Welcome back, Balangiga Bells

December 15, 2018

The sight of the three old bells of the Balangiga Church on the tarmac of the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City gives us a sense of national pride.

After a hundred years of struggle to bring it back, highlight of which was during the commemoration of the Philippine Centennial or 100 years of Independence in 1998, the bells came home with so much noise, hype and all.

Netizens and social media people feasted on the historic event as they flooded the internet with reactions and photos or videos from the television networks.

However, notably silent is the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA).

NHCP and NCCA were the key players of the advocacy to return the bells.

Balangiga has 13 barangays with the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir located at the town plaza and municipal hall.

It is located on the southern coast of the island of Samar facing Leyte Gulf, and sits at the mouth of the Balangiga River. To the west lies the municipality of Lawaan, to the north is Llorente, and to the east are the municipalities of Quinapondan and Giporlos.

Whatever the circumstances are regarding the NHCP and the NCCA, we are indeed grateful that the bells are back home.

This brings us to the issue of how we really should appreciate historical symbols and markers, especially items that served as  witness to the courage of our people then and now.

Younger generations should always be reminded that our rich historical past is something to be proud of especially when it comes to the courage, resilience and resourcefulness of our heroes of the past.

Our history as a people is indeed something that we should always be proud of, especially the lessons we learn from them.

We should not dwell on the mistakes of the past but learn from them and move on towards progress for love of our country.

We should also be grateful to those who sacrificed their lives for us to enjoy our democracy today.

We show this by historical markers, naming of streets after them, and writing books about them.

This way, we never forget our rich cultural heritage and do everything to remind the youth about the many sacrifices that were done for us to be what we are and what we have today.

And as we get to enjoy once more the coming holidays, let us also share our talent, treasures, and time with the less fortunate.

Here’s to a peaceful, safe holidays to the loyal readers of this paper.