Miss Nuevas Filipinas is Miss Universe 2023

Does Miss Universe, R’ Bonney Gabriel,  know that Texas was once Nuevas Filipinas? Don’t you think it is serendipitous that a half-Filipino Miss Texas should win the Miss USA and Miss Universe titles? It was the eminent Bicolano historian, Dr.  Domingo Abella, who first told me that Texas used to be called Nuevas Filipinas. He … Read more

Scarlett O’Hara’s Confederates

“Gone with the wind”, a movie based on a novel by Margaret Mitchell was produced in 1939, before I was born. The protagonist, Scarlett O’hara, was the headstrong daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and slave holder who survived the American Civil War. Some critics say the movie shines a much too favorable light on … Read more

Congressman Davy Crockett

“David Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier,” was the title of a movie produced by Walt Disney in 1951. No, I did not get to see it. My mother assiduously protected her children from Hollywood’s harmful influence, unlike an aunt who bought Crockett coon caps for my cousins. Most of what we know about Davy … Read more

Secrets in Rizal’s poem

In 1880,  Jose Rizal wrote a play in verse, “Junto al Pasig ”,  which no one thought subversive because he was a 19- year old, diligent student of the Ateneo Municipal in Intramuros. The play seemed innocent enough, if not pious.  A group of students were waiting by the banks of the Pasig River to … Read more

Before the “Mayflower”

Yet another year is about to end and here I am with unanswered messages of good cheer, thoughtful gifts unacknowledged. I am glued to this book (a Christmas gift from a dear friend) by Nancy Isenberg, titled White Trash, The 400-year Untold History of Class in America(2016). I strongly recommend this scholarly work to those … Read more

Rizal wrote to 20 women

Most of you already know that in 1888, Marcelo del Pilar asked Jose Rizal to write an encouraging letter to 20 of his lady townmates who wanted to open an evening school, in a private home, where they could learn proper Spanish and other subjects. They had already hired a professor, Señor Teodoro Sandico who … Read more

Who were the 20 Women of Malolos?

They wanted to open their own night school and hire a professor to teach them Spanish. To the  Agustinian parish priest it was an act of defiance; to Marcelo del Pilar, Graceano Lopez Jaena and Jose Rizal, Filipino women were throwing off colonial shackles. Rizal was overjoyed that there were women like them in the … Read more

Spain thought of leaving us

Early on, towards the end of the 16th century, Spanish ministers had nagging doubts about keeping the archipelago named after King Felipe II. Although the Capitanía-General de Filipinas was in the vicinity of Maluco, Ternate, Tidore, Ambon– the fabled spice islands–only cinnamon was available here, not cloves nor black pepper which demanded very high prices … Read more

Our Lady of the Abandoned, endangered

In case you have not heard of Our Lady of the Abandoned ( Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados), she is the patroness of Santa Ana,  the 6th district of  Manila.  Santa Ana used to be called Sapa,  the capital of the Namayan kingdom that included Quiapo, San Pedro Macati, San Juan and San Francisco del … Read more

Is there gold in Cavite?

Last week, we were intrigued by reports about a 30-meter deep and 300-meter-wide tunnel, with a 1.72-meter-high cave, totally man-made, “discovered” in the New Bilibid Prison Reservation in Muntinlupa City. Was someone looking for gold? Towards the end of the year, when we are about to commemorate WWII, raiders of the Yamashita treasure come out … Read more