What was static and stolid in the one becomes, in the other, dynamic motion and expression. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Today, we celebrate the fruits of the Philippine Revolution, which Joaquin highlights as one of the three epic acts that make up our heritage of greatness. Nick Joaquin wrote, “All we seem to be able to do is I thought then that it was one of his final columns. History for the Filipino is a small vague saying:

After more than half a century of writing in English, Philippine Literature in that medium is still identified with the short story. This man would most likely still be a cigarette vendor after ten years. And a nation changes only when the people change. Many little efforts, however perfect each in itself, still cannot equal one single epic creation. He will be content to excel doing the small things but will remain pusillanimous in big things where the windfalls are. From her flows the heritage that would flower in Malolos, for centuries of heroic effort had bred, in Tagalog and the Pampango, a habit of leadership, a lordliness of spirit. For example, in politics, we usually split into groups and continuously find a way to let others down.

There was actually an advance in freedom, for the unification of the land, the organization of towns and provinces, and the influx of new ideas, started our liberation from the rule of the petty, whether of clan, locality or custom. The pattern may have been set by the migration.

A Heritage of Smallness

Or, the handicaps notwithstanding—like rising prices, rising taxes, rising crime rates, rising impatience—are we not living better today than at any other time in our history? Only after Marcos was ousted and Cory inaugurated did the contending groups make meanings with regards to the nature ontology and, more importantly, the purpose and ends teleology of their actions.


In the following essay he displays his masterly style in prose. About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces—and even that grandeur shrinks, on scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts like a colony of ant hills rather than one grand labor following one grand design.

Plaster—and plaster has wrought the death of relax art. We have plenty of natural resources. Username Password Remember Me? Our cultural history, rather than a cumulative development, seems mostly a series of dead ends. We are always talking about little things, like following traffic rules, which we can do to help make things better.

nick joaquin essay a heritage of smallness

Used only to the small effort, we are not, as a result, capable of the sustained effort and lose momentum fast. But the question is, when are they going to be happy with their work? He now saddles his pen as the editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic magazine, the hheritage leading newsweekly herktage literary publication. Enterprise for the Filipino is a small stall: We can do this by reliving another heritage of the Filipino: The onset of the internet offered more than the basic opportunities to socialize and mingle in virtual reality.

Having nowhere to turn to, the people banked on a newer and younger generation of Filipinos to carry on the intellectual revolution.

Foreigners who think of pushing Philippine fabric in the world market give up in despair after experiencing our inability to deliver in quantity.

A Heritage of Smallness | Free Essays –

And secondly, instead of always splitting into groups, we should learn to be cooperative and work hand in hand for the development of our country. We will write a custom essay sample on A Heritage of Smallness specifically for you. Money was a means, not an end.

The aftermath left a trail of blood which stretched to the halls of our hallowed universities. The hunt to arrest or execute all opposing voices was launched by Marcos, and nowhere was this hostility to dissent more apparent than the warrantless apprehension of writers and poets, editors and journalists, and the closure of all publications and media outlets.


After more than half a century of writing in English, Philippine Literature in that medium is still identified with the short story. According to Joaquin, there is probably no country in the world where one can buy tingi except in the Philippines.

His sorties into fiction are the result of rare hours he steals outside the rough and tumble world of assaying politics. The disgrace of being caught with our pants down—having one of our own as oppressor, reliving our fear of failure and hurt pride—stopped us dead on our tracks.


What we do or refuse to do affects the whole. Use our papers to help you with yours 1 – At last, we must find it in ourselves to venture forward, to dare the precipice, to not only stare but call on the abyss to face us, finally, and launch a superior response against the heritage of smallness of which Nick Joaquin evermore reminds us today.

To build big would pose problems too big for us. Easy enough for the dahling of Philippine literature to offer such sweeping generalizations, but one must admit, he was, in many a facet, right on the money. We should be always challenged.

nick joaquin essay a heritage of smallness

The words of the intellectuals, powerful though they may have been, fell on deaf ears.