Sumulong sa Kadakilaan

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Sa mga Kababayan", circa March 1896

Emilio Jacinto (attrib.)

“Sa mga Kababayan”

Source: “Sa mga Kababayan”, incomplete manuscript copy in Archivo General Militar
de Madrid, Caja 5395, le.4.25; Spanish translation from Kalayaan by Juan Caro y Mora
published under the title “Á los compatriotas” in Wenceslao E. Retana (comp.),
Archivo del bibliófilo filipino, vol.III (Madrid: Imprenta de la Viuda de M. Minuesa
de los Rios, 1897), pp.134-8.


“Sa mga Kababayan” was the lead editorial in the sole issue of Kalayaan. Pio Valenzuela, in whose house the paper was produced, recalls in his Memoirs that “I wrote the first editorial and handed it to Emilio Jacinto for publication in the first issue” [but when] he “showed me the proof of the first page [I saw to my surprise] that the printed editorial was not the one I had given him but another by Marcelo H. del Pilar in La Solidaridad,” the organ of the propaganda movement in Spain that had ceased publication in 1895. This editorial, Valenzuela continues, “was translated into Tagalog by Jacinto, and was much better than the one I had prepared. I told Jacinto that I almost believed that the real editor of [Kalayaan] was Del Pilar himself. There were various Bulaqueños who knew the Tagalog of Del Pilar, and they declared the language used by Jacinto in his translation resembled Del Pilar’s perfectly.”[1] In his conversations many years later with Agoncillo, Valenzuela varied this account slightly, recollecting that Jacinto based “Sa mga Kababayan” on a number of editorials by Del Pilar rather than just one.[2]

In the piece, the supposed editor sends his salutations from “the other side of the wide ocean”, laments that Spain had scorned La Solidaridad’s patient supplications, and urges his compatriots now to support the cause of Kalayaan and take charge of their own destiny.

A manuscript copy of “Sa mga Kababayan” that survives in Madrid, which is transcribed below, is in Bonifacio’s handwriting, not Jacinto’s, but this does not necessarily mean that Bonifacio was actually the author. It is entirely plausible that Bonifacio copied out the text whilst Kalayaan was being prepared for publication, perhaps for editing purposes and perhaps to make it more legible for the printers.

There is no way of knowing for certain whether the Madrid manuscript was the final draft prior to the editorial being set in type, or whether there were later amendments. Nevertheless, any such amendments can only have been minor, because the text of the manuscript clearly does correspond very substantially with the Spanish translation made from a printed copy of Kalayaan that was published by Wenceslao Retana in 1897.[3]

The manuscript copy, however, is incomplete. It has seven paragraphs, whereas the Spanish translation has ten. To give at least an indication of how the piece concludes, the last three paragraphs have been translated into English below from the Spanish translation.

Paragraph numbers do not appear in the original, and have been inserted here simply to facilitate comparison between the Tagalog text and the English translation.

› › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › ›

Tagalog text

Sa mga Kababayan

Buhat dito sa kabila ng malawak na dagat, sa sinapupunan at pagkakandili ng ibang lupa at ibang mga kautusan, sa inyo mga kababayan ang tungo ng aming unang bati, ang kaunaunahang salita na iguhit ng aming kamay, ang unang himutok na pumulas sa aming dibdib, ang unang pag bigkas ng aming mga labi…sa lahat ay sa inyo.

Inyo ngang tangapin, at masarapin tunay ng inyong kalooban, sa pagkat nagbubuhat sa tapat naming puso, na wala nang iba pang itinitibok kung di isang matinding pag ibig sa tinubuang Bayan at tunay na pag daramdam sa pagkaapi at inaabot nyang kadustaan.

Kapagkarakang narinig ng aming mga tainga ang inyong mga pag daing, kapagkarakang mapag malas ng aming mga mata ang inyong pagkaaping walang makatulad at mabangis na kahirapan, agad nang nukal na kusa sa aming kalooban ang isang banal at dakilang nasa, na kayo’y maibangon sa pagkalugmok at pukawin ang inyong puso sa pagkahimbing at malusong pagkagupiling o maampat kaya ang matinding dagok ng sakit at kalumbayang inyong tinitiis.

Tunay na kami ay umasa din, gaya ng makapal na mga kababayan na nagakala na ang inang Espana ay siyang tanging may karapatang mag bigay ng kaginhawahan nitong Katagalugan. Nguni’t ang panahung lumipas, ang patung patung na pag ulol ang walang pangitang silo ng daya na sa aking isinumang, ang mga pangakung hindi tinutupad, ay siyang omuntag [?] sa aming payapang at katiwalang kalooban at nag pakilalang tayo’y siyang gumawa at may yaman at umiasa’t antain sa ating lakas na sarili ikabubuhay.

¿Ano pa ang inaantay at hinahangad? Tatlong daang taung mahigit na pag titiis sa bigat ng pamatok ng pagkaalipin, malaung panahung wala tayong ginawa kungdi ang lumuhogluhog at humingi sa kanila ng kahit gabuhit na pag lingap at kaunting paglingon, gayon ma’y ¿ano ang nakikita nating isinasagut at iginaganti sa ating pag mamakaawa? Wala kung di ang tayo’y itapun isadlak sa lalung kamatayan.

Pitong taung walang tigil na ang “La Solidaridad” ay kusang nagpumilit na iniubos ang buong lakas niya, upang tamuhin natin ang mga matamo ng kaunting karapatan sa kabuhayan ng tao, at ¿ano ang inabot niyang pala sa mga pagud at panahung ginugol? Pangako, daya, alipusta at mapait na pagkamatay......

Ngayong hapu na ang ating nag taas na kamay sa laging pag luhog; ngayong na namamaus na’t unti unting na wala ang sigaw ng ating mapanghan na tingig sa laging pag daing, ngayong inaagaw na halus ang ating hininga sa bangis ng hirap, aming itinayu ang yukong ulong a gawi na sa pag suko, at kumuhang lakas sa matibay na pananalig namin sa tunay na katuiran, na maimulat ang kaisipan ng aming mga kababayan at maipakitang malinaw sa kanila na ang salitang Inang Espana ay isang pag limang at hibo lamang, na maitutulad, sa basahang pangbalut sa tanikalang kaladkad; walang ina’t walang anak; wala kung di isang lahing lumulupig at isang lahing palulupig, isang bayang nagtatamasa at nabubusog sa di niya pagud at isang bayang nagpapagud sa di niya pinakikinabangan at ikinabubusog.

› › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › › ›

English translation

To the Compatriots

From here on the other side of the wide ocean, under the bosom and protection of another land and other laws, to you, compatriots, is sent our first greeting, the first word written by our hand, the first sigh that leaves our breast, the first enunciation, too, of our lips... everything is to you.

Receive it then, and truly savour it in your being, because it comes from our sincere heart, which beats with nothing but an intense love for the native land and a true compassion for her in the oppression she suffers.

Readily our ears can hear your complaints; readily our eyes so often have the misfortune to see your singular oppression and cruel hardship; immediately and spontaneously there springs in our soul a great and exalted desire that you may rise up from your prostration and rouse your hearts from their deep and restful slumber, and thus bring to an end the heavy blows of pain and your woeful tribulations.

Truly we also hoped, as a great number of compatriots believed, that only mother Spain has the right to give prosperity to this Katagalugan. But time passes; the follies accumulate, the faceless web of deceit that I repudiate, the unfulfilled promises have shattered our peaceful and trusting nature and made us realise that we must be the ones to act and create wealth and that we must hope and wait on our own strength to achieve our welfare.

What else is to be expected and desired? Over three hundred years suffering the heavy yoke of slavery, yet for a long time we did nothing but beseech and ask them for just a little consideration and a little mercy. And then what answers were seen in response to our supplications and pitifulness? None, except that we were sent into exile or even to our deaths.

For seven years La Solidaridad worked incessantly and exhausted its whole strength in order that we might achieve some modest right to a human existence. And yet what was the result of the expended time and effort? Promises, deceit, scorn and bitter death….

Now we are weary of raising our hands aloft in constant supplication; now the cry of our mournful voice in constant complaint is gradually ceasing; and now our breath has almost been taken away from us by the cruelty of our suffering; we raise our bowed heads, accustomed to being submissive, and drawing strength from our firm belief in true reason, we can open the minds of our fellow countrymen and show them clearly that the phrase Mother Spain is only a distraction and deceit that can be compared to a rag wrapped around encumbering shackles; that there is no mother and no child; that there is nothing else than a race that oppresses and a race that is oppressed; a people that tirelessly enriches and satiates itself and a people that is tired of deprivation and hunger.


From this point onwards, the Tagalog text has not been located. The remainder of the editorial, as published in Spanish translation in Retana’s Archivo, was many years ago translated in turn into English by my father, Geoffrey Walter Richardson, and is as follows:-

Too well we know that this must cause great misgivings and fears, must give rise to a cruel persecution and all kinds of torments and sufferings for our compatriots there. But what do one, or five, or ten, or a hundred, signify in comparison with a million brothers? We firmly believe, moreover, that these abominations and vilenesses will come to us first from the arms of collaborators, as was already predicted by the wisest, most noble and most esteemed of the Tagalogs [José Rizal] when they notified him of the arrest of those who were exiled: “Weep, I tell them - the son for the disgrace of the father, the father for the disgrace of the son, the brother for the brother - but he who loves the country where he was born, and considers what is necessary to better it, should rejoice, because by this road alone can freedom now be attained.”

And now that we have shown our aim and purpose, we will not end these inadequate lines without sharing your lamentations. We see the truth, and in our hearts and breasts we have a great and deep desire that you help us in the publication and propaganda of Kalayaan, above all amongst the unfortunate people of the country, for the insults they suffer are the cause and motive of this publication.

And if by chance they could not use it for any greater purpose, may it at least serve as a cloth to wipe the tears that fall from their eyes and the sweat that runs from their humbled brows.


[1] Pio Valenzuela, “Memoirs” (translated by Luis Serrano from an unpublished manuscript in Tagalog (c.1914) and reproduced as Appendix A in Minutes of the Katipunan (Manila: National Heroes Commission, 1964), p.106.

[2] Teodoro A. Agoncillo, The Revolt of the Masses: the story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1956), p.79.

[3] The most evident disparity is in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph, which could be rendered from the Retana version into English as “But time passes; the multiple follies and the unfulfilled promises have clarified and awakened our whole view of things, and made us realise that the blood of the Spaniards here or living in the Archipelago is the same blood as that of the Spaniards who live in Spain.”

No comments:

Post a Comment