A Reflection on "A La Juventud Filipina"
By: Adana Reyes
The Artistic-Literary Lyceum of Manila in 1879 held a literary contest that offered a prize for the best poem. When this event happened, Rizal was only eighteen years old. He submitted his poem entitled A La Juventud Filipina.
The Board of Judges, composed of Spaniards, was astounded by Rizal's poem and awarded him first prize which consisted of:
- a silver pen (feather-shaped and decorated with gold)
Rizal was congratulated by the Jesuits especially his former professors in Ateneo, friends and family. It is a classic Philippine literature because it was the first Spanish poem written by a Filipino and was recognized by Spanish literary authority. Another reason is that it expresses that the Filipinos were the "fair hope of the Fatherland" and not the Spaniards.
A La Juventud Filipina is an inspiring poem that states that the Filipino youth are capable of great heights. It urges the Filipino youth to reach their potential by harnessing their skills and talents for the betterment of our countrymen. It motivates the youth to free Filipinos from ignorance, and to seek freedom and human dignity.
This poem may have been written during the Spanish colonization, but the essence of it applies to the our generation as well. Currently, our country's economy is not doing so well. We have a lot of debt and many internal issues unresolved. Only a few years from now, our generation will be handling those problems. But how can we, if we are only sitting around and being satisfied with mediocre work. The poem reminds us that we, as Filipino youth, have a duty to serve our countrymen to our full extent. In order to do this, we must harness talents and skills that we have. We must also take initiative to help our country. Everyone of us can be able to contribute to the better development of our country. The vision that Rizal had for our country can become a reality if and only if we remember our duty.
Click the links to see the poem:
- A La Juventud Filipina (English Translation)
- A La Juventud Filipina (Spanish Translation)
- A La Juventud Filipina (Filipino Transation)