These are the eight shortlisted essays on the country’s national hero, Jose P. Rizal, vying for the top award in Grade School and High School categories. Essays A to D written in Filipino are entries submitted by students from grade school, while essays E to H written in English are entries submitted by high school students. Read them and text your choice to us.
Mahal kong Lolo Pepe,
Pagbati at pagdakila sa inyo!
Isa po akong Mindoreño at alam kong malapit kaming mga Mindoreño sa puso mo. Nabatid ko po mula sa aking pagbasa na bagaman hindi na napasama at nailimbag sa unang nobela mong Noli Me Tangere ang orihinal na Kabanata XIV o ang Kabanatang “Elias At Salome,” nalaman ko po na dito ay nabanggit mo and Mindoro. Salamat po sa pagpapahalaga sa aming lalawigan.
Dahil po ako’y Mindoreño, nais ko pong ibahagi sa inyo ang kalagayan ng orihinal na mga ninuno ng lahing Mindoreño – ang mga katutubong Mangyan. Dama ko po ang kanilang nararamdaman, ang kanilang hinaing, pangangailangan sa tuwi-tuwinang sila’y bumababa sa kapatagan upang manghingi ng limos.
Malinaw po na ”paggising sa natutulog na damdamin ng ating kababayan” ang iyong layunin sa pagsulat ng iyong nobela. Ganun din ang pakay ko sa pagsulat ng liham na ito. Nais ko pong ipahatid sa pamamagitan ng pagliham sa inyo ang paghihirap
aa nararanansan ng mga katutubo nating Mangayn dito sa Mindoro. Batid ng marami dito sa Mindoro na sila’y pinaalis at itinaboy mula sa kanilang lupang sinilangan at wala silang magawa kundi manirahan sa bundok. Ang mas malala pa, pati ang bundok na kanilang pinaninirahan at pinagkukunan ng ikinabubuhay ay nais pa ring kamkamin ng mga taga-kapatagan, na itinuturing nilang mga Kristiyano.
Ang pinakamatindi sa mga ito ay ang nakaambang panganib ng pagmimina sa aming lalawigan. Tiyak na masisira ang kalikasan, ang kultura ng mga katutubo, ang tirahan ng tamaraw at daranas ng kalamidad ang minamahal naming lalawigan.
Matagal ng panahong nararanasan ito ng mga katutubo. Panahon pa ng aking lolo hanggang sa aking ama ay hindi napag-uukulan ng pansin at kalinga ng pamahalaan ang nakararami sa mga Mangyan. Ganoon pa rin ang kalagayan ng nakararami sa kanila hanggang sa kasalukuyan.
Hindi po naman sinasabing lahat ng nasa gobyerno ay walang malasakit. Tulad din ng nabanggit ninyo sa inyong nobela, ang Gobernador-Heneral, sina Lieutenant Guevara at Don Tibucio ay nakilala ko bilang karapat-dapat, dakila at tapat na mga tao.
Mayroon din naming nag-ukol ng panahon at pagkalinga sa katutubong Mangyan. Nariyansi Ferdinand Elizalde, ang mga misyonerong pari at madre na nakipamuhay sa mga katutubo upang higit nilang madama ang uri ng pamumuhay nila at upang maging instrumento ng kanilang pagbabago, pagkamulat at paglago.
Bagaman taga-Mindoro po ako, hindo ako nagkaroon ng pagkakataong makipamuhay sa mga Mangyan. Kaya naman nang malaman ko po ang pinagdaraanan
ng mga Mangyan ay hindi ko po alam kung ano ang mararamdaman ko. Naghalo ang lungko, poot, pagkadismaya at awa sa asking puso. Sino pa nga ba ang magmamalasakit sa aming mga tunay na ninuno kundi kaming mga taga-Mindoro rin.
Mabutinga po ay may mga mangilan-ngilang nagmamalasakit pa ngayon; nagbibigay ng scholarship, ng trabaho, kumalinga, nagbibigay ng tulong ng walang kapalit. Ngayon, maituturing ko na po silang bayani, bayaning makabagong panahon – mga nagsalba sa kianbukasan at lipi ng ating mga katutubong Mangyan.
Sana po ay ganito ang lahat, hindi lamang ng mga Mindoreño kundi lahat ng Pilipino sa iba’t ibang sulok ng Pilipinas – mga taong iginagalang ang kanilang mga katutubo, katutubong nag-ingat, nangalaga, nagmahal at nagbuwis ng buhay sa kanilang “ancestral land.”
Hangad ko po na sana ay matuto ang marami sa aming kababayan na lubos pang pa-ingatan at mahalin ang Mindoro tuland ng ginawa ng mga katutubo.
Marami pa po akong nais ibalita sa inyo ukol sa aming lalawigan na minsan ay pinahalagahan mo sa inong panulat.
Hanggang sa muli ko pong pagliham
Lubos na nagmamahal,
Mahal na Bayaning Dr. Jose P. Rizal,
Magiging matagumpay kaya akong katulad ninyo paglaki ko? Hindi ko lubos na maisip ang mga nagawa ninyo. Naging nobelista, inhinyero, peryodista, doktor, siyentista at alagad ng sining. Kasama pa riyan ang pagiging guro at repormista. Wow! Talagang super kayo at wala na akong masasabi pa. Kahit hindi ko po kayo lubusang kilala ay sumasang-ayon ako sa mga nakakatanda sa akin na saludong-saludo sa inyong kabayanihan at katanyagan.
Sa aking murang edad ngayon, kailangan ko pa pong magbasa at magsaliksik tungkol sa inyong buhay at sa mga mahalagang bagay na naimbag ninyo para sa ating bayan. Makabuluhang bagay ang ginawa ninyo upang magkaroon ng pangalan ang ating bansa, na siyang nagsilbing inspirasyon para sa aming mga kabataan na siyang pag-asa ng bayan.
Katulad po ninyo, gusto ko rin pong maging isang henyong inhinyero. Alam ko medyo may kamahalan ang kursong ito. Ngunit simula sa pagkabata ko ito na po ang nakaukit sa aking isipan. Hangang-hanga ako sa mga taong marunong magpatayo ng gusali, kalsada at iba pang infrastrakturang gawain. Hindo ko sukat akalain na sa talino ng mga inhinyero ay nakatulong silang magpaunlad sa kanilang bayan. Naging madali ang paghahatid ng mga produkto mula sa bukirin at malalayong lugar. Ang pagkakaroon ng magandang sistema ng patubig sa Dapitan, iyon po ay dahil sa inyo. Gagayahin ko po ang mga gawain ninyong ito. Pag-aaralan ko bilang isang inhinyera na mabigyan ng magandang patubig lalo na dito sa aming lugar sa Barangay Cantabaco na kapos sa tubig. Sa ngayon napagmasdan kong hindi tama at hindi pantay ang distribusyon ng tubig, gayong sa aming barangay nagmumula ang kadluon ng tubig, at hindi pa malinis. Ito po ay isa lamang sa mga gawaing pagsisikapan kong mapabuti at magawan ng paraan pagdating ng aking panahon.
Posible po kayang mangyari ito? Malaking katanungan po ito para sa akin ngayon. Hindi naman masamang mangarap, hindi po ba ? Libre pa naman. Ngunit paano nga po kaya? Paano ko ito makakamtan?
Sa kalagayan ng aming buhay ngayon ay siguradong mahihirapan talaga ang tatay kong nag-iisang naghahanapbuhay para sa aming pamilya. Ang aking ina ay masakitin at mayroon pa akong mga nakakabatang kapatid. Ang kita ng tatay ko ay kulang pa nga sa pang-araw-araw naming pangangailangan. Siguradong hindi matutustusan ang kursong ito. Pero hindi bale na po, tulad ninyo, dahil sa sipag at tiyaga ninyong puhunan ay nagawa ninyo pa rin. Kakayanin kong maging katulad ninyong isang henyong inhinyero.
Dodoblehin ko ang pagsisikap sa pag-aaral. Ipagpapatuloy ko ang nasimulan ko bilang isa sa mga nangunguna sa klase hanggang sa ako ay makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral sa mataas na paaralan. Siguro simula sa araw na ito ay mag-iipon ako mula sa baon ko. Maglalaan ako ng kaunting pera para sa aking hinahangad. Sa ganito ay mayroon na akong pagkakataong maging “service scholar” o “working student.” Ang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral mula sa sariling pagsisikap ay napakasarap pong namnamin. Lalo mo itong pagpupursigihan at lalo mo itong pahahalagahan. Dahil kung anumang dahilan, kung gugustuhin mo, maraming paraan. Hindi ko rin po kakaligtaan ang pagtawag sa Maykapal na ako ay gabayan sa mga minimithi kong pangarap at ako ay bigyan ng lakas ng loob upang malabanan ang lahat ng mga pagsubok sa buhay.
At kapag ako po ay isa nang ganap na inhinyero, katulad ng ginawa ninyo noong inyong kapanahunan, ayaw kong masilaw sa laki ng sahod sa ibang bansa. Isasaisip ko po lagi na ang iniidolo kong bayani ay matapat, mapagsakripisyo at may pagmamahal sa bayan. Dito sa bayan kong sinilangan ako ay maninilbihan at nangangakong hindi lilisan magpakailanman.
Mahal kong Ka Pepe,
Kamusta po kayo?
Maraming kabataang katulad ko ang naiintriga sa iyo. Bakit napakasikat mo? Aba’y lahat yata ng lugar na mapuntahan ko ay nakakakita ako ng rebulto mo.
Alam mo Ka Pepe, sa sobrang sikat mo naisip ko na gawin kitang friend sa facebook. Pero nang i-search ko ang pangalan mo, aba’y laking gulat ko. Ang dami ng accounts mo! Alin ba talaga ang totoong sa iyo?
Dahil dito, nag-Google na lang ako at marami akong nadiskubre tungkol sa iyo. Parehas pala tayo na ang paborito ay champorado. Di ba ang sarap nito? Akala ko dahil sa mga obrang Kastilang sinulat mo ay jologs ka sa Tagalog. Mali pala ako. Matatas ka palang magtagalog at sa iyo galing ito: “Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika ay daig pa ang hayop at malansang isda.” At ito pa: “Nakakadiri ang mga Pilipinong nagpupumilit na mangarap na maging ibang lahi o maging katunog ng dayuhan.” Korek ka diyan! Ikaw pala ay asintado rin sa barilan. Aba’y paturo naman. Tatlumpu’t walong bagong uri ng isda ang iyong nadiskubre noong ikaw ay tinapon sa Dapitan. Tunay kang isang magaling na siyentipiko. Nakapag-ikot ka na sa buong mundo ng tatlong beses. Kainggit ka talaga! Ako, kahit sa panaginip ay wala man lamang napupuntahan pa. Pero ikaw, pasyalan mo lang pala ang Paris, London, Madrid, New York at Hong Kong. Sana pag naglakbay kang muli ay isama mo naman ako. Pakitext mo lang ako at magsasabi ako sa tatay ko. Pero bukod sa usapan Sir, chickboy din daw po kayo? Totoo po ba iyon o intriga lang? Isa pa sa nadiskubre ko ay hindi pala kayo personal na magkakakilala ni Ka Andres Bonifacio. Akala ko pa naman ay “best friends” kayo.
Isa ka rin po palang doctor at ito ang talagang dahilan kung bakit ako sumulat sa iyo. Kasi, alam ko na alam mo ang sagot dito. Palagi ko kasing napapanood sa balita ang salitang RH Bill at ako’y naguguluhan kung bakit napakasikat na paksa nito ngayon. Sa kongreso ay nagbabangayan sila tungkol sa RH Bill na ito. Merong pabor at merong kontra. Ang simbahan ay sobra ang pag-ayaw sa bill na ito. Usaping pangkalusugan daw ito, kaya nga bilang isang doctor naisip ko na ikaw ang tanungin dito. Ikaw po ba ay pabor na isulong ito? Ano man ang epekto nito sa mga batang katulad ko? Ano ang epekto nito sa mga nagdadalang tao tulad ng nanay ko? Alam ko na galing kayo sa malaking pamilya pero sa panahong ito na dumarami ang mga naghihirap na Pilipino, hindi ko alam kung pabor pa kayo sa isang malaking pamilya tulad ng sa inyo. May bulung-bulungan na mayroon sana kayong anak kay Josephine Bracken, kaso ito ay isang “blue baby” na namatay rin pagkatapos maipanganak. Nabuhay kaya siya kung mayroong RH Bill? O ang RH Bill din kaya ang tuluyang papatay sa kanya upang maproteksiyonan ang buhay ni Josephine? Alin talaga ang mas importante – ang buhay ng ina o buhay ng anak? Ito rin daw ay usapang moral. Isang kasalanan daw sa Diyos ang pagsasabatas nito. Kayo po, tama ba ang simbahan o tama lang na isulong ang RH Bill para maibsan ang kahirapan sa ating lipunan? Gaano talaga kahalaga at ano ang epekto ng RH Bill sa buhay ng tao? Ito ba talaga ay kikitil ng buhay o magpoprotekta ng buhay?
Pasensiya na po, pinag-isip ko kayo. Pero sigure naman hindi ako malaking abala sa inyo. Dahil alam ko basta usaping pambansa game kayo.
Mahal kong Dr. Jose P. Rizal,
Pamilya ko ang pinakamahalaga para sa akin. Pito kaming magkakapatid. Medyo kaunti kompara sa inyong pamilya. Kung kasing dami ninyo kami sa ngayon, ano kaya ang kinahinatnan ng pamilya ko? Siguro hindi kami makakain ng tatlong beses sa isang araw, buti na lang masipag ang mama at papa ko. May maliit kaming sakahan at tindahan. Kahit di man masyadong masarap ang aming pang-araw-araw na pagkain gaya ng mga mayayaman ay nakakakain pa rin kami ng sapat. At natutugunan naman ang aming pang-araw-araw na mga pangangailangan. Eh, kayo po? Nakakakain din ba kayo noon ng tatlong beses sa isang araw? Lalo na noong unti-unti nang kinuha ng mga masasamang prayle ang inyong kabuhayan. Hanga ako sa pamilya mo kahit marami ang kapatid mo at kapus sa pera, kinaya ng tatay at nanay mong maitaguyod ang malaking pamilya.
Sa kabila ng kahirapan nagpapasalamat pa rin ako kasi ginagapang ng mga magulang ko ang aming pag-aaral, hindi nga lang kasinluho ng ibang mag-aaral. Nangangamba ako minsan na baka hindi ako makapagtapos ng kolehiyo sa dami naming magkakapatid. Ngunit hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa na balang araw, sa pamamagitan ng sipag at tiyaga, suporta ng aking pamilya at gabay ng Panginoon, matutupad rin ang pangarap ko. Determinado ako dahil ikaw yata ang inspirasyon ko.
Alam ko makulit akong bata at medyo pasaway minsan. Kung nagging magkapitbahay siguro tayo noon magiging matalik tayong magkaibigan at kalaro. Sabay siguro tayong gagawa ng mga paminsan-minsang kalokohan. Pinapalo nga ako ng magulang ko, pero alam ko na kaya ginagawa nila ‘yon kasi mahal nila ako. Ikaw, makulit ka rin ba tulad ko? Paano ba kayo dinidisiplina ng mga magulang mo? Kung ang mama ko nga halos maubusan ng boses pagsesermon sa aming pitong magkakapatid, kayo pa kaya na sampu. Pero alam kong pinalaki ka ng tama ng mga magulang mo dahil sa mga kahanga-hangang ugali na ipinakita mo noong ikaw ay buhay pa na nararapat lamang na tularan. Ganoon din ang gusto ng mga magulang ko na mangyari sa amin na lumaki kaming may takot sa Diyos at maging mabuting mamamayan.
Minsan sinusubok din ang aming samahan. May pagkakataong nag-aaway ang Papa at kuya ko na humantong sa paglalayas ng kuya na ikinalungkot ko ng labis. Pinapanalangin ko na lang na nasa mabuting kalagayan siya ngayon. Paano po ba ninyo nalalagpasan ang mga pagsubok? Nalaman ko na labing-isang taong gulang ka pa lang nang hulihin ang nanay mo na wala namang kasalanan at pinalakad ng halos limampung kilometro. Tiyak na nag-iiyak kayong magkakapatid noon. Sino bang anak ang makakatiis na makitang pinahihirapan ang ina? Pero sigurado akong ang nangyari sa iyo ang pinakamasakit sa pamilya mo. Kung isa ako sa iyong mga kapatid noon, hindi ko siguro makayanang makita ka sa bilangguan na kinukulong na walang sala. At ang pagbaril sa iyo sa Luneta ay ang pinakamasakit. Ngunit alam kong naiintindihan nila ang layunin mong maipagtanggol ang bayan at tiyak kong ipinagmamalaki ka nila.
Minsan nga gusto ko nang sumuko sa buhay pero kailangan kong maging matatag para sa pamilya ko. Nahihirapan ka rin ba tulad ko? Alam kong kinaya mo lahat, kung ang buong bansa nga ay nakaya mong ipagtanggol, pamilya mo pa kaya! Ngunit alam kong gagawin mo pa rin ito sa mapayapang paraan. May mga pagkakataong naitanong ko sa aking sarili, kung naranasan ko kaya ang parehong kalupitan, magagawa ko kayang tumugon sa paraang mapapakinabangan ako ng buong bansa? Ngunit hindi ka nagpadaig bumangon at nanindigan ka sa mapayapang paraan kahit na ang kamatayan ang kabayaran. Buong-puso mo itong tinanggap. Sana maging tulad mo ako na matatag hindi sumusuko at patuloy na mananalig na balang araw magiging maganda rin ang buhay.
Lubos na gumagalang,
Doctora Doña Victorina de los Reyes de De Espadaña. Even her name itself has pomp and frills written all over it. Meet Rizal’s effusive and self-proclaimed doña from Noli Me Tangere who instantly caught my attention with her abundance of frills and comical dialogue. As amusing as I found her, I soon realized that her character had a greater purpose than to provide a satirical image of a vain woman. Like any character of Rizal’s, I realized that she served to teach us something about our society. Reading from this perspective, I understood how Rizal used Victorina as a way to see our own flaws and work past them.
From the very start, it’s easy to see that Doña Victorina is all about appearances. She is constantly described as wearing a European dress, beset with plenty of curls and painted with an abundance of cosmetics. This show of appearances, though, is more than just proof of her shallow nature but also shows how obsessed Victorina is when it comes to achieving prestige and admiration. It is perhaps this obsession that fuels her life-long efforts to pretend to be something she’s not: a Spanish woman. A Filipino by birth, Doña Victorina is a woman who easily abandons her true identity for one that will get her to a higher place in life. A domineering person, she’s committed to do anything to gain esteem, even intimidating her husband to improve their social standing by lying about his profession. Victorina easily turns her back on her own people, caring nothing for the fact that she now becomes one of their abusers.
It’s east to see how someone like Doña Victorina became the type of person she is. She did, after all, live in a time where being a native of the Philippines, or “Indio,” made you automatically inferior to the Spanish colonizers. She saw that she would get none of the prestige she desired unless she became of those who were on top. Truthfully, I believe that her way of seeing things isn’t something that she can completely be blamed for. During that time, it was something almost everyone believed as they witnessed how the Spanish controlled every aspect of life and how they were more prosperous as a nation. Even Rizal acknowledged that we Filipinos had much to learn from our colonizers. Victorina, though, took this belief to a point where she rejected her heritage. This, Rizal shows us, is what really makes Victorina corrupted: the fact that she knowingly turned her back on her country for her selfish ambitions.
Clearly, Doña Victorina’s purpose is to show us that it’s easy for anyone to be consumed by ambition. Victorina, the consummate “social climber,” embodies that people would do anything to get attention, or respect. Despite the time gap between our society and Rizal’s, these people are still present today. They are the same people who tear each other apart, trying to come out on top in terms of fame or influence or those politicians who proclaim their good deeds to earn the approval and support of the public. Doña Victorina as a social climber contributed nothing to her society, just as the social climbers of today do nothing to help our present society as they clamber over each other to reach the highest pedestal.
I admit that at some point in my life, I worked to earn the approval of others too for self-importance. Rizal teaches us as we read about Victorina’s shallow desires that there is a difference in appearing great and being truly great as a person, and that respect earned through petty, shallow means isn’t worth earning at all. What really matters is esteem gained by sincerity, honesty and hard work.
Doña Victorina is also a character who never seems to find security in who she really is. Aside from her denial of her nationality, she constantly covers herself in cosmetics and frills to improve on those appearances she values so greatly. To her, these “improvements” help mask her Filipino identity and help her assume an appearance more like those of the Spanish: pale-skinned, with curly hair. For her, these physical attributes represent her integration into Spanish society. Aren’t these physical traits, after all, the first way people differentiate between our race and theirs? Again, people similar to Victorina in this respect are still present in our society. Dissatisfied with their true identities, these people conform to the traits most desired by the majority, or those they believe are superior to their own. Today, people use treatments like glutathione to whiten their skin, still believing that pale skin makes one more attractive. Often, people also undergo treatments for their hair, to make it straighter, curlier or even a lighter color. Like Victorina, being unsatisfied with appearances could represent a deeper source of discontent: unhappiness with one’s heritage.
Rizal describes Doña Victorina as an example of how one can forget the value of nationalism. Of course, every nation has its flaws and it’s only realistic to acknowledge them. Currently, though, many of us Filipinos are growing more dissatisfied with the situation in our country. Tragedies like typhoon Ondoy and the Maguindanao Massacre have scarred many, along with rampant corruption, poverty and violence. This dissatisfaction tears away at the love and pride we have for the Philippines, prompting us to look for better horizons elsewhere until we have completely turned our backs on our homeland.
Sometimes, it isn’t for the same selfish reasons as Doña Victorina’s. 11% of Filipinos, for example, leave the country as overseas Filipino workers in hopes of finding a secure future for themselves and their families. It’s not out of hatred for the Philippines, but because our country’s many flaws make some people feel that they have to leave it behind in order to move forward. Frequently, though, it also originates from colonial mentality. It’s something most of us have in common with the Filipinos of Rizal’s time, who were made to believe that they were inferior to those who ruled over them. Today, we are no longer colonized but we have terms like “first world countries” and “third world countries” that emphasize the big difference between economically progressive nations and developing nations like ours. These imply and influence us to think that no matter what we do, these powerful countries will always be better in every aspect. Whether it’s the quality of products they produce, the sturdiness of their infrastructure, or the distinctiveness of their culture, we Filipinos automatically assume that these more prosperous countries are better than the Philippines. In attaching a sense of inferiority to the word “Filipino,” we kill our own opportunities for growth by assuming that we can never become greater as a nation.
In his time, Rizal saw this notion of inferiority as the same thing that hindered the potential we had as a nation. Through Victorina, he wanted to show the Filipinos in his society that the only way they could rise above oppression was to embrace their national identity. In the same way, Rizal shows us that we will remain enslaved by our country’s present problems and our colonial mentality if we can’t find enough pride and love to make the Philippines the better place we desire. Through Victorina, Rizal asks us all a crucial question: if even we can’t stay in our own country and work for its growth, who else will bother to make the difference?
In the form of Doña Victorina’s greed and superficiality, I learned the harm that yearning for undeserved respect can bring to me and everyone around me. I realized I should concentrate on doing what I can for my community instead of what I can gain. Most importantly, through Doña Victorina’s colonial mentality, I learned what nationalism really means. It means to embrace your country’s flaws to be able to work towards progress and growth; to see that there is something better out there, and using that knowledge, to help your country instead of giving up on it. Rizal showed me that I too can help make the Philippines greater, even if it’s just by studying well and equipping myself with knowledge I can use to help my country in the future.
Looking back at Noli Me Tangere, I can say I’m glad Doña Victorina caught my interest so strongly. In telling me a story of a Filipina who held no love for her country, Rizal renewed my sense of nationalism and armed me with knowledge and insight Doña Victorina will never gain. He inspired me with his novel to be proud of the heritage Victorina denied and to make myself a better person by becoming a better Filipina. A timeless teacher, Rizal’s lessons for us Filipinos are something we will always need. Just as he did the people of his time, he will always serve to open our minds and to push us to become the change the Philippines truly needs.
MyRizal – F
It was said that you could hear her howling in the night, beneath the hushed whispers of tenebrous forestry, the still enigma of the once raging rivers. Rizal described her as having a voice inhuman, with tones that only an unspeakable lunacy could produce. She chatted loquaciously with tree and other creatures of nature, neglected caring for herself, and incessantly but futilely searching for her two lost sons. Sisa, stereotyped as a nutcase among most Filipinos, with her famous line “Crispin?,,, Basilio?!…” used widely to depict madness in schools, TV shows, and stand-up comedy acts, forced into becoming a one-dimensional character, was not always like this. She once epitomized beauty in its true essence. Waterfalls of ebony strands cascading from a thick mane of hair. Eyes deep as a trench, profound as a sage. Golden skin, slightly burned, scintillating against the scorching heat. She was illiterate, but a hard worker. Her humility was admirable, however gullible it made her. Yet, she made the mistake of marrying an abusive inebriate with a compulsive need to gamble and who could not care less about her or their sons. Her children, Crispin and Basilio, both forced to work in surly environments, kept her on her feet. They kept her holding on to that tenuous line between sanity and insanity. She remained strong, carved a smile on her face, nodded at every peremptory order her husband gave her, all because she fought to keep her sons with her. Upon losing her sons, however, she lost everything else, including her mind. Worn from the despotic society that had rejected her because of the sin of her marriage into poverty, worn from life that was not life at all, worn as a broken shoe that had gone so many places, seen so many resplendent sights, but had brought home nothing but despondency and sheer despair, she became an object of both scorn and pity in her town. She wanders into the forest, haunted by thoughts that can never, ever be still: mixed-up images, Basilio, Crispin, Crispin, Basilio, flashes of life and death before her eyes, humming of woeful melodies in her ear, the hypocrisy of the church, the lies, the sins, hunger, being thrown against the unfeeling wooden floor, thirst, blood on Basilio’s camisa, Basilio, Crispin… In the end, I came to the realization that Sisa lost her mind, not because she was weak, not because her frailty had gotten the best of her, but because she was exhausted.
The principles I, as a daughter, a student, and a Filipino youth, can learn from Sisa can all be summed up in one overused but meaningful word: hope. Wait. Am I not contradicting myself? Didn’t I just paint a picture of Sisa marred with gaunt hopelessness shoved down her throat by barbaric life? Her story does not end with this picture. Before she died, after living a difficult, eventful life, she was able to pass away in Basilio’s arms. That scene, a sight that would have left a Caucasian boy in and out of rehab or an Asian girl wasting away having short-lived affairs with countless men, left Basilio with hope barely – but still – prevailing over despair. He went on to be a top student at his university, married a beautiful young wife, and earned himself a good job and a high rank in society, despite being an indio. You see, Rizal did not spin together the vivid threads of Sisa’s character to garner pity from his readers. Rather, he created Sisa to remind us of the plight of our motherland, and Basilio to remind us of what we can – or rather, should – do. Sisa was severely abused because she knew no more than to stay silent as each blow from her husband clashed against her cheek, against her nearly emaciated body, because she was defenseless as she felt she had nowhere else to go, because she thought that remaining obsequious to her abuser was the only way she and her children could survive. What his mother endured taught Basilio that he was to rise above those principles. That he was to excel and not to fear beating even his white classmates, for he had the right to do so. Sisa teaches us that though we face cruelty, starvation and penury, even with our sanity signing its death sentence, there is always a reason for hope. We only need to find it within.
Sisa embodies the Philippines. Tired. Abandoned. Hopeless. Perceived by the world as terminally mad, shunned and maltreated with much vehemence even by those who claim to love her. But I, I strive to be Basilio. The only difference is that my mother, the Philippines, is still alive. I have the chance to redeem her before she completely dives into her demise. She is counting on me. She is counting on me to rebuild her walls, reclaim her glory, bring back the beauty she has never lost, but is claimed to have. She is counting on me not to bypass her, even when everyone else has. Her forlorn state is not irreparable. That with hard work, perseverance, sweat, and with the words I weave, the words stained with the pain that comes with sacrificing for and loving my desolate Philippines, I can redeem her name. She has put hope in me, and I refuse to put that hope to waste. My youth may prevent others from listening to me, for they will challenge my wisdom and view my principles as baseless idealism. But words I will not speak. Words have gotten us nowhere. It is evident in our society. If anything, words have annihilated certain aspects of our being. No, I will study hard and excel in whatever I do. I will compete with my fellow Filipinos, and working hard enough, I dream of competing with students of various races and languages. I will win in the international arena, but all the while keeping myself from swelling with pride, for at the back of my mind are the cries of my motherland, her cries for salvation from the ignoble reputation she has for so long had to put up with, from physical and spiritual impoverishment. My efforts, my achievements, and even my lifelong goals are not for my own renown, but to exude the steadfast strength of the Filipino soul. Trials, prejudice, challenges, come what may; my Filipino soul will not be swayed, shattered or broken. I will stand strong. I will keep true to my word. I am willing to forger my selfish desires to live only for myself, to do only what I please, for my motherland is weeping and I long to see the day when the light of a new day will dawn upon her and wash her tears away.
Do you not hear her suppurating wildly in the night? Do you not hear her footsteps as she trudges along a path filled with utter misery and bleakness in the day? Despite this, there is still hope in her. Hope in the youth. Do we, once and for all, decide to mutilate and slaughter that hope? Or do we take it upon ourselves, not as a burden, but as an act of love towards our motherland? The Philippines awaits our decision.
In Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, Elias was a man who was very crucial to how the plot unfolded.
Elias had a very gruesome past, his grandfather was accused of arson and was condemned, and he eventually committed suicide. His grandmother was also sought by the civil guards for not reporting the said incident. So she decided to escape. Elias’ father fell in love with a woman at Tayabas but then, they were not able to marry each other. But they had two children, and one of them was Elias.
Elias was a strong and loyal man. His loyalty was for both Crisostomo and the motherland. He devoted the last moments of his life to save the life of the person whom he believed was the only hope for the Filipinos to liberate themselves from their poor condition.
Elias was principled. Even when he discovered that an ancestor of Crisostomo Ibarra was responsible for the eradication of his ancestors, he was still able to maintain his composure and prevented himself from taking the life of Crisostomo.
Today’s world has leaders and servants, bosses and employees, lords and squires. The first can never survive without the latter. In the same sense, Don Crisostomo Ibarra would never have been able to escape and continue to live but for the vital role Elias played. Crisostomo, the main character, escaped from prison through the help of Elias. They used a small boat to reach their destination; but before they got there, they were pursued by Civil Guards. Elias knew that the Guards were aware that Crisostomo was aboard that boat; but he also presumed that they did not know which among them was the real Crisostomo. So he jumped off the boat and swam. He was able to divert the attention of the Guards to himself thus allowing the main character to escape.
Elias may not be the one who held the most crucial role in the novel, but his role was very essential to the life of Crisostomo. Sometimes, the mission that one has to fulfill in life is not to directly make the world a better place, but to empower, inspire, or challenge someone else who has the true potential to carry on a larger task in this world of ours.
In reality, my function as a student can sometimes be compared to that of a driver of a bus. I am tasked to steer for everybody. This is quite contrary to Elias’ part in the story, but he showed me the sheer importance of those who do not have the lead roles. Elias allowed me to appreciate my peers even if they do not directly take part in my undertakings; they are still able to add value to my life in the way they treat me when we bump into each other, or when we chat for a short period of time, etc. These little things keep me sane; and sanity is very important if you want to prosper.
Elias also made me think twice about trusting people. Considering all the negative elements like thieves and kidnappers that are lurking in our city streets, I have adopted a cynical attitude towards many things. Even if he is just a fictional character, I consider that even if they are tremendously difficult to find, there are still people who are worthy of receiving trust.
In times of distress and disputes throughout the globe, people can’t help but use their brains and brawns for wrongdoing; but Elias was a perfect example of somebody who did not wish to just wreak havoc among his countrymen. He dedicated his capabilities to the betterment of the populace. He wanted to make a contribution in the improvement of society. He made me strengthen my desire to use my skills and talents for the further development of the nation. Indirectly, he made me believe that anything, be it large or small, will have an impact on the nation. So instead of becoming a part of the heavy burden of the country, I’ve been enlightened to contribute for the greater good of our people.
Another rare trait that he had which is hard to find, both in the Noli Me Tangere context and today, is nationalism. Only seldom can you find people who are really willing to lose so much for the sake of their birthplace. Right now, so many people want to know what they can get from the state, whereas it should be the other way around. Our collective efforts are the factors that continue to make our nation great. Oh, what pride it would be to live in a land that is inhabited by people who are bound by their love of country! Elias showed his unwavering devotion to both the Philippines and its people by putting his life in danger for a noble purpose. He knew that the dignity of a nation lies in its people, so he worked to release the Indios from the chains that bound them to slavery, the chains which benefited only those who were from Spain.
He inspires me not just to seek fame and glory, but to look for true happiness, which can be found in hard work and contentment. With this profound motivation, I shall not attach myself to luxuries that only I can enjoy because in doing so, I would no longer partake of the dividends of happiness that are equally divided among those who have less in hand, but more in heart. Everything that can fit inside your fist will not matter if the contents of your heart are hollow.
During the silent moments in which I wrote this piece, I was able to comprehend and absorb the thought that ‘No man is an island.’ Having said that, we must try our hardest to be able to help out in the lives of others because even if we interact with others, yet they do not value us, or worse, even detest us, then the life that we have isn’t worth living. I’ve considered that whether we like it or not, other people will always be part of our lives, so let’s make the most out of it. Why make enemies when you can create friends? But when it comes to your principles, always stick to what you believe in, because that will guide you throughout your life. Nobody has the right to force you to change the foundations upon which you have built your life.
It does not matter if we die a lonely death, what really matters is that we lived a meaningful life. If within the years of our existence, we were able to do something to preserve or improve anything that we love, like our country for example, then our lives would not have been wasted.
When we die, a gravestone shall be placed above our graves. It shall indicate the date of our birth and the date of our death, but are you aware which part of the gravestone is the most important? It is the dash carefully placed between the dates of birth and death. It is because that small line represents all the years that you’ve spent alive on earth. Make your dash meaningful and live a blissful life.
“Illustrados” – this was how the learned Filipinos were called during the Spanish regime in the Philippines. The term was very appropriate then and is until now; for education indeed gives “luster” to one’s personality. Education promises brilliance to one’s future because once the “illustrado” is enlightened, he thus gains wisdom. He finds ways towards success.
This perhaps was the main reason why the great Jose Protacio Rizal chose an educated man to be the main character in his immortal novel, the Noli Me Tangere. The main character’s family firmly believed in the value of education. The father himself was learned and he even sent his son to different lands to study. The Spanish friars, too, believed in the power of education to liberate people from ignorance, from poverty, from hopelessness, from slavery and from indignity. Therefore, a friar devised ways by which he could literally kill the educated Filipino. It is only in death that finally education can be stopped from working wonders, so the friars believed. But it proved otherwise.
The father was murdered, his body wasted and lost, but the son returned from other lands after pursuing higher learning.
Embedded in him was the desire to help his countrymen belittled by tyrants. He worked hard to establish a school—the symbol of redemption. He knew that getting educated would empower his people. He could have just chosen other means like armed rebellion, but he did not. He knew all along that armed uprisings wouldn’t be enough and wouldn’t be an assurance to help his people.
Rizal’s hero in the novel stood by the principle that his people needed to know and learn about many different things. They needed to discover their potentials and develop their skills; they needed to equip themselves with the ability to stand up for their rights so that they may demand freedom later on after proving themselves competent and knowledgeable in running their own affairs.
Yes, the “illustrado” acknowledges that to be eloquent in defending one’s self, one’s country and one’s sovereignty, a person should have a constant flow of wisdom. The person must not be without substantial ideas with which to attain those goals.
The main character’s exchanges of ideas with the other personalities in the novel manifested refinement in speech and actions. His wisdom was further revealed in his capacity to address conflicts that came his way. His thoughts were deep, his emotions contained, and his regard towards others reasonable and just. He showed a great understanding of the society he immersed himself in. He found the ills in it and decided that positive changes could happen only if he educated his people.
It is in this context that I do my best to educate myself. I believe that the cancers of the society of yesteryears still prevail. There is still injustice in our country, there is still indifference, there is still poverty, and there is still a lot to learn. Thus, the hero’s advocacy on education becomes also my own.
It is undeniable that while the government, the church, and well-meaning foundations and non-governmental organizations promote the welfare of the Filipino people, there are still many societal problems that need to be addressed.
A deep understanding of the absence of peace in some areas in the country reveals that the country is divided because of the different ideologies among our people. Intolerance of different cultural values is also manifested. There is still the big gap between the rich and the poor. Most people experience injustice as truth can be twisted in favor of the chosen few. Our own indifference to issues affects how we resolve problems in the community. We become passive observers and thus ineffective parts of the solution.
The people bemoan poverty. The number of people going hungry grows each day because many can no longer afford decent meals three times a day. Then poverty breeds other problems. One of these is the increasing crime rate against life and property. Some criminals claim that they are forced to violate the law because they are poor and they need money for their respective family’s needs.
Therefore, we see morality deteriorating. Our values weaken. Our self-esteem as a people declines. Our trust in the capacity of our society to rise from the rubble keeps diminishing.
Many among us go to other lands. They are hoping to find fulfillment of their dreams there. Some even submit to indignities so that they can earn enough to support their families.
As always, it is education which we see as a potent force against the prevailing ills in our society today. We all believe that each one among us should strengthen our spirituality, should acquire wisdom, and should develop desirable goals which will lead to productive activities. We need to make our physical bodies healthy and able to perform our responsibilities and uphold our rights as individuals and as significant parts of our society. We need to understand and to take control of our emotions so that we will know how to relate with people and how to forge friendships and linkages.
“Education For All” is therefore promoted by the state, particularly the Department of Education. It aims to maximize access to education by the general public. The state affirms that only through this can we lessen the burdens of society. If people will achieve understanding of every element that affects them individually and as parts of bigger groups and communities, they can recognize and perform their roles in society to the maximum level possible. If people gained wisdom, they can act within the bounds of reason and can likewise empathize with others.
Like the novel’s main character, I am pursuing my studies. I read a lot and I am active in school activities. I join many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. I even go out of my way to help my schoolmates realize how valuable education is.
My dedication to this belief and advocacy can be gleaned also in how I carefully do my school assignments, how religious I am in keeping my school journals, and how eloquent I try to be when asked to share ideas. I also never restrain myself from asking questions, and from seeking help and assistance from others.
I know I can become productive, as a person and as a part of this generation and future generations, if I acquired an education which I can meaningfully use for this purpose. This is what motivates me to keep going despite the many challenges I face.
The inspiration that our hero gave us also continues to light my every step. The “illustrado” lives in my heart and in my mind. The brilliance of his wisdom is like a beacon that guides me to where success is.
Indeed, I feel that the hero is still alive in every person whose mind is thirsty for knowledge and whose heart is filled with profound nationalism.
The hero’s gift is immortal; his advocacy continues; his part in our lives is eternal. If these were not so, how could his greatness and his legacy still live in all of us after a century and a half?
Originally Posted at 06:42 pm | Friday, Nov. 25, 20011
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TAGS: Education, Essay writing, Jose Rizal, Learning, myrizal, papremyo rizal
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Ano ang CLIMATE CHANGE?
Ang climate change ay ang pagbabago ng klima o panahon dahil sa pagtaas ng mg greenhouse gases na nagpapainit sa mundo. Nagdudulot ito ng mga sakuna kagaya ng heatwave, baha at tagtuyot na maaaring magdulot ng pagkakasakit o pagkamatay. Kapag tumaas ang temperatura ng mundo, dadami ang mga sakit kagaya ng dengue, diarrhea, malnutrisyon at iba pa.
Sanhi ng CLIMATE CHANGE
Ayon sa pag-aaral, ang dalawang sanhi ng climate change ay ang:
1. Natural na pagbabago ng klima ng buong mundo nitong mga nagdaang matagal na panahon. Ito ay sama-samang epekto ng enerhiya mula sa araw, sa pag-ikot ng mundo, at sa init na nagmumula sa ilalim ng lupa na nagpapataas ng temperatura o init sa hangin na bumabalot sa mundo.
2. Mga gawain ng tao na nagbubunga ng pagdami o pagtaas ng carbon dioxide at iba pang greenhouse gases )GHGs). ANg GHGs ang nagkukulong ng init sa mundo. Ang pagbuga ng carbon dioxide ng mga sasakyang gumagamit ng gasolina, ang pagputol ng mga puno na siya sanang mag-aalis ng carbon dioxide sa hangin, at pagkabulok ng mga bagay na organic na nagbubunga ng methane (isa pang uri ng GHGs) ay ilan sa mga dahilan ng climate change.
Epektong Pangkalusugan ng CLIMATE CHANGE
Mga epekto sa tao ng matinding init, tagtuyot at bagyo.
- Pagtaas ng bilang ng kaso ng mga sakit na:
- Dala ng tubig o pagkain tulad ng choler at iba pang sakit na may pagtatae.
- Dala ng insekto tulad ng lamok )malaria at dengue) at ng daga (Leptospirosis).
Dulot ng polusyon (allergy)
- Malnutrisyon at epektong panglipunan dulot ng pagkasira ng mga komunidad at pangkabuhayan nito.