Tuesday, July 26, 2016

*344. PICTURE-PERFECT: The Kapampangan Eye Behind the Camera

CLICK NA CLICK! Ace photographer Ricardo Reyes Twaño of San Fernando, owner-manager of Twaño Studio, the capital town's leading portrait salon in the 50s.

 “Pretty as a picture!”
That’s how a person of impeccable looks is often described—no bad angles, beautiful, whether from a distance or up close. But in truth, it takes more than a pretty face to be “Miss or Mr. Photogenic”—it is oftentimes the discerning eye behind the camera that can make or break the picture-perfect shot.

Since the advent of modern photography, Kapampangans have developed an eye for this art, creating pictures that not only document and preserve the moment, but also tell stories, capture realities, instruct and inspire.

 One of the earliest Kapampangan ace photographer was the prodigious Jose Ma. Piñon whose studios churned out “carte-de-visite”—small visiting card portraits popularized by the Victorian age. Piñon also took photos of the historic events in Malolos aduring the years of the Revolution.

 In the first two decades of the 20th century, Pampanga’s most in-demand photographers were Ramon Dizon (1882-1956) and Julio Valenzuela (1883-1940), who had studios in Angeles. They did mostly portraits—from solo sittings to family and wedding entourages. They were part of  the large Nepomuceno and Henson clans (Valenzuela, by marriage to Nemesia Henson Nepomuceno)  so it was said that they never ran out of subjects to shoot!.

 In the Commonwealth years, Juan de la Cruz Studio, under the proprietorship of Rogerio Lagman, rose to national prominence after being named as the official photographer of the 1933 Pampanga Carnival and Exposition.

Salon photography was certainly elevated to high art by Pablo “Bob” Razon who established a photo shop near the Manila Grand Opera along Avenida in 1946. His first patrons were Americans and their girlfriends; they could not pronounce his nickname “Pabs”, so they called him “Bob’s”, and the rest is history. Bob photographed presidents, moguls and mavens, socialites and royalties, celebrities and scions, with a long, successful career that ended only with his death in 2013. Today, he is acknowledged as the undisputed “Dean of Philippine Portraiture”.

Less well-known, but certainly just as skilled was Ricardo Reyes Twaño (b. 1922) of San Fernando. He was trained in Manila studios where he photographed personalities from Hollywood stars (John Wayne, Cyd Charisse, Harry Belafonte), statesmen (he photographed Pres. Carlos Garcia and family) plus scores of local showbiz celebrities, from Nida Blanca to Susan Roces. He set up the Twaño Studio right next to Pampanga Hotel which enjoyed quite a large patronage, especially from students amd American servicemen.

Selegna is perhaps Angeles’ most iconic photo studio run by the Pamintuans. The "home of glamour, haven of distinction" has been in service for over 60 years; its main shop was originally located along Henson St., with a branch at Sto. Rosario St. In the 50s, it specialized in glamourized portraits, family pictures, baby portraits and class pictures, with free panchromatic make-up.  Today, Selegna continues to be favored by students for their yearbooks, debutantes, prom queens and kings as well as newlyweds.

Romeo V. Vitug of Guagua began a career in journalism as a photographer for many publications like The Sunday Times Magazine. His photos were often used as covers in the tumultuous ‘70s. From photography, he shifted to cinematography and earned awards for his work in many Philippine movie classics that include Brocka's "Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa", "Atsay", "Wanakosey", "Bituing Walang Ningning", "Pagputi na ang Uwak, Pag Itim na ang Tagak", and "Madame X".

In the 80s, the place to go for picture and video documentations was Mukha Photography. It was put up by Rolly Baron (his mother comes from Dau), who dropped out of Ateneo to pursue his love of photography. His first successful offerings were portraits in either color or black and white, mounted on boards. He branched out to event coverages—weddings, baptisms, debuts, reunions—which made Mukha Photography a national name.

Never has photography in Pampanga seen livelier times than now, with more and more Kapampangans taking up the camera in the hope of following the footsteps of Holy Angel alumni Yen Baet. Her husband started her interest in photography and she surprised everyone by winning First Prize in a contest sponsored by National Geographic. Today, she is ranked as one of the world’s top ten travel photographers.

Another award winner is Ruston Banal Jr., who placed third at the World Photography Organization’s Sony World Photography 2013 contest with his work, "Kuraldal". He describes his works as "visual anthropology", with focus on people and social atmosphere where culture and heritage revolve".

Then there’s Angeleño Jason Paul Laxamana, who made a big leap from photography to film, megging the acclaimed, “Babagwa” for the 2013 Cinemalaya Film Festival. It has since made the rounds of moviehouses worldwide.

Cameras have gone digital, making photography so simple for everyone to do—no more films, no more developing process, no more waiting—just point and shoot. What has not changed is the perceptive eye behind the camera, who sees more than a subject in front of him, but a picture-perfect story about to unfold.

Monday, May 16, 2016

*404. Pwera Asug: BABIES AGAINST EVIL

BABY LOVE. A Kapampangan baby from Sta. Rita wears a coral bracelet to ward off afflictions of unnatural causes, like "asug". Corals were believed to be imbued with divine powers.

Since the dawn of time, man has been warding off earthly perils— the elements, disease, and threats from fellow human beings—arming himself with tools, weapons and all sorts of ammunitions. But when the danger is unexplained and unusual, he seeks assistance from other worlds—the supernatural. Thus, in our recorded history, we transformed through rituals and incantations-- metals, wood, stone, cloth, barks and herbs into weapons against evil.

Urban legends recount how revolucionarios went to the battlefields protected by oracions (prayers) written on their undershirts. In recent memory, the fantastic escapes of the 50s Cavite gangster Nardong Putik (Leonardo Manecio) were attributed to the power of his anting-anting that he inherited from Santiago Ronquillo (alias Tiagong Akyat). The government threw everything it had into capturing him, but to no avail.

 Closer to home, Jose Maria Henson (1820/d.1867) of Angeles was said to possess a magic sword that can render a person immobile just by pointing the sword or throwing the sword at him.

But what about helpless babies brought out into this world? How can he protect himself from the “evil eye” of a stranger which can hex a baby’s health? “Asug” ("usug" in Tagalog) is a term for such an affliction characterized by fever, convulsion, stomach ache and colic. This unintentionally inflicted folk illness is also widely known in Caribbean countries and Mexico as “mal de ojo” It is the belief that the child’s distress can be eased by asking the stranger to rub his saliva on the baby's tummy, shoulder or forehead and other body parts before leaving the house, while muttering “pwera asug…pwera asug” several times.

In the 19th century, newborn babies were protected from maladies by having them wear coral bracelets. Corals were believed to possess divine powers. A Greek legend has it that that when Perseus beheaded Medusa, he laid the Gorgon’s bloodied head on a bed of seaweeds, turning them into corals.

 In the Middle Ages, people kept pieces of corals in their purses, as talismans against witchcraft. Because of their shape, coral branches were also thought to protect the bearer from lightning strikes. For Tibetans and American Indians, the coral was an effective protection against the evil eye, while for Christians, the coral pink color symbolized the blood of Christ.

No wonder, coral jewelry became traditional gifts to both expectant mothers (for its blood-rejuvenating property) and their newborn babies (as protective amulets). Greek mothers hung coral strands on babies’ cradles while Romans strung coral necklaces for their kids. Coral was also used to prevent teething problems, which, in the early 19th century was believed to be responsible for many infant deaths. It was incorporated into teething rings to prevent bleeding gums.

 Silver objects were popular christening gifts in early 18th century Europe, as the precious metal was believed not only to have purifying effects but also repulsed evil of supernatural origin effectively. Silver rattles, bells, whistles and teethers –many made with coral trims--were standard presents to children of wealthy families, a tradition that did not catch on in the Philippines.

Of course, while Catholic sacramentals like medals (St. Benedict, patron against contagious diseases, is a popular choice) have replaced expensive coral and silver charms, there are still a few charms to help safeguard babies’ health and wellness.

Currently available is a “kontra-asug” bracelet that mimics those rarer and more expensive coral jewelry. Made of red plastic and black plastic beads, the bracelet comes with a red cloth sachet with a cross outside, containing seeds and dried plants, which can be pinned on the baby’s shirt. The bracelet serves to prevent “asug” as well sorcery.

So next time you bring baby out, never fear! He is not just powered by his vitamins and minerals to help build his ‘resistensya’, but--according to the old folks--he has sure protection against all sorts of maledictions, thanks to a charm bracelet that even Wonder Woman would want to wear. “Pwera asug!”.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

*403. TOTS IN STOTS: Life as a Soldier’s Kid in Clark Field

CHILDREN GO WHERE I SEND THEE. A military officer and his wife, hold their Pampanga-born twin babies in front of their Stotsenburg quarters. It was a challenge to raise kids in a camp before it became an urbanized, self-contained community in the 1970s. ca. 1920s.

The expansive sawgrass-carpetted land northwest of Kuliat that soldiers of the U.S. Army claimed in 1902 and later named Fort Stotsenburg had, by the 1920s, become a liveable place with a growing reputation as a preferred assignment by military servicemen. The camp became a self-contained community with many amenities that improved immensely its social environment.

Many American officers were given the privilege to bring over their families to the Philippines and reside inside the camp, helping them ward off homesickness and boredom. In 1909, there were just about  95 dependent children of both American officers and enlisted men, but by the mid-1930s, almost all of the American officers came with their wives and children. The birth of American babies further increased the child population, posing several issues such as finding domestic helps as well as establishing a school system on-base.

There was no problem looking for nannies, as labor was plentiful and affordable. American officers’ wives not only had Chinese cooks,  gardeners, lavanderas at their employ, but also had Filipino, Japanese or Chinese nannies and nurses to look after their babies and toddlers. When the sun went down at the camp, nannies would take their wards to the Officers’ Line (now the Parade grounds) for their regular afternoon promenade, a  leisurely stroll likened to a veritable “march of nations”.

In the course of the year, a program of events was planned for the amusement and social entertainment of Stotsenburg children—ranging from birthday parties, elaborate picnics,  aircraft rides at Kindley Field, animal and pet shows, to Santa’s visit  every December. Christmas trees were shipped from the U.S. and were set up on the porches, which kids then decorated.

Schooling of kids proved to be a challenge in the early years of the camp as there were not enough students to warrant a full-time school. The post chapel, in the 1900s, served as a school house, and there was also a separate school for the children of African-American soldiers by 1922.  Tutors were employed to teach five grades in one room , including a certain Miss Edmonds who was hired after a fruitless stint at a local Filipino school.

Two schools were built inside the camp in the 1920s—the 4-room Dean C. Worcester School (1925) and the Leonard Wood School (1929) which offered instructions from Grades 1-12. The schools flourished until the early 1930s.

It was only after World War II that the base went on a school-building spree, including an array of secondary schools for dependents. In 1949, the first Clark Elementary School for grades 1-8 was constructed near the site of the  future Wurtsmith/Wagner High School site. Six sawali buildings housed Grades 9-12. Eight teachers from the U.S. arrived in June 1949 to complete the faculty.

The Clark Dependents’ School, which started in 1950, evolved into the Wurtsmith School that offered both elementary and high school level education  The new Wurtsmith Memorial High School building was opened in 1961, and was designed for “tropical teaching and learning” (it was air-conditioned). On the other hand, Wagner High School, named after the WWII pilot Lt. Col. Boyd David Wagner,  was inaugurated in October 1962.

During school breaks, parents enrolled their hyperactive kids at the Hobby Shop that taught arts and craft subjects like pottery and leather-tooling. Other air force kids favored swimming and going to the outdoor theaters to while their time away.

Sadly, many of these places closely associated with the growing up years of American children in the heyday of  Clark,  are all gone, devastated by the great eruption of Mount Pinatubo. So, too, are the children who once had a run of the place—they have moved on, with many returning home to America as adults, fathers, mothers, grandparents themselves. But for many of them, a part of their childhood remains in a once-mighty military base that became their temporary home far, far away--Pampanga’s Clark Air Base.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

*402. GEN. LUCAS, KING OF BALUGAS.

LUCAS, KING OF BALUGAS, arrayed in regal splendor, in military uniform, boots, hat, and complete with military medals, badges and a swagger stick. 1922. Photo courtesy of Mr. Jim Biven.

Our history shows that Negritos (Balugas, now used pejoratively) , like other ethnic groups, have always been marginalized since the day lowlanders took over their lands and conquistadors drove them back into the far reaches of the islands, in uncharted mountains and forests. Still others were sold into slavery.

No wonder, Negritos continued to be nomadic in their ways, unable to integrate with other Filipinos. For many years, this has helped them retain their customs and tradition, including their system of leadership.

 The American Thomasite Luther Parker, in his report on work among Pampanga Negritos in 1908, wrote about a certain “King of All Negritos of Pampanga”, by the name of Lazaro. But while the Negritos did have their own leadership system, there were no “kings” to speak of. Among the clans in their community, seniority is equated to authority. The oldest member of the clan was sought for advice, especially when tribal transgressions took place, and was looked up to as a chief.

 It was an American general who first gave a Negrito a royal title--Gen. Johnson Hagood--who took command of Camp Stotsenburg in 1922. By the time of his assignment, the Negritos had become privileged visitors of the post, silently paddling across officers’ residences, peddling orchids, ferns, animals and cultural souvenirs like bows and arrows to the foreigners. Negritos had easy access to the camp, and Americans let them be—even gamely posing with the naked natives for photos.

Gen. Hagood was also fascinated by these dark-skinned Filipinos; he even wrote many anecdotes about them, which filled up 7 pages of his published 2-volume memoirs.

 Beyond his amusement and interest, Gen. Hagood shared the belief with fellow Americans that help and protection would not come from the local government; hence, he viewed the Negritos with paternalistic concern. The one who struck most his fancy was the Baluga chief, “General Lucas”, an elderly Negrito with a dignified mien and who conducted himself with a confident air.

 Gen. Lucas once presented himself to the general arrayed as “a brigadier general in a miniature khaki uniform wielding a sword” and wearing an assortment of “fantastic and humorous commendations”, one of which was a Manila Carnival medal that identified him as “a prize bull”.

 Hagood proclaimed Gen. Lucas as “King of Balugas ”, and gave him a peace-keeping role in his region that was often beset by feuding Baluga tribes. He was elevated to kingship in the presence of hundreds of fellow tribe members and amidst great fanfare as Gen. Hagood conferred more decorations to the new king. He was given the titles "Defender of the Orchids” and the “Grand Commander of the Order of Dead Mules, Second Class”.

 Of course, the ceremonies were all done in good humor, but Gen. Lucas took his title seriously, even posing for an “official royal photo” smartly dressed in military regalia. What his fellow Negritos felt or thought of at that time can never be known, but for the next decades, they continued to become fixtures of Clark Field, with many families settling in “Baluga Village” in the 1970s. They enjoyed perks such as free medical care (the base hospital allocated a budget for them), free food from welfare groups run by the wives of American servicemen, and they could also set up stalls to sell “authentic” souvenir weapons (actually, Manila-made).

 King Lucas is now but a blur in our memory, a king of nothing with his small” kingdom” nearly gone—swallowed by Pinatubo, taken over by malls and resorts, stolen by unscrupulous land grabbers. Even the culture and traditions of his race are being obliterated and changed by modernism. Help from the government has been too long in coming. Yet, the hardiness of these simple, free-spirited Filipinos remains, but only time will tell if this is enough for their future survival.

Friday, April 1, 2016

*401. LIZA LORENA: A Luciano Star from Magalang

LIZA WITH A K. Born Elizabeth Ann Jolene Luciano Winsett, this multi-awarded actress comes from a family whose history is linked with that of Magalang town, where she was born.

 The Kapampangan beauty who rose to stardom after a series of career moves was born Elizabeth Ann Jolene Winsett y Luciano on 31 October 1949, to American George Winsett and Magaleña, Josefina Luciano.

The Lucianos—together with the Cortezes and the Suings—are recognized as founders of the town, and Elizabeth’s forebears include prominent relatives like Dons Jose and Antonio Luciano, and the lawyer Andres Luciano.

 She spent her formative years going to Catholic schools at nearby Angeles, first at Holy Family Academy and then to Holy Angel Academy. Her family, however, moved to Manila when Elizabeth turned 13, so she had to complete her high school at Our Lady of Loreto in Sampaloc.

 Soon after graduation, she was accepted as a domestic flight stewardess at Philippine Air Lines, then took a corporate job at the Philippine Tourism and Travel Association as a tour guide/receptionist. Things became even more exciting for the teener when she joined the 1966 Bb. Pilipinas Pageant and placed second to winner Clarinda Soriano.

 This exposure led to movie offers from such leading studios as Sampaguita Pictures and Nepomuceno Productions. Asked to do a script reading with director Luis Nepomuceno, Elizabeth gamely went through the audition that she thought was for a commercial. She had prepared for the reading by practicing Tagalog, a language she was not well-versed in. Elizabeth was chosen from a field of over 60 ladies, but unbeknownst to her, the reading was actually a screen test for a movie project.. destined to be a classic --“Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak”’ 

 She was given the screen name “Liza Lorena”, and immediately was cast as Esperanza in a family drama headlined by major stars Charito Solis and Ric Rodrigo, who portrayed her parents. ”Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak” was touted as the “biggest Filipino film ever in 50 years ” and the first Philippine movie in color by De Luxe. It was released in 1967 to thunderous acclaim.

 Many thought that Lorena’s star would shine brighter after such an ominous start. She, however, put her budding career on hold after her relation with matinee idol Eddie Gutierrez produced a son, Eduardo Antonio Gutierrez Jr.. Just 18, the teen-age mother risked not only losing her career but also incurring the disapproval of movie audiences. However, Lorena was determined to take care of her son—who would grow up to be the equally-accomplished actor, Tonton Gutierrez.

In later years, she would also have a daughter with Honey Boy Palanca. Lorena would rebound only in 1982, in the acclaimed Peque Gallaga-helmed classic, “Oro, Plata, Mata”. The epic period film, which told of the changing fortunes of two Negros families with the coming World War II, earned for Lorena, the Film Academy of the Philippines’ (FAP) Best Supporting Actress award. In 1986, she won another Best Supporting Actress honors, this time, from Gawad Urian for the movie “Miguelito: Batang Rebelde”. 

That same year, she was named “Best Actress” of the Manila Film festival, for “Halimaw sa Banga” and was also cited by FAMAS with a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Pahiram ng Ligaya”. Her most recent Best Actress triumph came at the 9th Gawad Tanglaw Awards, for the movie “Presa”, completed in 2010.

 Lorena is also a staple in many popular TV series— “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” (ABS-CBN, 200) “Kung Mawawala Ka” (GMA 7, 2001-2003) , Maria Flordeluna (ABS-CBN, 2007) , "Lobo” (ABS-CBN, 2008), “Apoy Sa Dagat” (ABS-CBN, 2013), and “Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas” (GMA, 2013). In a career that spanned 4 decades, Lorena has appeared in more than 185 movies and television shows since 1967.

 Today, Lorena remains a single mother, and continues to be active in showbiz—a feat she takes pride in. One other source of pride is grandson, Carlos Philippe Winsett-Palanca, who, in 2009, placed first at the Kids Golf European Championships in Scotland.

Lorena, a Kapampangan speaker, also has remained very much in touch with her Pampanga roots—she regularly goes to her school homecomings at Holy Angel, now a University, in Angeles. She may have taken unexpected detours in the course of her life journey, but this resilient Kapampangan artist has always managed to get back on track, finding fulfillment on paths that few have chosen to travel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

*400. A SEASON OF SINNERS AND SAINTS

LA ULTIMA CENA OF ANGELES CITY. Holy Week evening procession, 1950s. 
 Just a few days from now, roads in Pampanga will be crammed with a procession of both sinners and saints—magdarame or flagellants imitating the passion of Christ, and life-like figures of saints, borne on richly carved and brightly-lit carriages, followed by a retinue of candle-bearing devotees.

 Such annual Lenten scenes provide contrasting sights— penitents walking in abject misery, stripped of their clothes, covered with grime and dust, with bodies bruised and bloodied. On the same road, one will also find santos resplendent in velvet vestments, wearing their silver halos, adorned with dazzling lights and flowers.

Though starkly different, these Lenten practices stem from a common personal objective—of fulfilling a vow, a “panata”-- a solemn promise made to God—in gratitude for answered prayers and for favors still waiting for divine intercession: a plea for for miraculous healing, for cleansing of one’s sins, for repentance.

 Both practices---deep-seated in our culture—require days, weeks and even months of preparations. Both have also become highly-organized family traditions. Dressing up santos for the kwaresma (40 days of Lent) involves at least 2 or 3 generations of families, who gather on such occasions to do their share. It used to be that ladies of the house prepared and arranged the images' garments, but now, even men have become adept at dressing manikin santos. 

 The Mercados of Sasmuan, who own a Sto. Entierro in a spectacular calandra (a glass casket) , have organized themselves by assigning specific tasks to family members. One branch of the family is responsible for the upkeep of  the antique silver components of the carroza (processional carriage), while another branch is in charge of Christ’s garments.

 The closely-knit Panlilio family of San Fernando have always taken pride in caring for their Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowful Mother), a tradition that began way back in the late 19th century. Every year, scattered family members make the trip back to their ancestral “bahay na bato” to help in preparing the image’s carroza, and in dressing up the image in her black velvet gown embroidered with gold threads. The family would then earnestly pray the rosary before the life-size image of their dolorous Virgin.

 “Like many traditions,” said one descendant Criselle Panlilio-Alejandro, “the Good Friday procession involving the Mater Dolorosa is more greatly appreciated as one grows older.”

 On the other hand in old Pampanga, to be a magdarame was purely a personal choice, an individual decision based on his relationship with God. It was not uncommon to find a cross-bearing penitent, his face covered in anonymity, trodding down dirt roads all by his lonesome. If, by chance, he meets a fellow magdarame along the way, he joins him quietly in his walk of faith.

 In recent times, more and more people are drawn into this bloody rite—to include whole families--brothers, sisters, wives and friends--who accompany the penitent as they intone prayers, whipping him to inflict more pain, propping him up when tired, providing water when thirsty, and taking occasional photos for posterity.

In Mabalacat, the practice of pamagdarame is organized with clockwork efficiency—the platoon of magdarames who crowd the city streets and the churchyard on Good Friday are dressed in similar Nazareno robes, equipped with professionally-made crosses, all uniformly painted with their designated barangay chapter.

 Times may have changed, but religious traditions endure. The belief in penance and salvation remains, but to many Kapampangans steeped in the practices of their colonizers , there are divergent ways to achieve them. One, is to be unified with Christ in his sufferings, as flagellants do, in an extreme display of physical mortification. The other is to contemplate on the Passion of Christ through staged processional scenes that depict the way of his Cross, involving mourning santos.

 The gory and the glorious. The pain and the pageantry. Sinners and saints. All these merge and converge on Pampanga’s roads once a year, only on Holy Week. May our traditions remind us that we are ransomed not by perishable things—like silver or gold—but with the precious blood of Christ.

 A BLESSED HOLY WEEK TO EVERY ONE!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

*399. A Tireless Thomasite: DR. ADAM C. DERKUM

PAMPANGA TRADE SCHOOL PARTY IN HONOR OF DR. ADAM C. DERKUM
Division Superintendent of Schools. Dated March 13, 1925.
The American contribution to Philippine education began with the arrival of Thomasites – a band of American teachers who came to our shores in 1901, lured by a sense of adventure, prospects of employment in the exotic Far East. and a genuine will to serve and build a new nation.

Of the thousands that were sent to help establish a modern public school system were the Derkums, from Richmond, Wayne, Indiana. The Derkum family, however, traces their beginnings in Wales, before becoming Hoosiers in America. Born in 1874, Adam C. Derkum studied and graduated from the University of Southern California. He was appointed to the civil service on 30 December 1903.

On 1 March  1906,  Dr. Adam Derkum, together with his wife Agnes, were assigned to Mexico, Pampanga. Alan became a supervising teacher, while Mrs. Derkum was put in charge of the intermediate school. In the years that followed, Dr. Derkum assumed a more prominent role as a Division Superintendent of schools in Zambales and Tarlac. He acquired a driver’s license in Manila so he could be more mobile as he attended to his duties in the region, often attending commencement exercises and giving addresses and speeches.

 On 31 March 1915, for example, he was at the evening graduation ceremonies of Iba central School in Zambales, where he awarded certificates and gave an inspirational talk to the class .  "The clear and distinct singing and speaking of the small boys and girls have won my heart”, Dr. Derkum said, “I believe that Zambales will be the first English speaking division of all the divisions in the Philippine Islands. Thus, it means that the larger part of the future young leaders and assembly men will be from Zambales”.  Hi address was met with deafening applause, as expected.

In the meanwhile, fellow Thomasite Frank Russell White,  had opened the first Philippine public high school building in Tarlac on September 1902. By 1915, the Tarlac Provincial High School had incurred much damage wrought by usage and time. Dr. Derkum, who had become the Division Superintendent of Tarlac schools, had a new building erected at a new location.  Wife Agnes Derkum became a teacher at this school and was the adviser of the 1918 pioneer graduating class.

In fact, at this first annual commencement exercises of the Tarlac High held on 27 March 1918, Dr. Derkum was in attendance as a guest speaker. He was there, along with Tarlac governor Ernesto Gardiner and principal Matthew D. Ashe to award diplomas and medals to class members, led by the valedictorian, Luciano Salak.

On 1 August 1925, he accompanied Mr. George R. Summers of the General Office  on a visit to Pampanga Agricultural School in Magalang.Both spent the whole day at this school observing academic classes and inspecting the nursery gardens and students’ farm reports.

Dr. Derkum took the lead in organizing various training programs for students,  through teacher camps and educational missions held in different provinces. He also looked into the conduct and performances of teachers ( for example, the status of a certain Miss Gilmer was investigated by his office).  As part of the American effort to promote physical education and national fitness, Dr. Derkum took part in the creation of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation, and became one of its founding members, that also included Manuel L. Quezon, Camilo Osias, Regino R. Ylanan and Jorge R. Vargas.

On a lighter note,  Dr. Derkum found much enjoyment when he attended the week-long "Pampanga Carnival and Provincial Fair", held from 20-26 February, 1925.  All the 22 municipalities of the province—including Camp Stotsenburg—participated in this exposition began with a parade of town floats presided by a princess-elect from the same. The fair was opened to the public by Princess Floridablanca, Eloisa Wolfert, after the speeches of Dr. Derkum and Gov. Sotero Baluyut.  

The next year, Dr. Derkum was chosen as President  and Chairman of the Executive Committee tasked with organizing the 1926 Pampanga Fair and Provincial Garden Day, This was to be one of  his last major activities as division superintendent of schools. Later in the year, the Derkums---with their four Philippine-born children in tow—returned to America where they would spend rest of their lives in California, even as the results of their life works in education continue to be enjoyed by a grateful Philippine citizenry.