What they say of Dr. Simbulan’s book of memoirs:
Whose Side Are We On? has left me with a transformed image of Dante Simbulan. Where I saw him at Ateneo as a model to emulate, his memoir has made him grow beyond emulation, and I can only wish to keep his example as a landmark for activists young and old to aspire to. Bienvenido Lumbera, Professor Emeritus & National Artist
Dante Simbulan’s memoir is an extraordinary tale told in the context of the Filipino people’s epic struggle to free themselves from the yoke of exploitation and oppression by the entrenched elite of the land and their foreign masters. Young people who read his book, especially those aspiring for professional careers in the uniformed services, must ask themselves the same life-changing question Dr. Simbulan asked when faced with a highly unequal and polarized Philippine society: “Whose side are we on; who do we serve?”
Dr. Carol P. Araullo, Chair, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
Dante Simbulan came of age in the tumult of our country's history. In the countryside of Pampanga where he was born, he grew up seeing the rise of a peasant guerrilla army and lived through the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. His principles were entrenched through the guidance of his father who passed away when he was only
fourteen and his mother, a public school teacher whose strength and fortitude became the central chord of the family. Of those years, the young Dante was sentimental about strangers he came across, the Japanese soldier who played the ukulele, and the American sergeant who
became a lifelong friend. The lessons of life he learned came from his awakening in the disparity of social classes.
The chance of joining the military came to him by accident, but he didn't fit into the harsh world of hazing in the academy and the misplaced camaraderie and patriotism brought on by influences from America. Holding on to what was right, he delved into the academe where he was most at home but it was also here where, under the dark history of martial law, he was labelled a subversive. He tried to flee from the clasp of the dictatorship but it seized him eventually and put him in jail for more than three years.
Dante Simbulan's story reveals to us much of the beginnings of our road to independence, a young nation trying to find its right place in seeking justice and equality after years of colonialization that warped our sense of identity. It was not easy, as one would see, but
here is Dante's voice telling us what it was like, the brave movement for socialism. In the end the safest place he could find was exile from where he could look back on a life that has also made him part of our history in our search for freedom.. Criselda Yabes, Journalist & Book Author