UST Department of History launches its 6th Webinar

The Department of History of the University of Sto. Tomas held its 6th webinar last January 29, 2021. The theme of the said webinar is “Kahalagahan ng Kasaysayan sa Kamalayang Filipino.” The resource speaker was Assoc. Prof. Kristoffer Resos-Esquejo, Ph.D. from the Department of History, University of the Philippines – Diliman.

Prof. Esquejo discussed in his lecture the meaning and relevance of history. He shared that the Tagalog translation of history as kasaysayan is distinct for it is rooted in the word saysay which may mean essence, meaning or value. Hence, it is the study of the past that of value to a person or a particular group of people which is transmitted orally or through written form. The speaker compared this to the Western approach where a document serves as a basis in the writing of history to which he highlighted the fact that not all people are capable of writing. 

In the lecture, the speaker summed up the relevance of history into five. First, he pointed out that history is necessary to understand the present. Second, he said that history can help us to prepare for the future. Third, history can help us learn from the mistakes of the past thereby teach us not to commit them again. Fourth, it helps us become proud of our identity. Lastly, but not the least, history teaches us to pursue peace and healing with justice.

From there, Dr. Esquejo proceeded with his lecture the definition of kamalayan or consciousness and the origin and former use of who is a Filipino as well as its present basis in the 1987 Constitution. He raised questions among participants concerning their sense of belongingness to the collective consciousness of Filipinos particularly the recognition of their identity based on their gender, region of origin, religious and social affiliation. This led to the discussion about some challenges in writing Philippine history such as the tendency to become “Manila/Tagalog/Luzon-centric,” Christian/Catholic-centric, political-centric, elite-centric, male-centric. The professor noted that there are other areas or aspects of life in the Philippines that are worthy of studies and of course the need for more historians to pursue and write them. 

He concluded his lecture by highlighting the fact that historical discipline truly has value, essence and relevance in shaping Filipino consciousness for its practical application. At the same time he noted that history can be given more importance if challenges hounding Filipino historiography including the study, writing, research, publication and teaching of it is addressed.

After the lecture, questions from participants were entertained by the speaker. Their inquiries, which were posted in the Facebook account and Youtube channel that streamed the webinar, varies from pedagogies, challenges and approaches in teaching Philippine history. These questions appeared to be valid and relevant as they demonstrate the reality concerning Philippine history which is only taught in the elementary then college level as well as the existence of trolls who distort history for personal or political gains.

The webinar which was spearheaded by Prof. Archie B. Resos, Chairman of UST History Department, together with the faculty members of the same department was concluded with a message of gratitude to the speaker and participants before the iconic UST Hymn was sung. (Khervin Darrell B. Domingo)