Teodoro A.

Agoncillo

16 August 1984
“What history is not biased? Show me a historian, a real historian who is not biased!... History is never objective.”

T

he last time I saw Teodoro A. Agoncillo alive was on December 14, 1984. It was a social call, no interview was scheduled. I do not remember now what kept me from continuing the recorded monthly conversations we began in August 1984. On our last meeting, I brought copies of all his books to be autographed. His handwriting was unusually legible that day. Agoncillo laughed and said I brought my books at the right time because normally, his penmanship was shaky and difficult to read, following a stroke he had suffered some years earlier. Yet, this was not the most extraordinary thing that happened that day. After inscribing my books, Agoncillo pulled out a small slip of paper saying, “matagal na kitang inaantay bumisita rito, inihanda ko ito para sa iyo.” It had been two months since my last visit and I was shocked that he handed me a typewritten a copy of his epitaph which had been waiting for me since 9 November 1984, the date he inscribed on it. I didn’t know how to react and Agoncillo filled in the silence with detailed instructions about his funeral arrangements: remind his wife about a savings account he had maintained for his disabled son Teodoro Agoncillo,

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Jr.; his wish was to be cremated because he did not want his corpse to be viewed during a wake; he wanted his ashes to be installed in his home library, in a simple narra box with a bronze plaque engraved with: his name, his date of birth, his date of death, and an epitaph he composed that reads: Buong kalawakan ang nais liparin, At ang kalangitan ang ibig marating; Ngunit tingnan ninyo ang kinahahantungan Sandakot na abong di pakikinabangan! Actually, this was a revised version of the epitaph that he prepared as early as February 16, 1983 that reads: Palalo’t marunong, mata’y nakatutok Sa bubong ng langit at nais matarok Ang Kawalang-Hanggan at ang Di-Matalos: Ngayon tingnan ninyo’t abong sasandakot! It seemed morbid that Agoncillo had been thinking philosophically about death. It did not make sense to me at the time to be burdened with instructions for his funeral but most of these were not followed. He was cremated after a wake. I was informed his ashes were placed in an urn rather than the simple narra box he specified, after some years in his library his remains have since been interred in the crypt of San Agustin church in Intramuros. By coincidence or design, in the first recorded conversation we had, that which opens this book Agoncillo is discussing funeral plans. In retrospect, the time and patience he had with me was probably his way of talking to the future. He made sure his voice will continue to be heard by those who did not have the chance to meet him in person and know of him only through his books. The topics discussed on the afternoon of August 16, 1984 were numerous. Of interest to many would be his opinion on the controversy over Apolinario Mabini’s birthdate—why he supported July 22 instead of July 23. Who were the historians of the past he admired and who influenced or inspired him into practicing history. He discussed the style, imagination and objectivity in the writing of history. The tape ran as he began to praise De La Salle University and its visionary University President, the late Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC.

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TAPE 1: SIDE A

Ambeth R. Ocampo (ARO):

magpacremate?
Teodoro A Agoncillo (TAA):

Sinabi nga sa akin [na] gusto raw [ninyong]

My philosophy there, if it is a philosophy at all, is that man is such a small thing, he accounts for nothing. Yung yabang natin na akala natin na… No! You are nothing like the ash that you are.

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What about the things you leave behind? Wala iyan compared to nature’s kuwan e…We cannot conquer nature. Tingnan mo kapag nagkaroon ng natural calamity riyan. Ano ang karunungan mo? Nasaan ang karunungan mo to stop this calamity? Tingnan mo sa US kapag nagkaroon ng… Tornado? Tornado! Patay! Nasaan ang kuwan ninyo? [laughs] Tagalog raw e (referring to the inscription TAA left with the Historical Institute for the narra box that would contain his ashes). Tagalog. Iniwan ko roon. At saka inilagay ko roon ito [inscription], ilalagay sa kahon, Kinuha ko na… I prepare, ano ha… Ayaw sabihin sa akin kung saan ako ma[kapag]papagawa ng narra box na paglalagyan ng aking abo… Ika ko, gagawa ng bronze plaque tapos ilalagay doon ang pangalan ko, tapos yung date of birth and date of death, tapos dito yung poem. Baka naman mahaba yung poem? Hindi, one stanza [lang]. Four lines lang e. The gist is that man is nothing and that I tried to reach the sky and look what happened. [laughs] Nerbyoso nga si [Eulogio] Leaño [former Chief of the NHI Research and Translation Division]. Oo, nerbyoso iyan, naku. At ako kapag nagkakasakit ako I don’t think of death. Lahat ng sakit except cancer nakuwan ako. But I never got discouraged thinking of death… No, no, no! Nagkaroon

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ako ng heart attack, ang doctor nagulat sa akin e. I refused to go to the hospital, kundi pa ako tinrick. Noong kuwan, ako naman e I know when to follow, sinabi sa akin [ng doctor], alright, if there is nothing wrong with you, you may go home. If not, sabing ganoon, then you have to stay in the hospital. Fair enough, sabi kong ganoon, kasi that morning na nagkaroon ako ng heart kuwan… dito (motions to his heart).
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Palpitations? Hindi! Walang ano, masakit. Parang dinadaganan ako e. Alam na ng wife ko na this is heart [attack]. Kasi noong araw hindi ko nalalaman yung about cholesterol. E kung kumain ako tuwing umaga dalawang itlog na malasado. Hindi ko alam napaka-deadly pala noon. Mano mong everyday iyan? Pero baka kaya kayo ganiyan, dahil nagawa na ninyo ang lahat ng gusto ninyong gawin? Hindi. Talagang makuwan ako. I am philosophical when it comes to death. Hindi ako natatakot. Noong panahon lang ng Hapon e… nagbobomba na ang Hapon, bakit ang mga tao nangangaykay ng ganya, nag-iiyakan, nagsisigawan. Ako, nanonood pa ng ganiyan. [laughs] Maari, ang katwiran ko, this is my only chance to see war! Yung nagbobomba nanonood ako! [laughs] Noong binomba yung ano, I was in Plaza Lawton, ang Plaza Lawton yung where the Bonifacio monument stands ‘no? Binomba ng mga Hapon yung mga barko sa Pasig River ng ganiyan sa may Jones bridge. Ang tinamaan ay ang Sto. Domingo Church at ang what is now the Treasury, yung Intendencia, ano ha? Yung ano pa ang tinamaan noon, yung DMHM building, yun ang tinamaan. Hindi tinamaan ang barko. I saw it actually, because I was in Plaza Lawton. Naku, pati tao nakikita ko yung ano pagbobomba. It was an experience, chance of a lifetime na hindi mo makikita. E, noong araw gaganiyan ka lang bawal na e, pipituhan ka ng pulis. Ako e, fatalistic ako sa ganiyan e. Kako pag namatay ka, maski natutulog ka.1 Kaya talagang work and work hanggang…

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1 What Agoncillo saw and experienced during the war went into his two-volume work on the period, The Fateful Years: Japan’s Adventure in the Philippines, 1941-1945 (Quezon City: R.P. Garcia Publishing Company), 1965.

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TAA:

Um! For as long as I can, I’ll produce! Ngayon, itong librong nasa UP Press may problem, dahil sa paper. Sabi ko this will be my last serious work2 but I will not stop writing short pieces katulad ng hinihingi ni [Serafin] Quiason.3 Lima yon, tapos na. Nandoon ho ako noong pinipirmahan ang cheke ninyo. Tatlo pa ang hindi nababayaran. Mura pa. Alam mo ten percent [withholding tax] ang kinuha sa akin. Sabi kong ganoon, mura na kukunan pa ng ten percent na tax. Sabi ko, what Jun [Quiason] should have done was to calculate. Alright ten percent ang kukunin sa 2,000 [pesos], e di gawin 2,200 [pesos] para kung bawasan ng [ten percent tax, the check I will receive will be the net of taxes]. Ganiyan ang ginawa ng mga Hapon sa Japan when I taught there in 1978. I was paid fifty-thousand yen. Alam mong ginawa nila? May tax yan, withholding. Alam mong ginawa nila? They added the computed tax para buo ang fifty-thousand [yen] pag bigay sa akin. Mabuti kung ganiyan, pero sinabihan na ako na history is a very expensive hobby. Katulad ng Xerox lang. Noong araw, walang Xerox, kaya ako talagang by hand. Students today, provided they have the means no, madali! Hindi gaya naming noong araw na nasa library kami ng ganiyan kukuha kami ng notes. At saka iba kami e. Gaya ni [Leopoldo] Yabes, sinuspend ni Dean Kalaw [for publishing an article on necking in UP]. “Why did you do that?” sabing ganoon, “Why did you not consult me? You should have consulted me first before writing that in the Free Press.” Hindi makakibo ang Yabes ‘no ha? Suspended one week. [laughs] “Immorality sa UP.” Ang bayaran sa Free Press [noon] sampung piso. Noon, malaki na iyon. Do you know that Yabes… I know Yabes belongs to a poor family, peasant. Peasant family talaga ang background ni Yabes sa Ilocos. Yung wife niya belongs to a better family. Ang kaniyang father-in-law, Justice of Peace. Sa Intramuros nakatira iyan sa

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2 The Burden of Proof: The Vargas-Laurel Collaboration Case. (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1984). 3 The project to compile a multi-volume encyclopedia, Monumenta Filipina, was stillborn.

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kwarto na mga walo sila, kasama iyong kapatid niyang namatay, kamamatay lang, Gregorio Yabes. Alam mo, he finished UP by simply writing for the newspapers? In the Free Press, ganiyan.
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Kasi mabubuhay ka sa… Alam mo P42.50 noong araw ang matrikula namin sa UP. Tapos ten pesos per article. Oo! Ngayon you cannot live on writing. Kawawa ngayon. Oo! Noong araw, isa pa, compared with the newspapermen before the war, yung mga newspapermen ngayon are not only barbaric in the sense that they have no culture but they are also corrupt. But before the war sina Amando Dayrit, kapatid ni Marina, nakita mo yan? They never stooped to such things. Reregaluhan sila. No, no, no! Naku, ang mga newspapermen ngayon reregaluhan yan ng katakut-takot na cases ng whiskey. Not during our time, before the war. That is why many of the newspapermen during that time namamatay sa TB. [laughs] Oo! Si Dayrit. Dinadalaw ko yan everyday sa Quezon Institute. Kinuha ng Hapon iyan, kaya nilipat iyan sa San Juan de Dios sa Calle Real sa Intramuros, yun ang ginawang Quezon Institute. San Juan de Dios, na-confine iyan doon. Oo, weak e, wala siyang fighting ano [spirit]. As a matter of fact, I wrote an essay of eight pages about Dayrit noong namatay siya. I think he died August 1944. Still, unpublished iyan, binigay ko kay Marina, kailan lang before Marina [Dayrit] retired [from the UP Library]. At saka, yung ugali ninyong nagde-debunk kayo ng ibang tao. Ngayon masyado silang polite. Hindi polite iyan e, I think it is… You let mediocrity pass? Cowardice. Moral cowardice. And they are not sure of themselves. At saka, noong araw hindi maari iyan e. Ine-expose iyan! Ngayon wala.

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16 August 1984

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TAA:

Oo, ngayon wala. Pag napakiusapan. Noong araw, wala e. Kaya diyan sa UP, alam ko na they talk behind my back. Naiinis sila sa akin, pero they cannot do anything because what I said about the UP is true. Yung aking Professorial Chair lecture as Rafael Palma Professor, “Scholarship in the University.”1 Nabasa ko po kanina, marami kayong nakaaway pagkatapos. Siguro… Maraming nagalit pero walang nakakibo. Pero totoo e, ako nakikita ko… Nobody ever answered it, because what I said there is true. Maging sa promotion, tinira [ko] yung committee on promotion. Sinabi ko, this lecture is so strongly worded. Oo, binasa ko iyan e. To me, O.K. Sige, ha! You should read my Valedictory [address], the paper I read when I retired. There was a program, siyempre ako ang huling nagsalita. Valedictory ano, “I step out of the darkness, into the sunlight.” [laughs] Lalong magagalit yung mga kagalit ninyo. Wala naman magagawa. Yung marami roong ano e [walang nagagawa], yung may nagagawa naman mediocrity. Kasi ngayon everyone seems to be bent on destroying the Agoncillo institution. Wala naman sa akin e. You produce what I have done. [laughs] Noong araw, ito ang sinabi sa akin noong mga kuwan ko sa [History] Department gaya nila Mila [Guerrero]. Sabi ika niya, ng mga isa roong nagagalit sa iyo—alam kong siya e—“they will destroy your influence.” They will destroy? Sabi ko, what will they destroy? I never influenced these people, sabi kong ganiyan. I don’t care. Pero, kako, people accept my ideas and I think people should know the true scholar. A true scholar gives his opinion, which is the result of a study. I don’t give a damn what other people say. Why should you give a damn, what other people say? Let them

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1 Delivered February 6, 1976 published in Solidarity X (Jan-Feb, 1976) pp 81-82; and also as an offprint by the University of the Philippines Press, 1977. 19 pp.

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do what you have done. [laughs] Maari, naiinggit sila. I never attempted to influence anybody, it is not in my character to influence anybody. But these people katulad ni Mila [Guerrero], Mrs. [Bernardita Reyes] Churchill, si Isagani [Medina], sabi ko, these people admire my works and were influenced by my works without my influencing them. Kasi I don’t give a damn. Sabi raw ni Renato Constantino—kaibigan ko rin iyan—“ang mali ni Teddy, he did not establish a school when he had the facilities,” ika niya, “when he was the head of the History Department,” sabing ganoon. I could have established daw a school. Pero sabi ko, a school is not established. A school crops up spontaneously. A school is not like a school where everybody converges. A school is created when several people agree with what you say, agree with your principles, and that is what we call a school, the school of so and so. Even in the school of Political Science, hindi ibig sabihin these people agreed to… no! They may belong to different countries. The trouble with them is that they are so conscious, they want that people should agree with them. No! I don’t. I don’t care. Basta ako, I make a study and then I present the results of my study.
ARO:

They say that depending on which history book you read, you get a certain bias. What history is not biased? [laughs] Tinanong ako niyan ni Frankie [Sionil] Jose, ewan ko kung saan lalabas [interview published in Solidarity is reprinted in this book]. I never ask e. Indifferent ako sa publicity. Tinanong ako ni Frankie [Sionil Jose], “some people say that you are biased.” Ang sagot ko, show me a historian, a real historian, who is not biased! Sabi kong ganoon, show me! When you say, for example, that [Ferdinand] Marcos is so and so, then you are biased. Therefore, you cannot rely on solid data. You have to interpret. You have to interpret, of course. In history, pag sinabing objective ka, you are nothing! You are nothing, absolutely nothing! Absolute zero! [laughs] Even a calendar chooses. [laughs] Humanap ka ng kalendaryo, makikita mo na hindi lahat ay nakalagay sa kalendaryo. [laughs] The people who criticize me do not really know history. They are ignorant of what history is, because the

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16 August 1984

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very fact that the student of history chooses what to include and what not to include in his work, is proof that history is never objective. [laughs] When you say for example that Mrs. [Imelda] Marcos is a beautiful woman, you are not being objective, because the beauty of Mrs. Marcos doesn’t say that she is beautiful. It is you! Ikaw ang nagsasabing maganda si Mrs. Marcos. In other words, you are already intruding yourself…
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Into the picture? The moment the student of history gives what is called the value judgment, and in history you always do that, wala na! Saan nandoon ang objectivity mo? It is important in history to be impartial! Which is different. I hope, ewan ko kung kailan ilalabas ni Frankie [Sionil] Jose ang iyon, and then [my critics] will realize their stupidity. [laughs] Bago ako nagpunta dito, binasa ko ang “word war” ninyo ni Vivencio Jose.1 Naku! [DELETED] Inistop ng kamag-anak niyang si Frankie e. Inistop lang. Sabi ko, that fellow does not know history. Tingnan mo kung sinagot niya ako. Hindi niya ako sinagot. He never answered me! [laughs] Natatakot akong sabihin sa inyo ito kanina, pero sabi ko bahala na. Minamana mong sabihin na si [Antonio] Luna was the leader of the revolution in against Spain? Puñeta! Since when did Luna fight against the Spaniards? He never fought the Spaniards tapos sabihin niyang leader? As a matter of fact, Luna was a traitor to the Revolution of 1896! Alam mo, I will write an essay on Luna and Aguinaldo. I will write an essay kung bakit maraming nagalit kay Luna, and I’ll justify, sapagkat Luna not only did not join the Revolution of 1896, he was a traitor! Nagturo iyan a! Nagturo! Pero nilagay ba ni Vivencio Jose iyan? Wala! Maraming hindi inilagay si Vivencio [Jose] roon, either because or ignorance or ibig niyang palakihin si Luna. As a matter of fact, I do not consider Luna a hero. How did he become a hero?

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1 Now one of the classic debates on Philippine historiography, the lively exchange between Agoncillo and Vivencio Jose on Antonio Luna appeared in the pages of Solidarity, 1977.

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Doon lang sa he did not win any battle e… He never won any battle, papaano mo sasabihing hero iyan? Unrealized kasi ang role niya in Philippine history e. He never won a battle! Um! Pagkatapos sasabihin nitong si Vivencio kung sinunod daw si Luna, yung guerilla warfare. Noong panahong sinasabi niyang maggegerilya hindi maari ang guerilla e. because the Americans were still weak at the time papaano gegerilyahin iyan? Pangalawa, there was no preparation for guerilla warfare. Hindi niya ina-analyze. All that he wants is to justify all the things that Luna did. Luna was a son of a bitch! Alam mo noong buhay pa yung anak ni Epifanio de los Santos, si Jose P. Santos, como ako ang gumawa ng biography ng father niya, si Don Panyong, kaya naging very close sa akin iyang si Pepe at maraming naibigay sa akin iyan. Sabi ni Pepe, “Oy, meron akong sasabihin, hindi ko pa nasasabi kahit kanino. Ako ang confidante ng tatay,” sabing ganoon, “ang tatay [Don Panyong], si Luna, at saka si… meron pang isa e… “ang tatlong pinakamagaling na gitarista and they were good friends pero gumawa ba ang tatay ng essay on Luna?” He never did. But he wrote a manuscript, ng ganiyan kakapal ha (demonstrates). “Aguinaldo y su Tiempo,” binigay sa akin iyan. Ako lang ang meron niyan. E di namatay na si Pepe noong 1964 o 1965. Noong 1973, magpu-publish ang Historical Institute under [Esteban de] Ocampo…

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Yung The Revolutionists?1 Ako, ako ang nagsama-sama noon, at pina-translate ko kay Leaño, yung ano, “Aguinaldo y su Tiempo” para ika kong ganiyan mamatay ako o ano, at least meroon nang publication with my annotations. Ang sabi raw ng tatay niya [Epifanio de los Santos], “si Luna ay patriotic pero hijo de puta!” [laughs] Patriotic, pero hijo de puta! [laughs]

1 Introduction and notes to a translation of Epifanio de los Santos’ essays on Jacinto, Bonifacio, and Aguinaldo compiled under the title The Revolutionists. (Manila: National Historical Institute, 1973).

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ARO:

Natatawa ako kasi ang hahaba ng sagutan ninyo ni [Vivencio] Jose sa Solidarity. Sabi ko ginawa rin sa inyo kung ano ang ginawa ninyo kay [Eufronio] Alip!2 Yung? Yung inilagay yung work ninyo sa inisa-isang himayin. Sinagot ko rin siya ng isa-isa. Hindi niya nagawa sa aking yung ano e. Sa UP pa ako noong, ang sabi ng iba, “Prof. Jose is not answering Prof. Agoncillo.” Aba kung dinadala yung ano e to confuse. It’s the squid nag-aano ng ink to confuse the pursuer. No, marami pa siyang hindi nalalamang ano. Puno kayo ng data e. Hindi niya nakita ang Philippine Insurgent Records. May listahan daw siya ng mga hindi mo raw ginamit. Anong listahan? Hindi naman ako ang sumulat ng [libro tungkol kay Luna]. Siya ang dapat gumamit! Philippine Insurgent Records. Hindi niya ginamit ang sulat ni Baldomero Aguinaldo na minumura si… galit na galit, minura si Luna. Hindi niya inilagay, pero nandoon sa aking Malolos. A biography should be faithful to truth. I do not believe that a biography of a man should be all praises. It should be both [praise and criticism] because it is not bad to show the human side of a person. You make him human by painting the defects. Minsan hinangaan ko si Nonong Quezon.3 I think this was in 1961, nagkaroon ang UP Association of Foreign Students, nagparty si SP Lopez. Nandoon ako, si Nonong Quezon nandoon din. Invited kami. Nagkausap kami ni Nonong at napag-usapan naming ang biographies written about Quezon. Alam mong sabi sa akin doon, hinangaan ko si Nonong. I didn’t expect to hear this from him. “As a matter of fact,” sabi, “you know Professor, I

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2 Glaring errors in a doctoral dissertation: A criticism of Eufronio M. Alip’s Tagalog Literature: A historico-critical study. Agoncillo and Leoopoldo Yabes collaborated on a line by line, nitpicking criticism of Alip’s dissertation presented to the University of Santo Tomas and published this in a small pamphlet of 18 pages in 1935. 3 Manuel L. Quezon, Jr. only son of the Commonwealth president Manuel L. Quezon.

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am not satisfied with biographies written about my father.” Kako, why? “Because it appears my father is a saint! Which he was not!” sabi sa akin. [laughs] Ang temper ng mga Luna, nagresearch ako. Kaya ako maraming nalalaan sa mga Luna, paano when I was a student ibinigay [ito] sa aking assignment ni [Leandro] Fernandez. Ang nalalaman ko noon ay hindi alam ni Vivencio [Jose]. Kasi at the time I was a student, marami pang nabubuhay na contemporaries ni Luna pero siya wala, wala siyang na-interview! O yung opinion ni Epifanio de los Santos. Mayroon namang contemporary si Epifanio de los Santos, isang doktor. E di iyan ang maganda ang koleksyon ng Filipiniana. Sabi sa akin [ni] Dr. Viado, “Sino? Don Panyong? Ha? Era borachero!” [laughs] Ganiyan! Kaya nilagay ko iyan sa essay on Don Panyong, “his beloved bottle.” Kaya nagkaroon ng high blood pressure iyan e. Kagaya ni Leonie [Leon Ma.] Guerrero at Fr. [Horacio] de la Costa [S.J.]. Naku, mayroon akong narinig, it was an exaggeration but you can see. Naghihilamos daw iyan e… kaya nagkaroon ng cancer of the liver yan e at saka smoking pa niya. Minsan magkatabi kami niyan sa Historical Institute, tinitingnan ko siya dahil panay na panay ang [paninigarilyo niya]. Ako I stopped smoking since July 29, 1966. I stopped smoking noong na-heart attack ako. Naintindihan niya [Fr. De la Costa] ang tingin ko sa kanya. “Teddy,” sabi sa aking ganoon, “matanda na tayo e.”
ARO:

Iyan ang importance of oral history. Pero some people do not respect oral history. Hindi, you have to be careful. Nabasa mo ba yung essay ko on oral history noong nagkaroon ng seminar on oral history at the University of Life?1 I was critical of those people, salita ng salita on oral and local history. Mangyari ang subject ko ay oral and local history. Turo nga sa akin ni Doreen Fernandez, “you have to qualify the statements.”

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1 “Oral and Local History: An Appraisal.” Read in the Seminar-Workshop on the Making of Local and Oral History, University of Life, September 16-17, 1982.

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TAA:

Hindi lang iyon. A historian, a student of history—ito ang sinasabi ko sa klase ko sa advanced courses, especially on historical methodology, akong naghahandle niyan—the attitude of a student in history should be, sabi ko, don’t accept anything until proven otherwise. Doubt everything including your parentage! Including your parentage! [laughs] Kaya tawanan yung klase ko, including your parentage! Katulad nito, yung binigay mo sa aking news clipping [on the controversy over Apolinario Mabini’s birthdate]. Ulol iyang si ano, yung former Governor [of Batangas] kaya hindi lumabaslabas iyan e. Hindi na mananalo iyan dahil diyan. Ang reason niya, we should take the word of Mabini [on his birthday]. Why should we? Tatanong ko naman, why should we? Was he fully conscious, fully aware that his mother was giving birth to him on such and such a date? Why? Maging sa government ngayon, kung ika’y magre-retire o may transaction, hindi ang word mo ang masusunod. Halimbawa, ako’y magre-retire, date of birth. Noong nagre-retire ako pumunta sa City Hall. Tinanong ko kung ano ang mga requirements. “Eto po!” Inilista sa akin yung birth or baptismal certificate. Ako naman ay nakakuha na ng baptismal certificate noong ikakasal kami kaya kumuha ako ng kopya, pina-xerox ko na lang. Pinakita ko yung original. Sabi ko, noong panahon ng Hapon walang birth certificate. At saka even from the common sense point of view, one day is twenty-four hours [laughs] hindi yung a few hours is one day. Sabi sa akin noong isa during that time, a baby born on such and such a date is already one day old. How do you know that? [laughs] That is the first question you will ask. How do you know? [laughs] Kaya kay [Leandro] Fernandez marami ang natutuhan ko diyan. No document, no history! How do you know? How did Mabini know that he was born on July 23rd?

At saka isa pa, may kamag-anak ako sa Tanauan, sa mismong Santos. Mayroon akong kamag-anak doon. Tinanong ko ang pinsang buo ng lola ko, si Nanay Uyang tawag namin, si Gregoria Lacsamana. “Nanay Uyang,” sabi kong ganiyan, “noong hong 1880, ano ba ang lagay ng mga kalsada papuntang bayan?” “Anong kalsada? Walang kalsada!” sabing ganoon. “Landas!” Path. At noong araw, inabot ko iyan nang 1928 and then early 30’s,

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[ang] pinsan ko who was studying in the College of Agriculture UP, diyan kami nagbabakasyon sa Tanauan, sa Nanay Uyang namin. Ganiyan ang kalsada niyan pero bato na, considering this is the late 1920’s. Ngayon medyo patag na. You can imagine in 1863 or 1864 when Mabini was born, at tag-ulan! Sabi ko, “ibig ninyong sabihin paglabas na paglabas ng bata sa kaniyang ina, si Mabini dinala kaagad sa simbahan? Nalalaman ba ninyo kung gaano kalayo iyan?” Ika nga, all reason hindi [tama] eh.
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Paanong gagawin ninyo diyan? You calculate? This is not a popularity contest. I don’t care whether the whole world believes that Mabini was born on July 23rd. I will stick to July 22nd because that is what is stated in the document. Unless you can present to me a better document, which you cannot. That is the final proof, the document. If you will study historical methodology you will see that the baptismal certificate ang final document. Nobody, not even the mother of Mabini can be more authoritative because mothers usually commit mistakes! (laughs) Pati nanay namin nagkamali eh. O, kita mo? Pati akin eh! Sabi sa amin, “all of you were born on a Sunday morning.” Noong makita ko ang birth certificates, ako lang pala ang umaga. Yung mga kapatid ko napanganak [ng] gabi! If I didn’t see that, we would all have taken our mother’s word for it. Yung mother ko, palibhasa ako yung second to the eldest, pito kami, noong ipinanganak iyan [mga kapatid ko] eh ako’y nasa high school, ang iba eh… ako kapag nanganganak ang nanay ko inililista ko iyung ano [petsa]. Kaya kapag nagsasalita yung nanay ko, sasabihing ganoon, ipinanganak si Maria, kapatid ko noong ganoon, sasabihin ko, hindi kako, mali iyon eh. Eto kako ang lista, nakita ko iyon eh (laughs). Ako na lang. Sabi niya 1913 ako pinanganak pero iyong [partido] de bautismo ko ay 1912 (laughs). Gagamitin mo ang historical methodology. Ngayon dito sa historical controversy, this is not a question of popularity, na pinakamaraming boto. I don’t care whether ano inilagay niya of the other members, ako lang ang July 22nd. Alam mo sabi ko, I am the majority of one! (laughs) The trouble with

ARO: TAA: ARO:

TAA:

16 August 1984

17

these people is that they didn’t study the problem. Ngayon ang sabi ni Carlos Quirino, “pero ang pangalan niya ay Apolinario, July 23rd.” That is no proof! Do you know, noong panahon niyon, dadalhin ang bata… hindi naman ang ina ang nagdadala niyan e, mayroong tagapagdala ng bata, hindi uma-appear yung mother… Ang nagpapalista niyan eh mga monsilyos (laughs). “O anong pangalan ng batang iyan?” “Wala pa ho eh.” Kukuha ng kalendaryo, July 23rd noon, Apolinario, e di iyan ang naging pangalan, but he was not born on that day but before! Madalas mangyari iyang mga iyan eh. Anong pangalan? Wala pa. Titingnan sa kalendaryo eh nasa isip ng [monsilyos] eh araw na iyon. It is not a proof. It is no proof! To me the best is the baptismal certificate, walang mananalo diyan. Unless you can present to me a more authoritative document, that document is the final authority. And it says “niño de un dia.” Kung tatlong oras pa lang napapanganak iyan un dia na ba iyan? (laughs) No! That is absurd. Hindi, hindi ako naniniwala diyan. Halimbawa, ako. On your birthday, kailan ka nagce-celebrate ng birthday mo? (laughs) On the day you are born? Alam mo ako very critical, at iyan ang nakuha ko kay [Leandro] Fernandez… [DELETED] “Agoncillo,” ikang ganoon, “always be critical, always doubt until proven otherwise” (laughs). Tingnan mo ang footnotes ko sa Malolos.1 Makikita mo how I arrive at a conclusion. I put there my footnotes, ang dami, ang hahaba. Binanggit ni Jun [Quiason] in my valedictory [address]. Isang araw pahihiram ko sa iyo ang collection ko ha.2 Kahit favorable sa akin iyon, ayaw kong kumalat, kasi mayroon akong notes doon. I have a poor opinion of O.D. [Corpuz].

[BREAK IN TAPE]

1960).

1 Malolos: Crisis of the Republic. (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press,

2 Agoncillo compiled all the papers and remarks delivered during his retirement from UP and bound these in a scrapbook. This and other papers should now be in the UP Archives, UP Main Library, Diliman.

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