Today, July 7, marks 126 years since the fight for the Philippine nation began with the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan in 1892.
No need to dust off your history books—Lahi.ph, an online platform for Philippine history and heritage, released a video to commemorate the anniversary of the Katipuneros’ movement to free the nation from the Spaniards. And to remind all of us that the message of the Katipuneros shouldn’t go forgotten. In fact, they remind us to look beyond the books and remember why their message is as timely as ever:
The video features commentary by historian Xiao Chua, who talks of the many characterizations of revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio and the Katipuneros: “Akala namin ang Katipunero ay masang sugod na sugod, na walang alam kundi maging bayolente."
“War freak,” he says, as a photo of Bonifacio is placed next to one of the national hero Jose Rizal, framing the way the two are often placed as opposing characters.
Bonifacio is considered an unofficial national hero by many, despite diverging historical narratives which sometimes pit him as a low-brow champion, leader of a less peaceable revolution—it is often forgotten that Bonifacio was also a member of Rizal’s La Liga Filipina, before Rizal was captured and the group’s more peaceful efforts put to a quick halt by the Spaniards. It was then that Bonifacio founded his secret revolutionary group, committing himself to the idea of freedom.
Chua says in an interview that there are many reasons why Bonifacio hasn’t always been portrayed in the best light. “His enemies depicted him this way, and these people became the sources of historians. The Balintawak monument, with the man shouting, was mistaken for Andres Bonifacio, even if it really depicted an ordinary Katipunero. It gave the impression that Andres was really uneducated, and by the looks of it would never win any battle. The Americans rode with the popularity of Rizal and connected it to proliferation of the public schools. Although the writings were there from the start, they just stuck with the facts of his life and forgot to look at his philosophy.”
But Bonifacio's philosophy isn’t lost on Chua, or on the people behind Lahi.ph: “Tinuruan din [niya] tayong umibig. Ang tunay na kalayaan ay may kaakibat na kaginhawaan. Ang kalayaan hindi lang ‘yan politikal,” Chua says. “Malaya tayo dahil ginagawa natin ang tama.”
Chua also helped produce a more comprehensive documentary on Bonifacio with the
“We want the youth to know, to remember, how the love for our country drove our ancestors to risk their lives for this noble cause. With all that's going on right now, we tend to forget how truly great our country and people are,” says a representative from Lahi.ph in an email. “Let us not let politics dictate who we are as a people. There are still so many Filipinos offering their life for our country and giving us pride all over the globe. Sino pa ba mag-aangat satin kundi tayo-tayo rin? Filipino para sa Filipino. That's our mantra here at Lahi.”
Para sa ika-126 na guning taon ng pormal na pagkakatatag ng Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, 7 July 1892.— Xiao Chua (@Xiao_Chua) July 5, 2018
Ang konsepto ng bansa "Inang Bayan" ng Katipunan. Malaki ang papel sa... https://t.co/1K6YBNQBn6
Lahi.ph also released a video that features all the founders of the KKK, which gives some more context to how the fight for freedom came from three men who could have been any of us.