Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Sultan was a no-show for his photo shoot on Christmas day, 1879

The photo session was scheduled 25 December 1879, but was postponed for the next day, because the Sultan was not well.  But Montano dated his account of how this portrait was taken on 27 December.

The Sultan of Sulu Mohammed Yamalul Alam  [Jamalul Alam] was a no-show for his photo session with the French scientists  Joseph Montano and Paul Rey on Christmas day, 25 December 1879.   They were told the Sultan has a terrible headache.

Everything had been prepared for this major photo-op.  They had, in fact, been allowed to install a dark room under the palace. 

They had been waiting for this big event since arriving in Tianggi (Jolo) on 15 November as part of their biological and anthropological mission to the Philippines and some Malayan islands for the French Ministry of Education .  Their letter request for a photo session with the Sultan was never answered. They were finally able to have an audience with the Sultan and his court, and a photo date agreed on, after they were introduced by Herman Leopold Schuck, a German in good relations with the Sultan ever since they met in 1864.

Still they waited, reminiscing about Christmas day being devoted to reunions with their family and friends in their country, entertaining ridiculous questions from the crowd about portraiture without pencil or brush and beards of white men against thin hair on the Chinese or Malay chins, and listening to loud objections to their task because Allah forbids the making of portraits, and the Sultan would die of it. The datus swore that no portrait would leave the royal village of Maibun.

Before this appointment with the Sultan, they had been subject to violent encounters. They were visiting with Schuck when his place was assaulted by armed men.  There was also an instance when huramentados attempted to attack them but their Spanish guards gunned them down.  

All they needed now was a jewel, a portrait of the Sultan Jamalul Alum, since they have already collected interesting biological specimens, and have logged down their observations on the physical and cultural structure of the place and the people. 

They then pretended to depart, destroying the dark room with heavy crashes, packing their bottles of chemicals, and shouting that they would be punished by their own “Sultan” for not completing this assignment.  The pretext had an immediate effect.  The son Brahamuddin appeared suddenly half-naked and without his turban and told them his father would be well the next day, which we take to be 26 December but this was dated the 27th in Montano’s account of their mission from May 1879 to June 1881.

It turned to be a great day for the French scientists when the Sultan, pale and magnificently dressed, appeared, surrounded by his court, all in their gala costume with the clothes and ornaments glittering under the sun. 

They mounted the camera, measured the distances, and when everything was ready for the shoot, the Sultan withdrew and had his son take his place.  The click proceeded just the same and the result served as the test shot.  The plate was developed, and Brahamuddin almost came out perfectly.  The Sultan then became very enthusiastic, losing his usual serious mien.  He imposed silence among his datus, and pretty soon, he had himself photographed—bust, sitting, standing, alone or in company.    “If I listened,” Montano wrote, “I could have taken photos up to the last slave.”

Montano and Rey had to strategize next how to leave with the plates and return to their haven within the Spanish fortifications in Jolo without any hindrance.  They were quite certain the Sultan would allow them to bring the plates but not the Sultan’s men.  They developed several copies while the armed datus kept the dark room under surveillance.

The scheme worked. They brought back the portrait not only to Jolo but also to the world. With his portrait in Montano's “Voyage aux Philippines et en Malaisie”, which was published in 1886,  Sultan Jamalul Alam remains very much alive to this day. We see him in almost in every book or publication about Muslims in the Philippines either in the cover or as an illustration of an article on Muslim cultural or political issues.   

Anybody who asks who he is would be surprised to know that significant events in the history of the country under Spain and of Sulu happened during his reign (1863-1881), and until today, the Sultan continues to impact on our country’s foreign relations particularly with regard to the Sabah claim.

Jolo fell to the Spanish forces under Admiral Jose Malcampo on 21 February 1876. Two years later, the Sultan signed a treaty putting the whole of Sulu under the protectorate of Spain on 22 July 1878.

Six months earlier however, on 22 January 1878, Sultan Jamalul Alam  and his datus signed the “Land Grant of 1878” or the “Grant by the Sultan of a Permanent Lease Covering His Lands and Territories on the Island of Borneo” to Gustavus Baron de Overbeck of Hongkong and to Alfred Dent, Esq., of London, who were acting as representatives of the British Company, for the “sum of five thousand dollars annually, to be paid each and every year to his heirs and successors “until the end of time.”

There had been disputes among this Sultan’s heirs and successors to this day, and of course, conflicts in the interpretation of the January and July 1878 agreements had been subjects of arguments among the signatory countries with regard to the land grant.


    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    77 fathers & sons in Jesus Christ's genealogy according to Luke 3:23-28

    This is one of two framed genealogy charts at the Family History Center of the Philippine Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Quezon City.  The other one is that of Jose Rizal.

    We've been doing genealogical research at the Family History Center on Temple Drive, Quezon City, poring through microfilmed baptismal, matrimonial and baptismal records dating back as early as 1795 in the church documents of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, and 1849 for those of our hometown, San Narciso, Zambales, in search of Ilokano roots in both our maternal and paternal sides of the family.

    The first time we visited the center, our attention was immediately caught by two framed genealogy charts: that of Jesus Christ right beside His portrait near the entrance door, and that of Jose Rizal close to the cubicle of microfilm readers.

    What intrigued us right away was the mathematics in the design of Christ's genealogy chart:  7 columns with 11 rows each, or a total of seventy-seven (77) names to trace from God to Jesus, based on Luke 3:23-28.   Sometimes we ask new friends there if they've looked at the frame closely and if so, to tell us how many names there are in the Jesus tree.  If we get a 'what' expression, we tell them to do a little math with the rows and columns. 

    While the number is less than 77 in 'the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah'  according to Matthew 1:1-17, his summation of generations are interestingly multiples of 7:  "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations (Matt. 1:17)."  

    Luke, according to church scholars, traced Jesus Christ's lineage to Mary while Matthew traced it to Joseph.  This we gleaned from 'Why are there different genealogies for Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3?' by the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.   

    References (without the footnotes) from

    Luke 3:23-38
    New International Version (NIV)

     23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
       the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,
       the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
       the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
     25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
       the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
       the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,
       the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
       the son of Josek, the son of Joda,
     27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
       the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
       the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,
       the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
       the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
     29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
       the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
       the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,
       the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
       the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
     31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
       the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
       the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,
       the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
       the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
     33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,
       the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
       the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,
       the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
       the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
     35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
       the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
       the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,
       the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
       the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
     37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
       the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
       the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,
       the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
       the son of God.

    Matther 1:1-17
    New International Version (NIV)

    The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
     1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
     2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
       Isaac the father of Jacob,
       Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
     3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
       Perez the father of Hezron,
       Hezron the father of Ram,
     4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
       Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
       Nahshon the father of Salmon,
     5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
       Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
       Obed the father of Jesse,
     6 and Jesse the father of King David.
       David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
     7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
       Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
       Abijah the father of Asa,
     8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
       Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
       Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
     9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
       Jotham the father of Ahaz,
       Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
     10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
       Manasseh the father of Amon,
       Amon the father of Josiah,
     11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
     12 After the exile to Babylon:
       Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
       Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
     13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
       Abihud the father of Eliakim,
       Eliakim the father of Azor,
     14 Azor the father of Zadok,
       Zadok the father of Akim,
       Akim the father of Elihud,
     15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
       Eleazar the father of Matthan,
       Matthan the father of Jacob,
     16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
     17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    A Philippine Christmas tradition--Misa de Aguinaldo then, Simbang Gabi today

    Belen on the grounds of the Philippine Temple of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, Quezon City.

    The countdown began yesterday morning (16 December) with the first of the nine dawn masses in Roman Catholic churches all over the archipelago. As we write, that would be 8 days to Christmas proper--the 'twelve days of Christmas' of the popular song that starts with a partridge on pear tree and ends with twelve drummers drumming--the twelve days between Christmas day, 25 December, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, and the feast of the Epiphany, the traditional Three Kings day of 06 January of the next year.  

    We remember that our father was not a church goer.  But until he retired from his job at the US naval facility, he never failed to hear the dawn masses before boarding the Victory Liner bound for Subic, almost an hour away.  

    For some time, we were utterly confused if this aguinaldo mass was the same as the misa de gallo, and which one referred to the midnight mass on the eve of Christmas . The first means 'Christmas presents,' and 'gallo' insinuates the cockcrow that should rouse us up from bed for the morning mass.

    Childhood in an Ilocano-speaking coastal town of Zambales meant braving the chill of December dawn to attend the misas de aguinaldo.  When we moved to Manila, the misas became Simbang Gabi (night mass, literally) and we missed the peaceful walk on unpaved streets to the church in the town plaza.  

    To Puerto Ricans, and probably other Hispanic countries, aguinaldos refer to their Chrismas songs; hence, in their nine-day dawn masses, they sing aguinaldos, villancicos (which the indios of las yslas Filipinas learned to sing) and other religious hymns.  They call the midnight misa de aguinaldo of Christmas eve the misa de gallo.

    According to popular legend, the Spanish friars had the misas at dawn so that the indios labradores can hear them before they hie off to farms outside of town to tend their crops. A recent account suggests that our Simbang Gabi has its roots in Mexico when, in 1587, the pope approved the petition of Fray Diego de Soria of the San Agustin Acolman convent there to hold Christmas mass outdoors for the overflow of churchgoers attending the evening service.

    Church historians however tell us that the midnight mass had its origins among the Christians of Jerusalem, citing the account of Egeria, a woman pilgrim to the Holy Land in 381-384, about the commemoration of Christmas "with a midnight vigil at Bethlehem, followed by a torchlight procession to Jerusalem arriving at dawn [at] the Church of the Resurrection" on January 6.  The second dawn mass is said to have been celebrated around 550 by the Pope at the Church of Anastasia on December 25, which happened to be also the feast day of St. Anastasia.

    Belen in the lantern made of dried coconut materials. Photo taken at the Lantern Parade of UP Manila.

    More than a century after the Christianization of the Philippines, Fray Juan Sanchez (1683-89) was writing about the misas de aguinaldo being contaminated "with practices that were superstitious, and contrary to the holy rites of the church."  Thus, there was a time after 1680 that the archbishop prohibited the celebration of the masses here.  

    Around a century later, Fray Pedro Murillo Velarde (1749) was writing about the nine-day early morning misas de aguinaldo being sung with great solemnity.

    More than a hundred years later, Fray Pedro Rosell (1885) described to his superior the religious ceremonies being held "to honor the birth of our Blessing, Jesus."   To prepare for Christmas, he wrote of the celebration of the immaculate conception "a week beforehand", and then followed by "a daily mass of the [Virgin Mary]," which we read as the nine-day dawn misas de aguinaldo.

    "On the last day or the vigil of the feast," wrote Father Rossel, "a pleasing, although simple Belen was made at one side of the presbytery in which were placed the images of the Child, Mary, and Joseph. Christmas eve came, and at eleven o'clock the bells were rung loudly, and from half past eleven until twelve, a continual ringing of bells two at a time announced to the people that the mass called Gallo was to be celebrated in memory of that holy hour in which the eternal Son of God the Father, made man in the most pure entrails of the Virgin Mary willed to be born on that poor and abandoned manger threshold [portal de Belen]. Hence when twelve o'clock had struck, the missa-cantata  was said, which was followed by the adoration of the holy Child. That was made enjoyable by the singing of some fine Christmas carols. The twenty-fifth dawned bright and joyful."

    That scene still rings familiar today although the Belen is constructed as early as the first day of December.  There was one big reason why we went to the midnight mass when we were very young. That was to watch the lighted star lantern moved high above us from the choir loft to the Belen at the side of the altar at some part of the mass with all the lights turned off.  

    We haven't seen a "moving star" in midnight masses for a long time, nor an adoration of the image of the newborn Jesus, especially if these are celebrated outside the churches - in grandstands, parks and shopping mall grounds. 

    The fact is there are no longer misas de aguinaldo or gallo at midnight on the eve of Christmas. These have been moved earlier to 9 o'clock these recent years, which we'd like to think, is an accommodation of another Christmas tradition, the noche buena after the mass, when family eat together the best food they can lay on the table.

    Whether you're still of the old Roman Christian faith or not, whether you still go to the dawn masses as a matter of devotion or not, Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas), everyone! 

    • Sanchez, Juan, et al. (1683-89). Felipe Pardo as archbishop. The Pardo Controversy. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 : explorations by early navigators, etc. (Blair, E.H. & Robertson, J. A., Eds., Bourne, E.G., Tr.).   39(1):245-246. Mandaluyong, Rizal: Cachos Hermanos, 1973.  Retrieved from 
    • Velarde, P. M. (1749). Jesuit missions in the seventeenth century.  The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 : explorations by early navigators, etc. (Blair, E.H. & Robertson, J. A., Eds., Bourne, E.G., Tr.).   44(1):108-109.  Mandaluyong, Rizal: Cachos Hermanos, 1973.  Retrieved from
    • Rosell, P. (1885, Apr 17). Letter from Father Pedro Rosell [S.J.] The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 : explorations by early navigators, etc. (Blair, E.H. & Robertson, J. A., Eds., Bourne, E.G., Tr.).   43(1):225-228.  Mandaluyong, Rizal: Cachos Hermanos, 1973.  Retrieved from

      Monday, December 5, 2011

      The Pinoy's Marian religiosity

      In the 1900s, the 'war' among the religious was as to who should be proclaimed the patroness of the Philippines.  The Dominicans wanted Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (La Naval); the Jesuits favored the Immaculate Conception.  The Aglipayans insisted on Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo) because she's katutubo, a native of the country. (Source:  Lipang Kalabaw, 04 Jan 1908)

      The rains yesterday, 04 December 2011, did not stop the grand Marian procession from the Manila Cathedral to wend its way around Intramuros, the walled city.  The annual event held on the first Sunday of December is an echo of the first procession held on 08 December 1619 to commemorate the feast day of the Immaculate Conception.

      Thus, as photo-documented by the media, some eighty flower-bedecked and beautifully lit carrozas of Marian images, under an umbrella or covered by clear plastic, were pulled by devotees through the streets along the ancient walls of Old Manila.  Because of the rains, we could only recall the pleasure of photographing the event from various vantage points atop the walls during the last two processions.

      The images invoke the many titles of the Virgin Mary.  Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (La Naval de Manila), Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Our Lady of Antipolo) are some of the more popular ones, and they happen to have figured in intense religious arguments in the early 1900s, more than a century ago.

      We found two issues of the satirical weekly Lipang Kalabaw in 1908 heckling the Dominicans and the Jesuits because of their un-holy war on who should be Patroness of the Philippines.  The Dominicans were rooting for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and the Jesuits, the Immaculate Conception. In one of these satirical illustrations (04 Jan 1908), Gregorio Aglipay was depicted arguing for the Our Lady of Antipolo.

      A perplexed Marian devotee asks a Dominican friar and a Jesuit priest on who should be the patroness of the Philippines.   

      The Dominican tells her to stop this nonsense when told about the Jesuit claim, that it's thedevotion to Our Lady of the Rosary that's most profitable being the patroness of these unhappy islands. He calls the Jesuits rogues.

      The Jesuit tells the woman that the Holy Father has not yet resolved the issue, but the Immaculate Conception is the official patroness. He admonishes the woman to honor the La Purisima if she wants to save her soul.

      Since she doesn't know who to believe, she thinks she will just go to the [Philippine] Assembly.  (Source:  Lipang Kalabaw, 30 May 1908) 

      The Dominicans and the Jesuits had very strong historical arguments for their respective Marian titles.

      The Immaculate Conception was invoked in 1578 by Pope Gregory XIII with the construction of the Manila Cathedral, and in 1595 by Clement VIII with that of the Nueva Segovia and Caceres cathedrals. 

      The image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary arrived in the Philippines in 1587 and has been honored ever since with the La Naval procession in October every year. To her has been attributed the incredulous Spanish naval victories against the Dutch invaders in 1646.  The image was canonically crowned on 07 October 1907.

      The Antipolo image also had its own history.  It was brought to Manila in 1626 from Acapulco, Mexico and was placed in the San Ignacio church of the Jesuits in Intramuros. Tradition has it being transferred to a new church where it disappeared twice to be found in the branches of a tipulo (breadfruit) tree.  The Antipolo church was built near this site. This popular lore and its dark color could have made Aglipay to claim, in the words of Lipang Kalabaw, that Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage is a katutubo, a Philippine native, and therefore the right patroness.

      We can imagine this debate among the clergy and the Marian devotees that rankled for years until the Vatican stepped in.  First it was Pope Pius XI who declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Philippines in 1935. However, seven years later in 1942, Pope Pius XII declared the Immaculate Conception as the country's principal and universal patroness of the country.  Thus today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered the secondary patroness. 

      The pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1975 entitled "Ang Mahal na Birhen. Mary in the Philippine Life Today" spoke of "over 100 of the parishes honor[ing] the Immaculate Conception, over 60 are dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, while others carry various titles like the Assumption, Our Lady of Carmel, Mother of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Lourdes, etc." ... and "some of the shrines dedicated to Mary have won nation-wide popularity either as focal points of national pilgrimages or as well-known centers of devotion [like] Our Lady of Charity and Our Lady of Badoc in Ilocos, Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan Valley, Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan, Our Lady of Salambao in Obando, Bulacan, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, Rizal, the Purification of Our Lady (or La Candelaria ) in Mabitac, Laguna, Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas, Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City, Nuestra Señora Virgen de Regla in Lapulapu City, Our Lady of the Pillar in Zamboanga, etc."

      The Marian religiosity of the Filipinos was the subject of that pastoral letter, which was addressed to "the people of God in the Philippines, especially the clergy, religious men and women, and members of the mandated organizations" so as to encourage them "to continue fostering a fervent and authentic devotion to Mary."

      The CBCP acknowledged "that the cult of Mary and the devotion to her image have helped many simple people to remain Catholics" but it called for "reform and renewal" with regard to the "aspects of the devotion [possibly deflecting] from genuineness and purity."

      We wonder how Marian devotees with their images, medals, scapulars,and novenas, and organizers of Marian processions, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan events, take to heart paragraph 85 of the pastoral letter: "Above all we wish to emphasize that all veneration of Mary is to be subordinated to the adoration of the triune God and of Christ who is the Mediator.  Mary's dignity is the most exalted among all the saints because of her divine maternity and hence she is worthy of special veneration as the Mother of God.  Her place and role in the economy of salvation is to be clearly proposed to the faithful, as the Second Council of the Vatican has expressed.  This, we think, is a very important point and, if wrongly understood, is the root and source of any ill-advised form of Marian devotion." 

      The next time we visit our churches, let's check if the parish priest remembers this particular instruction of the CBCP:  "We cannot approve, for instance, of the presence of several images of Mary in the same house, chapel or church -- even parish churches -- with their devotees extolling the power of their statues over the others as if they were rivals." 


          Monday, November 21, 2011

          Andres Bonifacio & Emilio Jacinto, best frat brods forever!

          Emilio Jacinto with his Cartilla ng KKK and his best friend Andres Bonifacio at the Dambana ng Kagitingan atop Mt Samat, Bataan.
          • "Ayon din kay Andres Bonifacio ay si Emilio Jacinto ang kaluluwa ng katipunan. Naging kalihim ng kapatiran ng mga manghihimagsik at siyang kinikilalang mata ng K.K.K.N.M.A.N.B. [Kataastaasang, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan] (Santos, 1935).”   Tr.:  According to Andres Bonifacio also, Emilio Jacinto was the soul of the katipunan. He was the secretary of the revolutionists and was considered the eye of the K.K.K.N.M.A.N.B.

          His cousin-in-law Jose Turiano Santiago led Emilio Jacinto to the Katipunan, and thus began his amazing friendship with supremo Andres Bonifacio.

          We wonder how Bonifacio sized up the long-haired young man, 12 years his junior, during their first meeting.  We don't know how true it was that when Jacinto was enrolled in San Juan de Letran and later in the University of Santo Tomas, he only had his haircut when he could no longer bear the teasing of his classmates (Santos).

          Freshman pre-law student Jacinto was about to enter a fraternity of older men, and it could not have been different from what the young lads in the University of the Philippines today would go through once they opt to join a Greek-letter fraternity there.

          We imagine master Bonifacio ribbing his prospective brod to first go and see a barber before they can even begin talking about the fraternity, what this brotherhood of this country's noble sons is all about, and going through the secret initiation rites that he, the supremo, and other founders originated.

          The master could have discerned a treasure in the neophyte at the very start.  In today's setting, would Jacinto be a potential Collegian editor, chairman of the UP Student Council, or a Bar topnotcher? It's not unusual for senior fratmen to have promising brods to be groomed for the national leadership, in Congress, the Supreme Court and even the Palace! 

          It didn't take long for Jacinto to gain the trust and affection of the fraternity head. "Nagkaroon agad sa kaniya ng malaking pagtatapat at pagmamahal si Andres Bonifacio na hindi maaaring matularan ng iba ..  (Santos)."

          The young man spoke the language of Manila, kastilang tindahan (roughly today's Taglish), so he had to learn the dialect fast. Fraternal discussions were in Tagalog.  The supremo himself would be his Tagalog tutor, and in due time, the young katipunero surpassed his mentor in the quality of his oral and written Tagalog. 

          One of the first things they could have found in common between them was passion for books on revolutions.  Both were fond of the History of the French Revolution.  Jacinto could have read La Solidaridad, El Filibusterismo, Les Miserables, The Wandering Jew, among others, from his mentor's personal library.   

          "They were like brothers," Gregoria de Jesus, a katipunera herself, wrote of the supremo, her husband, and Jacinto. She had custody of the society's belongings for Jacinto, the Katipunan secretary, who lived with them. 

          Emilio and Andres as featured in the Bonifacio monument, Kalookan City.

          The supremo wrote the first regulations or ten commandments of the Katipunan, and later, the younger brod put out his own version, the Cartilla, which, of course, echoes Bonifacio's decalogue. Because of his affection for the younger brod, but more so because he found it better than his own, the supremo deferred to Jacinto's version. 

          Bonifacio had so much trust in him. They shared secrets, and the supremo made sure he consulted his younger brod before they pursued any plan or activity. "Walang nang uuna kay Andres Bonifacio sa paghanga at pagdakila kay Emilio Jacinto.  Wala siyang lihim na hindi ipinagtapat ditto at walang bagay at pangyayaring hindi muna niya isinangguni kay Emilio Jacinto bago niya isagawa (Santos)." 

          Together, they refined the policy structure and set up the propaganda machinery of the Katipunan. They secured a printing press, published the primer Cartilla, some sort of codes--the revolutionary Liwanag at Dilim (Light and Darkness) and the commercial Samahan ng Bayan sa Pangangalakal (Commercial Association of the People)--and their organ Kalayaan, which came out with two issues in 1896 (Fernandez, 1926; Cruz, 1922). 

          When they went to war after the discovery of the Katipunan, it's said that the supremo was more worried about the safety of his young trusted brod even he was more at risk in the battlefield.

          How close they were can be gleaned when they entered, side by side, Magdalo territory in 1897.  Here's Artemio Ricarte (1927) dramatic recollection of it -- 

          "... Pagkatanggap ng anyaya, si G. Andres Bonifacio ay umalis na kasama sina GG. Baldomero Aguinaldo, Daniel Tirona at ang sugo ng Magdiwang, upang magtungong Nobeleta; sila'y nagdaan ngunit di na nagtigil pa sa Cavite el Viejo, at dumating sila sa Nobeleta nang unang oras ng hapon ng araw ding yaon, na di na kasama si G. Baldomero Aguinaldo. Sila'y tinanggap ng maraming pinunong naghihimagsik sa maliwalas at bagong bahay ng hukom pamayapa ng Nobeleta na siyang ipinahandang pangsamantala. Nang ika-3 ng hapon ding yaon, si G. Andres Bonifacio at G. Emilio Jacinto ay lumulan sa isang sasakyang natatalibaan sa magkabilang tabi; sa gawing kanan, ang nakakabayong si G. Daniel Tirona ay bunot ang sableng sumisigaw ng buong lakas tuwing matatapat a pook na may pulutong na tao, ng:- Mabuhay ang Supremo ng Katipunan! Nasa kaliwa naman si G. Esteban San Juan, sa likod nito'y kasunod ang mga sasakyan ng tanang mga Kagawad ng Magdiwang at saka dalawang pulutong na kawal na nakaunipormeng pula, isang pangkat sa harap at isa pa rin sa likod, at sa ganitong ayus ay nagsilakad ang lahat na patungong San Francisco de Malabon. Dito'y tinanggap ng buong sigla si G. Andres Bonifacio sa tugtog ng banda ng musika at saka "Te-Deum" sa simbahaln. Ilang nasa lansangan ang sumigaw ng:- Mabuhay ang Hari ng Pilipinas! bagay na narinig at sinagot naman ni G. Andres Bonifacio ng:- Mabuhay ang Kalayaan ng Pilipinas! Ang Kataas-taasang Pang-ulo ay tumuloy muna sa bahay ni G. Santos Nocon, komandante noon ng hukbong naghihimagsik, at nang huli ay sa kayayaring bahay ni Ginang Estefania Potente, hanggang sa araw na ikinakuha ng mga kastila sa bayang San Francisco de Malabon noong nagsimula ang Abril ng 1897 (Ricarte, 1927)." 

          An English version can be read from the translation of revolutionary General Santiago Alvarez's memoirs, published in 1992: 

          “The Supremo left Imus for Noveleta in the company of Messrs. Emilio Aguinaldo, Daniel Tirona, Baldomero Aguinaldo, Esteban San Juan, and others.  They did not stop at Kawit, although it was along their way to Noveleta.  When they reached Noveleta before two in the afternoon, they were joyfully greeted by the Magdiwang leaders and troops.  They were welcomed by a brass band, flags, fireworks and gunfire, and by shouts of “Long live the Supremo!” The Supremo would then answer back, “Long live the Motherland!”

          “The party was led to a house where they ate and rested for a while.  At past three that afternoon, the Supremo and Sec. Emilio Jacinto boarded a luxurious carriage by well-fed, swift white horse to inspect the defense positions of the Katipunan territories.  A cavalry detachment led by Col. Santos Nocon provided the honor guard in front, on the left and right sides, and at the rear of the carriage.  Astride a magnificent horse, Magdalo Secretary of War Daniel Tirona rode abreast on the right side of the Supremo and Sec. Emilio Jacinto.  His sword was drawn and he was wearing a cap. Whenever they passed a crowd he would shout, “Long live the Supremo!” 

          “On the left side was Maj. Esteban San Juan, and at the rear were Magdiwang infantrymen.  They were followed by a cavalry detachment and armed troops dressed in red. After inspecting the Katipunan country and its defenses, they proceeded to San Francisco de Malabon.  There the Supremo was also welcomed most warmly.  There was a brass band, pealing of the church bells, and a Te Deum said by Fr. Manuel Trias, a Katipunan member.

          ““Along the streets, some shouted, “Long live the King!” to which the Supremo would answer, “Long live the Motherland!”

          “At San Francisco de Malabon, the Supremo stayed for some time at the house of Col. Santos Nocon and later moved to the house of Mrs. Estefania Potente.” 

          We've been looking for Emilio Jacinto after this triumphant entry to Magdalo country. Where was he during the prosecution of his supremo in Cavite?  We were expecting a John the Beloved accompanying and protecting Gregoria during the trial, and when she went looking for her missing husband and his brother.

          Alas, there's no passion and death of Andres Bonifacio according to Emilio Jacinto, the beloved brother. 

          There's an account though of how Jacinto eluded the Spanish authorities after getting wounded in a battle in Majayjay, Laguna in 1898.  He recovered and went back to Manila, staying there briefly.  When he returned to Majayjay, he got sick and never got well again.  He died on 16 April 1899.

          • Alvarez, Santiago V. (c1992).  The Katipunan and the Revolution: Memoirs of a General with the Original Tagalog Text / Translated into English by Paula Carolina Malay.  Quezon City:  Ateneo de Manila University Press. Available in parts at
          • Cruz, Hermenegildo.(1922). Kartilyang makabayan : ma tanóng at sagot ukol kay Andres Bonifacio at sa Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan.  Manila: S.P.  Retrieved from

          • Santos, Jose P. (1935). Buhay at mga sinulat ni Emilio Jacinto. Paunang salita ng Kgg. Rafael Palma. Place of publication and publisher not indicated.

          Monday, November 7, 2011

          JP Rizal and the "Moros"

          We do not know the Philippine national hero as deeply as the chairman of Ateneo's history department, Facebook friend/columnist/history lecturer with a very large fan base, JP Rizal authority Ambeth R Ocampo; hence, whatever we write here is subject to his critical appreciation, which we will most welcome.

          Front cover of the satirical weekly Lipang Kalabaw issue of 28 Dec 1907. It says "Rizal healing Moro boys in Dapitan."

          We combed through JP Rizal's notes and letters regarding his stay in Dapitan to see if he hinted at giving medical attention to "Moro" children even if he was not a pediatrician but we found none.  He did run some kind of 'boarding school' for boys though, who we take to be the sons of Christian families in the town.

          We know that the "Moros" did not figure in the Noli and Fili. The only Rizal work we found where they were major characters was his poem The Battle:  Urbiztondo, the Terror of Jolo that he penned when he was a young Ateneo Municipal de Manila student.  Here he celebrated how Governor-General Antonio de Urbiztundo vanquished the "Moros" of Jolo.

          Could the publisher, writers and illustrators of Lipang Kalabaw of the early 1900s, and may be most of our countrymen at that time, thought of Mindanao as largely Moroland, and hence the cover of the December 1907 issue (probably the Rizal Day commemorative number) had JP Rizal "healing the Moro boys in Dapitan"?

          Probably still etched in their collective memory were tales of "Moro" pirates, reason why there were watch towers in some coastal towns.  They could also have been thinking of the "Moro Province" comprising Zamboanga, Sulu, Lanao, Davao and Cotabato that the Philippine Commission created in 1903, alongside their demarcation of the Filipinos into Christians and non-Christians.

          There were no "Moros" among the indios bravos in the propaganda movement, nor were they part of the revolution instigated by the Magdiwangs and Magdalos against Spanish rule.  It took some more years for the "Moros" to be represented in government and their plight included in the national agenda.

          This editorial cartoon of The Independent was reprinted in the December 1926 issue of the monthly magazine Philippine Republic published in Washington DC.

          By 1926, when the US Congress was arguing on the Bacon Bill, the Filipinos have already assimilated the "Moros" into the national consciousness.  The Independent, a Philippine newspaper at that time, took up the cause of opposing the bill.  It's editorial cartoon showed how Bacon proposed to "take the Moro provinces containing vast tracts of rubber land away from the Philippine government and administer them as a separate government under the United States."

          The cartoon depicted JP Rizal asking his countrymen what they're doing about Bacon's intent.  History tells us that there were mass protests against the bill, and Senate President Manuel Quezon, Speaker Manuel Roxas and Minority Leader Claro Recto went to Washington to convey to the US Congress their country's opposition to it.

          This graphic illustration reminds us of the creation of the Autonomous Region of  Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 1987 as a result of an accord between the Philippine government and  the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).  But despite this, peace has yet to prevail in the southern Philippines.

          The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) came around with a different political agenda. New peace negotiations were initiated.  Recently, its officially recognized head secretly met with President Benigno Aquino III in Japan about the possibility of creating a sub-state.  But this idea was met with critical opposition in the public media, and in social networks.  Tragically, talks about the resumption of the peace negotiations had been disrupted by violent encounters between the Philippine armed forces and supposedly break-away MILF groups or lawless Abu Sayyaf elements.  Aquino's response to these recent developments is not to make war but "all-out justice."

          Would waging "all-out justice" result in a Moro sub-state?  Is this Aquino's Bacon Bill? 



          Tuesday, November 1, 2011

          Modern day witch hunting, legacy from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692

          As we write this, the street party of Halloween revelers in downtown Salem, Massachusetts, dubbed the Witch City, is in crazy fever despite the early autumn cold, the threat of rain or unexpected snow in October.  

          Also known as the Jonathan Corwin House, the only remaining structure with direct links to the Witch Trials of 1692.  Magistrate Corwin served with the Court of Oyer and Terminer that sent 20 innocent victims accused of being witches to death between June and September, 1692.  (Photo by the author.) 

          We've enjoyed this Halloween party each time we visited in Salem in early fall. The last day of the Haunted Happenings of October has all the state roads lead to the city, and parking would be a problem for visitors arriving in the afternoon.  Those in the know take the bus, ferry and commuter train because they can immediately jump into a boisterous crowd in colorful, absurd, funny and horrific costumes. It's one big holiday for camera buffs like us.

          "Witch" is spelled in almost every visitor's sightseeing agenda in the, well, Witch City.  Those who are interested in witchcraft can go to the Salem Witch Village, which aims "to promote religious tolerance and participation in a positive society that encourages growth and acceptance of all its people."  They can walk with the Salem Witches and learn the truth about spells, love potions, herbal charms, among others.  These Witches celebrate the Witches' New Year on October 31! 

          Salem derived it's nickname Witch City from the religious hysterical events of 1692, the Salem Witch Trials in American history. These events are recreated in the visitors' imagination in the Salem Witch Museum, the Witch Dungeon Museum, the Witch House, and the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.  Since 1983, historian/author Jim McAllister has been conducting every October the popular one-hour outdoor candlelit tour that explores the sites and the story of the 1692 witch trials.

          The Memorial was dedicated by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in August 1992 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Trials of 1692.  (Photo by the author.)

          There is a "historically accurate live presentation" of "untold stories of1692" at the Witch Museum. Here, visitors meet Tituba, the Caribbean slave in the household of  the Reverend Parris, one of the three women that the girls Elizabeth Parris, daughter of the reverend, and Abigail Williams, his niece, blamed for their mad afflictions.  The three women were accused of witchcraft but it was only Tituba who confessed of having met "the Devil" and told the court that there were other witches out to destroy their community.  The witch hunt began with Tituba's "confession." 

          At the Witch Dungeon Museum, visitors can watch a reenactment of the trial of Sarah Good based on the original transcript of 1692 (the court records are found in various documentary archives listed in the webpage Salem Witch Trials). 

          There's also the long-running play, "Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop" mounted by History Alive! of the Gordon College theater department at the Old Town Hall.  The audience acts as part of the jury, listening to testimonies, cross-examining the witnesses and deciding the verdict.  The actors respond in character to comments and questions from the audience.

          The Witch House is the only remaining structure in Salem that has direct links with the Witch Trials. It is also called The Jonathan Corwin House.  Corwin was the local magistrate who served on the Court of Oyer and Terminer, which sentenced nineteen innocent citizens accused of witchcraft to death by hanging.  The 20th victim was pinned with stones to death. He was 24 in 1675 when he bought the house, which remained with the Corwin family until the mid-1800s. 

          The Salem Witch Trials Memorial was designed by Maggie Smith and James Cutler. It was chosen from among 246 entries in an international competition.  Picture shows 20 granite benches jutting out from a low stone wall surrounding the area. Each bench is inscribed with the name of the victim and the date of his/her execution. Behind the wall on the left is the Old Burying Point. (Photo by the author.)

          In August 1992, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dedicated the Salem Witch Trials Memorial to commemorate the tercenary or 300th anniversary of the events of 1692.  This adjoins the Old Burying Point behind the Essex Peabody Museum in downtown Salem.  It consists of 20 granite benches jutting out from a low stone wall, and each is inscribed with the name of the innocent victim and his/her date of execution.  There were 14 women and 6 men who were executed on separate dates - 10 June, 19 July, 19 August, 19 and 22 September, 1692. 

          Bridget Bishop was the first to go to the gallows.  She cried, "I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it." (Photo by the author.)

          There were five of them who were hanged on 19 Jul 1692.  The other four were Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin and Sarah Wildes. Howe cried, "If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent..."  "Oh Lord, help me!," Rebecca Nurse implored, "It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands...."   "I have no hand in witchcraft,"Susannah Martin professed. (Photo by the author.)
          Four men and one woman--John Proctor, John Willard. George Burroughs, George Jacobs and Martha Carrier--met their death on 19 Aug 1692.  "I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits," Martha Carrier cried.  (Photo by the author.)

          Giles Corey, 80 years old, expired after two days of being pressed by stones piled on his chest. Till death, he refused to plead guilty before the court. (Photo by the author.)

          Six women and two men were hanged on 22 Sep 1692: Mary Eastey, Martha Corey, Ann PudeatorMary Parker, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott, Wilmot Redd and Samuel Wardwell. "Ye are all against me," Martha Corey told the jurors.  "If it be possible no more blood be shed," implored Mary Eastey, "I am clear of this sin." (Photo by the author.)

          It would take years before the 20 victims were cleared of their accusation.  Many of those involved publicly confessed their error and guilt.  "On January 14, 1697, the General Court ordered a day of fasting and soul-searching for the tragedy of Salem.  In 1702, the court declared the trials unlawful. And in 1711, the colony passed a bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused and granted £600 restitution to their heirs.  However, it was until1957--more than 250 years later--that Massachusetts formally apologized for the events of 1692 (Blumberg, 2007)."

          Marker on the grave of Col. John Hathorne, one of the magistrates of the Court of Oyer and Terminer that tried and sentenced to death the 20 innocent victims of the Salem Witch Trials.  His grave is in the Old Burying Point that adjoins the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.  (Photo by the author.)

          "Witch hunting" is the legacy of 1692 that survives today. During the McCarthy era in US history from after the second world war to the late 1950s, thousands of American government employees, entertainers, writers, artists, educators, labor unionists, etc. were suspected to be communists or communist sympathizers and accused of subversive activities based on questionable evidences.  There was a similar period in Philippine history when academicians from the University of the Philippines were accused by the Legislature's committee on un-Filipino activities of being communists. 

          Other modern-day witch hunting can be discerned in the discrimination of one religious group against another (the Muslim and the terrorist tags after 9/11, for example), the gay bashing and the expired "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US military, and the "trial by publicity" in a much-hyped controversial criminal or social case by tabloid journalists, usually.