The SANGANGDAAN Conference on the Philippine-American War will take place in the Summer of 2003 at the University of the Philippines and the University of San Francisco. In tandem with that conference, OUR OWN VOICE would like to provide readers and attendees with a variety of articles on the historical context that has evolved during these 100 years.
Were early historical accounts written from our point of view? Or re-written to suit generations of American high school readers? Or erased to play down facts that will not enhance the image of past leadership? In short, how much of what is written about Philippine American history can we Filipinos take without the proverbial grain of salt?
Is this why we sometimes choose to feign ignorance on the subject of our own history? Or to remember with such reticence? We owe it to our people's collective memory and to generations hence to reflect and remember. It is from remembering that we are able to retrieve and recover hidden pieces that were chipped away from our collective Filipino soul. All the more reason why historical remembrances must be unearthed, shared and pondered over by those who can remember, those who can articulate what historians might simply gloss over.
I write this at a time when on national television what passes for "war" is actually an unmitigated target practicethe way a seasoned hunter goes for the hopping hare. When pundits say that History repeats itself, I feel a sinking heaviness that, yes, in those terrible days of 1899, our tattered brown soldiers were the targets the Great United States army practiced on. Conveniently, The Hearst Newspapers, among other corporate news publications, covered the war of 1899, just as every print, broadcast and television journalist is doing in the year 2003. Are images being "p.r'd" to support the Big Brother stance, or is objective documentation of the times taking place? Consider, however, humanly speaking, how much objectivity journalists can practice when staking out a position in covering a war.
In this issue, OUR OWN VOICE is especially proud of a "find"an original manuscript among the papers that belonged to 1899 war correspondent from The New York Herald, William Dinwiddie (appointed provincial governor of the Lepanto-Bontoc province in 1904). His 11-page manuscript on the wild and virgin landscape of the province describes in 19th century prose the awe of the White European journalist when confronted by the majesty of lush forests and rice terraces layered and carved out of the mountains. We thank Michael and Ging Graham for this cache of precious papers now in our possession together with a stack of New York Herald newspapers in their original 1899 newsprint. See the special Index to Articles from these Herald issues.
We thank Carl Angel, the artist, for allowing us to reproduce his paintings on the 1899 war. These art pieces once graced an exhibit of that theme and are timely and relevant reminders of all wars. University of the Philippines professor, Ferdinand Llanes shares documented and little known facts regarding the Muslim resistance during the 1899 American intrusions in Mindanao. Rey Ventura, journalist, author of Underground in Japan, shares his reflections on yet another guerilla encounter. Leny Strobel, the decolonization scholar and Helen Toribio, editor of the anthology, Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild contribute their reflections on past and future history.
Even more than historical documentation, dear reader, we are filled to flowing with literary pieces which we hope will fill you with wonder at events that took place more than a hundred years ago and hopefully stir your curiosity to want to learn more.
Interestingly, in this issue, we welcome a father and a son whose pieces appear in different categoriesPalanca Hall of Fame Awardee Edgar Maranan and emerging theatre artist Diego Silang Maranan.
The art essay by Eileen Tabios on the passing of artist, Santiago Bose brings us full circle to one man's search, that may just as well be ours, for an affirmation that the human soul has innate sacrosanct dignity regardless of one's race or origin. Bose's artistic vision contributes to the recovery and healing of our collective indigenous soul.