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MODULE 2: ISSUES AND PROBLEMS IN PHILIPPINE HISTORIOGRAPHY

Rationale:
Module 2 allows the students to assess some of the issues and problems of Philippine Historiography. This module will
differentiate the concept of “history” and the Filipino concept of kasaysayan. Further, a comparison between the bipartite
view and tripartite views of history will be discussed.
For the students to have a better understanding and as a tool in their analysis of different historical sources, through
Filipino perspective, the different “Pananaw Pangkasaysayan” will be tackled. As a recommended remedy to the issues
and problems in Philippine Historiography and the way Philippine History is taught in our education system, Zeus
Salazar’s “Pantayong Pananaw” philosophy will be emphasized.
Module 2: Outline
I. Issues and Problems in Philippine Historiography
A. Correcting the errors of published historical work
B. Filling the gaps in Philippine History
C. Reinterpretation of historical facts & events and rewriting History in the Filipino point of view
II. History as a western concept and Kasaysayan as a Filipino concept
III. Bipartite View vis-à-vis Tripartite View of Philippine History
IV. Zeus Salazar’s Pantayong Pananaw and other Pananaw Pangkasaysayan
A. Pantayong Pananaw
B. Pangkaming Pananaw
C. Pangkayong Pananaw
D. Pansilang Pananaw

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the issues and problems in Philippine Historiography.
2. Comprehend the distinction between history as a western concept and kasaysayan as a Filipino concept.
3. Compare the bipartite vis-a vis the tripartite view of Philippine History.
4. Evaluate sources by being able to identify the point of view used by the author through the different “ Pananaw
Pangkasaysayan”.
5. Appreciate the need of having a Filipino framework and methodology of writing and teaching history through the
“Pantayong Pananaw”.

I. Issues and Problems in Philippine Historiography

As discussed from the previous module, Historiography refers to the study of history itself. It analyzes who is the history
writer, the motives of the writer, the sources of the writer, theories applied and other historical methods. It also analyzes
the context when the history was written. Basically, it studies how history is written.
Philippine Historiography has underwent several changes since the precolonial period until present. Alongside with these
changes, sprung the different issues and problems in which it has affected our appreciation of Philippine history itself.
At a larger part, Philippine history was originally written and documented by foreign historians, in fact even at present
most primary chronicles are mostly written in Spanish and English. This being the case, modern day Filipino historian
have put a lot of question on the manner by which Philippine history was written.
A. Correcting the errors of published historical work. Since most of the primary sources were written in foreign
language, errors in translation have happened and have affected much the writing of history. There was therefore the
need to correct errors in publication.
B. Filling the gaps in Philippine History. There were very few anthropologists and archaeologist in the Philippines
hence there are still gaps in some account or parts of the Philippine history.
C. Reinterpretation of historical facts & events. Historical Revisionism is a practice in writing history in which
historians reinterpret views of causes and effects, decisions, explanations and evidences.
D. Rewriting History in the Filipino point of view. The biggest problem that was raised is the fact that writers were
foreigners therefore Philippine history was mostly written in a foreigner’s point of view and not on the point of view
of the Filipinos.

II. History as a western concept and Kasaysayan as a Filipino concept

History and kasaysayan are always equated the same. It is founded on the idea that both are studies of the past. However,
for radical Filipino historians, the two concepts are not synonymous.
1) History as a western concept

History is a western concept introduced by our colonizers, particularly by the Spaniards. “History was derived from the
Greek word historia which means “knowledge acquired through inquiry or investigation”. As a discipline, it existed for

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2,400 years. The term historia was then adopted to classical Latin where it acquired a new definition. Historia became
known as the account of the pat of a group of people through written documents and historical evidence. It is a must for
traditional historians that unless a written document can prove a certain historical event, then it cannot be considered as a
historical fact.
With that methodology, radical Filipino historians posed several questions as the mantra of “no document, no history” if
its suits the Philippine context. They point out that, in the case of the Philippines, despite the fact that even before the
colonizers came and ancient Filipinos already have a writing system, most of them narrated their past and story through
communal songs, epics and other traditions that they passed orally from a generation to another.
If the strict definition and philosophy of “history” as to recorded documents is to be followed, then the way our ancestors
narrate their past and story will not be accounted for. Which is why also, the claim that “there is no Philippine history
before the colonizers came” became prevalent despite the fact that in our own point of view, we already have: narrated in
a manner not accounted by the methodology of “history”.
Another point posed by Filipino historians as to the exclusivity of the methodology of “history” is that “History accounts
only recorded past,” that means it is only for those who can write, those who are educated. So this begs the question,
how about the “history” of those who cannot write or are uneducated? Does this mean that “history” is only for a specific
class of people? This issue is very much evident as most of the historical writings only centered the lives of important
individuals like monarchs, heroes, saints, elite and nobilities. History was also focused on writing about wars,
revolutions, and developmental breakthroughs. The question now is “how about the story of ordinary farmers,
fishermen, old folk, peasant families and indigenous people or even the commoner like you?” Restricting historical
evidence as exclusively written is also discrimination against other social classes who were not recorded in paper. Does
the absence of written documents about them mean that they are people of no history or past? Did they even exist?
Lastly, from the very word “history”, Filipino historians noticed it being gender-biased towards male; how the term is
heavily influenced by patriarchy. “HIStory”, how about “HERstory”. This lends to the fact why much of historical
writings are dedicated to great men, powerful and dominant male leaders.
2) Kasaysayan as a Filipino concept

The Pantayong Pananaw definition of kasaysayan is “salaysay na nagsalaysay ng mga bagay na may saysay para sa
sinasalysayang grupo o salinlahi”. The definition gives emphasis to the root of kasaysayan which is “saysay” which
means significant.
Under such definition, it seeks to address some of the issues as regards the western concept of history and suit the
paradigm of such discipline in the Filipino context and culture.
Kasaysayan, unlike history, is not only bound by written documents but as well as oral traditions like communal songs,
legends, epics and the like as mentioned earlier were the prevalent modes on how the ancient Filipinos and most of the
indigenous people who still exist up this day use as a mode of narrating their past and story. Oral traditions in the
Philippine context are important since they also capture the emerging values, principles and ideology of certain group of
people at a particular time. Example of this is the legend of “Malakas and Maganda” of the Tagalogs. It is the Filipino
version of the creation story in the bible. The legend tells that men and women sprung at the same time after the legendary
bird Tigmamanukan pecked the bamboo. In contrast to the bible story of Adam and Eve, where Adam, the man, was first
created and women through Eve as their representation was created by God from a body part of Adam. What do these
stories tell us? From our “Malakas and Maganda” legend, we can see that our Filipino ancestors have a strong value for
gender equality. Men and women have equal status in their society. While from the classic story of Adam and Eve, we can
deduce that it is still heavily influence by patriarchy or the idea that men are more dominant than women.
As to the inclusivity of the concept of kasaysayan, it advocates the philosophy of “People’s History” or “History from
Below”. According to E.P Thompson, “people's history” or “history from below” is a type of historical narrative which
attempts to account for historical events from the perspective of common people rather than leaders. There is an emphasis
on disenfranchised, the oppressed, the poor, the nonconformists, and otherwise marginal groups. Unlike the concept of
“history” which values the philosophy of “history from above”.
III. Bipartite View vis-à-vis Tripartite View of Philippine History

Bipartite View of Philippine History


For many years and sadly some still believe it until now, the Spaniards made us believe that there was no civilization in
Philippines. They made us think that early Filipino people were barbaric and uneducated. They have assimilated upon the
Filipinos that it was them who brought civilization and progress to us. This is known as the Bipartite View of Philippine
History.
In such view, Philippine History can be only viewed into two epochs. The first is the “ Pre-Hispanic Period”
characterized as the time prior to the coming of the Spaniards where the condition of the Philippines is seen of uncivilized
society and barbaric people. The second epoch is the “Hispanic Period” characterized as time of the coming of the
Spaniards seen as the advent of civilizing influences from them.
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The Bipartite View of Philippine History made us think that we owe our civilization to the Spaniards. As a metaphor to
this view, the Katipuneros illustrated this view as “dilim-liwanag”. Dilim means darkness and liwanag means light. Such
metaphor connotes that the first epoch is seen as the dark age of Philippine history and the second epoch as the age which
brought light to Philippine history.
Tripartite View of Philippine History
The educated Filipinos during the Spanish era, known as the ilustrados cannot accept the bipartite view of Philippine
history presented by the Spaniards. They come up with a research on Philippine national history to confront with
colonialist ideologies. The beginning of the research took place in the period of the Propaganda Movement which
preceded the Philippine Revolution.
Three Tripartite of Philippine History
Author Pre-Colonial Colonial Post-Colonial
Filipinas had inferior Encomenderos first charged
Friars must go Revolution had
civilization. Blood compact with civilizing mission. Then
advantage of being surgical. But
made in order for “mother” friars, who establish frailo-
Del Pilar liberal reform better. Integration
Spain to civilize and cracia and hamper progress,
of autonomous Filipinas with
christianize “daughter” which is inevitable (Suez
Spain.
Filipinas. Canal).
Ambivilant view. One moment, Filipino capacity for progress Elimination of friar rule. At first
Filipinas thought to be in impeded by monastic as assimilationist, Jaena later
Lopez-Jaena “primitive state”. Then as supremacy. Progress due to favored Revolution, freedom
having “a civilization, a degree Filipinos alone and external won “with the blood of
of enlightenment.” forces. Filipinas.”
Decay and retro-gression Release of creative forces of the
Filipinas had a civilization of
under Spanish rule. Civic race with attainment of
her own and was progressing,
Rizal virtues lost. Vices taken over. freedom. Probably through
armed with her own capacities
Social cancer in late 19th Revolution. Tactically, through
and virtues.
century. reforms.
From the analysis of Zeus Salazar to the tripartite view of Philippine History:
“One sees that Rizal's conception of the tripartite historical ideology of the Propaganda was the most extreme. In contrast
to Jaena and del Pilar, Rizal saw the problem more holistically, from the perspective of the entire cultural development
of the Filipino people and not simple from that of the actual possession of political power by any social group, foreign or
local. Thus, for him, it was not just “frailocracy” or “monastic supremacy” which was at cause: the entire Spanish
regime from its very inception was at the root of the social cancer which had declared itself by the late nineteenth century.
With Jaena and del Pilar, Rizal quite naturally believes in the innate capacity of the Filipino for progress; but, to him, it
was the colonial system as such –– the very existence of Spanish domination –– which was the cause of the disease that
afflicted Filipinas. Monkish predominance, as it were, was in this case just a symptom of the cancer that gnawed at the
vital parts of the nation. For this reason, the third period is likewise conceived in medical terms as some kind of recovery
which released the creative forces of the patient, giving Filipinas new life, new strength: a future. The kind of therapy
used actually mattered very little. Rizal was willing to try even the most benign remedies, for which in Noli he would
even implore passers-by in front of the temple, as in biblical times. But his diagnosis –– as well as the analyses of both del
Pilar and Jaena –– pointed clinically to swift surgery as the appropriate therapy.”
The Katipuneros adopted this historical framework and used “liwanag-dilim-liwanag” as a metaphor. The pre-colonial
being “liwanag” since it was a great of civilization and identity for the Filipinos. The colonial period being “dilim” since it
was an epoch of abuse of power and lost of Filipino identity. Lastly, the post-colonial period being “ liwanag” again since
the end of colonial regime is a mark of the restoration of Filipino liberty.
IV. Zeus Salazar’s Pantayong Pananaw and other Pananaw Pangkasaysayan

In recent times, truly Filipino historians have occurred and tried to write Philippine History in the Filipino point of View.
One of these writers was Professor Zeus A. Salazar of the University of the Philippines who saw the relevance of the
Filipino point of view in historical interpretation. In order to introduce indigenization, he introduced the concept of
“Pantayong Pananaw” (from us, for us). Generally, this means that Philippine History is better written in the point of
view of the Filipinos.

Pantayong Pananaw
Only few of our historical documents are written in Filipino or native language. Most of them are written in English and
Spanish. This is due to the fact that the elite Filipinos who studied abroad during the Spanish and American era took the
responsibility to write our history in English or other foreign language. What was taught to them was to write history in a

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foreign perspective. They wrote for foreigners to understand our history but not for their fellow Filipino who mostly do
not understand the medium that they used. According to Zeus Salazar, to wit:
“Ang buod ng pantayong pananaw ay nasa panloob na pagkakaugnay-ugnay at paguugnay ng mga katangian,
halagahin, kaalaman, karunungan, hangarin, kaugalian, pag-aasal at karanasan ng isang kabuuang pangkalinangan –
kabuuang nababalot sa, at ipinapahayag sa pamamagitan ng isang wika; ibig sabihin, sa loob ng isang nagsasariling
talastasan/diskursong pangkalinangan o pangkabihasnan. Isang reyalidad ito sa loob ng alin mang grupong
etnolingguwistikong may kabuuan at kakanyahan, sa atin at sa ibang dako man ng mundo.”
Philippine history should be written and taught in Filipino or ethnolinguistic language in the Philippines because it is only
through our own language that we are able to understand, appreciate and be able to connect to our own history. Each
culture is different and language serve as the channel for the uniqueness of one’s culture. Through the guiding philosophy
of Pantayong Pananaw, Philippine historiography will be seen from point of view of Filipinos and addressed directly to
the Filipinos.
Pangkaming Pananaw
Historical perspective in which Philippine history is written by Filipinos in foreign language and intended for to be read
by foreigners to understand our history in our point of view. Example of this writers are the Propagandist in their La
Solidaridad. The propagandist are Filipinos but they used Spanish to write against the Spaniards. Often, this historical
perspective is used to correct or argue against false accounts written by foreigners.
Pangkayong Pananaw
Historical perspective in which Philippine history is written by foreigner in a foreign language as well but it is meant to be
addressed or directed to Filipinos as audience.
Pansilang Pananaw
Historical perspective in which Philippine history is written by foreigners in a foreign language as well and is intended to
be read and understood by their fellow foreigners.
The scholars of Pantayong Pananaw or the Bagong Kasaysayan advocates this guiding philosophy as we are in need of a
more comprehensive collection of historical accounts because it should be understood by our own people. Individual
histories of ethnic groups are independent of each other but are all still part of the whole history of the Philippines a.k.a.
the concept of ethnohistory. The Pantayong Pananaw seeks to address the issues and problems in our Philippine
historiography and the way Philippine history subjects are taught in our educational system.
Key Points:
o Philippine History was originally written and documented by foreign historians, in fact even at present most primary
chronicles are mostly written in Spanish and English. This being the case, modern day Filipino historian have put a lot
of question on the manner by which Philippine history was written.
o Some of these issues/problems in Philippine Historiography are:
1) Correcting the errors of published historical work;
2) Filling the gaps in Philippine History;
3) Reinterpretation of historical facts & events and
4) Rewriting History in the Filipino point of view
o History and kasaysayan are always equated the same. It is founded on the idea that both are studies of the past.
However, for radical Filipino historians, the two concepts are not synonymous
o For many years and sadly some still believe it until now, the Spaniards made us believe that there was no civilization
in Philippines. They made us think that early Filipino people were barbaric and uneducated. They have assimilated
upon the Filipinos that it was them who brought civilization and progress to us. This is known as the Bipartite View
of Philippine History.
o The educated Filipinos during the Spanish era, known as the ilustrados cannot accept the bipartite view of Philippine
history presented by the Spaniards. They come up with a research on Philippine national history to confront with
colonialist ideologies. The beginning of the research took place in the period of the Propaganda Movement which
preceded the Philippine revolution. Thus, the tripartite view of Philippine history.
o Through the guiding philosophy of Pantayong Pananaw, Philippine historiography will be seen from the point of
view of Filipinos and addressed directly to the Filipinos.

Module #2 – Issues in Philippine History


o Nakakalungkot na kung bakit ang ating pagkamakabansa ay lubos na bagsak – dahil sa kawalang pagmamahal sa
ating kasaysayan.
o Kung tatanungin ang mga estudyante, madalas ang paglalahad nila sa hekasi o sibika, ang kanilang sasabihin ay
memorization o mga bayani, mga petsa, mga lugar na siyang nagging signipiko sa ating kolonyalisasyon.

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o Pinaka-boring na subject sa klase.
o Di ba nakakalungkot na ang ating kasaysayan ay patungkol lamang sa kolonyalisasyon at hindi tungkol sa sariling
pamumuhay ng mga Pilipino.
o Dahil di daw natin ito magagamit sa pangtustos sa ating pamumuhay.

Historiography
o Who is the history writer? (Historian)
o Source of writer
o When and Where History was Recorded
o Motives of Historians
o Theories Being Applied

Issues to Philippine History


o Numerous Writers and Sources
o Archipelago Context
o Mahirap ba tayong bansa?
o Mahirap ba tayong bansa? – Kasaysayan

1) Correcting the errors of published works. Foreign Translation; Misleading Context; Foreign Context
2) Filling the gaps in PH history. Due to Colonization and Revolution, Lost Documents, Few Recordings
3) Reinterpretation of historical facts and events. BIAS Revisions; Literature Cause and Effect
4) Rewriting the history in the Filipino point of view. PANTAYONG PANANAW

History Kasaysayan
Chronological and systematic recording of the significant Salaysay na may saysay sa pinagsasalaysayang grupo o
past. pangkat etniko.
Story of Victors Inclusivity – Kasaysayan ng mga masa.
Wars, Heroes, Elites, Triumphs Kwento ng mga Masa
Documented, Behaviorist, Empirical Oral History
Community Songs, Epiko, Mito (Malakas at Maganda –
His – Gender Bias
Pagmamahal sa Kalikasan), Kwento, Awit Tula, Pabula
Bipartite – Dilim (Colonizer) Tripartite – Liwanag, Dilim, Liwanag (Domestic)

Pantayong Pananaw Zeus Salazar Fil – Fil – Fil – Fil


Pangkaming Pananaw La Solidaridad Fil – Foreign – Fil
Pangsilang Pananaw Americans Foreign – Foreign – Foreign – Fil

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