Stopping and Looking Back: A Tribute To Rizal

Sometimes we need to stop and look back to appreciate things...


Honestly, I've been waiting for this day to come that I will be able to post the essay I made in a course about Rizal's life and works (Philippine Institutions 100, PI100) that I took up in the University of the Philippines. The essay is about the things I learned in the course, about the field trip as our last requirement, and about myself as being a Filipino. I've been waiting for this day because I like to share it to my fellow Filipinos. I want to inspire other Filipino youth that even through this little way I can show that I care. I care about the Philippines, and that instill to every reader's mind that every Filipino should (also) be.

The article is quite long, but I do hope that you take time to read it. Thank you!

Here's the essay:

My PI100 Experience

Because it is a general truth, I appreciate Jose Rizal as our National Hero. This is what our history says and it is what many others believe in. However, the appreciation is limited to the aforementioned reason alone. It does not extend to the point of having a firm conviction regarding that fact. This can be blamed to my finite knowledge about Rizal’s contributions to the country’s independence. Though among our considered 'heroes', Rizal’s works are the most familiar with me, I barely know the reasons, the real reasons, why the people who declared Rizal as our national hero did it so. Ergo, one of my objectives, if it is not the ultimate, in taking up PI100 course is to learn more of Rizal’s works and through these, appreciate him more as the country’s national hero. And sure, I learned a lot about his works and him as an individual and as a Filipino. I have known that among the people who fought for our independence during the Spanish regime, Rizal’s plans and principles, idealistic as they were, were the most beneficial to the Filipinos and to the Philippines as a whole. I agree with him that Filipinos during that time needed to learn all the necessary ways and right education to equip the country as an independent nation. And Filipinos should utilize each talent and competence in every aspect of building and running a nation.

Considering also that we did not consume all the supposed meetings in the semester, I can say that the days we had our discussions were enough to inculcate in me, and I believe in my classmates as well, all the necessary facts about Rizal -- facts that would make us accept him as the most premiere hero of the country, and eventually value these facts not only during our entire stay in the university but also after college life. And for as long as we consider ourselves as Filipinos, that values should abide in us.

The course also awakened the spirit of nationalism in me. I think it’s inseparable and inevitable. Once we study the works of our heroes who fought for our country, sympathy to their cry follows, unless we don’t appreciate what we are learning, and that we are taking up the course for the sake of requirements completion. But as for me, PI100 tapped my being to become more concerned to our country, that as a student in UP, I can utilize the trainings and knowledge I got to render whatever help our country needs, as well as to provide as much assistance as possible as being one of the individuals who are capable of doing so. Trite as it was, the saying “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa ang kikilos?” turned out to be a very sensible statement to me. And for that reason, as I graduate, if I won’t be able to find a position in any government industries and agencies, my priority would be the locally-owned companies in finding a job that suits my ability. As for the immediate effect brought about by taking up the subject is that I realized as a Filipino who got trained in one of the premiere universities in the country, it would be better (whenever this opportunity comes) to initiate in running for a position in any government office without having any personal interests but driven by pure service alone. It seems that there is an urge in me to involve myself in politics and to become stoic no more towards what’s happening in the country.

I also learned that it’s time for us, Filipinos, to change our way of thinking. It is important to retain and value our old traditions but not to linger in it for the rest of our lives. We should move on and adapt in the changes the world has undergone. We should set our mind that we are superiors that we are able to parallelize with the other countries in terms of governance, economy, education, etc.

As an individual, PI100 became a self-development course for me too. I became more assertive and more critical. The course stimulates me to see things beyond the usual, as if it requires me to think differently. The subject taught me also to become less ambitious. I don’t know if this makes me better but this actually enables me to maximize what I have as of the moment. As an analogy, I take our field trip as an example. At first, I dreamt of going to a place, a historic place that is not the usual itineraries during field trips. Just any places as long as not in nearby places like Manila. But ignorant as I was, I was not able to realize that there are places in Manila that I still haven’t gone to. It reflected my dream of going abroad after graduation when I haven’t even tried to see what the Philippines has to offer. It also mirrored my ambition to have a trip to world’s beautiful places when I still haven’t attempted to explore the wonders of the Philippines. Well, now I know.

So there I was, as my classmates and I roam around Manila, I realize that in Manila alone, I can learn many facts about the Philippines and in fact the whole Philippines itself. I learned its history just by visiting the National Museum. I have known about its rich culture in Ayala Museum. I was able to appreciate what the Filipinos had gone through during the World War II in American Manila Cemetery. I saw in San Agustin Museum the struggles of Filipinos during the Spanish regime. I learned about the Philippine economy just by roaming around Manila, with the assumption, of course, that it is the richest (or at least, one of the richest cities) in the country. There are also ambiences in Manila that reflect the negative side of the country like the squatters’ area, the undisciplined drivers of jeepneys and buses, the polluted roads and bay, the traffic, etc. And that made me deduce how the country should be improved to have it appreciated by every eye that sees it, whether it be a Filipino or a foreigner. Or at least at my perspective.

Nevertheless, the ferry ride in Manila Bay was able to tell me -- This is your home. Live in it and love it.

And that sums up my PI100 experience.


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austenfan @ December 31, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Wah Joel... Love it! Galing galing! :) Hmm, future president? haha

Leoj @ December 31, 2009 at 11:08 AM

@issa: haha. pangarap ko yun. pero baka maging corrupt lang ako. hahaha. joke.

nagPI ka na ba?

austenfan @ January 1, 2010 at 9:50 AM

yep, pero di ako masyado natuwa. haha. :p

Leoj @ January 4, 2010 at 11:13 PM

o bakit naman? PI100 ang pinaka-enjoy para sa'kin. :)

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