Adding a Flavor…

Adding a Flavor of True Nationalism



The Philippines one day will declare herself inevitably and unmistakably independent.” This is a prediction in his Las Filipinas Dentro de Cien Años after thinking the possibility that Spain would not introduce unbiased laws and genuine reforms to assimilate Filipinos. He was right.


This man has emphasized the importance and advantage of a real fledging nation. This man is no other than the most revered hero who is said to be the primary cause of the dramatic and theatrical independence which we commemorate with pride and joy every 12th day of June. He is the ever-famous, Dr. Jose Rizal.

“What on earth has produced a man like him? At 35, he was a novelist, a poet, an anthropologist, a sculptor, a medical doctor, a teacher and a martyr.” (Jose, 1999) More than all of what he contributed to our curtailed yet rich history, his novels entitled “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” had the most impact. It is because of these, they say, that the revolt against the Spanish supremacy broke out. These novels are products of his young mind that is capable enough for critical thinking. His vision transpired into writing which in turn emerged as the igniter of the whole revolution.

“Rizal’s choice of means were words” (Trillana III, 2007); words that came out not simply because he was uptight or because he eagerly wanted freedom. But it is a reflection of how education works. How powerful it is to do things beyond what is expected. In the revolution, education paved way as the grounds of the revolution and the latter as the foundation where Filipinos could build-in a truly independent Filipino nation.

As F. Sionil Jose (1999) once said, “The Revolution was our moment of truth; in that shining episode we defined ourselves and confirmed, not just our heroic and revolutionary tradition but also our continuous struggle for freedom. Our revolution laid down the foundation of a nation.”

On one hand, this is not the case in all events. Education during the American occupation was more of a colonizing tactic rather than an act of showing real friendship between the two countries. But, this is not what is needed to be talked about now. Instead, we should move the spotlight on the kind of education that is offered and received by the Filipino people these days. Leticia Constantino (1985) said that the youth of today “are being educated for neocolonialism, to accept our country’s assigned role within the global capitalist system as a source of cheap raw materials and cheap labor, and as a profitable market for foreign goods within an economy dominated by foreign investments.”

Though the so-called sovereign United States formally granted us our independence, we remain tied with them as if nothing happened in the past. The use of the English language as the primary medium of instruction fostered a colonial mentality in us which is still evident today. Elementary pupils and high school students are taught to be grateful that they were colonized, that they have this responsibility to regard the Americans as partners for peace and progress.

The kind of education we have now somewhat lacks the flavor of true nationalism. “Educating for nationalism means consciously educating Filipinos to BE Filipinos – Filipinos who will work for the Philippines and the Filipino people. To be pro-Philippines and pro-Filipino one must have national pride and a sense of national identity. Our present educational system promotes pride in our beautiful land, our tinikling and sampaguita, our Mayon and Banawe, our smiling people. It promotes national identity or nationhood, but nationalism is more than nationhood.” (Constantino, 1985)

“We are poor because our nationalism is inward looking. To repeat, neither education nor revolution can succeed if we do not internalize new attitudes, new ways of thinking.” (Jose, 1999) The situation calls us to do what Rizal did: use education as a tool in promoting nationalism more than loyalty and nationhood. Education has proven its role in Rizal’s time. Today, it is high time for us to do the same and finally end this unfinished struggle for independence.


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