When I was teaching English, Literature and History in high school at the old Ateneo de Manila in the fifties before it became a university, I had often wondered why all the national heroes in history books were all from Luzon, and not one mentioned as being from the Visayas and Mindanao, Santa Banana!
I found the answer when I realized that all the historians writing Philippine history books were all from Luzon.
It’s for this reason that when Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed Bill 1461 or the Mindanao Heroes Declaration Act wanting 12 Mindanao revolutionary heroes declared as national heroes I decided to support his bill.
There is really a great need to correct the serious error that only those from Luzon should be written in Philippine history books.
Yes, there was one historical figure mentioned, that was Lapu Lapu, the island chieftain from Mactan.
Chief Lapu Lapu is credited to have killed the person who discovered the Philippines for Europe, Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan who sailed under the flag of Spain.
The bill of Rodriguez declared that no less than 12 Mindanaons and Visayans be made national heroes for leading the Filipinos’ fight against Spanish and American colonizers.
Sadly, there is no hint of these Mindanao heroes in history books who fought valiantly against Spanish and American colonizers.
House Bill 1461 mentions the 12 Mindanao heroes as the following :
General Nicolas Capistrano
Captain Vicente Roa
General Vicente Alvarez
A Big Job for PHC
Since this is a big job for the Philippine Historical Committee to correct the great error listing only the national heroes from Luzon in history books, I urge the PHC to push for the enactment of House Bill 1461, declaring the listed Mindanao heroes mentioned in the Philippine history books for the benefit of future generations to learn about national heroes from other parts of the archipelago.
And, my gulay, for the PHC to undertake studies on how these national heroes sacrificed themselves for the sake of the country.
I am married to the former Trinidad “Nining” Kapunan Capistrano whose grandfather was General Nicolas Capistrano of Cagayan de Oro.
I was able to get hold of a rather lengthy book written by a Jesuit, Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio, on the historical background of Mindanao heroes where the grandfather of my wife, General Nicolas Capistrano, was mentioned, and how he defended CDO from the Spanish and American colonizers, Santa Banana!
I take pride in having married a granddaughter of a Minanaoan hero.
To validate the heroism of my wife’s grandfather, there’s a street in CDO named General Nicolas Capistrano .
I believe Congressman Rodriguez should push through with his bill declaring the 12 Mindanaoans mentioned as national heroes to authenticate history, my gulay.
It’s time future generations also believed that aside from the national heroes from Luzon, there were also national heroes from Mindanao, some of whom were also Muslims, like Datu Uta, Datu Ali and Amai Pakpak.
My readings from the book “The Local Historical Sources of Northern Mindanao” by Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio, S.J. about its Mindanao heroes show that their contributions against Spanish and American colonizers were many and numerous.
These heroes, like General Capistrano, repelled the American colonizers from taking over CDO.
Likewise, history told us that were it not for the heroism of the heroes from Mindanao, the Spanish and American colonizers would have also totally colonized Mindanao.
There were records showing the Muslims in Mindanao were never colonized.
It’s for these reasons that Mindanao was not totally colonized by foreign colonizers and the Muslims never really considered themselves part of the Philippines.
That’s the reason there are efforts by the Muslims to separate from the republic.
It would do well for well-known legislators from Mindanao and the Visayas, particularly Vice President Sara Duterte, who is also Education secretary, to push for the Philippine Historical Commission to undertake a research to have the 12 heroes from these regions for the sake of history.
In the Senate, there are Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa , and of course Senate President Migz Zuburi.
I am certain that there are more heroes from the Visayas and Mindanao.
I don’t know much about the history of Mindanao except some bits and pieces I have read and told to me by friends from Mindanao, Santa Banana.
It’s a fact the Muslims were never colonized.
But, somehow, the Spanish colonizers were able to colonize the area of Zamboanga City where they built a fortress called Fort Pilar to ward off the Muslim pirates who frequently harassed the colonizers.
When the Americans came, they also occupied Zamboanga City.
The Americans tried to take over the Muslim areas but failed because the Muslims were fierce.
Recall that General Pershing had to have the 45 caliber automatic pistol invented because the “juramentados” could not be stopped by the ordinary handgun.
I also knew the Spanish-sounding names of the Filipinos who came from Zamboanga were because of the dialect “Chavacano” which was derived from a corrupted Spanish with a mixture of local Visaya.
It is for this reason the basic dialect in Cavite was a mixture of Tagalog and Spanish verbs because the Spanish colonizers preferred to stay in Cavite which was also a fort at that time.
The people who became billionaires in Mindanao were mostly immigrants from the Visayas and Luzon.
The Americans, too, made billions in Mindanao, like the Del Monte pineapple plantation in Bukidnon.
The Japanese also have a steel plant in Cagayan de Oro — the Kawasaki steel plant.
Many of the logging, timber and plywood enterprises owned by immigrants also flourished in Mindanao.
In Davao City, the Garcias and the Floirendos were immigrants.
That’s as far as I know from my readings or told to me by people in Mindanao.
It is also for this reason why the Philippine Historical Commission should undertake a research on the Visayas and Mindanao since it is unfortunate that history books do not tell us much of the Visayas and Mindanao, my gulay.
It’s for these reasons why I believe President Marcos Jr. should push for the PHC to undertake a research not only on heroes of the Visayas and Mindanao, but to detail what happened to those forgotten regions of the Philippines.