Rediscovering Lizzie’s heritage
"All of us should discover our roots."
March 22, 2019 is the 150th birth anniversary of General and President Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy. This year’s anniversary is marked as Emilio Aguinaldo Day in the whole country, and a special non-working holiday in the province of Cavite. Together with other members of Tunay na Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas Inc., a non-government organization advocating for “no hate history,” I went to the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite to witness the festivities in honor of Heneral Miong’s 150th. Going to this place always makes me feel proud as a Filipino. I like seeing the historic house where many important meetings of revolutionaries transpired, and where our country’s independence was proclaimed. I like seeing the Philippine flags that surround the place flying freely and proudly. The monument of Gen. Aguinaldo on top of a horse as if going to battle is a source of inspiration to always move forward no matter the challenges. Rediscovering Philippine history in the last seven or so years has developed a passion for the past I did not know I have. Rediscovering Gen. Aguinaldo has kindled the desire to know more about our country, our heroes, both known and unknown, and what really transpired during the Philippine revolution from 1896 onwards. Primary and secondary sources on our valiant past are the resources I choose to use in my pursuit of my own roots because most recent historians I have discovered, possess strong biases for or against major revolutionary personalities. Such tend to obscure their accounting of history and does not facilitate a real understanding of our past. Some of these primary and secondary sources are actual records of the revolution, accounts of those who participated and lived it, and materials written by those who were able to speak with the people who were actually involved in the quest for our independence. This interest in history made me realize how little I knew about my own roots, and how wrong many of what little I knew were. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo is a case in point. Like many of my contemporaries, I was rabidly anti-Aguinaldo and pro-Bonifacio. I believed the poison fed to me as a student and carried this until recent years. However, my own inquiry of our past led me to discover the real Emilio Aguinaldo minus the biases and black propaganda thrown his way. I have learned about his most important role in our wars against two powerful countries, Spain and America, his many important contributions to the country, and the CONTEXT within which the tragic deaths of Andres Bonifacio and General Antonio Luna happened. I felt a deep remorse and had to apologize to Hen. Miong. This is not to say that I have turned to become anti-Bonifacio. The Supremo remains a hero to me. What I learned is that our heroes were humans like you and me. As humans, they had their share of weaknesses and committed mistakes. I have learned to appreciate each hero for what s/he gave us, and that certainly, there is no need to pit one against another. Studying history brought me to meet descendants of our heroes like Dr. Jose Rizal, Felipe and Marcela Agoncillo, Hen. Gregorio del Pilar, Gregoria de Jesus, Gliceria Villavicencio, Gen. Ananias Diokno, Leon and Galicano Apacible, Gen. Aguinaldo and a few others. Some of the Aguinaldo descendants have even become my friends.