And the Modern times
Filipinos are known to be brave, especially if the one they’re fighting for is worth it. As former Sen. Ninoy Aquino said: “Filipinos are worth dying for”. He is right because if we are going to reminisce the past, Filipinos are good people who want a simple life and a peaceful country. Reform in the country was met by spirituous youths who wanted make a better country for the following generations. From the time of colonization up to the present era, different faces of young Filipinos show up to lead and create a meaningful life. The question now lies in, do the youths in the time of Rizal as compared to the present believe in the same line and follows the same level of thinking? How does the youths in the time of Rizal differ from the youths of today?
Filipinos are once invaded by the Spanish colonizers before Americans and Japanese came in our country. When the Spaniards came to the Philippines, they wanted to establish the so called 3G (glory, gold and government). At first, they want to spread Christianity among Filipinos. As a result, our ancestors became too religious that even in this generation follow superstitious beliefs, especially our old grandparents. Secondly, they discovered that Philippines have rich and bountiful resources so they planned to get all of our treasures for them to become more powerful. Lastly, they wanted the Filipinos to become their slaves, and to rule over the Philippines. When the Spaniards first settled in our land, they shared their culture or ways of life, like food to eat and clothes to wear, that’s why some of our traits came from them. On the contrary, they don’t want Filipinos to learn their native language because they are afraid that Filipinos may discover their plans. In return, they might fight them back, and uprising may happen in the land. Spaniards are very witty that when they first came in our country they made blood compact or “sandugo”. It is a solemn promise between two people as a symbol of friendship. Behind that friendly meeting is a negative purpose of colonizing the country and ruling over the inhabitants as their subjects of rulership. Education for Filipinos during that time is very limited. It is only confined among Spaniards or Filipinos who have Spanish blood. Wealthy ‘indios’ or Filipinos as called by the Spaniards (for they know nothing) were given privilege to study but poor ones were taught field chores like farming or fishing. For the Spaniards, wisdom may lead the ‘indios’ to become intelligent and later on conspire among one another to evict the colonizers. ‘Indios’ learned basic Education, like basic Mathematics or counting with the help of objects (e.g. wood sticks, stones, etc.). Male youngsters are also taught by their parents how to catch fish, while female youngsters are taught how to sew clothes. They believe that man is superior to woman. Man must raise the family through earning a living and the woman to stay at home, taking care of the kids and doing household chores. Because Filipinos are very eager and willing to achieve their self-identity, some of them studied outside the country to overcome ignorance including our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. They called those people as “Illustrados” or group of Filipinos who were educated in the Western world. Their main aim is to achieve freedom and self-government from the Spaniards, but they don’t want total separation from the headship of the colonizers. They want to learn and be guided by them for they believe in their superb intelligence and ability to lead in rule. Through proper education, these illustrados could prepare themselves to be future leaders of the country, under the flagship of Spain. As an illustrado, Dr. Jose Rizal strived hard to study outside the country and learned many languages to prepare himself as he go back to his own country. With the help of other illustrados, they made an organization which is known as “La Liga Filipina” or group of Filipinos who has skills in writing. Their plan is to make a newspaper intended for the Filipinos to open up their minds and hearts to see the wickedness of the Spaniards and encourage them to join together in their desire for self-government. They believe that paper and pen are powerful tools for uprising and leading an inevitable change. La Liga Filipina is headed by Graciano Lopez Jaena who is champion in oration and extemporaneous speaking. Like Rizal, Jaena looked up to education as a means to freedom – from poverty, ignorance and atrocity – from the venomous ‘claws’ of the Spaniards. Jaena, though intelligent, lacks enough funds to support his studies. His good communication skills made his way to live day by day, as he inspires westerners with his brilliant ideas and unequalled intellectual skills. His intelligence, as highly priced, made him provide his needs to support his studies, for his family could not send the money he need for schooling. Jaena belongs to a relatively family, but because the Spaniards seized their lands and properties, his needs for education wasn’t provided regularly, and in the latter part was totally stopped. Through his meaningful speeches, listeners would want to pay his meal just to listen to his intelligence. He won in a speech competition in their school, but when the professors had known that he is an indio, they gave him second place and gave the first place to a Spaniard. Though his intelligence was not properly supported and recognized in the school, people at the plaza, restaurants and areas where people flock applaud his mind-opening and interesting speeches – making him known as one of the best orator in the era. Youngsters like Rizal and Jaena believe in peaceful revolution, with the help and paper and pen. For them, you can win silently and through bloodless means. Pen is more powerful then sword. For words written can pierce the innermost arteries of the heart a sword could not penetrate. On the contrary, another group of Filipinos, headed by Andres Bonifacio, believe that bloody revolution is needed to have a total reform in the government. Killing power players would make the place peaceful and no innocent man could taste the bitterness of their suffocating leadership. Bonifacio belongs to a poor family. He supports his family through selling fans and small scale selling. Because of his condition, he wasn’t able to good to school but this did not hinder him to find ways to study and learn. He loves to read books. He is a fanatic of Rizal’s writings and books about revolution (which were illegally circulating in the country, from the west, to open the minds of the Filipinos). He was also able to hold a copy of the newsletters of Jaena’s group increasing his anger towards the Spaniards. In his young age, he was able to witness the atrocities of the Spaniards and how his simple life became miserable. He learned to be strong to equip himself to find ways to take revenge, for himself, his family and his country. For him, bountiful life could be achieved through bloody means. Filipinos had suffered for long. Too much atrocity is enough. He doesn’t want this unfair government to rule and ruin the lives of his fellowmen. Rizal is his idol for being intelligent but they differ in their means of getting justice the suffering of their countrymen. Rizal once talked to him to reconsider their groups’ aims – to avoid too much bloodshed and achieve true reform. But Bonifacio is determined to pursue his goals. He wanted to end their sufferings and that would be possible through using a sword not a pen. The rebellion headed by Bonifacio failed but the succeeding events led to the freedom of Filipinos. The desire for reform was finally met by Filipinos because of youths, in the person of Rizal and Bonifacio, who wanted to safeguard the interest of their fellow men.
Truly “Youth is the hope of the nation”. This is what Dr. Jose P. Rizal once said. And that is what we still believe in. We still believe that the youth of today (as before) has the capacity to make our country reach its peak success, because they have the strength and the courage to fight for our country and they have lots of time and energy to think of the things which will make our country successful. But some of our youth of today’s generation is being influenced by other country. That’s why we also act in accordance with what we patronized. Youth of today are now called “Digital Learners” because of the influence of the technology which was introduced by other country. That’s why students become lazy about everything because all the things right now are just instant (e.g. food) and can easily done by the computers. Less effort in everything you do but more prone on sickness because we are getting the radiation of those gadgets that were using. Some youngsters also don’t appreciate the culture we had before and they are not aware of what are the sacrifices of our heroes just to get the freedom that we are now enjoying. Instead of learning our own history, they first try to study the literature of others and become inspired on it. As someone aptly said: “Youth is an exciting, wonderful time of life to be enjoyed to the fullest, but it only fulfills its real purpose when it is carefully planned to serve as the foundation of rich, beautiful and bountiful maturity”, thus, to all young and talented people of the Philippines, now is the time for us to do some effort to show that Filipino people very intelligent and hard working people. Determination is one of the great factor to success but most of all faith in God makes one to do the impossible.