Portrait of the Artist Nick Joaquin

August 20, 2011

I knew ahead that Tony was already working on the book a few years ago. He sent an email to people that he hoped knew something interesting about Nick [though there were people that I wished he contacted]. I never replied since I don’t know the Nationalist Artist personally, but his writing.
Tony Joaquin took it upon himself [being the only other published Joaquin] to write the first bio for his uncle Nick.
Big thank you – bravo! Tony!

Nick’s excellent analogy on Philippine historiography leaves no doubts to many of his readers.  His skillful arguments and formidable reasoning has become a standard among hispanistas.
His critics almost always ends up accusing him of “romanticizing” and “apologizing” for a past that for them was past not worth remembering. Some even suggest that he stick with fiction. But truth always comes to light eventually. As more and more evidence surface about our history, we suddenly realize that what seemed true were in fact lies.
Its always the “outsiders”, those considered “non historians” that always ends up cleaning the mess left behind by the zealous Filipino historians. It was Joaquin, through his classic historical essays, that corrected these errors and untruths peddled as hard fact in our standard history for decades.

I was one of those students who doubted the veracity of some of his contentions against standard history text. I’ll never forget the first time I read “Culture & History”. Since I was schooled in Philippine History by a wonderful Filipino American woman, I’ve always been a believer in the idea that America did us no wrong. That it was their “nation building” and “democracy” that took us out of the darkness into the light.
It was Nick’s essays that shook these beliefs and left me with the fervent desire to learn more about what I was told to be un-filipino traditions, culture and history.
15 years later, I’ve come full circle and just like many Filipinos who studied the true past and found their true self, so have I.

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  1. Tampering with the development of the mind when the people of a nation could not resist due to loss of physical defenses in a war is a violation of the nationhood of the people graver than having invaded and controlled the physical territory and resources of that nation.

    1. @JMG – Joaquin’s father is a revolutinary colonel, said to have been close to Aguinaldo. Like the generation of his father felt that our past before the American is our truest of identity. Joaquin saw that identity as “nation”, as “self”, as Filipino, against the American imposed “democracy”, “education” etc etc

  2. Fist off, I thank you for devoting space on my uncle Nick Joaquin. I do appreciate it. I was also thinking, now that we have the book I wrote PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST NICK JOAQUIN if I could have a website exclusively for Nick and his works and commentaries from his admirers like yourself.
    But, my problem is I am not skilled to attempt this task and I will definitely need technical help.
    Thanks again. My family will appreciae your kind words towards my uncle’s works. and its contribution to Philippine Literary treasure.

  3. While I was attending mass this morning to thank God for all the blessings he has showered me with and for allowing me to celebrate another birthday in this wonderful world, I thought of those who has provided me with inspiration to move forward with my dreams – loveones, friends and people like Nick, whom I’ve never met but enhanced my life in extraordinary ways. You finding this site must be a gift from Nick 😉 Thanks Tony!

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