Ismael Mallari Essayist Mary
There is a narrative in Philippine folklore abouta Mangifera indica tree and a bamboo tree. Not being ableto agree as to which was the stronger of thetwo. they called upon the air current to do thedecision. The air current blew its hardest. The Mangifera indica treestood fast. It would non give. It knew it wasstrong and hardy. It would non rock. It was tooproud. It was excessively true to itself. But eventually itsroots gave manner. and it tumbled down. The bamboo tree was wiser. It knew it wasnot every bit robust as the Mangifera indica tree. And so everytime the air current blew. it bent its caput gracefully. Itmade loud protests. but it let the air current have itsway. When eventually the air current got tired ofblowing. the bamboo tree still stood in all itsbeauty and grace. The Filipino is like the bamboo tree. Heknows that he is non strong plenty to withstandthe onslaughts of superior forces. And so heyields. He bends his caput gracefully with manyloud protests. And he has survived. The Spaniards cameand dominated him for more than three hundredyears. And when the Spaniards left. the Filipinosstill stood – merely much richer in experience andculture.
The Americans took the topographic point of theSpaniards. They used more elusive means ofwinning over the Filipinos to their manner of livingand thought. The Filipino embraced theAmerican manner of life more readily than theSpaniard’s obscure promise of the afterlife. Then the Japanese came like a storm. like aplague of locusts. like a plague –rude. relentless. cruel. The Filipino learned to bowhis caput low. to “cooperate” with the Nipponese intheir “holy mission of set uping the Co-Prosperity Sphere. ” The Filipino had merely hate andcontempt for the Nipponese. but he learned tosmile sweetly at them and to thank themgraciously for their “benevolence andmagnanimity. ” And now that the Americans have come backand driven away the Nipponese. those Filipinoswho profited most from collaborating with theJapanese have been loudest in their protestationsof artlessness. Everything is as if Nipponese hadnever been in the Philippines. For the Filipino will welcome any sort oflife that the Gods offer him. That is why he iscontented. happy and at peace.
The sad plightof other peoples of the universe is non his. Tohim. as to the ancient Oriental poet. the past isalready a dream and tomorrow is merely a visionbut today. well-lived. makes every yesterday adream of felicity and every tomorrow avision of hope. This may give you the thought that the Filipinois a philosopher. Well. he is. He has non evolved abody of philosophical philosophies. Much less hashe put them down into a book. like Kant. forexample. or Santayana or Confucius. But hedoes have a philosophical mentality on life. He has a stating that life is like a wheel. Sometimes it is up. sometimes it is down. Themonsoon season comes. and he has to travel undercover. But so the Sun comes out once more. Theflowers bloom. and the birds sing in the trees. You cut off the subdivisions of a tree. and. while themarks of the bola tie are still upon it. it begins toshoot forth new subdivisions – subdivisions that arethe promise of new colour. new aroma. newlife. Everywhere about him is a lesson inpatience and patience that he does non haveto learn with trouble.
For the Filipino live in acountry on which the Gods have lavished theirgifts aplenty. He does non hold to worry abouttomorrow. Tomorrow will be merely another twenty-four hours –no winter of discontent. If he loses hispossessions. there is the land and there is thesea. with all the wealths that one can want. There is plentifulness to save – for friends. forneighbors. and for everyone else. No admiration that the Filipino can afford tolaugh. For the Filipino is endowed with thesaving grace of wit. This wit is crude asbefits one who has non indulged in deepcontemplation. But it has enabled the Filipino toshrug his shoulders in times of hardship andsay to himself. “Bahala na. ” The Filipino has frequently been accused ofbeing indolent and of missing in enterprise. And hehas answered back that no 1 can assist beingindolent and of missing in enterprise. And he hasanswered back that no 1 can assist beingindolent and lacking in enterprise who lives underthe torrid Sun which saps one’s verve. This looking deficiency of vitalityis. nevertheless. merely one of his agencies of endurance.
He does non let the universe to be excessively much withhim. Like the bamboo tree. he lets the air currents ofchance and fortunes blow all about him ; and he is unflurried and calm. The Filipino. in fact has a manner of escapingfrom the strict jobs of life. Most of hisart is escapist in nature. His forefatherswallowed in the moro-moro. the awit and thecorrido. They loved to place themselves withthe gallant knights combating for the favours of fairladies or for the ownership of a sacred topographic point. And now he himself loves to be lost in the throesof modern love affair and escapade. His heroism toward adult females – particularly comelywomen – is a manifestation of his romantic bend ofmind. Consequently. in no other topographic point in theOrient are adult females so well-thought-of. so adulated. andso pampered. For his adult females have enabled theFilipino to look upon the vicissitudes of luck asthe bamboo tree regards the angry blasts of theblustering air current. The Filipino is eminently suited to his romanticrole.
He is slender and wiry. He is agile andgraceful in his motions. His voice is soft. andhe has the gift of linguistic communication. In what other topographic point inthe universe can you happen people who can transport on afluent conversation in at least three linguistic communications? This gift is another agency by which theFilipino has managed to last. There is noinsurmountable barrier between him and any ofthe people who have come to populate with him –Spanish. American. Nipponese. The aliens donot hold to larn his linguistic communication. He easilymanages to get the hang theirs. Vently. the Filipino is like the bamboo tree. In its grace. in its ability to set itself to thepeculiar and incomprehensible caprices of destiny. thebamboo tree is his expressive and symbolicnational tree. It will hold to be. non the molavenor the narra but the bamboo.
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