Post(s) tagged with "a question of heroes"

Goyo’s Battle

It seems like the Pearl of the Orient has a tough time dealing with her neighbors.

Just a few weeks ago, the authorities gave us a warning about the possibility of danger from a falling debris from a North Korean rocket. As a precaution, the authorities have issued a no-fly and no-fishing zones at the concerned areas. They also warned the people to stay indoors on the possible time of the rocket launch and nnot to touch any suspected debris from the rocket.

Some analysts and critics said that North Korea chose us to be the rocket’s debris’ falling area because we don’t have the capacity to shoot down that rocket if anything goes wrong. And the rocket cannot fly over the air space of Japan and South Korea - the two countries which are not in good terms with North Korea.

And it looks like the bullying (if you may permit) against the Pearl of the Orient is not yet over.

Last April 8, a Philippine Navy surveillance plane caught eight Chinese fishing boats anchored at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, which, according to the DFA, is part of the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, a territory of the Philippines. To protect the country’s marine environment and resources and to assert our sovereignty, the Philippine Navy deployed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), the Philippine Navy’s largest ship, from Palawan to Northern Luzon to conduct maritime patrol over the Shoal.


GOTCHA! Filipino soldiers board a Chinese fishing vessel loaded with giant clam shells, corals and live sharks. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO FROM NOLCOM (via inquirer.net)

The PF-15 confirmed thee presence of eight Chinese vessels and in accordance to the established rules of engagement, dispatched a team to inspect the vessels and collect photos of the evidence of their catch. The team reported large amount of illegally collected corals, giant clams, and live sharks. And to add insult to the injury, the PF-15 reported that two Chinese maritime surveillance ships identified as Zhonggou Haijian 75 and Zhonggou Haijian 84 managed to sail to the mouth of the shoal, placing themselves between PF-15 and the eight Chinese fishing vessels, thus preventing the arrest of the Chinese fishermen.

The Chinese embassy in Manila asserted that the disputed area, including the area nearer to the Philippines, as their territory. In a statement, it also “urged the Philippine side to stop immediately their illegal activities and leave this area”.

Our largest battleship, Gregorio del Pilar, was stopped by two Chinese maritime surveillance ships. As of writing, the Philippine Navy has dispatched a second ship to the Shoal and authorities are trying to resolve this in a peaceful and diplomatic manner.


A view of Chinese surveillance ships in a standoff with a Philippine warship on the Scarborough Shoal after eight Chinese fishing boats were caught poaching in the disputed territory. The photo was presented by Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, flag officer-in-command, during a press briefing Wednesday April 11, 2012, at the Department of Foreign Affairs. PHILIPPINE NAVY HANDOUT (via inquirer.net)

I have already written about BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the dispute at the West Philippine Sea in the past. I have always wished that things would end in a peaceful and diplomatic manner - without compromising our territory and sovereignty. I have always viewed this as a David and Goliath battle. Is our largest battleship enough to patrol and secure our waters? Is he enough to defend our country and her people? It may appear virtually impossible.

I have always wondered why they chose Gregorio del Pilar as the name of this warship. According to my research (AKA google-ing), there were three (3) choices for this former USCGC Hamilton - BRP Lapu-Lapu, BRP Jose Torres Bugalon, and BRP Gregorio del Pilar. The panel ultimately confirmed the name Gregorio del Pilar in honor of the young general.

But who is General Gregorio del Pilar or Goyo? I only remember two things about Goyo based on the Philippine history that was taught to me in school - 1. he’s a young general and 2. he’s the hero of the Battle of Tirad Pass. His name and his heroism was also immortalized by some of these memorials: The Philippine Military Academy, Ford del Pilar, was named after him; the Municipality of Concepcion, IlocosSur was named after him; his life was featured on a 1995 movie tirad Pass: The Last Stand of Gregorio del Pilar with Romnick Sarmienta; and our country’s biggest warship (to date) was named after him. He will be forever remembered as the defender of Tirad Pass, as someone who let General Miong escape from the Americans. A hero. Or was he?


Clipping from Pilipino Reporter Magazine dated June 21, 1996 (via pelikulaatbp.blogspot.com)

As what I have written above, I have a very limited knowledge about the life of General Goyo so I decided to dig deeper. I read a chapter from my book, A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin. The chapter is entitled Is the Hero of Tirad a Hatchetman? and it showcases the story of Goyo that most of us don’t know. It shows the young general’s ascend to rank and power, his relationship with General Emilio Aguinaldo, and what really transpired before and during the Battle of Tirad Pass - and how it turned out to be a disastrous failure.

As most of us know from school, the Battle of Tirad Pass was waged to help General Aguinaldo flee. But that was not the whole story. The “delaying action” of Tirad Pass was nonsense for it helped a man, General Aguinaldo, who didn’t know where he was going to. It was a failure. It was a waste. As Nick Joaquin put it, Gregorio del Pilar’s finest hour was, to use a current cliche, an “exercise in futility”.

I find the other details of Goyo’s life amusing, shocking, and annoying (you may have noticed it if you are following me on Twitter). I will not deal more (lest I spoil) with the other details from the chapter - it’s for you to read and discover. And if there is one thing I learned, it changed my view about the General and it helped me appreciate history more. History should be treated as a learning lesson for us. As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar, our country’s largest and most powerful warship and the great men behind him may have a characteristic similar to General Goyo - brave, respected, and being look up to as a defender. But he can also be like Goyo, a bait, a warrior who may die in vain against the colossal foes at West Philippine Sea. As Manong Johnny Enrile once said, a single torpedo can sink our warship (although he was referring that time to BRP Rajah Humabon, our Navy’s former flagship).

The warship maybe considered as President Aquino’s greatest contribution to the Philippine Navy. But is the warship be just another ‘concealer’ of the alleged inaction of the President? Will it just be the last beacon of hope for our helplessness? Or will it be just a useless armada against the strong enemy? Will it be a Gregorio del Pilar to Emilio Aguinaldo? President Aquino has been criticized as just being a man of pure words with less or no action. As Rina Jimenez David pointed out, “Our President is all bluster and bluff when discussing reported incursions of Chinese vessels, especially those belonging to the Chinese navy. But after making the necessary noises, he usually steps back, calling for a diplomatic solution and more talks between our foreign affairs department and theirs.” But of course, we don’t want war and we want this to be resolved in the most peaceful and diplomatic way.

The tension at Scarborough Shoal has not yet ceased (as of writing. BRP Gregorio del Pilar has been puled out from the area to replenish its supplies and China deployed another ship on the area.) the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Navy are trying their very best to ease the tension and to resolve the problem.

If we firmly believe that that part of the sea is ours, I think it’s time for the Filipino people should stand their ground and express it in their own little way. It is our natural resources that they abuse. It is something that can be beneficial to the Filipino people. We don’t want to lose another territory (just like what happened in the 1960’s when we lose Sabah to Malaysia).

But how can it happen if, at the height of the tension at our territory, most of our countrymen (especially those with access to Twitter and other forms of social media) are glued to the boob tube, giving nitwitted commentaries about a particular show? How can we learn from the mistakes of the past if we ignore the lessons from our history or not care about history at all? How can we stand united to defend our sovereignty if we are too busy with other stuff?

I have always believed that the trending topics on Twitter of a country reflect its citizens’ priority. Based on what I have always seen, in my opinion, we are creating another Gregorio Del Pilars - people who will die in vain from a divided people.

Elsewhere:

Source: juanrepublic

Guilty Pleasures
After a stressful (yet fulfilling) week of facilitating a recollection and retreat to the High School students of Laguna State Polytechnic University last week, I decided to unwind and enjoy ‘the fruit of my labor’ yesterday.
I usually spend my paycheck, honorarium, salary, and stipend on just two things: Books and CDs/records. And here are the stuff that I purchased yesterday to add up to my colection:
The Sherlockian (Graham Moore)
I got addicted to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes after rediscovering it through the BBC series Sherlock. The American version starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is quite okay but the TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made me love the character more. Or shall I say, it made me to be obsessed on Sherlock’s character (my Facebook timeline cover and my Tumblr display photo is Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.)
I first saw this book sometime last January during the time when the second season of Sherlock has just finished. I was looking for good books (read: window shopping) at National Book Store in SM Calamba when I saw this at the new arrival section. Hungry for a new Sherlock material (because the third season is scheduled to premiere on 2013), I decided to download an electronic copy of the book. But because it’s a pain in my eyes to read in front of the computer (I have no tablet nor an eBook reader) and I want a tangible, smelly book, I decided to save some of my earnings and buy this one.
Because I still have books that are scheduled to be read first, I have not yet taken it out from the plastic packaging. But I promise to make a review after I read it.
A Question of Heroes (Nick Joaquin)
I came across this book here on Tumblr. My good Tumblr buddies/idols Sir Nik (@iwriteasiwrite), Sir Kim (@ellobofilipino), Tita Marj (@margoism), Joseph (@brownmonkeytheory), and Myts (@marinjabin) either discuss this book or make this as a reference on their posts. I got curious especially when I learned that this book contains historical accounts/facts which are not discussed in school and it gives a different angle on how we view our heroes.
History is my favorite subject from Elementary to College (even though I suffered from teachers who did not teach history well).  I have been always fascinated with the stories of the past and how it continue to affect and shape the future. But I have been fed with the history of Zaide, Agoncillo, and Constantino in College so, according to what I have learned here, I have a biased and limited approach to history. (It’s funny to think that I have learned more about Philippine history after graduating from College by reading blogs and posts here on Tumblr.) 
I have painstakingly searched for this book for months here in the Laguna-Batangas area but to no avail. But I got my chance yesterday. This is one of the only two copies available on the bookstore (and this has a better condition compared to the other).
Simply put, this is Philippine History which was not taught to us in School.
Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig (Ebe Dancel)
Five months after Sugarfree broke up, its front man and chief songwriter Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist with the title Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig.
But my excitement for the album instantly fade away. It was the height of my, uhm, personal financial crisis. I cannot buy his 350-peso limited edition 2-CD debut album. Yeah, poor me.  I could have just illegally downloaded the songs then but no. I do not want to rob my favorite artist. I do not want to steal from the great man who created the anthems of my College years. Just as I supported his former band by buying their original albums, I must also give my full support for Ebe as a solo artist.
Painful as it was, I just let the months pass by without owning his album. But it was worth the wait. And my money. I have been listening to this album all day and trust me, this will not fail you.
________
I can be described by the Tagalog phrase mababaw ang kaligayahan. I don’t usually buy clothes, gadgets, food, and throw a party at an exclusive club (bitch please) whenever I get my pay check. It always go to books and records. And beer. And coffee. Or a good book over a cup of coffee/bottle of beer with a good music on the background.
I believe that books and music are terapheutic and they will teach you even after you finish school. The good things about reading books and listening to good music have  been repeatedly written and preached in the past. And I won’t dig any further.
Yeah, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can help you own great books and good music which is almost the same, right? Invest on it. And make it a habit.
So the next time you ask me what gift do I want for any (special) occasion, here, you already have a clue.
Nah, I’m just kidding.
But you can take it seriously.
Vaya con Dios!

Guilty Pleasures

After a stressful (yet fulfilling) week of facilitating a recollection and retreat to the High School students of Laguna State Polytechnic University last week, I decided to unwind and enjoy ‘the fruit of my labor’ yesterday.

I usually spend my paycheck, honorarium, salary, and stipend on just two things: Books and CDs/records. And here are the stuff that I purchased yesterday to add up to my colection:

The Sherlockian (Graham Moore)

I got addicted to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes after rediscovering it through the BBC series Sherlock. The American version starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is quite okay but the TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made me love the character more. Or shall I say, it made me to be obsessed on Sherlock’s character (my Facebook timeline cover and my Tumblr display photo is Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.)

I first saw this book sometime last January during the time when the second season of Sherlock has just finished. I was looking for good books (read: window shopping) at National Book Store in SM Calamba when I saw this at the new arrival section. Hungry for a new Sherlock material (because the third season is scheduled to premiere on 2013), I decided to download an electronic copy of the book. But because it’s a pain in my eyes to read in front of the computer (I have no tablet nor an eBook reader) and I want a tangible, smelly book, I decided to save some of my earnings and buy this one.

Because I still have books that are scheduled to be read first, I have not yet taken it out from the plastic packaging. But I promise to make a review after I read it.

A Question of Heroes (Nick Joaquin)

I came across this book here on Tumblr. My good Tumblr buddies/idols Sir Nik (@iwriteasiwrite), Sir Kim (@ellobofilipino), Tita Marj (@margoism), Joseph (@brownmonkeytheory), and Myts (@marinjabin) either discuss this book or make this as a reference on their posts. I got curious especially when I learned that this book contains historical accounts/facts which are not discussed in school and it gives a different angle on how we view our heroes.

History is my favorite subject from Elementary to College (even though I suffered from teachers who did not teach history well).  I have been always fascinated with the stories of the past and how it continue to affect and shape the future. But I have been fed with the history of Zaide, Agoncillo, and Constantino in College so, according to what I have learned here, I have a biased and limited approach to history. (It’s funny to think that I have learned more about Philippine history after graduating from College by reading blogs and posts here on Tumblr.) 

I have painstakingly searched for this book for months here in the Laguna-Batangas area but to no avail. But I got my chance yesterday. This is one of the only two copies available on the bookstore (and this has a better condition compared to the other).

Simply put, this is Philippine History which was not taught to us in School.

Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig (Ebe Dancel)

Five months after Sugarfree broke up, its front man and chief songwriter Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist with the title Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig.

But my excitement for the album instantly fade away. It was the height of my, uhm, personal financial crisis. I cannot buy his 350-peso limited edition 2-CD debut album. Yeah, poor me.  I could have just illegally downloaded the songs then but no. I do not want to rob my favorite artist. I do not want to steal from the great man who created the anthems of my College years. Just as I supported his former band by buying their original albums, I must also give my full support for Ebe as a solo artist.

Painful as it was, I just let the months pass by without owning his album. But it was worth the wait. And my money. I have been listening to this album all day and trust me, this will not fail you.

________

I can be described by the Tagalog phrase mababaw ang kaligayahan. I don’t usually buy clothes, gadgets, food, and throw a party at an exclusive club (bitch please) whenever I get my pay check. It always go to books and records. And beer. And coffee. Or a good book over a cup of coffee/bottle of beer with a good music on the background.

I believe that books and music are terapheutic and they will teach you even after you finish school. The good things about reading books and listening to good music have  been repeatedly written and preached in the past. And I won’t dig any further.

Yeah, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can help you own great books and good music which is almost the same, right? Invest on it. And make it a habit.

So the next time you ask me what gift do I want for any (special) occasion, here, you already have a clue.

Nah, I’m just kidding.

But you can take it seriously.

Vaya con Dios!

Source: juanrepublic


This is a personal blog where rants, raves, and everything in between is written and posted.

About the Blogger: His name is Juan, a frustrated writer who hails from a sauna town at the foot of Mount Makiling. He spends his being an overworked and underpaid High School teacher and being a self-proclaimed superhero who is dreaming and trying to make a difference, one post at a time.

For correspondence, please email me at juanrepublica@gmail.com

You can also find me at these websites:



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