I’m not sure if Winwyn Marquez, the newly crowned Reina Hispanoamericana, is aware that the province of her parents, Pampanga, gave Spain a wonderful kind of history of loyalty. Jose Felipe Del-Pan, a 19th century Spanish journalist described, the people of Pampanga (Kapampangans) as “the loyal companions of our disgraces and of our graces.” But the downside of it? The Kapampangans earned lasting racist tags from their fellow Filipinos: “taksil” (‘traitor’) and “dugong aso” (literally ‘canine-blood,’ actually a metaphor for the dog-like loyalty of the Kapampangans to their master or their adherence to the constituted authority). In his 5 November 2017 column in Abante, historian Xiao Chua made it clear that Pampanga just joined the Revolution on 3 June 1898 in Bacolor town, contrary to popular belief that it was among the eight provinces to first rise against the Spaniards in 1896. By the way, Winwyn’s father, Joey Marquez, is from Mabalacat, Pampanga, while her mother Vanessa Lacsamana, a.k.a. Alma Moreno, is from Macabebe, Pampanga.
Isang araw pinasyalan ako ng aking kababata sa aming dating bahay sa San Francisco, Macabebe, Pampanga. Kapuwa nasa unang taon kami noon sa kolehiyo; kaibahan nga lamang, sa Malolos, Bulacan ako nag-aral at siya sa Maynila. Bakit daw siya tinawag na taksil ng propesor niya sa Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas nang magpakilala sa klase na mula siya sa Macabebe, Pampanga. “Mahabang kuwento,” tanging nasambit ko. Alam ko namang tatamarin siya sa pakikinig kapag ikinuwento ko.
Lumipas ang dalawang linggo, muli niya akong pinasyalan. Sa pagkakataong ito, dala-dala niya ang kaniyang biniling teksbuk sa Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Nabasa niya ang Macabebe sa ilang pahina ng teksbuk. Tanong niya sa akin, “may kapangalan ba ang Macabebe?” Doon na ako nagkuwento sa kaniya. Bigla ko tuloy naalala noon na nang ako’y Grade 5, habang tinitingnan ko kung may sira ba ang teksbuk ko sa Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, at Sibika bago isauli, natiyempuhan ko ang pahinang may ilustrasyon ng pagdakip ng hukbong Amerikano kay Pangulong Emilio Aguinaldo; at sa kapsyon nito mababasa na kabilang ang 81 sundalong Macabebe sa dumakip. Wala rin akong idea noon kung bakit nakasulat sa aklat ng kasaysayan ang Macabebe. Tanong ko rin noon: “‘di nga kaya may kapangalan ang bayan namin.” Continue reading Dalamhati ng Isang Macabebe
In his 1909 work La Religion Antigua de los Filipinos (The Ancient Religion of the Filipinos), Isabelo de los Reyes explained the custom of fencing a house with plants, e.g. duranta, santan, sampaguita, san francisco. Ancient Cagayanons, Ilocanos, and Tagalogs believed that anitos (good spirits) love dwelling on certain plants used as fences. Ancient Tagalogs named that spirit as Lakanbakod or the lord of fence. Aside from those good anitos, our forebears revered the gracious and omnipresent spirits of their ancient warriors (bayani), leaders (datu), and old sages (apu) as nunu (literally ‘ancestor’) who were just around, observing and ready to extend help when Kapampangan/Tagalog katalunan or the Visayan babaylan (ancient priest) asked for their advise and guidance, i.e. in times of war, epidemic or pestilence. So technically our forebears felt secure because of good spirits around. Spaniards only demonized our nunus as “malignos” (Spanish for ‘maligned spirits’) and “encantos” (Spanish for ‘enchanted’), even reducing them as “duendes” (from Spanish folkloric character for ‘goblin’); when the Americans came, we began to imagine our nunus as if those dwarfs of Snow White. And when Magandang Gabi Bayan and Shake, Rattle and Role series colonized our airwaves, our fear of our OWN ancestors worsen.
Trivializing the spirits and the dead is actually un-Filipino to the nth power! Good thing the Ilocanos still practice giving “atang” (‘offering’) for their departed loved ones and ancestors, and the Pangasinans the “dudumen” (‘black rice cake’); and the Bicolanos call undas “Pistang Kalag” (‘feast of the souls’) as if we are celebrating the memory of the dead, while the Kapampangans call it “daun” (‘offer’).