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This is the first time I have encountered this speech. Not one of my high school teachers ever encouraged us to read or listen to this president speak. This was delivered in 1920s, when the Philippines was under the United States, a time when the foreign nation is gaining great power and had infiltrated their culture into the Philippines through a different method of colonialism. Manuel Quezon was the first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, but he was the second Philippine president in history after Emilio Aguinaldo, who was the president of the first republic.
The content of the speech is so inspiring for someone like me who is putting Philippine culture into every creative work I do, through which I allow myself to absorb my culture no matter where I am in the world. I grew up in a time where the Philippines wasn’t at its best. It was the 90s, every who can left the Philippines in search for a better life, everyone who didn’t wishes they could. But in a time where the American presence is so largely felt in the country, someone fought for the independence. This is the speech, I wish I heard when I was young. I probably wasn’t one who wished for a different life.
The speech was so well presented, so simple yet so strong. Delivered twice, in the languages the locals spoke at the time. I wished though it was spoken in Tagalog or any other Philippine dialect. The Filipino language is the one that isn’t spoken as much without any interference of an English word. It even shares words with the Spanish language as some words never had any translation to Tagalog or another dialect. (For example, cheese is keso in Tagalog, which is also the term in Spanish only spelt differently: queso). We have always been a nation encouraged to speak the English language. It seems like an advantage in a time of globalization, but when it becomes the preferred language, especially of the educated, forgetting our own, then the problem is presented. Speeches as such would help bring the language back on its own pedestal.
I am glad the video reveals Manuel Quezon captured by cameras of the time. He has such a presence one can trust to lead the country. He has a commanding presence, that even though his grammar isn’t according to the rules of the English language, he never flinched or excused himself. He kept speaking showing that Philippines will not be broken.