Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dayaw 2015: Reaching out to the Aytas in Porac, Pampanga

We thought it fitting to close year 2015 with indigenous color. We attended the Dayaw 2015 festival of indigenous peoples from Batanes to Sulu in Clark Field, Angeles City in mid-October, which was organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Again, we had a great time learning about their 'native' culture through their colorful costumes, music and dance, and tasting their 'native' dishes, products of their own culinary arts.

Bugkalots and Aytas jamming with their indigenous musical instruments

We were present in the Dayaw outreach program in Barangay Villa Maria of Porac, Pampanga, and we saw how music and dance can be most effective in the integration of indigenous Filipino 'nations'. The Aytas of Villa Maria hosted the visit of indigenous peoples from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

We saw the Ayta and Bugkalot 'nations' having jovial oral exchanges about their musicality. The Aytas had the opportunity to try the gisada (two-string wooden violin) and the kolising (bamboo guitar) of the Bugkalots after listening while watching how these are played. It will not surprise us if the Porac Aytas will adapt lessons learned to their own musical instruments; after all, they also have a two-string guitar.

Binuho: Ayta way of cooking rice and chicken 
The visitors had a taste of Ayta culinary arts from the rice and chicken sinigang cooked in nodes of newly cut culms of buho (a bamboo species), one end open, one closed node remaining as bottom. The how-to’s:  after a period of immersion in water, measures of rice are wrapped in green banana leaves (about two cups when cooked), placed inside the buho, and cooked over fire. The sinigang mix is also called binuho (because it is cooked inside a node of buho). Bite-size cuts of chicken, sliced tomatoes and onions, strips of ginger and halved kamias are all mixed together with salt or fish sauce to taste. These are then scooped into the buho with enough space left to accommodate the broth produced from the cooking mix. The binuho is cooked over fire or glowing charcoal embers.  The Aytas also use buho for cooking a mix of river shrimps, crablets, small fishes, tomatoes and onions.

After the lunch of Ayta cuisine, it was fun to watch the Ayta children learning the basic dance movements of the visiting indigenous groups like the courtship and hunting dances of the Bugkalots. The enthusiasm of these children has to be sustained through the Dayaw festival and the schools of living traditions (SLT) so that indigenous culture can be preserved/conserved for generations to come.

Friday, December 25, 2015

May the Force be with you, Star Warriors!

The first time they appealed to movie goers worldwide in their fight against the Dark Force, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were the huggable teeny-warm types, and Han Solo, the ragged bloke of the neighborhood. My oldest nephew was not yet in grade school and he was more enthralled by the talking robots R2-D2 and C-3PO. Those three are back in the latest episode of the George Lucas franchise film, but Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill (who appears at the end of the movie), now look like the typical Halloween-dressed grandparents going to the candy grocer to buy goodies for the trick-or-treat of neighborhood kids. 

Images of Star War posters found in the Internet.

I had to refresh my sister's memory while watching 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': that Princess Leia and Luke were siblings, children of Darth Vader (the boy Anakin in one episode), the Jedi who became a Sith Lord in the dark side of the Force.  

One memorable episode had the climactic light saber duel between Luke and his father: the good triumphing over evil. I don't recall though why Luke went away in exile to become a myth in the minds of the later generation of inhabitants in the Galaxy.

I can't recall if Han and Leia ever had a romantic PG scene that would bring forth their son Kylo Ren, and how they lost the young man to the dark side of the Force, now on the verge to become like Darth. Was he killed by the young woman with Luke's light saber, or will we see him in the next episode as the new Sith Lord? The young woman in this latest episode sports the name title of a man: Rey! 

I thought the defector Finn from the First Order in this latest movie died. But my nephew said no: he will be alive like Kylo in the next episode. I thought a love triangle was emerging in the new movie and would probably be a running sub-story in the next edition. Kylo after all revealed his 'human' emotions when he showed his face to Rey.

The last of the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker, is in planet Earth in our solar system, or in an Earth-like planet in the universe. The woman Rey was returning his light saber. Will he accept it? 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Boyhood Christmas before the ashes of Pinatubo came falling down

Christmas was so much simple then, long before Mt Pinatubo covered our childhood playgrounds with almost a meter of ashes from its hot bowels.

Pregnant Mary and Joseph. Painting by Badz Magsumbol.
Neighborhood kids went caroling with a limited repertoire of Christmas songs learned from grade school: Silent Night, Joy to the World, O Come All Ye Faithful, and Whispering Hope, this last one seemed to be, in my recollection, the favorite.  Ang Pasko ay Sumapit was an alien song in our Ilocano corner of Zambales province when info tech was still limited to the radio after six o'clock in the evening (electricity was available only at night) and later, the transistor. No one had a TV (black and white) set.

Carolers were happy to receive a few centavos: ten was already big deal. When nobody came down to give a little reward to the ad hoc kids' choir, the house owners were challenged through a song: "Bulong ti apatot / Pascuayo a naimot / Umulog ti makarurod / Ta narnaran mi ti dandanog!" [Leaves of the noni plant / are Christmas gifts for the selfish / Come down if you're angry / And we will pummel you with hand blows!]

Midnight mass on Christmas eve was enjoyed by the innocent minds because of the 'walking star'. The church lights were turned off, and a big lighted bamboo lantern floated down from the choir loft to the tableaux of images of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds and the Three Kings, and an angel above them, at one front side of the altar.

That mass was strictly at midnight, not any earlier like today. The dawn masses were very early at four o'clock in the morning, which my father did not miss because an hour later, he'd take the bus to his work at the US naval base an hour away from our town. 

Mary and Joseph arrive at the manger. Painting by Badz Magsumbol.
Christmas day was really for children even if there were no malls or theme parks or fairs to spend the holiday. There were no high-tech toys to expect from relatives or god-parents (we were pioneers in recycling empty cans to toy cars). Children were on there own to ask for Christmas gifts, which were usually candies or suman (parents advised to bring bags for these native fare), around the barrio. God-parents gave at most ten centavos, a salapi (50 centavos) was already a fortune. 

Our family reunion was at an aunt's house. She was a widow of an American serviceman she married in Cavite before Japanese bombs fell at the start of the Second World War. She was in a better position to host a family gathering. She could buy goodies from the commissary in Subic Bay, hence, 'American' candies esp. M&M were our childhood treasures. Our luncheon table teemed with imported fruits, a privilege to American dependents at that time: apples and grapes.

What I remember fondly was the arroz Valenciana, which another aunt prepared only for the Christmas day reunion. So many light years between Christmas pasts and today as our nephew who took up culinary arts is now busy preparing the seafood paella for the family noche buena of Christmas 2015. 

Misa de Gallo starts at 8:30 this evening, and the feast to celebrate more than two thousand years of the birth of Jesus Christ would be around 10 o'clock.

Jesus, Maria y Josef. Painting by Badz Magsumbol.

Naimbag a Pacuayo [Ilocano]!  Maligayang Pasko [Filipino]! Merry Christmas [English]! Feliz Navidad [Hispanic]!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Presidential aspirant Grace Poe addresses 'migrantes'/OFWs

The Migrante Partylist presented their platform for the coming 2016 elections at a forum at the University of the Phillippines College of Law yesterday, 18 December 2015 to mark International Migrants Day.

Sen. Grace Poe responding to the presentations of the migrants/OFWs and their families.

Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe came to listen to represntative migrants/OFWs, live or on audio/video, tearfully narrating their sad experiences and asking what the candidates can do about their plight if they get elected.  She later commented on the presentations and responded to the query with her 'must-do' on the concerns of the OFWs and their families.

As an aside, Poe acknowledged the presence of Nora Aunor, who she called 'the national artist in the hearts of all Filipinos.' Also, around to support the migrantes were senatoriables Congressman Neri Colmenares and well-known lawyer Lorna Kapunan.

Left to right: Migrante Partylist nominee, Atty Lorna Kapunan, Rep. Neri Colmenares and Nora Aunor.

The partylist nominees presented their General Course of Action using the acronym MIGRANTE:
  • M -  Makabayang pamamahala at mabilis na serbisyo! [People-centered governance and prompt efficient service]
  • I - Illegal recruitment at human traffiking, wakasan! [End to illegal recruitment and human trafficking]
  • G - Galing at husay ng migrante para sa bayan! [Skills and ability of migrants for the country]
  • R - Respeto sa mga karapatan! [Respect for rights]
  • A - Abusadong opisyal, tanggalin! [Dismiss abusive officials]
  • N - No kotong policy! [No bribery policy]
  • T - Tapat na representante ng migrante sa Kongreso! [True representation of migrants in Congress]
  • E - End labor export, trabaho sa Pinas, hindi sa labas! [End labor export, jobs in the Philippines not outside]
All these are summed up in their policy statement that "it is the basic right of Filipino migrants and their families to be given sufficient services and protection, especially those in distress."

Sen. Poe and Ate Guy.

Sen. Poe reflected on the issues affecting migrants and their families they leave behind here in the country, citing recent cases like the tanim-bala, the balikbayan box, the long line of returning OFWs waiting for OWWA certificates and the latest report on the OFW starved by her anorexic employer.  

She cited the reason why she also left to work abroad, zeroing on the need for more jobs in the country, for investments to produce 'made in the Philippines' items (like electric fans, etc) and thereby generate more employment. She quipped: "Kung artistahin lang po ako, eh di sana madali na lang akong nakapasok" and the audience laughed because she's the daughter of movie idol FPJ.

Some of the heartily applauded 'must-do' items she mentioned if given the chance to serve were:
  • firing government officials who do respond to, or dismiss complaints of migrants like the victims of illegral recruitment/human trafficking;
  • financial assistance to and financial literacy of migrants so that they can save part of their income for their future;
  • Fast internet access and a WiFi zone in every community for fast communication between migrants and their families; a wired city via CCTV accessible to all as this would help allay the fears for the security of the families;
  • Airport and terminal fees. Why fall in line for reimbursements/certificates when these should be automatic?
  • Symbolism of the balikbayan box: love and sacrifice of the migrant who buy sale items to fill it up for the folks back home; 
  • Increase the legal assistance fund, after all goverment has money if it only knows how to spend it properly.
Who should the people vote for? Senator Grace Poe said someone with these three qualities: integridad [integrity], kakayahan [ability] and malasakit [interest/care].

Listening to Senator Grace Poe.

My friend Mon videographed the talk of Sen. Poe in two parts, which can be seen via YouTube:  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas in UP Diliman 2015

Pag-iilaw based on design concept of artist Toym Imao.

The University of the Philippines Diliman campus closed 2015 with Christmas festivities that played on the motif of light and embodied in the theme "Dingas: Adhikaing Diliman, Adhikaing Bayan [Sparks: Diliman and Country Aspirations]'.

'Ang "dingas" bilang simbolikong kahulugan ng Kapaskuhan,' Chancellor Michael Tan said, 'ay napakagandang pagsasalarawan sa UP. Bilang lunsaran ng mga radikal na kaisipan, kamulatan sa mga usaping pambayan at mga pagkilos, ang pamana ng UP ay mistulang maliit na ningas ng apoy na unti-unting lumalagablab. Pinag-aalab nito ang damdaming makabayan at pagmamahal sa bayan ng ating mga mag-aaral, guro at kawani.'  [The spark as symbol of the meaning of Christmas is a beautiful description of UP. As platform for launching radical ideas, consciousness of national issues and actions, the heritage of UP seems to be a small spark that slowly spreads out to fire the patriotism and love of country among our students, faculty and personnel.]

The festival mood was turned on by Aninag [Reflection] 2015 on 27 November: a procession around the campus led by university students carrying intricate Pampanga lanterns mounted on bamboo poles, which was capped by Pag-iilaw, the lighting of the campus, the Oblation and plaza through the latest installation art of sculptor Toym Imao. One hundred seven (107) lighted balloons, representing UP's 107th anniversary, were also released to symbolize the new hope of the nation, 

College of Social Work and Community Development.
The Aninag was inspired by the Lubenas, a Kapampangan tradition of evening processions to the church during the nine days of the “simbang gabi” leading to up to Christmas Eve. In Diliman, it stopped at six stations where a light show, puppel show and choral singing of Christmas songs were staged, and culminated at the Oblation plaza where universty officials turned on the lights for the Pag-iilaw

With multi-color lighting and three flame components, Imao refashioned the Oblation to symbolize a sulo [torch], the three towers in the Quezon Hall as lighthouses, the lights in the Oblation Plaza as sails and the trees around Quezon Hall, adorned with red lights for the season, as fire trees. According to the Imao, these metaphors are for the University’s roles as a spark for new ideas, a guide to action and the beacon for public service.

"The Pag-iilaw," explained Chancellor Michael Tan, "played on the theme of dingas, a spark that catches on and spreads, lumalagablab,"  

Other festivities followed:

The Carillon Plaza became the concert arena for the Krizzmazz Jazz of the UP Jazz Band on 10 December for all jazz enthusiasts and music lovers.  The bells also opened, closed the concert with UP Naming Mahal and rendered Christmas songs for some time in the early evening,

College of Arts and Letters
The UP Filipiniana Folk Dance Gorup, including some 50 alumni, in celebration of its 80th anniversary staged Tanglaw 2015: Isang Pamaskong Konsyerto [Beacon 2015: A Christmas Concert] on 11 December,  The dance concert comprised two parts: folk dances from all over the archipelago, and modern dances choreographed to local love and Chrismas songs.

The climax, of course, of Christmas in UP Diliman, was Parada ng mga Parol [Lantern Parade] 2015 of 14 December evening.  This is the lastes continuation of a university tradition that started almost a hundred years ago (1922), albeit interrupted by the Second World War and the hiatus due to martial law in 1970-1976, or cancelled due to 'security threats' in 2006.  

It was also inspired by the folk custom of carrying lanterns of various shapes and sizes to light the way to the church for the nine-day early morning misas de aguinaldo or the midnight misa de gallo of Chrismas eve during the Spanish period.

The Lantern Parade has evolved with the times reflecting the changing social and political landscape of the University and the country. Modern technology like computers and robotics has also influenced the creation of lanterns and floats. The parade has also shown the diverse faces of university such as the LGBT sector (UP Babaylan) and the Muslim community,

This year, several academic units highlighted their foundation anniversaries with colorful lanterns: College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (float/lantern depicted a 'solar system' of thoughts), College of Dentistry (used a fully-dressed female figure ala Oblation with the iconic sablay), School of Urban and Regional Planning (had Oblation with symbolic urban structural icons), and the Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business (float/lantern a towering 100th birthday cake).

Institute of Islamic Studies.
UP Mindanao had a delegation in southern Philippines costume; their float/lantern was a typical Muslim house; likewise, the participants from the Institute of Islamic Studies, Other academic units had the vinta and sari-manok as motif. The College of Architecture had a massive Muslim Mindanao house from which a giant sari-manok emerged when it split into three.  The College of Arts and Letters used the Manobo story as float theme: man and woman confronting an eagle.

University and national issues were subjects of the protest floats/lanterns of SAMASA (the student political party), College of Mass Communications and the All UP Workers Alliance.

SAMASA: Never Again! Never Forget!
SAMASA had a 'military tank' painted with the slogans protesting 'the resurgence of fascism' and enjoining spectators  to 'Never Again! Never Forget!' martial law and the Marcos dictatorship. This is the same tank sans the slogans and the mounted lights that Toym Imao and his friends use in the reenactment of Second World War scenes during Independence Day or Bataan Day celebtations.

The College of Mass Communications had a giant microphone decorated with CDs and live-streaming TV sets vis-a-vis their protest theme of 'Stop Killing Journalists!'.

The All UP Workers Alliance came with banners, streamers and a float/lantern to voice out their concerns about university policies affecting them.

The most awaited part of the parade featured the depiction by the College of Fine Arts students of classic Filipino films:  
  • float/lanterns for Dalagang Bukid (vintage 1919), Dyesebel (the original had Edna Luna as the mermaid), Pedro Penduko, Juan Tamad Goes to Congress (directed by and starring National Artist Manuel Conde), Facifica Falayfay (a Dolphy movie), Asiong Salonga (Joseph Estrada in the starring role), Ang Panday (Fernando Poe as Flavio), Burlesk Queen (Vilma Santos as the dancer), Ganito Kami Noon (National Artist Eddie Romero film) and Maynila Sa Kuko ng Liwanag (National Artist Lino Brocka film); the last one was intriguing - a massive box painted black being pulled with large ropes; and
Juan Tamad Goes to Congress
  • costumed participants for Genghis Khan (National Artist Manuel Conde film), Sister Stella L (Mike de Leon, director; Vilma Santos, title role), and Bagets (UP alumnus Mario de los Reyes, director).
Sister Stella L served as a vehicle for protest: re-enactmenf of violence during labor union strikes, and some participants carried protest slogans like 'Stop Lumad Killings!'.

Asiong Salonga

Fine Arts, already a Hall-of-Famer was not in the competition for the best lantern (won by the College of Engineering). The different classes competed among themselves. Ang Panday was declared best; Juan Tamad and Asiong Salonga were the runners-up.

Ang Panday

To us the winner was 'Juan Tamad Goes to Congress'. The congressman was depicted as a pig wearing the Juan Tamad mask: an allusion to pork barrel and the workstyle of our lawmakers.

Maligayang Pasko 2015!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Simbang Gabi in the Philippines (it was once prohibited)

Misa de Aguinaldo at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theatre.

When we were young, the early morning masses were held at four o'clock in the morning. The Christmas season then was cold, and we had to wear a thick sweater or jacket before stepping out of the house and walk ten blocks to the church.  

We eagerly waited for the midnight mass of  Christmas eve because of a 'walking star' when the chuurch lights were turned off. We were awed by the lighted star lantern descending from the choir loft to the 'belen' at one side of the altar. 

In our Ilocano country in Zambales, there was no 'Simbang Gabi'. It was Misa de Aguinaldo for the early morning mass, and Misa de Gallo for the midnight service. That Filipino term came into our consciousness when we started to sing Christmas songs in the national language. 

Probably 'Simbang Gabi' became a literarily and politically correct term during the martial law years. In the 'Guidelines on the celebration of Simbang Gabi in the Archdiocese of Manila' issued by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales and Cardinal Luis Antionio Tagle on 15 November2010 and 25 November 2013, respectively, '[t]he adjustment from dawn to evening [during the martial law years] was in view of the curfew hours imposed during the martial Law regime.Today, this practice continues to be kept and has become popular even if the curfew hour restriction is no longer in force. Many of the faithful who follow the urban rhythm of work find it easier to join in the evening instead of the dawn Masses. This adjusted time of Simbang Gabi allows them to continue receiving spiritual nourishment and appreciation of the Christian meaning of Christmas amidst secularized celebration."

There had also been other changes in recent times. This week, for example, we saw posters announcing that the Simbang Gabi will be held at 6:30 in the evening from 15 to 23 December in our village chapel. These come, we suppose, in the realm of 'anticipated masses' of early Saturday evenings for the regular Sunday masses.

"From the beginning," the Guidelines say, "Simbang Gabi has always been celebrated at an early hour from 4 to 5 o'clock in the morning. It is this Mass alone that is considered Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo. Other Masses celebrated during the nine days before Christmas are celebrated as Masses of the Advent Season, and should follow the norms of liturgy of the Advent season. If the Misa de Aguinaldo is celebrated from 8:00 o'clock in the evening onwards, it should be motivated by genuine pastoral care for the spiritual benefit of the faithful."

In addition: "The celebration of Misa de Aguinaldo at other times, e.g. morning, midday, or late afternoon, is not in keeping with the liturgical norms of the Archdiocese of Manila and is to be regarded as an abuse. Therefore, only the dawn, and when pastorally required, the evening Masses are considered Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo." 

We'd like to think that the Simbang Gabi scheduled on 15-23 December was cleared with the Archbishopbric of Manila.

Today, the Catholic Church is dealing with time schedules of these traditional Mass celebrations to cope up with the changes in the lifestyles and working environment of the faithful.

Belens with Mary and Joseph in Filipino attires.

History tells us that there were events that caused for the suspension or even prohibition of conducting the Misa de Aguinaldo:

More than a century after the Christianization of the Philippines, Fray Juan Sanchez (1683-89) was writing about the Missas de Aguinaldo being contaminated "with practices that were superstitious, and contrary to the holy rites of the church."  

On 12 October 1680, Fray Philippe Pardo Archbishop-elect of Manila issued a decree prohibiting the Missas de Aguinaldo, "[b]ecause of the excesses and undisciplined manner of their previous celebrations, so many learned and devout ecclesiastics entertained doubts about it."

"Following the example of the Archdioceses of Mexico where the celebration is already prohibited, the Manila Prelate consulted authorities among the Religious and issued the corresponding mandate. The Prelate received news that the celebration of the Holy Masses which are sung during the nine (9) days preceding the birth of Our Lord is already prohibited. The Archdiocese, on its part, must comply with such prohibition.

"He therefore orders that, for the present, the Misas de Aguinaldo must not, in any form, be sung or recited. No musical festivity is to be held in the Churches, no musical instrument is to be played nor any religious song to be sung regardless of its nature. Non-compliance is to be punished.

"The prelate likewise commands that the Royal Decree be posted on the door of the Churches in Manila and that parish priests be sent copies of said decree for their information and compliance." [Anales, f.120; pp 131-132].

The revolution of 1898 upset the church-state relationship that prevailed in the governance of the Philippine islands for more than 300 years. 

Christmas in Manila and the celebration of the Missas de Aguinaldo were affected by the disturbances created by the conflict among the Filipino, Spanish and American armed forces.

Archbishop Bernardo Nozaleda issued Circulars in December 1898 to the parishes of Manila and the suburbs, the chaplains of the schools,and the rectors or priors of the different religious orders not to celebrate the 'Aguinaldo Masses and the one called Gallo' for the reasons and causes that known to all' [he did not state them], and 'the exceptional circumstances and pains that the Church is currently experiencing in this country.' 

In Zambales and other places where there were no Roman Catholic priests for many years after 1898, there could have been no Missas de Aguinaldo or Gallo. Probably, only the Aglipayan parishes celebrated these traditional Chrismas rites until the church of Rome has began filling up again the vacant parishes with secular and regular clergy,

  • Anales Ecclesiasticos de Philipinas, 1574-1682. Philippine Church History, A Summary Translation, Vol.2. Manila: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila and Rev. Fr. Ruperto C. Santos, STL, 1994.
  •  Box 1.b.5 Decretos, Oficios, Consultas (1826-1841, 1868-1896). Folder 1 – Decretos (Libro de Gobierno, Ordenes y Oficios) 1862-1896. Archdiocesan Archives of Manila.
  • 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. 
  •  The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Guidelines on the Celebration of Simbang Gabi in the Archdiocese of Manila.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Immaculate Conception in Philippine history

19th century Inmacuda image.
Visitors at the Manila Cathedral would not miss the image of the Immaculate Conception enshrined at the main altar. On the Sunday preceding her feast day, 08 December,  a grand procession of Marian images had been held around Intramuros these past many years.

We visited the Cathedral on the 7th, and we discovered a new image on a colorful carroza inside one of the Cathedral's side altars. 

It's described as a "19th century Philippine-made image of the Virgin [that] was found in an antique shop [that] resembl[es] the Immaculada venerated in the Franciscan church in pre-war Intramuros"  It was recreated based on an "old photograph of the original Immaculada .. believed to have been lost during the Second World War."

There was a Royal Decree ordering compliance to a brief issued on 16 February 1761 advocating that in all domains under the Spanish monarchy the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is the universal and singular patroness.  

This can be found as an entry in Cedulario 1748-1768 (folder SDS-699 in the National Archives of the Philippines).  Rose Marie Mendoza, good friend and fellow researcher at the National Archives these last couple of years, posted in Facebook a photograph of this entry page just in time for the feast day of the patroness (08 December 2015). 

The entry reads: "Real Cedula. Que ordena el cumplimiento del breve que acompaƱa de 16 Febrero ultimo para que en todos los dominios de la monarquia EspaƱola se tome por universal y singular patrona y abogada de ella a la Inmaculada Concepcion de la Virgen Maria." [in the backside of page 289 of the Cedulario]

That came after several events in the history of the Inmaculada in the Philippines. These can be found in the Anales Ecclesiasticos de Philipinas, 1574-1682, published as Philippine Church History, A Summary Translation in two volumes in 1994: 
  •  Item 4 under Philippine Historical Personality - Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (f.16-f.17 of the Anales; page 30 of vol.1, Summary): "On June 24, 1571, [Legazpi] took possesion of Manila. It was the feastday of St. John the Baptist. On that day too, he established the Parochial Church of the city under the patronage of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Its first parish priest was Lcdo, Juan de Villanueva."
  • Item 13 under the Biography of Maestro Don Fray Domingo de Salazar, O.P., D.D., First Bishop and First Archbishop of Manila (f.18-f.21; p 35): "On December 21, 1581 it [the church constructed by Bishop Salazar] was made into a Cathedral, the first Episcopal seat in the entire archipelago. A suffragan to the Archdiocese of Mexico, it was dedicated to the Most Pure and Immaculate Conception of Our Lady by virtue of the Bull of Pope Gregory XIII issued at Rome in the 7th year of His Pontificate in 1578."     
  • PROMULGATION. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the Cathedral (and Archdiocese of Manila (f.110; pp 126-127):  "The last promise Archbishop Poblete and Governor Manrique de Lara fulfilled dealt with Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. They agreed to celebrate her feast permanently every 8th of December up to its Octave.
How was the first day celebrated? "Thoughout the celebration there were fireworks, plays etc.On the first day, the Governor and the Royal Audiencia were the sponsors. A Pontifical Sung Mass was offered by the Archbishop at the Cathedral with Don Fr. Antonio de San Gregorio,OFM, Bishop of Nueva Caceres as preacher. The celebration was continued at the Cathedral the following day with the City and its Officials as sponsors. The succeeding celebrations were celebrated (and sponsored) by the Religious Orders. The last day was celebrated at the San Francisco Church with the Nueva Caceres Prelate as celebrant and the Archbishop as preacher.'

Then there is the interesting story on the death of Archbishop Miguel de Poblete on 08 December 1667 (f.198-f.200; pp 210-212:

The Archbishop was suffering from the recurrence of an ailment; he also had dysentery which 'so weakened him that he had to take to his bed,' He could no longer deliver his sermon, and complicated by high fever, 'on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, December 7, it was suggested for him to make his last will' and 'to prepare himself for the Holy Viaticum.'  The Viaticum was brought from Sta. Cruz instead from the Cathedral and adminsitered to him at four in the afternoon that day.

The Inmaculada at the cental altar of Manila Cathedral.
After 1:00 a.m. of December 8, "they [probablythe servant, Fr Juan de la Paz and the Archbishop's nephew] saw that he was lying on his right side with his right hand on his cheek. His eyes were closed and his robe, unruffled. Thinking that he was just probably asleep, they made some noise, But as they did not notice any movement, the Father Confessor called to him. Not hearing any response, they knew the Archbishop had passed away. At precisely that moment, the Cathedral tower clock struck. It was 2:00 a.m. of December 8, 1667, a Thursday and the feast of the Immaculate Concepcion of which Archbishop Poblete was a staunch devotee,'

He could not be buried that day because they were celebrating the Royal Coronation. 

He had been staying at his house by the Pasig river, "When the Intramuros gates were opened, they brought the body there for embalming.  They transported it aboard a small sampan. Upon docking, they transferred it into a hammock. Hardly had they entered the Sto. Domingo gate when the Cathedral and the Church bells of Intramuros started ringing. Such was the practice at daybreak every December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Religious escorting the body commented that indeed the corpse of such a holy and faultless man really merited a grand "welcome". The soldiers at the gate, with tears of joy, jubilantly received and let the party pass through. A big, informal procession followed.'

The body was laid out in the Archbishop's Palace. Its doors opened at 4:00 a.m. of December 9 so that the throng of people from Manila and from towns 6 or 8 leagues away from the city could pay their respect.  He was buried in the Cathedral three days later, 11 December, a Sunday.

Photos by the author,

  • Cedulario 1748-1768. Folder SDS-699. National Archives of the Philippines.
  • Anales Ecclesiasticos de Philipinas, 1574-1682. Philippine Church History, A Summary Translation, Vol. 1. (Manila: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila and Rev. Fr. Ruperto C. Santos), 1994.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Source: Eat Bulaga Facebook page.

That is the hashtag in the Twitterville for the commentary exchanges of netizens worldwide as they waited for/watched/reviewed the events about to transpire/happening/successfully completed at the Philippine Arena, the largest indoor arena of the world, on Saturday, 24 October 2015.

The Tamang Panahon event had been much-awaited for the last three months ever since Lola Nidora promulgated that Alden Richards and Yaya Dub would be able to meet/touch/talk to each other when the right time (tamang panahon) comes.

When she announced it a Saturday earlier, where this would happen, and at what price to pay but for a noble cause--a Project Library for schools across the archipelago--pandemonium, sort of, broke across the AlDub Nation.

We witnessed the queues to the Ticketworld booth at Trinoma during the week: people who reserved online and those who wanted to take a chance for still available tickets. The prime tickets sold out on the first day.

The 55,000-seat Philippine Arena filled to capacity. (Source: Eat Bulaga Facebook page)

We had the TV set all by ourself for more than three hours (it extended a little past the airtime 1130am to 230pm) when Eat Bulaga was aired non-stop with no commercial interruptions. This got us glued listening to jubilant cheers of the AlDub fans that fully occupied the 55,000-seat arena, laughing with them as the lolas Nidora (Wally Bayola), Tidora (Paolo Ballesteros) and Tinidora (Jose Manalo), aka Kalye's Angels, threaded the Cinderella-like story of Alden and Yaya Dub/Maine Mendoza with throwbacks to their own growing-up memoirs.

The lolas Tinidora, Nidora and Tidora. (Source: Eat Bulaga Facebook page) 

It was altogether a grand production number of the KalyeSerye that happens within the Juan For All, All For Juan segment of Eat Bulaga. The other EB hosts (Dabarkads) including Tito, Vic and Joey became supporting characters during the entire show.

Source: Inquirer online.
The event broke all Twitter records at 41-million beating the 35.6-million tweets sent during the semi-final FIFA World Cup match of Brazil and Germany on 08 July 2014.  Previously, AlDub already set the all-time Philippine high of 26-million tweets on 25 September.

The KalyeSerye has 'united' Pinoys worldwide: fan clubs who followed the story live or replays through YouTube or Facebook video posts. For this Tamang Panahon event, those who could not go to the Philippine Arena became TeamBahay or TeamAbroad, viewers at home or abroad.

The AlDub phenomenon, of course, has detractors. The issue of apparent 'shallowness' (kababawan) stirred some social media debate, Social scientists and academicians had taken interest, and 'think' papers/articles had been written about its socio-cultural implications.

The religious community also took notice: the Catholic mass media group has gone to the extent of giving awards to Lola Nidora, Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards for the push their kalyeserye is giving to traditional Filipino values.

We believe that the netizens [and TV audiences] of various ages also take AlDub as an effective medium for positive personal/family/community values formation. AlDub is simply one brief comedic spiel from Monday to Saturday; thus, back to the labors after the freeze of the KalyeSerye characters at the end of each episode..

Source: Manila Bulletin digital edition
The AlDub nation remains grounded, we would like to think. The show is just a break from the daily grind. It does not hug the headlines everyday, nor does it banish away mortal cares: MRT/LRT mess, traffic jams, poverty, lumad killings, tension in the West Philippine Sea, national elections in 2016, etcetera.

Source: The Standard online digital edition.

Whether this will be kilig for a long time or forever depends on the fickle mood of the viewing public. What may keep it going is the receptiveness and prompt response of the story writers to ideas and comments of the AlDub Nation. We sense that the segment writers are keeping track of what netizens say via the social media.

This one headlined AlDub. (Source: Balita digital edition.)

The KalyeSerye as a social-media phenomenonal success is already history, and it continues to be 'history in the making'.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The fighting spirit of Miriam Defensor Santiago for 2016

A beaming Sen, Miriam Santiago before her supporters at the UP Bahay Alumni,

It was a brief meet-and-greet session with her supporters at the UP Bahay ng Alumni yesterday (26 October 2015). Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago who is running for the presidency of the republic in 2016  spoke no more than five minutes. It was, nevertheless, a vibrant evening: the audience had a spirited repartee with their favorite candidate.

Earlier in the day, we watched the working team set up the audio-video on the senator, and took pictures of the screen images like those on her education. We presumed this would be used to introduce her during the evening program.  

Her images as iskolar ng bayan reminded as that she was in the college of law in the UP Diliman at the same time we were struggling with our subjects in the nearby college of engineering.  These were the years when the studentry started to feel the winds of the coming First Quarter Storm.  We read her editorials in the student weekly Philippine Collegian: she was the first female editor-in-chief of the paper. We saw her as Corps Sponsor of the UP ROTC twice; also as a councilor and then vice-chair of the UP Student Council during that period.

The education of Miriam Defensor Santiago

The other images gave highlights of her outstanding public service: posts she handled in key government agencies.  She was 43 years old when she received the 1988 Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of "her bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency [Bureau of Immigration and Deportation]." 

When she arrived, she sat at the middle of the platform with the spotlight on her and the master of ceremonies read her credentials instead of showing the video presentation.

Red was the color of the evening. The red flag, so to speak, was up to stop graft and corruption (walang katapusang pagnanakaw sa ating pera, as she put it).

"Allow me to introduce myself," she said after thanking those who came. "I am the person who is seeking for public office next year."  Because of this, one netizen posted an urgent wish that she should die before six years. "It's up to you," she told the audience, "whether to accommodate the macabre wishes of that person."

Is she healthy for the campaign and the presidency if she wins? She told the audience: "I have passed through the hardest of all the physical trepidations and hardships known to man.  Cancer is not an easy disease to have and still thereafter. I decided after consultation with my panel of doctors from St Luke's hospital that it should be up to me to decide on whether or not I should campaign for president again."

At this point the lively repartee between her and her supporters began:

She said, "My answer is this. Do you want a clean government?"  The shout-out response: "Yes!"

"Do you want a courageous government?"  Audience: "Yes!"

"Do you want a government of, by and for academic excellence?"  Audience: "Yes!"

"If that is the case, do you want me to ..?", which was interrupted by "We want, we want!"

"Alam mo, napansin ko sa Senado, hindi naman pala mahirap na  ipunin ang pera ng gobyerno  Ang problema lang sa atin sa bansa nating ito ay una, ang nagsasalita, iyon din ang magnanakaw. Pangalawa, pag nagsasalita sila, kunwari laban sila sa graft and corruption, maling-mali pa ang Ingles nila. At pangatlo, ninanakaw nila ang pera ng gobyerno para pag nakuha nila lahat ang pera, ibibili nila ulit ng boto ng taong bayan at sa ganung paraan wala ng katapusan ang pagnakaw sa ating pera. This must stop."

Shouts from the audience: "We love you!"

"Kaya subukan at subukan ko pa rin ang lahat ng magagawa ko itong tumatanda na ko."

Voice from the audience: "Kasama mo kami!"

Santiago: "Kasama mo ako? Hindi mo lang alam ang ugali ko!"  Loud cheers from the audience. 

Selfie time of supporters with their idol!

"Basta ako, i-sige ko at i-sige itong ating  laban sa ating bansa. Nag-iskwela  ako sa Amerika, Nag-iskwela ako sa England. Kung saan saan ako nag-iskweal. Hindi ako tatanggap na matatalo ako ng anupang bansa Tayo ang magaling. Filipinos, believe in yourself. Have faith in the Filipino. For, as poetry says, It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

She ended her brief speech with: "Come and join me, and thank you very much for becoming the captain of your soul."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Heneral Antonio Luna and Antonio Fogata

They're both Antonios. They were not contemporaries. Both were Ilocanos.

Source: University of Michigan Digital Library,
Antonio Fogata was from San Narciso, Zambales, whose roots came from the Ilocos in the late 1830s. Possibly, he knew that the Heneral was related to the Posadas family of that town.  Fogata was called 'Bottiog' by his town mates because of his wide abdominal girth. He was a government worker when he came back to the town. My mother told us that he was the best friend of my grandfather, Bottiog, in fact, gave  his music sheets (he was a composer) to my grandfather who kept them in a baul.  After the Second World War, they were found to have all been eaten by termites.

To many young men born at the end of the 1800s or the early 1900s, Antonio Luna was a hero.

Fogata, for one, already a popular Ilocano poet-writer in the 1920s, greatly admired the Heneral. He wrote for El Filipino, a trilingual fortnightly (Ilocano-Spanish-English) published in the 1920s. Archival copies for the years 1925-1926 are in the University of Michigan's 'The United States and its Territories, 1870-1925: The Age of Imperialism' library collection.

Fogata wrote a pagbasaan (reader) on the Heneral in Ilocano, a biography set for release on 31 October 1926. It was advertised in El Filipino as a must-have, must-read book available at a very low price (nalaca ti bayadna).

We have not found a copy of that book in the UP and National Libraries. Fogata could have kept a copy but this was destroyed by Mt Pinatubo's ashes in 1991. Even his copies of Bannawag where his Ilocano works were featured all perished during that volcanic eruption.

What remains are digests from the book published as Pacasaritaan ti biag ni General Antonio Luna y Novicio (Narrative on the life of General Antonio Luna y Novicio) in the special edition of El Filipino of 31 October 1926 to commemorate the Heneral's 60th birthday.

Source: University of Michigan Digital Library,

The extracts dwelt on Antonio Luna as a student here in Manila, his academic performance at the Ateneo Municipal, where he earned his bachelor of arts degree, and at the University of Sto. Tomas, where he took up pharmacy. The next section Ni Luna cas Farmaceutico, Quimico ken Bacteriologo (Luna as pharmacist, chemist and bacteriologist) described his education in Europe, at the universities in Barcelona and Madrid, where he gained his license as pharmacist; in Belgium, where he obtained his expertise as chemist; in France, where he honed his scientific skills in bacteriology.  Fogata's account named the renowned chemists and pharmacists in prestigious European laboratories under whom he trained.  When he returned to Manila in 1894, he was most qualified to compete for the post of head and professor of the 'Laboratorio Municipal de Manila.' He bested other talented Filipinos who also took the examination for the post.

The section Ni Luna Cas Mannurat described Luna as writer and propagandist. He wrote a book of poems dedicated to the girls at the colleges of Sta. Catalina and Concordia. He wrote for La Solidaridad.  His Impresiones Madrilenas de un Filipino was criticized by the Spanish journalist Mir Deas. This led to an altercation which Luna wanted to settle with a duel but Mir Deas tcowardly avoided.

Of course, the narrative ends with Luna's stint as commander of the revolutionary army and how his life ended at the hands of Aguinaldo's loyalists in Cabanatuan.

Aside from the Fogata work spread in 14 pages, that special edition also contained accounts of the assassination/death of Luna by Artemio Ricarte and Teodoro M. Kalaw. Ricarte's was in Ilocano and its English translation; Kalaw's was in English. Ricarte was recalling what he heard from Mabini during their exile in Guam.


  • Fogata, Antonio. 31 Oct 1926. Pacasaritaan ti biag ni General Antonio Luna y Novicio. El Filipino: revista mensual. 2(8):10-25. Manila: Filipino Publishers. Retrived from the University of Michigan Library collection, 'The United States and its Territories, 1870-1925: The Age of Imperialism.  URL:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

More Fun in the AlDub Nation

Note:  All photos are from the Eat Bulaga Kalyeserye Facebook page.

This year, the 36-year old noontime show Eat Bulaga has added 'KalyeSerye' to the ever evolving Filipino vocabulary. It has also redefined 'love team' in the entertainment world using current media technology and apps--split screens and Dubmash--in the creation of AlDub (rhymes with I Luv) that has captivated the heart and mind of the Filipino, er, AlDub Nation. 

We've watched EB metamorphosed from a purely entertainment show into one with truly commendable advocacies: scholarships, school and barangay assistance projects using the ecological solid waste management recycling principle (plastic bottles from participating barangay folks!), among others, And now with the kalyeserye, EB has added values education into its fun-filled agenda.

AlDub, culled from Alden Richards (Richard Faulkerson, Jr in real life) and Maine Mendoza (whose Dubmashes in the socail media started her journey as Yaya Dub in Eat Bulaga), has become the most popular love team in television. They earned more than 25 million fan hits in the Twitterverse in one Saturday episode of the Juan for All, All for Juan segment of Eat Bulaga. Competition has yet to beat that number!

The other key character in that segment is Lola Nidora (played by the versatile, cross-dressing Willy Bayola). She connects AlDub to the Filipino audiences world-wide: young and senior citizens, students, workers and professionals,OFWs and religious groups. Of course, AlDub (Alden and Meng) and Lola Nidora get tremendous support from Lolas Tidora (Paolo Ballesteros) and Tinidora (Jose Manalo) of the Sugod Bahay team and the Dabarkads (headed by the veterans Tito, Vic and Joey) at the Broadway Centrum.

The popularity is phenomenal.The segment itself has become audience-participatory. It appears that audience feedback has contributed in developing story lines. AlDub songs are also being composed by both popular musicians and talented fans.

The appeal of AlDub among the senior citizenry stems from the collective recollection of the GMRC (good maaners and right conduct) subject in the schools during their time.  Lola Nidora's messages about traditional Filipino values throw them back to those days of yore. She uses the new medium to refresh old lessons.

Reports say that the AlDub kalyeserye's 'moral agenda' has been gladly received by the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), for example, has praised the noontime show through its Twitter account for highlighting 'moral stancdards when it comes to marriage.'  The Radio Veritas also twitted a salute to Eat Bulaga for 'the pure intentions of the kalyeserye to bring back to mind the basics of love and responsibility.'

May be it's the Lola Nidora medium that makes it easier for the millenials to relate/connect to the kalyeserye's GMRC messages. In time, we may be able to see how far and deep these quotable quotes from Lola Nidora affected personal/familial/community relationships:

"Dapat maging inspirasyon natin ang mga kaibigan nating OFW... Malayo sila. Hindi nila nakikita ang mga mahal nila sa buhay pero dahil iniisip nila ang magandang kinabukasan, nagtitiis sila." (07 Oct)

"Maganda ring masubukan ang tunay na nilalaman ng puso. Minsan talaga dapat magkalayo kasi nga may kasabihan, 'absence makes the heart grow fonder.'" (06 Oct)

"Ganyan and panunuyo ... kinakantahan, pinagsisilbihan, pinupuntahan sa bahay ... Hindi sa kalye nagliligawan, Ngayon, tinginan lang, MU na agad! Hindi pa lubos na magkakilala, eh, in relationship na! Huwaw! Tapos sasabihin, "it's complicated"! Ang lovelife ngayon daig pa ang balita ... LIVE via satellite!" (03 Oct)

"Nakaupo lang naman, holding hands na agad-agad? Hawakan ang kamay dahil may dahilan... Hawakan ang puso kung tunay na nagmamahalan..."  (30 Sep)

“Ang katapatan ay iyong dangal na hindi nababayaran”  (30 Sep)

"Laging isipin na ang pag-ibig ay hindi laro, Pag naglaro kayo, kayong dalawa ang matatalo. Ang pag-ibig ay sineseryoso. Kund hindi kayo seryoso, mag tumbang preso na lang kayo ... Wag na wag niyong laruin ang damdamin niyo, Kung ano ang totoo ,,, go, go, go! Kung ano'ng nararamdaman, BANG! BANG! IPAGLABAN!" (30 Sep)

"Ang pag-ibig n'yo ay hindi pambayanihan, hindo pantakbuhan ... Pangsugod bahay lang. Isa lang ang winner. Isa lang dapat ang winner sa puso ng bawat isa." {29 Sep)

"Walang maiinip sa taong tapat ang hangarin. Walang susuko sa taong totoo and tibok ng puso. Ang pag-ibig na hinihintay ang tamang panahon ay pag-ibig na magtatagal sa mahabang panahon." (25 Sep)

"Ang inggit ay kalawang na sisira sa iyong pagkatao ... Believe in yourself." (15 Sep)

"Ang tunay na pag-ibig, kahit hindi kayo magkapiling nararamdaman. Ang tunay na pag-ibig, kahit hindi nagkikita, pinapahalagahan at iniisip ang isa't isa! Iniisip ang kabutihan! At hinihintay ang tamang panahon!"  (05 Sep)

"Masarap umibig ... masarap ang my inspirasyon, huwag lang minamadali ... lahat ng bagay nasa tamang panahon." (12 Aug)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Young 'katutubo' (indigenous peoples) are keeping their cultural traditions alive

Bryan and his young aunt Joy Marie perform a Tingguian ourtship dance.

We had the awesome opportunity to witness young 'katutubo' from the Cordilleras to Mindanao -- B'laan of Sarangani, Mansaka of Davao del Norte, Panay Bukidnon of Iloilo, Ibaloy of Benguet, Tingguian of Abra, and Ayta of Zambales -- gather together and make 'daton' (offering) of music and dances handed down to them from generations of yore.

This was in celebration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples & International Youth Day last August under the auspices of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Katutubo Exchange. The 'daton' was held in several places; we witnessed the one held at the GSIS Museum,

A courtship dance of the Panay Bukidnons.

The young performers were mostly of elementary school age. The older ones were in their early 20s like Joy Marie and Bryan Gabriel of the Binongan tribe among the Tingguians of Abra, and Muller Bato, an Ibaloi college teacher who played the sulibao, one of the instruments used to provide the music accompaniment of their dance number,

A festive dance of the B'laans.

We may not have understood the chants but we were very pleased to hear them from children. One of these was a chanted repartee of a boy and girl, apparently one of courtship, because we understood that part where the girl said something like they have to wait until they have finished schooling.

The Mansaka courtship dance with a beaded necklace.

We loved the courtship dance of the Mansaka pair. This involved the boy offering the girl a gift of a necklace, but he was spurned three times (the girl took the necklace off her neck and threw it away). Of course, it had a 'they lived happily ever after' ending.

Talipi dance of the Aytas of Zambales.

The Ayta children from Aningway in Subic, Zambales danced their talipi. One of the boys danced the role of a hunter, while another one mimicked a monkey trying to find what's inside a basket.

Ibaloys in celebration: dancing around and around.

We discerned very great pride among the young katutubo of their very own cultural traditions. They will certainly keep these traditions a living tapestry of colors and rhythms in their costumes, chants, songs, and dances.