Five More Inaccuracies Still Accepted as “Philippine History”

Of course there aren’t just five; history, after all, is just a timeline perceived by those who know how to write it. What’s wrong about all of this is that people do still accept inaccuracies as fact, and quite a few are too rabidly apologetic about them. Consider this gloriously graphic example of a meme that went around Teh Intarnets recently:

how_filipinos_became_catholic

You as a reader can freely discuss about the merits of religion or the lack thereof on this Facebook page that displays the meme, but the fact of the matter is STAKE BURNING BY THE IMPERIAL SPANIARDS IN THE PHILIPPINES NEVER HAPPENED. Besides, that’s not even the Philippines they’re showing in that picture: although Spanish atrocities against indigenous peoples in Central America do exist, there are virtually no existing documents (or even indigenous oral histories) of Spanish atrocities in the islands they would soon name the Philippines, considering that the Spanish themselves were meticulous record-keepers. And yet, based on discussions I’ve been in regarding the meme, some people do still regard the scene depicted as fact, and a “Spanish cover up” was made to delete any and all references to some sort of cultural genocide that, in reality, never happened.

In any case, consider this as a sequel to my previous article.

1 – The Code of Kalantiaw is the first true legal code of the country.
The Popular Myth: Some time in 1433, ten exiled kings from Borneo landed on Panay Island, and one of them created a series of laws worthy of Hammurabi.

The Historical Evidence: Except that it’s all lies. To be more specific, a bunch of early 20th century lies. I could forgive history books today for emphasizing that it really is a hoax, though I still cringe at the thought of some people who think that we should use it as a practical legal code.

2 – “Sa Aking Mga Kabata” was Jose Rizal’s first true masterpiece.
The Popular Myth: When he was only 8 years old (or younger, as some websites claim), Jose Rizal supposedly wrote a poem that expressed his nationalism, which more than a hundred years later would inspire a patriotic hymn and a leggy Tekken character.

The Historical Evidence: Except that it’s all lies as well. Wow, what in the world is up with Filipinos and history masquerading as bullcrap? Despite what government-endorsed websites may tell you, the poem emerged only after Rizal’s death, and only through people who “claimed” to know that he wrote it.

Additionally, Rizal himself wrote that he had not heard of the word “kalayaan” (Tagalog for “freedom”) until he was 21 years old. So why would he have supposedly written the word TWICE on a poem he made during an age when kids at that time couldn’t even write Tagalog properly?

3 – Baguio has been the Philippines’ “Summer Capital” for more than a century now.
The Popular Myth: When the Americans founded Baguio, they declared it a “summer capital” where people should come to enjoy the cold climate.

The Historical Evidence: Baguio is that shiny City in the Cordilleras that Filipinos love to destroy, especially when the hot summer months come along. This supposedly gave it the tag “Summer Capital of the Philippines,” because the climate here remains a steady 15-25 degrees Centigrade from February to May each year, and the tag somehow stuck. The more accurate story is that beginning in 1903, the government during the American period (labeled as the Philippine Commission) would come up here in the summer (because American politicians would just die in the Manila heat) to hold office. For some reason, the current Philippine Supreme Court still carries this tradition today.

However, according to Robert Reed in “City of Pines” (A-Seven Publishing, 1999, pp.131-133), the Philippine Commission decidedly abandoned this whole newfangled idea of hauling the entire mechanism of governing the islands back and forth along Benguet Road to sit in a mountain city for only two months a year, and Baguio officially lost the label of “Summer Capital” as early as 1913. In short, Baguio only had the “Summer Capital” status for only ten years (1903-1913). Furthermore, a Presidential Decree in 1976 makes no mention of any alternative capital in any official capacity whatsoever, thereby ditching the whole “Summer Capital” idea for any Philippine city once and for all. Whatever “Summer Capital” tag Baguio has left today is unofficial, and is basically just bait-and-switch fluff for tourists to exploit.

4 – Filipinos invented a shit-ton of popular devices.
The Popular Myth: Because Filipinos are so ingenious and creative, Filipinos were behind some of the most widely-recognized inventions. Pinoy Pride forever!

The Historical Evidence: If you’ve read my previous list, you’ll already know that the fluorescent bulb was invented by someone who definitely was not Filipino. Since that last posting, I’ve had feedback from various other people who’ve revealed more false claims made by so-called “Pinoy inventors.” This other blog lists the most outlandish claims, but as a rundown:

  • The M16 or ArmaLite was NOT invented by Armando Lite.
  • The lunar buggy was NOT invented by Eduardo San Juan.
  • The karaoke was NOT invented by Roberto del Rosario.
  • The yo-yo was NOT invented by Filipino tribesmen (since no tangible archaeological evidence exists), but admittedly a Filipino named Pedro Flores made it popular in the United States in the 1920’s.
  • There are of course genuine Filipino inventors out there who have made simple yet impressive contributions on how to make other people’s lives easier. The main point of this discourse is of course to apply some healthy skepticism when certain claims sound too good to be true.

    5 – The government recovered a golden Buddha statue from treasure hunters in the early 1970’s.
    The Popular Myth: Facing defeat shortly before the end of the Second World War, General Tomoyuki Yamashita turned the Philippine wilds into his own tropical Swiss Bank, hiding tons of gold and other precious metals for treasure hunters to recover and for President Marcos to confiscate afterwards. Because he was greedy. And evil.

    The Historical Evidence: The legend of the Golden Buddha is a story most likely worthy of becoming the Philippines’ own Roswell Incident, complete with a government cover-up, a military conspiracy, and an enlightened being at the center of it all. Heck, the whole thing even spawned a 1980’s action movie and, of all things, a romantic ballad.

    Some time during the 2015 Easter weekend in Baguio, I managed to photograph part of a tarp being displayed on a school bus plying the Session Road route:

    roger_roxas

    Apparently, some friends and/or relatives of Roger Roxas, the statue’s “founder” [sic], have put up a museum somewhere in Baguio to support his claims. Unfortunately, despite claims that United States courts imply it exists, not even his closest family members believe this whole thing. In fact, the judge who ruled in favor of Roxas was dismissed from his job in 2011 specifically because he believed (without evidence) that the golden Buddha existed.

    It’s easy for commentators on Reddit to say that I’m doing nothing but putting out “Aquino-bashing propaganda,” just as it’s easy for me to say that they’re most likely SJW neckbeards. But yes, based on conjecture alone, it’s easy to dismiss this whole “Marcos possesses the Golden Buddha” thing as nothing more than speculation. A brass Buddha does exist, the one more likely found by Roxas during his hunting days, which is now in the custody of Baguio’s local judicial court. To make it clear, ask yourselves these two questions:

  • If indeed Yamashita plundered a large hollow golden Buddha statue filled with jewels from somewhere, what country did he steal it from?
  • Why isn’t that country demanding repatriation for its stolen treasure?
  • It would be logical for a nation (or at least a monastery somewhere) that lost one of its most valuable relics to want to get its gleaming cash cow back, yet none have come forward for it. After all, the Philippine government is so giddy about getting back the Balangiga Bells from the United States; you’d think that the Philippines would make the Buddha proud and set an example in generosity like the good Christian nation it supposedly is.

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    Post Author: MidwayHaven

    But enough about me.

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    20 Comments on "Five More Inaccuracies Still Accepted as “Philippine History”"

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    BING BONG
    Guest

    the last sentence could be finished off with …..’BUT IT WON’T.’ and it will be proven accurate very shortly,yes?

    William Beene
    Guest

    The only buried gold in the Philippines is the natural gold , unless of course, you count the Gold plundered from the people that the Catholic Priests may have buried to hide from the Japanese and then couldn’t find after the war .

    archie
    Guest

    So this proud to be pinoy disease has been around for centuries? Our nation is so desperate to get recognized that our ancestors resort with telling lies and fabricating exaggerated stories. Even Jose Rizal was always depicted as a superhuman in public textbooks. This is one of the reasons why I tell my kids not to believe everything written in our historical manuscripts, they’re just so damn unreliable.

    Ricardo_Diaz
    Guest

    Embarassingly, I believed many of the hoaxes above when I was younger and thought that the world version was a lie.

    Then again, said history book was published just after the Marcos era… so that may have been it. But its still very damaging as it promotes rabid nationalism.

    mrericx
    Guest

    Here’s a TRUE historical PH fact. Did you know that Germany ALMOST want to invade & colonized our country at the time of US-Spanish War in 1898?

    Link

    Well, if that’s had happened, then we the idiotic Filipinos will believe that Adolf Hitler is the true son of our national hero, Jose Rizal and Filipinos will become more racist & less hospitable people in Asia. :\

    andrew
    Guest

    lol. well, technically, if we have not been colonized we could have been a monarchy.
    there’s no concept of philippines. luzon, visayas and mindanao would just be islands of southeast asia with different nations: tagalog land, ilocano land, visayan nation, islamic state of mindanao.

    mrericx
    Guest

    well, that’s quite true, andrew. Philippines is NOT really a unified country due to being an archipelago in nature with different ethnics and languages unlike in Japan. However I would like to show it to you an article that I’d found recently on CNN Philippines website if our country should become a federal state: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2015/03/31/Philippines-federalism-debate-identity-crisis.html

    And btw, our former colonial master, the US of A is a federal state country, so why the US gov’t didn’t introduced that kind of gov’t system to us in the 1st place when they’d invaded and colonized our country in 1898? :\

    Ricardo_Diaz
    Guest

    They tried to. But the Filipinos at the time were crying “MUH FREEDOMS” and so we are left with the mess we see today.

    bryan
    Guest

    Filipini pride is a selfish thought. Even Filipinos discriminate their own countrymen, the tagalog discriminated the visayan and the “mindanaoans”, and the visayans discriminates lesser visayans, and “mindanaoans” discriminates the tagalogs. A cycle of national, regional, and political descrimination to say the least.

    bryan
    Guest

    Typo correction at the end “discrimination”.

    d_forsaken
    Guest

    History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again.

    75Toro0087Hayden
    Guest
    Other inaccuracies in History: (1) The “Battle of Manila Bay”. The supposed naval battle took place between the Spanish Naval defenders, and the American Naval warships, commanded by U.S. Admiral Dewey. There were known casualties in the battle; except some few destroyed bricks. We were already sold by Spain to the U.S., thru the Treaty of Paris,, before the “Naval Battle of Manila Bay”… (2) The Origin of the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, that is owned by the Cojuangcos/Aquinos. Any human being with a two centavos common sense, would know: you would not grow very rich like that, owning 70%… Read more »
    mrericx
    Guest

    Through the ownership of illuminati/freemasons? Just kidding, maybe this youtube video will answer to your question: https://youtu.be/gevTmyWtHVo

    Aegyo Kawaii
    Guest
    Wow. True. I think Filipinos have delusions of grandeur. That’s the main symptom of narcissistic personality disorder where one thinks of himself as self-righteous and proud. Thanks to Spanish (aka the Moors and not White Spaniards), we emulated their style of narcissism, inflated ego, and deceitful attitude and most of all, subversion to truth. We love fooling ourselves that we are the greatest but actually are not. The truth is, we ENVY most of Asian countries as they have more acheivement whether historically or economically, than the Philippines itself. We could even never exist without these Moorish Spaniards. That’s why… Read more »
    Irineo B. R. Salazar
    Guest

    Here’s an overview of Philippine history without any bullshit. If one looks at things there was not much of a Philippines until the early 19th century, before that it was under Mexico and belonged to the Spanish East Indies.

    The legend that the Spanish were bad colonialists is definitely not true, read here:

    http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/quo-vadis-philippines/

    benign0
    Admin

    There are really no good or bad colonialists. Various colonial powers simply approached their colonial conquests according to the ethical frameworks of their respective societies at the time. In short, it was all just business. Nothing personal.

    Irineo B. R. Salazar
    Guest
    Of course it was “business, always business”, like “The Greek” in the series “The Wire” says. An interesting comment I got from a Facebook friend was that the Philippines always has been like a jellyfish with no real direction. My answer was – why do you think I wrote “Quo Vadis, Philippines”? It is just like with people in real life – someone who does not know where he is going will just be used by others and it is his fault that others know what they want and he doesn’t. It’s not like I have the answer. I know… Read more »
    benign0
    Admin

    Indeed, coming from the position of assuming you know nothing is always the best starting point. That is why educational attainment alone is not a good indicator of how credible a person is. Some of the most educated folks out there are, tragically, imprisoned by the very education they use to prop up their nebulous credibility. Think Deles and Coronel-Ferrer.

    Personally, I write and share ideas here hoping to be proven wrong convincingly.

    So far, I’ve been lucky… 😉

    Irineo B. R. Salazar
    Guest

    Deles and Ferrer are book-smart but not street-smart, and definitely not smart enough for the Oriental bazaar mentality.

    In Europe we deal with these folks on a day-to-day basis. They respect you only if you drive a hard bargain with them while smiling just like they do and looking them straight in the eye always.

    Education teaches mental models. But if your map has nothing at all to do with the territory you lose. Those who are too abstract don’t see the stuff right in front of them anymore.

    kkv
    Guest
    About no. 5, there’s a story that after the looting of treasures & wealth from all over Asia by Japan during 1930s-WW2, some were brought to Japan to be in the hands of Japanese elite, while some were hidden in Phils., in tunnels built by Filipino workers who are then murdered or buried alive so only the Japanese knew the locations. When WW2 was over, the US discovered the operation through a confession from a Japanese soldier. Instead of returning them to owners nor used for repatriation for Japan’s war actions, they took over the wealth to fund CIA operations… Read more »