Site Translator

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

He Who Held the Bolo

Andres Bonifacio

I had planned on writing something earlier about the man known as "The Great Plebian" as we just celebrated the day honoring him (November 30th) but life got in the way. We either see images or actually get to pass by some statues of him frequently, frozen in a mythical stance of defiance, with pistol and unsheathed menacing itak (bolo) in either hand. But he was more than just a stone figure.  

We do have the great Jose Rizal of international renown as our national hero. If I had my way though, I think there's room enough for both of them to occupy such an honor. Looking at it from various points, he was nothing like Rizal. He wasn't born of privilege or landed wealth. He didn't receive higher education and learn from universities or converse with foreign intellectuals. He was born of humble stock and led a life that was marked by struggle and simplicity. Orphaned at an early age and being the eldest, he took it upon himself to give up school and support his siblings' studies by working and selling wooden canes and paper fans part time in the streets.

He had this silent fire burning deep down inside him. This is what enabled him not to to merely accept his "humble" stature in life and make something of himself. He never stopped reading and learning and had even amassed a collection of books including the Bible, Les Miserables, Religion Within the Reach of All, The History of the French Revolution, International Law, Civil Code, Penal Code, Lives of the Presidents of the United States among others. He would have had an understanding of Spanish, French and English, no mere feats for someone who only got the equivalent of the fourth grade.   

Most of all though, Filipino history remembers him as the founder, the "Supremo", of the Katipunan, the   revolutionary organization that spear-headed the resistance and struggle that ultimately won our freedom from the colonial oppression of Spain. While the rich and learned would've accepted being a vassal to Spain so long as their property and way of life would continue, that fire burning deep down Gat Andres inspired other "poor" men and women like him to unite and rise up, despite all the odds. He enabled them to dream something so fundamental in all of us that it was worth the great struggle and even certain death: freedom. Anyone who can inspire such a thing in people and work to attain it should certainly be held up high and be remembered. Again, no small feat for a mere "plebe".   

He was able to put into words this dream of freedom that grew out of a deep love for the homeland. It was a beautiful poem that stirs something inside the soul that makes us both proud and humbled as this nation's sons and daughters.  

He was and still is, the closest hero every common Filipino in this "poor" country of ours could look up to.

Maraming salamat po, Gat Andres Bonifacio!

Pagibig sa Tinubuang Bayan

Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa Tinubuang lupa?
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.

Pagpupuring lubos ang palaging hangad
Sa bayan ng taong may dangal na ingat,
Umawit, tumula, kumanta't sumulat,
Kalakhan din niya'y isinisiwalat.

Walang mahalagang hindi inihandog
Ng may pusong mahal sa Bayang nagkupkop,
Dugo, yaman, dunong, katiisa't pagod,
Buhay ma'y abuting magkalagut-lagot.

Bakit? Alin ito na sakdal ng laki,
Na hinahandugan ng busong pagkasi,
Na sa lalong mahal nakapangyayari,
At ginugulan ng buhay na iwi?

Ay! Ito'y ang Inang Bayang tinubuan:
Siya'y ina't tangi sa kinamulatan
Ng kawili-wiling liwanang ng araw
Na nagbigay-init sa buong katawan.

Kalakip din nito'y pag-ibig sa Bayan,
Ang lahat ng lalong sa gunita'y mahal,
Mula sa masaya'y gasong kasanggulan
Hanggang sa katawa'y mapasa-libingan.

Sa aba ng abang mawalay sa bayan!
Gunita ma'y laging sakbibi ng lumbay,
Walang alaala't inaasa-asam
Kundi ang makita'y lupang tinubuan.

Pati ng magdusa'y sampung kamatayan
Wari ay masarap kung dahil sa bayan
At lalong mahirap. Oh, himalang bagay!
Lalong pag-irog pa ang sa kanya'y alay.

Kung ang bayang ito'y masasa-panganib
At siya ay dapat na ipagtangkilik,
Ang anak, asawa, magulang, kapatid;
Isang tawag niya'y tatalikdang pilit.

Hayo na nga, hayo, kayong nagabuhay
Sa pag-asang lubos ng kaginhawahan
At walang tinamo kundi kapaitan,
Hayo na't ibangon ang naabang bayan!

Kayong nalagasan ng bunga't bulaklak
Ng kahoy ng buhay na nilanta't sukat,
Ng bala-balaki't makapal na hirap,
Muling manariwa't sa baya'y lumiyag.

Ipahandug-handog ang busong pag-ibig
At hanggang may dugo'y ubusing itigis;
kung sa pagtatanggol, buhay ay mapatid,
Ito'y kapalaran at tunay na langit!

The English translation as taken from this site:

Love of Country

What love can be
purer and greater
than love of country?
What love? No other love, none.

Even when the mind repeatedly reads
and try to understand
the history that is written and printed
by humanity, this (love of country) can be seen.

Holy love! When born
of a pure heart,
the humble and the backwoodsman, the poor, the unlettered
become great and respected.

Love of country
is always the desire of a man with honor;
In songs, in poetry, in his writings
the greatness of the country is always the theme.

Nothing dear to a person with a pure heart
is denied to the country that gave him birth:
blood, wealth, knowledge, sacrifices,
E'en if life itself ends.

Why? what is this that is so big
to which is dedicated with utmost devotion,
all that is dear
and to which life is sacrificed.

Ah, this is the Mother country of one's birth,
she is the mother on whom
the soft rays of the sun shine,
which gives strength to the weak body.

To her one owes the first kiss
of the wind that is the balm
of the oppressed heart drowning
in the deep well of misfortune and suffering.

Entwined with this is love of country,
everything that is dear to the memory,
from the happy and careless childhood
to the hour of death.

The bygone days of joy,
the future that is hoped
will free the slaves,
where can this be found but in one's native land?

Every tree and branch
of her fields and forest joyful to behold,
'tis enough to see them to remember
the mother, the loved one, and the happiness now gone.

Her clear waters --
they come from the mountain springs,
the soft whisper of the rushing wavelets
enlivens the sorrowing heart.

How unfortunate to be separated from the country!
Even memory is in sorrow's embrace,
nothing is desired
but to see the country of one's birth.

If this country is in danger
and she needs defending,
Forsaken are the children,
the wife, the parents, the brothers and sisters
at the country's beck and call.

And if our land, Filipinas,
is offended and her honor, reason, and dignity outraged,
by a traitorous foreign country;

What unhappiness and grief
will invade the heart of the Filipino?
And will not even the most peaceful
Rise to avenge her honor?

Where will the strength
to take revenge and to throw away life come,
if none can be relied upon for help,
but those suffering from slavery?

If his suffering and slavery
are in the mire of deceit and oppression,
one holds the whip, the chains that bind,
and only tears are allowed to roll down.

Who is there to whom her condition
Will not fill the soul with sorrow?
Will the heart most hardened by treachery
Not be moved to give her its life blood?

Will not, perchance, her sorrow
Drive the Filipinos to come to the rescue
of the mother in agony, trampled
underfoot by the mean Spaniards?

Where is the honor of the Filipino?
Where is the blood that should be shed?
The country is being oppressed, why not make a move,
you are shocked witnessing this.

Go, you who have lived
in the full hope of comfort,
and who reaped nothing but bitterness,
Go and love the oppressed country.

You who, from the stream of your breast,
have lost the holy desire to sacrifice,
Once more let true love flow,
express that love for the imprisoned country.

You from whom the fruit and flowers
of your life have been plucked
by intrigues and incomparable sufferings,
once more freshen up and love thy country.

You, so many hearts that... ?
of cheating and oppression of the mean in actions,
now rise up and save the country,
snatch it from the claws of the tyrant.

You who are poor without... ?
except to live in poverty and suffering,
protect the country if your desire is to end
your sufferings, for her progress is for all.

Dedicate with all your love --
as long there is blood -- shed every drop of it,
If for the defense of the country life is... ?
this is fate and true glory.

The moving song that put to life the equally moving words from the poem -

No comments: