Serendipity in history

I’m always obsessed in trying to link present dates (or celebrations to be more precise) or even persons to historical events. I’m not sure if all historians practice the same, but for me, I find it fun and highly riveting as it somehow reveals a new perspective to a modern event or person.

For example, when I was researching about the life of Captain Abelardo Remoquillo of San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna, I discovered that he shared the same birthdate as the Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō which had a minor participation in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. It should be remembered that the attack on Pearl Harbor was the catalyst of the Pacific War, a theater of World War II, and that Captain Remo, as he was nicknamed, was a hero of that war.

Today, July 18, I turn 39. When I made a similar research that I did on Captain Remo for my special day, I found out that a least-known historical event —but something terrifying— happened on my birthdate.

138 years ago today, an earthquake rocked Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Bulacán, La Laguna, Pampanga, and Nueva Écija. Many structures such as churches were destroyed, especially those in Manila and La Laguna.

One of these churches was the one in San Pedro Tunasán (now the City of San Pedro).

La imagen puede contener: cielo, árbol, nube, noche y exterior

Iglesia de San Pedro Tunasán (San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church), San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna (photo taken on 8 March 2017, courtesy of La Familia Viajera).

This church and its parish, dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle, were established on 18 January 1725. The church houses the once miraculous Cross of Tunasán which infamously suffered a Rizalian satirical jab in the novel Noli Me Tangere.

Incidentally, we’ve been living in San Pedro Tunasán since 2004. My sons Jefe and Juanito were baptized in its church in 2010. And it was there where my wife and I had our belated traditional Catholic wedding on 13 September 2013.

Yes, exactly 99 years before I was born, the church which was to become an important part of my life was destroyed by an earthquake. There is indeed serendipity in history.

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