Relevant revelations

My Favorite Speakers. (L-R) National Artist Virgilio Almario, Prof. Felipe De Leon Jr., Dr. Flor Hornedo.

One of the things that attracted me to the Mabuhay Guides program was its line-up of lecturers. There’s no doubt in my mind that what I’ll be taking from them will be enduring whether I finish the course or not.

For three weeks, we had very good seats to a two to three hour lecture on subjects that range from Philippine art, heritage, architecture, music, dance, to ecological tourism.

What makes art Philippine? What makes literature Philippine? What makes our dances Philippine? There were different lecturers but by the end of the course, they delivered the same message. Their depth of knowledge is just amazing.

Below are the things that I will always remember from my favorite lecturers, which made a deep impact on me:

National Artist Virgilio Almario for Literature

  • The most evil act that anyone can do is the removal of memory of a people. Memory is a source of pride and if one loses it, one becomes inferior. The most inferior man easily becomes a slave.
  • His take on our culture:

  • Proof that our native culture survived is the existence of our native languages. Old bottle, new wine.
  • All our past leaders were writers.
  • The meaning of the Tagalog word “kung”.
  • ‘Wit’ is man’s natural capacity to know what is right and wrong.
  • Irony or ‘parikala’ is a sign of a modern man. The present problem of Filipinos is that their poetic imagination is repressed.
  • A strong literature shows one’s world. In Philippine Literature, we can’t find this poetic imagination because we’re imagining a world that isn’t ours.

A strong literature shows one’s world. In Philippine Literature, we can’t find this poetic imagination because we’re imagining a world that isn’t ours.

  • This might explain the ‘anachronism’ in TV shows and those found in mainstream media, which are products of an alienated poetic imagination.
  • “Ang isang lahi na walang marangal na gunita hinggil sa sarili ay isang lahing madalîng alipinin at patuloy na may isip-alipin kahit bigyan ng kalayaan.”

Felipe de Leon Jr. for Filipino Cultural Identity

  • It’s water that unites us and the mountains divide us.
  • In his lecture, he declares:
    “We need to build on our strengths. The root cause of our underdevelopment is the Filipino’s tendency toward self-bashing especially among the Westernized elite. It prevents us from tapping our greatest asset for sustainable development – our cultural strengths and resources.”
  • Filipinos love to connect especially to people. Professor de Leon goes further in saying that:
    “Among the most highly relational in the world, Filipinos are hardly alone. They are happy being together – when they eat, sleep, work, travel, pray, create or celebrate. They feel connected to the world, God and nature, but most of all to people.”
  • The bottom line is that togetherness is equated to happiness. The fiesta is the ultimate manifestation of togetherness. The Filipino Mall combines the plaza and the sari-sari store and you’ll see a lot of families in it especially on weekends. The Filipino Family is the embodiment of togetherness and happiness.

Dr. Flor Hornedo for History

  • History is the past tense of anything that is.
  • Poverty is a constant companion of isolation.
  • The success of a revolution lies into actual institutions that work.
  • The layers of migration.
  • The gold displayed in the Ayala Museum are made here and proof of that is the discovery of crucibles by archaeologists.
  • Was their creativity in pre-colonial Philippines? Yes. As proof, we built boats.
  • Language is the great indicator of unity.
  • Water-bound places are more united. The sea unites us. Ideas and goods were exchanged. We are a boat people.

Water-bound places are more united. The sea unites us. Ideas and goods were exchanged. We are a boat people.

  • Grammar books recorded our ideas and concepts.
  • There is no case in society that normal people are always intelligent. Some may be wise, some are not. Some made mistakes, some adopted ideas, and some adopted technology.
  • A strong woman/martriarchal society was present in the pre-colonial period.
  • Our forefathers weren’t stupid. They made their own moves but there were failures on both sides.

* * *
On the way home after “classes” that would sometimes finish until 7:30 p.m., my colleagues and I would talk about these revelations and how relevant they are to every Filipino. How I wished that these courses were taught to children in elementary school. A generation can easily be transformed when this happens. It’s easy to say “I love my country” but a deeper love is much more convincing and enduring when one gets to know more about what one loves. It goes also without saying that what should be taught to us should be the correct information and it should be close to our hearts.
-End of Part 2-