Around a long-neck bottle of Emperador we gathered and happily exchanged holiday greetings and peered on each other’s radiant faces and exhibited our dirty-white teeth to one another and hummed or sang the jingle bells and silver bells the way we wanted our uneasy joy to manifest on this bright evening twodays before Christmas Day. And although I exempted myself from the ‘round-robin’ journey of the glass for I have long ago graduated from the spirited liquid’s ‘sky-is-the-limit’ bo utsduring my hey days, I obliged to join in their jollity, because it’s the season of merriment and as Lito proclaimed, “Ang tinuod nga diwa sa Pasko mao ang espiritu sa baso!” (The true spirit of Christmas is the spirit of the glass).
And so be it.
And the evening wore on. And the merry mood turned philosophical and political with the bubbling of the spirit in the soul of each and every one around the long-neck bottle of Emperador which to my boisterous laughter was mispronounced by Renren as Emperialistador! Not before Abdul could interpo sea Qur’an-inpsired query: “Unsa man gyuy hinungdan nga mihari man ang kabubut-on sa Y awa sa kalibotan?” (What really ails the world that it has succumbed to the agenda of the Devil?)
Jimmy the inveterate pragmatist in his mild sarcasam averred, “Aguy, way labot ang Yawa sa sakit sa kalibotan, Bay! Ang tawo maoy hinungdan s a kabuangan sa kalibotan! Kinsay nagpauso sa korapsiyon , di ba mga politiko? (Ouch, the Devil has nothing to do with the sickness of the world, Bay! It’s the human being that causes the world’s deviltry! Who promotes corruption, isn’t it the politician?)
“Pero, kinsay nag-aghat sa taw o paghimog dautan? Di ba ang panulay?” (But who prompts humans to do wrong? Isn’t it the Devil?) was Abdul’s quick retort.
And Lito in his usual jovial mood, “Basig ang tawo maoy nagsulsol sa Yawa? Hahaha!” (Could it be the humans who coaxed the Devil?)
“Kinsa man diay nag-una sa kal ibotan — ang Yawa o ang Tawo?” (But who appeared in the world first—the Devil or Man?) asked Renren.
And the interesting repartee reached an impasse. It couldn’t have resolved the issue which was no different from “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”
Yes, let us tackle the issue from the perspective of the objective reality or from what is obtaining at present in our society—that which confronts us in our day-to-day experiences—the visible and the palpable. Like what Lito implied, our society has only its political players to be taken to terms with, in understanding the present state of affairs of our country. And understanding the present entails the necessity to conjure up the role of the past history in bringing about the present reality.
First, there was colonization of our country—three hundred and more years under Spain. Then there came about the 1896 Revolution which gained for the Filipino people a crown of victory. which was only to be treacherously taken away by the intervention of another foreign power which left the Filipino nation a colony of the U.S. of A.
Under US colonialism exhaustive brainwashing was undertakenamong the Filipino people making them captives of the American political system and avid lovers of the American culture. The educational system was coupled with a tsunami ofAmerican propaganda via cultural institutions such as the vaudeville, the ballet and the theatre, the making of the little brown American was completed even before the end of the Commonwealth period in 1945. This, in spite of the anti-American propaganda movement by the seditious playwrights.
Thence, the birth of a Philippine Republic fraught with treachery. Manuel A. Roxas was to become the first puppet president. He successfully rigged the appending of the Parity Amendment to the 1935 Philippine Constitution, giving Americans equal rights with Filipinos in exploiting our natural resources. The Philippine State became the very vehicle of stagnation, a kind of warranty for bureaucratic corruption and massive poverty to remain as the main problem of the Filipino nation since 1946 until the present.
“Kon mao na,” Jimmy found a chance to interrupt, “unsa naman lang diay ang paglaom sa atong nasod nga makalin gkawas sa kawad-on?” (If that’s the case, what hope is there that our country can rise above the longstanding poverty?)
Well, fortunately for the Philippines, the revolutionary forces among the Filipino people have not stopped fighting for Change. The protracted people’s war waged by the NPA in the countryside is a shining beacon that promises a truly just and truly democratic society for the Filipino people in the future.
“Unsa man poy kasigurohan nga modangat ang kalingkawasan? (W hat is the assurance that liberation will really happen?)
It will come. Yes, ‘as sure as the star keeps shining in the sky’! The Filipino people want Change. They are fed up with this rotten system. They will find that the road to liberation can only come about through continuing struggle. The protracted peopleswar will persevere until final victory. And the 12-point program of the NDF will set up the alternative—the real Change.
Lito rose from his seat his face beaming with reddish ebullienc e. Jimmy and Renren and Abdul rose too, holding their glasses full of the spirit of the Emperador. “Hutdon nato hangtod sa kata posang tulo ang espiritu sa Em perialistador para mabasiyona ni! Para ato ning ipusdak han gtod mabuak ug madugmok !” nag dungan silag bungat sa tumang kadasig.
Let us empty this bottle of Emperialistador and divest it of its last drop of spirit! Then we can throw it hard on the ground and break it to smithereens! They proclaime d. And the evening was sealed with an extraordinary “Merry Christmas Pilipinas!”