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The Inside Story of the Heroes of Philippine History

Updated on March 13, 2016

Heroes That Were Proclaimed

Philippine History is interesting because of the so called heroes who defined it. If Filipinos rely heavily on things being taught at school they might overlook some of the things that are significant. Philippine history has been screened that not all details are taught to students. It appears to be more like intended to focus on stories subjective to the views of influential people. After the US took control over the Philippines from Spain, their influence in documenting our history has made them appear to look good. They also screened key personalities to be our heroes.

National hero Jose Rizal was chosen to primarily influence Filipinos to be intellectual in dealing with Nationalism. Rizal’s stand on armed uprising to overthrow Spain at that time was negative. He preferred only to reform the way the Spanish Crown govern Philippines. This practically means that he is not for independence but only for reform. Now, if we have to analyze that stand what does it manifest? Since, Jose Rizal was made national hero he became a model that subconsciously influences Filipinos’ views on nationalism. This made it convenient for the Americans to take control of the Philippines there was less resistance because they were lenient to Filipinos than compared to the previous colonizers.

Interesting Characteristics of Politicians Handed Down

There was less uprising until the last of the insurgents surrendered in 1906. It is also interesting to note that there were a lot of traitors in the Tagalog region. The story behind politics back then and what Filipinos have right now is similar because of the personalities manifested by their current politicians, speaking of culture and tradition if I may add. Emilio Aguinaldo was credited to be a hero, which was arranged with the Americans of course. Let us remember that Emilio Aguinaldo had been used to arrangements with colonizers. First, his exile in Hongkong together with his allies was arranged with the Spanish Crown. At that time the United States was a growing power and anyone who is politically educated is aware that US expansion was imminent.

Emilio Aguinaldo started arrangements with the United States while they were in exile in Hongkong. It is obvious that the United States a growing power, making arrangements with rebels intends to gain something in return for their assistance. Logically, how can you satisfy or return a favour to a growing super power in their effort to assist you? What will be their part and what will they gain in assisting you logistically? Emilio Aguinaldo is an educated man he knew the growing power has a powerful Armed Forces. It is easy to make it appear that he was tricked but actually he went along with it from the very beginning. Take note that most of the men who were true to their cause like Gregorio Del Pilar and Macario Sakay were all killed, but Emilio Aguinaldo lived until after the Second World War. This means that Emilio Aguinaldo was not considered a threat although he claims to be president and opposes the American occupation.

Andres Bonifacio was sincere in his cause. And because he had some part in history particularly the uprising against Spain and to calm his family and friends the Americans also recognized him to be a hero. They, however, did not focus on his ideals and made him one of the least among the proclaimed heroes because if Filipinos were to follow Bonifacios’ mindset they would be encouraged to rise against foreign invaders. Furthermore their ideology would have been that of the left wing, contrary to that of the United States.

The only Victory in the History of Philippine Uprising

There was one interesting part of Philippine history which was the only successful uprising against the Spanish Crown. This was the first genuine successful revolution in Philippine history. It took place on November 5, 1898 in the Island of Negros. General Aniceto Lacson in the Northern part of Negros and General Juan Araneta in the Southern Part converged in Bacolod to end the Spanish Rule. It was the only successful uprising in Philippine history where a foreign invader was overthrown by the natives. This was not emphasized in classes most of what is taught in school even in Colleges are stories of uprising in the tagalog region, like the cry of Balintawak and the adventures of Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo and company. All their efforts were a total failure though, because they were not able to totally defeat their Spanish rulers in Luzon. In fact the Spanish forces in Manila were intact until the Americans took control of the city and assumed power over all the Philippines.

This means that the Presidency of Emilio Aguinaldo was in fact a farce, for they have declared a victory that was not even achieved. Logically, how can you claim to be president of a revolutionary government when it did not even exist? For how can such government exist under another governing power that is present and imposes its authority? The opinion on this article may not be official but it makes sense.

Negros Island totally gained independence from foreign control for a period of three months. Short as it was it cannot be denied that it was the only genuine successful revolt in Philippine History against a foreign invader. This part of history though not emphasized is an encouragement that there was success in Philippine uprising against Spain at least on that part of the Archipelago.

Hidden Stories of the Victors

There is no doubt that Manuel L. Quezon should have been considered as the first President of the Philippines, though under the influence of the Americans. He was chosen by majority of the people or the voting population at that time.

During the Second World War it was actually a war between the Japanese and the Americans, Philippines got dragged into the war because it was under the influence of the Americans. Their occupation of the Philippine islands was subjective to each of their advantage. The Second World War produced unknown heroes. The gallantry of the Philippine Scouts in defending to their last until ordered to surrender was amazing, and so were the resistance of the guerrilla groups who continued to fight the Japanese invaders all throughout the time of their occupation. There was this interesting political character though who was considered as a traitor, the Grandfather of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Benigno Aquino Sr. collaborated with the Japanese. They actually fled to Japan before the Americans gained back Philippines. He was eventually sent back to the Philippines and was tried for treason.

That part of history is also not given emphasis because it somehow shows a tarnished image of the elders of the Aquinos. Their family is to be respected as any family that served the Philippine government. However, it cannot be denied that their patriarch betrayed the Philippines since it was the commonwealth that was already governing at that time.

The late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. although he died in an effort to go home was actually not a hero. First, it is important to consider that he has a heart disease. He knew that he will eventually die given his heart condition, and the longer that he stays in the US the higher is the probability that he will die there. If he goes home at least he will have a decent death, and he will be proclaimed as a hero by his supporters. He already knew that ones he goes home he will get shot at one way or another. Should he survive an ordeal at the airport it was his intention to talk Marcos out on vacating the presidency because the late strong man was already sick at that time. His going home was not because he loved the Philippines but to fulfil a political ambition. He wanted to be president long before he was allowed to go to the US for a heart procedure.

A Hero who is Not

Another thing that we have to take note is that Benigno Aquino Jr. had no accomplishments during his political career that substantially improved the living conditions of his constituents. All he was good at was criticizing the late President Marcos, giving orations and speeches. This article does not suggest to glorify the former dictator President Marcos, but to give a balanced view of what appears to be overkill in beliefs that are taught in Philippine Schools, Colleges and Universities.

If the late Benigno Aquino Jr. was given the opportunity to be president, then more of Philippine sovereignty may have been compromised earlier. It was his initiative to give up Sabah when it actually belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu, a part of Philippine territory. It was also he who compromised the planned military operation to retake Sabah.

Right now many Filipinos thought that EDSA revolution was life changing for them, it actually wasn’t. Since the Wife of Benigno Aquino Jr. assumed power the late former President Corazon Aquino, the only change that took place was too much selective liberty for those friendly to the Aquinos. Living conditions of the poor and the middle class remained the same and even worsened. Those in the upper class of the society especially those friendly to the Aquinos were given the privilege to further their businesses. They lacked foresight because they failed to address the future needs of the Philippines. Government utilities were privatized which burdened Filipinos with higher cost of living. The insurgents still exist and have become another source of corruption among the many that stemmed after EDSA 1. In view of Philippine history it is important to use common sense in studying it, for it is in history that we learn why the current state is the way that it is.

It is important to learn with a mindful heart. We do not just accept what is given in school we analyse the stories and make intelligent judgement based on the facts at hand. If we make a comparison between how Philippines is doing then and now the only difference is that we now have excessive freedom that we have encouraged criminals in furthering their activities.


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