Black Goes Down in History
"I guess we should not forget the six-foot black deserter from the
American forces, David Fagan, who fought the enemy and carried the rank
of captain in the Filipino forces".
is no Laughing Matter
"Barney noted that this ancient custom probably had its roots in Muslim
tradition in which males are circumcised by priests in a religious
ceremony, making them eligible for marriage. What he couldn't
understand was the fact that circumcision has no religious association
for Catholic Filipinos; "neither is it among them done on any account of
cleanliness but from custom and disinclination to be ridiculed. The
friars were not able to root out the custom as it was an ugly subject to
treat from the pulpit."
Deflating the Historical Ego
"Rizal did get good grades at the Ateneo, but at the University of Santo Tomas --
well, let's just say he wasn't as great a student as he's been made out to be."
The original Spanish is florid and corny, so much the better to veil
Rizal's "educational-observation" trips to the brothels. I use a
translation by the Jose Rizal Centennial Commission because if I
translate these notes to their bare essentials, it will appear as if I
were trying to denigrate Rizal. What one should keep in mind while
reading Viola is that these recollections were not written in 1886 but
in 1913, so many years after the actual events. Rizal was already the
national hero and so, Viola had to paint a dignified picture of his
friend. It is because of writings like these that Rizal has become a
figure of myth to today's Filipinos.
Our indios bravos in Spain carried a chip on their shoulders. But I
think more than the issue of racial prejudice, they wanted to fight
duels hoping to earn a visible scar or two -- to display as a bade of
courage and as a charm supposedly irresistible to women. How's that for
nineteenth century pinoy machismo?
of the Tragedy
History acts in a similar way when it comes to remembering people. If
the attempt of someone to kill a president is successful, then both
names of the victim and the murderer enter our history books; if not
both, both can be forgotten. Who remembers now the historical marker on
Hole 7 of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club where Laurel was shot,
almost fatally, on June 5, 1943.
When I was a child I never understood why, in directing drivers, old
people said “mano” to turn right or “silla” to turn left. These words
literally mean “hand” and “chair.” One cannot use the terms with a
Spanish taxi driver who responds to izquierda (left) and derecho
(right). As a matter of strange fact, derecho in the Philippines means
to go straight!
Marcos Karate Chop
In a statement issued shortly after the incident, Mrs. Marcos said her
husband delivered the life-saving karate chop with his left hand (FM was
left-handed) and pushed the pope away from the attacker with his right.
The pope was shoved towards Mrs. Marcos who saw the assassin’s kris
fall. She even bent to pick up a crucifix that fell. Other people
corroborated this story and even added that aside from the famous karate
chop, Marcos even tried to give a flying kick to Mendoza".
We do not remember how some members of the Catholic hierarchy found 170
passages in Noli and 50 in Fili offensive to the Catholic faith. They reaffirmed that
Catholics should read selected passages from Rizal's work, but to compel Catholics to
read the unexpurgated version was forcing heresy on them and constituted a violation
of freedom of conscience.