Stripping Down the Martial Law Romanticism

A lot of our speakers during our cwts sessions were actively participating in the movements against the dictatorship during the martial law and each one of them have awed me. I place myself in their shoes and think that I could never have the guts to go out into the streets to shout anything against the government especially when they’re ready to pick you up and put you in jail. Before actually fearing the government, I also think that I wouldn’t get the guts to disobey my parents because they have expressed their distaste towards rallies and radical organizations and have warned me from joining any of them when I was a freshman in our school that has always been tagged for being the protest-oriented. So although their talks have awaken in me the desire to do more than just strive to have a good education and earn an honest living to give back to my parents, I have always thought that I could never get the courage to bring forth any kind of change because in the first place, I wouldn’t know what to do. Then came our speaker at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani who stripped off the romanticism of the glorious martial law era and told us that we shouldn’t think of the people in that time as being different from us or being braver than any of us today. He told us that he was just like you and me today who had his inhibitions and actually didn’t plan on being part of what was happening. He said that their era was just really a dramatic one which really pushes one to be dramatic as well. From all the speakers, he was the one that really made me feel that although I can’t figure it out now, one day I can and will be able to do something beneficial not only for myself or my family, but more people in my homeland. For me, he was the most inspiring and the one who was able to connect himself most, he was the most sincere.


I would also want to share, if you weren’t able to hear it from him, a quote from him which I find very beautiful. He said that during their time in jail this was what they wrote on Christmas cards they’d send to their relatives so that they’d fell guilty for not visiting and send gifts or fruit cake in particular. I don’t know if the fruit cake part was for real but here is the message:


“Huwag mo nang tanungin kung bakit ano nandito sa loob at hindi ko na rin tatanungin kung bakit nandyan ka sa labas. Ang tanungin mo ay kung ano ang ginagawa ko rito sa loob at kung ano ang ginagawa mo dyan sa labas upang tayong dalawa ang magtagpo.”


He emphasized this, repeating it three times and putting it in three different situations. His challenge was that it didn’t matter where we were, whether we were worlds apart, what mattered was what we both were doing to be able to step up for us to meet halfway and bring the change that we want. Not only is the message a beautiful one but it overcomes and is applicable to all time periods. He was very inspiring which I find a very beautiful way to end the cwts sessions.


-Maan Marie B. Ariate

2012 – 59006


One thought on “Stripping Down the Martial Law Romanticism

  1. Whether it was because the audio-visual room was a lot smaller than the UPSE Auditorium or simply because he was that sincere, I, too, felt that I was most connected our final speaker in CWTS class (and I hope I will be forgiven for not remembering his name). His lightheartedly delivered message of serving the country wherever we are was a nice wrap-up for the course.

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