I am overjoyed to announce that my curriculum website and LIA project The Paglaban Pilipino Literature Project has officially launched today. The launch date is very pertinent to the project's mission, as the PPL Project was founded to combat historical revisionism and censorship as a result of colonization and dictatorship. The month of September marks the period in which Ferdinand Marcos Sr. enacted martial law from September 23, 1972 to his exile in 1986. I launch this project today to commemorate the victims of martial law. I earnestly hope that with this project, we can all shout, "Makibaka! Huwag matakot!" (In Filipino, this means, "Fight! Do not be afraid!"
The Paglaban Pilipino Literature Project, known as the PPL (“people”) project, is a literary depository and collective that seeks to provide educational resources to Pilipinx youth. Centered on uplifting individual voices, the PPL hopes to serve as an open-access, non-profit platform where anyone and everyone, regardless of their knowledge of Philippine history/literature/culture, can partake in conversations concerning identities and representations of the Pilipino.
Traditionally, history has been told by the “winners,” or rather, the colonizers. Because of serial colonization by Spain, the United States, and Japan, the Philippines is still fighting against orientalist and derogatory portrayals that these foreign powers have constructed. Although one might read a history book to learn about the nation’s victories and struggles, the storyline remains univocal, which often disenfranchises various communities. As we experience the ongoing dangers of historical revisionism, it is critical to highlight the beauty of diversity in our communities.
Literature is a key tool in fulfilling this mission. It opens up channels to be advocates, educators, students, and activists, or simply just people. While subjectivity is often frowned upon in most environments, prioritizing “facts'' over “fiction”, it is frequently one voice that sparks dialogues that can lead to revolution. Historian Farish Ahmad Noor once commented, “We’re all social beings. We’re historical beings. You, me, all of us. We carry history in us. It’s in the language we use. It’s in the fiction we write.” Recognizing that each of us are a vessel for storytelling, the Paglaban Pilipino Literature Project marries poetics with politics. In other words, it calls upon the need to explore poetry and prose, ranging from the spirited works published in Spanish language newspapers at the turn of the 20th century to the empowering texts included in the anthologies of today.
Education will always be a bastion of unity during fights for independence and sovereignty. In honor of the spirit of “paglaban”, or “resistance” in Tagalog, this project was born. This repository focuses on showcasing subaltern and diasporic literature written in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and other languages of the Philippines to appropriately represent the Philippines’ dedication to diversity and freedom. These works are accompanied by course guides to help further promote Pilipino representation in academia and beyond.We stand here together with a promise to fight for self-expression and the rights of the Pilipino people. Ito ang ating laban! Gumising Ka, Kabataan!