June 12, 2011
In celebration of Philippines Independence Day, there’s only two factors I would like to focus on for my Project 365 series. How I am as Filipino and the historical place of Kawit, Cavite.
How I am as a Filipino or Pinoy makes me stand and proud on how Mr Carlos P Romulo declares and emphasize the True Filipino blood and bravery to achieve freedom and how each Filipinos should fight and protect independence forever! Thanks for the wonderful message Mr. Romulo.
“I Am A Filipino”
by Carlos P. Romulo
I am a Filipino – inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such, I must prove equal to a two-fold task – the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future.
I am sprung from a hardy race – child many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries, the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope – hope in the free abundance of the new land that was to be their home and their children’s forever.
This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation, every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promised a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is a hollowed spot to me.
By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereof – the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wild and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals – the whole of this rich and happy land has been for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them, and in trust will pass it to my children, and so on until the world is no more.
I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes – seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapulapu to battle against the alien foe, that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor,
That seed is immortal. It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gregorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit, that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst forth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malacanang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication.
The seed I bear within me is an immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of my dignity as a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen many thousands of years ago, it shall grow and flower and bear fruit again. It is the insigne of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the unending search of my people for freedom and happiness.
I am a Filipino, child of the marriage of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I am of the East, an eager participant in its struggles for liberation from the imperialist yoke. But I know also that the East must awake from its centuried sleep, shake off the lethargy that has bound its limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits.
For I, too, am of the West, and the vigorous peoples of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet that once were ours. I can no longer live, a being apart from those whose world now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon shot. For no man and no nation is an island, but a part of the main, and there is no longer any East and West – only individuals and nations making those momentous choices that are the hinges upon which history revolves.
At the vanguard of progress in this part of the world I stand – a forlorn figure in the eyes of some, but not one defeated and lost. For through the thick, interlacing branches of habit and custom above me I have seen the light of the sun, and I know that it is good. I have seen the light of justice and equality and freedom, my heart has been lifted by the vision of democracy, and I shall not rest until my land and my people shall have been blessed by these, beyond the power of any man or nation to subvert or destroy.
I am a Filipino, and this is my inheritance. What pledge shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries, and its hall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears when they first saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of the battle cries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan to Tirad Pass, of the voices of my people when they sing:
Land of the morning.
Child of the sun returning . . .
Ne’er shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shore.
Out of the lush green of these seven thousand isles, out of the heart-strings of sixteen million people all vibrating to one song, I shall weave the mighty fabric of my pledge. Out of the songs of the farmers at sunrise when they go to labor in the fields; out the sweat of the hard-bitten pioneers in Mal-ig and Koronadal; out of the silent endurance of stevedores at the piers and the ominous grumbling of peasants in Pampanga; out of the first cries of babies newly born and the lullabies that mothers sing; out of crashing of gears and the whine of turbines in the factories; out of the crunch of ploughs upturning the earth; out of the limitless patience of teachers in the classrooms and doctors in the clinics; out of the tramp of soldiers marching, I shall make the pattern of my pledge:
I am a Filipino born of freedom, and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance – for myself and my children’s – forever.
About Aguinaldo Shrine:
Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite is where the Philippine Independence was declared by General Emilio Aguinaldo, giving birth to the 1st Philippine Republic in June 12, 1898. The shrine is one of the Philippines’ national shrines. It was from a window in this house that the declaration of the Philippine Independence was read. On that same day, June 12 1898, and in that same window, the Philippine flag was first formally waved while the national anthem was being played. It’s a common misconception that the independence was announced on the more recently added balcony at the top façade of the house.
The Aguinaldo shrine holds many secret passages which were actively used during the time of the revolution. However, it wasn’t always like that. Emilio Aguinaldo’s ancestral home came from humble beginnings – the structure built on 1845 was made of thatch and wood. It was reconstructed twice, once on 1849 and another on 1920. The first president was born there, May 22, 1869.
The most visible part of the structure is the triangular section with a tower topped by a spire. The climb to the highest floor constitutes climbing a whopping five flights of stairs plus a ladder. Aguinaldo was said to have a predilection for this tower at the top. The ground floor which used to be un-walled according to the architectural preferences during that time now houses a museum.
Aguinaldo’s bedroom, the grand hall, the conference hall, the kitchen and the dining area and a veranda are all located at the second floor of the house. There is also a bas relief map of the Philippines on the ceiling of the dining room with Cavite being painted red. The third floor has a library featuring a balcony overlooking the grand hall. There is also a corridor on this floor which gives access to the mansion’s eastern wing where the Aguinaldo daughters and their families lived.
The fourth floor is the Ambassador’s Room which was once used by the General’s son-in-law, Ambassador Jose Melencio, as a study. On the fifth floor is Aguinaldo’s other bedroom. It was said that this was where he spent his last years. It has a brass bed and a huge desk. The tiled terrace on this floor provides a view of Manila Bay as well as Cavite’s shores.
It only takes less than two hours to get from Manila to the historic province of Cavite. So if ever you get the urge to take a trip across time, you might want to try one of the most importance places in this country’s history; Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite.
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