Treaty of Paris (1898)

TODAY IN FILIPINO HISTORY

Today marks the 119th anniversary of the controversial Treaty of Paris of 1898. Controversial, because it involved the alleged “sale” of our country to the United States of América by Spain. Many Filipinos today, still bitter about our past which they do not fully understand, continue to blame Spain for treating us as a commodity when the former mother country “sold” us to the US for a paltry $20 million.

But this is far from the truth.

As a backgrounder, there had been several treaties that were made in Paris throughout history, most of which were peace treaties between warring nations, and how those wars had to be concluded. The first Treaty of Paris happened in 1229 which ended the Albigensian Crusade while the most recent happened just two years ago but was all about climate change.

Basically, the treaty that happened on 10 December 1898 followed the Spanish-American War in which Spain lost, thus forcing her to relinquish nearly all of her remaining territories to the US. These were Puerto Rico, Guam, and Filipinas (Cuba was never ceded to the US; she gained her independence four years later, but was still under the auspices of the future Imperialist). The cession of our country involved the abovementioned payment of $20 million from the United States to Spain.

But was this exchange of money considered as a sale? The answer is in the negative. The keyword to understanding this is the word “cession” which appears three times throughout the text of the treaty, while its transitive verb (cedes/ceded) appears twelve times. Cession is not synonymous to sale. Generally speaking, cession means the act of giving up something, usually land or territory, by the agreement in a formal treaty, and this action is done usually after a war wherein a losing country might make a cession of part of its land to the victor. But sale has all the intents and purposes of selling something at the very onset. The fact still remains that Spain never intended to sell Filipinas nor any of her overseas territories in the first place. She was only forced to do so because she lost a war. Being the losing country, logic dicates that she didn’t have much of a say in the treaty.

It should be noted that the Spanish delegates to the treaty tried the best that they could to retain at least parts of Filipinas. Initially, they had planned to cede only Mindanáo and the Sulú Archipielago. There were also suggestions to cede only Luzón. However, then US President William McKinley made it clear that the whole of Filipinas should be acquired.

…to accept merely Luzón, leaving the rest of the islands subject to Spanish rule, or to be the subject of future contention, cannot be justified on political, commercial, or humanitarian grounds. The cessation must be the whole archipelago or none. The latter is wholly inadmissible, and the former must therefore be required.

It is clear from the above that the US never intended to liberate us from Spain. It merely took over. But in the spirit of fairness (and perhaps as “consuelo de bobo“), the US paid Spain $20 million for the acquisition of Filipinas. Not to be a formal territory but as a mere colony.

This was not the first time that the US and Spain had such a treaty. In 1819, the Adams–Onís Treaty was signed by the two countries following a heated border dispute. That treaty involved the cession of Florida, a Spanish territory, to the US. Also, it should be remembered that China’s Qing dynasty ceded Hong Kong and Kowloon to the United Kingdom following her defeat in the Opium Wars (1839–1842; 1856–1860).

It is always obvious that losing countries do not profit from a war. The receipt of $20 million did not make Spain a superpower. But the acquisition of Filipinas by the United States marked Uncle Sam’s beginning as a world power.

Members of the the American Peace Commission. Left to right: Whitelaw Reid, Sen. George Gray, John Moore (Secretary), Judge William R. Day, Sen. William P. Frye, and Sen. Cushman K. Davis. (photo: Arnaldo Dumindín).

The Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain; December 10, 1898

The United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen Regent of Spain, in the name of her august son Don Alfonso XIII, desiring to end the state of war now existing between the two countries, have for that purpose appointed as plenipotentiaries:

The President of the United States, William R. Day, Cushman K. Davis, William P. Frye, George Gray, and Whitelaw Reid, citizens of the United States;

And Her Majesty the Queen Regent of Spain,

Don Eugenio Montero Rios, president of the senate, Don Buenaventura de Abarzuza, senator of the Kingdom and ex-minister of the Crown; Don Jose de Garnica, deputy of the Cortes and associate justice of the supreme court; Don Wenceslao Ramirez de Villa-Urrutia, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Brussels, and Don Rafael Cerero, general of division;

Who, having assembled in Paris, and having exchanged their full powers, which were found to be in due and proper form, have, after discussion of the matters before them, agreed upon the following articles:

Article I.

Spain relinquishes all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba.And as the island is, upon its evacuation by Spain, to be occupied by the United States, the United States will, so long as such occupation shall last, assume and discharge the obligations that may under international law result from the fact of its occupation, for the protection of life and property.

Article II.

Spain cedes to the United States the island of Porto Rico and other islands now under Spanish sovereignty in the West Indies, and the island of Guam in the Marianas or Ladrones.

Article III.

Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, and comprehending the islands lying within the following line:

A line running from west to east along or near the twentieth parallel of north latitude, and through the middle of the navigable channel of Bachi, from the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) to the one hundred and twenty-seventh (127th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, thence along the one hundred and twenty seventh (127th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the parallel of four degrees and forty five minutes (4 [degree symbol] 45′]) north latitude, thence along the parallel of four degrees and forty five minutes (4 [degree symbol] 45′) north latitude to its intersection with the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty five minutes (119 [degree symbol] 35′) east of Greenwich, thence along the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty five minutes (119 [degree symbol] 35′) east of Greenwich to the parallel of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes (7 [degree symbol] 40′) north, thence along the parallel of latitude of seven degrees and forty minutes (7 [degree symbol] 40′) north to its intersection with the one hundred and sixteenth (116th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, thence by a direct line to the intersection of the tenth (10th) degree parallel of north latitude with the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, and thence along the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the point of beginning.The United States will pay to Spain the sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) within three months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty.

Article IV.

The United States will, for the term of ten years from the date of the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, admit Spanish ships and merchandise to the ports of the Philippine Islands on the same terms as ships and merchandise of the United States.

Article V.

The United States will, upon the signature of the present treaty, send back to Spain, at its own cost, the Spanish soldiers taken as prisoners of war on the capture of Manila by the American forces. The arms of the soldiers in question shall be restored to them.

Spain will, upon the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, proceed to evacuate the Philippines, as well as the island of Guam, on terms similar to those agreed upon by the Commissioners appointed to arrange for the evacuation of Porto Rico and other islands in the West Indies, under the Protocol of August 12, 1898, which is to continue in force till its provisions are completely executed.

The time within which the evacuation of the Philippine Islands and Guam shall be completed shall be fixed by the two Governments. Stands of colors, uncaptured war vessels, small arms, guns of all calibres, with their carriages and accessories, powder, ammunition, livestock, and materials and supplies of all kinds, belonging to the land and naval forces of Spain in the Philippines and Guam, remain the property of Spain. Pieces of heavy ordnance, exclusive of field artillery, in the fortifications and coast defences, shall remain in their emplacements for the term of six months, to be reckoned from the exchange of ratifications of the treaty; and the United States may, in the meantime, purchase such material from Spain, if a satisfactory agreement between the two Governments on the subject shall be reached.

Article VI.

Spain will, upon the signature of the present treaty, release all prisoners of war, and all persons detained or imprisoned for political offences, in connection with the insurrections in Cuba and the Philippines and the war with the United States.

Reciprocally, the United States will release all persons made prisoners of war by the American forces, and will undertake to obtain the release of all Spanish prisoners in the hands of the insurgents in Cuba and the Philippines.

The Government of the United States will at its own cost return to Spain and the Government of Spain will at its own cost return to the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines, according to the situation of their respective homes, prisoners released or caused to be released by them, respectively, under this article.

Article VII.

The United States and Spain mutually relinquish all claims for indemnity, national and individual, of every kind, of either Government, or of its citizens or subjects, against the other Government, that may have arisen since the beginning of the late insurrection in Cuba and prior to the exchange of ratifications of the present treaty, including all claims for indemnity for the cost of the war.

The United States will adjudicate and settle the claims of its citizens against Spain relinquished in this article.

Article VIII.

In conformity with the provisions of Articles I, II, and III of this treaty, Spain relinquishes in Cuba, and cedes in Porto Rico and other islands in the West Indies, in the island of Guam, and in the Philippine Archipelago, all the buildings, wharves, barracks, forts, structures, public highways and other immovable property which, in conformity with law, belong to the public domain, and as such belong to the Crown of Spain.

And it is hereby declared that the relinquishment or cession, as the case may be, to which the preceding paragraph refers, can not in any respect impair the property or rights which by law belong to the peaceful possession of property of all kinds, of provinces, municipalities, public or private establishments, ecclesiastical or civic bodies, or any other associations having legal capacity to acquire and possess property in the aforesaid territories renounced or ceded, or of private individuals, of whatsoever nationality such individuals may be.

The aforesaid relinquishment or cession, as the case may be, includes all documents exclusively referring to the sovereignty relinquished or ceded that may exist in the archives of the Peninsula. Where any document in such archives only in part relates to said sovereignty, a copy of such part will be furnished whenever it shall be requested. Like rules shall be reciprocally observed in favor of Spain in respect of documents in the archives of the islands above referred to.

In the aforesaid relinquishment or cession, as the case may be, are also included such rights as the Crown of Spain and its authorities possess in respect of the official archives and records, executive as well as judicial, in the islands above referred to, which relate to said islands or the rights and property of their inhabitants. Such archives and records shall be carefully preserved, and private persons shall without distinction have the right to require, in accordance with law, authenticated copies of the contracts, wills and other instruments forming part of notorial protocols or files, or which may be contained in the executive or judicial archives, be the latter in Spain or in the islands aforesaid.

Article IX.

Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula, residing in the territory over which Spain by the present treaty relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty, may remain in such territory or may remove therefrom, retaining in either event all their rights of property, including the right to sell or dispose of such property or of its proceeds; and they shall also have the right to carry on their industry, commerce and professions, being subject in respect thereof to such laws as are applicable to other foreigners. In case they remain in the territory they may preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain by making, before a court of record, within a year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their decision to preserve such allegiance; in default of which declaration they shall be held to have renounced it and to have adopted the nationality of the territory in which they may reside.

The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by the Congress.

Article X.

The inhabitants of the territories over which Spain relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty shall be secured in the free exercise of their religion.

Article XI.

The Spaniards residing in the territories over which Spain by this treaty cedes or relinquishes her sovereignty shall be subject in matters civil as well as criminal to the jurisdiction of the courts of the country wherein they reside, pursuant to the ordinary laws governing the same; and they shall have the right to appear before such courts, and to pursue the same course as citizens of the country to which the courts belong.

Article XII.

Judicial proceedings pending at the time of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty in the territories over which Spain relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty shall be determined according to the following rules:

1. Judgments rendered either in civil suits between private individuals, or in criminal matters, before the date mentioned, and with respect to which there is no recourse or right of review under the Spanish law, shall be deemed to be final, and shall be executed in due form by competent authority in the territory within which such judgments should be carried out.

2. Civil suits between private individuals which may on the date mentioned be undetermined shall be prosecuted to judgment before the court in which they may then be pending or in the court that may be substituted therefor.

3. Criminal actions pending on the date mentioned before the Supreme Court of Spain against citizens of the territory which by this treaty ceases to be Spanish shall continue under its jurisdiction until final judgment; but, such judgment having been rendered, the execution thereof shall be committed to the competent authority of the place in which the case arose.

Article XIII.

The rights of property secured by copyrights and patents acquired by Spaniards in the Island of Cuba and in Porto Rico, the Philippines and other ceded territories, at the time of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, shall continue to be respected. Spanish scientific, literary and artistic works, not subversive of public order in the territories in question, shall continue to be admitted free of duty into such territories, for the period of ten years, to be reckoned from the date of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty.

Article XIV.

Spain will have the power to establish consular officers in the ports and places of the territories, the sovereignty over which has been either relinquished or ceded by the present treaty.

Article XV.

The Government of each country will, for the term of ten years, accord to the merchant vessels of the other country the same treatment in respect of all port charges, including entrance and clearance dues, light dues, and tonnage duties, as it accords to its own merchant vessels, not engaged in the coastwise trade.

Article XVI.

It is understood that any obligations assumed in this treaty by the United States with respect to Cuba are limited to the time of its occupancy thereof; but it will upon termination of such occupancy, advise any Government established in the island to assume the same obligations.

Article XVII.

The present treaty shall be ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and by Her Majesty the Queen Regent of Spain; and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington within six months from the date hereof, or earlier if possible.

In faith whereof, we, the respective Plenipotentiaries, have signed this treaty and have hereunto affixed our seals.

Done in duplicate at Paris, the tenth day of December, in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight.

[Seal] William R. Day
[Seal] Cushman K. Davis
[Seal] William P. Frye
[Seal] Geo. Gray[Seal] Whitelaw Reid
[Seal] Eugenio Montero Rios
[Seal] B. de Abarzuza[Seal] J. de Garnica
[Seal] W. R. de Villa Urrutia
[Seal] Rafael Cerero

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Reunión de los protagonistas del documental “El Idioma Español en Filipinas”

La Asociación Cultural Galeón de Manila (ACGM) es una organización sin fin de lucro dedicada al estudio, divulgación, y promoción de la cultura e historia hispano-filipina, incluida la lengua española en al archipiélago filipino. Ha organizado seminarios y conferencias sobre historia y cultura hispano-filipina así como promovido el conocimiento mutuo de España y Filipinas, entre otros proyectos. Uno de ellos es la producción del documental “El Idioma Español en Filipinas“, escrito y dirigido por Javier Ruescas Baztán, presidente y socio fundador de la ACGM. El documental trata sobre la historia, la importancia, y el estado actual del idioma español en Filipinas.

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Foto: Miguel Rodriguez Artacho.

La preparación y producción del documental empezaron con una serie de entrevistas a los fines de 2011. Renombrados filipinos de habla español como Guillermo Gómez Rivera, Gemma Cruz de Araneta, Manuel “Manoling” Morató, y Maggie de la Riva fueron algunos de los entrevistados. Fui uno de los que tuvieron la suerte de haber sido incluidos. Después de un año, el documental se estrenó por primera vez en el University of Asia and the Pacific (Universidad de Asia y el Pacifíco). Asistieron algunos de los entrevistados que aparecieron en el documental, incluyéndome a mí. Durante los años siguientes, se mostró el documental en varios lugares en Manila y Madrid, incluso la Universidad de Málaga.

El mes pasado (25 de octubre), Javier organizó por primera vez una reunión sencilla para los protagonistas de “El Idioma Español en Filipinas” en Rockwell Club en la Ciudad de Macati. Aparte de mi y del Sr. Gómez (ayudamos a Javier a organizar la reunión), los que asistieron la cena fueron José María Bonifacio Escoda, Alberto GuevaraMª Rosario “Charito” Araneta, Eduardo Ziálcita, Teresita Tambunting de Liboro (acompañado por su marido Andrés), Trinidad U. Quirino, y Maggie.

Mi querida amiga y comadre Gemma no pudo asistir porque tuvo una entrevista esa noche. Tampoco a Manoling (por lo que he escuchado, se suponía que iba a llegar pero estaba atrapado en el tráfico pesado). Los otros que también estuvieron ausentes en la reunión fueron: Isabel (mujer de Alberto); Benito Legarda, Hijo; Macario Ofilada; y; Fernando Ziálcita. María Rocío “Chuchie” de Vega y Georgina Padilla de Mac-Crohon y Zóbel de Ayala están en el extranjero. Mary Anne Almonte y Trinidad Reyes ya han fallecido (qué descansen en paz eterna).

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Charito Araneta, Albertito Guevara, Señor Gómez, Maggie de la Riva, y un tal Pete Henson; sólo invitado, no es parte del documental (foto: Miguel Rodriguez Artacho).

 

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Yo, Javier Ruescas (presidente de la AGCM), y José María Bonifacio Escoda (cámara del Sr. Escoda).

 

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En pie (izquierda a derecha): José María Bonifacio Escoda, Alberto Guevara, Charito Araneta, Eduardo Ziálcita, Javier Ruescas, Pete Henson, y Miguel Rodríguez (miembro de la AGCM). Sentado (izquierda a derecha): Tereret Liboro y su marido Andy; Teresita Quirino; Sr. Guillermo Gómez, y Maggie de la Riva. Se tomó esta foto cuando ya dejé la cena (foto: Miguel Rodriguez Artacho).

Durante la cena, se nos mostró el trailer del documental. También fuimos presentados uno por uno por el Sr. Gómez (descrito por Javier como “el corazón y el alma” del documental) porque la mayoría de nosotros no nos conocemos. Javier también nos dio a cada uno de nosotros copias del DVD del documental.

Yo estaba sentado junto a la Srª Quirino, la fundadora del Technological Institute of the Philippines. Ella es una dama muy amable y alegre que está llena de vida a pesar de su vejez. Es triste que no pude charlar con todos porque tenía prisa. Tenía trabajo esa noche, es por eso que fui el primero en irme. Sin embargo, antes de irme recordé a todos cuán honrado que estaba de estar en la misma mesa con respetables y verdaderos filipinos, y que nuestra reunión es un testamento de que el español nunca morirá en Filipinas.

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La elevación del Colegio de Santo Tomás como universidad por el Papa Inocencio X

HOY EN LA HISTORIA DE FILIPINAS

20 de noviembre de 1645 — La Universidad de Santo Tomás (UST), una de las universidades más antiguas en Asia, fue elevada al estatus de universidad por el Papa Inocencio X a instancias del Rey Felipe IV. Originalmente llamada Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario, UST fue fundada el 28 de abril de 1611 como escuela para preparar a los jóvenes para el sacerdocio. Por bula del Papa Inocencio X el 20 de noviembre de 1645 que fue pasada por el supremo consejo de Indias el 28 de julio del siguiente año, el colegio fue erijido en universidad. El nombre completo y oficial de UST (que cuenta entre sus ex alumnos prestigiosos nombres en la historia de Filipinas tales como Fr. José Burgos, Marcelo del Pilar, José Rizal, y el famoso filósofo español Fr. Zeferino González, O.P.) es La Pontificia y Real Universidad de Santo Tomás. Hoy en día, UST es una de las cuatro universidades más importantes de Filipinas y se clasifica constantemente entre las 1.000 mejores universidades del mundo.

A new reason for me to love Lucena City

My parents have always known that I have become a self-taught historian over the past few years. But I haven’t heard any comment from them about it. To them, it was nothing short of remarkable. Or so I thought.

Last Friday, November 3, was something special. It was when I was invited by Mr. Vladimir Nieto’s Konseho ng Herencia ng Lucena (Heritage Council of Lucena) to speak in front of a live audience at Pacific Mall regarding some old Spanish documents that I have discovered (from the Portal de Archivos Españoles, a website that will never be utilized nor enjoyed by my contemporary Filipino historians for obvious reasons) proving that the date of establishment of Lucena, Tayabas Province —my place of birth— was neither on 1 June 1882 nor on 20 August 1961 but on that very date of the event itself: November 3. Those documents prove once and for all that Lucena has just turned 138 years old last Friday.

But all that was secondary, at least from a personal perspective. I had one other important thing in mind: to make my parents proud of me, something that, I believe, I have never done to them before. I confess to all of you that I have never been a good son to them, the kind of son that many parents can be proud of. My mom was just thrilled to be there. And I was surprised that my dad appeared at the event. I invited him weeks before, but he did not give a clear confirmation if he would attend. That is why I honestly didn’t expect him to arrive. But he did.

I may not be able to reconcile my parents anymore. But at the very least, both of them were there to support me. They saw for the first time how I function as a historian. And the most amazing part of this was that it all happened in the city where I first breathed, where I had my first taste of sunshine, and where I first cried. And to the best of my memory, it was the first time that they were with me, in the city of my birth. We and all the others who were gathered last Friday at Pacific Mall Lucena celebrated for the first time in history the foundation date of Lucena. It was both a public and personal triumph for me. I couldn’t have asked God for any other “pacific” reunion.

I keep on telling everyone that, while I was born in Lucena City, the place is still a “stranger” to me because I didn’t grow up there. But not anymore. November 3 was a gift from God that I didn’t even ask from Him. He truly works in mysterious ways. 😇

Anyway, I’ll be blogging more about the details behind this event soon. ¡Hasta la vista!

Barangay Ginebra in Filipino History

Photo from PBA Images

Photo: Rappler.

Last Friday night, all roads led to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacán when Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the country’s most popular basketball team, successfully defeated Meralco Bolts, 101-96, in Game 7 of the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) 2017 Governors’ Cup finals. There were 54,086 screaming fans, making the event an all-time attendance high for the PBA (and the second most-attended event at the Philippine Arena, next to “Eat Bulaga!: Sa Tamang Panahon” which featured AlDub). Two days later, the country is still euphoric over the win.

Incidentally, last Friday night’s championship was a rematch of last year’s Governor’s Cup wherein both PBA ball clubs found themselves also as finalists. Ginebra also won that conference in four games against Meralco’s two wins. A few days after that game, GMA Network’s Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho had a feature segment about Ginebra’s championship win. Soho was able to capture the festive mood of Filipinos who went into a frenzy when their favorite team had won. Such joy reminds Filipino sports fans of those exciting days when news of then rising star Manny Pacquiáo emerged victorious over Mexican pugilists abroad.

This, my friends, is called the “Barangay Ginebra Phenomenon”.

I have always been baffled by this basketball team’s huge popularity. Sometimes I wonder if it has something to do with Robert S. Jaworski, Sr., the legendary playing-coach who once donned a Ginebra jersey for years. More likely, yes. His exciting game plays and “never say die” attitude infected not only his teammates but also their huge fan base during Ginebra’s early years. But he’s already retired a long time ago. The Chicago Bulls’ popularity dwindled when Michael Jordan left. But this never happened to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel when the Big J retired.

Then I realized something else: could this so-called Ginebra Phenomenon have something to do with historical memory?

Remember that the product that this hugely popular basketball team represents is Ginebra San Miguel, the world-famous fiery gin which was originally produced by the “Destilería y Licorería de Ayala y Compañía” (Distillery and Liquor Store of Ayala & Co.), now known as Ayala Corporation. The Destilería, located in Quiapò, Manila, was the first distillery in the country. It introduced their trademark gin in 1834 during the reign of Governor-General Pasqual Enrile y Alcedo, or 27 years before José Rizal’s birth. The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade has already ended two decades prior. It was also a time when Filipinas was already enjoying its first lottery games.

During the Tagálog rebellion of the 1890s, it’s interesting to note that the Katipuneros used “cajas de ginebra” (gin boxes or cases) to surreptitiously transport their weapons from the prying eyes of government troops. One could just imagine where the bottles of Ginebra went. 

Sometime during the 1910s, renowned artist Fernando Amorsolo designed the “marca demonio” (usually called “marcáng demonio“) product label for the gin brand which is still in use today. Amorsolo later on became our country’s first ever National Artist.

In 1929, the Destilería was acquired by “La Tondeña” (The Tondo Girl). Then in 1987, the San Miguel Corporation, another Spanish-era conglomerate, acquired a 70% stake in La Tondeña and renamed it as La Tondeña Distillers, Inc. It underwent another name change, Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. and became a publicly listed corporation. Since 2012, Ginebra San Miguel has become the largest-selling gin in the world.

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Through the years, Ginebra San Miguel has made its mark as a Filipino icon, becoming as Filipino as the sampaguita and the Santo Niño. And this reverence for the product has somehow been transported to the PBA where it became a phenomenon since 1985. No other PBA team, not even the San Miguel Beermen, could lay claim to such historical parallelisms as only Barangay Ginebra San Miguel can. Fans happily call themselves “Barangay Ginebra”, barangay being our country’s smallest political unit. And with such popularity come the bashers. Ginebra haters love to roast them by relating their losses to “kañgkuñgan” (swamp cabbage plantation) and Borácay, where losing PBA teams usually go after being eliminated since they don’t have any games to play anymore. 

Ginebra, if I may add, is also a Spanish word for “gin”. My youngest daughter’s name (Junífera) is a derivative of Ginebra. Other derivative names are Jenever, Genever, Genièvre, Geneva, and Jennifer. Ginebra San Miguel is also the only distilled beverage that rendered me unconscious back in 2001. 

And may we not forget another important fact: Ginebra San Miguel is probably the only alcoholic beverage in the world that is named after an archangel: Saint Michael. This same archangel looms large in Filipino History, as he is the patron saint of the province of Cebú, the municipalities of Argáo (also in Cebú) and San Miguel in Bojol (now spelled as Bohol), the barrio of Landayan in San Pedro Tunasán in the province of La Laguna, and the district of San Miguel in Manila. In fact, the name of Ginebra San Miguel’s parent company, San Miguel Corporation, was inspired from both its former location (San Miguel, Manila) and the fact that on 29 September 1890, the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, “La Fábrica de Cerveza San Miguel“, which was the forerunner of San Miguel Corporation, was declared open for business.

Need we mention that San Miguel in Manila is the seat of our country’s political power since the late 19th century?

But at the end of the day, history and archangels would have to take a backseat on this one. For why would sensible Filipino basketball fans, especially those in Metro Manila and its environs, side with a team that represents a company notoriously known for its exorbitant electric rates? 😆 Ginebra San Miguel, the historic Filipino gin, is all about the celebration of life.

 

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Was Unisan really founded in 1521?

Resulta ng larawan para sa unisan quezon

Welcome arch leading to the población or town proper (photo: Zamboanga.com).

Unisan, Quezon Province, formerly known as Calilayan, Tayabas Province, is the seaside hometown of my dad and my maternal grandmother. I didn’t grow up there, but I got to enjoy the place during summer vacations as a kid.

Unisan prides itself as the oldest town in Filipinas, having been founded in 1521! Searching for it in the Internet, one will always encounter the information below:

Unisan, originally called Kalilayan, is perhaps one of the oldest towns in the Philippines. As early as 1521, the town of Kalilayan was founded by Malayan settlers. All other towns in the country were established not earlier than 1565, when Spain formally occupied the Philippines as a colony.

But was Unisan really founded on that year?

First of all, the real name was Calilaya (or Calilayan in some accounts), not Kalilayan. Secondly, the creation of townships commenced only after the arrival of the Spaniards. Record keeping before that, particularly with the use of specific years or dates, was not yet in use for the simple reason that it was the Spaniards who introduced the Gregorian calendar. How then could have those “Malayan settlers” known that they established a town on that particular year? Lastly, the first settlers of Unisan were not Malayans but Malayo-Polynesian peoples.

What is on record is that Calilaya (now known as Unisan) was founded in 1578 by two Franciscan friars: Fr. Juan de Plasencia and Fr. Diego de Oropesa. But due, perhaps, to economic reasons, it subsequently became a barrio of Pitogo. In 1874, it became a town once again, but with a different name: San Pedro Calilaya, or simply San Pedro (that is why the parish there is dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle). What I have not yet discovered is how San Pedro Calilaya became known as Unisan (even the uni sancti story one finds in Wikipedia is the stuff of a very creative imagination).

Sometimes, I am tempted to think if there is any strange link to the fact that my roots are from San Pedro Calilaya, Tayabas and here I am living with my family in faraway San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna for the past 13 years. Wonder no more if my family has chosen Saint Peter the Apostle to be our patron saint.

222nd foundation day of Imus, Cavite

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Imus Cathedral, formally known as La Catedral de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (photo: Imus City Tourism).

PUEBLO DE IMUS
Este pueblo, con la advocación de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, se erigió en curato, separándose de su matriz, Cavite el Viejo, en 3 de octubre de 1795. Por superior decreto, expedido en la misma fecha, se adjudicó su administración espiritual a los PP. Recoletos, a petición del común de principales y demás naturales del espresado pueblo, después de resuelto el expediente que al efecto se instruyó y siguió.
Su situación es en una llanura de regadío comprendido entre los 14° 26′ y los 14° 19′ de latitud occidental, a media legua de la playa. Se cosecha en este terreno mucho pálay, azúcar, y añil en poca cantidad. Abundan los árboles frutales, en especial los de mangas. Los naturales se dedican al cultivo de la tierra y a la cría del ganado vacuno y de cerda.
A las inmediaciones del pueblo corre un río, que aunque no muy caudaloso sino en tiempo de lluvias, es navegable hasta el pueblo por embarcaciones de poco porte.
Los colaterales son Cavite el Viejo y Bacoor, ambos a una legua de distancia.
Es su Cura párroco, con presentación del Sr. Vice-Patrono Real, el P. ex-Definidor Fr. Guillermo Royo de S. Juan Bautista, de 37 años de edad y 15 de administración.
Source: Fr. Juan Félix de la Encarnación, Estadística de la Provincia de S. Nicolás de Tolentino de PP. Agustinos Recoletos de Filipinas (Manila: Imprenta de los Amigos del País, 1851), 24-25.

U.S. invaders in camp at the left side of Imus Church, 1899 (photo: Arnaldo Dumindín).

TOWN OF IMUS
This town, dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, was erected as a parish on 3 October 1795 when it separated from its mother town, Cavite el Viejo1. By superior decree issued on the same date, the town was placed under the spiritual administration of the Recollect Fathers at the request of its main community and other natives, after the document had been resolved which was instructed and followed for this purpose.
Its location is on an irrigation plain between 14° 26 ‘and 14° 19’ western latitude, half a league2 from the beach3. Much rice and sugar are harvested from this land, with small quantities of indigo. Fruit trees, especially mangoes, abound. The natives are dedicated to the cultivation of the land and to the breeding of cattle and pigs.
Within the vicinity of the town runs a river4 which, although it doesn’t flow that much save during the rainy season, boats of small size can still navigate it all the way to town.
The neighboring towns are Cavite el Viejo and Bacoor, both a league away.

The parish priest, with presentation of the Vice-Patrono Real, is Ex-Definer Fr. Guillermo Royo de San Juan Bautista, 37 years of age and 15 years in office.

1 now known as Kawit, but more correctly spelled as Cáuit.
2 a league is 3.462 mi.
3 Manila Bay.
4 Imus River.

🎂Happy 222nd foundation day to the dynamic City of Imus, Cavite Province!😇

Marcos is (not) a hero?

Hey Flips! Today is the birth centenary of former president Ferdinand Marcos, that’s why the local Internet community has gone bonkers once more, turning their respective timelines into virtual warzones (much to my entertainment). Some say he’s a hero, while others call him a villain. So let me join in the fun!

I also do not consider Ferdinand Marcos as a hero. But neither was he a villain. For me, he is simply a powerless historical figure, a former president who did a lot of bad things (crony capitalism; embezzlement of millions of dollars; condoning human rights abuses of Fidel Ramos and Fabián Ver; harassment of political rivals; faking a few war medals; banning Voltes V from local television — probably the most vile move he ever did; agreeing to neocolonialistic US policies during his first few years which empowered his authoritarianism; etc.) and a couple of good stuff that we really don’t need anymore (power plants such as the Bataán Nuclear Power PlantLeyte Geothermal Production FieldMakban Geothermal Power PlantAngat Hydroelectric Power Plant, etc.; establishment of numerous state colleges, universities, and secondary schools; Cultural Center of the PhilippinesFolk Arts TheaterPhilippine International Convention CenterNational Arts Center; the National Artist of the Philippines award; health centers such as the Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute; modern roads, bridges, and highways like North Luzón ExpresswaySouth Luzón ExpresswayMarcos HighwaySan Juanico Bridge, Maharlika Highway, etc.; Light Railway Transit; rehabilitation of the walled city of IntramurosDepartment of Agrarian ReformInternational Rice Research Institute; the Philippine National Oil Company which then controlled Petron Corporation that sold cheaper gasoline; the “Kadiwa” store system which was very helpful to the impoverished; credit programs such as the “Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran“, the “Gulayan sa Kalusugan“, and “Pagkain ng Bayan” programs, etc.; housing programs; various labor reforms and export development; strong recognition of Sabah, Borneo and the Spratly Islands as part of our patrimony; recognition of the Spanish language as one of our official languages through Presidential Decree No. 155; taking good care of his number one political rival by allowing him to go to the US for a heart surgery; harassment of oligarchs such as the López clan of Iloílo; peace and order/suppression of communist rebels; litter-free roads; disagreeing with neocolonialistic US policies during his last few years which led to his downfall; etc.). So I guess the best way to fight his memory is to stop patronizing all the things that he ever did for us, good or bad. Seriously. 😂

Indeed, Marcos was not a hero. Nor was his rival Ninoy Aquino. The former was just a president. The latter, an oppositionist. They are simply historical figures. Deal with it. #Marcos100 😂😂😂

Originally posted from an experimental blog of mine, this time with slight edits.

 

What the true “Wikang Filipino” really is in accordance to its name

Several weeks back, I received an invite from the City Government of Santa Rosa through Ms. Gemalin Batino to be a guest speaker for their Buwan ng Wika celebration. The event, held in Solenad 3, Nuvali last Monday (August 6), was graced by Santa Rosa City Mayor Danilo S. Fernández, La Laguna province 1st District Representative Arlene Arcillas, Director General of the Film Academy of the Philippines Leo G. Martínez (in character as “Congressman Manhik Manaog”), officials of Enchanted Kingdom, and others.

A culture heroine of Santa Rosa, Gemalin, whom I first met five years ago during my first speaking engagement, is also a consultant for her city government’s heritage, arts, and cultural affairs, particularly for its “Heritage and Museum Development”. She was tasked to iron out last Monday’s event and was thus instrumental for making me as a guest speaker. The topic centered on this year’s theme, “Wikang Mapagbago”.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m more of a writer than a public speaker. But the topic is about national language, a subject in which I’m very comfortable with. So when I received the invitation from Gemalin, I gave no second thoughts. I felt it was the perfect time to “hijack” the Buwan ng Wika in front of a multitude and say what needed to be revealed: the true national language in accordance to its name.

I was allotted only 15 minutes, so not much was explained. But I was able to share the basics. And my point was to tickle the minds of people, to give them an “oo ñgâ, anó” moment, to make them think and to question critically the inexactitudes that have been fed to them from the very start.

So without further adieu, click on the screengrab below to view the video of my speech (yes, it’s in Tagálog, not in “Filipino”)…

Screengrab from my wife’s video.

Special thanks to my wife who recorded my speech in its entirety. I didn’t tell her to take a video. I was even upset because she did not take a single photo. ¡Te amo, mi única amor!

ARM Cuauhtémoc on Pilipinas HD

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The ARM Cuauhtémoc docked at Manila South Harbor’s Pier 15.

The atmosphere was festive when me and my wife arrived at Manila South Harbor’s Pier 15 that windy afternoon of August 6. The place is not entirely tourist friendly, it being a seaport. But as we neared towards where the visiting Mexican ship was berthed, we saw its country’s huge flag waving mightily from one of its masts amidst gray clouds and a cold wind, and loud cumbia music was joyfully blurting out from its numerous speakers as visitors both Filipino and foreign photographed the ship from within and without.

For the first time since the fabled Galleon Trade ended two centuries ago, México has finally “returned” to Filipinas via this historic goodwill visit of its navy’s sail training vessel, the ARM* Cuauhtémoc (BE01). The last time a Mexican vessel visited our waters was in 1815 when the galleon ship San Fernando arrived from Acapulco. Fortuitously, the name of that ship was also the name of our country’s discoverer, Fernando Magallanes, popularly known as Ferdinand Magellan, who was then a vassal of Spain (he was Portuguese lest you forget).

Could the arrival of that last galleon ship bearing his name served as something gloomily symbolic (the exit of Spain and the eventual US invasion of 1898)?

It should be remembered that Spain ruled us through México from 1565 to 1821. Only when México had declared her independence from Spain in 1821 were we ruled directly by the mother country. As such, the cultural exchanges that occurred between México and Filipinas cannot be ignored, not to mention the world’s first foray into globalization of which these two countries were a part of. I’ve already written extensively about this topic for a magazine (click here).

That is why the ARM Cuauhtémoc’s four-day goodwill visit, done in part to commemorate its 35th anniversary as well as the centenary of the promulgation of the Méxican Constitution, was something special. The vessel may not be a galleon ship but it strikingly looks like one. And it is docked in Manila Bay, very close to the Walled City of Intramuros, the original capital of Filipinas. It was a homecoming of sorts.

The day of our visit was made extra special too because I was scheduled for an interview by renowned TV sportscaster Chino Trinidad for his Pilipinas HD channel right there aboard the ARM Cuauhtémoc. Embarrasingly, I was not aware of this media content providing platform which he launched last year (I’m not the TV type sort of guy, that’s why). Besides, mere mention of his name will immediately give people an idea of who he is: a sports broadcaster. But by some amazing twist of fate, his well-known persona has transformed from TV sports connoisseur to history aficionado who is hell-bent on searching for the Filipino Identity (one of his influences was his Tito Nick Joaquín, a drinking buddy of his father Recah who himself is a distinguished sports columnist). Chino strives to achieve this through documentaries and other programs that feature topics on Filipino History as well as the best of what our country can offer.

Being interviewed by Chino Trinidad for Pilipinas HD about the significance of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade.

Interviewing Lt. Sánchez Hoz about what he knows of the Galleon Trade as well as the significance of the visit of the ARM Cuauhtémoc to Manila.

The interview centered on the importance of the galleon trade to Filipino History. The ARM Cuauhtémoc, we believed, was the perfect venue for the interview especially since, as already mentioned, it was the first Mexican vessel to have visited our country after 202 years. Chino also interviewed one navy officer, Teniente (Lieutenant) Sánchez Hoz, who was surprisingly knowledgeable about the deep bond between his country and ours. The officer spoke no English, so I served as an interpreter. The Spanish spoken by the Mexican crew members was somehow easy to understand, almost Filipino (compared to Spanish speakers from other countries who speak quite fast like those from Mother Spain) because the kind of Spanish that we Filipinos have acquired was from them; remember that we were ruled by Spain through their country for 256 years (we were ruled directly by Spain for only 77 years).

I’m not sure when this episode about the ARM Cuauhtémoc will be shown. I don’t think I’d be able to watch it since our cable TV provider has no Pilipinas HD. But it doesn’t matter. What matters the most is that this big part of our history, the galleon trade, will be shown on a TV channel whose aim is to ennoble the Filipino Identity. So I encourage all Filipinos who have a deep sense of love, respect, and concern for our history, heritage and culture to patronize Chino’s selfless project called Pilipinas HD. What he is doing is a great service to our country.

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Me and my wife with Chino Trinidad and his Pilipinas HD team (photo from Chino’s camera).

* Armada República Mexicana (Mexican Republic Navy).