Here is another interesting article for The Brown Raise Movement. This was written by Leon Ma. Guererro – a hostorian and biographer. Hope you find this educational and at the same time, enlightening.

Rizal was the first Filipino. Before him were the natives of Suluan who rowed out to Magellan’s camp on “The Enchanted Island” of Humunu.

They happily gave Magellan coconuts, oranges, bananas, rice, a jar of palm wine, a fish and a cock, in exchange for mirrors, bells and red caps—a buffoon’s very apparel.

There was Humabon, the kinglet of Sulu, a short, fat tattooed man, who began by requiring Magellan to pay tribute (which not four days before a junk from Siam had done for the privilege of buying gold and slaves) and ended up by agreeing to give the Spanish sole trading rights, scared out his wits by a man dressed head to foot by an armor, lured by the assurance that if he was baptized he would never again be haunted by demons.

But there was Lapu-lapu, kinglet of Mactan, as bold and handsome and supple as the fish for which he was named, who thought himself, “as good man” as Humabon and would not pay tribute to the “Christian king.” 

There was also Suleyman, one of the two rajahs of Manila, required to surrender to Legazpi’s emissary, de Goiti, he replied that his men were far from being tattooed savages.
But the strategy of the conquest and the long Spanish dominion has been proved:
Humabon has set Magellan on Lapu-Lapu;
Bisayans from Panay would   help Legazpi take Maynilad;
Lakandula stood by while the chieftains of Hagonoy and Macabebe died fighting in Bangkusay channel;
Bisayans would fight Tagalogs;
Tagalos, Bikolanos, Pampangos, Ilokanos; one tribe against another, under Spanish command, for Spanish profit.
The Muslims of the Southern Islands would raid the Christian settlements up to the mouth of Manila Bay itself;
Bisayans under Spanish captains would march to Lake Lanao and Pampangos garrison Zamboanga;
the Muslims would fight for the Dutch against Christians fighting for the Spanish;
Lakandula fought for Salcedo against the Chinese;
his son Magat Salamat, plotted with the Japanese;
and Diego Silang offered his allegiance to the British.
His widow’s Tinggian lancers  were beaten by the Piddig archers.
Cebuanos put down Tamblot’s rebellion in Bohol and Bankaws in Leyte;
Lutaos surprised and defeated Sumuroy in Samar.

So it went throughout the centuries as one tribe after another took arms, against the missionary friars or for them, in protest against a wine tax or against forced labor on the Acapulco galleons in the name of the old gods or in the name of the new Spanish Constitution.
Malong proclaimed himself king of Pangasinan; Almazan king of the Ilocanos, and Apolinario de la Cruz, king of the Tagalogs.

No one proclaimed himself a Filipino.

Even at the time of our story del Pilar called his newspaper Diariong Tagalog and ended his denunciations of the monkish power with the patriotic cries of “Long live Spain! Long Live the Army! Down with the friars!” Rizal himself, writing to congratulate Lopez Jaena as later as 1889 exlaimed, “Sulung ang Bisaya at Tagalog!”  The eloquent Ilonggo, for his part informed Rizal with considerable satisfaction in 1891 that the Barcelona Republicans had offered him a choice of three constituencies in which they would support his candidacy to the Spanish Cortes. Indeed as we have seen, Rizal too had considered the same possibility; he did not aim so high as Pedro Alejandro Paterno who after the Pact of Biak na Bato claimed that he was acknowledged by the natives as the “Prince of Luzon” and wanted to be named also a Spanish duke, a grandee of Spain, and a senator.
Tagologs, Bisayans, Pampangos, Ilokanos, Bikolanos, were beginning to call themselves Filipinos, but they shared this name with any one of the Spanish, Chinese or mixed, blood born in the Philippines. “Philippines” was still largely a geographical expression and loyalty to the “Philippines” was the instinctive affection for the land of one’s birth, one’s “native land” rather than for a Nation.

It was Rizal as we have seen, who taught his countrymen that they could be something else, Filipinos who were members of a Filipino nation.

He was the first who sought to “unite the whole archipelago” and envisioned a “compact and homogenous” society of all the old tribal communities from Batanes to the Sulu Sea, based on common interests and “mutual protection” rather than on the Spanish friar’s theory of double allegiance to Spain as Catholic and the Church as Spanish…

Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, traditionally identified with the birth of Filipino nationalism, were but the precursors of this new community, the Filipino nation, and this should be obvious for the Philppine seculars.

They were priest from beginning to end, with purely priestly grievances and ambitions, and thus they moved by necessity in the wider reaches of the Universal Church. The intellectuals of that generation, who shared the fate of priests were equally untouched by the concept of the Filipino nation…
The Filipino nation was a narrower concept, more exclusive than the Universal Church and the Empire on which the sun had once upon a time never set; but for those who would call themselves by the new name of Filipinos, it was also a larger and more comprehensive community of all the tribes on all the islands of the archipelago, with duties and responsibilities that were more urgent and immediate.

But Rizal’s concept of a nation, as we should perhaps remind ourselves on occasion was moral, unselfish, responsible, based uncompromisingly on a general recognition of mutual rights and duties. “What is the use of independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?”  He never confused national independence with individual and social freedom.
Rizal is also the first Filipino because he is first in the hearts of the Filipinos. Nations are known by the heroes they have. If the people have the government they deserve, they also have heroes made of their own images and likeness.

—————————————————————————-At the end of the day, we are not Ilocanos nor Visayans. We are not Muslims nor Christians. We are not Kapampangans nor Tagalogs. WE ARE FILIPINOS.

God bless 🙂

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