Rizal’s “Letter to the Editor”

He wrote in English to the editor of the “HongKong Telegraph”, but did not sign his real name. “Yours faithfully, Philippino”, was how he ended. Curiously, the date line was Manila, 1 February 1892, although he was still in Hong Kong. His second homecoming was in June.  Rizal’s  letter began with, “Owing to the great … Read more

Jose Rizal and American imperialism

The Spanish-American War of 1898 was described as inter-imperialist by no less than Lenin himself because it was a grab for existing colonies. That was how Dr. George Aseniero, eminent Filipino historian and authority on Rizal, began his brilliant paper, “The Game of Great Powers: Rizal on Imperialism.” The Spanish-American War was not fought in … Read more

Chamorros of Guam

San Pedro Calungsod, patron of sacristans and overseas Filipino workers (0FWs), was a mere adolescent when he was killed in Guam by natives called Chamorros. Born in 1654, during the habagat season, Pedro was killed in the summer of 1672. He was barely 18. He died defending his master, Fr. Diego Luis Sanvitores, a Jesuit … Read more

Juan Luna’s beloved son

Luna, Arquitecto is not exactly an art book, it is more of a secular decretum that distills social history; it is also a tender and inquisitive life story of a tortured soul whose creativity and technical virtuosity raised the bar of Philippine architecture. The dedication page immediately jabs one’s curiosity— “In memory of the little … Read more

Communism comes to the Philippines, 2

None of the Filipino trade unionists who attended the 1924 Conference of Transport Workers of the Pacific in Canton (now Guangzhou), China were communists.  One of them, Domingo Ponce, disclosed that they were totally unaware the conference was convened by communists, until they heard speeches praising the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia. At the turn … Read more

Communism comes to the Philippines,1

In the Philippines, not a single ripple was felt when the Bolshevik Revolution or the Great October Socialist Revolution ripped Russia asunder in 1917.   A communist party was established in 1918 and   the year after, the first Communist International (Comintern or CI) was convened in March. The CI invited other revolutionary movements to send representatives … Read more

Rocky Road to Independence, 2

Thanks to President Diosdado Macapagal, we no longer celebrate our Independence on the very same day that the USA does, 4 July.  Although 12 June seems more appropriate than 4 July, it may not be as accurate as you may wish it to be.  The Declaration of Independence (Act of Proclamation) dated 12 June 1898, … Read more

Rocky Road to Independence,1

Since 1962, we Filipinos have been celebrating Independence Day on 12 June.  Before that, it used to be on 4 July, a historical aberration   corrected by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal who said   Filipinos, “…  called the whole world to witness their powerful resolve to consider themselves absolved of allegiance to the Spanish Crown…The Revolution which culminated … Read more

Fear of the Russian Flu

In the winter of 1889, Filipino ilustrados in Madrid were alarmed that the Russian flu, first spotted in Bukhara, then in St. Petersburg attacked Madrid with ferocity after only five days.  Already, 6, 180 deaths were reported and in Barcelona, 52,000 were infected with the disease. Officials of the kingdom seemed to be in denial … Read more

The assimilation issues

Seventy-eight frustrating years had passed since the promulgation of the 1812 Cadiz. Constitution which stipulated that colonies and overseas possessions should be considered as provinces, integral parts of Spain, the Metropolis. As provinces, these territories would be ruled by the current laws of the peninsula, no longer by the ancient Laws of the Indies. Natives … Read more