aaron2

Filipino Heroes: Historical

NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

I have always believed that having heroes is beneficial especially for young people. In the USA, I feel that I was blessed with many historical heroes starting with the American Revolution which the USA won over England. How would heroes like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson have been remembered had the rebelling colonies lost the war and the USA given its independence 50 years later? How would General George Washington been remembered if he had been killed in battle from accounts I have read it is a miracle he was not? How would Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson been remembered if they were captured and executed for treason instead of winning independence and setting up the great and free democratic republic of the United States of America?

The Philippines also had a Revolutionary War which it lost to the USA. After World War II the USA gave independence to the Philippines. The Filipinos who fought alongside the US soldiers to expel the Japanese were indeed heroes, but they are not well known. About 20 years after gaining independence the Filipino people elected Ferdinand Marcos to the presidency. President Marcos was a strong leader and when his two terms were up he made the decision that the Philippines needed him to continue as president. President Marcos declared martial law resulting in the extension of his presidency.

Get Relocation Consulting and Coaching from Live in the Philippines

There was resistance to President Marcos. A member of the resistance was Senator Benigno Aquino. Senator Aquino was thrown into prison for seven years. While in prison, he was diagnosed with heart disease and was allowed to travel to the USA to receive life-saving triple heart bypass surgery. Senator Aquino had been warned that if he returned to the Philippines he would be killed. In spite of this, he did return because in his words, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Senator Benigno Aquino was shot dead while deplaning at the then-named Manila International Airport.

After the assassination of her husband, Corazon Aquino took a leadership role she had never sought. President Marcos called for a Snap Election to prove to the World that he was the legitimate choice of the Filipino people to run his country. Corazon Aquino agreed to run for Philippine President only after a million Filipinos signed a petition for her to run. She was concerned that she was not the best prepared to be president. The election results were originally in favor of President Marcos. The election results were brought into question. Allegations of corruption led to the People Power Revolution.

Thousands of Filipino supporting Corazon Aguino in the street

Thousands of Filipino supporting Corazon Aquino in the street

The People Power Revolution was a series of mass demonstrations in favor of democratic rule and against what many felt was a corrupt government led by President Marcos. As a result of the People Power Revolution members of the Philippine military started to defect. At its climax, President Marcos was encouraged by his generals to fire on the demonstrators. President Marcos to his credit chose to step down and fled the Philippines. I believe that had President Marcos tried to maintain power the Philippines would have had a bloody civil war. I am not sure whether President Marcos fled for the sake of the people of the Philippines or to save himself, but I am glad he made the choice he made. Ferdinand Marcos served as Philippine President for over 20 years.

Corazon Aquino became the first female president of an Asian country and the people of the Philippines under her brave leadership restored democracy to the Philippines. President Corazon Aquino’s presidency was difficult and she faced several coup attempts. To many Benigno Aquino and Corazon Aquino are Filipino historical heroes. The couple certainly made great sacrifices for the Philippines and both were very brave and inspirational to many Filipinos and foreigners.

Interesting footnote

Most people who enter the Philippines land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport NAIA, named for Benigno”Ninoy” Aquino. I have read many complaints and unflattering articles about travelers’ experiences at this airport. I wonder how many of these travelers stopped to realize that the man the airport was renamed to honor was shot and killed while deplaning. So travelers if you think your experience at this airport could not have been worse…you are wrong.

Writer’s note

I am not a tremendous historian and I realize that I have offered a very brief account of the events surrounding President Ferdinand Marcos, the People Power Revolution, Senator Benigno Aquino and President Corazon Aquino. I have tried to inject only as little of my opinion on President Marcos as I could. I have no interest in debating whether President Marcos was justified in what he did, but I wanted to write about the Aquino and found that I could not without some mention of President Marcos. My goal is to encourage the reader if interested to look deeper into Filipino history and learn more about it for themselves. I know a lot of readers of this site know more than I about this topic and would love to read the thought and opinions of others. I also would like to learn who the readers of this site see as Filipino historical heroes.

Peace

Jay Stainback

Jay Stainback lives in Raleigh, NC, USA and is hoping/planning to retire to Bohol in about 10 years. He is married to his beautiful Filipina wife Juliet whom he met on-line. They were married 12/7/02 and have two boys’ ages 9 years old and 5 years old. Jay has visited the Philippines 4 times the first time 1 week, the 2nd time 2 weeks, the 3rd time for 3 weeks, the 4th time 4 weeks spending most of their time in Bohol.

Most Shared Posts

20 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Reyes
4 years ago

Hi Jay – They are a dime a dozen, but, in my mind, it’s the man from Calamba, Laguna, that holds sway over the prominent and the not-so-prominent Filipino heroes throughout recorded history, from Lapu-lapu to Diego Silang to Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan to the Sultan of Sulu, all of whom advocated and led armed resistance to Western colonizing powers. It was thought that Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian to feel the stirrings of Asian nationalism and do something about it, but he was not. It was the man from Calamba and his writings, particularly the Noli Me… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

Hi John,

By the end of the 1800’s, Spain had become a toothless lion. If the US had not taken them down someone else would have. The US had modernized their navy with iron ships Spain was slow to do so. The Battle of Manila Bay was the first battle of the Spanish-American War because the US Navy knew Spain had ships there. When the USA defeated the Spanish the effect on the Filipino Independence movement was that they went from fighting a weak fading colonial power to fighting a strong and growing colonial power.

Peace

Jay

Bob Martin
4 years ago

While for many years the Aquinos were considered heroes, I would say that in many parts of the country, that is no longer correct. Where I live, Davao City, many people (most?) no longer think that way, I would say that much of this change of feelings came about during Ninoy’s presidency, and things after that.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying they are not heroes, just relating that many people in different parts of the country no longer consider them to be heroes.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Hi Bob, It was difficult to find unbiased one way or the other information on the Aguinos and Marcos. I think you are confusing father and son. Ninoy Aguino was never president. He was killed before that could have happened. It is complicated who is and who is not a hero. For me the courage and selflessness make Ninoy and Corazon Aguino heroes. I also feel their importance in bringing back democratic rule to the Philippines makes them heroes. There are people who consider President Marcos a hero, others see him as a US puppet, and others a villain. I… Read more »

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Jay

I was talking about Nonoy. If I typed Ninoy that was an accident. I was just letting you know what the current sentiment is. There have been a number of very negative comments on the LiP FB page.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Hi Bob, Sorry for your loss. I got the impression that this article did not get much attention positive or negative. My feeling that Corazon and Ninoy Aguino are heroes is based solely on the monumental accomplishment of returning the Philippines to a country where power could be peacefully transferred by the people of the Philippines. I believe most countries with president’s for life have problems. I honestly don’t know how much Corazon Aguino accomplished during her actual time in office and for me her son’s presidency has no bearing whatsoever on her and Ninoy’s status. I respect others have… Read more »

Bob Stone
Bob Stone
4 years ago

Great article and I too believe we should learn about Pinoy history. Not necessarily to comment politically but just to be aware.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Stone

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the comment and the compliment! I tried to present a non-biased short history. The bad thing about the events of the time period I focused on is that a lot of the information is biased one way or the other. You are wise to stay out of politics.

Peace

Jay

orlando
orlando
4 years ago

Hello Sir,
The Philippine revolution was fought against Spain, not the USA. It was in the Philippine-American war were the Americans defeated the Filipinos.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Orlando, I am sure you are technically correct. The reality for the Filipino rebels was that they were fighting and my understanding winning against the Spaniards. Some officials of the USA promised the rebels that once the USA defeated Spain the Philippines would be independent. The US Navy annihilated the Spanish Fleet in Manila Bay. The Filipinos had the Spanish pretty well contained to a well defended fort that the Spanish could not resupply, because their fleet lay at the bottom of Manila Bay The Spaniards insisted on surrendering to the US not the Filipinos to save face. After… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
4 years ago

I’ll refrain from commenting on the Marcos / Aquino topic. Both families are still involved in politics, and both still have supporters and detractors. I do make it a point to learn as much as I can about the history of anyplace that I live. the Philippines is no exception. In an essay titled “When Stopped the Revolution”, Filipino historian, Nick Joaquin, asserts that the Philippine American War was a second phase of the revolution. He claims the Revolution was effectively over by 1914, defeated, not by force of arms, but by the American backed public school system. The children… Read more »

John Reyes
4 years ago

Hi Pete – I have a lot of respect for Nick Joaquin as a Filipino historian, but sometimes he goes overboard with his personal opinion. Of all people, I just cannot believe that Nick Joaquin would refer to the armed conflict between American infantry forces and Filipino soldiers that occurred in the Philippines from 1899-1892 as a revolution. It was a war, not a revolution. Neither was it a rebellion, nor insurrection, To refer to that conflict it as a revolution meant that the Filipinos were subdued and were under American rule. It was a WAR fought by soldiers of… Read more »

John Reyes
4 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

Ooops, sorry. Typo should read, 1899 to 1902.

John Reyes
4 years ago

Hi Pete – I have a lot of respect for Nick Joaquin as a Filipino historian, but sometimes he goes overboard with his personal opinion. I just cannot believe that Nick Joaquin, of all people, would refer to the armed conflict between American infantry and Filipino soldiers that occurred in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902 as a revolution. It was not a revolution. Neither was it an uprising, rebellion, nor insurrection. To refer to that conflict it as a revolution meant that the Filipinos were subdued and were under American rule. It was a WAR fought by soldiers of… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Pete, Thank you for your comment and giving me some names to google search! You wrote, “I admire Fr. Burgos and Jose Rizal for their attempts to make the Spanish accept the Filipino as an equal.” That made me think who made the Americans see the Filipinos as equals? My answer would be the Japanese military who ordered and carried out the Bataan Death March. Hard to imagine anyone who survived feeling equal to anyone else who was forced to endure it. My opinion the Philippine Revolution ended July 4, 1946 when the Philippines was granted her independence. Peace… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
4 years ago

Hello John, I’m understanding Joaquins reasoning to be that the Philippine American war was, in essence, a continuation of the struggle for independence. The principle ally turned out to be just another colonizer. The Filipino leadership still had the same goals, but now, the enemy was different. He contends that the revolution continued, even after the capture of Aguinaldo, and the elite military and political leadership had signed oaths of allegiance to the US. This last phase was carried out by the common folk, laborers, tenant farmers, and such. These folks were encouraged and supported by Artemio Ricarte, one of… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Pete,

For me I am seeing it as a continuation of the Revolution against Spain as you wrote. The Philippines declared Independence, but in fact was not. The US Declared independence from England on July 4, 1776, but really was not a function country until the Articles of Confederation or in reality until the US Constitution was passed. This is all kind of semantics though. In other words this will be my last comment on whether the conflict between the Philippines and the USA was a war or a revolution.

Peace

Jay

John Reyes
4 years ago
Reply to  Jay

Hi Pete and Jay: I see where we all are coming from. It seems to me that you are looking at the bigger picture, which is the Philippine struggle for independence against both colonizers, ranging roughly from the years 1896 tthrough 1946. As semantics go, one could assume this was a continuing Filipino quest for political and social independence, hence a “revolution”. However, I am referring to that specific time period in Philippine history from 1899-1902, that pitted U.S. infantry against organized, officer-led soldiers of the Philippine Army, when the entire archipelago were still NOT completely under American rule. Many… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
4 years ago

Hello Jay, We historians often quibble over details. But more often, we struggle against popular national mythologies. In the US, I constantly ran into the deeply held belief that the American Revolutionary War was won by guys in coonskin caps sniping from behind rocks and trees at neatly aligned British redcoats. The reality is, that we did not begin to win until von Stueben taught the Continental Army to fight and win toe to toe in the linear tactics of the day. The Filipino historians I mentioned battle against the popular belief that guys in camisas, carrying bolos and spears… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Pete, On the American Revolution, the importance of our assistance from France has also been downplayed. In my list of US Founding Fathers I include Benjamin Franklin. One of the great things he did was get French support which I guess was kind of a no-brainer since the French and English were such rivals, but someone had to convince the French we were worthy of their support. I included George Washington for his obvious leadership in battle and Thomas Jefferson for the US Constitution which has been the key to the US continued success. On the Philippine American War,… Read more »

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.