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Juan: Paano namatay si Rizal?
Juan: Mali ka
Pedro: Eh paano?!
Juan: Hindi mo alam? Pinugot ang ulo, inilagay sa piso!!
Nyek Nyek Nyek
For about two hours, I laughed about this joke that my classmate t
old me way back when I was in grade 1, only now that I was a grown up did I see how corny and senseless it was. Yet, it tickles the funny bones of all children who went through a public school. For them, our national hero’s existence lie in every joke about Jose, every chart of National Symbols on the wall, on every one peso coin and in every portrait beside our current presidents. F
or such a long period of childhood, they have know our national hero in this
point of view, even I took so many years before knowing, not how he died, but how he lived.
This was one subject I really left out for the last few
semesters of my time here in our school. I left it out for two reasons, 1) it is a minor subject in our curriculum and 2) many students leave this out too and so this subject was always available every semester. I was excited at the same time irritated since it took me almost four years before I can take it and because I know who my teacher will be.
On the bad side of luck, I was not surprised when she came on the platform, spoke in her drunken accent and gave as much assignment as we can have. In only a single session, she has assigned a reporter on every chapter of the reference book which was used even before she was a student. I found it difficult to be motivated in her class since her old-fashioned way of teaching was really hard to absorb. There were no integrations of our lessons, nothing new about that, my last two social science subjects in her class proved to be the same as today.
But enough about her, despite my idleness in her subject, I don’t know what happened but I just simply turned the pages of that book and read. When not in the mood, I read with my eyes but my thoughts say a different thing. And from the first few paragraphs, I have to read them again because I did not understand anything besides the thought of Sesame Street dancing in my mind.
I fell asleep and when I woke up, there were no classes then, I just continued reading, for ones, I became interested by the conflicts of his time, the violence of our conquerors and the Filipino’s thirst for freedom and retribution. I kept on reading, after a while, I noticed that I have gone through the chapter assigned to me which was my original purpose of opening that book. Pausing for only bathroom breaks and answering the text message on my phone, nothing stopped me from reading. I did not eat lunch on time, I brought it to the toilet, and it takes me until eleven in the evening just to feel my eyes already shedding tears for lack of rest and sleep.
After two nights and one whole day, I finished the book and to my surprise, I understood it, maybe not in full detail but by heart I understood how our hero lived before having to face death. For once, I saw through him in a different way, more than Juan and Pedro could have known him, in a way that a Filipino should know him.
A tribute to a writer that every blogger should know of.