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A Filipina and Experience in Spain
« on: October 24, 2008, 12:31:11 PM »
I read this blog from a Filipina who has lived in Spain for quite some time, and brought a smile to my face as her experience has been similar to mine, in respect to the understanding of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and his writings of Filipinismo and Identity.

The blog itself:


When I came to Spain in 1982, coincidentally 100 years after Rizal’s arrival, I was as confused as he was. I really didn’t know what being a Filipino meant. I came here, just like many others, in search of a better life. I was 25 years old and a manipulated product of Martial Law. I even thought that it was so embarassing to be a Filipino.

After a few years of staying here, I got to learn the language better and started to get comfortable reading the original works of some of our great countrymen who came here a century ago and made a name for themselves writing with the might of their pens in the language of Cervantes. I also read Spanish authors who wrote about the Philippines. I began to understand better what Marcelo H. del Pilar or Graciano López Jaenawrote.

In 1987, my friends and I produced a theatrical play in honor of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Noli Me Tángere at the Ateneo de Madrid (no relation to the Ateneo of the Jesuits in the Philippines). It was and still is a hangout where intellectuals like Rizal used to come and watch theater, attend conferences and even browse its renowned library. So I thought it was a very appropriate place to present the play. By the way I played the roll of Elías.

After the performance I returned home to the Philippines for the first time. While there, I discovered that Rizal’s letters as well as his diaries had been published for his birth centennial in 1961. I bought the complete set of books in T.M. Kalaw and took them back to Madrid. As I had been working as a translator in Spain, I knew how very easy it was to lose the essence of the Spanish text the moment it was translated by an Ango-Saxon or an American. I resolved to study all of Rizal’s correspondence in the original language.

As I began reading I started to feel that Rizal was talking to me directly across time. I began to regard him as my own older brother in the sense that I started to know his idiosyncracies, hangups, likes, and deficiencies. I started to get to know Rizal a lot better as a person and not that unreachable hero that was presented to me during my student days.

I got to know that he liked bagoong and burong mangga just like me. I was able to see his intellectual growth. I realized how poor he was, that he couldn’t afford to buy his favorite books, and to save money he would surreptitiously drop pieces of paper to mark where he left off reading. It became such a habit that his friends like Máximo Viola would then buy those favorite bookmarked books to give them as a present to him.

Reading his Spanish letters made me understand his pioneering quest for Filipino identity and how he wanted to obtain our true independence–of course through education. This became very clear to me when I read the one ond only speech he gave at Restaurante Inglés in Calle Echegaray in honor of Juan Luna and Felix Resurrección Hidalgo for winning first and third place at the internationally acclaimed Exposición de Bellas Artes de Madrid in 1884. I clearly understood that he saw that our true independence could only come with education. Being able to feel each word of Rizal’s Mí Último Adiós made me understand the essence of his faith that echoed through eternity. I do not think that the true essence of this poem can be translated into any other language.

By knowing Spanish, I believe that I can perfectly understand what Rizal lived for. This doesn’t make me less of a Filipino. I think that by mastering the language, I am a more prepared Filipino. I can communicate with more people and obtain their sympathy for our country. When Spaniards meet me they can see that Filipinos are just like them, not less nor more, but as prepared and knowledgeable as they are. Today, I’m really proud to be a Filipino, especially in Spain!



The location of the actual blog site:
http://www.filipiniana.net:8080/blogsphere/?p=52


Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=15928.0



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