Happy "Independence" Day to a nation baked by someone else

Guess what’s coming up: “Independence” Day. More precisely, it is the could-have-been day of independence unilaterally declared by General Emilio Aguinaldo back on the 12th of June 1898 that we are celebrating this coming Saturday. Many who see that day as a day that defines “Filipino nationalism” are right. We are a nation because someone said so. It began way back in the 16th Century when Spain by royal edict came to administer the archipelago as a colonial administrative unit — more commercial in nature than political. That was the century that the “Philippines” came to be recognised as something bigger than a collection of tribes living on a geological accident.

Come to think of it, I don’t really know what exactly Aguinaldo’s flag waving or Bonifacio’s fist pumping actually meant in the sense of actually having achieved anything original of enduring quality. Just shortly after that date we will celebrating this coming Saturday, Uncle Sam came in and threw a wet blanket over the revelry of these erstwhile “revolutionaries”. Tinapay na nga naging bato pa, kung baga (bread in hand turneth to stone). That pretty much set the theme for the rest of Philippine history. Subsequent history would go on to reveal a truth about “Filipinos” consistent with this experience — that much of the “bread” that we get our hands on was for the most part baked by someone else.

Indeed, Fatherland España did most of the grunt work that went into uniting (even just for commercial purposes) the lot of volcanic rocks that make up today’s “Philippine” archipelago. They even had the foresight to name them after their infamously Inquisitous king. That’s what I call foresight — the name actually stuck and went on to routinely describe the very many ironies surrounding the “nation” it identifies!

Look around and we will see ourselves enjoying traces of the bread our colonial masters baked for us. To this day, two legacies of the marvels of human achievement that are American engineering and administration remain the premier playgrounds of the Philippine Elite — Baguio City and the former Subic Bay Naval Base. In Manila, Intramuros, Dewey (now named “Roxas”) Boulevard, and Corregidor — all colonial remnants — are pretty much the only sites of consequence within that metropolis that show up on tourism radars outside the islands.

There is no short answer to the short question that is begged:

What exactly have “Filipinos” built?

Imperial Spain and, later, Expansionist America may have been motivated by interests less noble than the “nationalism” that supposedly motivates our modern-day “nationalists”. But here’s the thing: those less-than-“noble” intentions that our emo historians whine about did the job of politically and economically uniting the islands now known as “the Philippines”. Key word here: results. Results are a by-product of a job getting done (I highlight it because that simple concept is news to most Filipinos).

Today, we hear a lot of calls for “unity” coming from bozos who see themselves as possessing of far more “noble” intentions than Big Bad Spain and Big Bad America. But ask the simple question…

Where are the results?

… and we get either deafening silence or quaintly amusing platitudes.

Here is one of them (my boldface included for emphasis):

We have nothing but hope for the Philippines, […] and we know that with transparency, opportunity for all, and education, this country will continue to bloom.

One question though: Hope in what exactly, Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr?

Considering the way something historically fundamental as our real Independence Day has been euphemised into the “Philippine-American Friendship Day” it’s no longer a puzzle how bullshit has become such a banality in Philippine society.


About benign0

benign0 is the Web master of GetRealPhilippines.com
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14 Responses to Happy "Independence" Day to a nation baked by someone else

  1. concerned_citizen says:

    If we believe in ancient greek mythology then perhaps there is still hope. I’m willing to go on a little faith

    but then again results will be much better appreciated. Let’s see where the country will be in the next 6


    • Jay says:

      Nations that care about being progressive go with results. Its easier to map out progress and achieve goals that way. Of course some hope to go with that is just as great, not when you completely rely on it.

  2. ChinoF says:

    I wonder how many of our countrymen are actually aware the Philippines is named after King Philip II of Spain?

    And how many countrymen will keep on insisting that other nations are exploiting the Philippines even today? Gasgas na.

  3. J.B. says:

    I’m more of a “nandyan na yan eh” type. So better concentrate on solutions.

    I still reckon though that had Pinouys been living in one big island or one major island and few islets, Joma could have easily stream rolled any oligarchs on the road a la Long March of Mao Zedong

  4. benign0 says:

    Just to be clear, this wasn’t a dig at Ambassador Thomas. I just wanted imply how even an outsider, when addressing Pinoys, somehow seem to also succumb to having to carefully choose the most emo words.

    But yes, there’s something to be said about a people who celebrate intent and effort rather than results and outcomes.

  5. RainSantiago says:

    Frankly, when it comes to contributions to society Americans did a whole lot more in 50 years than what Spanish did in over 300 years. I’d be interesting if we remained part of the US Territory or became the 51st, maybe our society would’ve been more progressive, educated and less corrupt.

    • J.B. says:

      It depends on their commitment how well it could have impacted the Philippines.

      Take for instance the impact of British colonization. HongKong was progressive while India was not during their occupation.

      The selective American education given to rural areas actually did bring good fruit. But the agreement between both countries were heavily made in favour of the Americans.

    • killem says:

      In bringing education, yes the american did better than spain, but the rest, thats debatable……
      US leaders during that time is one son of a b**itch, but they are not stupid… Why would they give the same right and privileges vested on their citizen, to their subjects, if their citizen is already enjoying the same rights and privileges(even greater) compare to their Filipino counterpart in their home country??…

      and in case you are wondering why is the phil is situation is different from Puerto Rico ( their citizen can vote in the US election and do not need visa) blame it on this law “Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916”. like what i said, they are a* hole and still is, but they are not stupid….

  6. RainSantiago says:

    J.B. no colonial system is perfect but out of all of them I’d say the British system left a good legacy on many of it’s former colonies, United States, Hong Kong, India.

    • killem says:

      British colonial system looks after its colony, even after their colonization and even protect the interest of the previous colony.. the US?after they abuse their colony, they totally abandon it.. classic example ” the phil-malaysia sabah conflict”..

  7. Hyden Toro says:

    We are still a stagnant nation, even after more than a century of independence. I don’t have any clue of what future is ahead of us. We elected an incompetent President; who never had a managerial ability and a good track record. We got what we wanted. What you see in him, will be what you get. No more, no less…Happy INdependence Day!

  8. ulong pare says:

    … daaaang

    … flipland is an ukay-ukay republik…

    … like ukay-ukay, flipland was bought and was sold by foreigners who had the stomach to handle the LADRONES GARAPALES…

    … my lolo ko sa tuhod used to call flipland as LAS ISLAS DE LOS LADRONES GARAPALES… :mrgreen:

    … t’was true then, it’s still true today….

    … hay naku, flips puro kayo MAGNANAKAWS…. :mrgreen:

  9. kuliglig says:

    Bah! That question has already been asked since the times of the spaniards. Remember Jose Rizal wrote a book titled the Indolence of the Filipino, trying to understand the condition behind it.

  10. Pingback: Philippine 'Independence' Day on June 12: a desperate claim to a false achievement | Get Real Post

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