Tuesday, March 21, 2017
FR. ANDRES DE SAN FULGENCIO was one of 3 Recoletos that began ministering in Mabalacat, Capas and Bamban sometime in 1712, along with Frs. Juan de Sto. Tomas de Aquino and Manuel de San Nicolas. His namesake saint is shown on this estampita.
Through difficult years, the Recollect Order helped in shaping the future of Mabalacat. They hold the record for building and administering the most number of churches and parishes in the country, until these were turned over to other orders or to secular clergy.
With the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565, also came the Augustinians, who had a headstart in the evangelization of the Philippines and the Far East. Back then, missionary groups were assigned territories to govern, and in 1575, the Augustinians named their “provincia” after the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Santisimo Nombre de Jesus) . As early as 1572 though, Augustinians were already active in the Pampanga region. The succeeding missionary groups that followed were the Franciscans (1578), the Jesuits (1581) and the Dominicans (1587).2
The Recoletos (OAR, Order of the Augustinian Recollects), an offshoot of the Augustinian reforms in 1598, were the 5th religious order to arrive, landing in Manila on 31 May 1606, with Fr. Juan de San Jeronimo leading the missionaries. By then, though, most of the areas have already been assigned to the earlier groups, with the Augustinians dominating in most Pampanga towns.
These “Discalced or Barefoot Augustinians” had to make do with the remaining uncharted and remote Zambales/Upper Pampanga regions, naming their “provincia” after San Nicolas de Tolentino. The noble Recoletos braved the province’s wild and untamed northern frontiers—and are credited with the early development of Mabalacat through their ministry, the only town that was not subject to the influence of the Augustinians.
1712 is widely recognized as the founding year of the Mabalacat township, on the basis of a Negrito settlement under the leadership of Garagan. Like Magalang and Porac , Mabalacat started as a forest outpost. Historian Fr. Valentin Marin confirms this date, with the deployment of 3 pioneer Recoletos to Bamban, Capas and Mabalacat, namely, Fr. Andres de San Fulgencio, Fr. Juan de Sto. Tomas de Aquino and Fr. Manuel de San Nicolas .
Another Augustinian historian, Fr. Agustin Cadava, also validated the aforementioned year, although there are other dates mentioned. Fr. Licinio Ruiz, a Recollect chronicler, puts Mabalacat’s founding year at 1714, while Fr. Andres de San Fulgencio cited 1717 in his report. Whatever, this would make Mabalacat older than San Fernando (1756), Sta. Rita (1726), Sta. Ana (1759), San Luis (1762) and San Simon (1771).
Fr. Andres de San Fulgencio would play a major role in the establishment of the Mabalacat mission, which would gain the status of a “mission viva” or an active mission center in a few years, from which the needs of nearby “visitas” , including those of Tarlac, were ministered. Fr. Andres’ early labors included not only dispensing spiritual services like baptisms and conversions of Negritos but also community-building duties like tilling of agricultural lands and constructions of houses.
Though successful in his early labors, the enthusiasm of Fr. Andres was met with lukewarm support from his elders, as it was only in 1725—a full 8 years after the mission’s founding—that a full-time, regular missionary was assigned to Mabalacat. That distinction belonged to Fr. Alonso de San Gabriel of Toledo Spain, who served Mabalacat from mid-1725 to 1728.
The Recoletos played a significant role in warding off the British during the British invasion of the Philippines. . Simon de Anda secured the help of Recoletos in the re-capture of Manila. Mabalacat served as an important point of transport for loyalist soldiers from Zambales and Pangasinan, which had a number of Recollect-ministered pueblos.
Appointed as a companion priest to Fr. Joaquin, but elevated to full misonero rank in 1765, serving in that capacity until his death in Bamban in Feb. 11, 1765. During his term, the British–Spanish War flared up. Lt. Governor and Visiting General Simon de Anda secured the help of Recoletos in the re-capture of Manila. Mabalacat served as an important point of transport for loyalist soldiers from Zambales and Pangasinan, which had a number of Recollect-ministered pueblos.
Beginning in 1800, there was a 30-year disruption of missionary activities in both Mabalacat and Bamban, due to acute shortage of priests (many died of tropical diseases like malaria), political unrest and new development in Spain. It was only in 1831 that Recoletos resumed their mission work in Mabalacat.
Notable Recoletos who came to work in Mabalacat include: Fr. Alonso de la Concepcion (30 Mar. 1792-1794) an accomplished Recoleto who held important offices in Spain and the Recoleto province of the Philippines; Fr. Diego Cera (9 June 1794-1797) who stayed only for a year, until his transfer to Las Piñas, where he built the world-famous Bamboo Organ; Fr. Jose Fernando Varela de la Consolacion (1834-1843, re-assigned to Mabalacat 13 May 1858-1860), an ilustrado priest whose biggest achievement was the elevation of the mission to a regular “parroquia” ca. 1836; Fr. Cipriano Angos del Rosario (served intermittently from 1840-1867), an important personage of the Order who was appointed as the Vice Rector of the Recollect Convent in Monteagudo, Spain; the saintly Fr. Juan Perez de Santa Lucia (23 Feb. 1844-Sept. 1845) known for serving and protecting Aetas, and Fr. Gregorio Bueno de la Virgen del Romero (30 Nov. 1875-10 Jul. 1898), the last Recollect priest known for putting a curse on Mabalacat before he was executed—that the town will never prosper.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
THE QUIASON FAMILY OF SAN FERNANDO. As painted in 1875 by Simon de la Rosa Flores. Central Bank Collection. Photo from the Press Reader.
It was Dr. Jaime Laya, former National Commission for Culture and Arts who observed” “Portraits are challenges to mortality. The originals may have long become dust, but their likeness remains—on canvas and boards—seeking to remind us living in the present, that they once were here.”
Portraiture is the most popular form of painting in the Philippines, and it took only 2 to 3 centuries for Filipino artists to imbibe Western portraiture art. Filipino portraiture came of age in the 19th century when the Filipino artist gained more confidence after achieving a measure of social and economic prosperity. Portraits are able to depict not only individuals but an entire social class of family members. Thus, we see not only individuals, but ilustrados, politicos, hacienderos, professionals, and even rich kids, who made Pampanga what it is now.
Early portraitists include the Spanish mestizo Damian Domingo, director of the first Philippine Art Academy in 1826, Severino Flavier Pablo (Capitan Viring) of Paco, whose 1836 portrait of Don Paterno Molo is thought to be the earliest to have survived ,Tondo-born master of miniaturismo Antonio Malantic (1820), and the Asuncion family of artists from Sta. Cruz, Manila led by brothers Mariano Asuncion (1802), Leoncio, a sculptor (1813), Justiniano or Capitan Ting (1816), Antonio, Mariano Jr., Ambrosio, and Manuel Tarcilo (sculptor). Leoncio’s son –Hilarion—and grandson Jose Maria, also became noted painters.
In Pampanga, there was no lack of portrait sitters as the numerous members of the landed gentry sought the services of itinerant artists. The most prominent name is Manila –born Simon Flores de la Rosa (1839), who settled in Bacolor and made the rounds of Kapampangan towns, and a handful of his portraits form part of his legacy.
Perhaps, his most-well known is that of the Quiason Family of San Fernando, headed by Cirilo Cunanan Quiason and wife Severina David Henson and their Two Children” painted in 1875. Cirilo’s 2 brothers, Lucio and Pablo, were successful landowners and traders, and each one commissioned Flores to create family portraits. The painting cost 50 pesos per head, in gold coins, for a total of 200 pesos. The seated baby is named Jose, and was originally painted with his male member exposed. When the baby Jose grew up, it was said he was embarrassed to see himself naked, so he—or someone--scratched away that part of the painting, causing a bit of damage. It has since been professionally restored, his nakedness covered.
In the town of Sta. Ana, Flores painted the pretty Andrea Dayrit. Her portrait hung in the 1840s Dizon house, famous in its time for its late Neoclassical and English Regency architectural details. Mexico has a couple of Flores portraits, and the most well-known is that of long-haired Miguela Henson in front of her dresser. It is now in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas collection.
Flores, who settled in San Vicente in Bacolor, also painted portraits of his wife, Simplicia Tambungui, originally from Guagua, but no work survived.However, in 1890, he painted a portrait of his brother Monsignor Ignacio Pineda Tambungui , a canon of the Manila Cathedral and a chaplain at the San Juan de Dios Hospital. In return, Msgr. Tambungui gave his brother-in-law church decorating-commissions in Pampanga towns.
Bacolor’s most influential couple in the 1850s also sat for Flores. Don Jose Leon y Santos was one of the sons of gobernadorcillo Francisco Paula de los Santos and Doña Luisa Gonzaga de Leon. Jose himself became a town head of Bacolor in 1857. The oil portrait of him was done in August 1887 when he was 59 years old. He was married twice, first to Arcadia Joven y Suarez , and upon her death, Leon Santos wed her sister, Ramona Joven. Her portrait was completed in August 1882. The paintings now hang at the Museo de La Salle.
One of the earliest known works of Flores, dates from 1862,--when he was just 23 years old. It is that of Don Olegario Rodriguez (1806/1874), patriarch of the still-flourishing Rodriguez clan of Bacolor, when the subject was “56 anos.” Until Pinatubo of 1991, it used to hang in the sala of his ancestral house but has since been secured by Rodriguez descendants in Manila.
Meanwhile, in Candaba, Flores painted two doyennes of the “principalia” landowning class: the severe-looking Severina Ocampo de Arroyo and the plump Quintina Castor de Sadie, a work dubbed as the “Fat Woman from Candaba.” Since the 1980s, they have been with Central Bank.
The Sioco progenitor of Apalit, Josef Sioco (1786/1864 ) has a surviving portrait, painted by Capitan Ting. A Chinese mestizo landowner known for his frugality (he was called “Joseng Daga” because he stashed everything away, like a rat), he courted Marta Rodriguez of Bacolor. Turned down, he married the older, less attractive sister, Matea, in 1856. He was 70, she was 21. When Sioco died, Matea married Juan Arnedo Cruz. Matea, Juan and elder daughter Sabina had portraits done by Flores as well, but these have disappeared, presumed stolen and sold in the 70s while being transferred to the Escaler house in Bacolor.
Many prominent Pampanga families were immortalized by Flores on oil and canvass, but some of these have been lost forever or their whereabouts unknown : Julian Buyson of Bacolor, the Gils of Porac whose portrait was lost after the war, Saturnino Hizon of Mexico, Jose Berenguer and wife, Simona Linares of Arayat, haciendero Lino Reyes and wife Raymunda Soriano(lost in a 1928 fire).
Lately, two century old portraits surfaced and are now on loan to the Center for Kapampangan Center at Holy Angel University by the heirs. They are those of Don Maximinao Songco, gobernadorcillo of Floridablanca and Guagua, and his wife, Juana Limlingan y Chintuico. They were painted in the last decade of the 1800s (10 June 1893 to be exact), which saw the start of the merging of the sensibilities of the past with the new techniques of the day.
Now comes the interesting and mysterious part. Both paintings are signed --Sg. Lorenzo R. There was one accomplished portraitist by the name of Lorenzo Rocha (b.1837/d.1898), a product Academia de Dibujo y Pintura and former painter to the Royal Chamber of his Majesty in Madrid. However, his signature does not match those of the Songco portraits and more research is needed to validate the creator of these 124 year-old paintings.
The desire to be remembered after one is gone is only human. But, in the stories we conjure as we view these portraits--these people live on. Through their faces, expressions, finery and pose---we see people as the artists saw them. In a way, we can understand a bit more of the lives, times, attitudes and character of these people who have made Pampanga what it is today.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
AMERICAPAMPANGAN GIRL. A young Pampanga miss in a strikes a pose in her modern Western-style outfit, complete with a hat, white gloves, high heel shoes--all fashionably Americana!
“Ang mga babae’y nagputol ng buhok, nag-alis ng medyas
Nag-ahit ng kilay at ang puting dibdib ay halos ilabas
Ang mga lalaki ay libang na libang sa lahat ng oras
Saan patungo ang ganitong bayan kung hindi ang maghirap…
- Miguel M. Cristobal, poet
Juan Crisostomo Sotto showed us a caricature of what we had become under the Americans through his story character—Miss Phatuphats. Formerly known as Yeyeng, she had developed an abnormal preoccupation with things American, and sought to erase her Kapampangan-ness by speaking only in English and affecting an air of Yankee superiority. As a result, she became a pitiful, laughing stock of the town, leading many to question whether the white ‘saxon” culture is truly fit to be assimilated by brown-skinned Filipinos.
The turning point in our history, historians say, began with the inauguration of the Philippine Assembly in 1907, and which saw Filipino participation in self-governance for the first time. Fear and distrust for white masters slowly gave way to awe and admiration. Filipinos took to adapting the great American lifestyle and the term “Sajonista” (Saxonist) was used to describe with a sneer, these Americanized natives, the new “modernistas”. They were “young ladies and gentlemen”, products of the public schools, who have taken to addressing each other with “Mister” or “Miss”, and who sought out to differentiate themselves from the common provincianos.
Names were the first to updated to give them a cosmopolitan sound—so Francisco became “Frank”, Jose “Joe” and Lucia, “Lucy”. Kapampangan parents had a heyday naming their babies with American appellations—Henry, Mary Rose, Helen, Charles. The young lads and lasses who went to Manila for their schooling returned home to their towns in their smart drill suits, stylish frocks copied from American fashion magazines and thigh-high stockings.
For the best in Western-style dresses, the taller de modas of Florencia Salgado, Maria Castro’s “National Fashion”, Sotera Valencia’s “Valencia’s Fashion”, and Marta Tioleco Espinosa’s “La Creacion” were the go-to places in San Fernando.
Bathing suits were an offshoot of the sporting events introduced by Americans, who were avid sports enthusiasts. Two of the first to wear them in public were Kapampangan sisters Amanda and Luz Abad Santos—daughters of Jose Abad Santos, who were members of the 1934 Far Eastern Games national swim team.
Meanwhile, American sartorial elegance was the promise of C. Hugo (Gentleman’s Tailor Modernist), Hilario Lapid’s Fashion (Cabildo), I.D. Cura (along Rizal Ave.) and De Leon Bros. tailors (Herran)—all Kapampangan suitmakers.
Young, independent colegialas had their eyebrows shaved, hair cut short, bobbed, curled and Marcel-waved in modern salons such as the one owned by Rosa Soliman. Their handsome boyfriends in their City Slick, Valentino or Executive hair styles and flared London pants took them out to soda parlors to have ice cream or watch vaudevilles (the “zarzuela” was considered passé) , and basketball games.
By the 1930s, the Philippines was completely under the American spell. It is said that the boogie-woogie, jitterbugging kids of the Swing Era were probably the most Americanized generation of young Filipinos. An observant few were quick to lament the eradication of our values as Filipinos became enamoured with the American dream with Hollywood movies, the carnivals and cabarets, the cigarettes and the scotch—providing the cheap thrills of youthful leisure.
Kapampangans’ love affair with America would last longer than most—even with the rise of nationalism in the 1950s, mainly due to the presence of Clark Air Base that was seen more as a boon, to the neighborhood community. For decades, the base provided thousands of livelihood opportunities, jobs, and, for many Misses Phatuphats among us, a possible ticket to a good life.
All that would end dramatically and abruptly in 1991, with Pinatubo kicking out America from Clark with finality. The American absence cleared the air and gave us time and space to reflect on what colonial mentality has done to us, and what we have been missing all these years. After bidding “adios” to Alice Roosevelt and Miss Phatupats, it’s now time to say “hello” to the rediscovery of our race, our own culture and heritage.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
A DILLER, A DOLLAR, A $500 SCHOLAR. Original batch of Filipino pensionados from 1903, taken in 1904, at Sta. Barbara, California. In this group are at least 3 Kapampangans who studied in U.S. universities as part of the government scholarship program initiated during the Taft administration.
At the end of the Spanish era, it has been estimated that less than one tenth of one percent of the population could be considered educated (roughly a thousand per a million people). Thus, an idea was conceived in 1901, broached first by the Taft Commission, to educate Filipino students in America so they could “acquire a thorough knowledge of the western civilization”.
Mr. William Alexander Sutherland, secretary to Gov. William H. Taft, is credited with planting the seed of the idea, which aimed to bring about closer relations and a better understanding between America and its new wards. Thus, on 26 August 1903, the Philippine Commission passed Act No. 854 that authorized the sending of the first 100 Filipino students to the United States for four years of study in American colleges and universities.
The collective name for these scholars was “pensionados”, which was actually a misnomer, as it is the Spanish equivalent of “pensioner”, a retired person who receives a pension or stipend from a private or government body. Even so, the American administrators stuck to the name, in 1903, and it proved to be the most successful scholarship project ever instituted in the Philippines.
The recipients, carefully selected from all the provinces went on to become the cream of Philippine civil service, academic, professional and entrepreneurial ranks. Mr. Sutherland, who would be named superintendent of the program, determined that 75 of the first 100 would be culled from the public schools. The rest would be chosen by a committee composed of a Philippine Commission member, the Executive Secretary and Mr. Sutherland,, based on the population and importance of the different provinces.
The pensionado program had three phases that spanned from the Taft governorship to the Commonwealth period, extending to the years before the war. The most well-known pensionados would be the original batches that would number about 200 scholars.
The scholars were shipped in batches to the United States, the first on 9 October 1903 numbered 104. The “Pensionado Leaving Day” was reported in 22 newspapers, and the send-off was marked with music, oratories and free San Miguel Beer refreshments. Also present was Gov. Taft who advised the boys to keep their feet dry, desist from eating too much candy, and reminded them that they were missionaries of their islands to America.
Thus, armed with their $500 allowance ($5 was allotted for personal expenses), the students began their 30-day journey across the Pacific to chase their dreams in their new mother country. Pampanga was proudly represented by 2 Kapampangans in this pioneering batch. In the succeeding years, a few more would qualify for the pensionado program, and would return back to the Philippines to achieve so much more—as accomplished builders of progress, educators, esteemed doctors, engineers, professionals and as heroes.
ABAD SANTOS, JOSE. (1904, San Fernando)
University of Illinois and George Washington University)
(b. 1886/d,1942) Abad Santos joined the 2nd batch of pensioandos in 1904 and went to the University of Illinois and George Washington University to take up Law. Fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Served briefly as the Acting President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and Acting-Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during World War II, in behalf of President Quezon after the government went in exile to the United States. Killed by the Japanese forces for refusing to cooperate during their occupation of the country.
BALUYUT, SOTERO (1904, San Fernando)
(b. 1889/ d. 1975). Studied at the Santa Ana Central and High School, California, University Summer Schools of Illinois; and University of Iowa, where he obtainhis Civil Engineering degree. Worked with the Bureau of Public Works on his return to the Philippines, as assistant engineer of Pampanga and Cavite in 1911. Elected governor of Pampanga in 1925, 1928 and 1937-1938 and served as senator for the Third Senatorial District. Became Secretary of Public Works and Communications in President Quirino’s cabinet.
DATU, MAURO M. (1905, San Fernando)
Studied at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, graduating in 1908. Upon his return, he became a teacher, and then principal of a school in Baliuag, Bulacan. In 1918, he was appointed as an enumerador for Baliuag, for the Philippine census project.
DE LA PAZ, FABIAN (1904, Macabebe)
(b.1889/d.1946 ) De La Paz went to Macomb College in Illinois (now University of Western Illinois) where he earned his education degree. Back in the Philippines, the teacher was appointed Principal of Tondo High School in Manila. He took night classes at the newly opened University of the Philippines in Manila where he finished law. Congressman from 1928-31 (8th Philippine Legislature) and 1931-34 (9th Philippine Legislature).
ESPIRITU, JOSE (1903, Apalit)
Studied at the State Normal School, Trenton, New Jersey and graduated with a degree in Education.
GOMEZ, LIBORIO (1903, Sto. Tomas)
(b. 1887/d. 1958) Complete his doctoral studies at the University of Chicago in 1908 . Bacteriologist, pathologist,medical educator, scientist. On his return to the Philippines, he served as pathologist at the University of the Philippines, San Juan de Dios Hospital, and Far Eastern University. Served as bacteriologist at the Bureau of Science until 1923 when he was appointed as Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology at the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine.
GUTIERREZ, PERPETUO (1905, Floridablanca)
Went to the College of Physicians and Surgeons and became a specialist in dermatology and venereal diseases, doing graduate work at Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities. Dr. Gutierrez would later become head of the Department of Medicine at the Institute of Medicine of Far Eastern University.
LICUP, ROMAN (1905)
Studied at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Armour Institute, Chicago. Joined the government service upon his return and became an assistant manager of the Manila Railroad Company in 1909. He stayed on for over 42 years, but was separated from the company due to internal reorganization. He sued the government, but lost, and died a pauper.
LORENZO, TOMAS (1904)
Studied at the Agricultural Collge in Ames, Iowa.
NICDAO, MIGUEL (1903)
Attended State Normal University in Normal, Illinois. In Sutherland’s list, he is identified as a Pampanga student, but the records of FANHS (Filipino American National Historical Society) lists him as coming from Manila.
SANTOS-CUYUGAN GERVACIO (1904, San Fernando)
Attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago, Illinois. His roommate was Jose Abad Santos. Became an assistant professor of surgery upon his return to the Philippines .Was a charter fellow of the Philippine College of Surgeons. He was one of Pres. Quezon’s trusted physicians. His daughter is the operatic singer, TV, movie and theater personality, Fides Asencio-Cuyugan.
YUMUL, VICTORIANO (1904)
Nothing is known about him, not even his school he attended is known.
http://www.orosa.org/The%20Philippine%20Pensionado%20Story3.pdf The Pensionado Story
http://www.orosa.org/The%20Philippine%20Pensionado%20Story3.pdf The Pensionado Story
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
OUR LADY OF LOURDES. The statuesque Unding was a princess in the Manila Carnival court of Queen Trinidad Fernandez. She was a grandchild of former San Fernando gobernadorcillo (1844-1875), Don Bernardino Singian de Miranda.Author's Collection.
The earliest known Kapampangan participant in the Manila Carnival of which there is pictorial documentation is Lourdes Sinjian (Filipinized into Singian) of San Fernando. There was another Kapampangan entrant by the name of Benita S. Reyes who topped the preliminary voting in Pampanga, but apparently, her candidacy did not prosper and virtually nothing is known about her.
On the other hand, Lourdes did much better, joining the court of the 1924 Manila Carnival Queen, Trinidad Fernandez, as one of the 6 lovely “damas”. Lourdes, nicknamed “Unding”, (b. 23 October 1903) was the grandchild of Don Bernardino Singian de Miranda (former gobernadorcillo of San Fernando where he served several terms between 1844-1875) with second wife Clemencia Gotiangco of San Fernando. Her parents were Anselmo Singian and Paz Soler.
A statuesque “mestiza Española”, she spoke flawless Spanish, Kapampangan, Pilipino and Cantonese, in a voice that was strong and vibrant. Her patrician manners only served to complement her elegant bearing. At the coronation of the Queen, she was escorted by another mestizo, Ito Kahn.
A niece, Gabriela D’Aquino recalls that during the Japanese Occupation, Unding’s imposing height and no-nonsense demeanor served her family in good stead. Japanese officers who had come to invite her young cousins to parties were often intimidated by Unding and left the house alone.
After the war, Lourdes and her mother went to Hong Kong, to follow her sister Maria Paz (Nenita) who had left the Philippines to marry a Hong Kong native, Gaston D’Aquino. Choosing to reside in the British Colony, Lourdes was never at a loss for company. Vicente Singian, for example, was the Philippine consul in Hong Kong in the 1950s. The famed surgeon Dr. Gregorio Singian, together with his wife, made frequent travels there as well. Both were her cousins.
Relatives would recall that Lourdes made a perfect tour guide whenever family members came a-visiting. In one such shopping spree at a Hong Kong store, she would pretend to be a stranger, but when she would sense a dishonest deal, she would berate the shop owner in eloquent Cantonese!
With her relatives though, Lourdes spoke in Kapampangan, often reminiscing about her days in Pampanga and Manila. Lourdes did not leave Hong Kong until her mother, Paz, fell ill and had to be flown back to Manila for treatment at Clinica Singian. After her mother’s death, she remained in the Philippines only to return to Hong Kong in the 1960s to care for her ailing sister Nenita.
Upon the death of her sister, Lourdes took over the household and continued raising her sister’s children Gaby, Gaston Jr. and Gerardo, running a household with discipline and efficiency. Known for being nimble and spritely even in her old age, Lourdes remained unmarried until her death in Hong Kong on 4 July 1993. Her remains were brought back and interred at the Mount Carmel Church in Manila.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
SACRIFICE IN O'DONNELL. The saintly Recoleto, Fr. Baldomero Abadia, who was a friend to two holy men--St. Ezekiel Moreno and Bl. Vicente Pinillo, met his martyrdom in O'Donnell, Tarlac, a casualty of the Philippine Revolution.
That Kapampangans' reverence and love for their Augustinian friars could be gleaned from the many letters of praises written by town leaders and local folks, kept in the archdiocesan archives of Manila and in Spain. Many of these include requests for extension of the friars' terms, due to their good deeds and selfless service. Indeed, the 18th-century chronicler Fray Gaspar de San Agustin described the faithful of Pampanga as being “ very good Christians, most respectful of their ministers.”
This kindly and accommodating attitude, however, was severely put to a test during the Philippine Revolution against the repression of Spain. The revolutionists’ growing animosity towards their colonial master spilled over to the Catholic church and its leaders, with fatal consequences.
One such tragic victim of circumstance was the saintly Fray Baldomero Abadia. Abadia was born in Jarque del Moncayo in 1871. His father Marcos had this idea of naming his sons after Queen Isabel’s generals—and so this son was named after the Prince of Vergara, Don Baldomero Espartero. His older brother had earlier been named Leopoldo, after the first Duke of Tetuan, Don Leopoldo O’Donnell.
Baldomero entered the Recoletos community of Monteagudo, Navarre province, where, on 4 October 1887, he professed his vows. During his stay at the rectory, he became acquainted with two future holy men—St. Ezekiel Moreno, who, in 1885 had just returned from the Philippines to be chaplain at the Augustinian Rectory at Monteagudo. The saint corresponded with Baldomero before he embarked for Colombia in 1888.
With Blessed Vicente Ibanez Pinilla, Fray Abadia formed a lasting friendship. They were after all, from the same province of Zaragoza (Pinilla was from Calatayud town), and knew each other’s families. Their friendship would even deepen when they had their 5-year philosophical and theological formation in the convents of San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja) and Marcilla (Navarra). The two missionary priests would make a trip to Philippines together, arriving in Manila on 18 September 1892.
Initially, both were assigned in Manila, but Fr. Pinilla was shuttled from Mindoro to Manila and back to Mindoro where revolutionists held him captive in Bongabong. His superiors thus recalled him from the Philippines and shipped him to Brazil. He would be martyred in Motril, Granada in 1936, along with seven others, during the Spanish Civil War. He and his companions were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 7 March 1999.
Meanwhile, Fr. Abadia’s assignment took him to Alaminos. Sometime in January 1896, he was made parish priest of a newly created O’Donnell town in Tarlac, a canny coincidence as the town—like the friar’s brother, Leopoldo O’Donnell—had been named after the same Spanish general. There, Fr. Abadia worked with tirelsslsy, unmindful of the dangers of a brewing revolution. Historiologist Fray Francisco Sadaba noted of his work inn Tarlac: "There he fulfilled the functions of his sacred ministry, for he was a young man of angelic customs and a truly apostolic spirit."
But at the end of August 1896, the Philippine revolution had exploded, spreading quickly from Manila to the border provinces. Several Recoletos were murdered, and Fray Baldomero found himself in the danger zone. In his last letter to his family dated Oct. 27, he calmly reassured them that, for his safety, he was sleeping in the soldiers' barracks.
But he was not safe at all—Fr. Abadia could not trust even his own parishioners. On October 31, Filipino insurgent troops entered O'Donnell and, as Sadaba described his cruel passing, the revolucionarios "inhumanly sacrificed him in hatred of Religion and Spain." Fray Baldomero Abadia was not even 27 years old.
Romanillos, Emmanuel Luis A. The Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines, Hagiography and History., Recoletos Communications Inc. 2001.
Romanillos, Emmanuel Luis A. The Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines, Hagiography and History., Recoletos Communications Inc. 2001.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
DAY OF ALL DAYS. The town motorcade is one of the highlights of the pre-war High School Day celebrations of Holy Angel Academy, with thematic floats created by different classes taking centerstage on Angeles roads.1940s.Personal collection.
The stirrings of an imminent global war were already being felt in Europe in 1941, as Germany’s assaults continued all over Europe and in Africa. London had been bombed, and the U.S. had also been girding for war in the Pacific with the appointment of Admiral Husband Kimmel as Commander of the US Navy. News of the impending spread of the escalating war made the front-page of newspapers every day.
But to students of Holy Angel Academy in Angeles, the war--in 1941--seemed far, far away. Since its founding in 1934, Holy Angel Academy had grown to become a premiere school in the province, with a reputation for accessible, quality education, known for a perfect balance of academics and activities. At least, for now, the war was no cause for worry,
That year’s edition of Holy Angel’s High School Days was truly special, as a new high school building had just been completed in the sprawling campus. The week-long event from 18-23 February was packed with many activities that would be hailed and talked about by local papers for days.
The kick-off event began on February 18, Tuesday, with an English operetta, “The Magic Ruby”, staged for the public by students. The stage décor, the costumes, and the performance of the actors earned rave reviews, but the highly-anticipated Wednesday parade got even more enthusiastic media responses. Each high school class fielded a carroza (float) that visualized a relevant theme.
A reporter from Pamitic, a local paper, gushes: “ Ding carroza mipapatlu la casanting…Quing iquit cu queting parade, aburi queng dili ing macabansag “POWER”, uling masanting yang tutu sasabian. Queting carru, lerawan de ding qñg cuartu añu, ing TRES CAIDA na ning Apung Guinu. Qñg lugal ning Apung Guinu, binili reng mamusan qñg cruz ning Democracia. Iting tragedia ning Democracia tatañgalan nang Juan de la Cruz at Uncle Sam cabang ding bansang-upaya macapadirit la qñg Democraciang misubsub. Ila ding Judios?” (The floats are beautiful…In what I have seen in the parade, the one that I like most was the one that had for its theme-“POWER. The float was made by seniors in the manner of the “Third Fall of Christ”. In place of his cross, Christ is made to hold the Cross of Democracy. Juan de la Cruz and Uncle Sam stare at this tragic scene, while powerful countries surround the “fall of democracy. Do they represent the Jews?)
Also joining the parade of floats was Miss Holy Angel Academy, Maria Narciso, who was met with resounding applause from people who lined up the road to watch the colorful proceedings. “Cabud iquit me, aguiang emu uculan, macapacpac ca. Ing jinjin na bague na ning cayang lagu!”. (Once you see her, you will instinctively clap. Her demure manner fit her beauty!)
Day 3 ( 20 Feb.) was Field Day, in which calisthenics demonstrations, folk dances and games were held on the school grounds. Notable was the “Bailes de Ayer”, choreographed by Miss Aranda and danced by the high school seniors, which included the reigning Miss HAA, Maria Narciso and Miss 4th Year, Clara Setzer. “Iting terac da, e ca marine”, the same reporter noted, “apaquilimpu mu qñg masanting diling folk dance king America at Europa” (You'll be proud of their dance; it can stand alongside the best folk dances of America and Europe) . As for the games, ”Spot the Spot” drew the most participation and enjoyment.
On Friday, 21 February, different high schools from Pampanga vied for the governor’s tropy—Copa Baluyut—in the military exercise competitions. Adding excitement to the contest was the presence of the Philippine Army Band which thrilled the audience with various march music. Five officials from Camp Del Pilar and Camp Olivas judged the drill contest that was hotly contested by Guagua Institute and Stotsenburg Institute. In the end, the cadets from Guagua Institute won the coveted Sotero Baluyut Trophy. The host contingent from Holy Angel did not win, but their bevy of corps sponsors were adjudged the most beautiful.
Saturday saw the return of HAA alumni in a grand homecoming, and the re-staging of “The Magic Ruby” in the evening that was open to the general public. The High School Days drew to a close with an exciting basketball tournament highlight. The school was jampacked with students and Angeleños who watched the nationally-ranked U.S.T. college team play against an elite MICAA (Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association) selection.
In just 10 months, the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor, and then invadethe Philippines on 8 December. World War II would take away much from Pampanga, but not the memories of that year’s Holy Angel’s High School Day—six special days that are still fondly remembered by oldtimers and alumni who witnessed these and all—“ding mangasanting nang pepalto ning Holy Angel..”.
Ing Pamitic, local weekly Kapampangan newspaper, February 1941 issues.
Ing Pamitic, local weekly Kapampangan newspaper, February 1941 issues.