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Construction of Legacy or Obstruction of Destiny

by Mcdaryl Lleno

The Filipino view of Kasaysayan differs distinctively as to its foreign counterparts. The
‘narrative’ and ‘relevance’ of our recurring events what makes this qualify as the perfect Filipino
definition of history.
This distinction has to do with Filipinos' way of treating history in their daily lives. The term
used by Dr. Z. A. Salazar to describe this treatment is "cyclical". This cyclical nature of treating
history has been broken through the Spain’s introduction of ‘unique’ linear recurrence i.e. “even
though the events happened repetitively, there are some certain changes that improves the
event's historical significance”.
The vision that Spain have for the archipelago could be compared to a place full of
darkness then once civilized, it will get its deserved light. This style used by Spaniards fooled our
Filipino compatriots, made their planned colonialization successful. The meaning and relevance
infused in our historical daily lives was utilized to induce our senses to change for the ‘better’, a
civilized country away from our ‘barbaric’ past as always drowned by toxic Friars.
However, this vision, as felt by the uneducated sector can be considered only as ‘fantasy’
because only middle class and educated Indios and mestizos were able to receive the ‘deserved’
light as promised by Spain. Not all Filipinos were able to achieve the intellectual capacity of
Spaniards when it comes to studies and industries, as this was deprived to them.
This urge for protest as felt by those deprived could be transcribed as the Tripartite View
of Philippine History. This tripartite view is supported by two movements fighting for social justice,
revolutionists and propagandists. When their views are examined, it could be inferred that
propagandists have looser feelings for these social injustices as they were able to point out some
progresses in the country that we owe to Spain.
Graciano Lopez Jaena were able to fault some article undermining the capacity of Filipinos
for self-civilization. Prior to the arrival of Spaniards in the archipelago, natives have the capacity
to develop its own methods through its harmonious relationships with its neighboring nations. This
could be seen in the methods employed by Igorots in mining, artistic jars found in an excavation
in Pampanga and in Samar, where its local natives still possess the skills of embalming corpse
through the use of herbs.
Through the domination of Spanish culture roaming around the archipelago as a result of
its colonization, this prehispanic civilization did not flourish enough to be as successful as the
proliferation of Western culture in the Europe. Only pure and genuine Filipinos can win its
redemption of the pure Filipinas.
Marcelo H. Del Pilar was xenocentric about his views regarding Filipino culture’s inferiority
as contrasted to Spain. This could be seen in Philippines’ first step to industrialization and
commercialization through the opening of Suez Canal for Spanish Galleon Trade. However, Del
Pilar pointed out that the ideals fused by Spain and Philippines through symbolic blood compact
would latter expire due to friar’s interference and subversion to holding the power in the country.
Friars, as stressed by del Pilar as the only struggle for social justice should be removed so that
Spain could provide the archipelago with socio-political reforms that would make Filipinos
experience the privilege and rights experienced by the Spaniards i.e. assimilation of Filipinos to
Spanish nation. With this scenario in mind, Filipinos would then save a lot of lives at the expense
of losing the purest form of being Filipino. On the other hand, del Pilar also implied that revolution
has the advantages because it is surgical in nature, removing the social tumor implicated by friar
rule in the country and stitching it by immense service of the Filipinos.
The negligence of Spain to foresee their presupposed ‘civilization’ made them the big
antagonist in all of Philippines’ history. Not a single cent of gratitude was reflected if the
commoner’s model of Philippine history would proliferate. The corruption and abuse of power of
encomenderos made Filipinos assume that it is Spanish reflection of governance. This abuse of
power by the encomenderos killed the usual essence and poisoned the daily lives of native
Filipinos.
Rizal’s views are so comprehensive and analytical. Rizal, detailed the retrogression of
certain industries due to corrupt practices by those in the colonial government. Rizal’s ability to
analyze the colonized archipelagic scenario made his tripartite view more extreme. According to
Rizal, Spain’s very presence is the social cancer that inflicted the country, retrograded the industry
and killed the native virtues of the Filipinos.
The legacy of the Propaganda was to break apart the bipartite view introduced by the
Spaniards. Not only they were breaking the premises offered by the Spaniards, but they were
also building a sense that Filipinos were able to be civilized using their own methodologies. This
legacy is so holistic that it can be seen and reflected to today’s scenario and how we endure
unreasonable oppression.
Through this write-up, readers will be able to revise their own model of periodization of
Philippine history. The fate of history was in the hands of Filipinos, themselves. If destiny will only
permit to replicate the creativity and wit of these three propagandists, we would have a finer view
and analysis of our own history. However, the material produced by Dr. Z.A. Salazar somewhat
lacks its firmness due to absence of annotations and footnotes where the actual premise could
be found. This material, though written by a credible author may be somewhat doubted when it
comes to its authenticity.
The perspective of Salazar in writing history could be simply explained using one word:
relevance. If a historian would attempt to write Philippine history, significance and relevance to
the Filipinos must be considered. This relevance and significance as exemplified by three
propagandists could somewhat amount to the perfect example of writing history according to
Salazar. The style implored by three propagandists was to use Filipinos as a base of reference,
thus, increasing its relevance.
It is still a question to this day, if Filipinos, themselves constructed their legacy or Spanish
dominance obstructed their destiny. This could only be answered through creative studies as
demonstrated by three important propagandists in Philippine history, Jaena, del Pilar and Rizal.
One thing is for sure, Filipinos have to accept and learn from their past so that consciousness of
destiny won’t be the utmost primacy but awareness of actions would lead to a rightful path of
social justice.

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