To commemorate the passing of the president we never had, I highly recommend this documentary by History Channel.
This day in 1983. No words.
Yes, I’m still on Philippine-American War mode (and #Mabini150 mode too). :) This is one interesting print in the Library of Congress. The Filipino forces is seen carrying the Philippine flag of the Republic. But the flag was incorrectly portrayed: the sun is not anthropomorphic, and, at war, the red side should have been on top.
Another interesting thing to note on the print, was the sky blue hue of the blue side of the flag. This is in fact a raging debate among historians.
Historian Ambeth Ocampo explains:
In 1955, the Heraldry Commission issued the official specification for the Philippine flag. The shade of blue given was United States Cable 70077, or navy blue. Earlier, all flags had been using navy blue.
However, the late Domingo Abella, the Director of the National Archives and a member of the NHI [National Historical Institute] believed that the shade of blue should be light blue, because he says that at the turn of the century when the Philippine flag was finally allowed to fly and be displayed after years of suppression, flag makers didn’t have a supply of light blue cloth. Thus, they used dark-blue cloth instead, perpetuating the mistake.
No documentary evidence was presented by Abella and so, he was not taken seriously till the late Teodoro A. Agoncillo also supported the camp battling for the light-blue flag. E. Aguilar Cruz, another member of the NHI stated in his monograph of [Philippine revolutionary and artist] Juan Luna that he found a watercolor by Luna which showed a Philippine flag with a light-blue field. [Aguinaldo’s first Prime Minister] Apolinario Mabini in one of his letters even proposed that the blue in the flag of the Revolution be “azul celeste”, or sky blue. The navy-blue camp is supported by all extant flags having this color, plus the testimony of Marcela Agoncillo, the only surviving daughter of Marcela Agoncillo, who made the original flag which Aguinaldo waved to the crowd outside his mansion in Cavite when he declared Philippine Independence.
However, both sides may be wrong, because in a letter to [sympathizer of the Filipino cause and friend of Jose Rizal] Ferdinand Blumentritt in 1898 [Filipino revolutionary] Mariano Ponce sent a drawing of the Philippine flag which showed that the blue is “azul oscuro” which is in between “azul celeste” (sky blue or light blue) and “azul marino” (navy or dark blue). So the blue in the flag is not sky blue but a shade lighter than the present navy blue. This caused confusion among the people. Someone mistook “lighter than the present blue” to mean sky blue, which is wrong. The issue would have ended here had Ponce kept quiet because in 1899, in one of the few letters he wrote in English, he told a Mr. Y. Fukishama, “My dear sir, I am sending you, by parcel post, one scarf pin representing our flag: please accept it as a poor souvenir. The blue color of the sky means our hope in future prosperity through progress…”
Noted historian Carmen Guerrero Nakpil asserts that the original color was “Cuban blue”, although this assertion is itself subject to different interpretations since there isn’t an official shade for the color blue in the Cuban flag.
This raging debate on the blue hue of the flag was finally resolved in 1998, when the government chose royal blue instead of American navy blue, Cuban blue or Pale sky blue.
"Battle of Paceo. (Manila) Feb’y 4’ & 5’ 1899. Am. Loss: Kill’d 22, W’d 145, Philip’s Over 1000," Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Manuel L. Quezon (1878-1944) was a very pragmatic man and full of charisma. Being half Spanish (and full Filipino by conviction), he was among many Filipinos who joined President Aguinaldo in the Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War. When Quezon surrendered upon knowing the capture of President Aguinaldo by the Americans in 1901, he set out to create a path for himself in this new world the Americans have created in the Philippines.
But Quezon was not one to give up that easily. He brought the fight from the battlefield to politics.
He rose up among the ranks of Filipino officials, when the American civil government in the Philippines finally opened many government positions to Filipinos (an unprecedented event, as Spain never did it with Filipinos). Quezon took politics by storm.
With the Nacionalista Party advocating for full Philippine independence supporting him, Quezon, and his sidekick Sergio Osmeña, sought the Independence Bill to be passed into law by the U.S. Congress. Osmeña, who was less charismatic than Quezon, led one Independence Mission to the U.S. Congress and was on the verge of closing the deal giving the Philippines independence—known as the Hare-Hawes Cutting Act. But as historians would surmise, Quezon did not want Osmeña having all the glory. The pragmatic Quezon rallied the Filipino leadership in the Philippines to go against Hare-Hawes Cutting Act saying it would do more harm than good to the Philippine economy. Finally the National Assembly succeeded in vetoing it. Meanwhile, Quezon took matters into his own hands and went to the U.S. The U.S. congress by this time was less receptive with regards to Philippine independence, but Quezon did not want to lose face. Finally, the Tydings-McDuffie Act was passed into law by the U.S. Congress granting the Philippines independence in 10 years time, to give time for transitory economic and political adjustments. Historians say the Act was almost the same as the Hare-Hawes Cutting. Nevertheless, Quezon brought home the bacon and was given a hero’s welcome when he went back to the Philippines.
In 1935, Quezon was elected, by a landslide, as the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, the first to hold that office. His opponent in the elections were heavy-weights: Aguinaldo, the first President whom he served in the war with Americans, and Gregorio Aglipay, the leader of the Aglipayan Church, with many adherents in northern Philippines.
When Quezon took office, he set out to establish structures that would propell the Philippines to be self-sustaining even after its independence from the United States, set on July 4, 1946. But clouds loom on the horizon. Japan by this time, had conquered Korea, China, and by 1939, Taiwan and Indochina. The enemy was already on the Philippines’ doorstep. Quezon, anticipating this, authorized the formation of the Philippine army, led by Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur, despite the opposition of the U.S. Government (out of fear that it may strain the deteriorating relations with Japan).
On December 8, 1941, the invasion of the Philippines by the Empire of Japan began. Quezon was in Baguio recuperating in his worsening condition, suffering from tuberculosis when war came to the Philippines. He wrote these powerful words:
“The zero hour has arrived. I expect every Filipino—man and woman—to do his duty. We have pledged our honor to stand to the last by the United States and we shall not fail her, happen what may.”
Quezon stayed in Manila utilizing every resource of the Executive branch to protect and sustain the people. On December 24, 1941, MacArthur advised the president to evacuate to Corregidor Island, a fortress designed to withstand Japanese attacks. From there, Quezon was sworn in as the reelected president of the Philippines, a country in great peril. Incessant Japanese shelling on the Bataan and Corregidor continued. Quezon was strongly advised by the U.S. Government to evacuate to Australia, to his protestations. He was then taken to safety (together with his family) to the United States.
As Quezon’s physical strength began to wain, he never wavered to call upon the American public not to forget the Philippines, through his government-in-exile in Washington. Depression overtook him, as he heard rumors in 1943 that the Japanese granted the Philippines its independence. As the U.S. redirected their focus in Europe, Quezon resenting the decision was known to have said:
“come, listen to this scoundrel! Que demonio! How typical of America to writhe in anguish at the fate of a distant cousin, Europe, while a daughter, the Philippines, is being raped in the back room!”
One can sense that strong resolve in him—a characteristic every great leader possesses. Quezon might be pragmatically ambitious and may be accused of wanting to be in the spotlight, but no one could doubt his sincere love for the nation he led. Quezon’s last moments on his deathbed removed that veil of a powerful man in control, and revealed this raw sincerity that was perhaps the very thing that made him charismatic to people. Who could forget Quezon’s meeting with Lt. Col. Emigdio Cruz whom he sent as a spy to the Japanese-controlled Philippines? When Lt. Col. Cruz told him that the people of the Philippines were still loyal to him and his government, Quezon broke into tears knowing the great sacrifice and hardship that entailed that loyalty.
Indeed, Quezon became what the country needed him to be. A great leader. He was, reputedly, one of the best ones we’ve ever had.
Celebrating the late president’s birth anniversary. :)
*Photo above: A rare cool photo of President Quezon, c. late 1930s colorized by the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO)
Woe to the Revolution when the day comes, when the people, overburdened by contributions and consumed by abuses, turn to their enemies for salvation!
I became a fan of Jerrold Tarog’s films ever since I saw his short film “Faculty” years ago. And then in last year’s Cinemalaya, there was “Sana Dati,” filmed by him, about letting go and moving on. Another Tarog film in this year’s Cinemalaya, “Mariquina,” was a great film about the famous Marikina shoemaker, Romeo Guevarra. And as if it’s not enough, Tarog will be releasing another great film, about one of the periods in Philippine history that is not that familiar to many—the Philippine-American War.
And it’s about the brash but heroic Filipino General Antonio Luna. I’m just hoping he will be true to the historical documents but not budge in terms of creativity. I’m pretty much interested in how he will treat Luna’s character—a well-trained general recommended by Rizal to lead the Filipino revolutionaries, a strict commander who sought discipline among his troops, but also had a temper problem. Tarog’s films never disappointed me, and I hope he doesn’t disappoint in this new film to be released in 2015.
See those sea of Filipino forces, in their full regalia in the Philippine-American War?
Taking a break from my Philippine-American War posts, here’s a little bit of humor oozing with vintage photos to supplement our country’s celebration of the Buwan ng Wika. Nothing beats speaking in your mother tongue. :D
According to the source, the photos featured are from the collection of historian Ambeth Ocampo.
Anong lumbay! I miss eating at Jollibee.
Image courtesy of the Facebook fan page “Anyare?”
Perhaps the oldest film of the Philippines you can find on youtube, this film was taken on March 23, 1900, filmed by American filmmaker Raymond Ackerman, right after the Battle of Mt. Arayat at Pampanga—one of the battles of the Philippine-American War. The film shows the U.S. Twenty-fifth Regiment, formerly led by Lt. William T. Schneck. They fought the Filipino forces who made Mt. Arayat their base. On January 6, 1900, Schneck wrote of an encounter with a Filipino soldier:
"When we got within forty or fifty feet of the top I saw one of the insurgents, and he seemed to locate me at the same time, and let drive, and the bullet went right over me. I yelled at one of the men on my right to kill the ‘hombre,’ and two of the scouts let drive and missed. Then I took a rifle away from one of the men and fired. The bullet struck a root in front of the insurgent and went through, missing him by not more than six inches. I thought I had him sure and crept up a little higher. Then he ran up and I ducked and he landed a bullet between me and Sergeant Lightfoot. A mighty close-shave—worse than the first. I got mad then and dragged out my pistol, handed back the rifle, and crept up on my stomach under a rock, and then raised up and fired a shot at him. This time I was not thirty feet away. My pistol missed fire the second time and I dropped back. The stone protected me and I lay there and looked around to see how many men there were with me. Martin was on my left and Lightfoot on my right with three other men—and that was all we had. So I knew we would have to get some more there or else we were all gone… Just then someone in the rear and then the whole outfit—about seventy men—turned loose. We poor devils on a hill were right in it then. Three bullets hit just below my feet, fired by my own men. The insurgent tried another shot at me, which went high—thanks be to God—and the rock. I curled up like a worm to make a small target for my men, and yelled like a stuck pig to cease firing."
*Quoted by David Sibley, A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902, p. 130.
Schneck died in an ambush by Filipino forces a few weeks later.
"The Leaders of the Revolt in the Philippines," Harper’s Weekly, 6 January 1900.
Reblogging this for the second time. This entire spread in Harper’s Weekly was one of the few portrayals of the time where the Filipinos were portrayed in a dignified manner. At this time while the Philippine-American War (1899-1902) was raging, there were very limited information going through to the American media from the Philippines, being filtered by the American military government centered in Manila. This misinformation coupled with racism gave Americans a perception of Filipinos as low breed “brown brothers” (as some would portray Filipinos in editorial cartoons as monkeys, blacks, or American Indians). The war would also be merely called an “insurrection” or “revolt” (as referred above) so as to justify the U.S. annexation and pacification of the Philippines, in need of ‘civilization.’
When Apolinario Mabini, as head of the cabinet of President Aguinaldo (Aguinaldo at the center of the spread), stepped down to give way to Pedro Paterno on May 7, 1899, he continued the fight for the Filipino cause in the realm of information and ideas. He was the perfect man to do so since he was trained in law and had a good knowledge of the geopolitics of the time, with familiarity with the American democratic process. Mabini, in his short stay in Rosales, Pangasinan before his capture, would write for local newspapers like La Independencia, a lot of times lifting entire articles or quoting excerpts from foreign newspapers like La Oceania, New York’s The Independent, Singapore Free Press, L’Independence Tonkinoise, The Hong Kong Telegraph, The China Gazette, The Philadelphia Public Ledger, and the Hong Kong Daily Press, to prove the illegality of the Americans’ possession of his country.
In a letter addressed to American correspondents of Harper’s Weekly, New York Herald, San Francisco Call and Chicago Record on January 22, 1990, Mabini wrote,
"Believing that you deal with Philippine matters with impartiality, so that public opinion in the United States would not be misled and be worthy of a great, free and cultured natiom, I take the liberty to ask you to write on the following points:
(1) The Filipino people does not have any hatred for foreigners. On the other hand, they warmly welcome and thank all those who support the desire to obtain their liberties and prosperity.
(2) Filipinos are fighting American forces not because of hatred but to show the American people that, far from being indifferent to their political situation, they know how to make sacrifices for a government which will assure their individual freedoms and govern according to the people’s desire and needs. They have not been able to avoid the war because they have not obtained any clear and formal promise from the United States for the establishment of such government.”
In this Harper Weekly’s spread, do take note of the following misspellings and errors: “Gregoria del Pilar” is Gregorio, “Artimo Ricardo” is Artemio Ricarte, “Jose Ignacio Pana” is Jose Ignacio Paua (the Chinese who President Aguinaldo appointed as general ), “Felipe Agoncello” is Felipe Agoncillo (the representative of the Philippine republic to the 1898 Treaty of Paris who was set aside by the U.S. and Spain), and “Col. Pedro Lionzon” is Gen. Venancio Concepcion.
Thankful for pupuplatter for posting this hi-res spread online. :)
Encouraging everyone to sign the petition to STOP and if possible DEMOLISH this eyesore of a building, a disrespect not only to Rizal, but also to his legacy—an affront to Philippine history. This is Rizal’s monument, the monument of Philippines’ national hero. If this condominium is allowed to continue, then any monument or national shrine, or heritage building in the country will be at the mercy of corporations that only think of their profit without batting an eye.
The petition by Carlos Celdran as follows: