LET HISTORY BE THE JUDGE (Local History and Its Importance)

“It will reveal our true identity and

define who we are, who we can be.”

(Photo credits to the owner- LGU Compostela)


One of my sought-after subjects when I was still a student in formal educational institutions was HISTORY.

What I love most about the subject was the learning and understanding about past accounts of people, events, places and circumstances vis-à-vis social situation which include not only political but also economic and cultural aspects of society, and their connectivity to the present dynamics and its significance in the future.

While history in schools gave premium to history of the world and nations, there is neglect, whether deliberate or otherwise, in giving value and worth to LOCAL HISTORY.

By local history, Wikipedia discussed the topic as follows: Local history is the study of history in a geographically local context and it often concentrates on the local community. It incorporates cultural and social aspects of history. Historic plaques are one form of documentation of significant occurrences in the past and oral histories are another. Local history is often documented by local historical societies or groups that form to preserve a local historic building or other historic site. Many works of local history are compiled by amateur historians working independently or archivists employed by various organizations. An important aspect of local history is the publication and cataloguing of documents preserved in local or national records which relate to particular areas.”

The way I comprehend it, local history can be established in two ways, one is by deep-digging traces of the past in documents and written literature.  The other one is by personal narrative of people old enough to tell about details of, or even “not so detailed”, activities and actions of people, places and events.  It is the so-called Oral History or Narrative.

By these options, the first one needs bigger and wider investment of time, efforts and resources because it demands voluminous and tedious processes and procedures.  Local government units may choose to commission the dirty works to amateur local history enthusiasts and hire professionals to do the fine tuning, proofreading and publishing. However tedious and voluminous, it’s worth investing, I suppose.  More importantly, by way of policy or local ordinance, published materials can be taught in schools to pupils/students or in communities, especially to young people.

On the other hand, the second option is accessibly easier task.

Personally, I am contemplating of writing a short story depicting local history of my town.  I have a farmer friend, who every morning we met in the farm, enthusiastically shares to me everything he can possibly remember about Compostela in the past.  I understand that he arrived and inhabited in the place as early as 1950’s up to the present and I find it important and valuable to capture the details of his narrative, their connectivity to the present, and propose speculations, projections and interpretations for the future, both subjectively and objectively.  However objective and subjective they will be, it will all depend on our individual vantage point.  Again, I am just contemplating yet it is coupled with the burning desire to share and find significance to my beloved town.  The story will be entitled: KABUNTAGON UBAN SI NONG KUNI.  Nong Kuni may just be a representation of older people living in the town, a “dumaan”, “matikadong”, “karaang taw” and the likes.  By the way, Nong Kuni is for real.

With this potential project in mind, I will do my very best to present the story in a more casual mode and locally developed setting, utilizing all available information and references to express realistic and simple narrative digestible to anyone interested on it.  The primary aim is to make the literature more historic in its form and more historical in its substance.

I wish not to be misconstrued with this idea because there is already a historical brief written of my town but I believe it is too brief to be concise, comprehensive and integrated.  There are still more out there and time is of the essence before we will be running out of resource persons.

While some may consider local history to be too small to be prioritized, its value, significance, importance, necessity, relevance and timeliness can never be understated and underestimated. It will reveal our true identity and define who we are, who we can be.

At the nucleus of what has been happening around us and the future, we will all converge in observing the inevitable truth of the adage: “let history be the judge”.


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