Last week, Mr. Manalo asked me if I wasn’t the slightest bit annoyed that there would be work on June 12 and that the non-working holiday would be June 9 instead. I don’t think I was as ticked off as he thought I would be – in fact, I think he is much more affected than I am (as seen in his two birthday posts). But yes, I am quite bothered.
True, one cannot take away the value or the spirit of what we celebrate today – but the fact that one of our deepest problems is identity and the recognition of such a spirit – there is a need to strengthen the most important day in our nation’s history – 110 years ago today, we started our journey into becoming a nation, a journey that hasn’t stopped. We are still becoming.
Perhaps I would be less bothered if there was an effort to celebrate independence day in fashion that would truly remind the Filipino that he is worth fighting for, dying for, living for. We may not be in the best of situations now, but wherever we are, we are here because of the Filipinos of the past. We owe it the Filipinos of the past to at least remember what they did for us. We owe it to the Filipinos of the present to love and live for the country we inherited. We owe it to the Filipinos of the future to continue the journey in building a nation in which all Filipinos can dream, live and Be.
If that were the case, then by all means – put the non-working holiday any day of the week. And perhaps that would even extend the celebration the whole week – giving us more time to reflect and remember who we are and who we want to become.
The manner in which we celebrate is something I think we forget. What we always focus on is the “free day” in which we do not need to work. The distinction between our “free day” and the ability to celebrate (and in a very Josef Pieper way – experience leisure) has been blurred so much by our focus on utilitarian/modern-day/earning culture and it’s products as the end-all and be-all of our existence.
If the non-working holiday had remained on the 12th of June (like it should have) it does not necessarily mean that the hearts of the Filipinos will automatically warm up to this notion of nationhood and move to the beat of the patriotic hearts of the few and the proud (which I truly believe is growing in number).
But it would have been a good place and time to start developing and cultivating the spirit our country needs. Then again, I guess we should try to do that everyday.
Whatever – work or no work, today is our birthday. 🙂 Maligayang Bati, Pilipinas! To more years of independence! And well, here’s hoping for the next years to be truly independent. 🙂