Thursday, January 27, 2011
Pasyon and Revolution, unlike earlier Philippine historical writings that use largely the Filipino educated elite's categories of meaning, seeks to interpret Philippine popular movements in terms of perceptions of the masses themselves. Ileto submits to varied kinds of analyses standard documents as well as such previously ignored sources as folk songs, poems, and religious traditions, in order to articulate hidden or suppressed features of the thinking of the masses. Paramount among the conclusions of the book is that the pasyon, or native account of Christ's life, death and resurrection, provided the cultural framework of movements for change. The book places the Philippine revolution in the context of native traditions, and explains the persistence of radial peasant brotherhoods in this century. Seen as continuous attempts by the masses to transform the world in their terms are the various movements that the book analyzes - Apolinario de la Cruz's Cofradia de San Jose, Andres Bonifacio's Katipunan, Macario Sakay's Katipunan, Felipe Salvador's Santa Iglesia, the Colorum Society, and other popular movements during the Spanish, revolutionary, and American colonial periods.
A further interesting dimension of this literature on peasant social movements is the scope it provides for writing "history from below" in my view. Iletos excellent examination of the Philippine peasantrys experience of Holy Week and the meaning of the "pasyon" gives us local perspectives and details on peasant protest.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
by José Rizal
In more than a century since its appearance, José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere has become widely known as the great novel of the Philippines. A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, “The Noli,” as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience—and martyr—for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province.
Noli Me Tangere was Rizal's first novel. He was 26 years old at the time of its publication. The work was historically significant and was instrumental in the establishing of the Filipino sense of national identity. The book indirectly influenced a revolution although the author actually advocated direct representation to the Spanish government and a larger role for the Philippines within Spain's political affairs.
José Rizal (1861—1896) is known as the hero of the Philippines and the greatest champion of Filipino nationalism and independence. He angered the Spanish authorities with Noli Me Tangere and its sequel and was executed.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Aguilar’s book is a wide-ranging study of the rise of sugar haciendas and the sugar-planter class from the Spanish through the American colonial periods. It is rich in detail that ranges from the anecdotal to the statistical, derived from archival materials in the Philippines, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom; from published scholarship; and from fieldwork involving key-informant interviews, observation of rituals, and documentation of folklore. The analysis is in two parts: the first a reconstruction of the history of the Visayan Islands under Spanish colonial rule from the late sixteenth century to 1855, when the sugar economy was established; and the second an eclectic and complex account of power and hegemonic formations surrounding the sugar-planter class since 1855. The rich material is organized around the author’s well-defined theoretical positions: that the social structure is essentially fluid; that political economy is intrinsically and dialectically intertwined with culture; and that the relationship between structure and agent is mutually determining and dialectical.
We read about indigenous indios, Chinese, Chinese mestizos, waves of Augustinian and then Franciscan friars, foreign merchants, and representatives of the colonial state, all intermingling in a complex society that cannot be straightforwardly explained in terms of simple power relations. In different situations and historical circumstances, each social category possesses and utilizes varying levels of economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital. The study examines the transformation and shifting fortunes of each social category over time and in response to external circumstances. The mestizo sugar-planter class, for example, appears quite weak in relation to a scarce indio labor force under the “neutral” Spanish colonials, but during American colonialism becomes a powerful socio-economic force whose dominance is later subject to the influx of foreign capital and technology.
Aguilar employs the cockfight, a prominent feature in local cultural practice, as a dominant metaphor to shed light on fluid developments in the socio-economic structure. Around the cockpit, gamblers play a skilled and calculated game of manoeuvre, casting their bets on cocks that have, notionally, an equal chance of winning, but whose “inner strength” – that differentiating winners from losers – only a skillful gambler can detect. Social relations were similarly ambivalent, the site of complex and risky negotiations and manoeuvre. Individuals and classes that gambled skillfully rose in prestige and power, but could just as easily fall into decline as a result of misfortune or bad judgement.
Aguilar also explores the dialectical connections between myths and folk histories on the one hand and developments in social, economic, and political structure on the other. Indio shamans such as “Papa” Isio, whose grotesque imitation of Catholic signs and ritual was an effective mode of anti-colonial resistance, had supernatural powers that commanded the following of large numbers of indio plantation laborers who had broken their debt obligations to mestizo sugar-planters. Fantastic stories were spun around prominent mestizo leaders such as Juan Araneta, who communed with a powerful preternatural spirit, was invincible to bullets, and boldly committed acts sacrilegious to Catholicism. This story relates quite clearly to the celebration of anti-colonial heroism and the anti-Catholicism of Masonic capitalism that was on the rise. We read about Kanlaon, a volcano that is really an enchanted city with a centrifugal mill producing sugar for “America” and manned by engkantos or golden-haired, blue-eyed spirits of fair complexion.
Aguilar’s study is an ambitious and original attempt to reconstruct an important component of Philippine history, explaining historical dynamics in terms of local culture as a simultaneously determining and determined site of power and hegemony. Aguilar brings together a wide range of existing scholarship on Philippine history and anthropology, which he uses with concepts from cultural theory to analyze, often very convincingly, his own material obtained from archives and fieldwork. His writing is always clear and often vivid. Only its broad coverage may make it difficult for the reader to follow the central lines of argument. Strategically placed summary paragraphs and a concluding summary would not only help orient readers (as would a glossary of non-English terms), but would also integrate the material more effectively. On the other hand, this colorful and engaging book has many interesting accounts that make it accessible to a non-academic reader. Students would find in this book useful historical and ethnographic material illustrating the complex processes of negotiation under weaker forms of hegemony.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Dagami was condemned to be drawn and quartered the next day in the place where Pedro de Arana had been killed. Dagami's head was displayed on a pole in that place and the four quarters of his body were displayed on poled along the beach.After this was carried out, Tupas lauded Dagami as having been among proudest in the islands, ans said that when they were thinking of making peace with the Spaniards in 1565 had advised him not to make peace, had hindered him from doing that and that after the signing of the Treaty of Cebu, Dagami continued to be rebellious against the Spaniards and in favor of revolts and war, and that the governor had given him his just deserts.