Saturday, November 12, 2005

Number One Filipino Hero--Rizal or Bonifacio?

Almost as soon as I arrived here, I began to steep myself in Philippine history. To understand a country and its people, study their history—learn their heroes and villains—that’s my philosophy. One of the first things I discovered from talking to the average citizen is that most Filipinos know little about where they come from historically, and how things got to be the way they are. Of course, most Americans are just as woeful concerning their own historical background, so no finger pointing from me.

Even before my arrival, I had heard about an almost mythical Filipino hero from days long past named Jose Rizal. I knew he was a prolific writer who wrote about Spain’s cruelty to native Filipinos, and that Spain killed him for those writings. That’s pretty much what my Filipino friends know as well, but now I know a hell of a lot more. And from what I’ve studied, if Rizal were alive today, I’m convinced he would be just as important as he was more than 100 years ago, perhaps more so. This country, rife with corruption and stagnation, needs a dozen selfless renaissance men like Jose Rizal.

Rizal was phenomenonal. He earned his first degree at 16 in the Philippines and never looked back. At 18 he ran away to Europe and earned a medical degree in Spain, and followed it up with degrees in ophthalmology and philosophy in France. While in Europe and in many in other countries during his travels around the world, he taught himself fluency in Spanish, German, English, and French and he did it all in a short 35 years of life. From childhood, he was a prolific writer and he remained so right up until minutes before his martyrdom.

Rizal’s reputation as a hero is well earned. He hated how the Spanish treated the natives of the Philippines, whom the Spanish called Indios. The novels and essays he wrote were aimed mostly at Spaniards back in Spain. His objective was to get them to stop the callous practices of Spanish friars and governors in colonial Philippines. I believe he was convinced that if the Spaniards in Europe knew of the cruelty and injustice going on in their colony of almost 350 years, that they would finally interfere and stop the merciless brutality that had gone on for centuries. IN Spain, Spaniards treated Rizal with respect and admiration, but for some reason the Spaniards in the Philippines were entirely different. They did not hesitate to use torture, terror and execution en masse to keep their “unruly” Indios under their complete control, and that included controlling Rizal as well.

Rizal made a huge error in judgment. His years outside of the Philippines in Europe and Hong Kong seemed to cloud his memory of the great mercilessness in the hearts of Spanish priests, called friars, who called the shots in his home land. In 1892, after years away, he returned to Manila and almost immediately the friars found a means to get him out of the way. He was found guilty of spreading sedition based on his anti-friar novels written while he was overseas. These novels were not intended to cause a Spanish overthrow, but to show decent, liberal-minded Spaniards how unjust things were back in his beloved islands. Jose was found guilty and exiled hundreds of miles away to the very fringes of the archipelago to the tiny town of Dapitan on Mindanao. He spent four years there, and during the end of that time, a man named Bonifacio back in Manila put together the beginnings of a major revolt against Spain.

When I first started reading about Andres Bonifacio I was immediately captivated. He reminds me of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington rolled into one. Although he didn’t have the natural genius of Rizal, he was an incredible fellow just the same. He came from nothing and taught himself everything. The fact that he was poor, self-taught, and self-made, a man who could not afford ANY formal schooling, much less college, and yet excelled as a leader and independent thinker—all that reminds me of Abraham Lincoln. As the leader and initiator of the first almost successful insurrection against Spain, he reminds me of Washington.

The more I read of Bonifacio the more I realize that this guy is the epitome of an AUTHENTIC Filipino. He has more in common with the bulk of the population here than most any other figure from this country’s past. He was born and raised in Tondo, a very poor place in the mid 19th century, and even more so now (Ever hear of Smokey Mountain? It’s on the outskirts of Tondo, Manila). He was dirt poor and suffered through the same troubles and problems that most Filipinos suffer today. Yet he overcame all those issues and became known as El Supremo, the leader of the revolutionary government against Spain. Unlike Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio hated the Spanish and wanted nothing to do with them. Where Rizal wanted justice UNDER THE RULE of Spain, Bonifacio wanted ONLY Filipino sovereignty.

As I got into Bonifacio, the man, I was puzzled at how little my Filipino acquaintances know of him. They all recognize his name, but virtually NONE of them know WHY he was so important to their country’s beginnings. It’s become an obsession with me—to quiz people about him. I ask: “If you had to choose between Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio, who was more important in the formation of the post-Spanish Philippines?” Then I decided to ask local folks a simple, more general question—I asked people like students, trike-drivers, my in-laws, and neighbors: “In your opinion, who is THE most important Filipino in your history?” Instantly they answered: “Jose Rizal.” When I asked why they thought so, most cited his intelligence or that he died bravely at the hands of the Spanish. Logical reasons, but personally I disagree with the choice of Rizal as the most crucial member in the pantheon of Philippine heroes. In my opinion, Andres Bonifacio should be number one in Philippine hearts and minds; and he should be particularly special to Filipinos who are underprivileged, which is the majority of Filipinos.

As I said, Bonifacio, like most Filipinos today, was poor and underprivileged; his family had no money for education; but he was a prodigious reader and became an important writer and leader. Conversely, Rizal came from means; through his family he had access to money and privilege. He could afford the luxury of living and studying abroad. Therefore, based on the backgrounds of the two men, I would suppose that the average Filipino would prefer Bonifacio, yet that is NOT the case. So why DOES the Philippines collectively bow at the altar of Rizal while virtually shunning that of Bonifacio? I think that the primary culprits are this country’s educators. Indoctrinated as students in Rizal’s intellectual primacy, they in turn push this opinion onto their students. But aside from profuse writings, what else did Rizal do to deserve to be considered THE most central figure in Philippine history?

There is no doubt Jose Rizal deserves our respect. As I’ve said, he wrote prolifically and more notably, his writings stirringly spoke of insufferable conditions in the Philippines due to greed and cruelty of Spanish friars and governors. Also, his words and actions did much to inspire Philippine nationalism and helped convince folks like Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo that independence was the only answer. Furthermore, there is no doubt that Jose Rizal was valiant. He wrote critically of the Spanish, knowing full well that doing so endangered his life. In fact his written words were used in finding him guilty of treason and to his credit when he was sentenced to death, his last words and actions were courageous and patriotic. All that makes me sound like a big fan of Jose Rizal and its true—I think he’s an extraordinary figure, but I still place Bonifacio ahead of him.

Consider this—despite no formal education, Andres managed almost single-handedly to spark THE most successful insurrection ever against Spain—and going back hundreds of years, there were scores of revolts and uprisings, all horribly crushed into bloody oblivion. His rebellion was so successful that today we call it THE Philippine Revolution. Also, Bonifacio was instrumental in writing the Katipunan, the guiding document of this country’s first home-grown government. Rizal, on the other hand, counseled AGAINST the revolution, refused to lend his name to it, and in no uncertain terms told Bonifacio from exile that he believed his fellow Filipinos could NOT win, and the truth is he preferred Spanish provincial status over independence; whereas Andres had had enough of Spain and felt Spain would NEVER grant Filipinos parity or any sort of justice.

Another reason I don’t laud Rizal as high as Bonifacio are the events leading to his death. Rizal had spent four boring exile years in a Philippine backwater and his ennui led him to volunteer to serve with the Spanish army as a doctor in Cuba, another brutally oppressed colony. Rizal would have actively aided the oppressive Spaniards as they domineered Cuba just as they ran roughshod over Filipinos. It’s no wonder that this bit of Rizal history is not widely known, as it does not put Rizal in a very sympathetic light. Ironically, his future reputation was saved, and made, when he was arrested aboard a ship bound for Spain on his way to Cuba!

And what of Bonifacio’s death? Few Filipinos know he was callously executed before he could see his long-planned revolution to fruition. Rich Filipinos, who felt that his lowly background made him unworthy to serve the revolutionary government that HE had started, falsely accused him of treason! Gutlessly, Aguinaldo—the man voted in as president over Bonifacio by these same low-lifes—bowed to the will of these Spaniard-like Filipinos, the forerunners of today’s leaders, and signed Bonifacio’s death warrant. Andres was led into the mountains of Cavite and hastily shot along with his brother, their bodies kicked into a shallow hole. The appalling and almost offhand murder of this great man has in effect been covered up and glossed over. It’s apparent that his fellow countrymen unjustly killed him and THAT is the main reason his legacy has been shamefully ignored and underplayed.

To sum up—Rizal, a man of means, opposed the revolution against Spain, supported continued Spanish rule, and was on his way to aid the Spanish army when he was falsely accused of being a part of the revolution. In reality, he had nothing to do with the revolt, and went out of his way to avoid complicity in it. In actual fact, during the trial for his life, Rizal argued bitterly that he had nothing to do with the revolt that was still raging even as he was being tried. In trying to save his life, he denied the revolt like Peter denied Jesus. Was that the act of a patriot? By contrast, Bonifacio, the self-made man of the barrio, overcame all odds to successfully start a revolution and wrote the momentous Katipunan—the constitution of the revolution. Now you tell me—who is more deserving of national reverence and college classes specifically devoted to biographical study? In my opinion, if not for the disgraceful details of his scandalous death at the hands of his own jealous and arrogant countrymen, Andres Bonifacio would be the number one Filipino hero today instead of Jose Rizal.

35 comments:

Senor Enrique said...

Hi Phil,

Like you, upon returning to Manila, I tried to read up on some of our local history. I got Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo (English versions) among a few books.

Much older and wiser, on this second reading, I realized that Rizal's novels were not exclusively anti-friars and Spanish rule; equally illustrated were the ills of the Filipinos -- most notably, their spiritual immaturity (I don't mean religiosity, but spirituality in terms of mind, body and spirit as a whole).

Furthermore, Rizal was more for the revolution of the mind of the Filipinos; he knew that the Filipino mindset wasn't ripe for self-rule. What he desired was for the colonial government to amend its ways and become more benevolent (much like how the American colonial government had done in the archipelago). Furthermore, Spain didn't really much care for the Philippines is way too distant; it was the friars' "interest" in the Philippines that fueled the Spanish rule. If a certain governor-general seemed pro-Indio, the friars would immediately complain to the King and have him replaced.

As for Bonifacio, no doubt he was a man of great achievements; however, let's objectively look at what they had in terms of military might against the well-endowed and -trained Spanish forces.

This is indeed a deep matter to cover so let me just say that no way where we ready for any armed revolution at that time -- against the Spanish nor the Americans.

What we ought to have done -- had there been more a spirit of "unity" amongst Filipinos -- was establish strategic alliances with Spain and/or United States, who were in the position to guide us.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Senor E, You seem to be saying that Rizal was a pragmatist, and so was against an armed rebellion. Of course, the man was brilliant, and he was correct in his assessment. As you say, Filipinos were not ready for complete autonomy, in fact, I think it was fortunate that it was the Americans who ultimately freed them and then subjugated them again. Without the "protection" of the US, the Philippines would have most certainly NOT ended up as a single nation. Mindanao would have split off either by itself or as part of Indonesia or Malaysia. Other European nations had already hinted that they had their eyes on chunks of the Phils as well, and practically made it known that they would pursue interests. Most "Filipinos" at that time did NOT share a common language thanks to the policies of the Spanish. It is entirely likely that there would be no Philippines today if the US had not arrived and kept it whole.

So, I take it you do not agree that Bonifacio should be given more rank over Rizal on the national hero meter. I can accept that, but my problem is that he is not even given a close second. In fact, few Filipinos know much about him at all. I suppose given that he was murdered ignominiously by his own people ultimately bears out your assertion that Rizal was right, Filipinos were not ready for sovereignty, and by their actions it might even be said that perhaps they did not deserve it.

tutubi said...

hi phil,

found this post through watson

first you mentioned, Rizal was killed by Spain is not true. He was killed by the Spanish, particularly the friars, in the islands.

Bonifacio idolized Rizal, in fact he was there at a house on Ylaya, Tondo when Rizal founded the La Liga Filipina.

Rizal didn't like to join the revolution because he thought it was premature (a pragmatist, maybe)

Rizal wanted to go to Cuba, as some historians hinted, to study how Cuba's revolution and maybe to apply here to 'pinas. Now what would've happened if the two Joses, Rizal and Marti, met?

our national hero was installed by americans owing to rizal's pacifist views, againsts Bonifacio's revolutionary ways.

I hold both of them on equal regard , IMHO

PhilippinesPhil said...

You are right. The Spanish friars did indeed pretty much run the show here, BUT, the friars were Spanish, under SPAIN. How you can separate the friars from Spain is certainly an interesting machination. Technically, Filipinos killed Rizal, since it was local militia that pulled the triggers, but that is faulty rationale. The Spanish killed Jose Rizal.

As did many "Filipinos, "there's no doubt that Bonifacio respected and revered Rizal, primarily based on Jose's many writings on Spanish injustice to Filipinos. No surprise there. Rizal was a great inspiration to the revolutionaries.

Prior to the revolution, Bonifacio had sent a messenger to Rizal at his place of exile on Dapitan looking for his blessing. Rizal adamantly refused to give it. Jose still had hopes of Spanish provincial status and didn't want to spoil it with an armed revolt.

You're rewriting history and attributing words and intentions to Rizal that never existed by saying he volunteered to serve in the army of Spain in Cuba to learn how to rebel against Spain. Rizal loved Spain. He thought of himself as both a native of the Philippines AND Spain. Historians "hinted?" It's more like wishful thinking based on modern agendas.

Perhaps the Americans DID choose to push Rizal as the Philippine's champion and hero. That very well may be. I probably would have done the same based on the shameful way Aguinaldo dispatched Bonifacio for pure political purposes. Remember, Bonifacio was already dead by the time the Americans got here.

Even so, why is Rizal continued to be pushed forward as being "the man?" The Americans have been long gone, for 60 years now. In that time, if Filipinos wished to rethink and replace Rizal with Bonifacio then it could and should have been done so decades ago. No, the fact that Bonifacio was murdered so ingloriously and shamefully is probably the real reason its never happened.

I'm with you though; both men should be equally respected and held high as patriots.

watson said...

It had always bugged me that Bonifacio had to die that way. On a personal level, I had never really comprehended, from school studies, what had transpired with Aguinaldo taking the seat of power. And when the realization has set in, it is with a feeling of disgust.

While Jose Rizal was indeed a great man, Bonifacio was equally so. And Bonifacio Day hardly being celebrated at all gives injustice to his memory.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Wat, I always enjoy hearing insights from Filipinos on how they were educated on their nation's past.

Actually, Aguinaldo tried a time or two to "make a come back" after the Americans began to administer and "train" the new post-Spanish Philippine government. He failed miserably. He was NEVER accepted as a leader on a national scale by the other ruling Filipino families, probably because his ONLY support base was in Cavite. (Not to mention the Americans never really trusted him after his capture by Funston!) It could also be said that the primary reason he rose to power so quickly during the revolution, and during the "insurrection" against the Americans was his powerful Caviteno support, which became less influential after his defeat by the Americans.

I doubt seriously that people like Quezon and Roxas rejected him because of his poor treatment of Bonifacio and Luna, although I'd like to hope that had something to do with it.

The important thing is not to get too wrapped around the axle about the past on an emotional level. Recriminations don't help anything. Its best to know it, understand it, and move forward.

The way I see it , the very fact that Bonifacio has been relegated to Philippine "mystery hero" is now part of your history. For me it provides a psychological view into the soul of the country. Its very fascinating for an outsider like me to delve into. Fascinating!

tutubi said...

phil,

the friars may be spanish but they themselves plotted to kill rizal and not spain. spanish friars don't equate to spain itself. There's really no proof of the plot to have come from spain.

spain, at that time was already liberal, unlike the repression here by the authorities and the friars, who were infuriated by the writings of rizal

the friars, led by the jesuits, also faked the retraction to make it appear rizal came back to the catholic fold

regarding aguinaldo, i don't hold him in high regard due to what he'd done to bonifacio and antonio luna.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Other than your assertion that Spain has no culpability in the death of Rizal, it sounds like we mostly agree.

Spanish authorities were well aware of the injustices being done to the people of their colonies. The fact that they ignored them and chose to take no action makes them completely complicit. So, we agree to disagree.

Ian Shelley said...

Hello Phil,

There have been new studies about Rizal and his attitude towards the Revolution.

Tutubi was right that there is evidence that Rizal had an agenda in volunteering as a doctor for the Spanish army in Cuba and his motives were still for the good of the Filipino nation.

I am posting with this comment a web address of an article written by a Philippine historian. I am sure you will be enlightened as well if you read his book A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony and Philippine Nationalism (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2000).

Go to this web address and I am sure it will enlighten everybody.

http://opmanong.ssc.hawaii.edu/pdfdownloads/rizal.pdf


If the US has two or three heroes who are more or less of equal stature, like Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson, I don't see why the Philippines could not also place both Rizal and Bonifacio on equal footing.

I really appreciate your love for the Philippines and indeed, it is a pity the majority of Filipinos do not know anything about their history. I believe that this ignorance of history is one of the major factors why we have such complicated social problems and the absence of a deeply-rooted nationalistic identity.

Cheers! And more power to your site.

John said...

Hi Phil,

Well it was in fact, the Americans who sponsored Rizal to be the national hero. The reason was simply because Rizal's views and philosophy were that of a Hero. He was a reformist, not a revolutionist. He did not think the PI was ready to govern itself, so for the meantime, why not just tryin and reform Spanish rule and earn some rights.

I also think that Rizal going abroad to Spain, opened his eyes to a new world and thought the Philippines could be apart of this new world. Yes, a child can teach himself how to eat and how to cook... But without a teacher or some form of advisement, can a child cook and eat PROPERLY. Rizal thought that Spain could be the PI's advisor, he just wanted to reform Spain's treatment on the PI... It wasnt his fault someone pointed the spotlight at him.

well what im trying to say is simply,

Bonifacio stands for what a FILIPINO IS, and RIZAL stands for what a FILIPINO CAN BE.

And this is why I think Rizal was chosen as the hero.

On the side of that, many people also believe that the US sponsored rizal as the national hero because he promoted non violence. The people can look up to Rizal and follow his ways so that when the US bought the PI from Spain, there would not be a revolution.

Sophia Bliss said...

From my own historical assessment, there were five reasons why Rizal was acknowledged as the supreme hero of the Philippines. First, Rizal (with his Doctorate degree, polemic novels, and mastery of international languages) was certainly more intellectual than Bonifacio. As Filipinos regard education of utmost importance in molding the young minds into learned citizens, Rizal was chosen as the better role model. Second, Rizal--the illustrado, was favored by the Americans (who were the next conquerors of the Filipinos after the Spaniards) rather than Bonifacio--the filibustero. As Rizal never criticized Americans, Bonifacio on the other hand was once affiliated to Aguinaldo who rebelled against the Americans. Third, Rizal's martyrdom gained more sympathy from his countrymen than Bonifacio's treacherous death in the hands of his fellow Filipinos. Fourth, Bonifacio (and even Aguinaldo and other patriots) was inspired by Rizal to fight for independence. And finally, Bonifacio's emphatic cry was silenced by his unsuccessful battles against the Spaniards while Rizal's proverbial letter echoed beyond his grave not only within his country but around the world.

But regardless of this argument, though Rizal is seemingly recognized as The National Hero, it doesn't make Bonifacio any less than Rizal. Both Rizal and Bonifacio are undoubtedly heroes of heroes. Their ultimate sacrifice gave birth to this great nation. And whenever Rizal's patriotic achievement is mentioned, Bonifacio's legendary courage is never far behind.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Hi Sophia,
No doubt Rizal was brilliant. For that alone he deserves every tribute heaped upon his diminutive shoulders. What an incredible mind, eh? And his love for his homeland is beyond dispute. Still, Bonifacio is it for me. No way did he have the intellect of Rizal, but I admire the way he came from extreme poverty and made himself great. I guess I love him more than Rizal because Bonifacio's story to me is so American, and of course that's the part I identify with. Bonifacio fought against the status quo; he chose independence. Rizal's dream was for provincial status as part of Spain. My people came from Scotland and Ireland and they opted exactly the same as did Bonifacio, for complete independence. So forgive me for my own continued preference for Bonifacio. Its too bad so few "regular" Filipinos even know much about him. Most recognize the name without being able to say what he did...

Sophia Bliss said...

Hi, Phil. First of all, I enjoyed reading this blog article. It gave me a fresh review on Philippine history. After considering your opinion and other bloggers' evaluation, I am still reflecting on what really transpired during the golden age of Philippine Revolution.

This blog forum reminds me of the group debate I had back in second year high school. In my Filipino class, we were tasked to argue, "Who's the better hero--Rizal or Bonifacio?" So my teacher divided the class into two groups. The first group would defend for Rizal and the other group for Bonifacio. I would prefer Rizal but Bonifacio was assigned to my group. I had no choice. And so the debate went on. The other group capitalized on Rizal's academic and literary achievement while me and my group mates emphasized on Bonifacio's courageous feat. As the heat rose high, they criticized Bonifacio's academic deficiency and unremarkable war tactics while we satirized Rizal's aristocratic snobbery and amorous affairs. Yes, the debate turned nasty to the point of being hilarious and my teacher who's supposed to be moderating couldn't help but laugh out loud. And so you may ask who won? Unexpectedly, my group. I don't know if my teacher considered our argumentative skills or was it because of our infectious humor? I'm not sure. Regardless of the merit of this debate (or lack thereof), I'd put Bonifacio in the pedestals of history. But in my heart, Rizal was the pinnacle as the academic institution had continuously inculcated into our minds.

After several years, this topic was revived upon discussing with my friend's boyfriend who argued that Bonifacio (according to his history professor) should have been the national hero, and not Rizal. Naturally I was appalled to hear that because it was a radical viewpoint and entirely contradictory to what my teachers had taught me. But he couldn't justify his stand so my friend and I easily vanquished his opinion. Nevertheless, I was intrigued from then on. And now, I understand how this argument came into being. There are specific details in Bonifacio's life which were not published in history books. And the truth behind Bonifacio's summary execution is still in question up to this very moment. Not many Filipinos today are aware of this until this article and the feature episode about Bonifacio's tragic death on GMA-7's news-magazine program, Case Unclosed. As a history enthusiast, I was glad to have been informed.

Like The Great Malay, Rizal, I do recognize the fact that The Great Plebeian, Bonifacio, will always be one of the greatest icons of Philippine history. He might not have been as intelligent as Rizal nor as victorious as Aguinaldo but his passion for freedom and courage to fight is irrefutable. Though Rizal hadn't supported his revolutionary ideals and Aguinaldo never trusted him, Bonifacio still pursued with his ultimate goal for independence. His Tagalog translation of Rizal's "Mi Ultimo Adios" to inspire the Filipino patriots will always be taken with deep gratitude. Bonifacio didn't actually defeated the foreign oppressors but his climactic Katipunan blood-compact ritual, symbolic tearing up of cedula, and historic "Cry of Balintawak" signaled the final days of Spanish colonial empire in this country and are now forever etched in the monuments of Filipino consciousness.

Phil, there's no need to apologize for your pro-Bonifacio stance. Though I still favor Rizal, I acknowledge your stand for you have a valid argument and I respect that. In the light of all this, it doesn't matter who's the better hero. What's more important is that we understand the values of history. Moreover, I admire your fervent interest on my country's history and culture. For an American like you, that is impressive. Many Filipinos today could grasp one or two lessons from you and hopefully would learn to appreciate the Philippines even more. This country needs more nationalists more than ever. :)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sonia, I'm jealous I didn't get a chance to participate in a class exercise like that. Extraordinary. Must have been an amazing school. I took some classes at a college here and the history portion wasn't done too well.
Sometimes, I wonder if Rizal wasn't on to something. Maybe his notions of sovereignty under Spanish dominion, at least for a while anyway, would have worked out better for the nation. In affect, that's what happened under the Americans, but those 40 years was not nearly long enough to break up some of the "bad habits" learned under Spain.
As it was, the Spaniards spent their entire reign ensuring that the folks of this archipelago never developed a sense of "oneness." You know, keep 'em divided for better control. And it worked. Everytime an uprising took place in one province, and there were scores of them over the centuries, the Spanish would bring in "native troops" from other provinces to do most of the fighting. I don't think the damage causes by that has ever been recovered from to this day.

Sophia Bliss said...

I agree. Those Spanish colonial "bad habits" are still evident in our modern Filipino culture. I'm not sure if they're the root cause of our political problems now. We can only speculate.

Looking back further to post-Spanish era, the Americans somehow improved the political and educational system. But it was disrupted when the Japanese colonized the Philippines. The war broke up and destroyed the city of Manila and other parts of the country. Fortunately Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his forces came back and with the help of Filipino patriots they defeated the Japs. But the country was left devastated so it's back to zero after World War II. Upon having granted the independence, we began to rebuild the nation on our own. Decades passed with no more colonizers. Spain never bothered us again, Japan is now a major investor to the country, and America is still an ally so it should have been well now. But it's not. In fairness to our government today, they're doing their best but still the country has a long long way to go to achieve the peak of prosperity.

Phil, I know you can argue with anyone about any topic under the sun because you're so good at it. But let me just remind you that high school debate I was in happened in my "Filipino" class. I'm just curious. Can you argue in Tagalog? I sure like to hear you talking in our native tongue. :)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sophia! You and I aren't arguing, we're "discussing!"

No, I can't converse well in Tagalog, I can only follow what's said and speak in phrases. Too easy to get lazy here because everyone else speaks English pretty well. I'll get right on that though!

Sophia Bliss said...

Yes, Phi. We're just discussing. And that's what I like in this forum. We discuss matters in diplomatic way even if sometimes we don't exactly agree. And in the end, we arrive to a mutual understanding. It really pays to be civil and ethical.

Well, it's not surprising that many Filipinos can speak English since the Philippines is considered the third largest English-speaking country in the world. And I bet you know that very well. However, since you're living here, you've got to learn our language so you could talk to more Filipinos. Afterwards, you could write your articles in Filipino, too. Isn't that a great idea? :)

Anonymous said...

wahehe nakaktuwa naman :) hello sainyo Sophia and Phil :) im Joyce, 3rd Year College student .. its amazing that ive read your comments, because in our class we're also debating about this subject: whos NO. 1 Filipino Hero.. we were also divided into two groups :) and im glad that im not forced to defend Bonifacio like you Sophia :P ..hehe id go for Rizal. in my own opinion he used the phrase "daanin sa santong dasalan" in his plan against the friars. while Bonifacio used the next phrase of that which is "daanin sa santong paspasan" ofcourse in everything we do we need to plan first. think ahead of time,be prepared to fight. Not what Bonifacio done, SUGOD ng SUGOD, tsk tsk! BAsta, deep within my heart,, Ill go for RIZAL! :D

PhilippinesPhil said...

I see your point, and it IS an obvious one, that Rizal was ultimately correct to be against armed insurrection. He was smart enough to know that it would be a lost cause; and he was correct, it was. Rizal saw himself both a citizen of the Philippines AND of Spain, and ultimately wanted his homeland to be treated like any other Spanish province, but that was never to be. Unlike Rizal, Bonifacio had no loyalty to the Spanish and could wait no longer for his Spanish masters to come to their senses, and probably figured that Filipinos could throw off the Spanish yoke the way the Mexicans had done in 1810, even as other Latin and South American nations had managed to do, like the Americans had done against the English. So, the choices were: 1) fight now (Bonifacio), or 2) bide our time (Rizal). Thing is, they BOTH wanted the same thing, that being justice for The Philippines. Personally, with that in mind, I love them both, but I still put Bonifacio ahead, strictly because of his lowly background, he was a self-made man (very American!); I love that about him the most.

cialis said...

Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple

Primordial_Key said...

Hello..I didn't read the comments..I'm not sure if any of you have posted the same thing..
The topic about who being the national hero was actually debated in court few years ago. Some sighted Bonifacio as the favorable one for his bravery in battle. And some suggested it should be Rizal for his intellect. Both of them were brave men. But this question arose "Who is the most deserving? The one who courageously led us to battle? or the one who thought us a peaceful revolution?"

It was decided that Rizal should be our national Hero since he gave us the example of a peaceful revolution.

@Tutubi : the way I heard it, he wanted to go to Cuba to aid the carriers of Yellow fever at the time. :)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Good points PK. Since I posted this years ago I am even more convinced that Bonifacio should, at the very least, be number 1 in the hearts of MOST Filipinos, the ones without connections or much money, since that describes him to a T. Rizal, albeit a genius prodigy, had all the advantages that come from being a child of a rich family. And as I've written, Rizal wanted Spanish provincial status for this country, while Bonifacio held no illusions that Spain would ever grant anything resembling citizenship. I aver that if not for his murder at the hands of fellow countrymen, Bonifacio would be number one hands down.

Primordial_Key said...

Yeah! :D Sorry, I just read your blog a few days ago..hehe

They were completely opposite..Rizal was rich, Bonifacio was not. The important thing is both of them used whatever resources they had at the time so they are both deserving. :)

It's just a matter of opinion. Thanks for the blog, really enjoyed reading it. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Bonifacio is the genuine NATIONAL HERO OF THE PHILIPPINES! Rizal was just chosen by the Americans so that Filipinos won't revolt against the American Imperial Rule. Bonifacio not only has the guts but he has the spirit of freeing every Filipino, he knew that enough is enough! While i believed in peaceful means, there's really got to have a time for a bloody one especially when events lead to the suppression of the Filipinos and that the sovereignty is already threatened.

Anonymous said...

Americans succeeded on choosing Rizal: no one dared to fight against americans and that no still dared to fight against neo-colonialism. 1986 "People Power" (I really think it is American Power to overthrow a dictator) Revolution was thought to be inspired to the peaceful means of Rizal but what is the status of the country now? where are we now? It's keeps on getting worse- the economy, social status, health, education, every dimensions of development is deteriorating! We were still under the influence of what the WEST and we still follow like stupid dogs. The inconvenient truth is that Filipinos during the EDSA think that they were the ones who overthrew a dictator and that the country is getting worse but, in the truest sense, it is the Americans' and the few private corporations who wanted Marcos out so that they can get all the oil resource in our country and that Marcos won't have the chance to use our very own Malampaya oil (SPRATLY's) as our state oil and that we shall no longer be dependent on foreign oil nor MERALCO! They used the filipinos and they fooled them that Marcos committed crimes against humanity where in fact it is them who triggered these human rights violations, that we are getting poorer where in fact Marcos was preparing our very own oil production to pay to the small loans we had to WB and IMF. We are living under such many conspiracies!

PhilippinesPhil said...

Anonymous, I've read that claim in several school books, but learn to question what you read, ESPECIALLY in so called text books written by people with an agenda. Tell me this, how is it that Americans could tell Filipinos who THEIR heros should be and have it stick or mean anything after all these decades? Bonifacio was neglected mostly because of the way he was murdered. After he, a poor Tondo boy, began THE greatest uprising against the Spanish EVER, and there had been many over the decades, he was basically pushed aside by the rich. First they falsely accused him of treason, then found him guilty in a rigged trial, and finally he was ignominiously hacked to death, his body kicked into a shallow grave, if he was buried at all. All this, just because he was considered unworthy due to his lack of a university education and for the lack of suitable "social connections." If the Americans chose Rizal over my man Andres, they did so with the complete support and guidance of the Filipino elite at the time and since. And lets be honest, the social conditions and attitudes that led to Bonifacio's end. . ., well, enough said. And lets face it, once The Insurrection was over, Americans had very little real control over this place. In fact, in all the journals and reports written by American administrators the common theme is one of frustration, "we can't get these folks to do what we want them to do." So people who make the claim that we Americans pumped up Rizal over the others, give us WAY too much credit in thinking that we could actually force Rizal down your throat. It just didn't happen. So the REAL answer is obvious: after all, Rizal was killed by the Spanish, which makes him a hero, while Bonifacio was killed by Filipinos, which makes him an embarrassment.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Ah, neo-colonialism! Victimology! Its so much easier to blame some foreign power than to look inward isn't it? Even so, always nice to be reminded of some of the things being pushed in the universities and colleges these days. Interesting alternate points though, even though I don't agree with much. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ms. :) said...

hi phil .. could i use some of your ideas for a small debate in school ? thanks .. :)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Absolutely ms. :). I would be honored... Thanks for asking!

GoPinay! said...

Hello !

I'm a second year in high school here in the Philippines. We need to have a debate about who should be our Philippine Hero. In my opinion, it should be Bonifacio. After all, he IS the embodiment of a modern filipino. Would you mind if I used some of ideas here in this blog? I would very much appreciate it. =)
Thanks!

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sure, go ahead "Go Pinay," I would be flattered if you did. Good luck with your debate.

Anonymous said...

after reading your blog,.! i felt like i never knew my country at all, and can i use some of your ideas for a report tnx..!

PhilippinesPhil said...

Certainly you may refer to this post in any report you might write. But please, do not use this blog post for reference material since I did not write it in a collegial fashion with reference notes et al. By all means though, take what I've come up with and run with it. Good luck on your report!

Anonymous said...

hi phil! great ideas indeed! u just open my mind again when it comes to phil. history.. nice opinions, u can really defend it seriously, as well as to other commentators..we, filipinos, proves that we are really good in terms of sharing and discussing our opinios.. kudos for u guys!

Anonymous said...

aaaaa.. this blog will help a lot .. ^_^