Understanding Independence Day

Thu, 10/07/2004 - 00:00

reprinted from Filipinas 2.0 magazine, June 2004

Year after year on June 12, we Filipinos go out and celebrate Independence Day. Of course, it's true that not all of us go out and celebrate. Some of us stay home and watch TV instead. But the point here - the premise which allows us to pad this article to the correct word length - is, have we ever bothered to ask ourselves what it is exactly we're celebrating?

Have we? Yeah, right. Like, we go around on June 12 asking our parents(or our kids, depending on which end of the 1980s we were born in) - "Mom? Perchance what is it precisely we're celebrating? What is the historical import of yon festivity, pray tell?"

What we're probably asking is "huy, weekend o weekday ba ang June 12?" The reason we have to ask is, we really don't know. And the reason for that is our brains have been so softened from watching ABS-CBN tabloid news that we've all lost the ability to read and understand wall calendars.

For your information, June 12 will fall on a Saturday this year so it's easy to guess what the most urgent question on Filipinos' minds back home will be: "Will Malacañang proclaim Friday a holiday as well?" If you don't know what we mean, you are clearly not a Filipino.

Anyway, it seems that many of us celebrate June 12 without fully understanding what the holiday is all about. We go and enjoy ourselves in family outings or trips to the mall instead of tuning in to the boring TV coverage of the boring ceremonies listening to boring political speeches and watching an endless parade, which seems to take four days and looks like it includes every inhabitant of the country who isn't in the malls, listening to more boring speeches drone on and on . zzzzzzzzzzz snore .

Ahem, where were we? Oh yes - the point is that this year, it's supposed to be the 106th anniversary of Independence Day so we've all had lots of chances to understand what it's all about. If you weren't listening during the 105 other occasions (some of us have probably repeated Introduction to Philippine History at least that many times) shame on you. But if, despite that, you still think you understand the essence of June 12, here's your chance to prove it. Zoom down, read the questions and test yourself.

How well do you understand Independence Day?

1. When you read the word "Independence Day" you immediately think of

a. the country's noble struggle against colonial oppression
b. a national holiday with parades and boring speeches
c. a movie where aliens invade the Earth, but are beaten when a hacker plants the Love Bug into their Mother Ship (MS) operating system,

2. Independence Day is meant to commemorate

a. the country's "Independence"
b. the country's "Day"
c. What, there's more?

3. No, seriously, June 12 is supposed to mark

a. our national struggle for self-rule
b. our national struggle for self-esteem
c. our national struggle for self-rule with self-esteem

4. The true meaning of independence lies in

a. Not having a country run like heaven by foreigners
b. Having a country run like hell by Filipinos
c. Having Filipinos run like hell from their country

5. A very important question we should all ask ourselves during Independence Day is

a. How can we, The People, best commemorate and venerate those noble heroes who've fallen in the long struggle for national dignity and nationhood?
b. How can we, The People, talk in sentences like the one above? Oh, come ON, do we really?
c. Which mall do I visit today?

6. The best place to celebrate Independence Day in order to feel true pride of country is

a. Near the Luneta grandstand
b. At home watching TV
c. In another country - preferably the US -- while clutching our green cards in a heartfelt manner

7. No Independence Day celebration is complete without

a. a 24-gun salute
b. a 24-gun salute and a parade of politicians
c. a 24-gun salute with live rounds fired at a parade of politicians

8. When you see the Independence Day parade in Luneta and watch the stirring sight of the full panoply of the country's armed might, in the shape of tanks and marching soldiers, which of the following are you moved to ask yourself?

a. What's a panoply?
b. We HAVE tanks?
c. I wonder if the soldiers have loaded rifles?

9. The best way to tell if your country is truly independent is if the Independence Day military parade is being directed by

a. Police
b. Military
c. The CIA

10. Do you realize that this year we're celebrating both Independence Day and the inauguration of the new president in the same month? Don't you think it would be a good idea to just combine the two ceremonies in one day?

a. Yes it would be very symbolic
b. Yes it would save money
c. Yes it would save the 24 guns having to fire live rounds on two occasions

HOW TO SCORE: If you picked C as any of the answers then congratulate yourself, you are a true Filipino with a proper understanding of Independence Day. If you didn't pick C at all, go back to watching the parade, the President is about to make a boring speech. Zzzzzzz

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