Independence Day and My Own Sense of Personal Freedom

In celebration of our 114th Independence Day last June 12, I believe there’s a need for me to acknowledge the collective patriotic struggles of the noble heroes from our past who championed the freedom we Filipinos have been relishing today. First in rank according to the historians is our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, a literary genius who was executed for his brave exposition of the ills of the Spanish Clergy through his two poignant novels “Touch Me Not” and “The Filibuster.”  Then there’s our second national hero  Andres Bonifacio, who physically went to battle against the Spaniards with his army of brave soldiers, in his determination to restore our nation’s identity which got lost during the 300 years of Spain’s colonial rule. The former believed in the power of the pen whilst the latter stood for the might of the sword. I am not the one to uphold the verity of the maxim “the ink of a scholar is worth a thousand times more than the blood of a martyr.” I adore the two men above equally. It’s not fair to say one has done a better job fighting for our country’s independence compared to the other. That goes for all the intrepid souls in our history who devotedly engaged themselves to bring back the glory of our motherland. Their passions had all been intense, their participation all worthy of supreme recognition.

And who can ever forget the approximately 20,000 Filipino and American soldiers who perished as prisoners of war due to starvation, illness and murder in the Bataan week-long Death March of WWII?

I feel a stir in my heart thinking about such formidable periods of our history and what our valiant heroes gave up for the benefit of the future generations. I confess to being a bit apathetic about the sacrifices they made when I was younger, but things do change as one gets older. I must really have taken things for granted.


“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”  – Vince Lombardi


Independence and freedom aren’t mutually exclusive traits. They are rather abstract conditions in which many have dedicated their lives and even died for.

To be able to stand on your own two feet by pursuing your own path. This isn’t just the goal of every nation but of every individual as well.

A favorite female blogger recently asked her readers in her blog what circumstances normally bring them peace and happiness in their lives. I commented by saying those desirable frames of mind are attainable only when I’m free from wretched emotions that tend to imprison me in inexorable ways. It isn’t easy though given my sometimes impetuous and high-spirited nature. Certain people are able to hammer down the walls I’ve built and as a result, I become vulnerable falling into emotional traps which take considerable time to extract myself from. And that got me pondering as well about the few other freedoms I appreciate in my life which I believe has been facilitated by my present status as an independent woman. The other kinds of individual autonomy I’m currently enjoying are:

-Freedom to choose the people I allow to set foot in my life.

-Freedom to be the kind of woman I want to be.

-Freedom to run away from circumstances that could only bring me unnecessary grief and/or an oppressive state of mind.

-Freedom to engage in activities that give me pleasure and fulfillment.

-Freedom to express my thoughts, sensibilities, convictions, and whatnot.

Last but not the least, freedom to be able to walk on the face of this planet feeling happy and proud for being the kind of person that I am.                                                                           


6 thoughts on “Independence Day and My Own Sense of Personal Freedom

  1. marj, you’ve touched on a subject that is often one that gives me great consternation — freedom. This one word can encompass so many permutations, and nuances. I thoroughly enjoyed the brief history of freedom that you offered in the beginning of your piece, and your recognition that as people who lead every-day lives, we can sometimes find ourselves moving through life with little to no recognition of the sacrifices that were laid down in previous generations in order to secure our freedom. It is as if our freedom is invisible to us, in that we simply accept it as our way of life, without giving regard to how hard-fought it might have been for those that came before us.

    Like you, I don’t believe I gave it much thought in my younger years, but as I’ve grown older, I am sometimes in total awe at how valiantly and bravely the young men and women of previous generations took up the cause of freedom; willing to lay down their lives to preserve this most precious commodity. Perhaps carrying this knowledge in my heart has something to do with why I fight so strenuously to maintain some sense of personal freedom; in my case, I seek to maintain freedom from the circumstances of my past, and freedom from the chains of mental illness, as well as freedom from the physical limitations as my body ages. I was always a survivor, even as a young child, but now it seems that surviving is not enough. Today I seek to find that next level of existence, where survival is met with the ability to embrace my freedom.

    I love it that you’ve given me reason to pause for a moment today, and contemplate some of the many ways I am able to enjoy my own freedom. Although I recognize that you are someone who has a busy working life, and many other demands on your time, I hope that you continue to be able to carve out some time for blogging, as I feel your voice is one that many could benefit from hearing. You have a gentle and direct way of laying down an argument that asks your reader to consider a point of view, and form their own opinion. Today, you had me asking myself, “what freedoms have I been taking for granted?” In doing so, I suddenly felt as if my life became more full, and rich, and your words helped me to open up my eyes this morning, and embrace all those freedoms, big and small, and appreciate the abundance in my life. Thank you.

    • Please pardon me for not being able to reply sooner. I saw this comment only this morning as I was rushing on my way to school, so I decided to save it first to be able to bring it to work. At school I had more chances during breaktime reading and assimilating your words which consequently made my day so much brighter.
      I wish I were as articulate as you so I could express exactly just how much I appreciate your online presence in my life. I’m quite pleased that you think others could benefit from hearing my voice, and you know yours is the one that has consistently given me strength to carry on with my blogging. You have spoken of mental imbalance on your part yet all this time I’ve been following your blog, I haven’t found any other female blogger who can lay down hard-won wisdom in a delightful, lucid, and astute manner like you do.
      I’m so glad you liked this post, N. Yes I agree surviving isn’t just enough for us anymore as we must begin to embrace and take more advantage of the personal freedom our circumstances have accorded us..
      And may we never have to take for granted again the freedom our forefathers didn’t mind giving up their lives for.
      Thank you so much for taking the time once more to visit and share your thoughts here.

  2. This post is beautifully written, Marj. It’s nice to meet someone who’s a bundle of contradictions, and is comfortable with that. I have a feeling those emotional traps are related to your sensitivity, a trait that can definitely be both a blessing and a curse.

    Regarding your country’s Independence Day: I hope we’ve made at least some progress away from the idea that one nation can march in and take over another. In the last century, the two world wars alone caused more than eighty million deaths. That’s unimaginable.

    Please keep writing!

    • Your assessment that I’m a bundle of contradictions could be the affirmation of a remark I heard before from someone else’s equally perceptive mind which i barely acknowledged then. So I guess I’ve got to deal with this now and hopefully write a post about it soon. 🙂
      It’s true. I’ll read and embrace a body of knowledge one day and do a revamp the next day with a whole new set of facts. I’d find no need to speak to anyone for 8 straight hours during the day and turn jubilant thereafter for the rest of the night. I can live by the rules on the dot yet I’ve got this tendency to defy some of them and see how far I can get away with my unconventional ways.
      I admit my struggles in dealing with emotional entrapments have been the most challenging so far in my life. As for my sensitivity serving as both a blessing and a curse, you couldn’t have said it any better.
      I’ve lost count of the number of people who told me, “I’ve never met anyone like you before.” and I was always dubious if they meant that as a compliment. 🙂

      P.S. War is primarily a waste of too many valuable lives. I wish we wouldn’t have to go through another one again.

  3. Freedom is something all of us want but not most of us truly enjoy it. I’m happy that you are able to enjoy freely some of the things you want and you’re the captain of your own ship. As for being totally free in mind, spirit and emotion, I agree that they are hard to attain, especially if we’ve built walls and find them not as invincible, allowing others to become closer to us and when that happens, of course, we can’t only think of our own without thinking about theirs too. But then again, no man is an island and we should think that freedom can be fun when it’s shared. 🙂

    For me, there are still things that I can’t enjoy as freely and I feel that I’m trapped with the norm, obligations etc. even if I want to be otherwise. Maybe someday, I’ll be a hero on my own way and be able to fight for my freedom (given of course that I cause no harm to anyone, lol).

    • There’s a whole world of difference between a very young lady that you are and a woman like me who’s almost been through it all. You’ll eventually learn as you go through life that most of the precepts passed on to us won’t be applicable or even helpful in the many circumstances you’d find yourself in. I’m sure your life will take on a different stance but keeping an open mind when it comes to other people’s perspectives will always work to your advantage.
      Thanks for dropping by.


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