HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 14 no. 1 (2013)

Mythical Burgos: A Critique of Lopez’s Ang Tunay na Buhay ni P. Dr. Jose Burgos

Rolando M. Gripaldo

Discipline: Philosophy



The author interprets Lopez’s work as a case of mythologizing a historical figure for the Filipino masses. It is therefore a protelarian myth in contrast to bourgeois myths which Roland Barthes talks about. Myth indeed is a language—a metalanguage—and Lopez made use of it to express the theme of emulation and the responsibility of the proletarian man through traits that endure in the Filipino psyche: his loob (inner self), budhi (conscience), hiya (shame), and sense of responsibility. The author agrees with Barthes that history and myth do not mix. Where a piece of work does not portray historical facts faithfully, it should not be taken as a historical document but—in the context of Lopez’s awit—a piece of literary work that must be enjoyed.


Myth deprives the object of which it speaks of all history. In it, history evaporates. [History] is a kind of ideal servant: it prepares all things, brings them, lays them out, the master [myth] arrives, [history] silently disappears: all that is left for one to do is to enjoy this beautiful object [the myth] without wondering where it comes from.


—Roland Barthes

Mythologies, 1973