On June 12, 1898, at this house in Cavite, General Emilio Aguinaldo unfurled to the public the country’s flag and proclaimed the Philippines’ independence. So yesterday, we were commemorating its 117th anniversary. This photo was taken two years ago, yet my understanding of independence is still the same: There is no real freedom if we remain blind to the mistakes of our leaders both past and present, remain stuck (yes, a double negative for emphasis) in the same outdated belief and decisions that bring us to nowhere, and keep a close mind to the shifting climate of society.
A change is in order. For instance, paying the bills on time, getting up and exercise, understanding what tolerance really means or claiming the independence we and our future generation deserve by electing the right people for our government. It’s just a thought.
And like in the previous years, to soften the blow of our nation’s drastic needs in a time of celebration, writers and word enthusiasts all over also commemorate the nation’s independence by contributing Twitter-length posts (a form of flash fiction) with the hashtag #RP612fic. This social media event was started by Filipino writer Paolo Chikiamco in 2009.
#RP612fic is all about melding literature and history, whether real or fantastical, with the possibilities that may happen or could have happened. Imagine a story wherein Ferdinand Marcos didn’t become president, a story wherein Magellan made friends with Lapu-Lapu, or Sisa never gone mad. In a capsule, it is all about creating alternate stories, a reworking of what is familiar.
Unfortunately, I found most of this year’s #RP612fic outputs so “jeje.” I remember the works made from the previous years were crafted with so much wit, thought, and imagination. They were written with the classic literature and authentic history in mind, one could compile them for a legitimate anthology worthy of its place in any library. This time though there was too much pop songs, Vice Ganda, and showbiz lingo. You get the picture.
Well, it’s a matter of personal taste. So I made #RP612fic entries that I myself would enjoy reading if I stumbled upon them. Here they are:
Dorothy woke up to a country ruled by a barong-wearing tyrannical and said to her dog, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” #RP612fic
Tourists were busy gossiping in a mausoleum somewhere in Ilocos Norte when one noticed the forehead of the body in display cracked open. Out flowed a variety of gems and jewelry. #RP612fic
The moment Jose Rizal was shot dead by a firing squad in Bagumbayan, no one knew it was also the exact same time little Aureliano Buendia was taken by his father to discover ice. #RP612fic
Finally, Juan Tamad was about to get up from his idle life when he discovered The Internet. #RP612fic
“Fight with me,” the general said. “You know nothing, Emilio,” Andres replied with a heavy heart as he rode the back of his dragon and flew into the distant horizon. #RP612fic
The last one, of course, was inspired by a storyline in the Game of Thrones novels by George R.R. Martin and Ian Rosales Casocot’s excellent take on the Andres Bonifacio-Emilio Aguinaldo saga in his short fiction “Alternate Histories: Really Short Stories for the Twitter Generation” published in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6 (edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias). Here is an excerpt:
“Tell me you love me,” Emilio said. “But I don’t love you,” said Andres. Emilio sighed. “Then you leave me no choice. You die.”
Remember, claim your independence, Filipinos! Have a great day!