A road map to the past

It’s June 12, 2011. Yet another Philippine Independence Day.

Boxer Codex
Visayan Pintados ("the painted ones"), the Boxer Codex, 1590

Again, Filipinos here and all over the world will celebrate, commemorate, cerebrate, maybe exonerate a couple of historical villains here and there, and perhaps commiserate with each other for what our country and people have achieved, or not achieved, since that fateful day 113 years ago.

Media (including Internet media) will be awash with historical or at least wannabe-historical pieces about our country’s past.

I, of course, being a Filipino — and a history buff at that — will join the June 12 hordes. But I have a special agenda.

When I first set up the IRAIA website in 2001, one of my dreams was to come up with an online system in which Filipino history scholars and students can help flesh out our country’s history in an interactive, collaborative, and free (read: Gutenberg, GNU-GPL, Creative Commons, copyleft) manner. I planned to contribute by setting up an outline, helping fill it up, and encouraging others to do the same. Little did I realize that in that same year, Wikipedia would emerge to offer the global public exactly such an engine (the wiki engine) to build a comprehensive encyclopaedia about everything under the sun.

I had thought that maybe my idea had already been overtaken by more sophisticated sites that used the wiki engine but specialized in Philippine history. But the few sites I encountered left much unanswered. I still pursued my Philippine history project at a free wiki site called schtuff.com (now defunct). When schtuff.com closed shop, its pages were migrated to PBwiki. I tried that site for a while, but found its interface much more difficult than the old schtuff. So I stopped using PBwiki, although I now see it has an excellent presence on Philippine history sources. (Primary Sources in Philippine History, by Vincent Isles)

So when I decided to revive my own iraia.net site, I decided to avail of its wiki interface to pursue my Philippine history project. At present, severe time limitations prevent me from keeping this project up and running, but I can at least continue at a pace that my work allows me. (I’m having a few technical problems with my wiki site right now, so these thoughts will have to take shelter under my blog until I can solve the problems.)

Thus, without much more ado, here is the outline that I’ve been using (and propose that other corraborators use too):

Philippine history: A proposed outline

Needless to say, it will be a work in progress. I intend to gradually put in more details. If you dear reader would like to contribute, just let me know.


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