Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Icons on the One-Thousand-Piso Philippine Currency

Yesterday, 30-Dec-2014, the occasion of my 24th Wedding Anniversary which we did not celebrate with festivities, I inadvertently had the following exchange on Facebook with one I have come to consider as among, if not the best of my virtual friends in that venue:

Constancio Sulapas Asumen Jr Pardon my ignorance, but whose faces are these featured on the 1000-Piso bill? 
Ten Mac Airolg Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim, Josefa Llanes Escoda. 
Constancio Sulapas Asumen Jr  Thank you Nette for the info on the 1000-Piso Bill. I confess I only know off hand about Abad Santos. I had to research on the other two to learn they were WW2 hero and heroine.. The ignorance is a disgrace because I got exempt from Phil History finals in MSU Marawi.  Maybe those pictures were there long time ago but I have not seen an actual 1000-Piso bill, ever.

Having been exempted from Philippine History finals was noteworthy, no matter that it might be deemed a very trivial event.  It was the first instance that my bona fides as an independent thinker was established and publicly acknowledged by a figure of authority. 

It was explained in class by Prof. Delor delos Angeles who was teaching it.  I merited the exemption for having coherently and persuasively argued that when Lapu-Lapu vanquished Magellan’s landing party in Mactan he was not defending the Philippines, the country, but only Mactan Island, the local realm of Lapu-Lapu’s.

Around that time, circa 1962~63, in a surge of vainglorious emotional nationalism, there was a movement afoot to change the name of the country from Philippines to something else.  One of the candidates for a prospective new name was Lapu-Lapu.  The history class sessions allotted an entire week to debate and resolve the merits of the movement.

I spent the duration of the debates arguing consistently and passionately that giving the country a new name was very superficial to have any vital impact on the travails of the country.  I was flabbergasted that nobody seemed to have grasp the point that accidents of history cannot just be reversed by a change of name.  Moreover, before the Spaniards colonized the islands, we had nothing but an archipelago of warring island tribes defined by accidents of geography.

Particularly, Lapu-Lapu being thrown into the mix of possible new names was a major source of my intellectual umbrage.  To begin with, the term happened to be the name of a coral dwelling grouper fish.  It is one of more popular gastronomical fares served on festive occasions.  It added an element of the ridiculous into the debate.

I was to learn later that what really earned the admiration and approval of Prof. delos Angeles was my repeated emphasis that Lapu-Lapu did not do anything different from what my grandfather would have done.  Namely, if a group of strange looking people came to my grandfather’s front yard demanding he knelt before them for any reason, whatever, Grandpa Asumen would have not spared any weapon in his arsenal to dispatch the audacious strangers with extreme prejudice.

Ergo, Lapu-Lapu’s dispatch of Magellan’s landing party earned national significance only by virtue of Spain’s colonization of the Islands into a national entity.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to fall under condign spontaneity that a blog post on monetary currency should devolve into a narrative on a very personal level respecting history. But that was how the cookies crumbled and methinks it behooves to share it with you