indios bravos!

November 10, 2005

indios bravos! on the book.indios bravos! Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption.That’s the title of my (new) book, the reason for this blogsite. Coming off the press this December 2005.

Jose Rizal as a mind warrior: Did you know that? This book is an intellectual biography of the hero, and the first to be based on the author’s own new English translation of this intellectual’s valedictory poem: ‘Adios, Patria Adorada.’ Do you know that poem? Read my book! That poem is greatest poem in patriotic history the world has ever known, even though you don’t know it by that title. The poet gave it that title, and you didn’t know that, nobody knew that.

A Renaissance man, the likes of Jose Rizal we may not see again in another 100 years. This book shows the genius of the hero who said ‘Goodbye’ more than a hundred years ago, in 1898, and the martyr who is saying ‘Hello’ today, in 2005. Yesterday, he died so that the many may live in peace, and today he is dying to reach out with his previously unrecognized, unread message, because his revolution remains unfinished. The message? Love. And it starts in my mind. Redemption. And it starts with me.

The real story of Jose Rizal started with a lamp and ended with a lamp. Illumination first, enlightenment last. In the beginning, a lamp ignited the imagination of the boy: how sweet it would be to die a martyr to one’s illusions. In the end, a lamp ignited the hearts of patriots who waged the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

indios bravos! Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption revisits the Katipunan in the eyes of the man whose name was used as its battlecry but who vehemently opposed it. It argues for ‘making men worthy’ of God and country, if only as Filipinos. It debunks the myth that Rizal did not really love Josephine, or the other way around. It shows that as much as there is a line in that poem for Josephine, there is also a line expressly for his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt. It also has a line expressly for the Blessed Virgin Mary! It also reveals that Rizal’s valedictory poem has been given the unworthy, uninspired title ‘Mi Ultimo Adios,’ and that in fact the poet had a title to it. And it shows that that poem has never been successfully translated in English by anyone – till now.

November 10

indios bravos! on the author. indios bravos! Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption

First things first. Frank A Hilario is an Ilocano and proud of it. It was in this tongue that he learned, outside of school, to read the Bannawag (Dawn, translation of the Tagalog Liwayway magazine) when he was about 7. In high school, despite his mother’s objection (she said it was a waste of money), the Tagalog magazines (Liwayway, Tagalog Movies, Bulaklak, Kislap Graphic) and komiks (Ace, Tagalog Klasiks, Pilipino Komiks, Espesyal) in town, he bought all he could find (his favorite was Pilipino Komiks); going home, he would tuck in the magazines in his back and cover them with his shirt, the better for his mother not to find, those magazines finally finding their way to the base of the haystack at the back of the granary at the back of their house in Asingan, Pangasinan. They were not rich, never been; but not everyone had a granary in those days and, as not everyone read like him, he felt very much the richer.

He speaks Ilocano like the native that he is, but he prefers to think, talk and translate in English, and takes to American humor like a duck to the water, an Englishman out of place. And why is that? He replies with his favorite own quote: ‘You have to forgive me: I too am a victim of colonial education.’ He likes it like that; in fact, he loves it. How else could he have loved Mathematics and American & English Lit and the Reader’s Digest when he was in high school in the mid-1950s? He loved the local komiks; he loved English – he simply loved reading in any language.

He has always had a great love for learning that he can get from reading. When he was in high school, every Friday after the last school hours, he would borrow 5 or more books from the library of Rizal Junior College (High School Department) in town and read them in the village of Sanchez the next Saturday and Sunday either on top of the carabao he was pasturing or under a tree while keeping one eye on the animal teetered and widely grazing. Being a wide reader was a big help when he was courting Amparo Medina Reynoso in late 1966, as he had more than enough materials to share, sometimes a joke, often trivia, perhaps a quote, many times a movie seen or a topic thought about or a book read. It was love at first sight, the girl, not the book. A few weeks later, he brought out the question, in a dance, the Loyalty Day Ball in October 1966. ‘What would you say,’ he asked, ‘if I told you I love you?’ They were married on the 18th of March 1967. They have 12 children.

Prolific. He has always had a prolific mind and body. In 1975, he became Section Chief for Information of the Forest Research Institute (fori) at Los Baños, Laguna. He proceeded to create from scratch fori’s publications: the monthly newsletter Canopy, the quarterly color magazine Habitat, the quarterly technical journal Sylvatrop. He wrote for the newsletter and the magazine; he was also a third photographer for these publications. Remember: This was in the Age of the Dinosaurs (typewriters). For the record: In no issue of any publications was he late ever. Secret: To fill up the issues, he would write under a pseudonym or two or three. He would also take photographs, as he learned what good photography was all about, from books and from asking. It pays to be writer and editor and photographer at the same time, and to ask questions. He is currently Editor in Chief of the Philippine Journal of Crop Science; since January 2003, he has written at least one popular article for the journal for the last 13 issues, each article at least a thousand words. He is also desktop publisher (the person, not the program) for the pjcs. Again, for the record: From being 13 issues late, as of June 2005, the journal was now 1 issue early (August 2005).

He has always had an insatiable appetite for learning by mind and by hand, though not always dexterously. He is 65, going on 66, being born on the 17th of September 1940. He has a quick mind. And it can be told of him as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said of William Randolph Churchill, friend of friend: ‘His mind is better than it was. His mind is improving. I’m sure that he’s got a greater mind than he had twenty years ago. He’s got a more developed mind’ (Jon Meacham, Franklin And Winston, New York, Random House, 2003: 122-123). And as Churchill was as a person, he does not have the facility to get along well with many people. Well, he says, you can’t have them all.

Heroic? He feels heroic enough to have written what has been his illusion: an intellectual biography of a much-written-on Filipino, the most documented Malayan hero. He himself may become a martyr to his illusion, but he feels it is a good price to pay to tell the untold intellectual story of Jose Rizal, the unknown Gem, the undiscovered Pearl of the Orient Sea.

November 17

A book, a book, a kingdom for a book! Would Jose Rizal have been pleased? My first book, indios bravos! came off the press yesterday, 16 November (Manila time), and it presents what amounts to a newly discovered hero barely thought of by others, or otherwise thought of by others as absurd.

This one’s different as day is to night. If you say you’re not interested, if you are tired of reading Jose Rizal, I understand. Jose Rizal is boring – as written about previously. But now that I’m done with my book, now that I’m done with my reading and rereading his letters and writings (in English translations), I find him a most interesting fellow, an intriguing hero. In reading his lines, and in reading between his lines, I have found my hero!

Above all, I found his virtual kingdom of peace.

Let me explain that by simply saying here that he was a man of peace – from beginning to end. But he was also a man of daring. He was a man of love. But he was also a man of understanding.

And no, he never led a boring life. His life was short but it was full, all 35 years of it.

November 17

Filipinos, redeem yourselves! Let your intelligence shine out and join The 2nd Revolt of the Intellectuals!

1. What Anti-Filipino Intellectuals Are Doing

Many Filipinos are making a fool of themselves at home and abroad. They are the anti-intellectuals. The anti-intellectuals are trying their best to make the Philippines a basket case. The anti-intellectuals are trying their best to make the Filipinos feel hopeless, ashamed of themselves.

It’s time to stop the anti-intellectuals from ruining our country! From running our lives! It’s
time for the new intellectuals to revolt against the old demagogues, old do-gooders, old tricksters!

2. The 2nd Intellectual Revolt of the Filipinos

A revolution has just started in the Philippines, and it’s intellectual. The first salvo has been fired, and it’s a book called:
indios bravos! Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption.

An intellectual is one who uses both head and heart. Authored by Frank A Hilario, an Ilocano from Asingan, Pangasinan, the book portrays Rizal as the first Filipino intellectual, a peacemaker. The book explains Rizal’s concept of redemption as the Filipinos making themselves worthy in the eyes of other peoples of the world.

‘Messiah’ means savior or liberator, the one who opens the hearts and minds of the people to the idea of glorious change. ‘indios bravos’ are us, the brave Filipinos and friends who say ‘Down with defeatist thinking! ‘Down with lousy reasoning!’ ‘Down with bad-mouthing, bad behavior!’ Down with ambition at the expense of the people!

The 1st Intellectual Revolt happened more than 100 years ago. It was called the Propaganda Movement, led by Jose Rizal, the genius of the Malay race. Today Rizal leads the unfinished revolution in the form of indios bravos!

3. Remember: The Revolution starts with me.

The Revolution starts with indios bravos! The Redemption starts with you. Let Jose Rizal via indios bravos! lead you. But it is not enough to accept Jose Rizal as your Lead and Savior: You have to make yourself worthy every day every which way.
indios bravos! is published in the Philippines by Lumos Publishing House, Lumos being where insights become instruments for instruction and intelligent action. You have to read to know more.

4. Peace Is the Way for the New Revolution

Remember: There is no way to revolution but peace. Remember most: ‘There is no way to peace; peace is the way’ (AJ Muste).
Only the Filipinos can redeem the Filipinos. (The rest can redeem themselves.)

So what do we have to do this time? Any or all of these things:
1. Write your Senators or Representatives in the Philippines. Warn them about your intellectual discontent and their intellectual dishonesty.
2. Raise the consciousness of other Filipinos on the noblest virtues of the Filipinos, including those of their heroes.
3. Be a hero! And anyone can do it. To be a hero is simply to do the best you can in all the ways you can for all the days you can. That’s what being a good Christian is all about anyway.
In truth and in fact, indios bravos! is the crying need of the times.

November 30

Warning about mistakes: Wam!
29 November 2005

Hey, Frank,

It is true Rizal made mistakes, he certainly was not God. Making mistakes is not the problem…but repeating mistakes can be problematic. As students of Rizal, don’t you think we should identify the mistakes he made?

Take the mistake of his letter to the young women of Malolos. What should we do to avoid Rizal’s error(s) in that letter. Avoid the letter altogether? I know that is what you believe, i.e. you called it “unforgettable”…I think you meant “forgettable” i.e. delete it from memory.

It seems apparent at least per the authority of the Catholic Church which the author of the Noli and Fili submitted to that both novels are also mistakes, or at least contain enough mistakes so as to be in the Catholic Church’s list of forbidden books.

And since it is the law that Catholic schools must teach the Noli and the Fili, perhaps a waiver or warning should go with the curriculum that what is being taught is done so with the meat of novels “retracted” or “extracted” to protect the souls of the faithful.

I wonder if Dr. Yoder should post such a warning at the sister site since so many Filipinos are Catholics and like Rizal, submit to the authority of the Church which has determined so much of Rizal’s works to be detrimental to the faithful, or offensive to Catholics.

We don’t want to perpetuate Rizal’s mistakes, amen?


p.s. isn’t it tragic that the mortal remains of Rizal could not protest the re-internment at the Luneta by the Masonic Temple of Tondo and not the authority that the condemned Rizal submitted to? Our national hero, retractful in life, voiceless in death. He admonished his people’s apathy, silence and ignorance only to end up that way in his final resting place, giving up all he had learned through reason in favor of blissful but eternal ignorance. Padre Damaso indeed had his revenge.

30 November 2005


A very dangerous proposition: Identifying to avoid Rizal’s mistakes. Reading your last words (exactly 319, apart from your salutation and your initials, the figures add up to 13), I have been inspired to summarize them as your proposition that in living as intelligent beings, we should identify mistakes first so that we can avoid them before we go on living. I shall call that living by avoidance. Living by the details, not the whole. Such as living by the numbers. Minding the pieces of the Jigsaw Puzzle, not the Big Picture.

That’s exactly what we’re doing in Philippine society today. identifying the mistakes, criticizing, lambasting, finger-pointing and calling to arms against those who make mistakes, not against those mistakes. We hate the sinner, not the sin. By Philippine society I mean anywhere two Filipinos meet – and there I don’t want to be in the midst of them!

Living by avoidance is our mistake. Leading by avoidance too. And pleading by avoidance.

So, let this be a warning about mistakes. Wam! Because we are robbing off ourselves life’s infinite surprises! And blessings. Even God didn’t say, ‘Would it be a mistake if I created Man? And in my image and likeness yet!’ That would have been avoiding a big mistake, right? That would have been using more Reason than Faith. My God is beyond all Reason, even beyond all Faith.

You prescribe living by avoidance, learning by avoidance. I prefer living by abundance, learning by abundance. By that I mean using more and more my creative powers and less and less my critical powers. My God didn’t create Man and tell him, ‘Go and criticize and replenish the Earth!’

You exercise to sweat off toxins in your body. The problem with the noisy mass-media minority of Filipinos today here and abroad is that their only exercise is to criticize. What’s the problem with that? No sweat.

You want to identify the mistakes so that you can avoid them. If that’s the kind of life you want, go ahead, make your day. Then you will be spending your life identifying one mistake after another! No time enough to laugh, no time to love enough – that would turn out to be the greatest mistake, wouldn’t it?

To identify the mistakes so that you can avoid repeating them is to use Reason. Ah, CDV, there’s more to life than Reason! There’s Faith. It’s easy to criticize, to point out mistakes. Yes, there’s more to life than spamming: there’s jamming. There’s more to life than criticizing: there’s creating. There’s more to life than destruction: there’s construction. There’s more to life than finger-pointing; there’s embracing.

And now, I find I have inadvertently identified Rizal’s Big Mistake: using his Reason more than his Faith. Using his critical faculties more than his creative faculties. That’s what you see beginning May 1882, when he left abruptly for abroad. That’s what you see in the Noli. That’s what you see in his writings.

His letter to the young women of Malolos was not a mistake – the mistake was not in the message but in the way the message was put into words. He meant well but, well, honest intentions are not good enough. Watch your car, watch your language.

Wam! We are students of Rizal, CDV, but we are not students of mistakes. We don’t study mistakes. Only critics do, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, including paid hacks. Only CSI people do, after the crime.

The Noli (in effect) equated the Catholics with Catholicism; the unwary have for the last 100 years been assuming that. That’s a big mistake. Now I understand why the Catholic Church banned that book, thank you. The Noli painted the friars in a bad light; the Noli painted the Filipinos in a bad light too. Fair enough? (Read the Noli again. Or, at least read the letters from his friends after his Noli came out if you don’t believe me.)

I believe in Rizal’s greatness, I have no doubt about his preeminence. I’m not contesting that the Noli was the history of the last 10 years, as Rizal said so in a letter to Blumentritt. But you don’t have to write history and be obnoxious at the same time. And I have a book, my first, an intellectual journey into the mind of Jose Rizal, all 200 pages of it, to prove my point: indios bravos!

Careful when you say Indios Bravos. Indios was the derisive name the Spaniards called the Filipinos. Ignorant Indians, imbeciles. But Buffalo Bill and the proud American Indians (also called Indios) in his circus troupe became an inspiration to Rizal and his gang the Kidlat Club. Was it in Paris, the city of a million inspirations? Led by the hero, they instantly transformed themselves into a new group, Los Indios Bravos (The Brave Indians), to acknowledge themselves and declare their pride in themselves as themselves. On this occasion, Rizal was creative, turning a negative into a positive. Why couldn’t Jose Rizal be Indios Bravos all the time?

Why can’t we be all Indios Bravos, and all the time?

Identifying (and labeling) mistakes above all is an exercise in futility, not fertility. It is the use of critical thinking or Reason above all. It should be creative thinking or Faith above all. But what do we call Faith? Superstition. And what do we call Reason? Logic, Philosophy, Science. Catholic or not, schools can do better than that!

In schools, they are teaching critical thinking above creative thinking. We do it all the time, without thinking. For instance, evolution is a theory and so we should teach that as theory, not gospel truth. And we should teach that Science is only one way of searching for Truth; Faith is another way. That is what is wrong with American liberal thinkers: they are using only Science as the measure of truth, beauty and goodness. They are all afraid of God, so they don’t even want anyone to mention that word in the premises of any school or court. I like the Americans, especially when they make me laugh. When I’m not laughing, I want to be better than any of the American liberals. In our own little way, each one of us should be better than any of them. Then our individual, small creative acts will save our sinking souls, if not our sinking ship.

CDV, don’t underestimate the Catholics. In the Philippines, the Catholics that I know are not meek lambs. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me 13 million Catholics do not submit to the authority of the Church. For instance, if you are a Catholic, you have to go to Confession first before you can go to Communion. Now, have you observed how so many of them line up to receive the Bread of Life and before that how so few of them line up to confess and say a prayer or two for atonement of their sins?

Now we are in the last days: At last, our hero would not, could not criticize anymore. His valedictory poem, the one you know as ‘Mi Ultimo Adios,’ the one that I call ‘Adios, Patria Adorada’ and have translated into English as ‘Adios, Beloved Patria,’ was his last creative act. Consummatum est! he shouted before they shot him. Done! My criticizing is finished! Now hear my last Adios. Adios, Patria Adorada. God be with you, beloved Patria. Love one another in memory of me. Here, he allowed his creative faculties to rise above the din of the crowd, above death. Wam! Let’s read that poem in all its truth, beauty and goodness. And more importantly, let’s live it.



PS: Otherwise, Adios, Patria Adorada!

Explore posts in the same categories: a book for a kingdom, indios bravos!, mistakes, redeeming ourselves

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