A happy Monday morning, everyone!
And to all my countrymen: Happy 119th Philippine Independence Day!
My regular blog post should have been published yesterday but since today we will be celebrating the anniversary of Philippine Independence, I decided to postpone publishing and cover our own local celebration of the said event.
Before the program started, of course, people were still milling around in their gorgeous Filipiniana attires, the city officials and department heads of local offices posing for posterity while the various sectors in their uniforms waited for the program to start.
The program started at around 7:30 in the morning with the entrance of colors, which means the entrance of the Philippine flag and the banner of the city.
This was followed by the offering of flower wreath at the center of the public plaza, in front of the flag pole, by the City Mayor, Vice Mayor together with the Filipino World War II Veteran President of the city.
The twelve Philippine revolutionary flags followed, escorted by the twelve Sanggunian Panlungsod Members, and paraded up the stage, their brilliant red color so vibrant to represent the bravery and boldness of the Filipino soldiers in their fight for freedom against the Spanish oppression of that time.
Wreaths, pots and bouquets of flowers were also offered under the monuments of the two Philippine heroes the city honors, Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
The city officials then marched up the city hall’s balcony to reenact the first-ever Independence Day Celebration held in Cawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.
The program ended after a dance presentation by the city representatives to the Panaad Folk Dance competition and by a young maiden singing “Ako ay Filipino”.
Every year, every local government units, anywhere in the Philippines try to recreate the spirit of patriotism evoke by the first celebration of the Philippine Independence and try to enliven the occasion and impart the values of such event in the younger generations.
Yet, with or without the sad events still happening in Marawi, are we really free?
With all our talks about freedom, aren’t we still bounded by some ideas that limit us from experiencing it totally? Or aren’t we limited by our inhibitions to embrace the changes that comes with the times? Or aren’t we afraid to accept the consequences brought by grasping it with both hands for fighting for it might mean giving up our everything for it?
Fighting for our freedom does not always mean taking up arms and walking up and down the streets shouting for it.
Our everyday thoughts and actions, our efforts and struggles, towards liberation from pangs of hunger and escape from the shackles of poverty, are also embodiments of our continuing fight for freedom.
We might say we are already a Republic, a democratic country freed from dominion of other countries, but still, our existence is a continuous struggle not only from domination of powerful countries who continuously try to plunder our natural resources but also from the debilitating effects of corruption for the past several decades.
Freedom has its many faces. And our struggle to keep it can also vary in many ways.
Even within our ownselves, an inner struggle continues. We wish to fight our tendencies to bury ourselves underneath seemingly unimportant desires for lavish spendings and luxurious things but we often fail to discipline and curb them.
We wish to have more courage and determination to crawl out of our hand-to-mouth existence, but opportunities to do so is just so out of our reach that despite working eight hours a day, five days a week, earning supposedly thousands of pesos per month but what we bring home at the end of a pay day is barely enough to tide us over a few days.
We might always know deep in our hearts the value or importance of freedom but for us whose struggles towards liberty from poverty and harsh existence is ever-continuing, we might feel it or see a glimpse of it at times we receive our bonuses but we would always seem just dream of it and pray that manna will hopefully fall from heaven.