The church of Balangiga, Samar, aka St. Lawrence the Martyr parish church.
When my mom told me we’re going to visit the town of Balangiga as part of our road trip, I was excited. The Balangiga massacre is my single most favorite historical anecdote. My college history professor told us that after the locals killed most of the American soldiers, the surviving few ran to the nearest available boats to retreat. When the soldiers looked back at their still-burning-camp, they noticed that the American flag was still hoisted up in the flagpole. So in a goosebump-generating act of bravery, they all went back, knowing they are going to be hacked to death by the bolo-wielding locals, to get their beloved flag. Out of the 7 (i think) who went back, only 4 were able to make it back to the boats.
And that is the image that stuck with me for years. That high drama of going back for a piece of fabric in the middle of hell. Now, I needed to blog about it so when we got back home, I immediately searched for the flag story in the Balangiga massacre, just to make sure I get the facts right. To my surprise, I could not find any story on that, in the entire world wide web. And slowly, I realized that…omg, we’ve been had by our history teacher.
That bitch. Because, really, if that going back for the flag story really happened, it would not have been missed by the history books. And if something like that was intentionally left out by historians, then good luck making history interesting to students.
And it all makes sense…because this fairy-tale weaving history professor is the same woman who actually told us that the reason Apolinario Mabini was paralyzed was not because of polio, but because he jumped out of the window to avoid being trapped in a shotgun wedding (err…pikot?). Apparently, he was called to a Katipunero’s meeting in a certain house, but found himself inappropriately (at that time) alone with a girl. And yes, supposedly, at that time, that would lead to a shotgun wedding, so to save himself, Apolinario jumped out of the window, broke his legs, and was forever paralyzed, earning himself the title “And Dakilang Lumpo/Paralitiko.”
I am starting to rethink every lecture we had in Philippine history, and I’m starting to doubt my Atenean education.