Dr. Nilo Valdecantos: “El Patrón de las Artes de La Laguna

Ang La Laguna ay isáng nápacagandang lugar.
Mayaman sa calicasan, cultura, at casaysayan.
Daluyan ng macasining na camalayán at mg̃a obra.
May auit ang bauat diuang malayà.
Nilo Valdecantos

NILO VALDECANTOS

We easily clicked the first time we met in his cozy, bahay na bató inspired café-slash-art-gallery. At least, that was how Dr. Nilo Valdecantos made me feel upon welcoming me to Kape Kesada Art Gallery, a popular cultural nook tucked in the heart of artistic Paeté, La Laguna Province.

Dressed in short pants and a tee (what we Filipinos endearingly call a pambahay), I found him in his art gallery seated by a customized wooden table, laughing vociferously with another gentleman. After the formalities of introduction, I nervously took my seat in front of him. But at that very instant, he bade me —no, ordered me— stand up again.

Tumayo ca ñga muna, p’re,” he said, to which I complied. No sooner had I stood up when he suddenly asked me this question: “¿anó’ng height mo?” I was stunned by the seeming irrelevance but was already trying to remember measurements in my head when he suddenly shrieked in laughter, prompting the gentleman with him and my companion who was also his friend to laugh along with him. Little did I know that I was the victim of some sort of classic Doc Nilo prank. Apparently, the two gentlemen with us were also unknowing victims of the same question when they first met the jolly dentist.

That was eight years ago. The companion I was with was the one who brought me to Kape Kesada to introduce me to the rather eccentric dentist. Doc Nilo was then a cultural consultant under former La Laguna Governor E.R. Ejército. During that time, I was commissioned to write a history book for the province, a project which was later aborted when Ejército was unceremoniously kicked out of office due to an election campaign case.

The main reason I was introduced to him was to familiarize myself with the arts and culture of Paeté as part of the mentioned book project. Little did I know that it was going to be the beginning of a friendship that was anchored in our mutual love and respect for the arts and for La Laguna’s history.

During the course of my research on the history of our province, I stumbled upon its long-lost foundation date which, I’ve been told, has long been sought after by many other historians and provincial administrations before me. In my impromptu quest to have the date officially recognized, I received stiff opposition from various individuals and from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines itself. Doc Nilo was one of the very few who supported me. He always accompanied me to meetings regarding the recognition of the date. He even organized the first public celebration of the province’s founding anniversary at his Kape Kesada Art Gallery without any prodding from me, and even before the date was officially declared to be canon (La Laguna’s founding anniversary has since been celebrated officially beginning 2015 when Ramil Hernández already took over the governorship of the province Ejército).

NILO VALDECANTOS

Since then, Doc Nilo has never failed to invite me to Kape Kesada’s major events, and apologizing for those rare moments that the invitations failed to arrive. He even made me the main speaker in an arts event that he sponsored at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Indeed, he was both an admirer and a friend.

A funny thing that I notice in him is that during media interviews (as éminence grise of Paeté’s arts and culture scene, he was always the town’s representative), he is a man of praise, a glorious spokesman in the mold of Tagalog statesmen of yore. But among friends he was riotous and loud, the typical drinking buddy with guitar in hand and a drunken voice ever-ready to belt out Louis Armstrong tunes and other folk songs. Only among loved ones can one see the real Nilo Valdecantos: a jovial person, full of mirth. He was that fun to be with.

Sometime in 2017, tragedy struck the Valdecantos household when Doc Nilo was diagnosed with cancer: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He then underwent months of grueling chemotheraphy (the upside was that he lost a lot of weight, including his signature pot belly). After surviving the ordeal, he immediately organized a fund-raiser for the benefit of poor cancer patients, gathering La Laguna’s best artists in an art exhibit for a cause that was held at the LRI Design Plaza. It was the last major event that he had organized. Several months later, the cancer came back to take him away.

 

When it comes to the town’s arts and culture scene, Doc Nilo was the go-to-guy. While Paeté is known throughout the country for its visual artists (the Department of Tourism markets it as the “Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines”), Doc Nilo was no sculptor, neither did he sketch nor paint. But he served as the picturesque town’s patron of the arts. Through his Kape Kesada Art Gallery, he had helped launch and sustain the careers of many wood carvers and painters of Paeté, among them Dominic Rubio, the Cagandahan siblings, Fred Baldemor (Doc Nilo dubbed him as our country’s Michaelangelo), the late Patricio “Peping” Balquiedra (he died just a few months ago), and many others. Even artists from outside of town were welcomed and treated as family. For Kape Kesada is home to kindred soul, whethere Lagunense or not.

Kape Kesada Art Gallery is hands down the de facto cultural center of Paeté. It is thus a haven for both art aficionados and coffee lovers. Its founder, the poetic and ever jovial Dr. Nilo Valdecantos, was undoubtedly La Laguna Province’s most loyal and staunch patron of culture and the arts. His altruism towards the province’s artists is genuine, pure, something to marvel at. He and his café-slash-art gallery is the beating heart of the province’s culture and the arts, and thus should be recognized and honored by all art institutions in the country.

NILO VALDECANTOS

Doc Nilo’s final message to me…

I have yet to meet another kind soul whose love for La Laguna is as ardent and as deep as Doc Nilo’s. I doubt if that love could be equaled in the coming years.

I miss him dearly.

Sabi nung ibá, “hindi ca mapapacáin ng cultura”. Pero ang nasa isip co, sinagót co sa canilá: “pero caya tayong buhayin ng cultura.”

–Dr. Nilo Valdecantos–

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Our last photo together at the LRI Design Plaza, one of the events he organized. Behind us is famous folk musician Joey Ayala, another friend of Doc Nilo.

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Will Martial Law be imposed soon?

This document has been going the rounds in social media, particularly in private messages.

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Apparently, President Rodrigo Duterte is bound to declare Martial Law anytime soon… IF there is any legitimacy to this document which is already spreading like wildfire. It should be noted, however, that the present Constitution (Section 18, Article VII) does not include the prevention of pandemics as one of the reasons to declare Martial Law:

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.

There is no provision at all for the suppression of pandemics, unless the president’s legal advisers wittingly use pandemic-induced “lawless violence” as an excuse. Another impediment: the president can only declare Martial Law if Congress will allow him to. There has to be a legislative procedure first. But since the majority of Congress is on the president’s side, they will likely approve and expedite its enactment like what they did to the speedy passing into law of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Could the foregoing hindrances explain why the document in question has the words “Martial Law-type role” in it? But why bother with this document when it hasn’t even been acknowledged as official or legitimate? It should be remembered that leaked documents about the imposition of a lockdown in Metro Manila to quell the coronavirus pandemic were also being shared early last month. Those documents were denied by Malacañang through the Department of Health. ABS-CBN was also the first to report about them, but they deleted the news from their social media accounts. A few days later, however, the lockdown did happen.

And just a few nights ago (April 16), the president, in one of his “late show” speeches, made a stern warning to those who kept on defying quarantine/lockdown measures. He said that he might put the military and the police on standby. “They will be in charge,” he said. “It would be similar to martial law. You choose. I don’t like it but it’s necessary if the country will suffer because you have no discipline.”

To my observation, this document —provided that it’s really legit— could probably be a preparatory order of some kind to the military of what is to come. It is not yet per se an official announcement to the general public that Martial Law will be imposed. Nevertheless, let us still wait for Malacañang’s official announcement… or denial.

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Surrender everything to God

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Good morning. I will bring my wife Yeyette to the hospital later during the day. Early tomorrow morning, the surgery to remove cancerous material from her right breast will commence. I do not know what will happen afterwards. I’ve been lying in bed most of the time, feeling very feeble, as if I’m the one who’s sick. I even contracted cough and headache for a couple of days but dextromethorphan did them in (lucky me, it wasn’t COVID-19). Stress must have probably taken a toll on me. To be honest, I feel more timorous about the incoming hospital bills rather than the medical procedure itself since we’ve been receiving reassurance left and right that stage 2 breast cancer is highly treatable. But still, a surgery’s a surgery. And cancer is cancer. Like what I said, I do not know what will happen afterwards. Strangely enough, I don’t feel like crying. Besides, I’m not the type who would weep in front of my wife and kids when the going gets tougher than Sarah Gerónimo’s mother. I’d rather do it someplace else. In the midst of all this emotional uproar within me, I couldn’t stop clowning around the idea that my wife was stricken with one of the world’s most dreaded diseases that not even in our wildest fears would paralyze us one day. And so the list of cancer jokes in my tired head has piled up — I’ve been singing that popular chorus of The Corrs’ “Breathless” by turning it to “Breastless” just to annoy my wife; I keep on saying to her that while my zodiac sign is Cancer, it was her who got it. I thought of looking up for a photo of English rock band The Cure to create a meme: “My wife’s got cancer, but I don’t have The Cure.” Indeed, both her ailment and the incoming monster bills are teaming up to create a perfect bulldozer to flatten my brain. So really, the only thing I could count on right now is to heed a friend‘s advice to just “surrender everything to God”. Also, I still need to count on everybody’s prayers… and financial aid. 😖 Using social media to ask for monetary aid truly disgusts me. It feels like licking the floors for spilled milk just for me to survive. But I had to do the shameful because I have no other choice. That shameful act of mine is for my wife’s sake. She is my five children’s beacon of hope, not despicable me who is a highly succesful negative thinker. So as the world panics because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in this dark little room I try hard to surrender to God what needs to be surrendered.

Should you wish to help us (please please please 😭), you may send your donation to my bank account:
BPI account number: 9829-0918-41
Account name: José Mario S. Alas
BPI branch: Ortigas Emerald (Unit 101 G/F Jollibee Plaza Condominium,
F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Brgy. San Antonio, Ortigas Center, Pásig City 1605)
Swift code: BOPIPHMM
Muchas gracias.

United Nations Avenue

United Nations Avenue, also known as U.N Avenue, is a major thoroughfare in Ermita, Manila. It is quite well known not only in Manila but throughout the country. It has that recall among people not just because of its catchy, famous name but because it lies right smack in the country’s busy capital. This 1.9-km avenue is a landmark even to non-Manileños due to the fact that major establishments are found here such as the National Bureau of Investigation, Manila Doctors Hospital, the 780-seat Philam Life Auditorium (an international style structure designed by famous architect Carlos Argüelles), and of course LRT’s student-filled United Nations Avenue station.

Not many people know, however, that U.N. Avenue was not always known by that name. It was first called Calle Isaac Peral. Who could this person be? Isaac Peral y Caballero (1851–1895) was actually a Spanish engineer (and also an officer of the Spanish Navy) who built the Submarino Peral or the Peral Submarine in 1888. It was the first electric battery-powered submarine in the world.

In 1962, during the 17th anniversary of the United Nations, Calle Isaac Peral was renamed United Nations Avenue to honor the mentioned intergovernmental organization tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and become a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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United? These two street signs couldn’t even agree with each other 😂 (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Today, as the world yet again celebrates United Nations Day, it is important to note how hollow and hypocritical this event has been through the years considering that among its major founding members —the United States of Uncle Sam— is an industrious instigator of war and warmongering. But let’s not even look far outside ourselves. Here we are, annually celebrating United Nations Day yet we continue hating a glorious past of which both Señor Peral’s country and the city of Manila used to be a part of. It is no wonder why we couldn’t tread on the correct avenue towards progress: we both refuse to move on and assess our past.

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Was the famous Leyte Landing of 1944 reenacted?

Today our country commemorates the anniversary of the famous Leyte Landing. That historic event from World War II features the landing of General Douglas MacArthur in Leyte Gulf to begin his campaign of recapturing and liberating our country from Japanese occupation, as well as to fulfill his now iconic “I shall return” promise. Together with him were President-in-exile Sergio Osmeña, Lieutenant General Richard Sutherland, Major General Charles A. Willoughby, Brigadier General Carlos P. Rómulo, and the rest of the Sixth Army forces. From his book The Fooling of America: The Untold Story of Carlos P. Rómulo, the late chemist-turned-historian Pío Andrade writes:

On October 20, 1944, following preliminary landings in Sulúan, Homonhón, and Dinagat islands between October 17-19, American soldiers landed in Leyte to begin liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese. After several waves of troops had landed, MacArthur landed at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte. It was a historic moment for MacArthur and the Philippines.

The above photo, now regarded as one of the most memorable images from World War II, is what the whole world knows about the Leyte Landing. However, in the same book, Andrade has more to reveal:

MacArthur’s Leyte landing has been firmly etched in the mind of the public thus: the general wading in knee-deep water with Philippine President Osmeña and Carlos P. Rómulo. Actually, there are doubts whether that picture is the real first Leyte landing of MacArthur. A daughter of one of President Quezon’s military aides told this writer that the picture was a reenactment. There were three shots of the Leyte landing picture taken from different angles thereby giving the impression that the landing was rehearsed. The New York Times reported that President Osmeña came ashore in Leyte on October 21, meaning that the famous Leyte landing picture was not taken the day MacArthur first stepped on Red Beach. MacArthur, himself, signed and dated a different Leyte landing picture which showed neither Osmeña nor Rómulo.

And what could that photo Andrade was referring to? Here it is:

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Photo from Andrade’s book.

 

Real or reenacted, Rómulo was flamboyantly dressed in the Leyte landing picture. While professional soldiers Generals MacArthur, Sutherland, and Willoughby wore military caps, paper soldier Rómulo wore a steel helmet, the better to show his brigadier general’s star. Though he knew he would be in the rear headquarters, Rómulo dressed as if he was going to the combat zone. He had a pair of leggings and his revolver hang on a shoulder holster like an FBI agent instead of on a belt holster required by military regulations. Rómulo was trying hard to project himself as a real soldier.

But Rómulo’s alleged KSP attitude, of course, is another story. Today, the Leyte Landing is immortalized by the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park at Red Beach, on the same site where MacArthur and his party landed. Which now leads me to a heritage crime that happened in 2014: the unceremonious removal of the Simón de Anda Monument from Bonifacio Drive in Manila to make way for a much larger highway to ease traffic. On deciding of removing the monument, then DPWH-National Capital Region head Reynaldo Tagudando said that the de Anda Monument has “no historical value”. Tagudando thus revealed his complete ignorance of who Simón de Anda y Salazar was.

De Anda was an oidor or member judge of the Audiencia Real (Spain’s appellate court in its colonies/overseas provinces) when the British, on account of the Seven Years’ War, invaded Filipinas in 1762. While many high-ranking government officials, including then interim governor-general and Archbishop Manuel Rojo del Río, already surrendered to the invaders, de Anda and his followers refused to do so. Instead, he established a new Spanish base in Bacolor, Pampanga and from there launched the country’s first ever guerrilla resistance against the British. He thus proved to be a big thorn on the side of the British until the latter left two years later.

During those tumultuous two years under the British, de Anda made no promises and neither did he leave Filipinas. He stuck it out with Filipinos through thick and thin and gave the enemy an armed resistance that they more than deserved. But “Dugout Doug” was all drama when he said “I shall return”, leaving the Filipinos to fend for themselves against the Japs. And when he did return, it was a disaster: the death of Intramuros, the heart and soul of the country.

If there was anything good that came out from 2013’s destructive Typhoon Yolanda, it was the damage done to that memorial park at Red Beach. When it comes to WWII commemorations, even the forces of nature know which monument has no historical value.

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A la Virgen del Pilar

PEPE ALAS

Nuestra Señora del Pilar en el Catedral de Imus, Provincia de Cavite.

A LA VIRGEN DEL PILAR
(Pepe Alas)

Cuantiosas sangres e idiomas:
taco del tiempo.
Numerosas islas, montes:
un reto histórico.

Vinieron Cruz y galeones,
un maremoto
de fe y civilización
que los unieron.

Taco y reto: conquistados
por la corona
no del Monarca sino de
la firme Virgen.

Los rayos que brillan de su
digna corona
son aquellos pueblos que ella
ha ministrado.

Esto es el cuento de nuestra
historia: cómo
nos convertimos en uno
de sus estrellas.

Derechos de reproducción © 2019
José Mario Alas
San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna
Todos los derechos reservados.

¡Feliz Día de la Hispanidad!

 

Pushing Boundaries

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Since the dawn of man, his indomitable will has done marvels that continue to echo to this day. Man has built walls that rival the scale of mountains, has brought forth monoliths that soared through the heavens above, and has conquered the very elements of nature that once seemed so powerful. Man has been pushing boundaries since then and he will continue to break barriers for ages to come.

Eric Masangkay (b.1972), is one of the most promising contemporary artists that has graced the halls of Kape Kesada Art Gallery. He has shown that his style, which he has been honing for the past decade, can stand toe to toe with the likes of seasoned sculptors before him. Kape Kesada Art Gallery’s exhibit entitled, “Pushing Boundaries”, celebrates the human form. It channels the grace, beauty, and intelligent design in the style and material that combines robustness and fluidity of motion.

See you all on Sunday, 2:00 PM at Kape Kesada Art Gallery to meet the man of the hour, Eric Masangkay and his show entitled “Pushing Boundaries”.

Película 2019 — 18th Spanish Film Festival

Instituto Cervantes de Manila, in cooperation with the Embajada de España en FilipinasTurespaña, and other related cultural organizations brings us once again one of the most anticipated annual film festivals in the country: Película. Now on its 17th edition, Película features a selection of quality films of various genres (comedy, drama, suspense, animation, documentary, and short film) from the Spanish-speaking world. It is a perfect opportunity for Filipino students of the Spanish language to hone their listening skills as well as to get acquainted with contemporary Hispanic culture. Below are the schedules as well as the press release (both in English and Spanish) from Instituto Cervantes de Manila…

PELÍCULA is a Spanish Film Festival organized every October by the Instituto Cervantes (Manila), in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain to the Philippines. Created in 2002, this event shows award-winning Spanish and Latin American films. The Film Festival has grown through the years to become the most important exhibition of Spanish Cinema in the Southeast Asian region. PELÍCULA 2019 will treat you to a collection of good quality movies, many of which have been awarded in prestigious festivals. Comedy, drama, thriller, animation, documentary, short film are some of the many element inside the festival’s program. Enjoy PELÍCULA!

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Creado en 2002 por el Instituto Cervantes de Manila, PELÍCULA se celebra cada octubre en colaboración con la Embajada de España en Filipinas. El Festival ha crecido a lo largo de los años hasta erigirse en el más importante escaparate de cine español en el Sudeste Asiático. En esta XVIII edición te invitamos a disfrutar de una selección de obras de calidad, muchas de ellas premiadas en festivales de prestigio internacional. No se trata únicamente de una cita con el cine español, pues el Festival también propone una mirada al cine latinoamericano y a las voces surgidas de un continente que se expresa mayoritariamente en español. Comedia, drama, suspense, animación, documental y cortometraje, son algunos de los géneros que encontrarás en la programación de PELÍCULA 2019. ¡No te lo pierdas!

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Película will run for 10 days, from October 3 to 13 at Greenbelt 3. Click here for more information. ¡Nos vemos allí!

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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Señor Gómez: el nuevo director de la Academia Filipina

¡Buenas noticias!

Estoy muy contento de poder informarles que ahora hay un nuevo director de la Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española, un destacado filipino a quien todos conocemos: ¡el mismísimo Señor Don Guillermo Gómez Rivera, gran campeón del idioma español en Filipinas!

ACADEMIA FILIPINA

Ayer, dentro de las augustas paredes del histórico Casino Español de Manila en Ermita, Manila, se celebraron elecciones para votar por el nuevo director de la institución estatal más antigua de Filipinas. Los miembros tomaron la abrumadora decisión de instalar al Sr. Gómez como su nuevo director mientras que Lourdes Brillantes, otra distinguida escritora filipina en español, fue elegida como su vicedirectora (el director y vicedirectora que salen fueron Emmanuel Luis Romanillos y Daisy López, respectivamente).

Tanto Gómez como Brillantes son premiados del Premio Zóbel — el primero en 1975 y la última en 1998.

ACADEMIA FILIPINA 2

Los miembros de la Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española. Izquierda a derecha: Trinidad Regala, Lourdes Castrillo de Brillantes, Guillermo Gómez Rivera, René Saldania, José Rodríguez Rodríguez (director honorario), Salvador Málig, y Emmanuel Luis Romanillos (presidente saliente).

Puede considerarse como un nombramiento tardío, pero aún no es demasiado tarde. Aunque tiene 83 años y está en una silla de ruedas, su mente es más aguda que nunca antes. Con el Sr. Gómez al mando de la Academia, el futuro del idioma español se ve más brillante. Sus planes para el avance del idioma español ganarán más terreno.

¡Enhorabuena al gran filipino de nuestros tiempos!

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