If you have been to Ayala Triangle recently, you may have seen this photo exhibit at the middle of the park which has something to do with Apolinario Mabini and the commemoration of his upcoming 150th birthday. This exhibit is called “Dekalogo” and it is not just any photo exhibit about Mabini, this is an exhibit that has brought to life one of his well-known writings, The True Decalogue.
The True Decalogue was first printed on June 24, 1898, 12 days after the declaration of Philippine Independence. Mabini at that time served as an adviser to Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government, which at that time was busy laying out the foundations of the new republic. It was in this time of new-found freedom and transition that Mabini wrote The True Decalogue to help serve as a moral and ethical guide for the new nation to live by, just as how the Ten Commandments is for Jews and Christians alike.
If the Ten Commandments are to be summed as love for God and love for neighbor, The True Decalogue took it a bit further by adding the love for country, especially at a time when the Philippines just declared an independence that is being threatened by other powers, a fear that became reality when the Americans took control of the country by the end of 1898. The True Decalogue is also a fine example of Mabini’s philosophies and beliefs, a mix of liberalism, republicanism, Masonic thought, and spiritual fortitude. As nice as this exhibit showcases, perhaps for reasons of constraint, “Dekalogo” did not get to fully showcase what Mabini wrote in the original True Decalogue. Thus, the Urban Roamer has decided to put out the full context of what he wrote juxtaposed with the photos shot at this exhibit.
FIRST, Love God and your honor over all things: God is the source of all truth, all justice, and all activity; your honor is the only power that obliges you to be truthful, just and industrious.
SECOND, Worship God in the form that your conscience may deem most righteous and worthy, for God speaks in the conscience that condemns your evil deeds and praises your good ones.
THIRD, Develop the special talents that God has given you, working and studying according to your capabilities, never straying from the path of good and justice, in order to achieve your own perfection; by this means you will contribute to the progress of humanity: accomplishing the mission that God has given you in this life, and achieving this you will have honor, and having that honor, you will glorify God.
FOURTH, Love your country after God and your honor, and more than you love yourself, because your country is the only paradise that God has given you in this life; the only patrimony of your race; the only inheritance from your ancestors; and the only future of your descendants: because of your country you have life, love and interests; happiness, honor and God.
FIFTH, Strive for the happiness of your country before your own, making her the reigning influence for reason, justice and labor; if your country is happy, you and your family will also be happy.
SIXTH, Strive for the independence of your country because only you can have a real interest in her advancement and exaltation; her independence will mean your own freedom, her advancement your own perfection, and her exaltation your own glory and immortality.
SEVENTH, Do not recognize the authority of any person who has not been elected by you and your people, because all authority comes from God; as God speaks to the conscience of each individual, the person chosen and proclaimed by the conscience of all individuals is the only one that can exercise real authority.
EIGHTH, Strive that your country become a republic and not a monarchy: a monarchy empowers one or several families and founds a dynasty; a republic makes a country noble and dignified through reason, great because of its freedom, and prosperous and brilliant by labor.
NINTH, Love your neighbor as you love yourself, because God has imposed on him and on you the duty to help one another and has dictated that he does not do unto you what he does not want you to do unto him; if your neighbor fails in this sacred duty and makes an attempt on your life, your freedom, and your interests, then you should destroy him and annihilate him because the supreme law of self preservation must prevail.
TENTH, Always look on your countrymen as more than a neighbor: you will find in him a friend, a brother, and at least a comrade to whom you are tied by only one destiny, by the same happiness and sorrows, and by the same aspirations and interests.
“Therefore, as long as national frontiers subsist, raised, and maintained by the selfishness of race and of family, you must remain united to your country in perfect solidarity of purpose and interest in order to have force, not only to resist the common enemy but also to attain all the aims of human life.”
Times have changed but the spirit of The True Decalogue still rings true today. More than ever, in these trying times our country is facing, it would not hurt to look back at what Mabini exhorted to us more than a century ago and become our guide anew to lead us into a brighter future our country deserves to have.
So if you happen to be in the Ayala Triangle area, do take time to catch this exhibit and reflect on the thoughts Mabini expressed in The True Decalogue and strive to live with those commandments as Mabini wanted us to do.
To be continued…