I am a Filipino By Carlos P. Romulo I am a Filipino, inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such, I must prove equal to a two-fold task — the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future. I am sprung from a hardy race, child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout.
Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon a mighty swell of hope — hope in the free abundance of the new land that was to be their home and their children’s forever. This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of the shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green-and-purple invitation; every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promised a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is hallowed spot to me.
By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law — human and divine — this land and all the appurtenances thereto — the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wildlife and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals — the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers.
This land I received in trust from them and in trust will I pass it on my children, and so on until this world is no more. I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes — seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapu-Lapu to battle against the first invader of this land, that nerved Lakandula to combat the alien foe, that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor. That seed is immortal.
It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gregorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst forth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malacanang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication.