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Memories from EL GALEON DE MANILA (Part 2) --Filipinos in late 19th Century Breaking with European History & Language

By       Message Kevin Anthony Stoda     Permalink
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"Ang bayan kong sawi," (My unfortunate bayan)

In his poem, Baltazar "refers to the reign of lost heroes", i.e.   those who worked for no compensation at all.   [p. 178]  

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Likewise, in the context of this same epic poem, Baltazar refers to the heroes as Bayani.    In this sense, a bayani is part of the Bayanihan.   [4]   A Bayani is in some-ways simply to be understood as a one who is being good neighbor in one's own community.   However, in future years, Bayani at times came to be interpreted at times to imply "la raiz" or the race.

            Veneracion also notes that during the revolution of the 1890s, "Bayan Kong Sawi" became "Inang Bayan".   Inang could be interpreted "mother"--creating the impression of motherland or mother-community, where one reaches out to help one's neighbors.  

On the other hand, to the Katipunan, who were the secret circle of Filipino patriots who called for revolt in the last stages of Spanish rule, the highest level of membership in their organization was referred to as "bayan".  

According to Veneracion, this word, bayan, was likely chosen by the Katipunan membership for its leadership because--among the Filipino revolutionaries--, the word bayan conjures up the somewhat peculiar image of all these   same revolutionaries being, in fact, "little boys" who are willing to step-up and aid or sacrifice-for-their neighbors --just as their mother or their motherland has reared them to be   good little bayanis .

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Reynaldo Ileto, a renowned specialist in Filipino political history and memory, has noted that the images of "mother and child" were and are an important one in the Philippines--much as the image of mother and family are important in Latin American history and sociology.   [p. 179]  

Dating back to the aforementioned epic poem,   Baltizar wrote "ang laki sa layaw, karaniwa y hubad, sa bait at ngu, sa hatol ay salat".   This is translated: "The child who grows up with "layaw' usually has no [good] character, conscience and good judgment."  

Veneracion claims that word "layaw" has often been mistakenly referred to--or translated as--"freedom".   Veneracion, instead, believes that the root word "ilaya" was intended.   An "ilaya" were those peoples at the fringe or those living in the mountains of the Philippines who were outside the bayan and free to do as they chose.   On the other hand, they were simply seen as rough and ill-cultured.

            In any case, a good bit of mothering is needed by the Bayan or the Bayanihan, in order to raise a child right.   However, since the idea of heading-to-the-mountains has often implied an image of running to freedom, the song "Ang Bayan Ko" often evokes an image of rising mountains or hills in its third stanza.  

Even in modern Filipino language, the term "to be a revolutionary" continues to be synonymous with "Pamumundok", which is translated as "to go to the mountains".   In this way, Veneracion makes clear that both "bayan" and "laya w", which is the root for the word liberty (as in "Kalayaan"), are linked in transcendental Filipino imagery in songs and vocabulary--even in today's vernacular.

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            Interestingly, one concept from the revolution that has remained transcendental (but was not desired to be transcendental by the revolutionaries   of the 1890s in the Philippines) was the very name of the country.  

Many revolutionaries in the 1890s had supposed that the people of the Filipino archipelago--at the dawn of a new age--would take on either an ancient name or a new identity, like East Pakistan became Bangladesh.   For example, Luzviminda was promoted by Rizal. [5]   The Katagalugan was proposed by Bonifacio and was supported as a new national name for the Philippines by various groups who opposed the Spanish and American of the archipelago.

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KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

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