Gat Jose Rizal: In Memoriam

Originally authored on December 29, 2017

Walking to his execution ground with a peaceful and cheerful countenance, Jose Rizal, with a smile held his final look at the Ateneo de Manila, where he spent the happiest days of his life and silently bid it adieu.

The strong anger and resentment over what Rizal wrote in his Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo moved the Spanish friars to instigate his trial and execution regardless of the spirit of the season which failed to rouse compassion on the part of the Spanish government – who propagated Christianity in our country.

Mabini wrote in his memoir: “From the day Rizal understood the misfortunes of his native land and decided to rectify them, he knew the terrors of death awaited him which he bravely endured until the end – for the love of his countrymen.”

Our country is blessed for a national hero whose scholarly works, academic excellence, and writings continue to move and inspire Filipinos to fight for their rights as a people and value education as a means to obtain freedom and justice.

Let his unwavering selflessness and intense patriotism be one of the memories to reflect on during this Christmas season.

* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures

Marina Dizon-Santiago: Secretary of the Katipunan Women’s Chapter

Originally authored on August 27, 2016

All it took was a family bloodline. Marina was the daughter of Jose Dizon, an active associate of Andres Bonifacio who was one of the thirteen revolutionary martyrs of Bagumbayan. She was also the cousin of Emilio Jacinto. Having grown and honed under a family of patriots and nationalists, an inner awareness in her was sparked and had eventually led to her conviction.

Marina was born on July 18, 1875, in Trozo, Tondo. At a tender age of eight months, her mother, Roberta Bartolome died. She was raised by her aunt, the sister of her father, Josefa Dizon, mother of Emilio Jacinto. She was enrolled at a private school that was led by Maestro Timoteo Reyes and later studied at a public school under Aniceta Cabrera. Marina was a student of the arts, music, painting, and modelling. She later became an accomplished singer. More so, she was the guitarist and violinist of the Trozo Comparza Band. Initially, Marina wished to be a teacher although discouraged by her father.

 

Agueda Esteban: Point Person of the Katipuneros

Originally authored on August 28, 2015

Born from a humble family in Binondo, Manila on February 1868, Agueda enrolled and excelled in a girl’s school under the auspices of Dona Vicenta de Roxas. Marrying a katipunero, Agueda became a Filipina revolutionary who brought materials from Manila to make gunpowder and bullets which she delivered to her husband in Cavite. Her husband, Mariano Barroga of Batac, Ilocos Norte was put in charge of the revolutionaries in San Juan Del Monte, Montalban, and Marikina.

Later on he was transferred with his family to Tangos, Cavite. Agueda and her husband constantly traveled to secure materials for ammunition which remained undetected by the authorities until the Truce of Biak-na-Bato. During the American occupation, she was the courier between her husband in Manila and General Artemio Ricarte in Cavite. Agueda was entrusted with secret papers on war strategies and planned attacks on Spanish detachments. Being a woman, she was never suspected of involvement in revolutionary activities, until July 1900, the authorities discovered grenades in her house in Calle Anda which consequently led to the arrest of Agueda, her husband, and General Ricarte.

Teodoro Asedillo: A Nameless Hero

Originally authored on August 22, 2015

One whose heroism was almost never heard of was the bravery of Teodoro Asedillo. He was a normal school teacher who taught using Filipino as medium of teaching to awaken the hearts and minds of the young children. The colonial American era prohibited the use of Filipino in schools and only English was allowed. For insubordination, Asedillo was fired from teaching. He then served as a police chief but was also driven out at the change of administration.

Left with no option, he joined a revolutionary movement called Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis sa Pilipinas (KAP), a group of peasants who strove to push their rights against abusive laws imposed by the American government. The aftermath of Filipino-American war consigned Filipino revolutionaries as enemies of the state, insurrecto, insurgent, rebel. A made-up plan for Americans to exterminate a place where revolutionaries hid and execute the revolutionaries.

Heritage in Remembrance: Hermano Pule

Originally authored on July 22, 2015

One hundred forty-three years hence, we give honor to a forgotten hero whose martyrdom came three decades ahead of the execution of the Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora who sparked the revolutionary ideals of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. Apolinario de la Cruz, known as Hermano Pule, hailed from Lucban, Tayabas (now Quezon Province). He was born in July 22, 1814, exactly two-hundred one years ago.

Gliceria Marella Villavicencio: Ang Anghel Ng Himagsikan

Originally authored on August 18, 2016

Whenever a tour is scheduled in Taal, Batangas, the visit to Ka Eryang’s historical house is a never miss. It is the home and sanctuary of the Philippine Revolution. It is more popularly known today as the “wedding gift house”, a gift by her husband Eulalio Villavicencio, a wealthy ship owner.

An illustrious Filipina, Gliceria Marella was born in Taal on May 13, 1852 from an affluent family Vicente Marella and Gertrudis Legaspi. At the age of 12, she attended the Sta. Catalina in Intramuros but had to stop when her elder sister died and she had to continue the responsibility of managing the family estate.

Four years before the Philippine-Spanish war erupted in January 1892, Eulalio went to Hongkong and delivered P18,000, from the family’s personal funds, to Dr. Jose Rizal to finance his subversive propaganda movements against Spain. In gratitude, Rizal sent an ivory dagger, as a keepsake to Dona Gliceria and propaganda pamphlets. Eulalio helped in disseminating leaflets and copies of La Solidaridad. It did not go unnoticed and the suspicious Spaniards accused Eulalio of being a filibuster for inciting rebellion. He was imprisoned in the Old Bilibid Prison in Manila when his association with the revolutionary movement was validated.

Dr. Maximo Viola: Ang Tagapagligtas Ng Noli

Originally authored on August 30, 2015

“A friend in need is a friend indeed!” The original manuscript of Rizal’s first novel, Noli Me Tangere could not have seen the light of day due to financial constraint if not for the timely assistance of Viola. He funded the first 2,000 copies for publication. In deep gratitude, Rizal gave him the last galley proofs and the first published copy wherein it was written: “To my dear friend, Maximo Viola, the first to read and appreciate my work. Jose Rizal March 29, 1887, Berlin.

Born in Barrio Sta. Rita, San Miguel, Bulacan, he was an only child of Isabel Sison of Malabon and Pedro Viola of San Miguel. After his early education in his hometown, he finished a degree in Colegio de San Juan de Letran and sailed to Spain to study Medicine in University of Barcelona where he met other Filipino students, notably Jose Rizal with whom he developed a close friendship. He finished his doctoral degree in 1886 and before returning to the Philippines, together with Rizal, they toured Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Switzerland where he met Ferdinand Blumentritt, a foreigner friend and supporter of Rizal.

The Rock Star Lechon

 

Lechon is the food that defines the Philippines. It is the most celebrated dish especially around Christmastime. Regardless of the reason for celebration, lechon remains constant in a Filipino party which serves as the highlight of the event.

Tracing back to pre-Hispanic life, roasting of pork had been practiced in our country . Spain cannot stake a claim to be our source. From the personal account of Antonio Pigafetta, he described the religious rituals exclusively performed by women, presided over by the high spiritual priestess called Babaylan.

While the women danced on a cambay cloth to pay homage to the sun while chanting, sipping wine and playing reed flutes, a live large hog fattened for the purpose lay abound on a grass mat and sacrificed by a Babaylan who dipped the tip of her flute in the hog’s blood and marked the natives’ forehead with it.

The feasting then began after the Babaylan was awakened from her trance while the hog was butchered and roasted for the natives’ celebration.

 

How to Strike A Balance

Originally authored on October 4, 2015

A paradise beyond Boracay before the neoliberal policies where blindly implemented by the government. Semirara, one of the three major islands of Caluya in Antique, is home to Panian Mine, the largest and only open-pit coal mine in operation since 1999 in the country. A huge investment by DMCI in a rapidly changing climate both in politics and biosphere. A place where extracted industries are placed at the heart of national development policy, corruption, elite capture of wealth, toxic waste dumping, tailings leaks, labor abuses, blatant land grabs in cahoots with local government agencies are the norm.

Go Zero!

Originally authored on January 31, 2018

Our planet cannot save itself and scream: “ENOUGH!”

How much waste floats around in our oceans? Do we take into consideration the amount of trash we’ve dumped in garbage sites?

Most of our garbage ends up in the sea or landfills, and this is where the cycle continues. The fish eat the trash, and people eat the fish. The animals eat the garbage and people eat the animals. Go figure! The degeneration of the earth would mean our demise!

Surigao: Bleeding Our Paradise To Death

Originally authored on April 4, 2016

A heart-wrenching image, the barren mountains tell their own story.

Our country is the fifth most endowed in mineral deposits, it is third in the world in gold, fourth in copper, and fifth in nickel – not to mention having sizable deposits of iron, chromite, cobalt, and platinum. This could go a long way towards alleviating poverty and driving our economy forward. But why is it not working for our people?