Fight in the Frontline



February is, as most people would perceive, the month in which Valentine’s Day occurs, the commemoration of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, which would be a holiday. Thanks to the President for permitting it to be a holiday this year. Incidentally, Chinese New Year would come about at the middle of the month. But, Bicolanos, the month starts with the birth anniversary of JoMaPa. No, not Jao Mapa, the 90’s young actor who could have been one of the Guwapings. Does anyone remember him or them? Well, with all due highest respect, February 1 is the birth anniversary of Jose Maria Panganiban from whom you may not probably know, Panganiban Drive is named after. Yes, and you thought the guys who named streets then, just picked a random family name that might sound cool for a street. Remember Jose Maria Panganiban the next time you get caught in traffic going to SM or heading to Concepcion or Del Rosario. As obvious as it comes, the municipality of Jose Maria Panganiban in Camarines Norte was named after their most prolific sonThe town used to be called Mambulao. With that, you may be added to the list of few Araling Panlipunan teachers who remember him. Furthermore, that’s his monument in the middle of the Naga Central School 1 campus, just in case you’re an alumnus or you used to take and fetch your child there, before this crazy pandemic.


Well, Jose Maria Panganiban was a native of what is now, the province of Camarines Norte, who would become one of the Propagandistas, Filipinos who based themselves in Spain, who advocated for equal representation and rights for people of what was then a Spanish colony, through publication of the newspaper La Solidaridad, along with some more familiar names like Jose Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar and Graciano Lopez Jaena, way back in 1888. Too bad, he would die about two years later, in 1890. That was just two years of revolutionary resolve for reforms. You should read his Wikipedia page. This fellow Bicolano was one genius in literature, agriculture and medicine. He was a teacher’s pet before teacher’s pet was even a concept, not because he sucked up to authority, but because he was just simply exceptionally intelligent.


Thanks to Jomapa, Bicol has some representation among Jose Rizal’s literary league, because we missed out on being one of the rays of the sun in the middle of the flag. Lest we forget, there’s also Simeon Ola and Elias Angeles whom you probably may not know much of.


A highlight of the commemoration last Monday was when Congressman Gabby Bordado with his commanding baritone bravado of a voice, called out the teachers who seemed to be stationed behind some structures, which to him was a not so good gesture of giving honor to the hero, and apparent closeness that violated social distance. The Congressman gave a reminder that teachers are frontliners whom he fights for in Congress, and whom ought to reciprocally fight in a similar way. Well, I suppose he meant a manifestation a more outwardly sincere show of tribute to a historical figure, and seriously keeping apart from each other in active prevention of possible infection of Covid-19. The way I understood it was that it was a call out for the public who are perceived not to be fighting hard enough, to fight harder.


How about you? Are you fighting hard enough? Are you fighting at all?


The answer is a question of relevance. The fight simply fails to form a semblance of reality in actual life. Despite the advocacy for advancement in the age of antiquity, and the excellent efforts to remember and revere repute and renown of resolute revolutionary spirit, they just simply fall short of consequence to current practical life. Some commonly supposed fronts give little experience of threats; that fighters decide to focus the fervor on the floundering facets.


I believe Bicolanos, and to a wider extent, Filipinos know how to pay tribute to heroes. Remember the mass of people who flocked around the Archbishop’s Palace all day and all night until the final laying to rest of the favourite son of Naga. We are oh so proud of those youngsters who amazed us with having planetoids named after them; and we always celebrate when one of our young ladies land a runner up spot in any of the national beauty competitions.


A fighter can’t spend too much time on one front when more attack is experienced on other fronts. The fighters have to fight the escalating prices of commodities which used to be reliably affordable. Fighters have to fight in the front of working efficiently online with reliable devices and connections. Fighters have to fight with keeping up in helping the children continue learning in alternative modes. Fighters have to fight in keeping livelihood afloat in these trying times with the end seemingly in sight, but still yet so far to be reached.


“Fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12