FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Quest for Accurate FMA history and the FMA National Artist

Due credit is given to the following: Mr. Ned R. Nepangue for raising the issue of FMA history & FMA National Artist; Batong Tig-a, Al Polpogrande & Sammy W. Ty for their discussions in the Forum.

Throughout our history as a nation there have been romanticized stories of heroes adept in indigenous martial arts. Among them, Dr. Jose Rizal who was said to be good at arnis de mano. Andres Bonifacio was another hero often depicted to have in hand a fighting bolo. Cebu for its part has the very first Filipino hero, the great warrior Lapu-Lapu who killed Ferndinand Magellan in an epic battle in the shores of Mactan Island. In Negros Island, we have the great generals Gen. Anecito Lacson and Gen. Juan Araneta who won over the Spaniards and moved on to declare Negros Island independent from Spanish rule. Following is an excerpt from Wikipedia.Org:

On November 5, 1898, the Negrenses rose in revolt against the Spanish authorities in the province headed by politico-military governor Colonel Isidro de Castro. The Spaniards decided to surrender upon seeing armed troops in a pincers movement towards Bacolod. The marching revolutionist, led by General Juan Araneta from Bago and General Aniceto Lacson from Talisay, were actually carrying fake arms consisting of rifles carved out of palm fronds and cannons of rolled bamboo mats painted black. By the afternoon of November 6, Colonel de Castro signed the Act of Capitulation, thus ending the Spanish rule in Negros Occidental. This event is commemorated in Negros Occidental every Cinco de Noviembre as the day the Negrenses bluffed the Spaniards to attain their freedom. November 5 has been declared a special non-working holiday in the province through Republic Act. No. 6709 signed by Corazon Aquino on February 10, 1989.

It is interesting to note the following excerpt taken from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts

The National Commission on Culture and the Arts


In 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino penned Executive Order No. 118 creating the Presidential Commission on Culture and Arts. Five years later, in 1992, this presidential directive was enacted into law-- Republic Act 7356. The original bill was jointly authored by Senators Edgardo Angara, Heherson Alvarez, Leticia Ramos Shahani, and Congressman Carlos Padilla.


  • Formulate policies for the development of culture and the arts
  • To coordinate & implement the overall policies and program of attached agencies on the development of culture and arts as stated under Executive Order No. 80
  • Administer the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts
  • Encourage artistic creation within a climate of artistic freedom
  • Develop and promote the Filipino national culture and arts; and
  • Preserve Filipino cultural heritage

We are very rich in FMA history and we have a law that mandates the development, promotion and preservation of our culture and arts. Yet, it seems FMA has been left out in the cold. This is while what use to be foreign culture are now integrated with our own culture and arts. The likes of ballet and broadway shows have become so popular and "in" while what is truly Filipino seem to be "out" in our very own country. Given this perspective, what then can we expect of our government officials who are themselves responsible for the threat to our National Identify? They are preoccupied with blabbering about National Security but do they even have National Identity? How can a nation be Nationally Insecure when it does not even have a National Identify? Too much has been spent of what was thought to be Filipino, but too little attention has been given to what is truly Filipino.

However, let us not totally put the blame on our government officials. FMA practitioners are likewise contributors to and victims of the myths and lies they spread about their art and craft. What is worse is that these myths and lies are spread by word of mouth from generation to generation. Some masters of FMA since time immemorial have made myths and lies part of their informal curriculum. In effect, they have produced rediculous masters who propagate their art as others like them had done before.

Let us forget the amazing (unverified and unsubstantiated) stories about FMA that have been told over and over again - stories that made the FMA warrior a mediocre laughingstock. Let us instead focus on facts. Let us not identify ourselves with what is foreign. Rather let us rediscover our Filipino Identify - our own culture and heritage. It is time to put FMA history in its proper order and perspective, and find our own FMA National Artist. It is time for serious Filipino warrior business.


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