Archive for the 'History buff' Category

San Agustin visited

I included Intramuros in my itinerary when I went home for the holidays last December. I am an admirer of grand old Philippine churches. One of my favorites is the San Agustin Church located inside the former walled city. I remember last year when my wife’s friend got married in this baroque church—that in a small chapel near the main altar, I got my first glimpse of the sarcophagus of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the founder of Manila. It was slightly surreal for me. In the chapel were the remains of an important figure in Philippine history.

The UNESCO marker on the left side of the church front yard states:

One of the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines inscribed in 1993 on the World Heritage List pursuant to the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The Church of San Agustin possesses exceptional universal value that deserves protection for the benefit of humanity.

sanagustin11

However, there was something new to me. The church facade was painted… is that peach? Is that normal? Is that the original color? Is that part of heritage conservation? Honestly, I prefer the walls without any cosmetic.

sanagustin21

I bet my friend Nold would have some inkling about this interesting front wall color; or if you know what’s happening would you please tell me?

sanagustinmarker1

Here are some references about San Agustin:

http://heritageconservation.wordpress.com/2006/07/29/san-agustin-church-intramuros-manila/

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~gaspar/agustin.html

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Alam mo ba ang ibig sabihin ng apelyido mo?

Nung isang araw, napakwento ako sa isang kasamahan kong Intsik sa trabaho habang naghihintay ng resulta ng ginagawa kong pakulo sa laboratoryo. Napagdiskitahan ko ang family name niya. May kapareho kasi siya na Wu ang apelyido kaya pabirong itinanong ko kung magkamaganak ba silang dalawa. Hindi raw naman. Pareho ngang Wu ang apelyido nila kapag isinalin sa Ingles pero magkaiba naman daw ang bigkas at karakter nun kapag isinulat sa Intsik. Napangiti ako, sabay tanong kung ano ang ibig sabihin at kaibahan ng Wu niya sa Wu nung isa. Pinagtawanan niya ang tanong ko pero sinagot rin. Ang Wu daw niya ay may kaugnayan sa martial arts at Kung Fu, samantalang ang Wu nung isa ay hinugot sa bansag ng isang matandang kaharian sa Tsina. Humanga ako sa bilis ng sagot niya. Kapag ako kasi ang inurirat tungkol sa apelyido kong Narvaez ay wala akong maisasagot. Kailangan ko muna hanapin sa internet.

Hindi ako nakuntento, sinubukan ko pa siya. Inisa-isa ko ang mga apelyido ng iba pa naming kasamahang Intsik at hiningi ang kahulugan ng bawat isa. Mabilis lahat ang sagot. Di na niya kailangang magisip. Yung isa ang ibig sabihin daw ay “Dilaw”, yung isa ay “Matangkad”, yung isa ay “Oso”, yung isa ay “Salamat”, yung isa ay “Hari”, yung isa ay “Malamig”… Noong maubos ko na ang lahat ng pangalan ng kakilala kong Intsik, ako naman ang tinanong niya. Ano daw ang ibig sabihin ng apelyido ko? Pero hindi ko nga alam kaya natameme lang ako. Bagkus ay ipinaliwanag ko na lang na karamihan sa mga Filipino ay may apelyidong Kastila dahil naging kolonya ng España ang Pilipinas at sila ang nagbigay sa atin ng konsepto ng apelyido.

Ang corny di ba? Hindi naman kulay kastilaloy ang balat ko e bakit imported pa sa Iberian Peninsula ang apelyido ko? Sa totoo lang, inggit ako sa mga Pinoy na may apelyidong Tagalog (o Filipino) talaga ang pinagmulan tulad ng Dimaguiba, Bayani, Catacutan, Dimaano… Naging bida rin sana ako sa kuwentuhan nung araw na yun kung naging ganun ang apelyido ko. Kaso hindi e. Nakatatak na sa akin at sa mga magiging anak ko at mga magiging apo ko ang apelyidong ipinilit sa aking mga ninuno ng mga Kastila. Walang kabuluhan bukod sa pagiging apelyido na ibinigay sa atin ng mga dayo. Walang malalim na kasaysayan na maari kong ipagmalaki bilang isang Filipino. Isang apelyidong nagbibigay-pugay sa Kastila, hindi sa Filipino… Yan pang salitang “Filipino”, isa pa yan. Pero sa ibang blog post ko na lang yan titirahin at baka ma-overdose na tayo sa mga pag-aangas ko…

Natapos ang aming kuwentuhan dahil kailangan ko nang balikan ang inoorasan kong eksperimento pero di natapos ang aking pagiisip… Ikaw, alam mo ba ang ibig sabihin ng apelyido mo?

Mga Hangad na Aklat

Sa pagkakataong ito ay magfi-Filipino naman ako. Napansin ko kasing nag-ala-Tagalog na ang WordPress; bagaman di pa ganap ang mga pagsasalin. Bukod dito ay hindi naman yata magaling kung lahat na lamang ng aking isusulat ay gamit ang wikang Ingles. Isa pa’y Tagalog naman talaga ang pinili kong pangunahing wika nung ako ay nagsimula sa WordPress. Napukaw din ako ng kayayari lamang na artikulo (Filipino: Paraan ng Pagtanaw at Pananaw) ng hinahangaan kong manunulat na si Ginoong Añonuevo sa kanyang Alimbukad blog.

Ngunit hindi tungkol dito ang paksa ko. May mga aklat kasi na kating-kati akong bilhin simula’y aking napagalaman. Ito ang nais kong ibahagi. Una, ay ang “History Handbook for Overseas Filipinos.” Ayon sa paglalarawan ng Inquirer.net [1] at batay na rin sa pamagat, ang nasabing aklat ay nababagay na basahin para sa mga OFW na kagaya ko. Ang pagkakasulat ay talagang iniayon sa lumalagong bilang ng mga nangibang-bayan na Pinoy. Mahilig rin talaga akong magbasa ng mga aklat tungkol sa kasaysayan kaya tamang-tama ito para sa akin. Nagbilin na ako sa aking mga kaanak sa Pilipinas na ibili ako ng kopya at ipadala dito sa Hong Kong.

Ang ikalawa na nais kong bilhin ay ang “Special Centennial Edition” ng Philippine Journal of Science [2]. Biruin niyong mayroon pala tayong ganitong uri ng journal pang-agham. Naisip ko tuloy ang kabagalan ng gubyerno natin sa pagsusulong ng siyensiya kaya’t marami ang utak na bagkus sa Pilipinas pinapakinabangan ay sa ibang bansa nagagamit. Naalala ko rin tuloy noong nakaraang eleksyon, ikinampanya kong maigi sa aking mga kamaganak, kapitbahay at kasamahan sa trabaho ang AGHAM para sa Party List sa paniniwalang malaki ang tulong na magagawa nito. Halos lahat sila ay nahikayat kong bumoto para sa AGHAM Party List. Ngunit talagang mas marami ang di tumangkilik sa AGHAM kumpara sa bilang ng aking mga kamaganak, kapitbahay at ka-opisina. Wala sa kamulatan ng masa ang siyensiya. Nakakapanghinayang…

… Kapag umuwi ako ng Pilipinas sa kapaskuhan ay sasadyain ko ang pagbili ng nasabing journal. Marahil ay naipadala na rin sa akin ang kopya ng History Handbook pagdating noon. Gusto ko nang simulan ang pagbabasa…

Hagupit vs Nina

We were sent home a bit earlier today—5:00pm instead of the usual 5:45pm—because Typhoon with international name “Hagupit” was about to reach Hong Kong. In fact, the No. 8 storm signal was raised around 6:00pm. Bad news for me! This means we might need to work tomorrow since Signal 8 never lasts more than 12 hours. Sigh! I wish Hagupit (PAGASA name: “Nina”) did not arrive too soon. Anyway, the extra 45 minutes I saved today were enough to enable me to make this post.

Isn’t it ironic that the local designation for typhoons has become more foreign-sounding nowadays while the international community seems to be more accomodating to Filipino-sounding names? The name “Nina” has Hebrew or Spanish origins while “Hagupit” is definitely Filipino. I prefer the previous system actually wherein typhoon names were taken after Filipino women’s nicknames ending in “ng” from A to Y. I grew up with that nomenclature and I find it more classy than the current one despite the nicknames having been derived from Spanish.

When the Philippine Weather Bureau in 1999 initiated the “Name A Bagyo Contest”, I wish they required that the entries be absolutely derived from Filipino. When I say Filipino, all the dialects should have been included. The current naming process may be more systematic for PAGASA but, as in other aspects of our eroded culture, this shows how we tend to forget the need to promote our own language. Sigh! Sigh! Sigh!

Reference:

http://ricojr.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/typhoon-names-no-shortage-here/

Our Olympic Priority?

There is really something humorous about the thought of Manila’s bid to host the Summer Olympic games in 2020 or 2024 that I had to make another post about this topic. In my last article, “Beijing 2008… Manila 2020?”, I said that I think the bid should be supported given that it would prove beneficial to all Filipinos whether they are at home or abroad. However, before wanting to host the games, shouldn’t we want a gold medal first? I mean shouldn’t we win one first? I see that all of the previous host countries had won gold medals to brag about before they hosted the games. The Philippines has only 2 silver and 7 bronze medals. No gold yet! Zero! Nada! Itlog!

Here is a tally of all the medals we have won by sport so far:

Sport

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Boxing

0

2

3

5

Athletics

0

0

2

2

Swimming

0

0

2

2

Total

0

2

7

9

To think that we have been part of the Olympic tradition since 1928. We were among the first Asian countries that sent delegates to the games. Beijing is our country’s 19th Olympiad (note: we boycotted the 1980 Moscow games because of our pro-American political policies). China joined in 1932 but did not attend most of the games until the 80’s.

Asian Country

Year Joined

India

1900

Japan

1912

Philippines

1924

China

1932

Afghanistan

1936

Myanmar

1948

Sri Lanka

1948

Iran

1948

Iraq

1948

Korea

1948

Lebanon

1948

Pakistan

1948

Singapore

1948

Hong Kong

1952

Indonesia

1952

Israel

1952

Thailand

1952

Vietnam

1952

Malaysia

1964

Nepal

1964

Indonesia and Thailand only joined in 1952. By 1952, the Philippines has participated in 5 summer games already. Comparing our medal standings with these two ASEAN neighbors is interesting. Let’s take a closer look at Indonesia and Thailand’s historical medal tallies.

Thailand:

Sport

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Boxing

4

3

6

13

Weightlifting

3

0

3

6

Taekwondo

0

1

1

2

Total

7

4

10

21

Thailand is obviously better than us in Olympic Boxing, a sport that is also very popular in the Philippines. We have 3 bronze and 2 silver medals in boxing while the Thais have 6 bronze, 3 silver and 4 gold medals! So what has happened to the land of Manny Pacquiao? Thailand has 7 golds already! They have 21 medals overall.

Indonesia:

Sport

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Badminton

6

6

6

18

Weightlifting

0

2

4

6

Archery

0

1

0

1

Total

6

9

10

25

Badminton has been the goldmine of Indonesia. In fact, they have won 6 golds in this sport. Overall Indonesia has taken home 25 medals since 1952. Like Thailand, they are also competitive in Weightlifting. The Philippines has not won yet in this event.

Here are some more compelling facts. From 1924 to 1936, before the 2nd World War, our country has attended 4 summer games. In the same period, we won 5 bronzes. Then, post world war, we had 2 silvers and 2 bronzes in 15 Olympiads from 1948 to this year in Beijing. Let’s do some simple math:

Pre-WWII: 5 medals/4 olympiads = 1.25 medals per olympiad

Post WWII: 4 medals/15 olympiads = 0.27 medals per olympiad

This computation may be crude and statistically flawed, but it helps drive my point. We are not doing well in the Olympics. I believe we should strive to improve our sports program first. More importantly, the country’s meager budget is more wisely spent if used in solving more pressing issues like poverty alleviation, alternative energy sourcing and infrastructure development. Otherwise, we can not and will never be considered a “TRUE” Olympic host country.

Reference: Wikipedia

“Hongkong Holiday” 1957

My grandmother whom I call Nanay celebrated her 86th birthday this month. When I was still an elementary student and classes were only half-day, I remember watching Tagalog classics with her every afternoon. RPN Channel 9 used to show some of these movies in black and white which I surprisingly enjoyed. Well, I like anything that is old and Filipino. I think my sense of nostalgia was already high at a very early age. I was about 8 years old.

Recently, I came across this poster of “Hongkong Holiday” circa 1957 starring Gloria Romero, Ric Rodrigo, Paraluman, Dolphy and Daisy Romualdez; co-starring Tony Cayado, Aring Bautista and Liza Ferrer; screenplay by Luciano Carlos; and directed by Mar Torres. It was produced by Sampaguita Pictures and Golden City Film Co. What struck me was that along with Nestor Robles who was responsible for the musical score, the Hongkong Symphony Orchestra was included in the billing. Was the whole film shot in Hong Kong?!

I don’t actually recall seeing this particular movie before with my Nanay. I tried searching the internet for a full upload but did not find any. Oh well, the poster will have to do for now.

Hongkong Holiday movie poster

Source: http://dolphyfilmography.blogspot.com/2008/03/1957-hongkong-holiday.html.

A Haven for Filipinos

Remember my email to historian Ambeth Ocampo (see post “Read Ambeth Ocampo”)? He included it in his Inquirer column, “Looking Back (Inquirer Vol 23/No.67 ) issued last 13 February 2008. Here is the full article:
_____________________

A haven for Filipinos

By Ambeth Ocampo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
To be in Hong Kong before the Chinese New Year is quite a treat. There is a festive air about town, and all the stores are on sale.

This year it was quite cold with temperatures dipping to 8 degrees Celsius. Weather forecasters said this was the coldest winter Hong Kong has experienced in the past half century. As always, I went to all my favorite places to eat: Yung Kee for roast goose, Liu Yue Mun market for fresh seafood, Peking Garden for lunchtime dimsum, Spring Deer for Peking duck, Macau Restaurant for roast pigeon and Macanese fried rice, and one place that serves chicken three different ways.

Some friends texted last week to tell me about the suckling pig they devoured during the Year of the Pig and the wonderful stuffed chicken they feasted on in the Year of the Rooster. But since this is the Year of the Rat, they decided to go vegetarian during the Chinese noche buena.

I went around tasting all the egg tarts I could find, comparing them with the famous Lord Stow’s because it is rumored that Lord and Lady Stow had a parting of ways and Lady Stow sold her recipe to the Hong Kong franchise holder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, so that now the best egg tart is to be found in KFC. In my opinion this is the sweetest among the egg tarts available, and much to my liking, next to those served at Macau Restaurant in Tsim Tsa Tsui where you can actually order a pork chop sandwich (imagine a real pork chop between toast).

Filipinos travel to Hong Kong for different reasons. For many it is a place to work, for others it is a place to shop or transact business, and for me it is a place to eat, a place to roam around tracing the footsteps of our heroes in Hong Kong side. I have written in the past about the two sites where Jose Rizal stayed that were marked by the Hong Kong Antiquities Board during the time of Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Ho, an admirer of Rizal, and an ophthalmologist who maintained a clinic on the street where Rizal also treated eye patients. A marker has also been installed in a playground that was the site where Marcela Agoncillo and some friends made the first Philippine flag. These markers show Filipinos today that Hong Kong was a place of refuge for Filipinos during the Philippine Revolution. More importantly, they educate Hong Kong residents on our shared history.

Joe Narvaez sent this email and made me realize that our consulate in Hong Kong has to lobby for more historical markers with the Antiquities Office:

“I am a history buff. Even as a kid, I have always been fascinated by museums, old books and antique pieces. In fact, I keep a 1944 bronze Philippine-USA 1-centavo coin in my wallet. I prefer movies and novels of the historical genre. My girlfriend routinely teases me by asking why I have a strong affinity to things that are ‘nabubulok-bulok’ [decaying] or ‘naaagnas’ [decomposing] Nonetheless, she agreed to marry me in February next year on one such site, Paco Park. [My unsolicited advice: It may be a very romantic place, but I do not think it is good ‘feng shui’ to get married and start a new life in a mortuary chapel.]

“I would also like to think of myself as a patriot. Well, if you can consider an OFW [overseas Filipino worker] who frequently buys the delicious Del Monte brand bananas that are ubiquitous in Hong Kong for the sake of contributing humbly to gross Philippine export, then maybe I am a patriot. Currently, I am working for a pharmaceutical company in the New Territories of Hong Kong.

poo-bin.jpg“I have observed that the presence of a horde of Filipinos here is a truth well tolerated by Chinese locals. Last week, as I was going out of my flat for work, I noticed a medium-sized plastic bin for dog excrement near the bicycle lane. Instruction on the container read, ‘Clean up after your dog’ and under that was ‘Lagayan ng dumi ng aso’ [‘Depository for dog poo’]. Initially, I felt proud to see Tagalog written by non-Filipinos on a poo can owned by non-Filipinos. Wow! Tagalog is going places nowadays.

“On second thought, I realized that maybe they included Tagalog because they suspect Filipino domestic helpers tasked to regularly walk their employers’ dogs are responsible for the unsightly sidewalk mounds.

“This and a recent brush with your articles on inquirer.net made me ponder about the role of Hong Kong in Philippine history. I bet that years back, our relationship with HK was more than just supplying them with our industrious Filipinas, both young and mature, to be their domestic helpers, right? HK must be one of the ports of choice for ancient Chinese merchants sailing to Las Islas Filipinas for trade, right?

“I know only a few significant historical facts. HK served as haven for some Filipino heroes during Spanish rule. Among them were Jose Ma. Basa, Felipe Agoncillo and Galicano Apacible. Rizal used to have a clinic on D’Aguilar Street. Aguinaldo’s junta. Marcela Agoncillo and the Philippine flag. Juan Luna’s death. Dewey’s fleet docked in Hong Kong harbor before taking Manila. What else should an interested Filipino living in HK know?

“I hope more of our countrymen will read your articles and get armed with the past for our continuing fight for a future more fair. I wish to see the day when Filipinos would only need to clean after their own dogs instead of any foreign master’s.”


THE BLOG AND THE AUTHOR:

...sapagkat ang gobyerno natin ay may "cash cow mentality" pagdating sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers.

(Read On "Milking the Cash Cow")

...sapagkat ako ay isa ring OFW; may mithiin, marunong magisip at nagnanais marinig... Makabagong bayani daw... Sa totoo'y tampok na gatasan ng pamahalaan. (English)

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