Crucify Me!

For 300 years we’ve been in the shadows of the Spanish which is predominantly a Catholic country, thus giving us not just some of their ways but also their beliefs and traditions, religion wise. It is also a fact that, the then Catholic Friars and leaders were into flagellation, more overly on the sinners and unbelievers, like what Jesus went through during his passion, which leads to this article.

In our country, Pampanga is so well known to for its colorful Holy Week rights, from “Pabasa” (reading of the Passion of the Christ) to self flagellation and ultimately to Crucifixion, which is the highlight of the pilgrim.

That being said, if Hollywood have Leonardo De Caprio, Pampanga has Ruben Enaje, who had been crucified during these event 29 times, the most (or one of the most) in the country.

A construction worker/laborer by profession, Ruben Enaje had been doing the crucifixion since 1985, after surviving a terrifying fall while working on a site that. Enaje gained massive popularity when TV shows started to cover such events that eventually led international news correspondence and tourists to his act.

Although the country’s health department is against the flagellation and crucifixion, there were no instances of holding off a crucifixion since it’s conception (no recorded event) to its rising popularity in the early 70s.

The Holy Week in the Philippines is being kicked off (officially) by Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday, but the climax and highlight of the “Semana Santa” is the Black Friday, where crucifixion rites (or at least a simulated one), is being held simultaneously around the country.

In addition, Holy Week in the Philippines also signifies vacation, beaches, and long weekends as well as heavy lock downs on roads, sea and air ports.

Col. Agapito “Yntong” Bonzon, A Traitor or A Good Soldier?

Is he a traitor, like most of the men behind the death of Supremo Andres Bonifacio, or a very loyal soldier to his superiors that is willing to take every bullet in the name of camaraderie and respect to his commanding officer?

You’d be the Judge.

For those who are unaware who he is, Col. Agapito Bonzon or more popularly known as Col. Yntong, was the arresting officer of Andres Bonifacio in Limbon Cavite on April 28, 1897 , and based on his reports to General Emilio Aguinaldo, he had no recourse but to fight fire with fire, as Bonifacio turned hostile towards him (and his arresting team), when the Supremo learned that he is up for an arrest because of sedition and treason.

He even called Bonifacio his brother and said that he didn’t want to hurt him but he had no choice but to retaliate. After the dust settled, Andres Bonifacio was shot (in the arm) and stabbed in the neck (some claimed that it was Col. Yntong but some also say Col. Ignacio Pawa who had a bronze statue in Cavite). The wounds received by the Katipunan’s Supreme leader made him immovable and immobile and was carried through a hamock into his trial in Maragondon which eventually led to his death sentence together with his brother Procopio.

This was his side, however, there are always two sides of the coin, and according to the accounts of Andres Bonifacio’s widow Gregoria De Jesus or Ka Oryang to many, Col. Yntong’s claims were far from what really happened.

Ka Oryang said that Col. Yntong and his men were cordially welcomed by the Supremo in his house and even asked them to join him for breakfast and gave them packs of cigarettes when Col. Yntong left the Supremo’s dwelling, the day before his arrest.

The next day, the once peaceful Col. Yntong came back but, this time a different beast, he shouted profanities to the Supremo and called him “Walang Hiya“, maybe to urge Katipunan’s Supreme leader to retaliate and project him as a hot headed man, but Bonifacio came back peacefully and said that he had not done anything wrong to anyone in the organization.

However, as he was speaking, a shot was fired that eventually triggered a gun fight between the two factions. After the battle, Andres Bonifacio was fatally wounded, his brother Procopio was beaten senseless and another brother Ciriaco was gunned down. In addition, it was also accounted that Ka Oryang was sexually abused, but this is another story to tell.

It is really hard to tell or brand Col. Yntong as a traitor because of his actions against one of the, if not the most, important person in our history. On the other side of the fence, it is also hard to discredit his action as a regular soldier following an order from his superior(s).

Is it not Aguinaldo who had ordered Col. Yntong to come strong and throw garbs toward the Supremo hoping for the latter to draw his gun first?And is it not Aguinaldo who had ordered Col. Yntong to capture Bonifacio (and his men) dead (because of the stab wound in the neck and a second blow that was thwarted by a loyal Bonifacio man who offered himself to be stabbed instead of the Supremo).

You’d be the judge.

Philippine’s Evolution (Educational System)

Long before the Spaniards came to conquer our island, education has been there, but not sophisticated as it was today.

Chieftains or head(s) of the community are the sole responsible for the education of the entire village. They teach basic communication (writing and speaking) as well as the use of their weapons on hunting and wars.

When the Spaniards came, they introduced the proper form of education which was mostly headed and led by religious leaders (University of Santo Tomas – the oldest university in Asia) such as friars or cardinals.

However, the schools that they have opened were exclusive only for Spanish and Half bloods or mestizos, thus making Jose Rizal an illustrado and well educated man and Andres Bonifacio a self thought and educated common people.

When Uncle Sam came into the picture, they opened schools and universities to everybody and made English the primary tool in educating the country, which made them different to the Spaniards who made Spanish exclusive to them and to the half bloods.

The American’s education system is one, if not the, most important thing that they brought here during their regime that is why we are the hub of contact centers in the entire planet.

However, as good as it may, it created confusion to everyone (up until now) because we are incepted and educated, through their books, of snows, pancakes, winters, springs, falls, Santa Claus, etc. which is nonexistent in our country.

When the Japanese Imperial Army marched in, for a short duration, they have maintained the American education system, but required nihonggo as a subject as what they did to Saipan and Singapore during the WWII, which showed their love for Japan.

Of course through course of time our education system evolved from era to era.

During our grandparents, they have Latin subjects, which are heavily influenced by the Spaniards and their religion. My folks had Spanish and when it was my time English, History, Science, and Math were the most important subjects.

Today, as it is continually evolving, young students have visual arts, robotics, programming, and other modern trends, which are dictated mostly by technology.

Sadly, in today’s education system, History and Mother tongue had taken a backseat to give way to the more appropriate and advanced curriculums, which I heavily disagree on.

It is very vital for our education system to push more for, correct and accurate, history so our younger generations would know and appreciate the heroism of our forefathers and in turn, our younger generation will develop their sense of nationalism and love for the country, reason being this website has been created.

On This Day In Philippine History. March 17, 1521.

On March 17, 1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and 150 of his crew, landed on the shores of the Philippine Archipelago, they are the first European explorer to set foot in our country.

Through the help of his Malayan interpreter Enrique (of Malacca), he befriended a high Cebu chieftain, Rajah Humabon his wife Ara Amihan, whom later on were converted into Christianity, making them the earliest Christian convert in the Philippines.

In addition, not only the first Filipino Christians, Rajah Humabon and Ara Amihan were also the first owners of the, now tourist attractions in Cebu, the Santo Nino de Cebu and the Magellan’s Cross. These two artifacts were Magellan’s gift to them when they decided to convert into Christianity.

It is well known that Lapu-Lapu killed Magellan, a couple of months after landing and converting the community of Rajah Humabon into Christianity, however, it was not specified in our history books that it was Rajah Humabon who led Magellan to the fierce chieftain of Mactan Lapu-Lapu, with a personal interest against the Philippine’s first hero.

According to accounts, Rajah Humabon and Ara Amihan convinced Magellan to confront Lapu-Lapu because of an outstanding feud between the two chieftains. It is also rumored that the main reason why Rajah Humabon accepted Magellan with open arms and converted his entire town into Christianity is to convince the Portuguese explorer to join him in arms against the Mactan chieftain.

on April 27, of the same year, with a small attack group, Ferdinand Magellan sailed into Mactan to confront Lapu-Lapu, in retaliation of his rejection into conversion, but was struck fatally with a bamboo spear from Lapu-Lapu and his crew.

Emilio Aguinaldo’s Confession

Emilio Aguinaldo is well-known and popular to be the first president of the Philippine Republic, but, like Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he is also one of the most controversial president we had.

Among all the controversies surrounded the Cavite General, the most standout was his involvement in the killing of Supremo Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio, because of treason. It lingered for the longest time who had them killed until a letter surfaced, with his signature, in 1948, claiming and acknowledging the brain behind the Bonifacio killing.

The day before his birthday in 1948, a letter went public which is something like a series of exchanges between him and Mariano Noriel and Pio del Pilar, his war Generals, regarding his orders for the fate of the Bonifacio brothers.

The letter initially goes:

Kung ibig po ninyong magpatuloy ang kapanatagan ng pamahalaang mapanghimagsik, at kung ibig ninyong mabuhay pa tayo, ay inyo pong bawiin ang iginawad na indukto sa magkapatid na iyan.”

(Translation: “If you want to go on with peace of mind for the entire revolution and want as well for us to live (as an organization), please reconsider your decree on the Bonifacio brothers.)

For the benefit of the few, Aguinaldo initially ordered the Bonifacio brothers to be exiled or deported.

He then answered with his signature with these:

“Dahil dito’y aking binawi at inutos ko kay Heneral Noriel na ipatupad ang kahatulan ng Consejo de Guerra, na barilin ang magkapatid, alang-alang sa kapanatagan ng bayan.”

(Translation: “Because of this, I retracted and ordered Gen. Noriel to enforce the judgement of Consejo de Guerra, to shot the Bonifacio brothers, for the sake of our organization’s order and stability.)

However, although the letter bears the acknowledgement, it depicts that he is just giving in on the recommendations of his trusted men for the sake of their cause and the country.

With this confession or letter, is it safe to say that Aguinaldo was a weak and fickle minded leader or a very strong and strategical leader, projecting a weak image, in order for him to easily go through the defenses of everyone in his staff without difficulty or hindrance.

Aside from the Bonifacio controversy, he is also under the microscope for two other controversies namely the Pact of the Biak na Bato wherein he sold the Philippines for 800, 000 Mexican Pesos and the execution of the fierce General Antonio Luna in Cabanatuan City, in which he behemothly denied until his last breath (these two controversies will be published soon, separately).

True or False. Philippine Historical Inaccuracies

Any history, around the world, has its own inaccuracies and baseless hand me down information, after all it is written by human from his/her recollection, and often time, our memories fails us with regards to the details of an account. Now, the sad part was, these “so called” facts were written down and handed down, as information, to younger generations which is now hard to unlearn most especially it if stemmed out of proportions.

Luckily, there are some historians who opted to correct inaccuracies for the benefit of the future generations and the country as well. To be right, is to do the things correctly the first time you do it, and if you didn’t had the chance to do it the first time, if the opportunity presents itself, then do and correct it.

Take for instance the case of the great Apolnario Mabini, who was for the longest time was rumored to have suffered from a then dreaded disease Syphillis, reason why he was paralyzed from waist down. That was the reason believed from 1896, until it was proven wrong in 1980 when a group of doctors performed an autopsy, and determine that Mabini suffered from polio, which is the most logical reason why he was paralytic until his death in 1903.

Historian Ambeth R. Ocampo said that the Syphilis rumor was a dirty tactic of Aguinaldo’s cabinet to take him out because Mabini is no longer getting well with the other cabinet members of Aguinaldo’s government.

Another inaccurate account of history was Andres Bonifacio’s image, in popular culture, Bonifacio is a camisa de chino clad-bolo wielding-hot headed-uneducated-poor hero. This has what our history books and teachers have told us for the longest time. But, in reality, these characteristics are far from the true Supremo.

The only fact that was given to us by the textbooks and professors is that he and his siblings were orphans, but Bonifacio was a self taught reader, and in fact his favorite book was Le Miserables and had penned several poems and short stories.

In addition, he was also presented as a camisa-de chino or massa styled common man, but it was proven not true where historians uncovered that he is in fact a big fan of formal attires.

With regards to his weapon of choice, unlike what has been incepted publicy, he is a big fan and owner of a pistol, which is very appropriate considering his rank as the Supreme leader of Katipunan.However, you cannot take out the fact that majority of the Katipuneros’ weapons are bolos considering the circumstances at that time, where firepowered weapons are very hard to acquire.

He was also seen as a hot headed leader but in reality the only time he lost his head is when he drew a pistol to a man who called him an uneducated man in the popular Tejeros Convention, but he was talked out of it, which only showed how level headed he was. It was also pointed out that our history could have been different (or at least Bonifacio’s or Aguinaldo’s) if Bonifacio had not been degraded because he was more than willing to hand the highest seat to Aguinaldo, peacefully.

Bonifacio’s death also has its inconsistencies when it was formerly written that he and his brother, Procopio, received bullets in their heads as they were executed, as per order Aguinaldo’s orders, only to be discredited by Aguinaldo’s men saying that Andres and his brother was hacked to death in order for them to save bullets.

Another inaccurate information that was recently handed down to our students was included on a book for grade 5 students wherein it says persistent rainstorms and floods led Ferdinand Marco declare Martial Law in 1972. However, on my own opinion, this is pure negligence and guess work or maybe, the authors and editors of the book are either lazy or a die hard loyalist.

Who knows.

The Greatest Philippine President (We Never Had)

In tribute to the former Senate President Jovito Salonga, who was deemed as the one of the greatest president we never had, let us have a quick rundown on other distinguished countrymen who had the chance of taking the highest seat of the country but fate said no (in no particular order, except the special and honorable mention).

Number 1. Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro

Qualifications and experience wise, Gibo is able and capable in stirring the entire country when he ran for the highest way back in 2010. However, his candicacy was tainted because he was running under the banner of the very controversial and then president, and now Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Number 2. Richard “Dick” Gordon

Administrative wise, Dick Gordon may have been the best candidate for the highest seat among the candidates when he tried his luck for the presidency a couple of years ago, but like the other candidate, the heavens didn’t want him to win the seat. Gordon is known to stir Olongapo from an unknown place into a first class municipality. He also saved the SBMA from savagery, like what happened in Clark, and turned it into a freezone that generated millions of jobs both residents and non residents of the province. Gordon is popular with his leadership and enigmatic personality but it was not enough for him to be president.

Number 3. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Asia’s Iron Lady, a multiple awardee, both from inside and outside the country, and probably one, if not the, sharpest knife in the Philippine politics had her chance during the 1992 elections but bowed down to then popular EDSA 1 star Fidel V. Ramos. Santiago, a current senator and presidentiable aspirant, was deemed as one of the best president ever we never had, due to her steel like character, charm, and wits.

Number 4. Jovito “Jovy” Salonga

The former Senate President was known to be a staunch opposition of the former president Ferdinand Marcos. Although he gained notoriety as a strong opposition man against the dictator, all his life, he had been fighting for the Philippine freedom. During the Japanese occupation, he joined the resistance army and was captured and tortured by the Japanese soldier (in front of his father), only to be pardoned by a high ranking Japanese official. Ka Jovy (as fondly called by his close friends and colleagues) had the highest qualifications, not to mention his love for the country, during the 1992 election. He was the most popular candidate for the younger generation but was defeated because of his age at that time. One factor that was brought up as to why he failed to nail the presidency during the 1992 election was his age. During the election, he was already 72 and many feared that he may not live his reign, but proved them all wrong. He died in March 10, 2016 due to cardiac arrest at the Philippine Heart Center of the Philippines.

Number 5. Jose “Pepe” Diokno

Like the former Salonga, Diokno is also known to fight against the martial law and was also a receiver of torture, incarceration and exile. A lawyer by profession, Diokno was the founder of the Free Legal Assistance Group right after he was released in jail during the martial law, and one of the few individuals to both top the BAR and CPA examinations. Diokno died of lung cancer on February 27, 1987. in 2004, He awarded the Order of Lakandula with a rank of Supremo, which is the highest honor, on the category. In addition, by virtue of a Republic Act (9468), a 4.38 kilometer Bay Boulevard, from Pasay to Paranaque was renamed Jose Diokno Boulevard.

Special and Honorable Mention. Andres Bonifacio

Unofficially, historians consider the Supremo as the country’s first president and not Aguinaldo, since it was heacvily rumored that the Tejeros Convention was rigged, right before it started. Come to think of it, Katipunan was the cornerstone of the Philippine Republic, and how fitting it is to put the founding father of the organization as the president of the country he fought for and wrongfully (but for the wrong reasons, thanks to Aguinaldo) died for. Although, he was not recognized by the government or any history books as the country’s first president, the Philippine government provided him and Rizal a dedicated holiday for their heroism, the Bonifacio Day which is celebrated every 30th of November and Rizal Day on every 30th day of December.

In a matter of months, we will be once again picking a leader who will drive for us for six years, and of the 5 candidates, there is definitely a candidate which will be added to this list.