Public History is Still Around Us

Apr 6, 2023, 1:00 AM
Eufemio Agbayani III

Eufemio Agbayani III


Since I was invited to write for Opinyon Quezon in November 2022, it had been a pleasure to share what we do in the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and find out ways to promote local history in our beloved province. On a personal note, writing this column also encouraged me to learn more about the history of Quezon province and to find connections to my own experiences – something I had to do as I did not grow up in Quezon.

Fourteen weeks and articles later, it's still a joy. Yet I am reminded that while newspapers had been a tool for public history even as early as Lopez Jaena and Del Pilar's La Solidaridad, it is not the sole way to promote history beyond academia.

We have discussed that monuments matter because they are (usually) fixed reminders for passers-by that history is pivotal to our daily lives. Thus, we need to "use" them in commemorative programs and keep them clean, strong, and respected.

We have also discussed how the paintings, drawings, and postcards can be used to depict persons and scenes for a very visual people. That it is easier to engage with and reimagine the past when we see something that triggers our curiosity.

Which brings us to reenactors and how they embodied 'living history' literally and how the need for historically accurate costumes and accessories may lead to cottage industries that spur economic development.

As we all rest for Holy Week, I can only hope that we will all still be interested in learning about the past and passing on stories that matter to us all.


The NHCP documentary on the GOMBURZA is now available online at It presents the martyrdom of the three priests as part of the long struggle for religious and political freedoms. It also connects Hermano Pule with the GOMBURZA and various religious-inspired uprisings such as those of Bangkaw, Tapar, and Sumuroy.

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