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Happy Independence Day?

June 14, 2008

Tartanilla
Photo of a tartanilla* dressed up with national colors.
I’m a few days overdue, but considering what our President has done to mangle up our calendar, I guess my greeting of a Happy Independence Day would still be appropriate for now, or not.
I’m not a political activist. I’m not even close as a nationalist. Yet, strangely, my blood boiled when I learned that the sanctity of the Philippine Independence Day was violated! That day became ordinary. The majority of the people around here were just doing their ordinary day-to-day activities without nary a thought of why they now have the freedom to do those ordinary day-to-day activities.
Some people, however, were observing the holiday with their presence, and not necessarily with their minds. On my way to school, I saw several high school students in the plaza. They were busy fidgeting around and ignoring a speaker whose speech they were forced to listen. I must admit that I was exactly like them when I was still in high school.
I still haven’t changed much. The deplorable state of my country’s political situation has doused all fires of nationalism in me. I know I’m not alone with this feeling. In fact, I know many people here have more extreme feelings. They’d renounce their Filipino citizenship as soon as one advanced country would offer them a new one.
I don’t think our President has to take all the blame on this non-observance of our independence. Even if our Independence Day was to be observed on the exact day, and not on the Monday of that week, the majority of Filipinos, and that would include me, would just stay home and enjoy their day off from work or school.
So I guess that makes me lose the right to complain about the scandal the President had caused by moving the holiday to Monday. Perhaps that day’s meaning has already been lost to us. Yet I know it wouldn’t hurt for me to greet every Filipino reading this post a “Happy Independence Day” whatever that may mean…

*The tartanilla is a type of horse-drawn carriage. This carriage differs from the Tagalog calesa in that the tartanilla’s passengers face the side of the vehicle while the calesa passengers face front. Yes, it’s still a form of public transport here.

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