Saturday, September 20, 2014

What If? Sept. 20, 1519

Have you noticed how Google always marks some of the important dates of the year with some creative design or game? Well, I think they missed today. Why today, you ask? Well, today is the 20th of September 2014.

I can feel some gears turning. Can't think of anything particularly important today? Don't tire your brain out. Centuries ago, way back in 1519, it was on this very day that Ferdinand Magellan began his search for the Spice Islands. Am I beginning to make sense now? No? For those who don't know, I'm a Filipino. And this is me having my not-so-rare moments of over-thinking and over-analyzing what if questions.

What if Magellan hadn't gone on such quest? What if he hadn't found the Philippines? What if he and his ship had landed on some other Asian country? Would we have had been under the Spanish regime for so long? What kind of language would we be using now? What would our country be like? Would there still be so many Roman Catholics? Or would the entire nation be Islamic instead of just the Mindanao region? Who would our national hero be?

There are endless questions swirling around my head and all from just one question, "What if Magellan hadn't gone on such quest?" It seems that the entire culture of my country had changed in the hands of one man. I mean, sure, if it wasn't Magellan, someone else might have had come. Someone else surely would have had influenced our culture. But, it wasn't someone else. It was him. So, what if he hadn't? What if this country had remained pure and untouched by any outside entity?

I allow myself these possibilities and I see a country that's so unrecognizable I don't know if it could possible exist in this world. I see myself wearing native clothing- not in the line of "tapis" but simply clothing made from locally-produced materials. I hear myself speaking in a native tongue- so unfamiliar and foreign, yet so right. I imagine a country so enriched by its own colorful culture- it's fiestas, its traditions, its beliefs.

I mean, sure, paganism would probably be more pronounced but I believe that God would have had found another way to penetrate through the culture of this country. And, imagine living in a country that relied on its own and knew how to stand up for itself. A country that patronizes its own products instead of going after brand names and trying so hard to be in trend. A country that sticks to its distinctive traditions and customs instead of trying to bury these under the bland taste of mainstream materials.

It's wishful thinking. It's a dream, really. But what's so wrong with trying to imagine a nation that's distinct from the rest? Because, sometimes, when I look at this country- my home- I see nothing more than a second-grade, trying hard, copycat.

A bit harsh, I know. There may very well come a time in the near future that I regret writing this, but I'm feeling blue and this is how I feel.

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