On Looking Back


by jun asuncion


I guess many of you have already noticed that over the last few weeks, comments that came in were mostly on my posts about the Asuncion History thus giving us the impression that we’re drifting away from our aim of keeping an eye on Bulan politics.

This maybe true but only if seen over a short-term. But talking about the families of Bulan is also part of our initial definitions for it is about local history.  I started with the history of the Asuncions of Bulan not because I’m an Asuncion but because the Asuncions are also part of our municipal history. I have always stressed in my past writings that local history is a subject of great importance. For how does it help our young Bulaneños’ identity if they only learn about Napoleon or Alexander the Great? Bulaneños should know first of all who died for them in the soils of Bulan fighting for their freedom. In this way, I welcome Mayor Helen  De Castro’s plan of starting a local museum of Bulan for then we can start paying our tribute to our past heroes and people from all walks of life who made a little difference in our town.

Looking back is advisable only if we have the intention of coming back to improve our present situation. This is also what I expect from our politics in Bulan. It should look back with the purpose of improving Bulan and of uniting its people. It should neither look back with the intention of revenge or destruction nor build a local heritage museum only to glorify one family or an exclusive group of Bulan citizens. A local heritage museum should glorify the whole town of Bulan by bridging it to its past and to its desired future and by giving its local identity a solid historical ground.

But above all these, it’s all about the attitude of thankfulness when we begin to treasure the past. Carried over to the present politics, we can only harvest good things from it. For a mayor and other elected municipal officials of Bulan to be sincerely thankful to the people who placed them to their positions is a good sign of cultivating that public trust.

Now, over the  long-range, my search for the Asuncion’s history is also one of the many ways I have in mind of connecting Bulan with other places in the Philippines and even abroad. This is my way of putting Bulan in the global map. With more and more Asuncions coming from different places- and so as Yatcos, Alzonas, Rayos, Paternos, etc.,- reading Bulan Observer we also increase indirectly observers of Bulan. In this way, we are actually fulfilling that definition of letting the whole world know about what’s happening in our town not ony politically but also culturally. Political vigilance should be spread out for it to be effective.

The other method of increasing our observers is that of inviting writers to publish some of their works here. We have  been graced lately by a Philstar columnist Michelle Dayrit-Soliven when she posted her articles here in Bulan Observer. We are humbled and honored by her gesture of recognition for the culture that we represent. Until now we have been successful with this method but it is clear to all contributors  that everything is on voluntary basis. So writers come and go and that’s good like that for we are all free to move around as we treat each other as good neighbors.

But lately this did not work with one contributor from Gubat for he had other expectations and couldn’t deal with criticism to the point that he literally ran amok and ordered me to go away and look for another master.  I’ve looked around for level-headed writers, not ego-inflated colonial masters.  And go away from what, from Bulan or Bulan Observer? Since I  don’t want that the youth should learn from such primitive language and arrogant attitude, I decided to exclude him from our round table where we treat one another as free beings, not as masters or slaves. In this way we remain true to our committment of preventing BO from becoming a hate site. Yes, we aim for a culture of freedom and  reason, not for a culture of slavery and hate.

Now, let it be made clear to our local officials that we have a broader and healthier concept of political vigilance. It is not about mistrust or paranoia but of appreciation of good things they do for Bulan. Though we still encourage every one not to hesitate to report observed unpleasant events  in Bulan that concern us all. It’s not personalities but  principles that interest us most of all. Indeed, nothing personal in the truest sense of the word, a motto which has cost me personally some good old friends but also left me with a few real good ones.

Back to writing about  family heritage, may this serve as motivation for others in n Bulan to do the same for it’s not only interesting but also full of surprises. It could for instance suddenly turn out that a neighbor you cannot stand is actually your relative. So writing about one’s family brings people closer together. This is one thing good about looking back.


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