|Vicenté Hao Chin, Jr|
|Carlos P. Garcia|
I'm not sure whether or not "Heroes" actually has an apostrophe (') after it. As far as the title of this entry goes, there isn't one because I want to write it parallel to how Rizal Day and Bonifacio Day are written. I mean, we don't say Rizal's Day or Bonifacio's Day, do we?
National Heroes Day
This holiday is dedicated to the memory of all the nation's heroes throughout history. Observed yearly on last Monday of August, it is a regular holiday marking the Cry of Pugad Lawin by the Katipunan, led by its Supremo, Andres Bonifacio, which began the Philippine Revolution.
Iilan kaya sa ating mga Pilipino ang nakakaalam nito?
(How many of us Filipinos actually know this?)
I had a conversation with a friend a couple of years ago during this exact holiday. He actually thought it's written with a possessive form of Hero, as in Hero's. I was, like, "What?" He thought it's just another holiday made for Jose Rizal, who is recognised as the greatest national hero of the Philippines. That, of course, I do recognise, but for the sake of education, I'm calling on every single citizen of this country to be informed!
This holiday marks the day in August of 1896 when Andres Bonifacio led the beginning of the revolution against the Spanish hegemony. It was then that members of the secret society called Katipunan ripped their tax certificates to pieces, ceremoniously separating themselves from Spain, and the skirmish between the revolutionaries and the colonial civil guards began.
However, this day doesn't just mark that instance. This day commemorates ALL the national heroes of the Philippines -- meaning every single one that contributed to this nation's growth from the accounted time before March 16, 1521 up to yesterday.
So, yes, this day commemorates people such as the famed Lapu-Lapu, Jose Rizal himself, Benigno Aquino Jr, Francisco Dagohoy, Biki'ng Tamblot, Babaylang Karyapa and all your personal heroes who have helped this nation grow -- including Lea Salonga herself.
As for the now-dead heroes, we take the few hours this day allots to collectively remember their stories, their lives, and their invaluable contribution to the Philippines. Not just that, let us also consider how hard they would weep if they were to rise from the ashes and see how the motherland is now being raped and robbed and tortured by inscrutable human greed and lust for power.
Alam kong maraming mga di-kanais-nais na bagay na nangyayari ngayon ay mahirap itigil. Isa dito ay ang mabilis na pag-halo sa wikang Ingles sa mga wika ng Pilipinas, na kung saa'y nawawala na ang kaalaman sa karamihan ng mga tunay na salitang likas sa atin at napapalitan na ng mga hiram na salitang binago lang ang pagbaybay. Kung ipagpatuloy ng kaunti ang pagbilang, kasali na rin ang napakalaking suliranin ng katiwalian sa pamahalaan, ang walang humpay na mga madugong digmaan maging laban sa mga naghihimagsikang puwersa ng komunismo o sa timog ng ating kapuluan, at ang pagharang ng pag-unlad gawa ng mga pagtatatag na sinasaisip pa rin ang panlabing-siyam na siglo.
(I know most of these less-than-desirable things happening at present are hard to press the break on. One noteworthy problem for me is the fast integration of English into the Filipino languages, where a lot of the original words are now being forgotten and replaced by English words conveniently spelled in a Filipino manner. To mention a few more, major problems include the despicable corruption in the government, the endless bloody battles we have -- be it the ones against the communist revolutionaries or what's happening south in the archipelago, and the quandaries that keep progressive ideas from transforming into actual solutions, caused by institutions who do everything to keep progress at bay simply because they're stuck in the 19th century.)
Gayahin natin ang halimbawa ng ating mga bayani. Kung tayong lahat ay kikilos ayon sa mga kanais-nais na tuntuning ating nakikitang isinabuhay ng mga taong nagbibigay-sigya sa atin, maging buhay pa o hindi na, makakakita rin ng bago at mas mabuting umaga ang Pilipinas nating mahal.
(Let us emulate the examples our heroes have set for us. If we all live according to the positive principles that we have seen the people who inspire us live by, whether or not they are still alive today, we will all see a new and better day dawn on our beloved Philippines.)