The Calairos, Mother & Son

The mother, Rosalina Morales Franco Calairo, has an undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Education, from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Like other independent-minded Filipinas, she went on to pursue a Master’s in Sociology, then a Ph.D. in Philippine Studies even if she was busy working as a researcher at the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and editor of its paper, “Tinig ng Nayon”. Like most women achievers, Dr. Calairo never includes in her bio-data the hours and energy spent showering tender loving care on a husband and children while she trained officers of the Rice & Corn Coordinating Council and the Institute of Community and Family Health.

In 1977, a few years after martial law was imposed by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., she began teaching at the Social Science Department of UP Los Baños. That was probably where a friend of mine, heritage advocate Eugene Crudo, met Dr. Calairo. He gave me one of her books, the one about Calamba’s economic history (from 1571 -2001). As a member of the Rizal family, I would appreciate it, Eugene said.

Dr. Rosalina Calairo retired in 2002, but she remained active in various historical and women’s associations like ADHIKA, the Philippine Sociological Association and Women’s Studies Association of the Philippines. Growing up with an intelligent, nationalistic, empowered mother like her must have been equivalent to studying at one of the best universities in the world.

In November 2019, the De La Salle University (Cavite) awarded Dr. Rosalina Franco Calairo a Distinguished Professorial Chair in Sociology,” to promote the value of professionalism, intellectual scholarship and community service, to advance research in urbanization, migration, gender relations, community and rural development, elderly studies, race and ethnic relations. Those were the concerns that Dr. Rosalina had actively espoused during decades of academic work and public service at the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and the Social Science Department of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the De La Salle University (Social Science Department) and the Franco-Calairo family for the conferment of the Professorial Chair.

No wonder Dr. Emmanuel Franco Calairo has turned out to become one of our eminent historians; like mother, like son. In 1989, after he graduated from the Metro Manila College High School, he went to the University of the East for a Bachelor of Arts degree. He has a Master’s in Political Science and a Ph.D. in History, both from the University of the Philippines. At present, Dr. Manny is a history professor at the Liberal Arts College of the De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite. He is also the director of the Faculty Research Office.

Dr . Calairo used to be a commissioner of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts(NCCA) and former president of the Philippine Historical Association and the Philippine Academic Consortium for Latin American Studies. Like his distinguished mother, he is a tireless promoter of local history; they collaborated on a book about Novaliches. Dr. Manny has written 24 books ( and still counting) about Cavite, its history, turning points of its development and its historical and heritage sites as well as must-see tourist destinations. He has also written about the Philippine Coast Guards. He was also the head of the Cavite Studies Center.

In 2019, during the sesquicentennial of Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, Dr. Calairo was invited to speak at the Emilio Aguinaldo College. He said the significant legacies of President Aguinaldo are the Philippine Flag, the national anthem and the First Philippine Republic which he and other Filipinos formed during perilous times of our history. Dr. Calairo was reported to have presented a clear and judicious account that shed light on “the murky recesses” of Aguinaldo’s life”.

Last 1 March of the current year, Dr. Emmanuel Franco Calairo was appointed Chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). He was a commissioner of the said agency before Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. promoted him to Chairman. He succeeds Dr. Rene Escalante. Although they were losing an eminent professor, the De La Salle University (Dasmariñas) family was overjoyed. The congratulatory message said that Dr. Calairo’s appointment is a testament to his hard work, dedication and expertise in the field of history; that he will contribute to the preservation of our rich history and heritage; that they are confident his leadership will bring about positive changes; his passion and commitment will undoubtedly guide him in fulfilling this new role.

How serendipitous that I should receive a slim volume published by the NHCP last year with the Foreword by then Commissioner Emmanuel F. Calairo, Ph.D.: “Carta Memoria of 1899, a plan for an American Protectorate in the Philippines”, described by Chairman Calairo as “an unpopular narrative written by a popular figure in Philippine history, Ferdinand Blumentritt…”

My heartfelt congratulations to the distinguished son of an illustrious mother!