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Philippines and Rizal During the 19th Century

Updated on June 9, 2016

It is true that after World War II, the Philippines was considered as a free nation after 300 years of Spanish Rule, almost 40 years with the Americans and almost 5 years from the Japanese. But we are not totally free because we still struggle for a national identity that the foreign rulers have forbidden us for many years. The life and works of Filipino great men are not considered by most of the Filipino that is why Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel fought for the passage of one of the important bill that made us realized how important to have a true national hero. A national hero that served as the represantative for the Filipino race.

The Republic Act 1425 or the "act that include in the curricula of all public and private schools, colleges and universities courses on the life, works and writings of jose Rizal, particularly his novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, authorizing the printing and distribution thereof, and for other purposes", developed the feeling among Filipinos the dedication to the ideals of freedom and nationalism(as stated on the bill). It was in the 1950s that the american influence are very strong, there are also insurgencies of the "Huk" group and it was characterized as the decade of contradictory. It was the time of President Ramon Magsaysay where this bill was signed into law, some are againts to the bill. As we all know especially the two novels, it has excerpts that pin pointed the abuse of Spanish Priars and some Catholic traditions. The passage of the bill was not that easy because a powerful institution opposed it, namely the Philippine Church. It gone through a rigorous debate but in the end the church had done nothing to stop the people for recognizing the greatness that Jose Rizal did in order for us to have independence. According to the two authors of the bill, Rizal should not just be an icon and he should be read because by doing so it can strengten the nation.

According to Rizal, in writing you don't have to be stylist. In transmitting your thoughts to the people, the only thing you have to do is to be honest. For us to deliver our ideas to the people, a pen can be an instrument for that. The heart and the mind of people can be expressed using your pen thus it reflects your personality. For a Filipino, one needs to be a good man and citizen for this country to attained prosperity and progress.

Philippine heroes of different times have made history. If we are going to look at the society it can be observed that when it comes to history there are three philosophies as seen by Nietzche. The first type, the monumental, has the attributes at looking at the action and the struggle. By looking at the great things that happened in the past, for a monumental point of view it is possible to happen again. The problem with this type is that it never look to the other side side of greatness a reason it is said that it can be brought nearer to fiction.

The second type that looked into the conservation and reverance of history is the antiquarian. One thing that is the observable characteristic of this type of history is that it is against change or in other words the identity is preserved. What happened in the past is most likely to be happening in the present.

The last type of history is the critical wherein the past is judge and interrogated remorselessly. By looking at the past, you can know what to do and what not to do base on the experiences that happened. Because the doer knows their fault in that certain portions of history, they have the capability to try new things o they are challeged to start new pasge of their history. According also to Nietsche, we can't destroy the past and we stop to often by doing the good but not doing it.

Hacienda system was very popular at the time of spanish rule. Originally, land in the Philippines are not own by Spanish and even Filipinos but later the people was given the authority to claim a land for it be develop into a productive farm. The original land owners of most of the hacienda was the "guardia civil and also the Spanish Government servants. But because they don't have time to manage these lands, they either sold it to priars or they gave it as a gift or donation in return for the prayers to God. Later, the haciendas was controlled mainly by the Priars and they earn from the rent that Filipino farmers paid. The haciendas were controlled by either the Dominicans, Recollects, Order of St. Jonh and the Augustinians.

In the 19th century, the Philippines brought to major developments and one of these was the beginning of trade with other countries. It is true that Philippine trade was evident even in the pre-Spanish times but it fluorished more in the 19th century where Manila beacame the commercial and trade center of the country. Goods and commodities (mostly agriculture based products) was sold to foreign buyers via the galleon trade. Fiber from pineapple abaca and etc., tobacco, sugarcane, rice and many more were the most demanded products during this time.

Because of the changes brought by the galleon trade, there has been also changes on social structure. One of these was the rise of middle class and the rich people. Filipinos can now afford to study abroad like that of illustrados like Rizal. This was also accompanied by the growing force of the revolutionary Filipinos who fought for the freedom of the country. In this period was seen the what was known as the first revolution in asia. The uprising was said to be brought by the suppression by the hacienda owners to the tenants. That time when if the land is not productive, the rent was cheap and as time continued and the land became fertile the rent became expensive. In adition to, the Priars sometimes claim a land that they do not own if they have seen it as a good land.

When Rizal wrote the two novel namely Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, it jumpstart the national revolution at the same time it made the Spaniards Church angry because of many contadictions that Rizal pointed put in the novel about the church. Despite the fact that he can be killed if he returned to the Philippines, still he went to the country for the people to be awaken that it is time to fight and it is time to have our own identity, nationality and a nation that is controlled by Filipinos by heart, mind and soul.


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