My friend Leny Strobel witnessed spanish economists discussing “economic gains of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines” with historians from the University of the Philippines. The Filipino historians, descendants of the native people of the islands now called the Philippines, brought up the:
“psychic and epistemic violence of colonialism among Filipinos. What was supposed to be an academic dialogue about the economics of empire-building became a confrontation and call for an accounting and responsibility; it became an emotional exchange. At one point, historian Milagros Guerrero recounted the violence visited upon the natives and to the land itself. I remember her saying that the old growth trees were so huge that it would take half a dozen people holding hands around the trunk — these were felled to build galleons. She spoke of how the Babaylans were beheaded and fed to crocodiles because the friars were afraid of their powers.
The Spanish economists didn’t expect that they would be called upon to respond to this accounting for a historical past that they are were not a part of. They are only economists and shouldn’t be held responsible for what their ancestors did, they claimed. (Sounds familiar?) I remember the moderator trying to restore the dialogue to a strict academic discourse, but it was too late.”
full story at Leny’s blog post here: Kathang Pinay 2: Celebrating the Galleon Trade?
The galleon trade is being “celebrated” by Spanish economists. As Filipinos we need to remember that although much gold in those galleons were wrested away from colonized ancestors of the Americas and the Philippine islands… we still possess an Inner Gold that cannot be touched and that, for many of us, needs to be dug up, shaped, polished and made to shine.
This inner gold is a gift to ourselves and others we love and maybe even others we will never meet.
Exploring the baybayin and using it in our lives is just one way that we explore our Filipino identities and our deepest inner selves. The Baybayin is alive for many of us.
If you’d like to share how the baybayin is alive for you I’d love to hear from you and share here at this blog.
Mabuhay – be filled with Life, Light and Love