Wrong Information from Textbooks that Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

Wrong Information from Textbooks

That Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

by Apolinario Villalobos


As I gain years in life that slowly push me towards the threshold of my destiny, I cannot help but think about the things that I was “force-fed” as a knowledge-hungry pupil in elementary and a trying student in high school and college. I am now beginning to think that they could be wrong, such as:

  • Reference by Spanish historians to early inhabitants of the archipelago as indolent and have no regard for the future….


The original lines of this contention were written by historians who were members of Spanish expeditions to the “spicery” in the East, referring to the archipelago that later became known as Philippines, as well as, Moluccas. These European historians did not give consideration to the fact that the early inhabitants of the islands during the time subsisted on roots (sweet potato, yam, etc.), domesticated vegetables and animals, and which were abundantly available all year round. There was no need to dry vegetables the way they were doing in Europe due to winter. It should be noted that the main reason why Europeans were dead-set on conquering the “spice islands” of the East, was their need for the sought-after spices to preserve their food. Fresh water and marine fishes were likewise readily available anytime of the year. Unfortunately, such impression stuck even up to the American regime.


  • The impression of Lapu-lapu as being the first “nationalistic Filipino” who fought foreign intruders….


Just like the rest of the early inhabitants of the archipelago, Lapu-lapu was also an “immigrant”. When the Spaniards came, there was no “united Philippines”, yet. Even what is now Manila was ruled by several chieftains. There was also no clear evidence, if Magellan died in the hands of Lapu-lapu, or that, Lapu-lapu was at the battle site which was in knee-deep of water, or just on the shore watching the scene and shouting instructions.


  • The Spaniards came to spread Christianity….


Although, there were friars on board the galleons, those calling the shots were the leaders of the expeditions, such as, breaking of twigs, throwing of rocks and other symbolic acts of conquest, and the making of declaration of conquest in the name of the King or Queen of Spain. In meeting with the chieftains of the islands, the leaders of the conquerors, made clear their intention of making the villages as vassals of Spain. Only when the chiefs conceded that “baptism” into the new faith was made. In other words, the cross was made as an excuse for the conquest.


  • Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago, “Philippines” in honor of the Spanish king, King Philip II….


During the time of the Villalobos expedition, the archipelago was known as the “Islas del Poniente (Sunset Islands). On February 2, 1543, his fleet reached the current town of Baganga, east of Mindanao and named it, “Caesaria Caroli” in honor of Emperor Charles V. They moved farther on and reached Sarangani Bay, named “Antonia” in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico. Finally, they reached Leyte which during the time was known as “Tendaya”, but which Villalobos named, “Felipina” in honor of the crown prince of Spain, future king who was destined to succeed Charles V. Clearly, the name that Villalobos gave did not refer to the whole archipelago but only to a particular island.


  • The reference to the Filipinos again as “lazy” during the actual Spanish occupation of the populated islands…


When the Spaniards occupied the populated islands of the archipelago, the inhabitants were taxed heavily based on their produce. The natives decided to “take it easy” in working on their land as a major slice of their harvest went to the Spaniards. Aside from the demanded big share from the natives’ harvests, they were also made to render forced labor to build churches. The massive churches in the towns of Luzon and Visayas are evidences of this cruelty.


Today, the topsy-turvy educational system of the Philippines is such that even the K-12 which is not an assurance of job after finishing the so-called “senior high school” has been implemented post-haste without the necessary preparations. The current errors in the workbooks have compounded the existing ones that are needed to be rectified. The many pages of textbooks that have been transformed into “workbooks” are never without errors, yet, erring publishers are not penalized….”how much” is the reason…I just don’t know.




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