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More Hispanic than we admit

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Is it possibe to be Filipino if we (get) rid of the Spanish influence? No.
—Fr. José S. Arcilla, S.J.—

It’s Time To Go Back To The War…

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I publish here a communication between me and blogger José Miguel García of the patriotic blog PATRIA. You may view the original intercourse in the comments section of my blogpost The Filipino Identity (posted on 08/18/09; my response below is already edited). García shares the same ideals and aspirations that I have for the mother country.

Here it is…

*******

José Miguel wrote on 2009/10/06 at 10:46pm:

I met a Spaniard several years ago who I think was connected with the Spanish embassy in the Philippines. His name is Fernando Palanco. He gave an informal talk about Filipino Identity which I missed. So I asked for a written copy of what he talked about. He said he does not have a copy at that moment but told me he may be able to provide me with one if I can come back the following day. Unfortunately I told him I was not sure I could still spare another day to come back due to other concerns which were serious and needed my close attention. I was not able to come back. A year later, I tried to get in touch with him thru an email address (fernandopalanco@yahoo.es) he gave me but failed to reach him. He wrote about “Diego Silang’s Revolt: A New Approach” for Philippine Studies Volume 50 (2002): 512-537 Fourth Quarter, Ateneo de Manila University Press. It was translated by José S. Arcilla, S.J. This could be quite an interesting information coming from a Spaniard and from someone who based on his “Diego Silang…” work, has plenty of documented sources as basis.

Another good source of information on Filipino Identity is Elizabeth Ann Medina Santiago who now I guess is based in Chile.

I hope some of us with means of contact can get in touch with them which might be a big help in consolidating and synthesizing a framework for an authentic, biological, historical and organic based Filipino Identity.

Oh yes the report of Guillermo Gómez Rivera is quite extensive and valid. Valid even by just inspecting the relationship of our deteriorating situation with the cause as provided in his report. By logic of cause and effect, his report is valid.

My answer to the last question is, it is not enough that majority of us Filipinos be presented with the truth. The truth should be packaged to: be convincingly the truth; be relevant to the personal life of each one of the majority of us Filipinos; be the only solution to our problem even if the result would take a long time; replicatable in disemination.

This is still a long journey. That is why we need teamwork and pooling of resources.

PATRIA

My reply to him, published earlier, 2009/10/08 at 5:54am

Sir, Arnaldo Arnáiz and I have reviewed your website many times already. It appears that you share the same ideals and aspirations that we both have with Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera. I invite you then to join us in this struggle to help our fellow Filipinos realize their true roots.

For the past decade, I’ve been looking for someone to help me in continuing Señor Gómez’s noble cause. We have to accept the fact that the good scholar is not getting any younger. And unfortunately, I do not have the same intellectual capacity which he has (being educated by heavy metal poetry and had pro-wrestling for my physical education class), thus the reason why I’ve been looking for like-minded people (besides, I’m already a family man; I cannot fully focus on this struggle). Many times I’ve failed in my search; other people even thought that I was going crazy with all this talk of Filipino identity and this leyenda negra against our Spanish past. But I really have to look for a partner who shares the same advocacy. I cannot do it alone although old man Gómez believes in me. I could not even speak the way I write. That is why I am thankful to God that I’ve met Arnaldo two years ago. I didn’t know that he’s been searching for like-minded people as well.

Señor Gómez, Elizabeth Medina, and I are pioneer members of the online group Círculo Hispanofilipino (Fr. Arcilla used to be in our mailing list, but he declined membership). Many members are Spanish professors, scholars, authors, historians, linguists/polyglots, artists, and cultural conservationists from our country and other Spanish-speaking countries as well (acó lang marahil ang cute sa organización namin, ¡hehehe!). Unfortunately, the group focuses more on the conservation of the Spanish language in our country; rarely does it promote nor talk about Filipino identity. Alas, they’re even losing focus themselves — nowadays, they talk about topics unrelated to the círculo’s cause. I tried many times to convince members to take physical action of our mission and not to just sit down in front of their PCs and enage others in a payabañgán contest of what they know about the Spanish language (and other unrelated languages) and the Philippines’ Spanish past. But it seemed to me like I’m writing letters to ancient Greek statues. That is why many times, I find that group virtually useless.

But now we found you, at last. There’s another one who has potential — his name is Glenn Martínez. But he’s mostly into travels. And recently, Typhoon Ondoy rendered him helpless at the moment.

I invite you, then, to join me, Señor Gómez, and Arnaldo. We have frequent meetings in Señor Gómez’s house in Ciudad de Macati and we travel a lot. I fervently hope that you could join us in some of our discussions. I am 100% sure that the old man will be delighted to have you in our team. My mobile phone number is in my Facebook account.

By the way, Señora Medina is a good friend of Señor Gómez. And she’s been communicating online with Arnaldo for many months now. When I meet up with Señor, I’ll ask if he knows Fernando Palanco. I bet he does.

It is a lonely war out there. Señor Gómez and I used to be alone. Now we’re gaining numbers. Our heroes –José Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Antonio Luna, Claro M. Recto, Manuel Bernabé, Luis Rodríguez Varela, Simón de Anda, etc.– would have been proud of us.

I hope that Glenn “Traveler On Foot” Martínez would be able to join us soon. This is a long journey, indeed. And to be frank with you, we might not even win (or be victorious in our lifetime). But the ever optimistic and happy Señor Gómez once told me: if we don’t win, then let’s do this for the simple pleasure of struggling (against infamy). And yes, we’re fighting the good fight! Not all will be lost!

At the very least, our children’s children will truly and proudly say that “nobody slept during the time of our forefathers…”

Hope to hear from you soon,

Un abrazo desde La Laguna, Filipinas,

José Mario “Pepe” Alas

*******

Arnold’s right. I’m losing focus lately. Too bad for the fun-loving me, but this is my destiny.

It’s now time to go back to the war…

“M0+he®fu©K Uncle Sam! Stand back, I KNOW WHO I AM!!!”

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