Cultural appreciation
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez (The Freeman) - April 6, 2019 - 12:00am

It was my first Tres de Abril commemoration last Wednesday. I even got confused which monument was which --that marker or that boy around the corner by the bank? I had no clue. I’ve heard of this battle before and the bravery of Pantaleon Villegas, a.k.a. Leon Kilat. When the reenactment of that battle was done at the Barangay San Nicolas Gym, I got all the more confused and a little bit sad.

You see, it seems like there is no appreciation at all for such historical significance. People did not bother to show up or pay their respects to the people who lost their lives during that battle. Heck, I did not even understand how the story unfolded. The group of teenagers that portrayed the key individuals at that time lacked conviction in the roles that they played. The costumes were so-so, like a school project done in exchange for grades. I bet the real school projects looked better.

I remember how Inabanga, Bohol, made the reenactment of the intrusion of the Abu Sayyaf Group members into their town. It was practiced for nights, the concept was well thought of which resulted to rounds and rounds of applause from the people who watched it. The widows of the slain soldiers shed tears as the events were recalled creatively. The story will be retold again and again, year after year, thus it needs to be well told up until the generations to come.

Why are we like that? We don’t take our own history seriously. Remember that Dr. Jose Rizal said in an old adage that we must always, always look back at where we came from. It is a vision of who we are and what we will be. Without our history, we are forgetting our identity and what our forefathers were fighting for.

I wish history would be taken seriously from the school level so that we may take to heart all the events that have taken place. Do we ever wonder how come the Vietnamese and Japanese have a high regard for their ancestors? Because they knew the stories that happened before they existed and the bravery that have shown to everyone. They know their identity by heart and are not even ashamed of it.

What about us? Can we say that we are proud to be descendants of Leon Kilat, Dagohoy, and Lapu-Lapu? Do we even know the valor they have shown in the events of their lives? We can bet on it that there are only a few or no children at all that know about them. This is what we lack --a sense of pride in our own heroes.

Books are not enough to retell stories. Stories are said and passed on, sometimes reenacted for a much deeper understanding. I don't know what will happen during next year's Tres De Abril commemoration. I hope that it will be just more than a road that we complain about because of traffic. Let us keep in mind how our fellow Cebuanos were brave enough to defeat the Spaniards who took us captive in that era.

CULTURAL APPRECIATION
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