Drunken… Role Models?

Recently, a picture of certain Filipino historical figures was spread around on the Internet, to celebrate national hero Jose Rizal’s birthday. It shows Rizal apparently drunk and clowning around with Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera and Juan Luna.


I do know it was supposed to show the heroes’ human side, showing that they do goof around sometimes. But I for one find this picture disturbing. If they are really goofing, I wish they picked another activity than getting drunk. Some wise guy will say, “We should be like our heroes, right? They got drunk! So we should get drunk too.”

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It’s the height of stupidity to do that, I know. But some might actually believe in this stupidity.

Like these, probably:

We all know this is not productive (And that man walking drunk in one video is inviting a fatal car accident, especially if it happened here in Metro Manila).

Or it can lead to worse things:

We all know about how people get killed in drunken brawls. Drunkenness, like KSP, is certainly the root of all kinds of evil, especially here in the Philippines.

But on the bright side, President B.S. Aquino recently signed a law criminalizing driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. One of the bright spots in his administration, I would agree. Thing is, given what our heroes demonstrate and the examples above, will our fellow Filipinos get the hint and fix their behavior by controlling their alcoholic appetites?

It certainly doesn’t help when our leader who signed the law has this pic:

Noynoy Aquino and Mai Mislang in more carefree times

Noynoy Aquino and Mai Mislang in more carefree times

And it could be as bad as this:


OK, back to the heroes. We read history and learn that Emilio Aguinaldo had Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio killed. Gregorio Del Pilar lost Tirad Pass because he also was drunk and reportedly was in an orgy the night before (source: Nick Joaquin’s A Question of Heroes). And that’s only part of the horror stories we might hear about our heroes of old.

This is why I believe we should be careful in how we study our national heroes. Perhaps we can learn from their stories, and perhaps acknowledge their efforts for the nation. But they may not really be good studies on personal conduct. There are times where we need to look for other role models (I know about that Hitler’s-clean-living meme; not him either).

Clearly, a solution for our lives is: look for the right role models.

19 Replies to “Drunken… Role Models?”

  1. ChinoF,

    It’s unlikely that the president or those dipsomniacs knocking about on the streets would have changed their position on imbibing had they seen this picture at a young age. Anyone who’s been through the Philippine educational system (public or private) will attest to the fact that when it comes to our historical figures, students are taught little more than a rough sketch of their lives and a brief overview of their contributions to the nation. The reality is that there isn’t really a big deal put into “inspiring” our youth to a deeper exploration of the stuff they are taught in elementary and high school. I suppose that’s one of the reasons a lot of kids are highly susceptible to less than noble ideas when they enter into tertiary education — they have no strong values and/or ideals inculcated in them in their formative years.

    That aside, I wouldn’t worry. Our society isn’t going to hinge on one picture of a bunch of rowdy “intellectuals” getting sh*t-faced at a party. We were getting fall-down-drunk long before Rizal was born. Kids were throwing wild parties even as Philippine educators tried to sell us on the idea that José Rizal was a do-it-all renaissance superhero who could do no wrong. And we’re still going to see drunks splattered on EDSA after this photo fades away in the wake of the next fad.

    1. Yeah, I’m not worrying so much about the “heroes’ influence.” I think there’s actually very little people today take from the heroes. I’m just illustrating how long the problem has been that, as long as you mate a Filipino with a bottle (or many bottles), chaos ensues. Perhaps it’s more like, the heroes of old already demonstrated the flaws of the Filipinos which pervade today.

      1. Oh, lemme add, that’s the beauty of the “Markang Demonyo” meme. When the bottle is upside down, the devil wins. Gotta hail Ginebra for this product packaging, it reflects reality.

  2. Why was the traffic officer allowed to leave? Can a Philippine citizen please explain this to me, I really need to know the answer and if you have no answer I want to know why the passengers didn’t start in and just take every single dirty rotten law enforcer down and beat the living hell out of them.

    1. Well, Filipinos seem naturally afraid of confrontation and conflict, even though they are vocal with death threats against Adam Carolla, Katherine Ryan and the like. Filipinos are “takot sa gulo,” even if sometimes, you have to go through it to get something done.

      However, perhaps after this, a case might have been filed. We only see what happened in the video, not what happened after.

  3. Heroes and presidents are also humans. What makes/made one a hero (say, saving a child from drowning that caused his/her very own life) is more important than what could be his vices are. That’s better than someone who’s “malinis” but could care less to save a child from drowning! After all, drinking, orgy, etc. are expressions of individualism; it’s bad when it’s too much and causes harm to other people. A student like me will not be close-minded to appreciate the act of heroism a person did than his weaknesses. Because the reality is – nobody is perfect except God. Also, when I look up to someone, hero or not, I don’t necessarily copy him/her. I am unique and only his positive traits matter most. By the way, excuse my simple English.

    1. Yes, I do agree we should appreciate the positive aspects of historical figures. But we should also pay attention to the negative aspects or personal flaws, since these can cause failure. I offer the perspective that the failures that our heroes had were caused by these flaws. But rather than score them for it, we should learn from them and act differently when needed.

      1. Therefore, I say “Drunken…Role Models? Yes! Because we are simply perfect with our imperfections! How could writers write the beauty of the crimson sky when the clouds are well-formed than beautifully scattered? Flaws, in essence, shouldn’t be avoided. It should be embraced knowing that through our flaws, we learn, we become better people. Besides, what’s life without getting tipsy and foolish sometimes? Cheers to that!

  4. Therefore, I say “Drunken…Role Models? Yes! Because we are simply perfect with our imperfections! How could writers write the beauty of the crimson sky when the clouds in the well-formed than beautifully scattered? Flaws, in essence, shouldn’t be avoided. It should be embraced knowing that through our flaws, we learn, we become better people. Besides, what’s life without getting tipsy and foolish sometimes? Cheers to that!

    1. Some flaws are fine… but at times when imperfection kills… writers stop writing about the beauty of the crimson sky when they’re too dead to do so. Probably from cirrhosis.

      I prefer, Be ye perfect, as your father in Heaven is perfect. So for me, being a better person comes from cleaning up the flaws you can. Makes a lot of sense to me.

      Cheers, too! hehe

    1. The studies are pretty weak. The first one states The Philippines is third to Thailand and Japan. Why are the number one and two countries in that “study” whose people drink more than Pinoys progressive? This destroys any notion that Pinoy (perceived) alcoholic consumption is directly correlated to the country’s lack of progress.

      The second study won’t even go past the desk of any professor of any reputable university. Just look at the introduction:

      “There is little data available on the extent of alcoholism or alcohol abuse in the Philippines.

      However, while there may be no official statistics available, the consequences of alcoholism are very obvious in the community or inside homes.” and… “For instance last year, only six patients were admitted in that state-run hospital.”

      Isn’t that laughable? Her claim that in 1995 Filipinos were the number one consumers of Alcohol in Asia has no source.

      This is a more credible source:

      That’s from the Wine Institute and they use hard data, not speculative ones. Look at how far below The Philippines is in wine consumption compared to other countries.

      It seems to me this is another article that forces correlation that the author PERSONALLY and SPECULATIVELY perceives as a flaw to why the country does not progress.

      So Rizal and company partied a little bit. Well, he went through Spanish med school, became a successful doctor and his colleagues I am sure succeeded in their own fields. Don’t they deserve to have fun once in a blue moon? Of course getting drunk is bad but so is being too uptight. So is making “pilit na pilit” assertions that every quirky thing you see done by A Filipino applies to every Filipino and is the cause of their downfall. It is really no different from those who put Pacquiao or Charice in the forefront and say whatever talent or hard work they have applies also to each and every Pinoy.

  5. Good luck! I hope you can clean up all your flaws. There’s nothing more to life than perfecting oneself. Our grandfathers tell us so.

    1. Nothing wrong with hanging loose at times. But the thing is… don’t hang loose the way you see in the videos.

  6. I do know about Aguinaldo having Bonifacio and Luna killed off. But del Pilar losing Tirad Pass because he was drunk and had an orgy the night before?! That was quite a shock for me. Where did you get this? I wanna read!

    1. It won’t be entirely far-fetched for virile young men serving in combat duty to be compelled to engage in orgies/sexual conduct during a lull in operations. I guess they try to spread most of their seed around just so they can somehow offset their chances of a quick death. Goes with the surf probably.

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