As Filipinos, We All Belong to the Same Race…why hate one another, then?

As Filipinos, We All Belong to the Same Race

…why hate one another, then?

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The inhabitants of the archipelago that Ruy Lopez de Villalobos (not related to the author), named “Las Islas de Filipinas” in honor of his king, Philip II, all belong to one race. There is no reason therefore for an inhabitant to assert his being different just because he is a Muslim and lives in Mindanao. Along this line, there is no reason also, for another inhabitant to assert his being different as a Christian who lives either in Visayas or Luzon. The “Filipino” that we know today, regardless of his region, is the result of cultural impregnations by the different races that came to the archipelago, either to trade or colonize. Most importantly and very clearly, too, our ancestors were not born Christians and Muslims. They were converted by missionaries who were converts, themselves!!! How can we be proud then, of such imposed faith and culture???

 

Before Mohammed became a prophet, his people were practicing a different religion. He even went through persecutions before he finally succeeded in converting his people and such effort that took a route is the one being followed by those who undertake the “haj”. On the other hand, the Romans were pagans and it was only through the diligence of St. Paul that Christianity took a foothold in that city, but still, only after a series of persecution of Christian missionaries. And, that is how the Roman Catholic religion was developed, spread to as far as Spain, and finally, brought by the Spanish friars to the islands of Visayas and Luzon, as well as, a small portion in Mindanao, particularly, Zamboanga.

 

The natives of Luzon and Visayas were formerly animists – worshippers of nature.  But, long before the Spaniards came, Islam as a religion was already widely practiced in the archipelago. When the Spaniards set foot on the shores of Manila and Visayas, they already found Mohammedan inhabitants, some of whom they successfully converted into Christianity. Those from Mindanao, who pestered them with piratical raids, they called “Moros”, with barbaric connotation, as it was derived from the “Moors” who were driven out of Spain by Christian Crusaders. This shows then, that the “Moro” which was originally used by the Spaniards with reference to the Muslim pirates from Mindanao does not even have the slightest “native” hint in it. The Spaniards used the reference to show their disgust at the barbaric ways of those from Mindanao, all of whom they thought were pirates, robbers, and uncivilized. In other words, such reference was not concocted by the Mindanao Muslims. So, how can pride emanate from such Spanish-given name with horrible connotation?

 

Our ancestors were never referred to as “Filipinos” during the Hispanic regime. During the time, the “Filipinos” referred to, were actually the indolent Spanish settlers who lived comfortably in Manila out of the revenue derived from the galleon trade. When the trade faltered, the Spanish king was even forced to send financial replenishment for their sustenance, resulting to the clamor to abandon Manila. These colonists occupied the minuscule stronghold and walled city of Intramuros – the Manila of the old.

 

The affluent natives were called “Indios”. Those who lived far from the moot-ringed walled city were the Chinese who were forcibly clustered in Parian by the Spaniards with an objective to control their movement. The Parian eventually became the present-day Chinatown, reputed as the oldest in the world. The non-converted Mohammedan natives dwelt along the length of the Pasig River, and as far as Tondo. The friars even called the natives ugly “chonggos” (monkeys)! So how can we be proud of our so-called Hispanic past, when our ancestors were also treated as serfs who provided forced labor in building galleons and churches?

 

The only time the natives were called “Filipinos” was when the Americans took over the reins of the colony. But, still in the eyes of the new colonists, the natives were still a helpless lot who need succor and further conversion as if Catholicism was not enough, that is why they brought in their own Protestant missionaries and teachers who forced the natives to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”.

 

That is how we were pitifully victimized as a race and treated as ignoramus, when in fact, before the two groups of colonizers came, the natives were already enjoying a brisk trade with the neighboring southeast Asian states and kingdoms, even Japan and China. Mindanao had its own “royal houses”, too. Our ancestors were already weaving fabrics, manufacturing cannons, and mining for gold. The primary reason why the Spaniards came was to take over the wealth of the natives and bring them back to Spain. And, history books are clear on that. The natives of the archipelago were never helpless. The conversion into Christianity was just secondary and even still with questionable sincerity.

 

On the other hand, had there been a reversal of events, in which the Arab missionaries concentrated their evangelization effort in Luzon and Visayas, those who are living in these islands would be clinging to the Islamic faith. And, had the Spaniards decided to drop anchor in Sulu or Zamboanga, to put up permanent colonial outposts, those who are living in the whole of Mindanao including Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and Sabah groups of islands would have been embracing Roman Catholicism.

 

The Filipinos as a race are victims of historic events that dwelt on the scramble for overseas colonization by former western powers such as Spain, Portugal, Holland, and England. We are now suffering from identity crisis due to imposed faiths and cultures. Worse, this dilemma threatens the unity of the whole archipelago. And still worst, the effort to unite is greatly hampered by an inutile and deteriorating government due to incorrigible corruption. Fortunately, Duterte surfaced by virtue of a popular election, as a crime-busting President.

 

The mistake of the early political leaders was their failure to change the name of the archipelago into something more nationalistic and encompassing when “Commonwealth” status was granted by the United States. The early leaders’ minds were focused on the imposed erudite Hispanic and American cultures. They forgot that somewhere down south, there were other inhabitants, albeit, with different faiths and dialects – the Muslims and Lumads.

 

The so-called “Filipino” historic leaders whose questionable reputations are beginning to be exposed today had a short-ranged view. They did not consider the geographical situation of the country when they came up with a governing system, such that control may pose a problem in time due to its fragmented situation, which is happening right now. They adopted the unicameral system of other countries, but in framing the Constitution, they followed the “structure and formal appearance” of America’s own. Curiously, they did not copy the Federal system of the Americans who introduced “democracy”. Is it because they did not want to share the authority with those living in the far south? Does this show that greed for power has prevailed as early as that time to benefit a handful pretentious “Filipinos” who framed the hybrid Basic Law of the country, but which proved to be a flop today, despite two revisions?

 

As a native of this archipelago, I ask: why do we have to begrudge one another today, just because we differ in faith and dialect?  Is it the fault of those living in Luzon and Visayas that Mindanao is being neglected by the dysfunctional government? The “enemies” are the faulty government system and corrupt officials. The solution to the problem is not the separation from the organic homogenous system to become a separate state or annexation to another country. There are options that can put an end to the problem on unity, among which could be the federal system, relocation of the seat of the central government somewhere at the midpoint of the archipelago, or review of the current Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to make it more service-oriented. But the eventual solution could be the 24-degree turnaround in our attitude as inhabitants of this archipelago, specifically in the way officials are chosen that is shamelessly hinged on vote-buying!

 

It is a disgrace, indeed, that we, as a people who came from the same stock should hate one another based on what were imposed on us to become what we are now – Christians and Muslims. We should, instead, fight for our real identity, to enable us to maintain our unity.

 

 

 

 

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Sa Amin…sa Mindanao

Sa Amin…sa Mindanao

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Luntiang kaparangang halos walang hangganan

Kabundukang kahi’t paano’y balot pa ng kagubatan

Mga batis na animo ay musika ang paglagaslas

‘Yan ang Mindanao na ganda’y ubod ng timyas.

 

Malalagong palay, sa ihip ng hangin ay umiindayog

Mga masisiglang alagang hayop, lahat ay malulusog

Mga halamanang gulay, mayayabong ang dahon

‘Yan ang Mindanao na nabibiyayaan ng panahon.

 

Maraming katutubo, iba’t ibang makukulay na tribu

Magkakapitbahay ay mga Muslim at mga Kristiyano

Sila’y nagbibigayan, taos-pusong nagkakaunawaan

‘Yan ang Mindanao na may pangakong kaunlaran.

 

Subali’t kung ang pagkagahama’y biglang umeksena

Ang mga minimithing pangarap, lahat ay nababalewala

Kung bakit naman kasi may mga taong puso’y sakim

At mga adhikaing baluktot na dulot ay paninimdim.

 

Sa amin sa Mindanao ay masaya at may kasaganaan

Kaya dinayo ng mga tao na ang hanap ay kapayapaan

Nguni’t dahil sa damdaming sakim ng ilang hangal

Nakakabahalang ang tinatamasa ay baka ‘di tumagal!

 

 

Ang Huwarang de Guzman Family ng Tacurong City

Ang Huwarang de Guzman Family ng Tacurong City
….Notre Damean ang mga anak
ni Apolinario Villalobos
 
Sa kinainan kong maliit na karinderya sa tabi ng highway papuntang Gansing ay nagpahinga pa ako ng matagal at tama lang pala ang ginawa ko dahil sa lugay na yon ay makakakuha ako ng magandang materyal na pang-blog tungkol sa nakaka-inspire na pagsisikap ng mga tao.
 
Napag-alaman kong ang nagluluto ng mga ulam ay si Mon na asawa ni Nene. Maraming putahe ang naka-display kaya siguradong madaling araw pa lang ay nagluluto na ito sa bahay nilang hindi kalayuan sa karinderya. Maya-maya ay may dumating na dalagita at walang sali-salitang ibinaba lang ang backpack at naghugas na agad ng mga naipong pinagkainang pinggan at kubyertos. Nang humarap siya sa akin ay nagulat ako dahil sa ganda ng mukha niya at may tindig pa. Siya si CLARISSE anak ng mag-asawang nag-aaral sa NOTRE DAME OF TACURONG BOYS DEPARTMENT..
 
Panay din ang ngiti niya sa mga kostumer na kumakain – mga drayber ng tricycle na ang biyahe ay papuntang Lambayong. Maya-maya ay dumating naman ang isang lalaki na nagsabit lang ng gamit sa loob ng karinderya at kumuha na ng dalawang timba na lalagyan pala ng mga yelong bibilhin sa isang bahay. Tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang mga kilos at kahit maliit ang puwesto ay parang hindi masikip sa kanila…kung sa English, “orchestrated” ang kanilang mga galaw.
 
May isa pang kapatid pa si Clarise, si Daphe na nag-aaral din. Ang pantustos sa kanila ay galing sa kinikita ng karinderya at pagta-traysikel ng kanilang tatay. Nang makiusap ako kay Clarise na baka pwede kong i-blog upang maging inspirasyon sila sa iba ay ngumiti pang nagsabi ng, “sige po”. Ang tatay at nanay niya ay panay lang din ang ngiti.
 
Hindi nakakahiyang magdala ng mga bisita sa karinderya nila kung uri ng pagkain lang ang pag-uusapan, kaya siguradong kapag dumating ang mga ka-batch ko ay dadalhin ko sila sa kainang ito.Ang hindi makakaupo ay pwedeng tumayo habang kumakain.
 
YAN ANG NAKAKABILIB NA PAMILYANG DE GUZMAN….MABUHAY KAYO!

The “Statement” in Today’s World

The “STATEMENT” in Today’s World

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The “statement” in today’s world is not necessarily uttered but “made”, “shown”, or “manifested”. A guy with a mohawk haircut is making a statement. A girl wearing a black lipstick is making a statement. An old woman wearing a pair of short shorts is making a statement, etc.

 

The “statement” in today’s world is an effort of a person to make him/her unique, a standout in a crowd…but the end motive is to be satisfied…and nobody should question that. For as long as the person who makes a “statement” does not hurt anybody, he/she should be left alone. A STATEMENT CAN SPELL HAPPINESS.

 

On the other hand, these guys are considered trendsetters that make the world consistently on the go and dynamic, instead of stagnating in a pool of monotony. Without uttering a world, they make manufacturers of goods realize what are needed by a certain segment of consumers….great for economy. They are also great advocates of recycling as most of what they wear are pre-loved outfit, albeit, originals and worn by well-known personalities….garments that somehow found their way to ukay-ukay outlets….great for the environment.

 

These guys should also be admired for their courage to be different. Imagine a 70-year old lady wearing a mini-skirt as her intention is to move around comfortably, never mind the pair of legs. Imagine, too, the courage of a macho body builder who wears pink gym shirt, as by wearing such color, he helps calm down the snooty people around him. And, imagine, too, a 4-foot woman with a big bag slung over her shoulder…her shoulder bag that contains a small make-up kit, a piece of Skyflakes cracker, and a bottle of mineral water.

 

If we want harmony, we should try to be tolerant and appreciative of things that others are doing but we failed to do. If being amused can make our day…then, let it be that way.

 

LET US MAKE OTHERS HAPPY BY LEAVING THEM ALONE…AND, THE WORLD WILL BE SHROUDED WITH HARMONY!

The Dear Price of Promised Progress from the Mining Industry in the Philippines

The Dear Price of Promised Progress
From the Mining Industry In the Philippines
By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Once mined, a particular parcel of land can never recover lost yields – minerals in various forms that sustain life and top soil that enforce the earth’s crust. And, that is what is happening to the archipelagic Philippines which is being eaten up by the industry. Today, the tumultuous political atmosphere of the country is further jittered by the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to cancel the permit of many mining firms, a decision which is not to the delight of some sectors, especially, those that have been directly and financially affected due to their stakes. A big howl also comes from the purported human rights advocates who use loss of job as their tool for protest, as if only mining offers the opportunity to earn and nothing else.

 

The root cause of the swarming of mining ventures in the country, mostly foreign-based, is the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which was authored by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she was yet, a senator. It allowed foreigners to have a 100% ownership of land areas that they have claimed for mining. The blanket authority eventually paved the way towards the virgin mountains and forests of the country for any foreigner who was willing to invest in mining ventures. Rainforests were cleared, hills and agricultural lands were excavated, and chemicals polluted rivers, streams that flowed to the estuaries and coastal waters…and farmers lost their farms. At the rate abuse of the country’s natural resources are going, this law needs to be revoked.

 

During the presidential incumbency of Benigno Aquino III, the issuance of mining permits multiplied which enriched even local government officials. Although, some of the farmers were employed by the mining firms, their pay was meager compared to the former yields of their farm. The mushrooming of temporary mining communities resulted to the proliferation of crimes and prostitutions that literally eroded the values of the once sedate villagers and scandalized their once laid back way of life. The polluted air and water brought about diseases that emaciated the once healthy locals and the prices of basic commodities, especially, food, soared. Practically, the industry that has been hoped to bring progress, instead, devastated communities and their inhabitants.

 

Although, the financial effect to the country’s economy by the move to stop the mining operation can be recovered from other ventures, the recovery from its effects to the people and community could definitely be felt for a long time, as it involves cleansing of the polluted soil, the water beneath it and what flows on the surface. The government would definitely be helpless, in fact, more helpless, as shown by its inutile effort in tackling other problems that pester the country. This unfortunate fact leaves Mother Nature to do some kind of a self-healing. The eroded moral values and culture of the people may take generations to recoup. On the other hand, those who have been physically suffering and wasting due to the onset of diseases could just gasp for short breaths of the polluted air while holding on to their dear life!

 

At the outset, even without mentioning figures to show its devastation, the effects of the ABUSED OPPORTUNITY in mining the natural resources of the Philippines are very obvious. However, if the government decides to put a stop to it to give Mother Nature some respite, it must have READY FALLBACK PROGRAMS, NOT JUST PLANS for the displaced miners, considering that this problem has been plaguing the country for decades. Farming and fishing in the same devastated areas is out of the question because of the polluted land, rivers and coastal waters.

 

The most realistic move is to relocate the affected people to ANY RURAL AREA of their own choice, an option which means reasonable and realistic compensation. However, this problem could be aggravated if the concerned mining firms would also ask for compensation due to the cessation of their highly-financed operation….a suggestion is to use the confiscated money from drug operations.

 

The mining industry in the Philippines is proof that progress has a dear price. It glaringly shows that any venture that has got to do with Nature’s exploitation can be devastating…even with promises of proper management, as there is an innate tendency of man to deviate from the proper course due to greed!

 

 

PILIPINAS (tula)

Pilipinas

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

 

Mga luntiang islang magkakahiwalay

Mga katutubong iba-ibang pananalita

Iyan ang Pilipinas, watak-watak sa paningin

Subali’t iisa ang adhikain, iisa ang damdamin.

 

Halos gutayin ng pabago-bagong panahon

Kasama na diyan ang mga pag-uga ng lindol

Nguni’t buong tapang na iniinda ng mga Pilipino

Animo’y kawayan, sumasaliw sa hagupit ng bagyo.

 

Mula sa Batanes, hanggang Tawi-tawi

Mga katutubo’y nagbubuklod- iisang lipi

May isang kulay, matingkad, hinog sa panahon

Nagkaisa-  magkaiba man ang damit, salita at relihiyon.

 

Mayabong na sining at mayamang kultura

Taas-noong maipamamalaki, saan mang bansa

Hindi nagpapahuli, lumalaban, hindi nagpapaiwan

Sa ano mang uri ng patas na paligsahan o tunggalian.

 

Inang Pilipinas, mahal nating bayan

Huwag nating hayaang siya’y tapak-tapakan

Huwag hayaang mayurakan, iniingatang dangal –

Nang kung sino – Pilipino man o banyagang hangal!

 

Mga Pilipino tayo, kailangang magbuklod

Nang sa unos ng buhay matatag, ating pagsugod

Walang kinikiling na pag-imbot sa puso ng bawa’t isa

Nag-uunawaan, nagkakaisa – sa buong mundo, ating ipakita.

 

Mapalad tayo sa pagkakaroon nitong bansa

Na kung wariin, mahirap pag-ugnayin at mapag-isa

Subali’t ito ang itinadhana sa atin ng Poong Maykapal

Kaya’t buong puso nating arugain ng masidhing pagmamahal.

 

(This poem is dedicated to those who exerted effort to maintain peace, unity and understanding in Mindanao –to preserve the sanctity of our heritage as one nation and one people, despite a diversity in religion.)