Often times, my students in Philippine history ask “Ma’am, is the teaching of Philippine history subject still relevant in our course? The past is past, we cannot change it”.
“We could not give back the lives lost nor use the names of our hero’s, such as Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio and others as references when we apply for a job. If we do use their names, definitely, we will not be hired. We will not even ask what is Philippine history during the interviews. So, what is the use of studying Philippine history?”
When I hear these questions, it makes me think for a while and say with conviction… Yes! Learning Philippine history is still and will always be relevant. The fact that we are a true blooded Filipinos, the fact that every generation was and will always be a product of history, history will always be a relevant subject regardless of what course a student takes up.
The Philippines was controlled by foreign colonizers for almost 400 years. History can tell us that during the colonization period Filipinos were not taught their own history but rather were taught the history of colonizers WHILE they were in our country. Sadly, Filipinos were likes parrots. Filipinos were forced and trained how to memorize dates, persons, places and events without even understanding what they memorized.
As a new breed of historians, teachers of history must not only be limited to questions of who, what, were and when. Teaching history should go beyond dates, persons, places etc. Teaching the HOW’s and the WHY’s of history would train the student show to think critically. Furthermore, teaching history through contextualization would develop in students a deep sense of understanding of their origins and would develop in them active participation, not only in classroom discussion, but also in performing their role as citizens of our country.
Apparently, Filipinos are suffering from national amnesia. Colonial mentality is deeply rooted in those who are not proud of being a Filipino and in those who look at anything foreign as best. Thus, colonial mentality destroys our national identity. Therefore, teaching Philippine history subjects is a must and must be strengthened especially by the academe, so that we can produce a new breed of Filipinos who have a strong sense of NATIONALISM in their hearts and minds. As a result, whatever the mistakes in the past are, the present generation may not repeat it and the future generation would be freed from the bondage of tyranny and slavery.