In Constantino’s Veneration Without Understanding, Constantino depicts the shallow knowledge of Filipinos about Rizal and Nationalism. Because of the developing time and world, many Filipinos do not have enough knowledge and knowings about it. They are not aware of what the History has brought us. In this book, there are many speculations and doubts about Rizal for being said as an American sponsored hero (Which, I think, is true). The Americans sponsored his martyrdom or heroism not choosing Bonifacio, Aguinaldo or Mabini because Rizal’s martyrdom is not against the policy of the Americans that time. Rizal was a “safe” and benign martyr who doesn’t have any letters/quotations against the Government of America. But of course, these issues above are not the main focus of the book.
This book concentrates more about the “forgotten” history and heroism of our great heroes. Because of this, we are continuing losing and losing our sense of identity, our “being Filipinos”, and Filipinos as one. We do not consider the evolution of our identity — from being “indio” to “tagalog” and finally, to “Filipinos”.
But what about the controversy of Rizal’s heroism? Do we, Filipinos, know or even mind this things? Maybe this question can test us either we still know our points of origins. Most of the Filipinos doesn’t know about this until they entered the Rizal course. Most of the people, I guess, have little to none at all knowledge about this. Some of our teachers, especially History teachers doesn’t mind to teach this things. If they gave time and teach this,they only request students to memorize, and that’s the end of discussion. But, what about the understanding? They just give us short and rote information about this. We just concentrate on what, when, where, how, who, but “why” doesn’t even consider as one of those.
We as Filipinos, should know about this. Maybe Constantino entitled the book/article as “Veneration Without Understanding” because of our lost of understanding for being a “Filipino”, for not knowing what we have become through the years.