#RP612FIC: Filipinos’ hilarious retelling of their history

June 12, 2018 - 12:55 PM
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Some Filipinos anticipate June 12 since it means the hashtag "#RP612FIC" would become relevant once again. It features humorous posts and memes on Twitter that feature events and significant figures in the Philippine history. (Art by Uela Badayos)

As the Philippines celebrate Independence Day, people are once again reviving the popular hashtag on Twitter that becomes relevant every 12th of June (#RP612FIC).

The hashtag is short for the following: “RP” for the Republic of the Philippines,” number six for the month of June while twelve stands for the day of Philippines’ Independence and “FIC” stands for fiction.

The tweets and illustrations often combine elements from meme and pop culture with historical trivia.

People can post anything that is relevant to the Independence Day and add a modern twist to it, usually in a funny way.

What is it really about? 

The #RP612FIC trend was started by writer Paolo Chikiamco in 2009. It is an alternative way of telling history to celebrate the country’s Independence Day on June 12.

Originally, it was used by local writers and artists to post their flash fiction on Twitter. Some of its participants are Dean Francis Alfar, Charles Tan, Yvette Tan, Eliza Victoria, Mina Esguerra and Budjette Tan, among others.

The hashtag usually consists of the following themes:

  • Alternative Philippine history;
  • Alternative Filipino mythology where historical or modern-day events are viewed in a mythological point-of-view;
  • Steampunk reinterpretations of Philippine history, mythology or modern-day events

Nowadays, it has changed to people simply juxtaposing pop culture references with historical events or tidbits from the lives of historical figures.

Its creator, Chikiamco, previously stated in an interview that the hashtag is a “great way to celebrate the Independence Day”:

“It means that there are a lot of Filipinos writing stories, reading stories, sharing stories, that have something to do with who they are — whether it be our shared history and culture, or their personal fandoms and desires. For me, that’s a great way to celebrate Independence Day.”

It has become such a trend that people would highly anticipate Independence Day because of it.

For Twitter user Andre Mencias, it is the “real test” of one’s knowledge in history.

The hashtag “RP612FIC” is reminiscent of the “History in Memes” account on social media that shares humorous pictures and memes to explain historical facts and significant events in world history.

It has its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account that has thousands of followers, respectively.

It is an indication that memes are more appealing in telling historical narratives. According to sociologist Nicki Lisa Cole, memes “reinforce and strengthen social ties.”

She said, “The most successful memes emerge out of and resonate with our collective consciousness, and because of this, they reinforce and strengthen social ties and ultimately, social solidarity.” — Art by Uela Badayos