I like reading biographies of great men and women of history. I also like to read major events in history that shaped the way we think, behave and lived.
As I think of history, particularly in the Philippines, we’d be able to read how three major super powers—Spain, United States and Japan came in to colonize this beautiful nation of more than seven thousand islands.
Filipinos suffered terribly under the hands of the Spaniards for more than 350 years. The oppression, the cruel treatment and the many abuses Filipino went through during more than three centuries left an indelible mark among our countrymen—both good and bad.
With the Americans from 1898 till the outbreak of the Second World War, Filipinos didn’t suffer much (physical abuse) as compared to the hands of the Spaniards. Though at some point, the rich natural resources of the Philippines, had somewhat been used up for their benefit.
The great thing about the American occupation was that Filipinos were introduced to education, a system of democratic government, while infrastructures rose one by one through the leadership of various Governor-Generals during the early part of the 20th Century.
The Japanese then, came in to lay waste the country during World War II in 1941. Filipinos fought valiantly side by side with their American comrades but were badly outnumbered by Japan’s Imperial Army during that period.
Various abuses took place for a period of five years (1941-1946). My wife recalled that her great grandfather suffered terribly under the hands of Japanese soldiers during their Occupation.
Three powerful nations from different periods. Spain, USA and Japan—they all came in to do what they wanted with our nation.
Yet, in God’s Sovereign plan, their presence in various periods of history shaped the way Filipinos are today.
We learned the concept of God through the Spaniards, while the Americans introduced us to the Gospel and faith in Christ.
With the Japanese, Filipinos learned to become resilient and tough since situations during WWII deemed it necessary for them to be strong and be in faith.
When I read the Philippine history, sometimes, it makes me cry, at other times, I get mad because of the seemingly endless abuses Filipino went through for more than 400 years of being under foreign domination.
Yet, look at where we are today—Filipinos could easily adapt to various cultures, speak different languages and even dialects, are flexible and the family and value system is fairly intact.
God has his ways of shaping, molding and developing us Filipinos.
Filipinos are unique (that’s why we don’t have to be copycat), ingenious, hardworking, creative, and I believe, in the coming years, bringers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Me? I’m proud to be a Filipino! How about you?