Heneral Luna Today


by Irineo B. R. Salazar

The focus in the Philippines is always, and too much, on the President. He or she is expected to be a paramount datu, rajah or barangay captain to deal with all problems in the Philippines, a country of nearly 100 million people, in an archipelago of over 7000 islands with the land area of Spain and stretching more or less, from North to South, at a distance going from Oslo to Rome.

This is crazy. The last President able to handle those expectations was Ramon Magsaysay, the mambo-dancing paramount datu of 20 million people whose burial was attended by 2 million. The Philippines in those days was . . .


To read the entire article, please continue to Irineo’s blog: Heneral Luna Today

You’ll be glad you did.

20 Responses to “Heneral Luna Today”
  1. andrewlim8 says:


    I have to commend you because the quality and readability of your writing is on the rise. Congrats.

  2. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Back to school, for almost every Juan and Juana. Democracy can only prosper if it is a rule by consensus. Participation, nah, not that word, participation is sometimes loathsome because it implies work, maybe ownership is a better word. We own the Philippines. Ownership leads to good stewardship. Without stewardship, the owned land goes fallow, its fruits are sour, labor has no harmony, smiles are forced and unconvincing. Stewardship is a day-to-day grind, oops, grind does not sit well with us, no fun in grind. But what to do? We have to be master craftsmen and craftswomen in our homes, at work, at community, owning everything, taking care of things under our control. Health, of course. How can we find joy in grind if we aren’t fit and healthy? Sometimes I think that trolls come from a land where no one sleeps, no one gets the sweat out, no endorphins, therefore no joy, no love, and everyone’s to blame except the troll him or herself. Have we become the land of trolls? By June next year, we’ll have a new president. Come now, if we do the same things we have been doing as citizens, not relishing our ownership of the beloved country, do you think we’ll get different results? Doing the same thing over again and expecting another outcome defines a particular disease—it’s called insanity.

  3. NHerrera says:

    Nice read, Irineo. Thanks. Yes, still the MINDSET. Vote all others well from the Barangay Captain, Officials of Municipalities, Cities, Provinces; Congressmen and Senators. Don’t vote only for the Miracle President. He alone cannot do the job. That’s only in movies — not even there.

  4. karl garcia says:

    A chain is as as strong or as weak as its weakest link.pnoy never anticipated that his friends would be incompetent or would do things so unbecoming like the KKK(all of them). Who would have thunk that Abaya would be the most love to hate cabinet secretary with all his credentials?

    Track record is one thing, actual performance is another.The chain must always be strong. There must be a Chinese proverb for that. All I know are the sticks.

  5. Bing Garcia says:

    Don’t vote for the negativists and their black clouds of condemnation and complaint. Their pretense that the nation is going backward. Of crabs ever yanking one another down. The nation is going forward and only a blind man or a game-playing politician running for office would see it otherwise. Vote for opportunity, vote for jobs, vote for a future rich with success and celebration. Vote for joy.

    I really agree.

  6. Bing Garcia says:

    “In the American oath of allegiance you said, all allegiance and fidelity. So is that still valid at that time. But then again in 2010, I appointed her and she was supposed to have renounced her US citizenship, but there was an action with the American consul a year after, according to this Comelec Second Division document,” Aquino said.

  7. @andrewlim: thanks… it has taken 9 months for me to organize my thoughts in such a way that this article finally came out… yesterday morning after breakfast, spontaneously. Like Joe wrote, spontaneous is best… I remember how I translated THAT article about Grace Poe into Tagalog.. what came out sounded very Filipino… Joe NOW YOU KNOW why there is a ten-year residency requirement… the Grace Poe article had Filipino passion…

    @Will: yes, stewardship is important… going to Berlin to visit my mother and watch Heneral Luna gave me a nudge to go out into the air again… after writing the article I went to take a walk along the river Isar (in old Celtic: the Torrential River, its cold water flowing from the Alps) where I once had an epiphany, boating with a Mountain Ranger who served in Afghanistan, a kind of River Runs Through it experience… it might do Duterte good to climb Mount Apo and stay there for two weeks alone… the Dark Side is taking him over, and has fully taken over Grace Poe by now… 😦

    @Karl: Aquino sometimes shows what Joe calls “mild trapoism”. Aguinaldo also could not say no to his folks from Kawit, perhaps for fear of losing allies. He did not trust Luna, but the General could have been most loyal to him out of duty, a concept that ex-cabeza de barangay Emilio Aguinaldo did not yet fully grasp. Giancarlo in a comment in my blog wrote about “less evolved” politicians. We all have the less evolved aspects in us. It is how we control and channel them that is important. That takes a lot of self-awareness, no excuses to anyone, especially not to oneself.

    @Joe: thanks for the unsolicited peering. St. Nicolas Day is today. Usually kids here wake up in the morning to find chocolate in their shoes. I woke up this morning, looked at my tablet, and saw my article here. Really great. Well, like you said already, you give credit where credit is due…

    @y’all: I also epalized a little in my article. Dr. Mahar Lagmay is a KKK of youthful days, studied in Cambridge, but often stopped over in Germany. He was one of the most welcome guests of the Monday club of Filipinos who worked in restaurants, Monday club because that was their day off. Two of them were Albayanos, leftists with NPA connections, one of them was an ex-PNP cop from Malabon and Manila, another was a Caviteño Takuza (hehe) married to a Bikolana, an expert in skirting all kinds of laws whom we all called “Ato” (Attorney) because of his talents… the host.

    Maybe that is an aspect the La Solidaridad folks of yore lacked – the contact with real masa. Antonio Luna had a problem connecting with ordinary Filipinos. There were no illegals, OFWs or migrants in Europe of Luna’s time. The educated and the simple folks did not mix that much then, and in the Philippines there is a distance, even in language and mannerisms. Overseas was a real melting pot, it was the first time I met people of that sort without the distance back home, and had them actually daring to tell me something. This melting pot may have shaped Mahar also.

    Of course I also mentioned Joey Salceda of Albay. But following the Joe principle of deserving it. Epalizing if someone deserves it is OK, if someone does not deserve it, it becomes kupalizing. Heneral Luna tolerated that his brother Joaquin went to jail for drunkenness, something also in the movie. I remembered how Sonny mentioned here that Joaquin became somebody later on. Joe sent both LCPL_X and me to the Spratleys for a while, to serve on the BRP Sierra Madre. Now a commenter in my blog mentions Joe, Raissa and me as the best… a great compliment.


    Three major catalysts made this article: Joe’s comment to me in a discussion about context being important, an article by Grimwald in GRP – I already thanked him there, it was about “if we don’t change ourselves nothing will” or similar, and a CNN article about Filipino candidates being like Game of Thrones characters that I posted in Raissa’s blog, and the subsequent discussion with Parekoy that ignited the insight in me that we are still at that stage of development, mostly…

    Decades ago my father compared the Filipino mentality to the old Germanic mentality, to the trickery of Siegfried in Wagner’s Nibelungen Ring opera (the inspiration for Lord of the Rings) – plus an FB chat where a Filipina journalist compared Chiz to Loki, the Norse God of trickery…


    Wagner indirectly led to Hitler, to the old Germanic concept of “Heil” or “galing” being revived. Nazism was neopagan in many ways. The swastika they used was that of Shiva, the Aryan (Indian) god of destruction – the swastika of Vishnu, god of creation, goes the other way around.

    Star Wars philosophy is ancient Taoism, modernized by Americans. The Force is simply “chi”, the vital energy that is taught in nearly every East Asian martial art. The idea that too much force is harmful, that energy must be harnessed, is at the root of old Chinese philosophy, even the oldest Chinese book, the “I Ching” or Book of Changes used for divination has that idea in it. Maybe Xi Jinping should read the I Ching, or Lao Tsu, to understand that China is moving to the Dark Side.

    Finally I once told my father, a Wagner fan, about a satirical book I read in a bookstore about the Trial of the Nibelungen, about the sentences handed down to the protagonists of Wagner’s Ring. He laughed and said, that is about the transition from an archaic culture to the rule of law… 🙂

    • Now Adolf Hitler missed the true point of Wagner’s Ring – its ending. It all started with the trickster Chiz, I mean Siegfried, stealing the Ring of the Nibelungen, forged by dwarves out of the Rheingold, the gold of the Rhine River, from Grace Poe, I mean the mermaids…

      It ends with the Götterdämmerung, the Destruction of Valhalla, home of the Gods, who have quarreled over the Ring of Power. No happy ending like in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Berlin in 1945 was a Götterdämmerung with Russians raising the red flag over the Reichstag, the Parliament the Kaiser once grudgingly gave to the people, OUTSIDE the royal district of Berlin-Mitte… now imagine a Philippine Götterdämmerung with Miriam in Germanic braids and armor, singing like one of the mad godesses while Valhalla burns…

      I am now going to watch another beautiful allegory – Hunger Games. Now there are Davaoeños who are seriously comparing Mindanao with Sector 12, Digong with Katniss. Magaspang at matapang din naman si Katniss di ba… we must bring down Manila, the Capitol, so that they will see how we suffer and understand our struggle – Juana HEEELP! Well maybe there will be a Moro Katniss in hijab who will “pana” President Duterte, much like Katniss kills the Sector 13 President in this episode… allegories must be understood.

      • sonny says:

        PiE, the brutality of Luna’s end could not be justified by the movie’s trajectory. The screenplay is thin compared to the heroic scale of Luna’s life and aspirations. For me, the movie was a missed opportunity to use a powerful medium to portray the pathos and tragedy of a country trying to break out of its chrysalis and fly to its destiny! The screen writer and cinematographer of SAKAY, from what I saw in Youtube, would be the much better candidates to take on biopics like HENERAL LUNA. At this stage of our development as a country nationalistic films should be vetted for their didactic, historical and inspirational values.

  8. FYI please refer to the comments made on my FB Learning Center page as well…

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