The Philippine Revolution of 1896

336 pages
ISBN: 9715503861

The Revolution of 1896 marks the birth of the Filipino nation.

Desde que entregué la tesis en 1993, tuve claro que no valía para publicarla como tal por el papel de las percepciones. El esquema de la investigación era el típico, de mayor a menor: contexto internacional, política exterior de los dos países, relaciones políticas, económicas, diplomáticas, protocolarias y culturales. Pero explicar que las percepciones eran las que llevaban la relación entre España y Japón me obligaba a meterme a fondo con perspectivas teóricas de percepciones para ponerlas en un lugar preferente en el libro. Y además, por supuesto, leer el mayor número de textos posible sobre el tema. Eso me llevó a coordinar este volumen sobre Visiones mutuas España-Pacífico junto con Carlo A. Caranci, en el que además de pedir artículos me inflé a hacer reseñas de libros sobre relaciones de Japón enfocadas en las percepciones. Y, efectivamente, en 2002 salió el libro de la tesis, con un prólogo sobre percepciones y un primer capítulo sobre el pasado de las relaciones. Se cuentan las relaciones previas (España representó a Japón frente a los Imperios Centrales en la Primera Guerra Mundial, y asuntos diplomáticos de este tipo), pero para entender el contexto de los contactos me centro en las imágenes. La geisha, el samurái, las asociaciones a la percepción y cómo se transmitían esas percepciones fue una innovación radical frente a la tesis, en parte gracias a este volumen.

Presentación

Anexos

Editor's Preface

 

 EDITOR’S PREFACE

 

Among the colonial powers in Asia, Spain was able to shape a nation the best. The British in Malaysia, the French in Indochina or the Americans in the 20th Century Philippines wanted to lead their territories along their own paths; efforts were made, money was spent and immigrants were sent in order to settle there, but their presence has been more of a parenthesis than the configuration of a new society. Other colonial powers had more time. The Portuguese arrived to Asia before than Spaniards, but they were located mostly in small outposts focused on foreign trade and were strongly dependent from the mainland authorities, like in Macao.  The Dutch, on their side, neither devoted much time to their subjects nor had the will to shape the society in ways apart from adapting to their own commercial interests. The  Spanish power in Manila, certainly, went much further. Regardless of the opinion of those affected inhabitants and dominated by the religious orders, they enjoyed plenty of time for introducing lasting changes. Furthermore, they showed clear ideas about how their subjects should think and behave, and more than that, the missionaries worked hard to change them, from their  way of thinking to policing the social order and organize the living of both indios and mestizos

 

Since their ideas were progressively accepted, Spaniards could boast of success. Tagalogs, Visayas, Ilocanos and other communities in the Philippine Archipelago tended to assume the concepts brought to them as part of a world to which they should adapt. While accepting selectively and resisting mostly in a passive way, most of the indigenous inhabitants assumed progressively the boundaries of their territory as defined by the colonial masters, considered the beliefs of the Catholic religion as their own, appropriated many of the myths and heroes of their legends, and their communities were redefined along the lines directed by the Spanish missionaries. The teachings attached to Spanish civilization were also assumed to be beneficial. As a consequence, mestizos and many lowlanders alike felt they needed further tools in hands of the rulers in order to advance further and modernize, such as the Spanish language, which would allow to learn the precepts of Law, the life of Christ or the teachings of the masters of Philosophy. Those under the arm of the colonial power, at least, felt a balance between the modernity reached through these ideas and those who should embody such a modernity, frequently less beneficial and usually corrupt.

 

New Filipino expectations

By the nineteenth century, the situation changed progressively. The expectations, that is, the images of the future of those in the islands and those in the metropolis differed more and more. While both accepted that the original mission of Christianizing the country was fulfilled, the idea about what to do next diverged progressively. Spaniards, boasting of their past deeds and the high level of education among Filipinos, didn’t recognized its consequences in the way of governing the Islands: the need to change the kind of relationship. The overall context of colonial powers expanding their expires, the impossibility to follow a clear policy during a long period due to the domestic problems in the peninsula, their own losses in the short term and the fear of opening a Pandora’s box whose consequences could not foresee  provoked the continuous Filipino denials for more representation and for a bigger say into their own affairs. As a consequence, while Madrid refused repetitively and entrenched more and more its government, the Filipinos, once the demands of autonomy were rejected, developed the idea that they themselves could run their territory, even to the point of separation from the former Mother Country.

 

It was not a foregone conclusion. At the end of the nineteenth century, the colonialism was at its height and the territories around the Philippines were suffering the stronger pressures to bow to white dominance. Only a few colonies, ruled by former European immigrants, had achieved independence, in the distant American continent. The only further examples to look at were Japan and Cuba, and probably Australia. Japan was a country that made the biggest efforts to protect its territory and to improve their governance in order to be recognized as a “civilized country;” Cuba was the Jewel of the Spanish Empire, La Perla del Caribe, to use El último adiós’s term, whose achievements towards Madrid (and fight against) were much more advanced; Australia was a territory ruled by white people to receive soon a kind of autonomy under the British Empire. But neither Cubans, Japanese or Australians compared their fight for independence similar to that of the Philippines, much less the rest of the colonial powers, that continued seeing the Archipelago as a place to colonize, not to let be free, partly because of the damaging effects to their own colonies. Filipinos, certainly, reached the conclusion that they could form part of the club of independent nations not only when nobody else was prepared to welcome them, but with an overall context quite predisposed to the opposite.

 

Filipinos reached the conclusion that the moment for their own rule was mature much before the rest of colonized peoples. This way had many steps progressively overcome from the early revolts against the deeds of a corrupt governor or the rise of the rent of the land. First, they dissociated the Spanish government with the need to continue the Catholic cult. The image of Spain attached to that of the missionary and a distant official in Manila changed due to the increasing number of people arriving to the islands at the second half of the nineteenth century. The expansion of the bureaucracy, together with the influx of immigrants in the second half of the nineteenth century, settling in Manila and all around the Archipelago, was key in this, as it allowed Filipinos to bring to earth the ideal image of a modern Spain with a much superior development, based on the lack of real contact. Second, the Spanish Church lost some of its former ascendancy. The church had enjoyed in the Philippines a position much better than in the rest of the Spanish colonies due to the lack of immigration, but the last century of the colonization saw a redress of the balance. If previously was seen as the protector against the political power, its position was weakened by the rise in the renting of their lands and the increasing contest for power, from the principales and  from the increasing number of Spaniards living in the provinces. Third, anticlericalism reached new levels as the context of Spain permeated to the Archipelago throughout these arrivals of people with a very different background than the missionaries. Either lay Spaniards or missioners could agree on the need to continue their rule over the Philippines, but not on who should run them. Peninsulares in the Philippines could change some ideas after their disembarking, like their class-consciousness, in case they possessed it, but others could be maintained such as the feelings against the friars. Even reinforced, due to their overwhelming power in the Islands, not comparable to that in Spain. And they should share these feelings with fellow Filipinos, much more easily than their critics against Spanish rule. In the mid-twentieth century, a Director of the Tabacalera wrote in his diary that the employees of his company were anticlericals. The dissociation of the image of Spain to that of the Catholic church not only deepened the meanings of the protests but also provoked new reasons to complain against: they were imaging a future without the colonial power.

 

A conclusion of this should have been the feeling that the Empire they were subjected to was useless for Filipinos. Spain was under a chaotic situation, replete of coups and continuous changes in the government and under economic dominance somewhat akin to colonization. Spaniards themselves could not maintain their dominance as before since they also were affected by the critical condition of their own nation. Being self-criticism a crucial part of a repetitive discourse of how Spaniards identified to themselves at the last third of the century. They couldn’t perform as propagandists of the metropolis since their own confidence to lead other peoples through the way of modernization had diminished greatly since former centuries: now they were leaded, not the way around. 

The Philippines, furthermore, was perceived as the most extreme example of such as critical condition of Spain. Partly because the government of Manila was near to disaster when comparing to that in Cuba or even in Spain, and partly because of the dominion of the church,  the Spanish society was much more ready to accept a change in the situation of the Philippines than in Cuba, as was seen just after its defeat. The number of publications printed in the Peninsula and sent illegally to the Islands is just one indication of how widespread was the idea that the relation was fruitless for both sides. The reasons used to self-justify its colonialism as beneficial to peoples needed to be leaded to the path of progress were not credible. Neither for the Spaniards, for the Filipinos or for anyone else. The only motivation for staying in the archipelago were Spain’s own interests. 

 

Without a clear justification for the presence of a colonial government, Spain itself helped to foster such a change of perception about the future of Philippines. And its role diminished also in the eyes of the Filipinos. News of instability, violence and decadence coming from the Peninsula were hardly gratifying for those Filipinos trying to convince themselves of the kindness of following under their rule, who should associate positive influence with its civilization and its past, much more than with their present. For those Filipinos with grievances against Spain, such news were a confirmation of the impossibility to wait for a regeneration that could benefit them. In many cases, such news coming from Spain provoked even mockery.

Time for comparing races

Filipinos did not only deepened the meaning of their protests or saw a moribund Spain on its feet, but also upgraded their consideration to higher levels. The step of seeing themselves not only much above those colonized peoples in the region but also able to run their own country was not essentially critical against anyone, but positive toward their own capabilities and strengths, a clear proof of the bright future they expected. 

 

Again, it was not a foregone conclusion, as nowadays can appear, because the colonialism at those times was not only defeating others in the military but also in the ideological way. The idea that the white race had the burden to guide the undercivilized peoples toward a better future was widely assumed, even among those critical to the political system like Karl Marx, who considered convenient the intervention of British armies in China or India, for instance. The role of “science” was key in this assumption since 1853, when Arthur de Gobineu published his Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races. After that, a multitude of laboratories and researchers undertook the task of measuring cranial capacity, length of the arms or whatever congenial appearance that served to discriminate the “race” each person belonged to. By establishing the physical differences between the different human types, everybody could be classified into a group through an apparently “scientific” decision, that is, apolitical, out of colonial system and, therefore, more easily to be assumed either by the colonizers but also by those colonized. Science determined who was inferior and who was superior and, alas, the results said that the white race had better body, blood and intelligence. Everybody knew who had born to rule and who should obey. 

 

This discourse was not new. English, French or German Empires were justifying their deeds to themselves and, as usual, their ideologies were following the successes in the battlefield by their armies. Spaniards and Portuguese had done in a similar way some centuries ago, conveying the need of their presence in the Philippines and the Americas. The self-perception of colonizers usually has been that of a nation doing a god job, not only for themselves but also for those colonized, even if some of those targeted for improvement protested (therefore, deserving retaliation) for not understanding how good the colonization was. Many of those colonizers even emphasized their loftiness to the point of self-perceiving their task as a necessary burden they had to accomplish. 

 

Between the discourses of colonialists, there was an important difference between the Iberian way to justify their deeds and the reasons conveyed in the 19th Century. The education given by the missionaries and the way Spain and Portugal had justified in the Early Modern period its presence in the Islands was crucial to this. They had announced the bringing of the “true” civilization and the teaching of the only valid religion. With it, they had allowed some possibilities for those assimilating their ideas to advance and progress inside the colonial system. Learning their civilization, having the same true religion as them and speaking the same language, those under these crumbling Empires could feel themselves equal to their colonizers. Using the same ideas communicated by Spaniards or by Portuguese, Filipinos or the people form Macao progressively were able not only to think their own way, but to manage that the ideas created to make believe the goodness of the Spanish rule could work in an opposite direction. Under the Iberian colonialism, an indio could perceive himself equal to the masters, and think in their own terms that the experience had successfully finished with their own rule, as good as the colonial. 

 

Not under 19th Century colonialism. Those natives in the British, German or French colonies that were  assimilated and made efforts to learn their master’s culture, language or civilization could advance inside the society, but only relatively. As “science” had declared that a person belonged to a race since its birth, the possibility to enhance the position of a colonized inside the colonial system was much narrower. Furthermore, the colonial powers expanding in the 19th century enjoyed three additional advantages to maintain those under them thinking how good was to be under European Empires. First, the development of data, laboratories and measurable reasons was much more definite and clear and allowed less room for interpretation. To specify the measure of cranial capacity or height needed for being colonizer was much less subject to interpretation than declaring one’s religion is the real or that any culture is the best. Second, the input of data was inevitably in the hands of the governments of the colonial powers. As a consequence, the hypothesis were in order to reinforce the ideas favorable to them and when “scientist” Spitzka searched for a chain of being according to brain size, he chose the example of the famous mathematician, Gauss, together with that of bushwoman and a gorilla expecting to see a diminution of their size.  He took the examples not for sake of science, but to look for data that could demonstrate the superiority of white race and once he could noticed that the size of the brains of both the mathematician and the bushwoman were the same, he continued searching for data that could give support to his former hypothesis. Third, it focused on genetic differences. The justification of the European colonization popularized by the Social Darwinism and  other apparently scientific theories pointed to differences between human beings inherent since the birth of each person meant that no person could get free from this, whatever their aims and effort. East would be always East, and West always would maintain its hegemony. The self-perception of each people and each person was much less prone to interpretation.

 

In the colonial world of the late 19th Century, the differences between superiors and inferiors were shown by an science apparently separated from the colonization, and were found to be genetical by scientists searching for data that should fin into their own racist hyphotesis. As the Anglo-Saxons didn’t reasoned their expansion as inherent to the presumed truthfulness of their ideas or religion, but on the inherent superiority of their race and their societies, the difference was that they didn’t allow much possibility to those under them to step up the so-called “ladder of civilization”. An assimilated indio could upgrade his self-perception to the same level as Spaniards, but not under England, France or Germany, of course with differences among them. The colonized could not hope to improve their condition significantly inside this colonial system.

Moving up inside the colonial system

Filipinos, easy to guess, were not passive recipients. Once they assumed these ideas and finally acquired such a civilization and such a religion, Filipinos claimed they had learned the essentials of the superior civilization and perceived themselves in a similar level to their Spanish colonizers. Devoid of the “scientific” background developed in the nineteenth century, the education given by the Spanish friars was not entrapped by any inescapable data, and the apparently neutral body to discuss who was right, the Pope in Rome, was too far, and their agents in the Philippines too discredited. But also, by learning those colonial teachings to their own advantage, they sensed it was enough to progress and modernize. By embracing their idea of Catholic religion rather than others, not only less familiar, but also less prone to adapt to their own interests, they also choose a way to improve already successful for some. Filipinos used first Spanish teachings as a definition of their own identity, later as a springboard to enhance it, and finally as a means of understanding that its way to modernity needed neither Spain’s tutelage, neither its advice. The race for Filipino independence, certainly, was mature before both territories split their fates.

 

This background allowed the Filipinos to feel above the rest of the Asian peoples around them in spite that their colonial masters were widely seen the weakest of all. They managed it by not linking their fate to that of the declining Empire that ruled over them, many times referred as “moribund”, overlooking even the fate of the Siamese, a nation with very dark perspectives at those times. Also, they even envisioned a pre-hispanic paradise before the rulers arrived to the Philippines, as both the Propagandistas, Andres Bonifacio, and Rizal, as showed in his comments to the Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, dreamt. Regardless of the veracity of these perceptions, the Filipinos believed in themselves much before other colonized peoples, and therefore could show a different response to the Spanish claim of superior civilization and religion. Their chance to do it was much greater under the sovereignty of a crumbling Empire.

Spain counterattacked to keep on justifying its dominion over the Philippines. At the end of the century, some Spaniards tried to tune their discourse to the imperial times they were living in and searched for the same kind of “scientific” arguments. Together with loaned arguments about higher height, body and the like, writer Quiaoquiap, for instance, argued that Filipinos were inferior to Spaniards for not being able to pronounce “F.” The Spanish mestizos, also, were accused of gradual degeneration of their racial characteristics after living for some time in the Philippines, either through intermarriage or through the nastiness of the climate. 

These accusations, however, failed its target. Besides the weaknesses of the arguments and the clear contradictions with former ideas, this reasoning could hardly convince other than fellow Spaniards. Furthermore, those talking about the racial superiority of Spain over the Indians could not voice it very loudly. Partly, because they themselves were pinpointed by other colonialists for being racially inferior. The US Consul at Manila, for example, referred to Spaniards as “a brutal race of people whose Moorish blood disqualified them from being considered true Europeans.” Also, because the Spanish political situation, neither in the metropolis neither in the Philippines, gave way to confirm such adjectives associated with the “superior races”: there was neither vitality, neither the military triumphs in the colonial adventures attached to such superiority and they were hardly proud of their colonial government in Madrid. Rizal and every Filipino Ilustrado could mock Spaniards when they claimed superiority, as the film shows, but Spaniards also knew they were lying. Europe disdained also their claims of superiority. If they wanted to maintain their rule over the Philippines, Spaniards could justify their colonisation only through centuries-old arguments, in spite of a growing opposition towards the Catholic church. But even this claim of true religion, last but not least, was hardly criticised. American missionaries disdained the way Iberian missioners had Christianised the Philippines and a Methodist in Pohnpei island mocked the Spanish Catholicism as “The mass, and after that, the cockfight”. When President McKinley said that the united States would Christianise the Philippines, he surely meant to do it “rightly”, as they thought it was the correct way to do it. Their glorious and unrepeatable past maintained Spanish claims for its future in the Islands, but not many believed it, neither the masters of the international Arena, neither Spaniards themselves, neither many of their subordinates.

 

It also allowed the Filipinos to think for an independent one. Filipinos could think that they were able to govern their own destiny. The ideas brought by Spaniards allowed to the Philippines to have enough confidence as to think that the period under the colonizer was already too long and that it was time already to follow the path of the Latin American countries (and Cuba, since it was clear that they would get rid of Spain soon) in making use of their right to their independence. Filipinos felt able to run their own country much before other peoples in Asia and the consequences were seen at the end of the 19th century, when popular and mestizo movements sought to overcome the Spanish regime. 

 

This is the period studied by this volume, when the legitimacy to rule the territory was already over and the main question was not “if”, but “when”. Either to many Filipinos and to many Spaniards alike. Such a feeling of living under a too long period can be studied under different perspectives, such as the literary movement, the situation of the colonial government, the participation of other countries in the colonial events or the roles of the different groups in shaping the Filipino identity once the Spanish Empire was universally seen as moribund.  

 

The articles deal also with what happened after the “disaster”, in Spanish words. When the Centuries-old Empire almost disappeared, Filipinos were working mostly for their independent future and to prove they would be capable to fulfill their expectations. They self-perceived as civilized but, unfortunately for them, the others preferred to maintain the former status. Neither the former colonial power, neither the American soldiers that arrived in 1898, neither the rest of the powers, including the Japanese government, perceived Filipinos as developed or fit to run their country without tutelage. Time was not ripe for any independence and the selling of a territory as a commodity, with people inside waiting to be civilized, was the solution accepted by those who run the world then. To do it otherwise, it would have been a dangerous precedent for the rest of the colonial world, whatever the arguments of Filipinos about their achievements. The United States of America, the new colonial power, would continue convincing them of their  inability to govern themselves. This time more thoroughly, and more intelligently, with a version adapted to the latest improvements.

 

Articles

Bernardita Reyes Churchill wrote an solicited article on the state-of-the-art of the bibliography on the Philippine revolution and the perspectives, which includes an impressive bibliography. As she promised, she is critical with much of the research done by many historians in many countries, starting by the United States, whose bibliography she criticizes to be focused almost exclusively on Philippine-American relations after 1898. The Spanish historiography is also reviewed critically as it focus, again almost exclusively, on the History of Spaniards in a territory that happens to be the Philippines, while still uses terms derogatory to Filipinos, such as “revuelta tagala”, “reyezuelos”, and the like. Unfortunately, mostly for the Spanish editor of this book, the assertions have to accepted: terms are too frequently taken from the documents, transpiring therefore the mentality of those times, and most of the Spanish researchers on the Philippines have arrived to this field through the Americas, doing the same intellectual trip as the Galleon did. However, foreign contact has increased definitely in the last decade and, presently, research on the Philippines is increasing tremendously together with the quality of its works. Philippine Revolution is the widest term used in Spain, only refused openly by some that happen to be descendants of those judges that decided the death penalty for Rizal. Nita’s review of Filipino historiography starts with the accounts written at the beginning of the 20th century up to the contributors from the Diaspora, such as Reynaldo Ileto, a Filipino in Australia, and John N. Schumacher, an American Jesuit in the Philippines. Besides signaling this historiography as specially focused on how the masses participated in the revolution, Nita proposes deepening in some dimensions, such as studying the popular movements in a wider perspective. Dr. Churchill also advocates for a understanding of the father of the Filipino historiography, Teodoro A. Agoncillo, considering of the methodology of their time.

 

Barbara Watson Andaya and Mina Roces look at the role of Gender during the Philippine Revolution. They do it from a somewhat complementary position, since the first analyses the Philippines departing from the general context in the region, going through the specificity of the cultures of island Southeast Asia, while the second goes in the opposite direction, from the Philippines to the rest of the countries in Southeast Asia, comparing the events of 1898 with the cases researched by her along the twentieth century Philippines. Although the heroes and participants are mostly male, both Barbara and Mina show that the importance of women should not be measured only by the male perspective, as many other roles, but by different ones, such as their role as agents of change. Enlightenment was one of them, but civic work should be noticed also, together with roles they were more adapted through their position in the society, such as having special links with the spirit world or being leader as related to a prominent man, such as Gregoria de Jesus, whose role is mentioned by both in different perspectives. While Barbara Andaya focuses on the quality of maleness inside a female body as a key factor for being a leader, together with the importance of education, Mina Roces focuses on their activities through her kinship group, for which is very interesting the comparison between Gregoria de Jesus with Andrés Bonifacio and Josephine Bracken with José Rizal. 

 

While his wife deals on Herstory and Gender, Leonard Andaya focuses on the Ethnicity and how the uprising by one etno-linguistic group became a Philippine Revolution. He goes back to the division of identities by Spaniards through language, the role of religion in or the indirect help by the Spanish colonial administration to help overcoming boundaries, including their policy in late XIX Century to teach Spanish through public schools. During the Revolution, Leonard shows how the uprising, in spite of being initially Tagalog, was followed by rest of the provinces, partly out of a sense of survival and self interest, partly out of social relationships. Also, how it was managed through the use of terms widely accepted after so many centuries of Imperialism, such as Filipino and Filipinas, interchangeably with Tagalog or Katagalugan. Through this way, they became equivalent and integrating both for Tagalogs and Mestizos, Spanish or Chinese, or Visayas or Ilocanos, such as Isabelo de los Reyes. Leonard makes passing mentions to the differences with the how independence was foreseen in the Dutch East Indies, a topic that would have helped very much in understanding, again, the spatial context of the Revolution. 

 

Glenn A. May still contributes with a new perspective to the understanding of the Revolution by placing the disputes between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo inside a ecological problem more akin to day-to-day difficulties. He starts with the level of disruption to everyday lives for many caviteños due to the outbreak of the war, such as the movement of refugees that ensued it. To document this problem, Glenn used parochial records that quantify, albeit mistakenly, the death and births in some parishes of  Cavite. It can be seen clearly how the military campaigns caused lack of food and a worsening health condition in the rearguard, sometimes more for immigrants than for locals. In the meantime, he suggests that they were the reasons for understanding why the hostilities between the main leaders of the Revolution, Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, reached such radicalization. This is an additional interpretation usually understated, that the civilian themselves affected the war, although Reynaldo Ileto devoted in 1985 an interesting people to a topic very similar.

 

The armies that confronted each other along the Philippine Revolution are seen through two articles. Alfred McCoy analyses its origins and the creation of both the Guardia Civil for maintaining order in rural areas and an army filled with those “voluntarios leales”, such as the Macabebes usually forgotten by the historiography. He goes also into the continuities of both the Guardia Civil and the Spanish Army under the American rule, and sees practices perpetuated by the Scouts, while sees forces pulling in different directions when the Commonwealth Government decided to create an army, a professionalism apparently fostered by the colonial tradition and the partisan politics that enmeshed in Filipino patronage politics.  Fernando Palanco, through the letters from a forefather that was part of this colonial army fighting against the katipuneros, tells about a somewhat different story. It can not be traced much sense of the superiority supposed to colonials against the “insurrects” and, instead, he shows more similarities with those fighting against him under the katipunan banner, than with American soldiers: instead of anting-anting, he wore an escapulario (after being advised by an official)  for having luck with bullets and the letters show the same lack as Europeans complained of Asian troops, such as the discipline and the character required to withstand the rigors of servicing the country, as can be seen through his complains, including his own government, in spite of the censorship, that surely would have taken out critics against its officials in the army. Pablo Zapatero was neither a professional, neither his ambition was to be a soldier but a shopowner, and he did his work because his family had no money to pay for avoiding conscription.  Instead, he went to the Philippines with a somewhat open mind, ready to meet the adversaries and devoted an entire letter to how bamboo was used in the Philippines for construction work, looking like that he was thinking on using these teachings upon his returning to Spain, although he emigrated afterwards (and set up a shop) to Argentina.

 

The context of the Revolution and its aftermath is explained in different articles. On the side of foreign trade, Yoshiko Nagano, through her detailed study on what the Statistics  show, mentions the increasing role of the United States in the foreign trade of the Archipelago along the second half of the 19th Century. Together with the decreasing exchange with the United Kingdom and its colony in Hong Kong, which influenced definitively in the progressive diminution of the role of the Philippines in the “intra-Asian trade.”

 

  On the side of the colonial governments, both Luis Angel Sánchez Gómez and Xavier Huetz de Lemps deal with the corruption and (in)justice that could be perceived by Filipinos out of Manila, and their documentation rests through the files left by the legal proceedings of investigations. Xavier focuses on the lack of checks and balances, concluding that the corruption was not only widespread in the provinces, but also a the proof of the impossibility of the Spanish colonial regime to adapt to the new times. At a time when any reform would have meant the participation of Filipinos in the tasks of the state, Xavier argues that the permissive stance on abusing of power and corruption was the only way to maintain  themselves by those in power, either in the Central government or not. Luis Ángel, on it side,  details exhaustively some of the police investigations of official’s accounts, which show the aim of getting rich as fastest as possible by governors and mayors. Neither Xavier or Luis Ángel deal on how corruption influenced the outbreak or the backing to the Revolution,  but where Xavier sees the problem as part of colonial system, when referring to the “Conspirancy of Silence”, Luis Angel maintains in mind the Spanish context and prefers to note that sometimes justice worked. He points to a common excuse and a shared aim: they have both chosen mere samples but, however significant of how such system worked, a quantitative work is needed to give stronger assertions.

The final part of the book deals with three protagonists of the revolution. First, Paul Hintze, as a representative of the German ambitions over the Philippines. Karl Wionzek narrates his activities together with the Imperial Consul in Manila, exploring the possibility of attempting to have a bigger role in those tumultuous moments, something feasible since there were at the same moment near to 50 German vessels in the Manila bay. By getting account of the lack of results of his visit to the revolutionary headquarters and its impossibility to meet Supremo Aguinaldo, it is interesting to note the suspicions towards Germany from any other participant, either Spaniards, Americans and even revolutionaries.

Father Cayetano Sánchez deals with a more important group, the religious orders and especially its own, the Franciscans. He deals with their bad image, noting that they were seen as the main obstacle for the rise in power of the leading portion of the Philippine society, the Principalía, and that the bad image conveyed by Rizal and his books were not shared then by the general populace. While the behavior of the revolutionaries toward Franciscans was uneven, some imaginary facts have been the reason of the criticism against them: Padre Dámaso, one of the key characters from Noli me Tangere, and an attempt to poison Aguinaldo in prison. It seems they were victims of cognitive consistency, the tendency to see what the people expect to see, and Father Cayetano goes on reporting of cases, taken mostly from the Archives of his Order, where facts were not extreme as perceived in the popular imagery and, even, of the continuing sense of seeing the Spanish Fraile as the person to rely for protection and for being attached to the Godly world.

The last article deals with another key figure in the Revolution, Andrés Bonifacio. Seemingly, he is not only a hero but a legend, and some of the facts whose reliability until now has not been put in doubt are also part of an collective imaginary and of the need to identify with heroes, if not deliberately faked. As his personality is subject to discussion, a roundtable was organized in order to discuss about it. Each participant went with their own arguments, while attendants followed suit in a more moderate fashion than expected, fortunately. Furthermore, the debate went through general lines of what for is History and what is True in History, and how can be discussed when the tools used until now by western Historians are defective. The Philippine History does not need to be parochial, since their problems are shared by other nations, former colonies or not.

 

Conclusion

 

The last paper coincides with the last moment of the Conference from where all of these papers come from. They were presented at the Fourth Conference of the Spanish Association for Pacific Studies (AEEP), that was held in Valladolid from the 16 to the 29th of November of the year 1997, whereas the last session was held in Tordesillas, in the houses where the Treaty between Spain and Portugal dividing the world for their own interests was signed, soon after Columbus demonstrated the existence of new lands across the Atlantic Ocean.

 

While the AEEP has published the proceedings of the conference in a multilingual volume in Spanish, English and French (1898: España y el Pacífico. Investigación del Pasado e Interpretación del Presente, edited by Miguel Luque Talaván, Juan José Pacheco Onrubia and Fernando Palanco Aguado. 644 pp.), this edition brings a stricter selection of the articles submitted  in order to allow a more manageable size, enhance the quality and better unify the range of topics. 

 

All of the articles have been revised for this edition, not only in order to adapt to the time lag but to their anonymous reviewers’ comments. Translations have been made to unify the language and an index has been prepared. This volume also includes the transcription of the Roundtable on Andres Bonifacio held at Tordesillas  on November 28, 1997, which was not included in the book published by the AEEP. The non-inclusion was decided by Leoncio Cabrero, the author of the introduction and president of the Conference, for reasons never clearly explained.

 

This book has a complementary intention to the Valladolid Conference. When organizing the meeting in 1997, the idea was to welcome to Spain some of the most important historians of the Philippines, in order to increase the intellectual exchange between both nationals when analyzing the last years of the common history. This volume, on the contraty, tries to show the results to those interested in such a common history, whether Filipinos, Spanish or American, either scholars or those merely interested in History. The conference marked a new step in the increasing contact between Philippine specialists in Spain and elsewhere in the world. The book brings to the world the research and contributions made by Spanish, Filipino and foreign scholars to understanding the past and looking into the future.

The conference in Valladolid was financed by the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECI) as well as by the  Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC), which has also helped in the publication of this book through one of the programs devoted to propagate works in relation to Spain in different countries of the world. Ateneo de Manila University Press, as well as the editors of the book, want to express their gratitude for this contribution, as well as the comments by the anonymous reviewers in order to enhance the quality of the articles

Kyoto, August 2000

Round Table Discussion: Andres Bonifacio

Transcription of:

 

Round Table Discussion:  Andres Bonifacio

 

Tordesilla, 28 November 1997

 

Rodao: Good afternoon for all of you in the Treaty Houses of Tordesillas. We are here to discuss about Andres Bonifacio and the conflicting views that the historians here with me have about his deeds, his writings and his own life.  Being in this house which reminds of the period, long time passed, when Spain and Portugal felt themselves the rulers of the world, I wonder what Bonifacio would think, of a  gathering of Filipinos, Spaniards and soon-to-be-dominant Americans. However, we are not now in a period of overconfidence from Spaniards, and the Filipinos don’t feel anymore the need to fight against the colonial power  to win their freedom, and neither American s are tempted anymore to set foot in the Philippines in their way to their increasing expansion towards Asia  Now the gathering is merely of scholars from different nationalities. The main idea is to discuss data and to expose their conflicting interpretations, which are obviously tainted by their personal and academic background, and with this aim the Spanish Association for Pacific Studies has decided to organize this roundtable which will start with Glenn May, the author of the book that has raised the present discussion, “Inventing a Hero”.





May: Yes, can you all hear me?  First I want to repeat something that Vince [Rafael]

said earlier that Tino was not there and that was that I think that this

fellow, we owe a great debt of gratitude for all the things that he’s been

doing



(clapping)

 

That’s probably the last thing I’ll say that will get any applause I think.

 

(laughter)

 

The rest (garbled in the tape).  My mission is to summarize a book in a few

minutes and I realize that not everyone here has read the book.  I’ll just

say it is somewhat controversial.  So to put people in a level playing

field let me just try to summarize here in a few minutes.  The main point

to be made is that the book is not primarily about the Philippine national

hero Andres Bonifacio, it is rather about the writings of a number of

individuals who I feel are responsible for conveying to us most of what we

have in our heads about Bonifacio.  I deal with six people.  Three early

historians of the revolutionary period Manuel Artigas, Epifanio de los

Santos and his son Jose P. Santos, one memoirist who is  also a

revolutionary, that is Artemio Ricarte and two leading post-World War II

historians of the Philippines:  Teodoro Agoncillo and Rey Ileto who is with

us today.  These people and their writings are the subject of the book.  My

principal argument is that much of what we know about Bonifacio cannot

necessarily be credited, which is to say that most of the images that we

have like that we have around in our heads, are problematic.  For example,

my book calls into question, much of the data we have in our heads about

Bonifacio’s early years:  about his childhood, about his vocational

history, and his family relationships, the stories about his reading by the

lamplight, the stories about the books he supposedly read.  It also calls

into question the notion that Bonifacio wrote the literary works that he is

credited with writing:  several poems, some of which are celebrated as

classics, a translation into Tagalog of Jose Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios

printed in El Renacimiento, several prose works, it calls into question

several letters that Bonifacio wrote to his fellow revolutionary, Emilio

Jacinto.  Four letters to Jacinto, four letters may not sound like a lot

but in the collection of Bonifacio’s writings edited by Teodoro Agoncillo,

those four letters take up about forty percent of the total corpus of

writings attributed to Bonifacio.  It calls into question the standard

account of perhaps the most famous episode in Bonifacio’s life the Tejeros

Assembly, the meeting of revolutionaries at the Tejeros estate house in

Cavite province.  As I point out, many historians in constructing their

narratives of Tejeros have privileged the version of it found in the

memoirs of Artemio Ricarte.  I argue and I think I demonstrate that Ricarte

dissembled in his account , a strong word, that is what I used.  My book

also calls into question an account of Bonifacio’s personality that found

in the very influential prize winning book The Revolt of the Masses written

by Teodoro Agoncillo.  And finally, my book calls into question the more

recent effort by Rey Ileto to link Bonifacio to the Filipino revolutionary

tradition, the Filipino folk revolutionary tradition, something that he did

in his prize winning book Pasyon and Revolution, a book that I have great

admiration for.  Now, obviously time does not permit me to reconstruct the

evidence that I assembled for each of the points I just made.  But to

oversimplify let me say that what I’ve done in most chapters is simply to

give a close reading, my close reading of these to the texts generated by

the five historians I mentioned.  I look at the evidence they provide, to

determine if the evidence is sufficient to support the statements they’ve

made.  And what I have found is that in some cases as with Artigas, de los

Santos, and Santos, the evidence is either non-existent, or suspect.  The

idea of non-existent or suspect is I think the operative words here.  In

other cases, as with Agoncillo, much of the key evidence is interviews and

as I tried to show Agoncillo’s use of that  evidence strikes me as

questionable.  I don’t have anything against the use of interviews but I do

have concerns about Agoncillo has used them and how much weight can be

placed on them.  Although in this regard I will be the first to concede

that out of my own writings that was the weakest most questionable sections

are those that rely on interviews.  In the case of Rey Ileto, I point out

that Rey and just about everyone else that has written about the

revolution, has relied heavily on texts provided by de los Santos and

Santos, and I have serious doubts about whether those texts can be trusted.

So, let me say finally, that I have also in the book made some tentative

assertions, guesses may be the right word, about why historians I deal with

have written what they have written.  I asserted that most did so because

they had a nationalist agenda.  If I had to be self-critical, at a later

date, I’d say that my own evidence on this particular point is weak and in

the book itself I leave all my statements about the motives of historians

as speculative, that is the self-criticism that I will provide right now.

One more thing, and that is this, I have been criticized for writing a book

that is claimed attempts to denigrate Bonifacio and that is not what I

think the book is about although I can understand that the title got in hot

water and will continue to get me in hot water as one good friend said I

deserve all the criticism I get because of the title.  But I view the book

as a challenge to the historical community.  I don’t say I have all the

answers.  What I say is “Look, here are all these problems with what we

have been told about Bonifacio.  Let’s do something about it.”  In this

book I can make a small effort to say something constructive in a chapter

on Ricarte, I tried to put a new version of the Tejeros Assembly and I’ve

also done a piece here in a collection by Father Arcilla that tries to shed

light on the Bonifacio-Aguinaldo controversy, but I have not done very much

in a positive way constructing the Bonifacio I have deconstructed if you

like.  There is a lot more to be done, the questions I have raised about

the existing sources trouble me, I don’t think they can dismiss something

by reaffirming what has been said in the past, I am curious as to hear what

my colleagues here have to say about the book.

 

(Applause)

 

Rodao:  Okay, thank you.  Well, I think Glenn May himself has started to

criticise his own book and I think we are going to continue that. Well, who

is next?

 

Churchill:  Like Glenn May I am going to thank Florentino because this is I

think the first time every I have been put in a panel back to back so thank

you Florentino.

 

(Applause)

 

Rodao:  Enough.

 

(Applause)

 

Churchill:   My comments about the book of Glenn May will be a summary of

the papers presented in a recent conference I convened in 1997, the Manila

Studies conference where I had a panel discussion on the book.  And, the

papers have been published in a single volume.  It probably comes as no

surprise that the book “Inventing a Hero The Posthumous Recreation of

Andres Bonifacio”, received a hostile reaction among circles, not

exclusively academic in the Philippines who are familiar or interested in

Andres Bonifacio in the Philippine revolution.  The reason for this

indignation stands from Glenn May’s thesis that not only did we invent a

hero Andres Bonifacio using forged documents about him but that we invented

a hero who was flawed.   The so-called invention of Bonifacio was

attributed to the works of nationalist historians like Epifanio de los

Santos, Teodoro Agoncillo, and my neighbour Reynaldo Ileto and of

participants like Artemio Ricarte. Thus, he wrote “For all historians whose

writing I scrutinized, a primary reason for posthumously recreating and

casting him in a heroic mode appears to have been political.  All were in

their respective days, outspoken nationalists deeply committed to the ideal

of Filipino nationhood.  To such people, every constructed Bonifacio,

idealized and sanitized, served a vital political function as a symbol of

Filipino nationalism and a model for Filipino youths.  More than anything

else, their common commitment to a nationalist agenda probably explains the

liberties they took, and other deficiences of their scholarship.”  As a

commentator pointed out, May’s technique was:  “expose the methods of

nationalist historians, discredit their chosen hero, and you cast grave

doubts on nationalism itself”.   The collection of papers “Determining the

Truth:  The Story of Andres Bonifacio” which is this one consists of

critiques and commentaries on Glenn May’s book by a group of Filipino and

one American, writers from various disciplines who have subjected May’s

thesis to critical analysis and (missing word) practically all the

suppositions in the book.  Rolando Gripaldo whose discipline is philosophy

concludes that while Inventing a Hero is relatively well-researched May’s

arguments are full of fallacies, particularly, hasty generalizations.

Picking up from May’s conclusion, that “The Bonifacio we have is mostly an

illusion, the product of undocumented statements, unreliable, doctored and

otherwise spurious sources, and a collective imagination of several

historians and a memoirist”.  Gripaldo noted that May’s overall strategies

was: “to cite some inadequacies and inconsistencies of an author from some

of his works and then generalize this to include all his other works”.

Gripaldo concludes, after discussing in detail some of the author’s cited

in May’s book, that May has not demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, that

these historians had actually and using his own yardstick definitively

fabricated, historical evidence.  The piece written by Ruel Pepa, also from

the perspective philosophy and logic, underlies further the inconsistencies

he finds in Glenn May’s book, even and including the defense he made in

answer to the critique  of two writers published in a metropolitan daily.

And so while May claims that he did not mean to discredit Bonifacio as a

hero his book however, does so in so many places.  Antonio Hila, a

historian, deals specifically with May’s attacks on Teodoro Agoncillo’s

work The Revolt of the Masses.  Using the private collection of Teodoro

Agoncillo, he explains the providence of the documents used by Agoncillo in

writing his biography of Bonifacio and answers some of the deficiences

Glenn May has charged against Agoncillo’s methodology and sources,

including his supposed bias for Aguinaldo.  The inconsistencies and flawed

logic in May’s book were further exposed in the essay by Manuel K. Tan and

Malcolm Churchill, an economist and occasional historian who in addition to

analzing the faulty logic in Glenn May’s articles, also presented a

rebuttal of May’s notion of Tagalog usage in the revolutionary period on

such grounds as the difference between the active and passive voices.  Both

writers also commented on the possible motivation of May in writing this

book.  The conclusion of all these essays was Glenn May presented flimsy

evidence for the radical conclusions he presented. Indeed, Glenn May could

have contributed to the historiography of Bonifacio and the revolution as

expressed by one of the authors in this monograph:  “Glenn May by dint of

knowledge, an inquiring mind and a great deal of labourious work had an

opportunity to advance our knowledge of Andres Bonifacio and the

revolutionary period.  Instead his approach was to tear down, cast doubt

on, and denigrate all that precedes him, leaving nothing in its place.”  As

far as Andres Bonifacio, his place is indeed secure in the pantheon of

Filipino heroes and the essay by another historian Digna Apilado sums it up

eloquently:  As one writer has aptly put it “the historical factc is that

Andres Bonifacio made revolution.  He was the last supremo and it was

during his stewardship of the Katipunan that Filipinos discovered their

capacity to rise against their oppressor”.  For all that suggested of the

“shadowy, unconfirmed data of his biography, the fact is that until his

death he was a great figure of a great moment in our history”.

 

(Applause)

 

Parte 2



Ileto:  I have been asked repeatedly to comment on Professor  May’s book,

particularly since I’m the only one of the so-called nationalist historians

discussed in the book who is able to respond.  The others are long dead.

Before I join the others in their eternal repose  ( audience’s laughter), I

have many things to say about this very impassioned critique about Filipino

historiography.  The book is quite blunt in exposing alleged lies,

inventions, concealments, cynical manipulations, biasses, etc. etc. behind

the nationalist construction of the hero Andres Bonifacio.  It was meant to

expose, condemn and provoke, and not unexpectedly, many writers have taken

sides on the issue.  The majority, mostly Filipinos, have naturally reacted

with anger and deep hurt.  And why not?  For the book strikes, and without

mercy, not at Bonifacio but at one of the foundation narratives of Filipino

nationalism.  Not only that, it insinuates, it insinuates, Filipinos have

had some fundamental problems with remembering, reconstructing and

disseminating the past.  I can only raise a few questions within the short

time allocated to me, so tonight I shall enumerate just nine points for

discussion.

 

Number one:  No, I can think of twenty five others.

 

Rodao:  Five minutes.

 

Ileto:  The fundamental argument in the book is that Bonifacio is the

creation of writers and historians with a political agenda.  The agenda

being the need for authentic heroes in the making of the Philippine nation

state.  The Filipino nationalist writers critiqued by May are lumped

together with other types with a political bias namely “Marxists,

conservatives, liberals, environmentalists and post-modernists”.  In May’s

narrative, these are the bad boys or the bad guys, those who misrepresent

the truth , they are the mythmakers.  The good guys on the other hands are

the truthseekers–professional and scientific historians.  First chapter of

the book presents the author as a professional historian who has taken up

the lonely quest for truth having sniffed a misdeed “for the next three

years” he says “I spun my wheels, I continued to do research, spending many

hours alone with my refractory Tagalog text” trying to find the path

through the documentary scholary force (?unsure of this word).   The first

question I would like to raise is whether it is really possible for

Professor May to claim that he is able to stand outside politics, outside

discourse, in order to describe the world as it really is.  What is the

politics of the book?  The author attempts to conceal this politics by

claiming that he is avoiding theory and merely getting the facts together

or getting the facts straight.  Let me suggest what the politics of the

book might be.

 

Point number two:  One of the most productive effects of May’s book is that

it draws attention to the Other against which the nationalists have

established themselves.  In constructing one kind of Bonifacio, what is the

other Bonifacio that was being challenged by the nationalists?  What is or

are the other narratives that the nationalists or the writers of history

are engaged with?  The answer is actually provided by May himself.  The

nationalists started by rewriting North American colonial histories of the

revolution.  My suggestion to Professor May then, is that in the second

edition he expand his book to cover American colonial discourse, so that

the writings of Artigas, Epifanio de los Santos,  Agoncillo and others can

be located in a scene of combat of knowledge warfare.  One tends to forget

while reading the book that the Philippines was a colony of the United

States and the generations of Filipinos were being taught a view of history

in a certain way.  So I suspect that the invention of Bonifacio was really

a reinvention of an American invention from the time of David Barrows,

James LeRoy, Dean Worcester and other American writers to the

post-independence period when the textbooks of Filipinos Benitez, and Zaide

were challenged by the UP based nationalists.  I think it would also be

useful for May to locate himself, to state outright his subject position in

this ongoing struggle over interpretations of the revolution.  I am curious

for example, as to whether there is a discernable American tradition of

writing on the revolution and whether May himself may be reproducing

features of a discourse that can be traced back to Barrows and Worcester.

In this context, I think, we can understand May’s concern that the

nationalist school has dominated the Philippines historical establishment

for the last four decades or roughly since the 1950s.  But before the

nationalists came to dominate  what school was in control?  I would even

suggest that Spanish and Filipino ilustrado historiography are implicated

in this combat over knowledge productions.  May’s books can be more

productive and exciting if it avoids reducing the problem to a clash

between good and evil, truthseekers versus mythmakers.  As he himself

admits, all histories are to some extent political.  He should not have

made himself an exception.

 

Point three:  One of these problems about talking about the nationalist

school is that it collapses differences for instance among Filipinos who

call themselves nationalists for various reasons.   The writers featured in

the book are more or less lumped together into a homogenous and reified

body that is inscribed with a negative sign.  In fact the history of the

revolution has always been marked by contestation.  I would have wanted to

know for example of Catholic schools who were also involved in

nation-building handled the Rizal-Bonifacio issue.  What were their subject

positions?  I myself was a former member of the quote unquote “UP history

department” I experienced the fires of controversy myself.  By

essentializing the nationalists May makes it appear that by his

interpretation from the outside he says, the field is being opened up for

the first time.  But there really is no seamless nationalist school.  Even

the external critics positively hailed by May such as Ricardson, Ocampo,

Nick Joaquin have positioned themselves within the nationalist debate.

 

Fourth:  Professor May’s suggestion that more non-Filipinos should write

Philippine revolutionary history is an interesting one and merits

discussion.  No doubt we need multiple perspectives on the revolution, and

scholars in Spain and the United States have valuable contributions to

make.  May’s recommendation however, is based on his apparent conviction,

that Filipinos if left to themselves will write less truthful history

because of certain personality and cultural traits such as kinship ties.

Agoncillo is faulted for being blind to the mistakes of Aguinaldo who

happened to be related to his wife.  Basic sources like Ricarte’s and other

memoirs are to be regarded with suspicion because they reflect one

faction’s version of events or they are a fall for a person’s ambitions,

personal ambitions.  The point of view of a clan or family will tend to

prevail over the concerns of the society as a whole.  Lying and deception

are a trait of Filipino writers who are enmeshed in webs of personal

loyalties.  I get the feeling that May  is calling for the development of

a new and modern kind of Filipino self, a self that would be able to speak

the truth.  Apparently, the American education system was not sufficient to

produce this kind of liberated self that can write objective history.

 

Five:  Because the fact that Filipino revolutionaries or Filipino

historians tend to be located within a continuum of development from

traditional to modern.  For example, May argues that Bonifacio was

essentially temperamental, ruled by his emotions, easily offended,

volatile.  This comes from his own “critical judgement of the differing

testimonies about Bonifactio”. His argument however feeds into another

narrative upheld by critics of the revolution that it was not a rational

movement, that it was led by a fanatical Bonifacio that it needed the

leadership of a more calculating person such as Aguinaldo.  It also feeds

into representations of indios as ruled by emotions and therefore needing

guidance from more advanced tutors.

 

Sixth:  When it comes to describing behavior in electoral politics, again

an essentialized view comes into play.  May draws on his earlier work on

elections under Spanish rule in order to draw a scenario of what must have

really happened at the Tejeros assembly.  These Filipino heroes were really

just grubby politicians, making deals, bullying rivals, buying votes,

threatening, (missing word), lying, ballot tampering etc.  and losing badly

as Bonifacio did. Because, says May that is essentially what elections

were and are still about in the Philippines. Perhaps.  But perhaps not for

all time and for all places.  But underlying his account I suggest, is the

discourse of democratic development which depended upon American tutelage.

Male liberal enlightenment fantasy of rational politics is positive as the

norm which Filipinos have failed to reach.  Therefore their politics as in

nationalist politics has remained shabby, pretentious and lacking.  It is a

prerational and feminized politics where participants are ruled by their

passions and by kinship ties.  The Tejeros Assembly was therefore a scene

of corruption rather than heroism.

 

Seven:  The revolutionary and developmentalist scheme is also applied to

the writers of Philippine history.  May’s curious example is Manuel Artigas

de Cuerva.  He was the least developed of the writers because he was an

ordinary Spanish educated clerk not an American trained scholar and because

he did not use proper citations and partly depended on hearsay rather than

using authentic documents.  On the other end of the spectrum lies and May’s

final example and certainly the most developed is American educated

Reynaldo Ileto

_(laughter in the audience)

 

described as “some degree a product of an intellectual environment and in

that regard a very different historian from the others, none of whom had a

such an intense exposure to outside intellectual influences.”  Ileto, the

most westernized or colonized, is thus really a victim of the previous

mythmakers, rather than  a mythmaker himself.  Thank you.  Earlier in the

book, May remarks that it took some time for Europe-American traditions of

history to establish themselves in the Philippines.  Thus, Ileto represents

for him the end result of the American colonial project.  That Ileto

nevertheless produced this flawed work, is due to continued influence of

the nationalist tradition on historiography on the gullible Filipino.

 

Point eight:  I’d like to bring out the point that the elements in this

book are organized around or between two poles: one negative, undeveloped,

backward, unhistorical, and Filipino and the other pole the positive,

developed, modern and western of course.  Even the sources of history are

organized along these lines.  Most of the Filipino historians used sources

that are oral, inauthenticated, unobjective, unauthored and therefore

unreliable, while the scientific, modern historians of which May claims to

be a splendid example, have used sources which are written, archived,

catalogued, authenticated, authored and implicitly objective.  What happens

though if we moved beyond such binary oppositions and hierarchies which

after all reflect a certain manner of thinking which we call

post-enlightenment.  The most positive and productive moments in May’s book

are precisely when he identifies the dark features of Filipino nationalist

historiography.  Jose P. Santos, for example has described documents of the

Katipunan secret society survived several fires, floods, termites and even

the Huk rebellion.  “Ang mga kasulatan ukol kay Bonifacio ay parang

himalang muling nakaligtas”.  The documents are likened to religious relics

or anting anting, having the power to survive disasters. May concludes that

such writings having fantastic quality cannot be authentic documents.  But

I think this raises a more important issue of what Katipunan texts have in

relation to the social field in which they circulate.  What was the status

of writing at the turn of the century?   The production, circulation and

conservation of historical memories through oral means is another exciting

field that May draws our attention to even if he regards orality as a less

effective or in fact a more primitive manner of conserving and transmitting

memories of the past.

 

Finally the whole question of who really authored the letters and other

documents attributed to Bonifacio raises the exciting question of how the

idea of authorship which is another effect of the rise of capitalism and

private ownership in the late eighteenth century was handled by Filipino

writers early in this century.  Finally, in Pasyon and Revolution according

to May, Ileto adopted a text building strategy that might best described as

discursive blurring by which I mean that Ileto constructed his text in such

a way as to blur important distinctions–link things that should not

necessarily be linked.  One effect of this for example, is that Ileto says

May, mistakenly blurred the distinction between the Katipunan and the

Colorum.  Here May expresses dismay at Ileto’s collapsing or blurring of

the clear lines that should have delineated a religious,



Parte  3

 

backward, premodern and non-revolutionary movements such as the Colorum,

from supposedly secular, forward, modern revolutionary movement, the

Katipunan.  But what Pasyon and Revolution precisely set out to do was

shift the study of the revolution away from the enlightenment foundations

on which it had developed on the hands of the nationalists.  The irony in

Glenn May’s critique of Filipino nationalist historiography is that its

foundations lie squarely in the modernist discourse that underpins

nationalist historiography itself.  Contrary to explainations of being

above politics or above discourse, May’s book merely adopts a different

subject position in relation to the same discourse, it merely reconfigures

for the 1990s the same lines of conflict over meanings of the revolution

that appeared during the American colonial regime.  When May’s book

appeared has appeared just in time for the centennial of the revolution of

1896-1898, I think it really is more suitable for 1999, the centennial of

the Philippine-American War.  This is a book, not about Bonifacio and not

even about sources for his biography, but about effects of American

colonial education on various ways of remembering and transmitting memories

of the past.

 

(Applause)

 

Guerrero:  I thank everyone in this room, particularly Dr. Rodao for making

this (missing words).  Dr. May swipes at me once in a while in his book but

we are good friends __-.  I published a crticique of his book in May with

Ramon Villegas a (missing word) historian.  A critic regarded it as a

highly emotional criticism but I am passionate about my work and I’m not

bothered about it anymore.  Happily the eminent journalist Amando Doronila

so this is the work for publication in the premier issue of Public Policy

which is the equivalent of the American Foreign Affairs and I have put it

on the  internet.  I will not be long in summarizing my criticism of the

book.  I am bothered by Dr. May’s frequent conjectural remarks:  These

documents may be, or probably, or are most likely inauthentic and spurious.

As historians we are all allowed some tentativeness and doubt but since

the materials that are being criticized in the book are considered the most

important sources of the first phase of the revolution and are considered

tenets of the Katipunan and the revolution, you would at least expect from

a highly respected historian to provide some more meat to the allegations

that the sources that are suspeted to be inauthentic and spurious and are

contents even fallacious.  The Spaniards have a saying “Para nuestra basta

( Tino can you check this?) un boton, I will provide tres bottones”.  The

(missing word) about the early years of Bonifacio is criticized by Glenn

May but this is perhaps the time for historians of the revolution to look

for other sources and not be content with the traditional data that had

been used by historians and writers of the past 15 years.  The question

might be asked:  how poor was Andres Bonifacio?  The only useful  (missing

word) analysis which may be found in the book of Fast and Richardson but

Dr. May learned that there are still living relatives of Andres Bonifacio

he might be surprised that these relatives hold on to a huge canvas of

Antonio Malantic.  Now, those who are in the collecting business would know

that Antonio Malantic today commands at least 2.5 million in the collective

market.  How did Andres Bonifacio got an Antonio Malantic?  Of course the

relatives don’t know the (missing word) of the canvas so it is probably

deteriorating.  Then there is the remark that Andres Bonifacio did not

write those poems.  Those poems were attributed to Andres Bonifacio.

Whatever historians said that was written by Diego Mojica.  But he cites a

National Historican Institute marker for which there is no attribution to

sources.   From 1900 to the present these poems are attributed to Andres

Bonifacio and no one else (missing several words) think  that they have

played a very important role in the recruitment of Filipinos to the

revolutionaries.  They are attributed to Bonifacio until it can be proven

otherwise that they have not been written by Bonifacio then I don’t think

that we should make a claim to the contrary.  There are four letters in

question.  I will mention only one.  The letter to Emilio Jacinto.  In this

letter, Bonifacio said  “we have a problem here in Cavite. Emilio Aguinaldo

wants to surrender the revolution to the Spaniards.  Nais niyang isuko ang

rebolusyon sa mga Kastila.”  Now even if Andres Bonifacio did not write

that particular letter and we have no evidence to the contrary, are the

contents of the letter false?  For the past two years, whenever time or

whenever university permits I have been doing research in the Spanish

archives.  Two years ago in the Archivo General de Indias (Tino can you

check thi?) just a few days a go in the Archivo National and I think in

both cases I hit the jackpot.  In the Polavieja papers around the time that

Andres Bonifacio had written that letter to Bonifacio, there is  are

reference by Governor Polavieja that Emilio Aguinaldo indeed approached the

parish priest of Pateros proposing that he be allowed to deal with the

Spaniards because he wanted to surrender his army.  And now just two days

ago I found in the (missing word) a correspondencia militar which makes a

reference to Emilio Aguinaldo wanting to surrender the revolution to

Governor Polavieja.  Or perhaps cuarto button, the Tejeros Assembly.  It is

said that Artemio Ricarte dissembled in so far as the proceedings of the

Tejeros Assembly was concerned.  But unknown to Dr. Glenn May, a conference

took place among the scholars in the 1920s which included Cecilio Apostol,

Jose Bantug, Epifanio de los Santos, Cristobal himself, regarding the

authenticity of the documents particularly the Tejeros documents themselves

and no less than Emilio Aguinaldo who is a central figure in the Tejeros

proceedings and who caught the (a couple of words unclear?)-no less than

Emilio Aguinaldo attested to the authenticity of the documents.  The

reaction of the book of Dr. May is an integral part of Philippine

historiography which I would like to share with y ou.  When the book was

published, or rather when the book started to be distributed in the

Philippines of course it hurt and injured a lot of people but placed a

number of historians in a quandary.  There were those who said it is best

not to react to the book.  The book is not part of our discourse and by

discourse they  meant discourse in the Habermasian and Foucaultian terms.

They said we have nothing to do with the book,t is simply an American

historian presenting his findings to his own historical community.  But I

said, one hundred years from now, if noone responds to the book, the

scholars reading the book will say “no one among the Filipinos responded.

__(missing  sentences, tape had to be turned over to side B)

 

since Dr. May’s book is written in English then it is not part of their

discourse or our discourse as Filipinos.  I am not part of that perspective

because I write in English.  But because I write in English and Pilipino

sometimes they consider me part of their group.  On the other hand since I

wrote my critique in English I am not part of their group.  But they say

that one hundred years from now, if they find out that no one responded to

the book they will not blame us because the issues raised in the book do

not change Philippine history.  And so as a last point I address myself to

their remark, paraphrased of course because I don’t remember the specific

part in Glenn’s last chapter.  He says that after all the exposition has

been done one wonders whether Andres Bonifacio might still be considered

the national hero of the Philippines.  Well, I think I know the answer.

Andres Bonifacio is a national hero.  Perhaps he did not intend it the

meaning but it is the meaning that we get in the last paragraphs of his

book. Andres Bonifacio continues to be in the consciousness of the people.

Rizal is in the consciousness of the people. I find out for example the

other day that Rizal was roaming around in Salitran and Imus two months

after he died and he was inspiring the rebels of Cavite.  How did that come

about?  Is this myth?  In the stream of popular consciousness, Rizal, his

ghost roaming around Cavite is a text, is a truth, is history in the same

manner that if you look at all the demonstrations in the Philippines,

Bonifacio is a moving spirit.  So no matter what is written about Bonifacio

the allegations about the paucity of the sources, particularly about him,

won’t have the effect intended.  Thank you.

 

Rodao:  Well, as I have been mentioned I have to remark that I thank you

very much for thanking me.  But I have to say this congress would not have

been possible without the organizing committee presided by Professor

Cabrero, continuing with the Secretary Generals (Tino please check this?)

____Ramos, and with Miguel Lugue,  con Juanco Pacheco, con Augusto Soto y

con el resto de la gente, I mean including the rest of the people in the

organizing committee.  Please, thank you very much for without them it

would not be possible.

 

(applause)

 

May:  We are discussing here how long I should take and how much time we

should leave for the audience.  My own temptation to be honest is to allow

the audience maximum time if you like.  Let me just say a few things, I

think they may be useful just to summarize.  I thank my friends, my enemies

would even say even stronger things.  I am accused of let me see, faulty

logic, flimsy evidence, Rey accuses me more or less of being a colonialist,

an essentialist, a Sturtevantite, he did not use the term but I know that

is what he had in mind, that is to say I am putting things in the

traditional modern (?unsure this is the word) spectrum I would say, he uses

the term binary I think that is probably not right but since I am being

accused of it I will use it to make the distinction.  Mila hits me on

certain findings and she certainly knows the evidence awfully well, but

along the way she does suggest that I’m insensitive.  So that’s the

summary.

 

(audience laughter)

 

One friend has said that perhaps the major effect of this book will be to

drive together the entire Filipino nation and forge nationalism that of

course is always lurking underneath.  Another suggested that it has driven

together a (missing word) they needed person to attack and lord knows I

wandered into this minefield.  So what to say having all those things said

about me?  One is the obvious one that I’m not guilty of most of these

things or any of these things.  But to give my critics their due I’ll say

that I am probably guilty of some of these things.  Almost certainly I am,

I am not an unflawed historian.  Which of these things bother me the most?

Well, yes I guess they all bother me a bit, but let me say this.  When you

write a book that is put in some people call it harsh terms occasionally

Leonard mentioned it the other day, I think that is fair, one would expect

in reply harsh critics some people don’t like it.  And I appreciate my

friends and I call them my friends for letting me know what is on their

minds and their response.  When one writes a book one does expect that you

are going to be loved or that all critics will say you are brilliant,

although I did not hear that word once.  Ya.  The book is I think as I

characterized it, is a rather modest effort to problematize certain aspects

of Bonifacio’s life.  It is seen through my eyes and I perhaps am flawed in

lots of these ways and there perhaps are differences maybe between the way

Americans or colonial Americans think of these things and late twentieth

century Filipinos and that may be the core of the problem.  Let me just

offers this in reply just a thought that just occurred to me.  It seems to

me that there are two things going on.  One is that there is a book which

says certain things and I think it does need to be evaluated on its own

terms and I think that is being done here.  There is also the problem and

here I get the issue that Rey raised along the way of why people do what

they do, what is behind them, why are they saying what they say and the

ways they are saying them.  And I am not pointing any fingers or naming

anything.  What is most interesting about this is not the book but the book

phenomenon.  It’s perhaps what it says about.  The phenomenon being the

reaction to the book in part, the strong response to the book.  I am not

saying I am right about all these issues.  But the strength of the response

suggests to me that there is something going on there that is perhaps has a

good deal to do with Philippine-American relations, Philippine nationalism.

I don’t deny that I am a flawed historian but I think the larger

phenomenon is interesting to the extent that I am able to step back from it

and I can perhaps take some or have some hope that down the road some of

what I say may take and that some time people will look at this and say

this was an interesting point in the development of Philippine

historiography.  That is my illusion perhaps.

 

Rodao: Okay, thank you very much.

 

(audience applause)

Right now it is time to participate so if someone wants to participate

please come here and identify yourself please.  Malcolm please come.

Leonard.

 

Leonard Andaya:  I would just like to say that I am very pleased that Glenn

May has come here to listen to his critics talk about his book.  But as I

mentioned earlier not being a historian specializing in the Philippine

revolution, I am very impressed with what is happening here, what you have

here is a dialogue  between Filipino historians and non-Filipino historians

which is not the case in other historians of Southeast Asia.  It is

happening here and not in any of the others. It is very exciting and I hope

that we proceed from here the kind of sophistication suggested by the kind

of panelists here.  That one look at the whole development of

historiography both the American side and the Philippine side, but we try

to situate Philippine history within this kind of historiography.  I think

this is what is going to make it very important.  Because as was pointed

out, that if you can see how the Americans see it within the context of

Filipino-American relations and also see how Filipino historians related to

their own environment be it American or Spain or Southeast Asia, I think

you have a much closer sense of the history the group.  I think that what

shows already is the sophistication of Philippine historiography is the

fact that you have a group that is just writing in Tagalog and that in only

in this way can we have a really intimate discussion of events in the

Philippines.  So I would just like to congratulate that it is wonderful

that is going on right now, and as I said I would not like to be in that

hot seat–Glenn May –wonderful way that he has responded so I congratulate

you all on a very good panel.

 

Rodao:  Malcolm .  Someone else wants to participate?  Al McCoy please.

 

Malcolm Churchill:  I have been waiting for some time to ask Glenn about

what I think we may probably call the Glenn May theory of linguistic

evolution.  The second chapter of the book on Bonifacio makes the claim

that the fraudulent material was written in the wrong Tagalog (—missing

word)  ts reliance on the focus.  It is a question of what in English would

be the active versus the passive voice.  The letters were written in 1897

and they came in possession in the time of Abad Santos in approximately

1906 and  May had some comments on that.   Basically the essence of that is

that it was very short period of time I know of no language and no linguist

who would credit an evolution of language in any time who would credit an

evolution of this magnitude in the period of time that would be necessary

for your thesis about this (missing word).

 

Rodao:  Al McCoy please.  I

 

Al McCoy:  Let him first answer that question.

 

Glenn May:  I think that is somewhat ironic that the person that is making

the strongest case about the linguistic question that does not take up a

large part of the book but which I think is an interesting one is not a

Filipino native speaker as I am too and I’m not sure what that all means,

there is an awful lot that is strange about this book phenonmonen.  I am

not going to try to teach non-Tagalog speakers active versus passive that

is  a topic I learned when I was studying the language.  But let me say

this, I do question whether the letters are true (unclear if true is the

word).  I question on several grounds.  The one that is to me most

persuasive is (—unclear word–provence? Tino can you please check with

Glenn?) and anybody evaluating documents would be most concerned about

provence (?)>  The stories about their origins are very interesting but I

don’t think they are terribly satisfactory.  So that’s in my view the

principal reason.  A second reason I question them is what they look like.

They are clearly written in two hands.  The problems about that which I

can’t go into detail about that right now but you and I can talk this out

all day –.  So physically there is concern there.  Another thing that

concerns me is that the holders of the documents produced a transcription

of them which changed them.  And that is an interesting phenomenon that

this are supposedly very rare documents by the Philippine national hero and

they were changed in the transcription significantly by one on of the

owners.  And the transcription we have right now is not the same as the one

the friend of Mila’s actually owns.  So basically all those things and I

try to come up as to why it was that these changes were made and to clarify

my point.  That is one of the points that I am dealing with.  But as to the

question you raised.  My argument there my observations was that the

principal difference between the transcriptions that were changed and the

originals is the verbs.  For some reason verb forms were changed.  It’s a

puzzle.  I tried to account for it as best I can.  What is very clear is

that they are changed.  I also, and Malcolm knows this, I spent a lot of

time in earlier books reading sources of these period and made the

observation for myself that for this period the documents were written in a

different form that is what I see.  And so I hypothesize that the changes

were made because perhaps it was recognized that they were not the true

kind (unclear if kind is the word).  Now Malcolm says that the documents

were written in 1897 and changed along the way.  The question is when

indeed the changes were made?  The reality is we don’t have clear Tagalog

versions of this until 1935 not 1907 no, not until 1931 no sorry 1947 do we

actually have a Tagalog transcription of this with a few words of the

Tagalog earlier, (missing word) I could get into technicalities but the

point here is that it is not so clear when it was changed in 7  years, I’m

just not sure when it was changed.

 

Rodao: Okay thank you very much, now Al McCoy please.

 

Alfred W. McCoy:  Since Rey has asked to be clear  about who we are and

what kind of position I am.  I am the chair of the (missing word) of the

University of Wisconsin that published the book and therefore I am biassed,

having said that about that obvious bias.   I would like to make (missing

words)  some useful points of discussion.  I think the core of the debate

was articulated by Mila Guerrero when she said that until these documents

can be disproved we shall assume that they are valid and real and Glenn is

saying the opposite.  So that there is first of all a very clear empirical

point and a  clear professional issue here.  Let’s look at the broader

context in which we should place this debate about whether or not you

should use a document that is not absolutely clarified.  Mila says we

should use it and Glenn is saying they are bogus so we shouldn’t use it.

So this raises a professional question essential to all historians.  We

take the question of the Philippines. (—an essentializing statement by

Steinberg –a few words unclear on tape)  No field of national history has

a comparable history of debate over fraud that would equal the Philippines.

That the debate over fraud the use of fraudulent documents  (unclear word)

Agoncillo, the whole Rizal detraction, (missing words), the recent debate,

Marcos’s war record, (missing words) national historical establishment in

which forged documents circulated widely have been extraordinary for this

century.  So therefore my own personal position is, that any document

whether Bonifacio papers that has some control in the document and a lot of

a control for a protracted period in the government when some key documents

were being thoroughly fabricated and forged, the Code of Kalantiaw, the

Loba Negra of Father Burgos, that there appear to be a kind of collective

effort to construct in the way that the revolution is depicted and the

question of Filipino public to construct a past through fabricated

documents.  And that raises another interesting question too  and that is

the second point for discussion.  Supposing we could establish that the

documents are forged does that mean they are useless to us?  No, I think

that they are very important. And that is the next step that Glenn and

somebody would find if the documents are dubious and establish who the

forger was and the way they were forged to discuss the way they were used

even spurious is very revealing about the way nationalism was constructed

in post-nineteenth century Philippines.

 

Rodao:  Mucha gracias.  ?Alguno de ustedes?  Mila.

 

Guerrero:  But that’s the crux of the question Dr. May must prove because

we are not content with such remarks such as probably, most likely, maybe

because those are important documents.  I concede, I grant without

conceding that many documents in Philippine history, and in American and

Spanish  and French and German history are spurious.  The historians must

prove that they are spurious or inauthentic.  The one good thing about

historians proving for example that an author fabricated a documented is

that we can’t send him to jail or to provide him evil intention for a

criminal offense.  But the important thing is we must look at the history

of the Philippine revolution as a process. When we look at it as a process,

some of these suspected documents can still be useful if looked at in a

complex of other materials.  Perhaps I agree with Al in his question what

is the reason for this guy in fabricating the documents?  What we must look

for a culprit.  For the moment Dr. May has not found the culprit.

 

Ileto:  I’m perfectly willing to accept that documents can be forged and

all that.  But when reading the book what strikes me is that in the first

part of the book, after the middle of the book, everything is stated in

terms of might, possibly, could be, I suppose, that is probably the case

that such and such is the case.  But of course in the latter part of the

book, what initially is possibility becomes certainty.  So, what allows the

author to turn probability into certainty?  And I don’t think its the

authority of the author if the subject position he takes it’s the fact that

it is not being the logo of the Wisconson Center of Southeast Asian Studies

in it, that says this is something that the author takes seriously

(-missing word).  So I think a lot depends on what I’m saying my comments

on the binary oppositions in this created by the author Glenn May in the

book.  That a lot of his suspicions turn into certainties and facts which

then are used to attack the next set of writings, so it is a cumulative

thing.  So that in the end of the book there seems to be no doubt anymore

that these things are intended, forced, bla bla bla.  So you have to go

back and trace the process by which a truth is itself created by May.

 

Rodao:  Vince Rafael, Vince come here.  And then Elizabeth Medina and but

no more questions after them.   Vince and Elizabeth Medina.

 

May:  While Vince is making is way to the stage let me just say quickly

that Rey is pointing out something that is quite interesting, which is that

my text strategy is what I call discursive blurring.  Which is what I keep

accusing him of and there is probably something to that.  What his comments

I think draw attention to I think properly and I can see there is

something to them is that one must look very seriously at author’s and as

we say in America where you are coming from.  I think its very fair to say

these kinds of  comments not necessarily your own (this last word not

clear).

 

Rodao: Okay, Vince Rafael.

 

Vince Rafael:  I’m going to take a position slightly different from

Leonard.  I was actually quite disturbed by the heated exchange.  I think

there is actually some of it that is not necessarily healthy.  Anyway,  I’m

going to take up an important point that Al brought up.  The history of

fraud in nationalist historiography and certainly within (missing two

words) and so you have  Two points I’m going to make this was dragged

(unsure if that is the word?)  at a paper I talked about earlier.  The

question of the huge scale, the geneology of nationalism which always can

be traced to imputations of filibusterismo and filibusterismo of course is

linked to notions of criminality or crime and so forth and so on and the

way  in which the nationalists have tried to turn the tables around those

who accused them of being filibustero.  And the point is, this is a

suggestion I would like to make, there is nothing pure about the history of

nationalism in the Philippines or nationalism anywhere.  Nationalism tends

to be certain (missing words) in nostalgia certain nationalist

historiography as of course good.  Nationalism is seen as (missing word)

positive, as synonymous to freedom, as synonymous to (missing word).  And

certainly this  can be seen as a bonus.  But the fact is nationalism is

double edged.  Nationalism has been used to reconstruct and recreate

hierarchies, certainly create and foster inequalities and so in that sense

one has to be very careful about the way one wants to talk about

nationalism and nationalist discourse.  And so the acknowledgment regarding

fraud and the use of fraud.   I would say the use of fraud is not

necessarily bad.  There are some positive uses of fraud.  In what sense is

fraud which is actually Rey’s crucial point is that when one writes history

one is  engaged in an act of politics.  One is engaged in politics, one

does all sorts of tactical moves, those are your position. That’s the first

point.

_The second point I want to make is to go back to Rey’s one of the most

important point that Rey brought up which is that if there is something

positive to address in this debate is that things that Glenn has done and

responses to it, is it opened up the imperative to start thinking about

nationalism in all sorts of complex ways to problematize nationalism, and

to think about nationalism in relation to a whole set of other questions

that have long begged for some kind of serious consideration for example a

history of authorship.  He mentions authorship.  There is no sociological

history of authorship in the Philippines.  Right.  What does it mean to be

an author?   Does it mean the same thing as in the west when authors should

be privileged with one’s work or is authorship taken in the context of an

oral discourse, is authorship something more ambigious, a matter of

dissemination and use, for example, it is very common in the Philippines

gossip and rumours is very important so how do you situate gossip and

rumours within reigning dimensions of authorship where we associate authors

with notions of  (missing word)  etc.  etc.  So these are all questions

that are begging to be examined and a kind of defense of our intensive

search of whether or not nationalism is real or fact, or whether or not

certain heroes are corrupt, about whether nationalism are with tactical

reasons, nonetheless requires some research.  Thank you.

 

(applause)

 

Medina:  My name is Cristina Medina and I am  a Filipino author and I am

going to incorporate I hope that  it is very useful to develop the idea

(missing words) as Ms. Guerrero mentioned and also I propose the

incorporation of the (missing words) element in the study of history which

is providing emotions we have to realize we are working with people.

(missing two sentences).  You see if Mr. May were Dutch, if he would be

French it would be blurred, the word I’m working here is composition and

how in 1898 Americans were coopted in Philippine history, (missing words)

your intention Mr. May is the question and that is the problem here.  That

those in the United States are the experts in  legalistic legalistic

(mising words) and it is mostly likely the power relation and that is

really the question here we feel Filipinos that we want to call up our own

history we don’t want people with questionable intentions interfering with

our (missing words) our stories (missing words).

 

Rodao:  Okay.  Well I think your comments and then .  No more comments?

 

May:  I’m Hungry.

 

Rodao:  As always we are late so I think we have to thank all four

participants in the debate and  (audience applause which overpowers Rodao’s

last words)

Mucha gracias. Good.

 

End of session.

 

Private conversation between Rodao and May still on tape.

 

May:  At least I was not called a rapist.

 

TAPE ENDS.












Contributors

Contributors

 

ANDAYA, Barbara Watson: Professor of Asian Studies at the Asian Studies program of the University of Hawai`i at Mânoa. She has authored many books and articles on insular Southeast Asia, among them To live as brothers. Southeast Sumatra in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1993)

ANDAYA, Leonard Y.: is a professor in history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  He received his PhD from Cornell University in Southeast Asian history and is the author of The Kingdom of Johor (Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1975), co-authored (with Barbara Watson  Andaya) A History of Malaysia (Macmillan, London, 1981), The Heritage of Arung Palakka:  A History of South Sulawesi in the Seventeenth Century (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1982), and The World of Maluku (University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1993). 

CHURCHILL, Bernardita Reyes. Professor at the History Department of the De la Salle University, she has taught also at the University of the Philippines. She has authored the book on the Philippine Independence Missions to the U.S.(???)

HUETZ DE LEMPS, Xavier.  He was born in Bordeaux, France in 1964. In 1994, he obtained a Ph. D. From the University of Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux III for a doctoral dissertation on the history of 19th c. Manila. At present, he is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Nice-Sophia
Antipolis. He is currently researching on the history of 19th. c. Philippines and on Spanish urban history.

-MAY, Glenn A.  He teaches at the Department of History of the University of Oregon. He has done extensive research during the late nineteenth century, especially the Philippine Revolution and the beginning of the American Period, among his books, are A Past Recovered (1987);  Battle for Batangas: A Philippine province at War (1991) and Inventing a Hero. The Posthumous Re-Creation of Andres Bonifacio (1997)

McCOY, Alfred W. Is Professor at the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has been also the director of the South-East Asia Centre. McCoy is the author of extensive research on the Philippines, co-editing books as Philippine Social History (1982) and Philippine Cartoons: Political Caricature of the American Era, 1900-1941 (1985) while editing others as Anarchy of Families (1993) or Lives at the Margin (2000). He has also written Closer than Brothers. Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy (2000)

NAGANO, Yoshiko . Professor of international relations at Kanagawa University in Yokohama. She holds the Ph.D. in Social Studies from Hitotsubashi University. She has specialized in economic history of  the Philippines and has written extensively on sugar industry and banking history. She has published Firipin Keizaishi Kenkyu: Togyo Shihon to Jinushisei (A Study on Philippine Economic History: Sugar Capital and
Haciendas) (1986) and Sato Ashienda to Hinkon: Firipin Negurosu-to Shoshi (Sugar Hacienda and Poverty: A Short History of Negros Island in the Philippines) (1990).

 

ORTIZ ARMENGOL, Pedro . Spanish Diplomat, he has been involved with the Philippines since the beginning of his career, in th 1950’s. He has authored many books on history of the Philippines, such as Intramuros de Manila, (1958) Pasyon Filipina del Hermano Pule (1992), Dolores Armijo. Historias viejas de Manila (1991)  and Letras en Filipinas (1999). He has been vice-president of the Spanish Association for Pacific Studies.

PALANCO AGUADO, Fernando . Teaches at the Instituto de la Cabrera, Madrid. He prepares his Ph. Dissertation on popular revolts in the Philippines during the Colonial Period.

ROCES, Mina She teaches at the History Department of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, having taught formerly at the Central Queensland University, Australia.  She is the author of Women, Power and Kinship Politics in Post-War Philippines. (1998) and plans to publish soon entitled: “Kinship Politics  in Post-war Philippines, The Lopez Family, 1945-2000”  

RODAO GARCÍA, Florentino teaches at the Department of International Relations at the Faculty of Sociology and Political Science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He holds the Ph.D. in History from the Universidad Complutense and he is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Tokyo (1995), where he will write his diseertation in the Spanish Community in the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation. He Is the author of Spaniards in Siam (1540-1939). Una contribución al studio de la presencia hispana en Asia Oriental and Franco y el imperio japonés : imágenes y propaganda en tiempos de guerra. He is preparing for publication When Southeast Asia did not exist; Siamese, Spaniards and the Philippine Islands. Rodao is president of the Spanish Association for Pacific Studies (2000-2003)

RODRÍGUEZ, Felice Noelle, who holds the Ph.D. in History from the University of the Philippines, is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at the Ateneo de Manila University. She is preparing two books for publication: Philippine Warfafe in the Seventeenth Century and Social History of Zamboanga.

SÁNCHEZ GÓMEZ, Luis Angel (He teaches at the Department of Prehistory and Anthropology of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. After having submitted his Ph. Dissertation on Principalias and local power in the Philippines during the 19th century, his research activities focus on ethnohistory of the Philippines.

SÁNCHEZ FUERTES, Cayetano . Director of the Archivo Franciscano Ibero-Oriental, Madrid. He has researched mainly on the Franciscan presence in the Philippines and its interactions with the society.  He has co-edited España en Extremo Oriente, Filipinas, China, Capón: Presencia Franciscana, 1578-1978 (1979)

WIONZEK, Dr. Karl-Heinz  He works in Düsseldorf, Germany, and has been teaching at De la Salle University in Manila.  His research on the Philippines focuses on the Philippine Revolution and the German participation.

 

Reseñas

Greg Bankoff | University of Auckland

THE PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION OF 1896: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times.

Florentino Rodao and Felice Noelle Rodriguez.

Quezon City (Philippines): Ateneo De Manila University Press. 2001. xx, 316pp. Paper. ISBN 971-550-386-1

 

 

The Philippine Revolution of 1896-98 is not so much an event as a process writes the eminent Filipino historian Bernardita Reyes Churchill in the concluding remarks to this collection of articles on the topic.  She goes on to add that, contrary to what some scholars think, the revolution is not an ‘overworked’ subject but one on which much still remains to be said (p.292).  It is always difficult to create an ‘artificial’ sense of unity in a work that owes its existence to so many hands and minds (as challenging perhaps as discovering too many ‘meaningful’ threads in the review of such a book) but Churchill’s remark provides both a framework and rationale for this volume’s compilation.  The Revolution has been endowed with enormous significance and depicted as nothing less than the foundational event in the history of the modern nation by, among others, Reynaldo Ileto (Filipinos and Their Revolution, Manila 1998, p.241).  But by identifying it as both process and event, Churchill also situates the Revolution as a useful vantage point from which to cast a glance backward at the late Spanish colonial period as well as to peer into the future to trace subsequent dvelopments.  Recognising that history is composed of a plurality of voices, some that are recognised and many that are not but all of which are pertinent to an appreciation of the past and an understanding of the present, lends support to her contention that there is still much to say about the subject.  And that is what The Philippine Revolution of 1896: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times attempts to do: explore the revolutionary period from the perspectives of the many different actors engaged at the time.

 

 

In pursuit of these ends, the book has an all-star cast of authors drawn from countries with an interest in Philippine scholarship and whose works seldom appear together.  Thus French, German and Japanese mingle with Americans and, of course, Filipinos.  The work of Spanish scholars, rarely known outside of their country of origin, also figures significantly among the authors.  A particularly nice touch is that the Filipino diaspora is even represented in the persons of Mina Roces, a Filipino scholar working in Australia, and Leonard Andaya, an American of Filipino descent.  The character of this multi-national cultural perspective continues with the book’s editors – Florentino Rodao, a Spanish scholar, and Felice Noelle Rodriguez, one from the Philippines.  The question of language, reflecting the variegated nature of the archipelago’s past and one of the most formidable barriers usually separating these different scholarships is overcome here by the overall quality of the translations of the various chapters into English.  The translations of Ma. Luisa Camagay, B. F. Cadwallader and Luis Antonio Mañeru, scholars in there own right, has also significantly contributed to the success of this volume.  Originally among the papers presented at the Fourth Conference of the Spanish Association for Pacific Studies held in Valladolid in 1997 and subsequently published in a multilingual volume, the chapters in the present edition constitutes a selection of the original proceedings suitably revised and adapted to form a coherent and overview of the scholarship presently being undertaken in the various countries that share a common interest in the Philippines. Together, they offer a unique view of a period of change and transformation from a number of discrete but often overlapping perspectives. Thus Barbara Andaya and Mina Roces explore the role of gender and the categorisation of women’s roles in the Revolution, Alfred McCoy and Fernando Palanco Aguado assert the significance of the common soldier as a means of writing a more inclusive and bottom-up form of history, and Xavier Huetz de Lemps and Luis Sánchez Gómez expose the corruption that bedevilled and ultimately undermined Spanish colonialism.   Glenn May, Cayetano Sánchez Fuertes and Karl-Heinz Wionzek offer a range of complementary standpoints as respectively civilian refugee, Spanish priest and German ‘foreigner’.  These chapters are then supplemented by ones that look at the questions of ethnicity (Leonard Andaya) and economics (Yoshiko Nagano), while Bernardita Reyes Churchill provides a concluding critical review of the historiography so far written on the period in the Philippines, Spain and the USA.

 

 

Naturally, the scope and breadth of this volume constitutes one of its principal strengths: the editors should be heartily congratulated for bringing together the work of scholars from such diverse nationalities and academic traditions.  The cumulative effect is to remind the reader not only of the importance of multi-focal perspectives on events but also on the different ways to approach the writing of history: the present volume is as much about historiography as it is about history.  The authors choose from a range of different methodological approaches (prosopography, biography, subaltern studies and statistical analysis) and classifications (gender, ethnicity and class) to write not so much a ‘history-from-below’ as a ‘history-from-the-sidelines’ that together constitute the ‘ordinary lives’ in ‘extraordinary times’.   In this way, the voices and activities of provincial governor, foreign diplomat and Franciscan combine with that of the common soldier, wife and displaced person to flesh out the events preceding and subsequent to 1896.  Too often, groups who are neither at the top of the heap nor at the bottom, neither the movers-and-shakers nor among the victims and exploited but somewhere in the ‘unremarkable middle’ are overlooked, their historical experience ignored.  Yet it is precisely these people who often constitute the actual agents of oppression at the grassroots level and are those at the forefront of the receiving end of the inevitable backlash.  The present volume is a laudatory first attempt to restore these men and women to their place in the history of the revolutionary period though much still remains to be done in this respect. 

 

 

As this book has as much to do with different historiographies and methodologies (and the influence of culture on these) as it has to do with the history of the Philippine Revolution, it is a pity that the editorial preface foregoes the opportunity to raise any of these questions, especially as these pages provide the only introduction to the ensuing chapters.  Instead Florentino Rodao embarks on a discussion of the place of race and notions of superiority in the colonial Philippines over whose eggshell-thin surface he walks either with great courage or blithe indifference.  It is not so much that his argument is without interest as it out of place in this context and the language he chooses to express himself by is not always the most appropriate to such a sensitive subject.  Moreover, while claiming to present a more balanced assessment of Spanish colonialism, he ironically ends up by depicting it in a more stereo-typical manner as backwards, purposeless, decadent and anti-modern.  Alternatively, a more nuanced discussion of approach, perspective and cultural difference would provide an overarching framework with which to contextualise the constituent essays.  At the very least, Churchill’s review of current historiography might have proven to be a more useful choice as an introduction.  There is also an eerie silence about US perceptions, too, that is somewhat difficult to fathom.  While American scholars are included among the contributors, their perception of events both as bystanders and subsequently as actors is sadly lacking.   This may be a problem that has its roots in the original presenters of papers at the Valladolid Conference but still it seems a strange oversight that no one was asked to give such a perspective.

 

Of course, it is always all too easy to criticise a collected volume based on conference papers for what it should have included when the editors have to work with what they are given.  In this sense, Florentino Rodao and Noelle Rodriguez have done a sterling job in bringing together a volume that is both useful and provocative, one, moreover, that stresses the benefits of collective scholarship that transcends the linguistic and cultural barriers that so often divide us. 

 

Greg Bankoff

University of Auckland

Roberto Blanco Andrés

RODAO, Florentino& NOELLE RODRÍGUEZ, Felice: The Philippine Revolution of 1896. Ordinariy Lives in Extraordinary Times. Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2001. 316 pp.

 

El volumen recopilado por Florentino Rodao, presidente de la Asociación Española de Estudios del Pacífico, y Felice Noelle Rodríguez, profesora asociada del Ateneo de Manila, constituye otro fruto importante del congreso celebrado en Valladolid entre los días 16 y 20 de noviembre de 1997, convocado con motivo del centenario de la revolución filipina y el final del imperio español en el Pacífico. Aunque sus actas fueron convenientemente publicadas por la AEEP en 1999 en Madrid y con el título: 1898: España y el Pacífico. Interpretación del pasado, realidad del presente (coordinadores: Miguel Luque Talaván, Juan José Pacheco Onrubia y Fernando Palanco Aguado), el objetivo de la nueva edición ha sido presentar una obra más manejable, escrita únicamente en inglés, y esbozar un acercamiento multilateral a la compleja realidad de la revolución iniciada con el grito de Balintawak. A tal fin los artículos insertos han sido revisados y reelaborados para amoldarse a este propósito, contando con la inestimable colaboración de docentes e investigadores de diversos países. En palabras de Florentino “The book makes available to the world the research and contributions made by Spanish, Filipino, and other scholars toward understanding the past while looking into the future” (p xx)

 

El libro consta de prólogo, doce artículos y un índice. Los escritos insertos proporcionan mayormente una visión correcta del contexto en que se desarrolló la revolución, profundizándose en un amplio elenco de factores tales como el étnico, social, militar, la participación de la mujer, religioso, político, administrativo, económico e historiográfico. Este es a nuestro juicio su gran mérito, la interacción de los especialistas de los campos más diversos facilita la introducción de áreas de estudio menos conocidas, no por ello menos interesantes, perfecciona las más trabajadas y abre nuevas vías de investigación para el futuro.

 

El prólogo del presidente de la AEEP advierte de estos considerandos e intenciones que han motivado la edición, sumando al mismo tiempo una breve presentación de los participantes. Es muy oportuna, de igual modo, la síntesis que presenta de algunos de los elementos que endosan las causas de la crisis (entre ellas la pérdida de prestigio del español, el anticlericalismo, la peculiaridad de las circunstancias de España, el determinismo racial y el darwinismo social) para juzgar con más criterio los trabajos aquí expuestos. 

Los dos primeros capítulos versan sobre el significado de la participación de la mujer en la revolución filipina, verdadero campo inexplorado para la comunidad científica. El primero de ellos es el de la profesora Barbara Watson Andaya, de la Universidad de Hawai en Manoa, (Gender, Warfare, and Patriotism in Southeast Asia and the Philippine Revolution. Páginas 1-30) y el segundo el de Mina Roces, del departamento de Historia de la Universidad de Nueva Gales del sur en Sydney (Reflections on Gender and Kinship in the Philippine Revolution, 1896-1898. Páginas 30-48). 

 

Watson quiere dar a su estudio un enfoque regional, brindando en su texto ejemplos de otras culturas y civilizaciones del sudeste asiático e incidiendo, desde esta óptica, en la herencia austronésica propia de las sociedades insulares. La argumentación especifica el cambio del rol de la mujer en la sociedad con ocasión de la conquista española y la extensión de los ideales cristianos. En lo concerniente a la revolución se constata la valoración de la mujer en la misma en tanto en cuanto se aproxima más a lo masculino trayendo a colación casos concretos, como la participación en la cruz roja, junto con enfoques de la clase ilustrada sobre la labor que habrían de desempeñar las féminas en la sociedad malaya.

 

Roces, por su lado, se centra más en las Filipinas de los años 1896-1898, comparando los casos de este período con otros por ella conocidos del siglo XX. La exposición incide en el papel de las mujeres como agentes de cambio y como introductoras de valores modernos. Es de destacar la valoración que se otorga a las participantes en la revolución como Katulong (ayudante) favorecida por sus relaciones de parentesco, siendo muy ilustrativos en esta senda los ejemplos usados en torno a las figuras de Gregoria de Jesús con Andrés Bonifacio, y Josephine Bracken con José Rizal. La autora aboga por realizar un estudio de las mujeres que sobrepase la consideración meramente individual por otra que incida en la categoría social.

 

El artículo de Leonard Y. Andaya, de la Universidad de Hawai en Manoa,  discurre sobre las implicaciones étnicas en los sucesos revolucionarios (Ethnicity in the Philippine Revolution. Páginas 49-82). Este profesor de Historia aborda lo determinante que fue en la estratificación étnica y social de las islas la división que hicieron las órdenes religiosas del campo misional en 1594. Andaya estudia los elementos de dominación española que dieron un sentido de unidad al conjunto de la comunidad filipina, el inicial carácter tagalo de la revuelta, los factores que motivaron la entrada de otros grupos étnicos y reflexiona sobre los términos “Filipino” y “Filipinas” intercambiables a finales del XIX por “Tagalog” y “Katagalugan”. 

El análisis militar del conflicto queda recogido en dos trabajos. Alfred W. McCoy, de la universidad de Wisconsin-Madison (The Colonial Origins of Philippine Military Traditions. Páginas 83-124) razona sobre la influencia colonial en la tradición militar filipina, rebatiendo la práctica de cierta historiografía nacionalista por obviar estos orígenes. Se recrea la trascendencia de la guardia civil española o la organización de cuerpos de voluntarios leales, como el de los macabeques, dentro del ejército español, en la milicia revolucionaria de Aguinaldo y en la organización militar que hicieron más adelante los norteamericanos por medio de los Scouts, integrados en el propio ejército estadounidense, y el Philippine Constabulary, de carácter más interno. 

El segundo artículo es el de Fernando Palanco Aguado, del instituto madrileño de La Cabrera, (Letters from a Spanish Soldier in the Philippine Revolution. Traducido del español por Luis Antonio Mañeru. Páginas 143-164) quien recoge la correspondencia del soldado español Pablo Zapatero Galán en la guerra colonial. Las cartas de Zapatero abrazan el viaje a las islas, las primeras impresiones de la llegada a Manila, los combates contra los insurrectos, la entrada de los Estados Unidos en la guerra y la descripción de las últimas horas del dominio español en el agónico sitio de la capital filipina; todo ello bajo la óptica de un humilde y sencillo soldado raso. 

Glenn Anthony May, del departamento de Historia de la Universidad de Oregón, quiere dar a su trabajo un enfoque más amplio que el propiamente militar (Civilian Flight during the Philippine Revolution of 1896. páginas 125-142). Este estudioso emplea fuentes de primera mano, como lo son las de los archivos parroquiales, para describir la significación del movimiento de refugiados en la provincia de Cavite, epicentro de la revolución, estableciendo una feliz correspondencia entre el avance de las tropas españolas y el desenvolvimiento demográfico de la población. La perspectiva, de carácter inédito, se completa con una enjundiosa observación del contexto del esfuerzo militar y de la situación política para mejor comprender el enfrentamiento entre Aguinaldo y Bonifacio.

La óptica internacional, con la ambición germana sobre las islas en los años de la crisis, viene de la mano de Karl-Heinz Winzek, de Düsseldorf (Lt. Commander Paul Hintze´s Visit to the Philippine Revolution´s Headquarters. Páginas 165-178). La investigación de Winzek revela la posibilidad real que Alemania barajó de jugar un papel más importante en el futuro del archipiélago magallánico. El texto presenta la visita que realizase el comandante Hintze con el cónsul imperial al campamento de Aguinaldo, con el que a pesar de sus intenciones no lograron conversar. Asimismo son muy meritorias las descripciones de la Manila bloqueada y del campamento de los revolucionarios.

Las órdenes religiosas quedan retratadas, en cierto modo, por el estudio de los franciscanos en los años de la revolución y guerra, el encargado de realizarlo es Cayetano Sánchez Fuertes, OFM, director del Archivo Ibero Americano (The Franciscans and the Philippine Revolution in Central Luzón. Traducido del español por B. F. Cadwallader. Páginas179-216). Habría sido muy interesante un estudio de carácter integrador de todas las corporaciones monásticas filipinas con sus implicaciones, evolución y significado en el marco global de la crisis. No obstante, el trabajo del p. Sánchez Fuertes contiene un análisis exhaustivo para el caso de los franciscanos de la provincia de San Gregorio Magno en sus relaciones con la sociedad, los revolucionarios, el clero secular indígena y el pueblo llano. El autor también examina el retrato desfavorable de los franciscanos dada por Rizal en el Noli a través de la figura del p. Dámaso, y coteja la imagen más positiva de estos religiosos en la sociedad filipina.

La esfera de la administración provincial se nos ofrece por medio de los textos de Xavier Huetz de Lemps, de la Universidad de Nice-Sophia de Francia (Provincial Level Corruption in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century. Traducido del francés por Ma. Luisa Camagay. Páginas 217-230), y de Luis Ángel Sánchez Gómez, profesor en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Legal Proceedings against Provincial Governors in the Nineteenth Century. Traducido del español al inglés por Luis Antonio Mañeru. Páginas 231-252). Es cierto que ambos autores no tratan directamente de la revolución filipina y que en este sentido, dentro del ámbito administrativo, habría sido seguramente muy apropiado tratar la incidencia de la reforma municipal de Maura de 1893 en los acontecimientos del final de siglo. A pesar de ello, los dos investigadores logran exponer un estado administrativo coadyuvante del malestar social y, por consiguiente, próximo a la situación que se quiso justificar desde 1896 por parte de los revolucionarios. De Lemps presenta una situación de corrupción generalizada en la administración colonial española indagando en sus causas más profundas. Sánchez Gómez, por otro lado, expone las claves de su investigación a través de los importantes juicios de residencia, mostrando varios casos concretos de gobernadores provinciales encausados.

El profesor de la Universidad de Kanagawa en Yokohama Yoshiko Nagano aborda el movimiento comercial de las islas en el cambio de siglo (“Intra-Asian Trade” at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Páginas 253-276). Las estadísticas y el balance económico hacen evidente un aumento de la importancia de los Estados Unidos en las transacciones comerciales desde el inicio del siglo XX, junto con una disminución de los intercambios en el conjunto de la región asiática al quedar desplazado el Reino Unido y sus colonias, por las cuales, especialmente Hong Kong y Singapur, se canalizaba antes el grueso de las exportaciones en el área.

La perspectiva historiográfica es tratada por Bernardita Reyes Churchill, de la Universidad de la Salle y de la Universidad de Filipinas (Historiography of 1898 and a Critical Bibliography. Páginas 277-300). La docente filipina efectúa un recorrido crítico sobre las tendencias de las aportaciones historiográficas en España, Estados Unidos y Filipinas sobre la revolución. Del primer país mencionado refiere la inclinación a estudiar, con más o menos exclusividad, la historia de los españoles en el archipiélago conquistado por Legazpi. De los estadounidenses reseña su preocupación por estudiar las relaciones entre Filipinas y EE.UU solamente después de 1898. Reyes Churchill analiza con más detalle los nombres y corrientes de la historiografía filipina en un amplio abanico desde el movimiento de la Propaganda hasta las aportaciones de última hora, demandando una mayor profundización de los estudios populares en una perspectiva de más amplia.

Cada uno de los trabajos contiene extensa bibliografía y notas aclaratorias. El libro, por último, ejemplifica en su conjunto la demandada conexión entre los investigadores de diversos países en la provechosa senda que abriera la AEEP en su congreso vallisoletano de 1997.

ROBERTO BLANCO ANDRÉS

Carlos Madrid

RESEÑA DEL LIBRO: The Philippine Revolution of 1896. Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times. Coordinado por Florentino Rodao y Felice Noelle Rodríquez.

Ed. Ateneo de Manila University Press.

316 pags.

Año 2001

 

Uno de los más importantes hitos en la historia de las Islas Filipinas lo constituye su Revolución (1896-98), en la que el autonomismo que reclamaban la élites burguesas de Filipinas representadas por José Rizal y sus compañeros de La Propaganda, se mezclaban y enfrentaba con el independentismo de líderes como Aguinaldo y los miembros de la organización Katipunan. **yo ppndria, donde el autonomismo inicial de Rizal.., dio paso a la lucha independentista, que acabo…** Una Revolución filipina que el gobierno norteamericano supo capitalizar en su propio y único beneficio al engarzarla con la Guerra Hispano-Norteamericana, que acabaría por dar el puntillazo final a la presencia española en el archipiélago.**sobra, ademas de ser mitinero** 

 

En el ámbito académico español se tienden a olvidar las aportaciones y estudios sobre este periodo elaborados por filipinos **y otros estudiosos**, siendo sólo una prueba más de la notoriamente escasa comunicación entre nuestros territorios. La Asociación Española de Estudios del Pacífico (AEEP), que cuenta entre sus miembros a los principales filipinistas de nuestro país, **suprímelo, es una cierta contradicción con lo anterior** llevan años intentando paliar esa falta de comunicación -recíproca por demás- entre dos mundos académicos que tanto tienen que decir sobre el tema, **suprímelo, es una obviedad** mediante la celebración de mesas redondas, cursos, congresos internacionales y publicaciones conjuntas. Dentro de este esfuerzo se enmarca la aparición del libro The Philippine Revolution of 1896 coordinado por Felice Noelle Rodríguez y Florentino Rodao, ella profesora de Historia de la renombrada Universidad Ateneo de Manila, él presidente de la AEEP e Historiador de reconocido prestigio en el ámbito de Asia-Pacífico. 

 

El libro constituye una traducción al inglés de 12 selectos artículos presentados en el 4º Congreso Internacional de la AEEP, celebrado en Valladolid del 16 al 20 de noviembre de 1997, **actualizados por los propios autores tras las críticas de los dictaminadores, cosa que no es frecuente en España** e incluye autores y autoras filipinos, como Bernardita Churchill o Mina Roces, españoles como Cayetano Sánchez y Fernando Palanco, norteamericanos como Glenn May o Alfred McCoy, pero también japoneses o franceses y australianos. **entonces, di que el libro es internacionales, no hables tanto de Filipinas**

 

El criterio de selección de los artículos parece perseguir, y de hecho consigue, mostrar un abanico temático que permita una visión global de lo sucedido al tiempo que profundiza en las áreas de estudio más importantes y novedosas. El profesor Huetz de Lemps aporta un revelador estudio sobre la corrupción del engranaje administrativo de la colonia a nivel provincial, mientras que Cayetano Sánchez escribe un artículo sobre los frailes franciscanos durante la Revolución, que contiene múltiples, desmitificadores y variados datos sobre la época y sus protagonistas. 

 

Los artículos sobre género y parentesco de Barbara Andaya y Mina Roces constituyen un interesantísimo y muy necesario punto de vista, reivindicando el papel de las mujeres en la Revolución filipina **obvio**. Si bien las conclusiones finales de sus estudios se nos antojen un tanto limitadas, seguramente no debemos culpar más que a la obligada brevedad de un artículo de esta índole que trata un tema tan apasionante como poco tocado. Por otro lado, desde la perspectiva de género cabría otro tipo de enfoque, como podría ser el preguntarse las consecuencias para las mujeres de una Revolución ejecutada por hombres y por tanto que perseguía unos fines que eran prioritarios para hombres, al margen de la participación o no de mujeres en el proceso.

 

En definitiva, se trata de un libro que despierta vivamente el interés y anima al debate. La alta calidad del contenido –no asi de la foto de portada, la verdad sea dicha- refleja el esfuerzo de los hombres y mujeres que con sus estudios, traducciones y esfuerzos de coordinación arrojan nuevas luces sobre un complejo periodo de la Historia de Filipinas y de España a finales del siglo XIX.

 

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