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Ocampo: Rizal did not write Sa Aking Mga Kabata

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Two years ago, I contended that Rizal never wrote Sa Aking Mga Kabata which reeked of Tagalista fervor as well as dubious, “unRizalistic” entries in almost each line. Early this morning, no less than the country’s foremost historian today, Ambeth R. Ocampo, finally ended the issue.

Isn’t the most quoted line from Rizal’s many poems that from “Sa Aking Mga Kabata” that goes, “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika/masahol pa sa hayop at malansang isda.” (He who loves not his own language/is worse than a beast and a stinking fish.)

Did Rizal write this poem at eight years old? Did Rizal write this poem at all?

No original manuscript, in Rizal’s own hand, exists for “Sa Aking Mga Kabata,” traditionally believed to be his first poem.

I heard a few years ago that Ocampo already disagreed that Rizal authored this poem. He may have written something about the same topic already. But this is just the first time that I read an article from him about the same. And of course, his contentions about this poem attributed to Rizal is far more better, highly informative, and exceptional compared to my arguments.

Happy language month?

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4 responses »

  1. thanks for sharing this. it’s very interesting.

  2. tamah pra sakin inde talaga si rizalang gumawa ng tulang un dahilhangang ngaun wala padin maipakita na patunay na siya nga ang gumawa nung tulang yun

  3. Well for me, it doesn’t matter who really wrote the poem of Rizal, “Sa aking mga Kabata”. What matters the most is the message of the poem rather than the author of it and of course on how this poem inspire each readers and how it will be recognize by us especially nowadays. I know it is still important to give credit to the real writer but hopefully the importance and impact of the poem will not be devalued just because it is not Rizal who wrote the said poem. Let’s just appreciate the work because for all we know, as long as as the poem or work touches our heart, it is worth reading and worth keeping. So why keep on asking who is the really writer of this poem? Why not look on the brighter side of it and stop making issues.

    Ruby Rose A. Gohetia

    • Jose Evangelista

      The problem for me is the message “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika/masahol pa sa hayop at malansang isda.” What then constitutes the love of one’s language? I do not believe that the way the Filipinos today use the Tagalog (both verbally and written) constitute “love” of the Tagalog language. In contrast, in fact, most Filipinos today corrupt their own language. Also, Rizal was not a Tagalog writer, and admittedly (to his brother) having problem with it as he seldom find occasions to use it. Rizal considered language as a mere tool of communication, no more no less; thus he wrote prolifically in Spanish besides mastering several more languages. However, I have no doubt that Rizal respect the Tagalog language as he cared about its proper and correct usages (as admitted in a letter to his brother). Francisco Balagtas/ Baltazar, the poet laureate of the Philippines, is the one who “loves” the Tagalog language.


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