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History of the Philippine Islands by Morga

GREATWK A54 Jonathan Kenneth C. Jardin After reading the History of the Philippine Islands written by Morga and listening to the reports of the different groups, I have learned something that was not teach during my high school and elementary days. In the book, there were several conflicting ideas that Morga had about the history of the Philippines with what really happened in the Philippines. An example of this was in the case of how Magellan died of a disease and was attacked by the natives, which wasnt really true since the natives were only defending their territory which was a basic human instinct.

Here we can see how the Spaniards think in their own perspective they were the ones helping us but in our perspective they are just using us and also destroying our progress which was stated by Rizal’s annotations like what the Spaniard believe that before they came there was darkness but Rizal pointed it out in another perspective that when the Spaniard came there was darkness. Now, although the book was more geared towards Spanish perspective Morga was still able to providepositive information about the islands’ early inhabitants, and reliable accounts of pre-Christian religion and social customs.

However, some inconcsistencies with how Spaniards think was pointed out by Rizal such as the example of Borneo. Borneo which was conquered by Spain was not declared a territory of the Philippines , if the Spaniards had the logic of what conquered is theirs then the question remains why Borneo is not a part of the Philippines. Also the book stated on how some natives in the Philippines betrayed their own kind by siding with the Spaniards but in reality it can be said that the natives that they were called to be inferior to them were in fact using the Spaniards which was quite ironic.

Also Rizal pointed out on how Spaniard’s reasoning with what Morga’s history book discussed was quite stupid in a way, example of this was an annotation by Rizal about the Chinese workmen who were serving a Spanish fleet. The chinese crew formed a mutiny in the end and took over the fleet. The point which Rizal wanted to point out in this story was how can the Spaniards come up with so much respect for the chinese for what they did but for the indios they dont respect them at all even though the indios treat the Spanish as one of them.

Also another account depicting how loyal was the Filipinos are was on how they did not renounce their faith even if they were being tortured by the chinese and being mocked upon. Clearly something is wrong with how the Spaniards think, why come with so much praise with the chinese but with the indios denied their respect was what Rizal was trying to say in his annotations. Morga was a failure as a historian. His work can be said to be partly on documentary research, partly on keen observation, and partly on Morga’s personal involvement and knowledge.

This was then the reason why Rizal made several annotations with the book to be able to correct the false information that Morga presented since for Rizal it has slandered the true history of the Philippines. Rizal’s reasons then in publishing a new book with the lenghty annotations is quite clear. He wanted to prove, by means of a reputable work, that the people of the Philippines did possess a high level of culture and morality before the arrival of the Spaniards, did have a mastery of a distinct handicraft art (as perhaps in ship construction), did develop a flourishing trade and did maintain a good contact with the outside world.

Knowledge of their own past should strengthen the self-confidence of his countrymen and promote their political and scientific growth. In the new book that Rizal published that he got the inspiration while he was still working on “Noli Me Tangere” , he mentioned that it was necessary to know the past fully in order to understand the present. With the knowledge and appreciation of yesterday, one can arm one’s self for tomorrow. This was for me a reason why Rizal was quite impulsive with his annotations.

After reading the book , for me my observations on Spanish policy in the Philippines was how the policies are simply wrong in principle. The racial arrogance of the Spaniards who still regard and treat the Filipinos as an inferior race because of their flat noses and brown complexion. Racial discrimination was dominant in the Spanish period just because of the physical differences of the Filipinos with the Spaniards. Another thing is the belief that the Filipinos are not yet ready for a representation in the parliament and for other reforms.

Rizal always keeps on mentioning how Filipinos are capable to do make progress but this progress through representation in the parliatment and for other reforms are stopped by the Spaniards. Finally under the title of strict application of the laws which nevertheless means nothing but a codification of the abuse of power, the refusal to grant equal rights to the Filipinos. Equal rights were subsequently not given to the Filipinos because of racial superiority that the Spaniards pracitces.

In conclusion, Rizal wanted to point out, above all, three things with the publication: firstly, that the Filipinos possessed an independent culture before the arrival of the Spaniards; secondly, that the Filipinos were decimated, demoralized, exploited and ruined by the Spanish civilization; and thirdly, the condition achieved, the importation of Spanish civilization did not necessarily, and certainly not in all spheres of interest, bring to the Philippines an improvement.

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