Fake history spotted!

It has recently come to my attention that a certain Wassily Clavecillas (who, if I’m not mistaken, holds a certain position at the Limbagang Pinpín Museum and Heritage Resort in Abúcay, Bataán) is spreading some fake history item on Facebook regarding an alleged tribute to Lapu-Lapu written by José Rizal.

La imagen puede contener: una persona

Below is a blow-up of the alleged Rizalian praise for Lapu-Lapu, in case you have difficulty in reading the above text…

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For those who do not understand Spanish, below is the translation (image also provided by Clavecillas):

La imagen puede contener: una persona

According to Clavecillas, he got this Rizalian acclamation from Cronología Filipina by Domingo Ponce, a rare book that was published in 1958 (judging from its contents, it seems like a textbook, but I could be wrong). His FB post has been shared and praised by many clueless Filipinos who are not familiar with Rizal’s original works in Spanish.

But was the above text really written by the national hero?

To those who are familiar with Rizal’s body of work, the answer, of course, is no. Rizal wrote not a single word of praise to the Mactán chieftain. In fact, during his time, Lapu-Lapu —or to be more precise, Cali Pulaco— was considered by Filipinos as the antagonist of the Mactán narrative. Remember Carlos Calao’s 17th-century poem?

However, Rizal did compose a poem of praise, but not for Cali Pulaco / Lapu-Lapu. He wrote one for Fernando de Magallanes, aka Ferdinand Magellan. As a matter of fact, today is the anniversary of that poem…

EL EMBARQUE
(Himno a la Flota de Magallanes)

–José Rizal–

          En bello día
Cuando radiante
Febo en Levante
Feliz brilló,
En Barrameda
Con gran contento
El movimiento
Doquier reinó.

          Es que en las playas
Las carabelas
Hinchan las velas
Y a partir van;
Y un mundo ignoto,
Nobles guerreros
Con sus aceros
Conquistarán.

          Y todo es júbilo,
Todo alegría
Y bizarría
En la ciudad;
Doquier resuenan
Roncos rumores
De los tambores
Con majestad.

          Mil y mil salvas
Hace a las naves
Con ecos graves
Ronco cañón;
Y a los soldados
El pueblo hispano
Saluda ufano
Con affección.

          ¡Adiós!, les dice,
Hijos amados,
Bravos soldados
Del patrio hogar;
Ceñid de glorias
A nuestra España,
En la campaña
De ignoto mar.

          Mientras se alejan
Al suave aliento
De fresco viento
Con emoción;
Todos bendicen
Con vos piadosa
Tan gloriosa
Heróica acción.

          Saluda el pueblo
Por ves postrera
A la bandera
De Magallán,
Que lleva el rumbo
Al océano
Do ruge insano
El huracán.

5 de diciembre de 1875.

Rizal wrote this poem of praise when he was only 14 years old, as a student of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila (now Ateneo de Manila University). There was not a hint of rancor  or sarcasm at all. This poem is made up of beautiful verses of pure admiration for Magallanes and his fleet as they sailed away “To the gentle breath / Of the fresh wind / With emotion, / All bless / With pious voice / So glorious / Heroic action” (click here to read the complete English translation).

Moved as I was with its stirring imagery, I recorded my declamation of the said poem in its Spanish original…

Now that we have cleared this issue of false attribution, the next question would be: where did the publishers of Cronología Filipina cull that text? Actually, it is true that Rizal wrote that text which Clavecillas had proudly shared in social media. However, Rizal wrote it without Lapu-Lapu in mind — those words were lifted straight out of his second novel, El Filibusterismo. In fact, they were the words of a disenchanted Isagani.

Whoever the publishers were of Cronología Filipina were either as ignorant as Clavecillas is of Rizalian literature, or they really had an agenda in mind: to spread the so-called Leyenda Negra, the weapon of the Hispanophobe. We are inclined to believe in the latter especially if we are to read the heading on the page that was shared by Clavecillas: ¡LOOR AL HÉROE DE MACTÁN! Praise to the Hero of Mactán! And they even used a sketch of Lapu-Lapu to make it appear as if Rizal was really praising him!

Sad to say, Clavecillas is a perfect example of a messed-up Pinoy who could no longer understand Rizal’s nationalistic thoughts and ideals due to his ignorance of the Spanish language which up to now he erroneously associates with elitism. Nevertheless, we have to thank Clavecillas because, wittingly or unwittingly, he was able to produce evidence on how early books were already using Rizal to brainwash Filipinos into hating their Spanish past.

P.S. I use the words “ignorant” and “ignorance” on this blogpost without meaning to offend.
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El Embarque (Himno a la Flota de Magallanes)

No hay ninguna descripción de la foto disponible.

EL EMBARQUE
(Himno a la Flota de Magallanes)

–José Rizal–

          En bello día
Cuando radiante
Febo en Levante
Feliz brilló,
En Barrameda
Con gran contento
El movimiento
Doquier reinó.

          Es que en las playas
Las carabelas
Hinchan las velas
Y a partir van;
Y un mundo ignoto,
Nobles guerreros
Con sus aceros
Conquistarán.

          Y todo es júbilo,
Todo alegría
Y bizarría
En la ciudad;
Doquier resuenan
Roncos rumores
De los tambores
Con majestad.

          Mil y mil salvas
Hace a las naves
Con ecos graves
Ronco cañón;
Y a los soldados
El pueblo hispano
Saluda ufano
Con affección.

          ¡Adiós!, les dice,
Hijos amados,
Bravos soldados
Del patrio hogar;
Ceñid de glorias
A nuestra España,
En la campaña
De ignoto mar.

          Mientras se alejan
Al suave aliento
De fresco viento
Con emoción;
Todos bendicen
Con vos piadosa
Tan gloriosa
Heróica acción.

          Saluda el pueblo
Por ves postrera
A la bandera
De Magallán,
Que lleva el rumbo
Al océano
Do ruge insano
El huracán.

5 de diciembre de 1875.

THE EMBARKATION
(Hymn to Magellan’s Fleet)

–José Rizal–

          On fair day
When radiant
Phoebus in the East
Happily shone,
In Barrameda
With great contentment
Movement
Reigned everywhere.

           ‘This because on the shores
The caravels
Swell their sails
And shall depart;
And an unknown world
Noble warriors
With their steel
Shall conquer.

          And all is jubilation,
All happiness
And gallantry
In the city;
Everywhere reverberate
Hoarse sounds
Of the drums
With majesty.

          Thousands and thousands of salvos
Greet vessels
With echoes grave,
Of hoarse cannon,
And to the soldiers
The Spanish people
Render proud salute
With affection.

          Adieu, she tells them,
Beloved sons,
Brave soldiers
Of the native home;
With glories crown
Our Spain,
In the campaign
On sea unknown.

          As they sail away
To the gentle breath
Of the fresh wind
With emotion,
All bless
With pious voice
So glorious
Heroic action.

          The people salute
For the last time,
The flag
Of Magellan,
That is enroute
To the ocean
Where rages insane
The hurricane.

(English translation by Alfredo S. Veloso)

Hoy en la Historia de Filipinas: se establece el Surian ng Wikang Pambansa

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HOY EN LA HISTORIA DE FILIPINAS: 13 de noviembre de 1936 — Se establece el Surian ng Wikang Pambansa (Instituto de la Lengua Nacional). Se le encomendó elegir el idioma nativo de Filipinas que se utilizaría como base del idioma nacional. En 1937, el Surian, bajo su primer director Jaime C. de Veyra, recomendó que el tagalo sea adoptado como lengua nacional. Así, en 1940, el Surian publicó dos libros: una gramática y diccionario oficial conocido como el “Balarila ng Wikang Pambansa” (Gramática del Lenguaje Nacional) escrito por Lope K. Santos, y el “Tagalog-English Vocabulary” (Vocabulario Tagalo-Inglés).

Deseaba el Surian a contribuir no sólo al desarrollo de la lengua nacional (tagalo) sino también al desarrollo de la literatura y la crítica literaria a través de la publicación de trabajos críticos, la entrega de premios anuales en poesía y ensayo, y la celebración de foros, simposios, y seminarios.

En 1987, en virtud de la Orden Ejecutiva N° 117, el Surian se convirtió en el “Linangan nga mga Wika sa Pilipinas” (Instituto de Lenguas Filipinas). En agosto de 1991, se volvió a transformar en Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Comisión de la Lengua Filipina) mediante la Ley de la República Nº 7104 (implementada en 1992). El Komisyon fue encargada de realizar, coordinar, y promover investigaciones para el desarrollo, la propagación, y la preservación de Filipino y otras lenguas filipinas nativas. El presidente actual es Virgilio Almario, Artista Nacional para la Literatura (2003).

Con la elevación de la lengua tagala como una lengua nacional, se puede decir sin temor a equivocarse que el Surian ng Wikang Pambansa que hoy en día se llama Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino fue uno de los factores que contribuyeron a la muerte de la lengua española en Filipinas.

Our country’s history and identity are in Spanish

Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg

La Cruz de Borgoña, our first flag.

The history of our country was documented in Spanish. Let me briefly count the ways…

The forging of our islands into one nation was done in Spanish, from the day it was founded to the day it was defended from rebels. The writers who asked for reforms from Mother Spain wrote in Spanish. The proclamation of our independence was read out in Spanish. Our first constitution (Constitución de Malolos) was written entirely in Spanish. The deliberations of our first congress (Congreso de Malolos) were in Spanish. The official decrees and correspondences of our first president (Emilio Aguinaldo) and first prime minister (Apolinario Mabini) were in Spanish. Our newspapers that fought against the US invaders were in Spanish. Our poets who decried US colonization (Claro M. Recto, Cecilio Apóstol, Jesús Balmori, Fernando Mª Guerrero, etc.) wrote their anti-imperialist verses only in Spanish. THE LYRICS OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM WERE ORIGINALLY IN SPANISH.

José Rizal’s final love letter to all of us was written in Spanish.

Think about it.

Cincuenta años en Hollywood

La temporada de tifones junto con las lluvias monzónicas estaban en su apogeo la noche del primer aniversario de la muerte de la legendaria escritora Carmen Guerrero Nákpil, como si los cielos aún estuvieran de luto por su pérdida. Pero incluso las lluvias no pudieron detener el lanzamiento del último libro de su famosa hija: la reina de belleza y se convirtió en historiadora, Gemma Cruz de Araneta.

Gemma ha publicado varios libros, la mayoría de los cuales tratan sobre la historia y la cultura de Filipinas. Este, que se lanzó la noche lluviosa del 30 de julio en un elegante salón de Manila Polo Club en Forbes Park, Ciudad de Macati, no fue diferente. Sin embargo, como su título indica, trata principalmente sobre las aventuras y desventuras del gobierno colonial de los Estados Unidos de América en nuestras islas.

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El libro titulado “50 Years in Hollywood: The USA Conquers the Philippines” (50 Años en Hollywood: los EE.UU. conquista Filipinas) es una colección de ensayos históricos que Gemma ha escrito a través de años en su columna muy leída Landscape (significa paisaje o panorama) que aparece en el Manila Bulletin, un importante periódico filipino en inglés. Se trata de la transformación de la sociedad y la psique filipina poco después de que los estadounidenses nos invadieron y nos arrebataron del Reino de España y del gobierno revolucionario de Emilio Aguinaldo.

El libro recibe ese título para rendir homenaje a su madre Carmen quien había acuñado la famosa cita que se ha vuelto muy popular entre los historiadores y muchos otros escritores. El completo mensaje es “trescientos años en un convento, y cincuenta en Hollywood”. Era la forma en que Carmen describía, de manera breve pero ingeniosa, la historia de nuestro país bajo España y los EE.UU, respectivamente. En su columna publicada el 27 de junio de este año, Gemma, radiante de orgullo para su estimada madre, tiene esto que declarar:

“Así fue como Carmen Guerrero Nákpil describió la historia de Filipinas en pocas palabras. Esa es su cita más inolvidable, pero lamentablemente la más plagiada, robada, y pirateada.

“Me atrevo a decir que nadie más, ni historiador ni cronista, poeta o ensayista, podría haber ideado una descripción tan condensada pero brillante de nuestra historia. Ni el eminente Teodoro Agoncillo, ni el temible Renato Constantino, ni los pioneros Epifanio de los Santos y Gregorio Zaide, ni ningún otro escritor (ni siquiera Nick Joaquín), periodista, novelista, o historiador, filipino o extranjero, joven o viejo, podría haber pensado en una cláusula tan deliciosamente sardónica que destila la esencia de nuestra historia desafortunada. Luego otorgue crédito cuando sea necesario. Nunca más se debe atribuir ese aforismo inimitable a otra persona que no sea Carmen Guerrero Nakpil.”

(Mi traducción del inglés a español)

En dicho libro, Gemma no ofrece disculpas, justificaciones ni juicios sólidos sobre lo que ocurrió en nuestro país durante esos 50 años fortuitos bajo la colonización de los EE. UU. Pero su reportaje, respaldado por fuentes verdaderas y verificables, es brutalmente franco. Ella es justa en sus escritos pero sigue siendo implacable cuando se trata de eventos que hicieron sufrir a los filipinos. Después de todo, su madre estaba en contra de la toma de nuestro país por parte de los invasores de América del Norte.

Es apropiado que el libro de la hija se haya lanzado en el aniversario de la muerte de la madre.

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas e interior

El lanzamiento del libro contó con la asistencia de un quién es quién de la alta sociedad filipina incluidos académicos en historia y cultura.

La imagen puede contener: 3 personas, incluido Pepe Alas, personas sonriendo

Con el historiador famoso, Xiao Chua. A pesar de su renombre, lo que es realmente notable de él no es su conocimiento de la Historia de Filipinas (no estoy de acuerdo con muchos de sus puntos de vista) sino su humildad y afabilidad. Fue Xiao quien se acercó a mí, un virtual don nadie, para presentarse, como si necesitara más presentación. Así que no es de extrañar por qué es tan querido tanto por los alumnos de la historia como por los miembros del mundo académico. Para mi observación, Xiao Chua es el próximo Ambeth R. Ocampo.

La imagen puede contener: 2 personas, incluido Pepe Alas, personas sonriendo, personas de pie

Con Tita Ester Azurín, bisnieta de Paciano Rizal, hermano mayor del héroe nacional José Rizal. Ella es una prima tercera de Gemma porque esta última es la bisnieta de María, una de las hermanas de Paciano y José.

La imagen puede contener: 4 personas, incluidos Pepe Alas y Gemma Cruz Araneta, personas sonriendo, personas de pie

Con la estrella de la noche.

Pero basta de muertes. Es hora de celebrar la vida y lo que depara el futuro. 😊

¡Feliz cumpleaños, mi comadre Gemma! 🎂🥂 Que tengas más años felices por venir y que también publiques más libros. Y espero que el próximo libro que publiques esté en la lengua materna de tu madre: la castellana. ¡Un abrazo fuerte!

La imagen puede contener: texto

Este libro está disponible en los sucursales de Fully Booked, Solidaridad (Ermita, Manila), sucursales de National Book Store, Popular Bookstore (Calle Tomás Morató, Ciudad de Quezon), Ortigas Foundation Library (Ortigas, Ciudad de Pásig), Silahis (Calle Real del Palacio, Intramuros), TriMona Co-op Café (112 Anonas Extension, Sikatuna Village, Ciudad de Quezon), y Tesoro’s en Macati y Manila. Para pedidos internacionales, pueden enviar una consulta por correo electrónico a ggc1898@gmail.com.

 

Want to ace English? Then learn Spanish

I found this textual meme in the Facebook group Oficialización del Español en Filipinas (Officialization of the Spanish Language in Filipinas). It compares the various inflections of the English verb do to that of its Spanish counterpart hacer. As you can see, the verb forms in English are not as numerously expressive compared to their Spanish versions.
La imagen puede contener: texto
This is just one example why learning English is a piece of cake among native Spanish speakers. Picture this…
José Rizal, a native Spanish speaker, taught himself English. And he aced it.
Manuel L. Quezon, a native Spanish speaker, learned English in only about three weeks. He learned it on a steamship while traveling to the United States for the first time.
Claro M. Recto, a native Spanish speaker, mastered English in only three months.
The first Filipino short-story in the English language was written by a native Spanish speaker, Paz Márquez de Benítez of Lucena, Tayabas (where I was also born). That story, “Dead Stars”, was composed during the early years of US occupation. And when you read her story, its masterful language will make you stop and think how today’s Filipino fiction in English pales in comparison to hers. And to think that we’ve been learning English for more than a century while the English of Benítez’s era was still quite young.
José García Villa, our first National Artist in Literature who is also considered as one of the finest (if not indeed the finest) our country has ever produced when it comes to poetry, was another native Spanish speaker. He was highly acclaimed by critics not just here but also those in the United States.
And of course, there’s the one and only Nick Joaquín, the greatest Filipino writer in the English language, hands down. And, you guessed it, he was also a native Spanish speaker. A fact not known to many.
Why is this so? Because Spanish and English are both cognates. They have so many words that are similar or even identical. In layman’s terms, Spanish and English are “cousins”.
It is no wonder why our grandparents and great grandparents who received good education during the US occupation of our country spoke and wrote better English than us. And that is also why most of our literary greats in the English language (Joaquín, Villa, N.V.M. González, Trinidad Tarrosa, Paz M. Latorena, etc.) usually come from that epoch when Spanish was still the language.
Had we allowed the teaching of the Spanish language to continue in our curriculum, and had our government supported its usage, we would all be writing and speaking English much better than our North Américan invaders.

From excited foreword to grateful afterthought

A couple of years back, I excitedly announced in my now defunct Spanish blog that I was chosen to write for a coffee table book about the history of La Laguna Province. After almost two years of sleepless nights writing and doing field research, promoting it on social media, incurring trouble at the office because of several absences and tardiness, and capped by a press release on my accidental discovery of the province’s foundation date as well as defending it from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ “board of academic censors”, nothing came out of the said project. The publisher and I had a falling out while the provincial governor who was supposed to fund the project was  unceremoniously booted out from politics. That book was supposed to be my big break to become a well-known writer-historian. But it seems that bad luck is an unwanted twin of mine. Whenever my dreams are within arm’s reach, they start slipping right from my hands and crash down to the floor like fine chandelier.

When publication was nearing, I had my mentor, Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, write the book’s foreword. I couldn’t think of nor imagine anyone else to write one for me. He is, after all, the epitome of an authentic Renaissance Man: a journalist, historian, poet, playwright, fictionist, linguist, folklorist, cartoonist, recording artist, and Spanish language teacher as well as instructor of Spanish dances (considered as the only “maestro de flamenco” of Filipinas). Few people may know this, but he is also a polyglot: aside from his mastery of Spanish, Hiligaynón, Quinaráy-a, English, and Tagálog, he also has a working knowledge of Chabacano Zamboangueño, Cavitén (Chabacano Caviteño), French, Hokkien, Cebuano, and Portuguese. In spite of his personal problems and health issues, he still manages to continue the difficult fight for the recognition of our true national identity. A great man like Don Guimò only comes once every one hundred years. That is why I call him as the GREATEST FILIPINO alive today.

La imagen puede contener: Pepe Alas y Guillermo Gómez Rivera, personas sonriendo, selfie

Unfortunately, my coffee table book will no longer see the light of day. So I thought of just publishing here Don Guimo’s foreword for that book. I am not a decorated writer nor historian, but his words for me are worth all the medals of the world.

     Having known José Mario “Pepe” Alas since his college student days at Adamson University, we never expected him to be capable of writing a history book with such serene impartiality and with the taught discipline of a seasoned historian. And more so the complex history of La Laguna, a province that means so much to the development of this country. We always thought that only a Nick Joaquín would be able to do that considering the uniqueness and the vastness of the latter’s accumulated knowledge and profound understanding of Philippine history, the Spanish language, the Filipino national identity, and the Filipino culture that encompasses all these intellectual disciplines.

     But Pepe has somehow been able to acquire the necessary conocimientos which is more than knowledge, to grasp and reproduce what is Filipino. He did take for granted, as is the case of many Filipino college students, his Spanish language subjects at Adamson University, but after he graduated and was faced with the challenges of survival, he accepted the casual job of a typist and was given the assignment to type a whole book in Spanish on the history of the Primera República de Filipinas, a thick compilation of documents, with their respective comments, by Spanish language academician, novelist, historian, and professor, Antonio M. Abad from Barili, Cebú.

     Although we know that this is not the only book in Spanish that he was forced to read, because he had to type it, Pepe must have had read some other books in Spanish on what is Filipino aside from those available in English. To our surprise, Pepe could speak to us in Spanish about Philippine History after going through this old Abad book and the other books, works, and literary pieces in this language that were found in our library.

    As an old teacher of the Spanish language, we know that the student, to acquire this language, needs to master four basic skills: the skill to read it, the skill to understand it, the skill to write in it, and, later, the final skill to speak it. And Pepe Alas from Parañaque City had sufficiently mastered the four enumerated skills. To top it all, he also mastered to a high degree the literary, historical, and cultural content of Spanish in the Philippines which, as a culmination, has formed his firm conviction as a Filipino, free from the current maladies of a colonial mentality vis-à-vis the present colonial master lording it over our country.  In short, Pepe is no longer a stranger in his own country which is expectedly miseducated, therefore ignorant of its true culture and true history. Pepe has freed himself from these maladies and anomalies of the mind and soul, and, because of this newfound freedom of his mind and his soul, he now loves his country in a much deeper way than most other Filipinos of his generation ever did or do.

     As he advanced in the field of employment, he settled in San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna, with his wife and children and immediately identified himself as a native born lagunense interested in the history and prosperity of his adoptive province. From there, he realized that he had a new world to know and write about which is La Laguna. His research on the history of his adoptive province led him to discover the real founding date of La Laguna. He went through all the old and pertinent Spanish documents with great ease and discovered that La Laguna started as a Spanish encomienda under conquistador Martín de Goití in the sixteenth century.

     What is funny, if not something to be highly indignant about, is that the government office that supposedly works on the history of this country flatly denied and rejected this discovery because of an old U.S. WASP induced prejudice against the Spanish encomienda. Some employees in that government office on history had this prejudice against the encomienda because of the falsities taught to them in their history classes by an Americanized history teacher that never learned to see through the 1900 American sectarian propaganda against what is Spanish and Filipino in these islands. These de-Filipinized elements wrongly labeled an encomienda as a system of slavery and oppression when it is in the encomienda that our native Indio forefathers learned not only the predominant religion of Filipinos today but also learned a more advanced system of agriculture, a sophisticated cuisine, basic arts and trade, and all that a people needed to later form a pueblo and a municipio as we know them today.

     But the La Laguna Provincial Board, being open minded, quickly saw that this Alas discovery was logical and, therefore, correct. It eventually approved and recognized the date of the founding of La Laguna as a Spanish encomienda to be also the beginning of the legal entity that is this province today. An Inquirer article called Pepe an achiever who, as a young historian, discovered what others blindly ignored for so long. Kudos to the provincial governor and the La Laguna Provincial Board!

     Reading Pepe’s general history of La Laguna is a pleasure. The language is easy and all that is historical data are neatly interwoven to give an accurate picture of how La Laguna developed and how its people progressed through the years in spite of the vicissitudes that would disturb such advances. Credit is given to whosoever deserves it. As an historian, Pepe will never say, like Teodoro A. Agoncillo says on his “History of the Filipino People”, that it is “difficult, if not impossible, to define what a Filipino is”.  Pepe gives us the sensation that he exactly knows what is Filipino and that it is neither difficult nor impossible to define what it is. Because of his mastery of Spanish, Pepe Alas agrees with Teodoro M. Kálaw’s definition of what is Filipino, a definition that is, evidently, not “politically correct” nowadays, but which is accurate anyway you put it. Wrote Kálaw, and we quote him in his own language to avoid any mistranslation:

“Cuando se discute la capacidad de una raza para la autosuficiencia, todos los elementos y factores que intervinieron en su cultura, todas las generaciones anteriores, se someten a prueba. Y entrelazadas en esa exégesis está la obra de España y la obra de Filipinas indígena, dos civilizaciones que han venido uniéndose en una misma civilización que llamamos filipina sobre este suelo por casi cuatro siglos para luego constituir una vibrante nacionalidad, la que dio espíritu a la revolución y a la primera República de Filipinas.”

     La Laguna is, indeed, one of the oldest provinces of the Philippines because many of its original families have branched out to other places in this country. As a mere example and modesty aside—, this writer’s family, on both the paternal and maternal sides, traces its roots to La Laguna. Gómez comes from a 17th-century Spanish alférez from Pagsanján, Francisco Gómez, who married a Tagala named María Dimaculañgan, while Rivera traces its roots to nearby Pila. Upon a recent visit to the parish church of Pagsanján, this writer saw, from a list of donors, individuals that carried both surnames: Gómez and Rivera. There is always that inclination to come to Pagsanján and upon viewing the old and majestic arch at the beginning of what was Pagsanján’s Calle Real, a sensation of having been there becomes overpowering.  And then, there is the now almost abandoned Gómez mansion near the river while it is also at the rear of the old Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the advocation of the Virgin Mary that merited the Pontifical titles of “Emperatriz de las Américas, Reina de México, y Patrona de Filipinas”. Aside from the famous Pagsanján Falls, the arch, the old bahay na bató houses, and the parish church are also tourist attractions.

     The attraction of La Laguna in general is great, and tourism is not a new phenomenon for Pagsanján. There is this bilingual sing-song of long ago that attests to what we say:

Muy bienvenidos
Sean ustedes
A nuestro pueblo
De Pagsanján.
Aquí tenemos
La maravilla
De veinte saltos
En un bancal.
Sobresaltante
Pero seguro
Es el paseo
En un raudal;
Porque las bancas
Son de arbol duro
Y los banqueros
De mucha sal.

–o–

Maganda nawâ
Ang ‘yong pagdayo
Dito sa amin
Sa Pagsanján;
Magarang arco,
Magandang bahay
Gawá sa tabla
At sa bató.
Ñgunit ang tunay
Na pañghalina
Ng bayan natin
Ay ang talón
Casama’ng daloy
Ng mananañgcang
Sanáy sa tulin
At sa tinô.

     La Laguna, as a center of Filipino culture, as expressed in song, dance, ritual, poetry, cuisine, and hospitality, is bound to advance. More so with the new crop of leaders it presently has to steer this vision onward.

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