The much publicized 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations for Dr. Jose Rizal recalls to my mind two defunct TV programs of ABS-CBN Channel 2: Bayani and Pahina.
Bayani is a classic for me. I essentially grew up watching its different episodes. One could not help but relate to the excitement of Noli and Ana who were able to visit different time periods in our country’s history and witness the lives and works of our country’s heroes. Perhaps it was from this show that I got this habit of bringing back souvenirs from my travels and tours (and I say that my collected souvenirs can be considered rare). Too bad I cannot remember the name of the old lady played Caridad Sanchez who they called Lola. She was one of the main characters in the TV program, lived in cave, and served as the custodian of the materials brought by Noli and Ana.
The theme of Pahina is closely related to Bayani, being related to literature. For me, history and literature go together. To some extent, they share the same characteristics. With another old person to guide the main character, Bart goes to explore and understand Philippine literature alongside her relationship with Mithi (incidentally, Mithi is also the name of a Filipino/Literature textbook series for high school students which we used during our high school days). Perhaps one of the best episodes was about the Jose F. Lacaba’s poem “Ang Mga Kagilagilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Juan dela Cruz.”
I learned from online searches that some of the episodes are already in DVD formats. But then I think they should be revived or if it is not possible, similar programs should be launched again. The new show Amaya seem promising but we are yet to see how it will be received by the viewing public. Such programs would not only ‘reconnect’ the current generation to out culture, heritage, and traditions, they will also fight off the creeping foreign culture that dominates most of the prime times in TV. Foreign cartoons and shows are not bad per se, but I think it would do us good in the long run if we appreciate first what we have in the country. To lose interest in our culture, heritage, and traditions is to lose our identity as a nation eventually. This may be debatable but that is another story.