education; democracy comes a close second. I remember what my paternal grandmother had once told me that in their time(the American occupation of the Philippines) even a fifth grader could already teach in school. I also noticed that her penmanship had that stroke of the typical American cursive style of writing. My maternal grandfather, on the other hand, although with the local accent so evident when he talks, writes English very well as I came to read some of his writings before he died last 2009 at 83.
The Thomasites were the first batch of American teachers who came to educate the Filipinos, arrived in the Philippines on August 12, 1901
on board a ship called USS Thomas. They educated the Filipinos the American way and taught them English. It is not to say that the Filipinos were uneducated before the Americans came as the Spaniards in the Philippines during that time have since already had been educating but only to the few who can afford. Asia's oldest university, the University of Santo Tomas, was founded and established through the initiative of a Spanish friar in Bishop Miguel de Benavides back in the early 17th century. What the Americans did was to make sure education is available to all.
Today, the Philippine government is doing its best to improve the quality of education among Filipinos. It is evident that, with the passing of time, the country's quality of education deteriorates. It is also embarrassing to know that many of our graduates today are incompetent, uneducated, and in most instances, lack wisdom. It has become the case of more schooling but less education.
In my humble opinion, real education springs from within one's own self. You can get to school only to be schooled, or get as many a degree(even a masteral or doctorate) as you like or want, and excel in academic studies with the highest honors, but education requires a high-level of deep thinking on knowing what it is to understand about that makes you a better person in the process. It is to show you the way like a guiding star and, most importantly, one that brings you to where no academic learning could fill up but the marriage of Truth and morality.