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Category Archives: Identidad Filipina

Marrying in ancient, sacred Catholic rites

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It may seem improper to share to all of you today one of the best and greatest moments of my life, my wedding, especially on a time like this (re: the earthquake crisis in the Visayas). But more than a month after that simple yet historic Filipiniana wedding of ours, news about it came off the press just this morning… so maybe its better if I attempt to offset all the bad vibes besetting the Catholic Church in Bohol and Cebú with this article…

Marrying in ancient, sacred Catholic rites

The bride, wearing the traditional baro’t saya and a long veil topped with a tiara of sampaguita flowers, arrived in a horse-drawn carriage at the San Pedro Apostol Parish Church in San Pedro town in Laguna.

The groom, who sported a black suit that matched his bowler hat and cane, waited for her at the church’s doorstep.

Without the usual wedding frivolities, they exchanged vows—in Spanish—in the Mozarabic Rite of Toledo held on their 14th anniversary as a couple.

Click here for the rest of the story!

Marrying in ancient, sacred Catholic rites

Special thanks to Maricar Cinco for the excellent photo and write-up. :-)

Hispanity Day

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To my fellow Filipinos: be aware, be PROUD, of who and what you really are.

“To accuse the Spanish, over and over again, of having brought us all sorts of things, mostly evil, among which we can usually remember nothing very valuable, ‘except, perhaps,’ religion and national unity, is equivalent to saying of a not very model mother, that she has given her child nothing except life, for in the profoundest possible sense, Spain did give birth to us — as a nation, as an historical people. This geographical unit of numberless islands called the Philippines –this mystical unit of numberless tongues, bloods and cultures called a Filipino– was begotten of Spain, is a Spanish creation. The content of our national destiny is ours to create, but the basic form, the temper, the physiognomy, Spain has created for us.”

–Nick Joaquín (La Naval de Manila, October 1943)–

You can’t continue being a Filipino if you continue harboring a hatred of our Spanish past. That glorious epoch is what created us.

 ¡Feliz Día de la Hispanidad! :D

Drawing up our islands

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Asked about his country’s culture, brief history, and other Frenchy stuff while on a drinking session somewhere in Alabang, this former French officemate of mine readily obliged and even gamely drew up a crude sketch of his country on a large piece of tissue paper!

Me and the rest of our Filipino coworkers drinking with him were amazed at how he did it. And by the look on his face, he was a bit puzzled at our admiration. It’s because drawing a sketch of their country was something normal to him, to all of them there in France. Probably the same thing with other countries. Which led me to think: how many schools here in our country do even care to teach our students how to draw our archipelago, or at least make a more or less accurate crude sketch of it?

It’s understandable, though, that in comparison, France is a bit easier to draw than the Filipino archipelago: it’s compact and a bit squarish despite the irregularities on the sides. Our country, of course, is composed of thousands of jigsaw-puzzle shaped islands and islets. Other than that, not everyone has the talent to draw (the only stuff I know to draw is a bamboo stick). But should this be an excuse? In my alma mater, all students, regardless of their course, are required to take up Basic Inorganic Chemistry even though all of them (especially in my case) never intended to build their careers inside a test-tube-filled laboratory. And all high school students (not sure if it’s still the same with college) are still required to undergo basic military training. The point of it all, of course, is to help shape a well-rounded and (hopefully) multifaceted Filipino student.

Will the skill to draw our archipelago help contribute to that? Yes, I believe so. It will inculcate in them not just a knowledge of their country’s visual representation but also a sense of ownership, if not nationalism. And following a sense of ownership is responsibility. Like what environmentalists usually say about our planet, Filipinas is our only home; we have to take care of it, guard it, and defend it at all times.

With all this senseless and bigoted Islamic claim of the entire island of Mindanáo (not to mention China’s nincompoopish claim over OUR Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal), may our educational system not wait until our country is composed only of Luzón and Visayas before they thought of inculcating geographical awareness and pride among our students.

*******

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Matrimonium 2013

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Matrimonium 2013

“I give you a companion, and not a slave; love her as Christ loves his Church.”

The authentic Filipiniana wedding of the century… coming soon! :-)

Webster defines what a Filipino is

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The Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (New York: Portland House, 1989), of which I have a copy, correctly defines what a Filipino is:

Fil·i·pi·no (fil’əˈpē’nō), n., pl. -nos, adj. —n. 1. a native of the Philippines, esp. a member of a Christianized native tribe. —adj. 2. Philippine. [< Sp. derived from (las Islas) Filipinas Philippine (islands)]

Take note of  the phrase “a member of a Christianized native tribe”. This is historically precise because it was the Spanish friars who, upon baptizing the indigenous, automatically Hispanized them. We say automatically because the once pagan indigenous were assimilated into the societies (reducciones which later became pueblos, parroquias, etc.) that were created by the friars for them. In other words, those who were baptized or Christianized were welcomed into a new society which provided them the benefits of cultural dissemination, in a way “civilizing” them because  new concepts and tools from the West were by far and comparatively more advanced vis-à-vis the latter’s cultural way of life.

From these baptized ethnolinguistic groups or tribes evolved the Filipino.

In this regard, it is scientifically, culturally, and historically imprecise to say that the Ifugáos, the Mañguianes, the Aetas, the T’bolis, even the Moros, and all the other unbaptized ethnolinguistic groups to be called Filipinos for the mere reason that they did not assimilate themselves into the societies that could have shaped and molded them into the Filipino cosmos that was the world of José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Padre José Burgos, Luis Rodríguez Varela, and the rest.

This Webster definition is the reason why, in a previous blogpost (Filipino, in a jiffy), I named only three attributes which defined what a Filipino is:

1) Hispanic culture, with Malayo-Polynesian elements as a substrate.
2) The Spanish language.
3) Christianity (Roman Catholic Religion).

The indigenous who never got the chance to be baptized into the Christian faith were not Hispanized, thus failing to be Filipinized in the process. Of course, we can still say that the rest —particularly our indigenous brothers— are Filipinos. But only by virtue of citizenship (most notably, jus soli).

Happy 442nd birthday, Filipinas!

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Today we should celebrate not only Manila’s foundation date; today is also the 442nd birthday of our country! Because Manila was founded as the CAPITAL city on 24 June 1571.

Take note that I put emphasis on the word CAPITAL.

Remember that Manila was founded and established as the CAPITAL CITY on this date 442 years ago. Because it is a fact that the Filipino State (el Estado Filipino) was simultaneously founded with the establishment of Manila as capital city on 24 June 1571. Think about this: why in the world should there be a CAPITAL CITY —the seat of a central government with laws— WITHOUT a corresponding State to govern in the first place?

Our history teachers and books often teach us that Manila was founded on 24 June 1571 as the capital city. And just that. Nothing else follows. The question now is: the capital city of WHAT?! Logic dictates that if there is a capital city, naturally there should be a state that it has to govern, and it doesn’t even matter if this state is a colony or and independent one. These history teachers and books always fail to teach us that with the establishment of Manila as the city capital, the founding of the Filipino State was also established.

And it is wrong to say that 12 June 1898 is the birth of our country. The existence of our country did not happen overnight. It had to evolve from something else. Here is an analogy: my alma mater, Adamson University, is now 81 years old. But it did not immediately start as a university. It was first founded in 1932 as the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry. It only achieved university status in 1941. Should we now say that there was no Adamson before 1941? In the same vein, should we say that there was no Filipinas before 1898?

Happy 44nd birthday, Filipinas!!! :D

Father’s Day today?

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They say it’s Father’s Day today. I say, “no way”.

For us Filipinos, the real Father’s Day (Día del Padre) should be commemorated every March 19th. Our forefathers knew this. It was the US neocolonialist pigs who subtly imposed the modern-day commemoration of Father’s Day every 3rd Sunday of June for commercial purposes: to sell greeting cards, items that fathers’ love (such as tools, electronics, and other similar gadgets), special promos in restaurants, discounts in resorts, and the like. In short, today’s celebration of Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) is BASED ON PROFITEERING whereas the real Filipino celebration of Father’s Day is SPIRITUAL (feast of Saint Joseph, the adoptive father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the patron saint of fathers).

The Father’s Day that Filipinos celebrate today has its origins from the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of a US Civil War veteran, was inspired by a sermon from Anna Jarvis who was promoting Mother’s Day the year before, in 1909. Dodd then thought of a noble idea to honor fathers as well. And she was doubly inspired because her dad was a single parent who raised six children on his own. She then suggested to a pastor in the YMCA to organize a Father’s Day celebration that will complement Jarvis’s Mother’s Day. Dodd initially suggested to hold the very first Father’s Day celebration on June 5, on her father’s birthday. However, YMCA pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, so it was decided that they celebrate Father’s Day two Sundays later: on June 19, 1910. That date was the third Sunday of the month. Since then, it has become a tradition to hold Father’s Day every third Sunday of June.

Unlike Jarvis’s Mother’s Day, Dodd’s concept did not become a huge hit on its first few years. She even stopped promoting it to pursue further studies in Chicago, Illinois during the 1920s. A decade later, she returned to Spokane and revived Father’s Day, with the motive of raising awareness at a national level. Interestingly, she received help from trade groups who were thinking of other opportunities: profit. These trade groups had interests in the manufacturing of ties, tobacco pipes, and other typical items that would be of interest for fathers. Hungry for profit, they worked hard in order to make Father’s Day the “Second Christmas’ for all the men’s gift-oriented industries” (See Leigh Eric Schmidt’s CONSUMER RITES The Buying and Selling of American Holidays. NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, 1995, pp. 256-292).

Both Jarvis and Dodd’s objectives were simple and noble: to honor parents. But their noble vision was buried by commercialization which still pervades to this very day. All in the name of US imperialism. So why do we Filipinos have to identify ourselves with something that is not ours, that is not us? That is why I told my Facebook friends yesterday that they may greet me a “Happy Father’s Day” every third week of June only when I have lost my self-respect and dignity as a Filipino. And they will immediately know that once I have cheered for any NBA team or other similar US-centric inanities.

I am a Filipino. Soy filipino. Not a little brown Kanô.

Easter Sunday 2013 is the 492nd anniversary of the first Mass in the Philippines!

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DID YOU KNOW? Today, Easter Sunday, is the 492nd anniversary of the first Mass in our country that was celebrated in Isla Mazaua! It happened on 21 March 1521 which was also an Easter Sunday!

The traditional “salubong” between our Lord Jesus Christ (left) and His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary (right). Photo taken early this morning by Yeyette Perey de Alas at our town plaza.

It was Fernando de Magallanes, otherwise known as Ferdinand Magellan, who ordered the celebration of the Holy Mass in Mazaua. It was officiated by Fray Pedro de Valderrama (O.S.A.). It is sad to note that Magallanes, a devout Roman Catholic and a kind-hearted gentleman, is one of the most vilified and hated characters in Philippine History today when, ironically, he was the catalyst for the birth of Christianity in our country.

Something is just not right. Something is obviously twisted. We are a Christian —a Catholic— nation. Yet we hate the medium that brought our beloved faith to our shores.

It is the bitterness that was taught to us in US-centric schools that inhibits us from discovering the truth about ourselves. Indeed, “those years cry for a fresher appraisal“. I pray that Easter Sunday 2013 will be the commencement of the “resurrection” of our buried but glorious past.

Happy Easter everyone!

Pascuhan sa La Laguna

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Opening their gifts! This is an age-old Filipino custom that my family is conserving every 6th of January. Some far-flung barrios of La Laguna are still doing this (particularly those in the eastern part). But it appears that we’re the only ones who are celebrating this old Filipino tradition here in San Pedro.

 

Aside from the lively Three Kings festivities in Mabitac, some parts of La Laguna still celebrate the centuries-old custom of Christmas gift-giving on that date (6th of January). A few remote barrios in Liliw, Mabitac, Nagcarlán, Pagsanján, and Santa Cruz still practise the old “pascuhan” tradition wherein children visit their godparents for Christmas freebies, and parents surprise their children with gifts. This custom is obviously of Hispanic origin and is still being practised by many Spanish-speaking countries. The gift-giving commemorates the famous Nativity scene wherein the Three Wise Men from the Orient (popularly known as the Three Kings, a Catholic tradition) visited the child Jesus and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, thus recognizing Him as the newborn King of the world.

Culled from my debut book, LA LAGUNA The Heart of the Philippines. Coming very soon! Happy Three Kings everyone! :D

2012 Filipino Of The Year — Jesse Robredo!

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FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and ALAS FILIPINAS bestows their first posthumous Filipino of the Year award to the late Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Jesús “Jesse” Robredo y Manalastás, PLH (27 May 1958 – 18 August 2012).

Last 18th of August, the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft carrying Secretary Robredo crashed off the shore of Masbate Island. He was about to go home to watch his daughter’s swimming competition in his beloved Naga City, Camarines Sur where he was elected mayor in 1988 at the age of 29. He was said to be the youngest mayor in Philippine History, but that is false – remember that the country’s first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, served as Cavite El Viejo‘s capitán municipal (formerly known as gobernadorcillo, equivalent to today’s town mayor) when he was only 26 years old… but that’s another story.

FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and ALAS FILIPINAS do not believe in posthumous awards. Honors ought to be given to an awardee while he is still alive. But this one has to be an exception. Let us admit it: Mr. Robredo was not as popular today when he was alive. Stories about his exceptional leadership began to surface only after his tragic demise. Nevertheless, all those stories and testimonies about him are true. He really was an exceptional local executive. The people of Naga City gave him a mandate of two three-term reigns (1988-1998, 2001-2010) before he was appointed as DILG secretary last 9 July 2010.

Thank you, sir Jesse, for inspiring Filipino politicians to practice good governance and to be with the masses at all times.

In this era of government ineptness, neglect, and corruption people search for role models who can show the difference. Robredo became one such model. Amidst the ostentatious and scandal-ridden lifestyle of most public officials, Robredo’s was special. Public service, however, is not only about transparency but bringing about lasting social and economic change.

Bicol Today

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