The Philippines (A Story of a Nation)

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by Augusto V. De Viana

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The Philippines (A Story of a Nation)

The Philippines (A Story of a Nation)

by Augusto V. De Viana

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The history of a nation is the story of its rise, development, and outcome. It explains the present and guides the way to the future. As a subject, history is not meant to be mechanically memorized and later be forgotten, but should be used to derive valuable insights and perspectives on what we are and what we want to be.

A more significant aspect of history is that it is not just a story or historia from which the word came from. It carries with it an important meaning. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is the discussion of the Filipino word for history which is kasaysayan. Kasaysayan has a deeper meaning than its English equivalent. Its root word saysay, means “sense” or “meaning.” It also means importance or purpose. Things that have no importance or meaning are valueless or walang saysay and have no purpose.

With the addition of the suffix “yan,” saysayan now means the act of conveying words of importance or sense. This is usually told through a narrative or story (nagsasaysayan). With the addition of the prefix “ka,” saysayan now has a new meaning. “Ka” has a very important connotation. It implies interaction connectiveness or relationship, of being a part of something, of being together, or doing something together. We are part of a bigger body and are related in some way. Thus we have words like kapatid, kasama, kaibigan, kasambahay, kaputol, and the like. “Ka” can be used negatively as the prefix in words such as kalaban, kaaway, and katunggali. In kasaysayan, people share important narratives with one another. We may share views which may be similar or opposite. Both are parts of a narrative. Parties belonging to different places and generations interact, share their views of the past and what it meant to them. It is in this belief that this book is written: to provide an aspect of the past from the perspective of the present generation and to gather opinions from as many narratives as possible. At the same time, it seeks to include aspects of recent research and developments.

Kasaysayan does not end with sharing important narratives of history. It also involves the shaping of history. In kasaysayan, the students and the teachers are not just studying and teaching history respectively, but are actually involved in its formation. In a grand standpoint, all of us are not mere bystanders or spectators of history but are actually active participants that help shape it. Consciously or unconsciously all of us have roles in its formation. Said in Filipino, Kasama ka sa Kasaysayan encapsulates this idea.

At this point the teachers have a very important task. The way history is taught affects the nation as a whole. They do not just convey historical information but also ideas of the past and moral and civic values. It is their duty to instill among their students a sense of historical awareness, national identity, and love of country and to impart to them the necessary wisdom facing the country’s various challenges. The students and the rest of the Filipinos are stakeholders and participants in the formation of the country’s ultimate destiny.

In the writing of this book, the country’s history is presented as an interrelated and continuing chain of events caused by natural and man-made factors. It presents a down-to-earth view of events and it hopes to develop an analytical mind to better understand the past, cope with the present, and visualize the future.

Author(s)Augusto V. De Viana
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