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'Teresa Magbanua of France' and other new ways of looking at Pinay heroines

September 6, 2012 8:03pm
If elementary and high school teachers had taught Philippine history the way it was presented at the 21st National Conference of History Students, more Filipinos would probably appreciate the sacrifices of the country’s heroes.
The two-day conference at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman last month revolved around the contributions of Filipina heroines to the revolution, and gave little-known insights about their pivotal roles in the struggle to gain the country’s freedom.

Organized by the UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan, the forum presented new perspectives on popular Filipino heroines like Tandang Sora, Teresa Magbanua, Gregoria de Jesus, and Josephine Bracken rather than stereotypical narratives.

For instance, Prof. Michael Charleston B. Chua of the De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU-Manila) says the brave heroine Teresa Magbanua should not be called the “Joan of Arc of the Philippines” and instead, it should be Joan of Arc who should be called the “Teresa Magbanua of France.”

“Una, hindi naman kilala ng buong Pilipinas kung sino si Joan of Arc. So ngayon, imbes na kilalanin kung sino si Teresa Magbanua, itatanong pa nila kung sino si Joan of Arc,” Chua said.

“It’s a way of thinking. Ipinapakita nito kung paano natin tinitingnan ang ating kasaysayan,” he noted.
In his presentation, Prof. Ros Costelo of UP Diliman said Teresa Magbanua was a Filipina revolutionary who gallantly defended the Panay region against Spanish and American forces.

Meanwhile, Prof. Aaron Abel Mallari of the University of the Philippines in Diliman noted how Melchora Aquino or Tandang Sora was way ahead of her time, deciding to retain her maiden name despite her marriage to Fulgencio Ramos.

“Maaga kasing nabiyuda si Tandang Sora, kaya mag-isa niyang itinaguyod ang kanyang pamilya,” Mallari said.

“Sa ibang literatura, itinuturo itong isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit siya nakilala bilang ‘Tandang Sora’ pero may ilan ding nagsasabing pinili niya talaga ang ganitong bansag,” he added.

For Mark Marvin Lagos of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Filipina revolutionary Nazaria Lagos played a crucial role when she opened her home to ailing Katipuneros.

“Mayaman ang pamilya ni Nazaria. Nagpakasal siya sa edad na 12 kay Segundo Lagos, anak ni Don Bartolome na tagapagtatag ng bayan ng Duenas,” said Lagos, who is not related to the heroine.

“Ginawang pulungan ng mga Katipunero sa pamununo ni Martin Delgado yung hacienda nila sa Jaguimit, Iloilo,” he narrated.  

Despite the death of her two children during an outbreak of smallpox in their town, Nazaria Lagos continued to help and treat the sick. Eventually, she founded the first Red Cross Chapter in Panay.

“She went beyond her social class and upbringing to help the revolution,” Lagos said. – YA, GMA News
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