Monday, July 26, 2010


Hilarion Henares, Jr. (Make My Day The Philippine Post August 10, 1999)

The musical play Yanky Panky was written as a unique final thesis during Raul Manglapus’ fellowship in Cornell. The musical is Raul Manglapus’ legacy to his people, a testament of his nationalism as his life’s journey finally converges with those of Rizal, Recto and Diokno.

It is amusing, witty, delightful, lyrical, with tunes that remind us of the great musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. But most of all, it is the history of America’s conquest of the Philippines, when American troops fresh from the Indian Wars and "55 days in Peking" during the Boxer Rebellion, turned their fury on Filipinos, employing the zona and the water cure and perpetrating the massacre of women and children in Samar. It is the beginning of America’s imperialistic drive to "Christianize the Catholics" and have a colony of their own to exploit.

Foreign Secretary Raul S. Manglapus, war hero, once the youngest foreign secretary , senator, freedom fighter in exile, linguist and public speaker, writer and composer, pianist and politician – a Renaissance Man, if there ever is one in these days of narrow specialization – wanted to make political statement and piece of entertainment at the same time, and succeeded. He made us laugh and sing, and see the truth about the Americans … and ourselves.

All the characters in that part of our history are there, singing and dancing, and playing their roles to the hilt with wit that is incisive and delightful:

Teddy Roosevelt in that part of our history are there, singing the will to set the world alright! Backstopped by the conquerors of the past, Pharaoh, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, etc.

Sen. Beveridge, the ultimate imperialist, who wanted America to supply the markets of the Orient, who said that the Anglo-American race is superior to all (That’s giving God too much credit, said Roosevelt)

Commodore George "Knucklehead" Dewey who won the Battle of Manila Bay over the Spanish Admiral Bobo Montojo, You may fire when you are ready, Gridley!

Spanish Governor General Jaudenes who connived with Americans for a sham surrender to avoid being beaten by Aguinaldo , We’ll fire over the Yankee’s head …. We’ll give up bowed but brave…at least our conquerors are white!

President William McKinley, ridiculous in his night gown, kneeling and praying for heavenly guidance: I prayed for light to God Almighty! So heaven said: You must take them, to civilize, to educate and Christianize! We must Christianize the Catholics!

William Jennings Bryann, the anti-imperialist: I will not develop markets overseas by trampling on the dignity of smaller nations. Millions for defense, and not once cent for conquest!

And interwoven in the plot were:

American soldiers singing an authentic war song of the Philippine American War: Damn, damn, damn, the Filipino, pockmarked khakiak ladrone civilize them with a Krag (rifle)!

American carpetbaggers: Our mission is to sell them commodities even if they may not need them…then draw from their soil their gold!

The friendship between Emily the American and Carmen the Filipina. Carmen’s loving Here on my plot of earth, my own land of birth! Counterpointed by Emily’s What is freedom to you? Is it not the heart unbound, the throbbing unchained, the soul that worships unrestrained?

The love between Emily and Navy Lt. Brumby, who decided to stay in the Philippines and teach: Is it possible after you slapped your neighbor, to offer him your hand?

They are all there in the musical Yanky Panky, as if it were an instant playback-the hypocrisy, the deceit, the betrayal, the vicious greed, the love-hate that characterizes Philippine American relations today as we prepare for the invasion of American soldiers under the Visiting Forces Agreement.

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