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Jun 28th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako Who Should Be the Philippines' Foremost National Hero: Dr. Jose Rizal or Andres Bonifacio?
Who Should Be the Philippines' Foremost National Hero: Dr. Jose Rizal or Andres Bonifacio? PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 18:44


By Jesse Jose

A Cup O' Kapeng Barako


On the occasion of the birth of Jose Rizal, the Philippines' foremost national hero, on June 19, Romy Marquez, a well known and prolific Filipino journalist in San Diego, California and now in Toronto, Canada, wrote a short but excellent, informative piece, titled "Honoring Jose Rizal..." in the Digital Journal, a mainstream publication in Toronto.  And I quote portions of it:


"Rizal's status as the foremost Philippine hero has been under constant debate.  Because he was of the elite and a pacifist, some argue that the true revolutionary Andres Bonifacio, a man of the masses from where he sprung, should have been made the national hero.


"But Bonifacio's advocacy of armed struggle did not suit the Americans who ignored independence and colonized the Philippines after paying off Spain 20-million dollars.


"To pacify the islands, the Americans propped up Rizal as the symbol of peace and achievement, colonized the country for nearly 50 years until a US-sponsored independence on July 4, 1946. To this day, Rizal fits the bill...."


Right on, Romy!


B ecause, it's so true what Romy Marquez wrote and I fully agree, I wrote this comment under his story, echoing his thoughts ... and my own conclusion on the matter:


Pareng Romy,


You're right: It was the Americans who picked Rizal to be the national hero of Filipinos.  The Americans didn't want the Filipinos during those historical times to be emulating the revolutionary ideas of Andres Bonifacio.


Kaya, nasupil tayo ng mga Kano


It was not only the country that America colonized.  Our minds, our hearts, our souls, as Filipinos, were also colonized by the Americans.


Kaya, hanggang ngayon, "I wanna go to America" pa rin tayo.


It's every Filipino's dream to come to America ... or to Canada, for a better life.  And those who were able to come to America, like you and me, are the luckiest ones among Filipinos.  Para sa akin, pare, hopeless ang Pilipinas.  Walang asenso.  I've seen the Motherland not too long ago, and I am sorry to say, lalung naging grabe ang buhay doon for the masa.  Lalung naging grabe ang nakawan.  Lalung dumami ang mga pobre.  Maraming gutom.  Nakakalungkot....  Jesse


As an afterthought on what I said above, I would like to add this: Amidst this poverty, President "Pee-Noy" Aquino owns and drives two luxury, bulletproof cars, a Porsche sports car and a BMW...."  Can you imagine that?  Ang buhay doon sa atin, mas masahol pa kaysa noon panahon ni Marcos.  Kawatan daw si Marcos and his cronies.  Yun pala, same-same din with the Aquinos and their cronies.   


When Pee-Noy was campaigning for president, his slogan was: "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap."  Now, his administration's slogan is: "Ang mga corrupt, walang mahirap."


And what's the present-day Philippines got to do with Dr. Jose Rizal? I dunno.  Perhaps, you, Dear Readers, can figure it all out for me. My preference as our foremost national hero is Andres Bonifacio. And that's because, I am not of the elitist or a pacifist. I am of the masa. 


I believe more in the TABAK of Bonifacio, than in the UTAK of Rizal. 


Rizal was America's choice to pacify and colonize us then, and that turned us into "Little Brown Americans," whose mantra forever is: "I wanna go to America!"  And yes, thank God, I am in America, as a Little Brown American!  Well, don't you? 


I might be brown, but I am not little though. I am as tall as Barack Obama. Same thing with my two boys.  They also walk the walk and talk the talk of the Obambis. And that makes me glad. Okey ngarud ... I wanna move on now and talk about something more important and personal.


COMMENTS FROM LOVED ONES AND DEAR FRIENDS:  I wrote it from the heart.  Like spring water trickling on a hillside, I am still receiving comments from friends and from people close to us for that story that I wrote a couple of weeks ago, "A Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary: Echoes from 'The Little Prince.'"  I am touched by their comments.  Those who have missed it and wish to read it, or perhaps re-read the story, please click: A Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary: Echoes from "The Little Prince"

I wrote that story from the heart, you see.


The first one who responded to this story was my friend from another life, John Bisbano, of Port St. Lucie, Florida. I used to work with John, when we were both deputy sheriffs for the Martin County Sheriff's Office in Florida. We covered each other's back. Like me, he's also retired from the Navy, a chief warrant officer.  He wrote this simple five-word email ... that reaches out to me.  And to me, that means a lot. 



Congratulations to you and Maribel. 



Then this from my son, Chris, a broadcast journalist for FOX News in Denver, Colorado.  This son of mine doesn't usually email me, or comment on stories that I write in my weekly column, that it warmed my heart when he wrote this:



I enjoyed reading your column. Very good! Thanks for sharing and the shout out!



At the heels of my son's email is this message from my son's wife, Jaclyn Rostie.  Jaclyn is also a broadcast journalist, for ABC in Colorado Springs, Colorado.



We enjoyed reading your latest column!  What a wonderful story. As always, we feel very special to get a mention!


Chris & Jaclyn   


Then ... this: It came from Jun and Jo Ortega.  Jun and Jo are both engineers and are members of a choir group in our Holy Family Catholic Church here in Auburn, Washington. The Ortegas are also musicians. Jun sings and Jo plays the guitar. And their, son, JJ plays the piano. They wrote:


Mang Jess and Ate Maribel,

What a romantic love story. Thanks for sharing. Take care and God bless.

Jun & Jo


This one was emailed by Sister Grace Marie (SGM) of the Carmelite Monastery in Shoreline, Washington.  Sister Grace is the eldest sister of my wife, Maribel.  Before she entered the monastery and became a nun, SGM worked as an accountant.  She wrote:


Dear Jesse,.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful article on your 30th wedding anniversary.  God bless you always.



And this from Bea Munoz, a good friend of my wife.  Bea was born and raised in Chicago, whose parents are Latinos. Like my wife, Bea is a social worker for Washington state


Hi Maribel,

On my way to Vashon Island, I read Jesse's writing.  It was so beautiful, I got teary-eyed, mascara running.  I hope I don't frighten the foster parents I am planning to see and the kids. The kids!  The reception was beautiful. Thank you for inviting us.  Blessings all the days of your lives ... peace.

Your friend,



Many other emails came, but it would be redundant to include them all. So, I'll just say it here, thank you all for your comments, emails and phone calls, and for the cards that Maribel and I have received.  Thank you all for your gifts, and for those kind and gentle words that y'all wrote in your cards.     


I wrote that story from the heart, and all your words were all heartfelt, too. JJ

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Last Updated on Friday, 24 June 2011 18:03

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