Andres Bonifacio — a true Filipino hero who died for patrimony. (Photo courtesy of Tatler Asia)
A generation that ignores history has no past and no future.
— Science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein
CALOOCAN CITY, Metro Manila — The actress Evangeline Rose Eigenmann, popularly known as Cherie Gil, is remembered by many as a sweet friend and a one-of-a-kind celebrity.
I met her only once and I immediately fell under her spell as she simply exudes what any man wants in a woman. That time was when I was assigned as a senior writer for the defunct Women’s Journal (WJ) of the Philippine Journalists Incorporated (PJI or Journal Group of Publications). Now I pay tribute to the actress and the lingering feeling I had when we brushed elbows—thanks to my WJ editor, Marita Pascual Nuque.
Friends, relatives, and colleagues of the veteran actress took to social media to pay their praises to her, following news of her demise on Friday, August 5, at the age of 59.
I also remember Cherie when she played the character Lavinia Arguelles in the 1985 film ‘Bituing Walang Ningning’ and for her iconic line, “You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat!” Despite this gritty line, she still is fondly remembered by many for being a true friend, the sweetest person, and a one-of-a-kind icon of the local showbiz industry.
With a career spanning nearly five decades (1978 to 2022), she was dubbed the ‘La Primera Contravida’ (The Prime Villain) for her acting prowess which landed her in numerous antagonistic roles.
Cherie is also a Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Award winner, a recipient of Ani ng Dangal by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and a Hall of Famer at the Metro Manila Film Festival in the Best Supporting Actress category. In 2015, she won the Best Actress trophy at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) International Film Awards. That same year, she also won the Best Lead Actress in a Foreign Language Film at the Madrid International Film Festival. This was followed in 2019, by another award as Best Supporting Actress at the 42nd Gawad Urian Awards for her portrayal of ‘Citizen Jake’.
However, despite the numerous accolades and recognition given to her, I still remember when I first met ‘La Primera Contravida’ and I insist that in my opinion, she would forever be the heroine and ‘vida’ that I always believed her to be.
NEOPHYTE senator Robinhood ‘Robin’ Padilla has filed a bill mandating the inclusion of Philippine History in the country’s high school curriculum in the hope that its teaching will aid our youth in understanding how the society we live in came to be through the passage of time.
In doing so, the actor-turned-politician rationalized that in order “to lead (our) nation into the future, (it) would require an understanding of (our) country’s historical roots and cultural heritage ideally in all levels of formal education.”
The first-time legislator even lamented that Philippine History had been removed from the high school curriculum in 2014 through Department of Education (DepEd) Order 20 even as he noted that the K-12 basic education curriculum for Social Studies includes subjects such as Asian Studies and World History.
“While supporters of this revised curriculum claim that the ‘discussion of events on the country’s history is naturally integrated into several subjects,’ this representation is of the firm belief that there must be an independent and definitive subject that comprehensively focuses on the study of our nation’s own history,” Padilla pointed out.
“It is truly unfortunate for our youth, whom we dub as the hope and future of our nation, to be stripped of the opportunity to wade through the books of our invaluable past,” he added.
Under Padilla’s proposed measure, the Philippine History subject shall be designed to inculcate a sense of patriotism and will include our country’s history, culture, and identity, particularly that of the Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples.
The bill also seeks to enable “critical thinking and discourse” on the effects and relevance of Philippine historical events, persons, and movements to the present – and understand the Filipinos’ roots grounded on facts and strong historical tradition, patriotism, and identity as a nation.
These are well-said points that need to be recognized and realized. But the only misgiving we have in this is the doubt whether we believe what is being taught in our schools today about our history is truly about what is Filipino.
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