|I am a Filipino, inheritor of a
glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such, I must prove equal
to a two-fold task -- the task of meeting my responsibility to the past,
and the task of performing my obligation to the future.
I am sprung from a hardy race, child
of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries
the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to
sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea
I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind,
carried upon a mighty swell of hope -- hope in the free abundance of the
new land that was to be their home and their children's forever.
This is the land they sought and
found. Every inch of the shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill
and mountain that beckoned to them with a green-and-purple invitation;
every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and
lake that promised a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce,
is hallowed spot to me.
By the strength of their hearts
and hands, by every right of law -- human and divine -- this land and all
the appurtenances thereto -- the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes
and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth
in wildlife and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals
-- the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without
number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them
and in trust will I pass it on my children, and so on until this world
is no more.
I am a Filipino. In my blood runs
the immortal seed of heroes -- seed that flowered down the centuries in
deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood
that sent Lapu-Lapu to battle against the first invader of this land, that
nerved Lakandula to combat the alien foe, that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy
into rebellion against the foreign oppressor.
That seed is immortal. It is the
self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in
Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of
him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the
hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gregorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass,
of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in
the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst forth royally
again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the
threshold of ancient Malacanang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession
and racial vindication.
The seed I bear within me is an
immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of my dignity as
a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen
many thousands of years ago, it shall go and flower and bear fruits again.
It is the insignia of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the
unending search of my people for freedom and happiness.
I am a Filipino, child of the marriage
of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its
passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came
thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I
am of the East, an eager participant in its spirit, and in its struggles
for liberation from its centuried sleep, shake off the lethargy that has
bound itls limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits.
For I too am of the West, and the
vigorous people of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet
that once was ours. I can no longer live, a being apart from those whose
world now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon-shot...
I am a Filipino and this is my inheritance.
What pledges shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I
shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries,
and it shall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears
when first they saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of
the batteries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan
to Tirad Pass, of the voices of my people when they sing:
Land of the morning