Friday, March 25, 2011

Digital Filipino Talks: Making Philippines History Relevant Online

Last February's Digital Filipino Talks: Making Philippines History Relevant Online interviewed Ms. Gloria Melencio on her advocacy to spread history online through the website.

Making Philippines History Relevant Online
from Janette Toral on Vimeo.

Ms. Melencio shares her passion for Philippine history through writing features and articles through this site.

Philippine History is one of those subjects we may find boring and useless. Hours and hours spent on memorizing names of long-forgotten dead people and places, and uninteresting events might be a waste of time to students, whose only wish is to be done with it and make the grade.

I remember during my early school years some of my classmates' out-of-the-blue objections on the subject matter. Some have said, "Why not remove this subject because we can't use this in real life!" They probably thought mathematical and written skills can help you land a job, but not Philippine history.

As grown-ups, we seldom look back at our history books. The only exception to this is when our own kids bug us during times they need to complete their homework. It only comes to show knowledge of Philippine history is irrelevant.

But come to think about it, there are many lessons to be learned if we try to rediscover the pages of the past. Let's take one episode of our history as an example - the EDSA revolution. Maybe our kids right now don't even have a clue what this was all about. But this was definitely a milestone that changed the country.

The 80's generation experienced this first hand - the Martial Rule, the warrantless arrests, curfew hours, restricted freedom of speech, etc. All these added up and made the ordinary citizen say "tama na, sobra na, palitan na...".

And in 1986 when Marcos' snap election came, the results were so unacceptable that it resulted in a revolt led by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel Ramos. The citizens in Manila and nearby provinces heeded their call to protest and gathered in EDSA. And the rest was history.

This moment in history just shows the younger generation that there is always hope that things can change for the better, as long as we make the change happen.

And if we were to apply the lesson that transpired in EDSA, we shouldn't be complaining about corrupt politicians right now, we should be doing something about it! The big problem is that most of us already forgot what EDSA was all about. We forgot that we as ordinary citizens made change happen.

I believe the more important lessons about life can be found within those pages, whether you choose to read the history books or swiftly go through them online. I guess it's high time for us to rediscover our past, and EDSA was just one episode of our valuable history...

There's a popular Filipino saying... "Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa kinaroroonan." A valuable lesson in life which translates - you can't reach your goals if you can't remember your origins.

This is my entry to's Talks Blog Contest. Be part of the conversation. Visit the contest page to join. Feel free to comment on my blog post about Making Philippines History Relevant Online.

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