tarde no?

    Sus canciones yo encuentro en Youtube grabado en vivo….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2edKQ2MKY8 eres tu

    con mucho respecto,

    Jorge

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  9. Erwin José Abcede

    I believe in the efforts of your group, to help preserve and communicate to Filipinos their true identity which is a Hispanic identity. I too agree that people should take care to study history for it is a guide to go forward, “vamos adelante”. For myself I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Roman History from it’s village beginnings to its Christian transformation and right through into its cultural survival in the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed it is the Catholic Church that builds civiliztions. Hitching a ride and ending up in Las Filipinas on Spanish ships is just another wonderful story in its saga.

    Living in Canada now for 35 years from Las Filipinas, I have come to appreciate also the contributions of the British Empire. It was taught to us in school but I always wanted to learn more on my own and discovered information that the educational sytem didn’t teach you in shcool. Even here in Canada, Canadians suffer with an identity crisis. There’s just so many different ethnic groups. Plus a province that wants to seperate, mainly the French speaking Quebec. But after all that there is still a need for me to discover where I have come from. What is a filipino? I didn’t always feel proud to be one because I was taught that we were conquered by Spain, then taken over by the Americans, snatched by the Japanese and then rescued by the Americans. What happened to us? That was my vague understanding. But I did feel that out of the three, I preferred the Spanish empire, the Spanish culture. Why?

    This year Anno Domini 2010. I came face to face with the true Filipino identity. South Africa Fifa World Cup 2010. I supported Spain. I supported them in the 2008 Euro Cup. I have always been attracted Hispanic culture and music as it has been presented to me through the Hispanic/Latino culture here in the City of Toronto and on TV from the USA. I learned to dance Salsa and Merenque. I even attended spanish language classes but stopped after the first semester because I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere with it. I attended Latin Fiestas in the city; invited to family parties hosted by Hispanics. Even as a child, when performing Filipino folk dances and singing in children’s choirs at concerts and variety shows, I was always intriqued why the kids speaking spanish had similar costumes, rondalla sounding music and even shared food similar to the Filipinos. Thanks to Spain and their victorious equipo “La Furia Roja” I have discovered the true Filipinas. I asked myself, “Why do I support this team anyway and the La Liga club FC Barcelona? Why am I always drawn to the Spanish” The only way was to go back to Filipinas, or at least online. For I havent’t been back there since I landed on Canadian soil in the 1976.

    Online I discovered articles, forums, Filipino government press releases, Spain and Filipino government initiatives, history of Filipinas and Spain I’ve never known before etc. and etc. Then I came across Señor Giullermo Gómez Rivera’s numerous writings, his restoration of Filipinohispanic music on videos and interviews. Through his work and other supporters of the Filipino identity coming out from Spain and other Hispanic countries I have been enlightened. I feel proud to be a Filipino and who is also proud to be a Canadian. I have much to learn still. I feel inspired and want to share with others what I have discovered. On that I have already met some resistance from older Filipinos who came under the English based school system, indeed. But others from that system greeted what little I’ve shared so far with eagerness and interest. Also because they’ve always known me as so thoroughly Canadianized and Anglicized. Thanks to all these things I’ve been discovering I have now resumed my study and learning Spanish/Castellano. I give our national heroes honor by learning their language. Not just José Rizal and the revotionaries but the Filipinos who were loyal to Spain and murdered along with the revolutionaries by the American Army. Their language was Spanish while keeping their own dialects. I didn’t know that not all Filipinos rebelled against Spain and they even set up their own battle units to counter the revolutionaries. But I do know that all Filipinos defended the country against the American invaders. I also want to honor the bravery of the last Spanish soldiers who fought on in Baler in 1899. Most of all I would like to honor the day Las Filipinas was born in June 24, 1571. Spanish was her language in the Central Government and law. All this I did not know until I read Sr. Rivera’s work. I will learn Spanish and will speak it until the day I die, God willing.

    With your efforts and the efforts of others either in groups or as individuals, I hope and pray for the preservation and awareness of FilipinoHispanic culture in Las Filipinas and the death of the “black legend”. I will do my humble part here in Canada but there will be a day when I will set foot on Filipino soil again and visit the many historic sites that the sons of El Cid, King Pelayo and Queen Isabel I built on the land of my birth.

    I watch TFC and GMA channels here in Canada. Why won’t someone in Filipinas put up an all Spanish channel so that the people can get used to the presence of the language and culture in the country? Programming from Latin America and Spain can be broadcast to fill in time slots. This is how I learned English here…TV. I remember how tough it was to get through reading comprehension though. If you want to talk about the imposition of English to a Filipino child I got it and had no choice. I was only 5. My dad is Tagalog speaking and my mom Visaya. Since my tagalog is not that fluent I end up speaking to my parents in the absurd “Taglish”. I ordered TFC and GMA with our cable provider because I wanted my parents and I to watch Filipino programs once in a while. My mother also insisted on it as well because after all these years homesickness creeps in from time to time. I was struck by the amount of over praising and the singing of American songs and expressions in the variety shows. I’ve only rarely heard Tagalog songs and songs from other dialects. What about the Spanish songs. The gameshows are entertaining and fun but is that all the Filipinos will see on these networks? It’s as if it’s Ancient Rome again. Show the people spectacles and sports and at the end they are clueless as to their history before, in this case, 1898, and their true identity. They don’t see the coming danger. Here in Canada it looks exactly, sounds like and tastes like the USA. But c’mon, here at least we equally honor our Canadian heroes in all cultural fields and sports. Filipino performers always emulate the North American songs. That’s just one market. A smart Filipino performer in Las Filipinas would do well to also emulate the Hispanic side of the U.S.. (The U.S. is becoming increasingly Spanish speaking if you haven’t noticed already.) Why not sing songs that touch the hearts of Latin Americans and South Americans and even mother Spain. I’m sure their fan base will grow. Just last year the Filipino singer Josh Santana released a song called Eres Tü. It’s an old song by Mocedadis I’m sure you all know. In the forums many Hispanics expressed their interest and appreciation and hoped that Mr. Santana would release more works in Spanish. He could pretty much open new music business opportunities for himself in the Spanish speaking market. They welcome him because they already are aware of the Hispanity of Las Filipinas.

    Thank you for taking the time to read everyone. With your efforts, God bless you all. ¡Viva España y viva Las Filipinas!

    Erwin José Abcede

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  11. Your not alone Pepe.I have been with you at the very first start of your spanish blog.

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  12. Si usted tiene un plan concreto,creo que se puede pedir ayuda atodas las embajadas de abla espanol en Filipinas.

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  13. Erwin,,,
    It´s really great news you got to find out and understand about our past and the great damage done to our Hispanic roots by American invaders.. Continue to spread the seeds of truth,,please..

    By the way,,,did you know that the all-time top scorer for F.C.Barcelona was a Filipino ? . His name was Paulino Alcantara and he got to play for the Spanish national team as well as the Filipino. He coached F.C Barcelona and the Spanish national team also.

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    • What are you talking about? Both were invaders! Or are the Spaniards really from any of our islands or endemic to them?

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      • amigo,,, Invader is he who conquers another country.. Spain did not invade another country… it colonized and glued together a group of islands with different tribes, languages, customs, etc… and called it Filipinas.
        The Americans invaded Filipinas, Japan invaded Filipinas, England tried to conquer Filipinas…
        Spanish language was as widespread or more than English today. 30 million documents await to be discoverd in our national archives because we can´t understand them… do you realize about that ?? this is the big harm done to us by American invaders… depriving us of our past…

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  14. Soy un espanol, en Toronto… que grata experiencia he tenido aqui conociendo a los filipinos!
    Viva Espana y Filipinas!

    Senores, si alguien quiere tomar una cerveza en Toronto u Oakville, me avisan y nos vemos un viernes despues del trabajo.

    Quiero conocer mas sobre Filipinas… que impresion el dia que vi un canon espanol en San Diego, CA… hecho en Manila!

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  15. Carlito Brigante

    Kudos to the “New Propagandists” I have read a lot of your posts on various forums specially of Señor Pepe and it gives me a lot of food for my search of the real Filipino identity. It all started when I was in Ecuador ages ago, I thought I was back in Manila because of so many similarities and to my surprise it didn’t stop there until I had the chance of visiting other South American countries. A Mexican colleague of mine once told me, ” it is a shame that you guys(Filipinos) have Spanish names and yet you don’t know how to speak the language” Although I don’t have a Spanish name but I felt strange and different of some sort realizing what he said was true. It’s not just about the language, it’s about our own identity that was bastardized by the Americans. How I wish that one day, all Filipinos will learn how to embrace our past as a Hispanic country. More power and count me in with your quest.

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    • Ironic isn’t? The original propagandist were seeking reform and the extreme among them were seeking independence. But here, some people are seeking again to be colonize by Spain again. Try to remember, the whole country as we know it today, were not all colonize by Spain. So not all have a Hispanic identity. Spanish was not even taught among the Indios the same way it was propagated in Latin America.

      We should be greatful that the Spaniards took a different approach and learned the vernacular instead and compiled dictionaries. Our culture will be further bastardized if we spoke Spanish for nothing will be left with our identity.

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  18. Impressive! Mabuhay!

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  19. I would like to ask this- why did the Spaniards did not teach the Filipinos Spanish?

    Was it okay, that during the Battle for Manila (mock battle between the Americans and Spaniards) the Kastilaloys requested the Kanos not to let the Indios inside Ciudad Murada even if the Indios were the one surrounding the area (the Americans did not have enough men or cavalry reinforcements during this time.)

    And yes, I am aware of La Leyenda Negra and I am not pro-Uncle Sam. Just being a devils advocate here of sorts. I find the nouveau riche and some old “faggoty” rich fascinated with the Kastilaloys even if they are so Indios. Talk about colonial mentality.

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