We make the road by walking, 1

We make the road by walking, 1.

The poet Antonio Machado the liberation educationist Paulo Freire loves to quote talks of the road we must make, one that does not exist prior to our journey. “Caminante,” he admonishes the traveler, “son tus hellas el camino, y nada mas; caminante, no hay camino, se hay camino al andar.” (“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.”)

Indeed, this is true for us at Nakem Conferences advocating for cultural citizenship, cultural nationalism and pluralism, education to social justice and democracy, and diversity. There never was anyone ready to point out to us where the road to this advocacy is to be found. The reason is simple: there was no road to point.

The whole history of Philippine basic education—and equally worse, Philippine higher education—is a history of struggle for the recognition of, and respect for, our cultural and linguistic rights as a people from the peripheries of a land appropriated by the hegemonic center for reasons that are never ours. Up until today, it is a struggle fraught with the vagaries of education regimes that run the gamut from the faddish to the imitative—from what is the newest theory from the West to what we can do to follow the Western educators and validate, in our local settings, what they are talking about. It has been an educational set-up that has left us with a tacit knowledge: if it were not from the West it does not have any validity, meaning, and relevance

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