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The Importance of Philippine History

Often times, my students in Philippine history ask…”Ma’am, is the teaching of Philippine history subject still
relevant in our course? Past is past, we could not change it. We could not give back the lives lost nor use the
names of our hero’s, such as Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio and others as references when we
apply for a job. If we do use their names, definitely, we will not be hired. We will not even ask what is Philippine
history during the interviews. So, what is the use of studying Philippine history?
When I hear these questions, it makes me think for a while and say with conviction… Yes! Learning
Philippine history is still and will always be relevant. The fact that we are a true blooded Filipinos, the fact that
every generation was and will always be a product of history, history will always be a relevant subject regardless
of what course a student takes up.
The Philippines was controlled by foreign colonizers for almost 400 years. History can tell us that during
the colonization period Filipinos were not taught their own history but rather were taught the history of colonizers
WHILE they were in our country. Sadly, Filipinos were likes parrots. Filipinos were forced and trained how to
memorize dates, persons, places and events without even understanding what they memorized.
As a new breed of historians, teachers of history must not only be limited to questions of who, what,
were and when. Teaching history should go beyond dates, persons, places etc. Teaching the HOW’s and the
WHY’s of history would train the student show to think critically. Furthermore, teaching history through
contextualization would develop in students a deep sense of understanding of their origins and would develop
in them active participation, not only in classroom discussion, but also in performing their role as citizens of our
Apparently, Filipinos are suffering from national amnesia. Colonial mentality is deeply rooted in those
who are not proud of being a Filipino and in those who look at anything foreign as best. Thus, colonial mentality
destroys our national identity. Therefore, teaching Philippine history subjects is a must and must be strengthened
especially by the academe, so that we can produce a new breed of Filipinos who have a strong sense of
NATIONALISM in their hearts and minds. As a result, whatever the mistakes in the past are, the present generation
may not repeat it and the future generation would be freed from the bondage of tyranny and slavery.

The importance of local history in Philippine history

It is unfortunate that a vast number of Filipino laymen lack interest or understanding of Philippine history. This may
have been brought about by an inadequate background in history and a general tendency on the part of the
people to be less conscious of the value of the past to their present life. Or, maybe, such ignorance or apathy
may have resulted from the dearth of materials, especially on local history which is closer to the hearts and minds
of the people.

The critical importance of local history in the understanding and the writing of a truly national history cannot just
be ignored. The rationale behind the need to come up with local history is the realization of the unrepresentative
and limited nature of Philippine history. What is generally considered to be the history of the Filipino people is
essentially the history of Central Luzon, most especially the Tagalogs. Important events and developments,
including personages, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, are, at best, mentioned in passing and, at worst,
altogether left out. The consequence, in this respect, is the misrepresentation of Philippine history by not taking
into full account the unique differential character of the historical and cultural experiences of the various ethnic
groups in scattered geographical units of the country.

Historians -- both Filipino and foreign -- are not altogether to be blamed for the kind of Philippine histories they
have come up with. The problem lies in the nature of Philippine historiography which was. for some time, tied up
to the rigid limitations of Western criteria or standards; that is, historical writing has to be based on written sources.
"No document, no history," as the saying goes. In fact, even in the use of written sources, primary materials were
the only ones considered to be reliable. Because of this, the absence of written materials done by Filipinos in their
own localities has largely been instrumental in limiting the tasks of national historians. Thus, whatever data have
been incorporated by them in Philippine history have been derived from colonial sources which are, in the first
place, regarded as biased sources. In short, national historians have been handicapped by this adherence to a
generally accepted historical approach which offers very little information and undertaking for a people whose
view of their history and struggles is, perhaps, mostly found in their oral literature.
It should be borne in mind that the nation is made up of its parts - the regions, provinces, cities, and municipalities
- and the nation's history must be the sum total of the histories of its parts. No town or province exists independently
of the nation, and vice-versa. And, just as the auto mechanic understands the entire machine only if he knew
the specific parts, so also national history becomes intelligible only in the whole context of local history. Simply
put, and ,naturally, of crucial importance is the realization that interest in the study and understanding of
Philippine history mainly hinges on one's appreciation of his/her own town's history.

Local history is expectedly closest to the people's heart and consciousness because it reflects their own identity,
experiences and aspirations. It is the interpretative recreation of the past of their locality, embracing its political,
social, economic, and cultural life. This includes the development of the institutions in the geographical unit and
the successes and failures of its people. Thus, in order to understand and, consequently, appreciate Philippine
history, one should first know the history of his own locality and its contributions to regional development and
over-all nation-building. One may never achieve a fuller understanding of the Filipinos and the Philippines if he
failed to study the history of his/her town, city, province or region.

The solution, therefore, to the inadequacy of national history is in its revision and enrichment. And, this is a
responsibility not so much of the national historian but of the local people. It is the basic obligation of every
locality to provide a proper and an adequate account of the historical experience of its own people. If this can
be done, this will certainly enrich national history and will correct the impression that Philippine history is mainly
the history of Manila and its surrounding area. Far from fostering regionalism, local history will make the people
understand better and appreciate more their total national experience and heritage as Filipinos.

Why Philippine history is important to learn? Are our schools failed patriotism?
History is important in education and should be studied for several reasons. First of all, if you take a
moment to think about it, the past has value to our society. It helps to show how we’ve gotten to where we
are now, and understand why our country is not progressing for many decades now.
Our view of history shapes the way we view the present, and therefore it could be easier for new
generations to preserve history and pass it on into the future generations to know what has really happened
in the past. Just by doing this, as a result, it dictates what we should do.
Philippine youths should be aware of their own respective culture to know the history of their own country.
Therefore, the country’s history should be kept in mind by educating the youths about this awareness so it
will then keep fresh in their minds at all times. Maybe this will help Filipino people why they keep repeating
the same mistakes over and over again.
I strongly believe that we must show every child in the Philippines what they need to learn and know
about their own country’s history, so that our children and our children’s children can live by the truth. I think
it’s definitely crucial for Philippines youth to have a good understanding of our history.
To understand the importance of being truthful to others, especially young ones, there is no doubt
that our future leaders will become competent and honest to its people. If we want to help make sure our
country a better place to live, strengthen growth and confidence, we need to create a better honest
society. We do need to do all of that, it’s vital to the future of our country.