Philippine Independence Day

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Hello Everyone!

I am not in school today because my teacher said Friday, June 12th is Philippine Independence Day and it is a national holiday..

My teacher said that every year, millions of Filipinos from all over the world gather around and celebrate this important day.

She told our class that the Philippine Declaration of Independence occurred on June 12, 1898 in the Philippines. Filipino revolutionary head General Emilio Aguinaldo (who later became the Philippines’ first Republican President) proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

The declaration however was short lived as it was not recognized by the United States or Spain. The reason was because the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, in consideration for an indemnity for Spanish expenses and assets lost.

In the Treaty of Manila, the US recognized Philippine independence on July 4, 1946 and it was observed in the Philippines until President Diosdado Macapagal signed Republic Act no. 4166 into law on August 4, 1964, designating June 12 (which had been previously observed as Flag Day) as the country’s Independence Day.

So all Filipinos will spend this day celebrating and remembering the sacrifices made by our country’s heroes to bring freedom and independence to the Philippines.

Philippines A-Z: Andres Bonifacio

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Hello Everyone!

We have had many heroes in Philippine history but only a few great ones. Today, we look at the life of one of the great Filipino heroes: Andres Bonifacio.

Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) , the founder and organizer of the Katipunan, was born in the Tondo district of Manila on November 30, 1863 to a Tagalog father, Santiago Bonifacio and a Spanish mestiza mother, Catalina de Castro. He had three brothers and two sisters: Ciriaco, Procopio, Espiridiona, Troadio and Maxima.

picture of Andres Bonifacio, Filipino Hero

Andres Bonifacio, Filipino Hero

Fate may have deprived him the opportunity to pursue a formal education, but he was gifted with a beautiful penmanship, talent in craftsmanship and love for books.

Andres was forced to give up his schooling when his parents died so he could shoulder the burden as being the family’s breadwinner. The canes and paper fans that he peddled, including the posters he created for the local merchants, earned him just enough money to make ends meet at home.

Late in his teens, he was hired as a messenger clerk in the commercial firm of Fleming and Company, a British commercial firm where he learned the rudiments of the English language. His diligence and hard work soon rewarded him with a promotion as the company’s agent in which he sold rattan, tar and various other products. Later, to further increase his earnings, he transferred to a German firm, Fressell and Company, which provided him with a more substantial salary as its agent.

And whatever free time he had, he indulged in self-study. Some of the books he read were the two novels by Rizal, The Ruins of Palmyra, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Wandering Jew, by Eugene Sue, the lives of the Presidents of the United States, International Law, the Penal and Civil Codes, some novels and a book on the French Revolution, which must have been fascinating for him because of its proletariat leadership and great success.

His first marriage was short-lived, for his wife, Monica, died of leprosy. In 1892, he met Gregoria de Jesus, and after several months of courtship, they were wed in Binondo Church. They were also remarried according to the Katipunan rites. After the ceremony, Gregoria was initiated into the Women’s Chapter of the Katipunan. She chose Lakangbini (Muse) as her symbolic name. Her role in the Katipunan was taking custody of its papers, revolvers, seals, and other paraphernalia.

It was on July 7, 1982 when Rizal was arrested to be exiled in Dapitan that Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, and Deodato Arellano founded the Katipunan. And although the secret society’s founder, Bonifacio did not insist to become its president. He was cognizant of his limitations and recognized the worth of others. However, it was only after discovering that the first two presidents lacked the enthusiasm and seriousness in their duties as expected of them that he took over the helm. He also authored numerous articles and poems in the course of the revolution.

Unfortunately, Bonifacio lost all his battles during the revolution which led to heavy casualties and massacres. The revolutionaries in Cavite had better success, led by officers which included Emilio Aguinaldo. Consequently, they sent out a manifesto calling for a revolutionary government of their own that totally undermined Bonifacio’s leadership.

picture of Andres Bonifacio at the Tejeros Convention March 22, 1897

Andres Bonifacio at the Tejeros Convention March 22, 1897

Nonetheless, a convention was held in Tenejeros, Cavite to establish a unified front and to vote for a true leader of the revolutionary movement. It was attended by Bonifacio and some of his men and by the members of two locally-based rival Katipunan factions — Magdalo and the Magdiwang. The former was headed by Emilio Aginaldo’s cousin, Baldomero Aguinaldo.

Overwhelmed by the presence of numerous Caviteno delegates and lacking a power base in the province, Bonifacio was relegated a mere Director of the Interior, while Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President. The slighted Bonifacio then invoked his authority as Supremo and declared the results of the Tejeros Convention as null and void and left incensed.

It is believed that Bonifacio headed towards Batangas to lead another Katipunan faction in order to establish his own government. The Magdalo group subsequently got wind of it. Fearing the existence of a rival government in times of the revolution, Emilio Aguinaldo ordered for the arrest of Bonifacio and his brothers. Bonifacio and some members of his contingent were discovered by the Magdalo soldiers in the town of Indang, but refused to come out of the house peacefully when asked by the Magdalo men. A standoff ensued which lasted through the night.

picture of house where Andres Bonifaco was court martialed.

House where Andres Bonifaco was Court-Martialed.

At dawn, the Magdalo soldiers closed in and opened fire, but Bonifacio ordered his men not to shoot. The soldiers made their way in, tied up Procopio Bonifacio and beat him with a revolver. Ciracio Bonifacio, on the other hand, was held down by two soldiers and shot to death. Andres Bonifacio was stabbed and beaten with a rifle butt. Andres and Procopio were then taken to Maragondon, Cavite, charged with treason and sedition, and tried in a court headed by General Mariano Norel. Punishment for the brothers was death by firing squad.

Aguinaldo supposedly superseded this judgment and ordered the Supremo to be exiled and banished to Mt. Nagpatong instead. Major Lazaro Makapagal, along with four soldiers, was given orders to take the Bonifacio brothers to Mt. Nagpatong. A sealed envelope was also given to Makapagal with strict orders not to open it until they reached the mountains.

picture of monument to Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio

Monument to Filipino Hero Andres Bonifacio

At Mt. Buntis, on May 10, 1892, Major Lazaro Makapagal opened the letter and read its contents aloud. The letter was an absolute directive for him to have Andres and Procopio executed by firing squad or he himself would be shot. It was signed by General Mariano Noriel. Upon Makapagal’s order, his soldiers opened fire on the Bonifacio brothers. They were buried in a shallow grave covered with twigs and branches. Andres was only 34 years old.

An expedition conducted by one of these former Magdalo soldiers found the grave of Andrés Bonifacio in 1918. His remains were exhumed and placed in an urn at the Legislative Building, which is now the National Museum in Manila. The building, however, was obliterated during the carpet-bombing of Manila by the Americans in 1945. Bonifacio’s remains are lost forever.

In his memory and honor, November 30th of every year was declared a legal holiday by virtue of Act No. 2946, approved on January 16, 1921. To perpetuate his greatness further, the cornerstone of his monument in Grace Park, Caloocan was laid on November 30, 1929.

Philippines A-Z: Jose A. Burgos

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Hello Everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great weekend!

This week we start off the week with the letter “B”. We will be learning about Filipino heroes from past and present. We will be visiting great places in the Philippines that begin with the letter “B”.

We start off with an early but none the less a great hero of the Philippines. He was an early champion of the Filipino people by fighting for equal rights during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. His name is Jose A. Burgos.

picture of Jose A. Burgos

Jose A. Burgos

Jose Bugos, one of the “Martyrs of 1872″ was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on February 9, 1837. His father, Don Jose Tiburcio Burgos, a Spaniard, was an officer of the Army (First Lieutenant of the Batallon Milicias de Ilocos 5 de Linea), His mother, Florencia Garcia, was a Spanish-Filipina mestiza noted for her beauty and intelligence.

Burgos’ Christian name was Jose Apolonio, but when he grew up he usually signed his name as plain Jose Burgos. Nicknamed Pepe, he was the youngest in the family with two sisters, Antonia and Maria.

Jose learned his first letters front his mother. Since early boyhood, he wanted to become a priest. This was contrary to his mother’s wish because she wanted him to become a lawyer. At age ten and an orphan, Jose enrolled at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran on August 11, 1847. A brilliant student, he excelled in academic works and in extra curricular activities. He took up physical education seriously and became an adept swordsman and pugilist. On February 11, 1855 at age 18, Burgos obtained his Bachiller en Filosofia sobresaliente. He immediately started his theology course and obtained the Bachiller en Teologia degree, his second, on January 21, 1859, graduating at the top of the class.

After finishing his course for the Priesthood he sang his first Mass in Intramuros. He eventually became a parish priest of the Sagrario de Intramuros, and soon found himself in trouble with his superiors as a result of his liberal ideas. On August 11, 1860 more than a year after his ordination, the young cleric enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas to pursue his studies.

Because of his experience with the Spanish students who looked down on the Filipino whom they called Indios and creollos,it was only natural for Burgos to prove that the Filipinos were as good as the white men. If the Spaniards, he thought, could see that a creole could excel in advanced studies,they would begin to respect the Filipinos.

Burgos finished his master’s degree, Licenciado en Teologia on February 21, 1862 and his Bachliller en Canones on February 8. 1866. He continued his studies and obtained a Doctor en Teologia on April 14, 1868, and a Licenciado en Canones on Oct. 29, 1868. He went on studying until he obtained the Doctor en Canones degree in April, 1871. This was the highest academic degree he could obtain as a priest. He received these last four degrees while acting as a curate of the Parish of St. Peter which comprised the Walled City. Having taken all these courses he became a member of the examining board for priests.

At the Sagrario de Intramuros, he became an ecclesiastical fiscal, a canonical magistrate of the Cathedral of Manila and finally the master of the claustral ceremony in the University of Santo Tomas. Despite these enviable positions, Burgos was neither content nor happy. As an eyewitness to the ill-treatment and apathy shown by the Spanish ecclesiastical officials to his countrymen, he felt aggrieved. To fight the injustice, he became a staunch and vigorous advocate for reforms in the country and a strong crusader for the rights and welfare of the secular clergy. In a manifesto he wrote in La Verdad on Jury 27, 1864, Burgos expounded his views and liberal ideas and extolled the ability of the Filipinos.

picture of the Burgos ancestral home in Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Burgos ancestral home in Vigan, Ilocos Sur

During the height of the secularization controversy when Burgos had become widely known as the vigorous champion of the cause of the Filipino clergy, the Cavite Mutiny broke out on January 20, 1872. The outbreak of the mutiny afforded the Spanish authorities and the ecclesiastical
authorities a very good opportunity to get rid of him. Thus, through the influence and machination of the friars, Burgos, together with Father Mariano Comes and Father Jacinto Zamora were implicated in the mutiny.They were arrested and charged with conspiring against the state and organizing the mutiny in Cavite on the night of January 20.

On February 15, 1872, the three priests were formally tried by the military court headed by Col. Francisco Moscoso. As the members of the court were all their enemies, the three priests were denied a fair trial. After the prosecutors had presented the charges and their evidences, Jose Arrieta, counsel for Burgos, offered no defense for his client. Instead he stated that Burgos had confessed his guilt. Protesting the action of his lawyer, Burgos stood up to face the Council of War, and said, “I have not confessed any guilt and I am not guilty; that is not my defense; that gentleman (pointing to Arrieta) had changed it. I deny all the charges against me. They have no foundation in fact or in law.”

Between 5 and 6 o’clock a.m., February 16, 187? the priests were gathered at the guardroom at Fort Santiago and there Major Boscasa read their sentence: death by garrote.

At sunrise of that fateful day, February 17, the three priests met their death at Bagumbayan. Prior to their execution, Governor-General Rafael de Izquierdo requested the Archbishop of Manila to degrade the three priests by removing their priestly habits. His Grace, Gregorio Meliton Martinet, who was then the Archbishop of Manila, stubbornly refused this unholy request, for he was inclined to believe that the three condemned priests were innocent. They were therefore allowed to wear their habits.

picture of Jose A. Burgos monument in Manila Luneta Park

Jose A. Burgos Monument in Manila Luneta Park

Of the three priests, Burgos was the last to be executed. As he ascended the stairs, his glance met that of Major Boscasa. Fr. Burgos stopped a while and said: “I forgive you, and may God forgive you as I have forgiven you,” He proceeded and sat down on the execution bench. Suddenly he got up and spoke in a loud voice: “But what wrong have I done? Shall I die without reason? My God, is there no justice at all on earth?”

Before doing his work, the executioner approached Burgos. “Father”, said he, “forgive me for what I am about to do.” “I forgive you my son,” was the quiet reply. “Do what is your duty.” Then he turned to the people who were present and who were down on their knees. Father Burgos then extended his hands and gave them his blessings.

As he was being strangulated, Father Burgos prayed: “My Lord Father of mine, receive into Your Bosom, the soul of an inno…”Death cut short his last prayer. Burgos died at 8:00 a.m. as a patriot and martyr for the cause of the Filipinos.

Philippines A-Z: President Arroyo

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Hello Everyone!

Today, we will visit with the President  of the Philippines.

The President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, holds many records. Elected as Senator during her first try in politics in 1992, she was re-elected Senator in 1995 with nearly 16 million votes, the highest number of votes in Philippine history. She was elected Vice President of the Philippines in 1998 with almost 13 million votes, the largest mandate in the history of Presidential or Vice Presidential elections. She was sworn in as the 14th President of the Philippines on January 20, 2001 by Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. after the Supreme Court unanimously declared the position of President vacant, the second woman to be swept into the Presidency by a peaceful People Power revolution. (EDSA II).

picture of the President of the Philippines

President of the Philippines

The President is the daughter of the late President and Mrs. Diosdedo Macapagal, who were well known for their integrity and simple but dignified lifestyle. During the Presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, the Philippines was second only to Japan in economic progress in Asia.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was valedictorian of her high school class at Assumption Convent, was consistently on the Dean’s List in Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and graduated magna cum laude at Assumption College. She obtained a Master’s degree in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University and a doctorate degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines.

Macapagal-Arroyo joined the Philippine government in 1986 during the Administration of President Corazon C. Aquino, who appointed her Undersecretary of Trade and Industry. During her tenure in the Senate, she authored 55 laws on economic and social reform and was named outstanding Senator several times. When she was elected Vice President, President Joseph Estrada appointed her as concurrent Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, a post she held until her resignation from the Cabinet on October 12, 2000.


Here is the President’s Inauguration Speech:

JANUARY 20, 2001

In all humility, I accept the Presidency of the Republic.

I do so with both trepidation and a sense of awe.

picture of President Arroyo being sworn in as President of the Philippines

President Arroyo Being Sworn in as President of the Philippines

Trepidation, because it is now, as the Good Book says, a time to heal and a time to build. The task is formidable, so I pray that we will all be one — one in our priorities, one in our values and commitments, and one because of Edsa 2001.

A sense of awe, because the Filipino has done it again on the hallowed ground of Edsa.

People Power and the oneness of will and vision have made a new beginning possible. I cannot but recall at this point, therefore, Ninoy Aquino’s words:

“I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino, and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for.”

As we break from the past in our quest for the new Philippines, the unity, the Filipino’s sense of history, and his unshakable faith in the Almighty that prevailed in Edsa ’86 and Edsa 2001 will continue to guide and inspire us.

I am certain the Filipinos of unborn generations will look back with pride to Edsa 2001, just as we look back with pride to Mactan, the Katipunan and other revolts, Bataan and Corregidor , and Edsa ’86.

I am certain that pride will reign supreme as they recall the heroism and sacrifices and prayers of Jaime Cardinal Sin, former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, the legislators who fought the good fight in Congress, the leaders whose principles were beyond negotiation, the witnesses in the impeachment trial who did not count the cost of testifying, the youth and students who walked out of their classes to be here at Edsa, the generals in the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police, and the Filipino out there who stood up to be counted in these troubled times.

The Filipino, crises and all, is truly worth living and dying for.

Ngunit saan tayo tutungo mula rito?

Jose Rizal, the first to articulate self-determination in a free society, provides the answer.

Rizal counseled the Filipino to lead a life of commitment, “He must think national, go beyond self.”

“A stone is worthless,” Rizal wrote, “if it is not part of an edifice.”

We are the stones, and the Philippines is our edifice.

picture of President Arroyo speaking before the United Nations

President Arroyo Speaking before the United Nations

On many occasions, I have given my views on what our program of government should be. This is not the time or place to repeat them all. However, I can tell you that they converge on four core beliefs.

1. We must be bold in our national ambitions, so that our challenge must be that within this decade, we will win the fight against poverty.

2. We must improve moral standards in government and society, in order to provide a strong foundation for good governance.

3. We must change the character of our politics, in order create fertile ground for true reforms. Our politics of personality and patronage must give way to a new politics of party programs and process of dialogue with the people.

4. Finally, I believe in leadership by example. We should promote solid traits such as work ethic and a dignified lifestyle, matching action to rhetoric, performing rather than grandstanding.

The first of my core beliefs pertains to the elimination of poverty. This is our unfinished business from the past. It dates back to the creation of our Republic, whose seeds were sown in the revolution launched in 1896 by the plebian Andres Bonifacio. It was an unfinished revolution, for to this day, poverty remains our national problem. We need to complete what Andres Bonifacio began. The ultimate solution to poverty has both a political and an economic aspect.

Let me first talk about the political aspect.

In doing so, I will refer to one of my core beliefs, that of the need for new politics. Politics and political power as traditionally practiced and used in the Philippines are among the roots of the social and economic inequities that characterize our national problems. Thus, to achieve true reforms, we need to outgrow our traditional brand of politics based on patronage and personality. Traditional politics is the politics of the status quo. It is a structural part of our problem.

We need to promote a new politics of true party programs and platforms, of an institutional process of dialogue with our citizenry. This new politics is the politics of genuine reform. It is a structural part of the solution.

We have long accepted the need to level the playing field in business and economics. Now, we must accept the need to level the playing field in politics as well. We have long aspired to be a world class economy. Now, we must also aspire to develop a world class political system, one in tune with the 21st Century.

The world of the 21st Century that our youth will inherit is truly a new economy, where relentless forces such as capital market flows and advances in information and communications technology create both peril and opportunity.

To tap the opportunities, we need an economic philosophy of transparency and private enterprise, for these are the catalysts that nurture the entrepreneurial spirit to be globally competitive.

To extend the opportunities to our rural countryside, we must create a modernized and socially equitable agricultural sector.

To address the perils, we must give a social bias to balance our economic development, and these are embodied in safety nets for sectors affected by globalization, and safeguards for our environment.

To ensure that our gains are not dissipated through corruption, we must improve moral standards. As we do so, we create fertile ground for good governance based on a sound moral foundation, a philosophy of transparency, and an ethic of effective implementation.

Considering the divisions of today, our commitment will entail a lot of sacrifices among us all, as we work to restore the dignity and pre-eminence of the Filipino.

Join me, therefore, as we begin to tear down the walls that divide. Let us build an edifice of peace, progress and economic stability.

People Power has dramatized the Filipino’s capacity for greatness.

People of People Power, I ask for your support and prayers. Together, we will light the healing and cleansing flame.

This we owe to the Philippines. This we owe to every Filipino.

Thank you and may the Good Lord bless us all.


President Arroyo has been President of the Philippines since January 2001. Her terms in office have been very controversial. During her election campaign in 2004, there were stories that there had been rigging of votes to give her a big win in the elections.

picture of President Arroyo and President Bush in the USA

President Arroyo and President Bush in the USA

There have been many controversies concerning bribes involved with her husband and other family members.

She has always been able to brush away attempts to remove her from office due to the overwhelming majority of her party in the House of Representatives.

She has done much good in repairing the state of the economy of the country and has brought many new investors to start new businesses and provide needed new jobs for local Filipinos. She has lower the national debt of the country by a very big margin.

Like all leaders in the world that are trying their best to do the  job they were elected to do, they have people who support them and others that don’t. That is the nature of politics. Regardless, of what has been said about her, she is our President and deserves our support until she is replaced in the next election.

More next week on our journey through the Philippines A-Z.

Have a great and safe weekend.

Philippines A-Z: General Emilio Aguinaldo

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Hello Everyone!

Today, we visit the life of a great Philippine patriot           ——EMILIO F. AGUINALDO (1869-1964)——

General Emilio Aguinaldo was the President of the First Philippine Republic and leader of the Revolution against Spain and War in opposition to America occupation of the country. The seventh child of Don Carlos Aguinaldo y Jamir and Doña Trinidad Famy y Valero, Emilio was born at dawn of March 22, 1869 in Cavite El Viejo ( now Kawit).

He was a plucky and daring tot. At a playmate’s dare, he jumped into the Marulas river and almost drowned as he did not know how to swim. At two, he got sick with smallpox and was given up for dead until he opened his eyes. He was bitten by hundreds of ants in a bamboo clump where a relative had abandoned him for fear of some Spanish troops out on a juez de cuchillo (Justice of the knife) mission in retaliation for the Cavite Mutiny of 1872.

picture of General Emilio Aguinaldo

General Emilio Aguinaldo

As a young man, he engaged in barter and trade in the nearby southern islands. On one of his trips, taken in a big paraw (sailboat with outriggers), he grappled, subdued and landed a huge man-eating shark which he thought was just an ordinary big fish that swallowed everything in its path.

Aguinaldo was slender and stood at five feet and three inches. His stiff black hair, always cut short, flat at the sides and semi-flat on top, became popularly known as the “Aguinaldo” haircut. His Chinese lineage was betrayed by almond-shaped eyes and the sparseness of the moustache he tried to grow as a young gallant. He appeared shy, self- effacing, gentle and humble – traits that won the people’s hearts.

He was only in the third year of his bachillerato (equivalent to our present high school) when he decided to leave the Colegio de San Juan de Letran to help his widowed mother manage their farm. He was only 17 then. His mother, Kapitana Teneng worked for his appointment as cabeza de barangay of Kawit to prevent his being conscripted into the Spanish army. He proved to be a capable official.

Hence, when the Maura Law was implemented in the Philippines, he was chosen capitan municipal (mayor) – the first in Kawit – by the electoral tribunal. In the morning of January 1, 1895, he took his oath as town executive and, in the evening of the same day, he was initiated into the Masonry, then a fraternity outlawed by both the Church and State. Three months later, in March of 1895, he was inducted into the Kntipunan in Manila by its founder and Supremo, Andres Bonifacio.For his name in the secret society, Aguinaldo chose Magdalo,after the patron saint of Kawit, Mary Magdalene. His official position served the purposes of the Katipunan very well, specially when he became very active in recruting members.

Aguinaldo fell in love with Hilaria del Rosario of Imus, Cavite and married her in 1896. He had kept his revolutionary activities secret from his wife until the Katipuneros staged the “Cry of Pugad Lawin” on August 23, 1896. Under his leadership, the Katipunan forces in Cavite captured Kawit, Imus, Bacoor, and other towns. After his initial victories, he led his men to help the Katipuneros in Batangas.

The Spanish forces concentrated their campaigns in Cavite. They sent feelers to Aguinaldo, urging cessation of hostilities, but these were ignored. The Spanish authorities. then put a price on his head and circularized their intention to display him in Manila in an iron cage once captured.

Early in 1897, under Governor-General Camilo de Polavieja, the Spanish forces launched a vigorous campaign in Cavite, resulting in the capture of several towns and the killing of a number of Aguinaldo’s commanders: his elder brother, Crispulo, and his friends, Evangelista and Flaviano Yengko, all of them generals of his army.

The two Katipunan factions (Magdalo under Aguinaldo and Magdfwang under Bonifacio) held a convention in March of 1897 in Tejeros,a barrio between the towns of San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias) and Noveleta, in Cavite. The assembly elected Aguinaldo: (who was not present) president, but a conflict broke out between the two factions when Daniel Tirona derogatorily questioned Bonifacio’s election as minister of interior.

As more towns of Cavite were recaptured by the Spaniards, Aguinaldo had to transfer his headquarters to Batangas and finally to a hideout in Biak-na-bato mountain in Bulacan. There he reorganized the revolutionary government. With the war in Cuba, Spain was hard-pressed to keep fighting on two fronts. Pedro A. Paterno, Filipino scholar, offered his services to Governor-General F. Primo de Rivera to negotiate with Aguinaldo. The latter wanted nothing short of independence while the governor general insisted on ending hostilities in exchange for general amnesty. The persistence of Paterno resulted in the Truce of Biak-na-bato in December 1897.

In compliance with the conditions of the truce, Aguinaldo and about 25 of his leaders left for Hong Kong as exiles. However, the Peace turned out to be as flimsy as the faith of the contracting parties. Apolinario Mabini, who became Aguinaldo’s adviser, admitted later that both parties had acted in bad faith. The promised general amnesty and reforms were not implemented satisfactorily by the Spanish authorities. On the other hand, the stipulated surrender of most of the arms was withheld by the Filipino forces.

Aguinaldo deposited the indemnity money he received in two Hong Kong banks, and he and his fellow exiles lived meagerly off its interest. The money was later used to purchase firearms.

Before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Aguinaldo had already agreed, through the American Consul in Singapore, to a supposed alliance with the United States. Hence, after the Spanish warship were sank by the fleet of Admiral George Dewey at Manila Bay, Aguinaldo returned to Manila to renew the fight against Spain. .

In Cavite, on the advice of lawyer Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, he established a provisional dictatorial government to “repress with a strong hand the anarchy which is the inevitable sequel of all revolutions.” His first two significant acts were the proclamation of Philippine independence in Kawit on June 12, 1898, and the organization of local political units all over the country.

The return of Aguinaldo united the Filipinos once again. From Cavite, Aguinaldo led his troops to victory after victory over the Spanish forces until they reached the city of Manila. Despite the surrender of the Spaniards, however, the Americans forbade the Filipinos to enter the Walled City of Intramuros.Aguinaldo, still optimistic and unsuspecting of the real intentions of the Americans, convened a Revolutionary Congress at Malolos to ratify the independence of the Philippines and to draft a constitution for a republican form of government.

On the night of February 4, 1899, the shooting of a Filipino soldier by an American sentry at the San Juan bridge, kindled the brewing enmity between the Filipino and American armies. An open war followed soon after.Consequently, superior American firepower drove the Filipino troops away from the city. The govermnent at Malolos then had to transfer from one place to another. Aguinaldo had to retreat to the north of Luzon with the Americans closely trailing him.

President William McKinley offered the Filipinos an autonomous government under the American flag but this was emphatically rejected.

Aguinaldo’s odyssey ended in September, 1900, in Palanan, Isabela, where he was captured by General Frederick Funston on March 23, 1901, a day after his 32nd birthday. Although Generals Miguel Malvar and Artemio Ricarte, and a few others continued their resistance, the capture of Aguinaldo virtually ended the Filipino-American War.

After the restoration of peace, Aguinaldo led the life of a gentleman farmer and looked after the welfare of his former comrades-in-arms. He organized the Veteranos de la Revolucion (Veterans of the Revolution), secured pensions for its members, and made arrangements for them to buy land on installment from the government.

picture of General Aguinaldo's estate and, now, a landmark

General Aguinaldo's Estate and, now, a Landmark

On March 6, 1921, his first wife died. From that marriage five children (Miguel, Carmen, Emilio, Jr., Maria and Cristina) were born. On July 14, 1930, aged 61, he married Dona Maria Agoncillo, niece of Don Felipe Agoncillo, the pioneer Filipino diplomat.In 1935, Aguinaldo ran for the
presidency of the Commonwealth government and lost to Manuel L. Quezon.

During the parade at the Luneta on July 4, 1946, marking the restoration and recognition of Philippine independence by the US Government, the 77-year old general carried the flag he raised in Kawit on June 12, 1898, the date he believed to be our true Independence Day. When President Diosdado Macapagal proclaimed this date in 1962 as Independence Day, Aguinaldo regarded it as the greatest victory of the Revolution of 1896.

On February 6, 1964, less than a year after the death of his second wife, Aguinaldo died of coronary thrombosis, at the age of 95, at the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Quezon City.

A year before his death, he had donated his mansion and lot in Kawit to the government “to perpetuate the spirit of the Revolution of 1896… to conserve and vivify the nationalism that moved our country to rise in arms…”

Philippines A-Z: Corazon C. Aquino

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Hello Everyone!

Well, today we finally start our new series “Philippines A-Z”. As you know, I am very proud of my home country and I want all my friends around the world to know just how great the Philippines is.

We will look at different places, bits of history, and famous people throughout our history right up to the present.

I would like to introduce one of my favorite persons. A person loved by every Filipino. Our former President of the Philippines Corazon “Cory” C. Aquino.

picture of former President of the Philippines C. Aquino

Former President of the Philippines C. Aquino

Corazon “Cory” C. Aquino was political leader and President from (1986 to 1992) of the Philippines. In 1983 she succeeded her murdered husband, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.(A popular critic of the Marcos administration), as leader of the opposition to President Ferdinand Marcos. No one could have imagined that Cory Aquino would become a president of the Philippines.

“As I came to power peacefully, so shall I keep it.” Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the first woman to become president of the Philippines, was born in Tarlac on January 25, 1933. Her parents are Don Jose Cojuangco and Doña Demetria Sumulong. Cory was the sixth among the eight children of the Sumulong. Corazon Aquino’s children are Maria Elena Aquino, Aurora Corazon, Victoria Eliza, Noynoy and Kris Aquino, her youngest child is a TV and movie personality.

Corazon Cojuangco was born into a wealthy, politically prominent family based in Tarlac province, north of Manila. In 1946, her family left for the U.S. and she enrolled at Ravenhill Academy in Philadelphia. She finished her junior and senior years at Notre Dame College in New York. She entered Mount Saint Vincent College in New York City in 1949 where she finished a Bachelor of Arts, major in French. In 1953, she returned to the Philippines to take up law at the Far Eastern University, but then abandoned further studies in 1955 to marry Benigno Aquino, who was then a promising young politician. Cory remained in the background during her husband’s subsequent career, rearing their five children at home and later in exile. Her husband was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines in August 1983.

When Ferdinand Marcos unexpectedly called for presidential election in February 1986, Corazon Aquino become the unified opposition’s candidate for the presidency. Though she was officially reported to have lost the election to Marcos, Aquino and her supporters challenged the results, charging widespread voting fraud. High officials in the Philippines military soon publicly renounced Marcos continued rule and proclaimed Aquino the Philippines rightful president. On February 25, 1986, both Aquino and Marcos were inaugurated as president by their respective supporters but that same day Marcos fled the country.

In March 1986 she proclaimed a provisional constitution and soon thereafter appointed a commission to write a new constitution. The resulting document was ratified by a landslide popular vote in February 1987.

President Aquino still has a large influence in the Philippines (both government and Catholic Church). Although, she has had health problems most recently, she continues to be the “Mother of the Philippine Constitution”.

She is a wonderful and very brave woman who is a role model for all young children in the Philippines.

More tomorrow!

National Heroes’ Day

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Hello Everyone!

Today is National Heroes’ Day (Araw ng mga Bayani) which is a public holiday in the Philippines on the 4th Monday of August each year.The Philippines, on this day, commemorates the “Cry of Pugad Lawin” by Filipino revolutionaries called the Katipunan led by its leader (Supremo) Andres Bonifacio.This was the beginning of the end for the Spanish occupation of the Philippines.

The Philippines, like all countries of the world, has had many heroes in its history. That got me to thinking about the definition of a hero. I ask Mama “what is a hero?” and she said that we will start by looking up the definition of the word. Webster’s Dictionary states: “a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength.”

Mama told me that this definition is not quite correct as it doesn’t truly define what a hero is. Mama said upon closer examination, many more different qualities than just the above mentioned become apparent upon reflection.. Courage, honesty, bravery, selflessness, and the will to try are just a few of the overlooked qualities of a hero.

Mama said there is another type of hero that almost no one is aware of. In the poorest areas of the country live people who have little resources or opportunities. All their lives they’ve expected to work hard and expected little or no success in life. Some individuals living in poverty with a strong determination to succeed work hard all of their lives with the single goal of rising up from their surroundings and circumstances to build a better life for themselves and their family; they are heroes. There are over 11 million Filipino Overseas Workers working in countries all around the world. They provide over 20% of the Gross National Income each and every year. They sacrifice there lives to provide much needed income to their families here in the Philippines. We call them our “modern day heroes.”

Mama said that everyone can be a hero each and everyday. She said that when we live our lives with the idea that we are here to help each other in every way possible we are heroes. When we help a older person across the street or give up our seat on a bus for an older person; we are a hero. When we help our friends with their homework when they are sick and can not attend school; we are heroes. I think that you get the idea. Mama said God teaches us that simple acts of kindness makes us better persons and that is really what being a hero is all about…being the best we can.

Thank you for your visit.

“The Filipino Is Worth Dying For” – Conclusion

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Hello Everyone!

Today, we will pick up our story of a great modern day hero of the Philippines – Ninoy Aquino. Mama will continue with the story.

Our story continues with Cory Aquino running for president of the Philippines. During the voting, American observers witnessed many irregularities. Afterward, the two monitoring bodies, one sponsored by a U.S.-based group and the other an official government commission, reported contradictory election results. Both candidates claimed victory, but the national assembly recognized Marcos as the winner. The Catholic Church in Manila issued a statement claiming the election had been “a fraud unparalleled in history.” Marcos’s claim of victory rang hollow.

picture of the EDSA People Power Revolution in Manila Philippines in 1986

EDSA People Power Revolution in Manila Philippines

On February 22 two of Marcos’s key military supporters publicly turned against him. Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos (later to be President of the Philippines) staged a military mutiny, seizing two vital military installations in suburban Manila. This mutiny presented Marcos with an immediate challenge that his cousin General Fabian Ver, the armed forces chief of staff, wanted to meet with decisive force. Cardinal Sin, using the catholic radio station Radio Veritas, summoned the Philippine people into the streets to block General Ver’s tanks. Thousands of civilians flocked into the streets and formed a human barricade on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the main boulevard between the two military bases. Marcos’s troops lacked either the brutality or the political will to attack unarmed civilians, and they were effectively immobilized by the strong show of what Filipinos called “people power.”

Despite these events, Marcos insisted on being inaugurated president in a private but purely symbolic ceremony on February 25. The next day the Marcoses and their family and close associates fled the Philippines for Hawaii on two aircraft supplied by the U.S. Air Force. Aquino became president.

Benigno S. Aquino never lived to lead the Philippine nation but has been honored in the renaming of Manila International Airport to Ninoy Aquino International and his image appears on a 500-peso note with his most famous quote “The Filipino is worth dying for”. A gold coin was issued to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death.

Jovito “Jovy” Reyes Salonga, a Filipino senator, statesman, lawyer, and a leading oppositionist to the Marcos regime later to become President of the Senate of the Philippines said it best in a speech, when he said of Ninoy Aquino: “…The Greatest President , We never had…” Ninoy Aquino will live in the hearts of Filipinos for generations to come as the father of Philippine democracy.

In closing I would like to leave you with a poem that Ninoy Aquino wrote to his wife, Cory, while he was imprisioned by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos:

picture of Ninoy Aquino a true modern day hero of the Philippines

Ninoy Aquino a true modern day hero of the Philippines

I have fallen in love
with the same woman three times;
In a day spanning 19 years
of tearful joys and joyful tears.

I loved her first when she was young,
enchanting and vibrant, eternally new.
She was brilliant, fragrant,
and cool as the morning dew.

I fell in love with her the second time;
when first she bore her child and mine
always by my side, the source of my strength,
helping to turn the tide.


But there were candles to burn
the world was my concern;
while our home was her domain.
and the people were mine
while the children were hers to maintain;

So it was in those eighteen years and a day.
’till I was detained; forced in prison to stay.

Suddenly she’s our sole support;
source of comfort,
our wellspring of Hope.
on her shoulders felt the burden of Life.

I fell in love again,
with the same woman the third time.
Looming from the battle,
her courage will never fade

Amidst the hardships she has remained,
undaunted and unafraid.
she is calm and composed,
she is God’s lovely maid.

Filipino composer and singer Jose Mari Chan later set the piece into music and included it in his album, Constant Change.

Thank you, Mama, for all your help telling the story of a wonderful true modern day hero of the Philippines and the Philippine people. It is so nice to have people, in history, to “look up” to as role models.

Thank you for your visit. Have a great and safe weekend!

“The Filipino Is Worth Dying For”

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Hello Everyone!

Twenty-five years ago today, the Philippines started the long journey from a dictatorship to a democratic country. Today, we observe the 25th anniversary of the death of Benigno Simeon Aquino Jr. (affectingly known to Filipinos as Ninoy). Who was Ninoy Aquino and how did he impact the history and future of the Philippines? Mama will be helping me with the posting today and tomorrow.

Ninoy Aquino was born November 27, 1932 and entered politics at the age of 22, after a career as a journalist and war correspondant, and subsequently became the youngest mayor, governor, and senator to serve in the Philippines. In 1954 he married Corazon Cojuangco.  Imprisoned in 1972 when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, Aquino was allowed to move his family to the United States so he could undergo heart surgery. He later served as a research fellow at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1983 he returned to Manila to work in the legislative election.

picture of Ninoy Aquino a true modern-day hero of the Philippines

Ninoy Aquino a true modern-day hero of the Philippines

Despite high security, he was assassinated as he deplaned on August 21. Although one of Ninoy’s soldier/bodyguards did the shooting, theories of a conspiracy remain involving the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After a mass at St. Domingo Church, an eleven hour funeral march ensued through twenty five miles of Manila streets with an estimated two million people participating or lining the route of the cortege to the cemetery.Although an investigation commission declared that several military allies of Marcos were responsible for the assassination, all the defendants were acquitted in a 1985 trial.The Supreme Court subsequently declared his murder trial a mistrial. In a new trial that ended in 1990, 16 military officials were convicted of his murder.

Aquino’s death proved to be the tipping point in Marcos’s downfall. Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino, put the ailing Marcos on the defensive by depicting him as a brutal dictator. In a gamble to regain some political legitimacy, and secure continued U.S. support for his regime, Marcos announced that a “snap,” or unscheduled, presidential election would be held in February 1986, a year before his term was to expire. Marcos fully expected to win the election, considering his well-oiled political machine and the divided nature of the opposition. But Cardinal Sin, head of the Philippine Catholic Church, arranged an opposition alliance, convincing Corazon Aquino to run for president and Salvador Laurel to run for vice president.

We will conclude our story in tomorrow’s posting.

Thank you for your visit.

More Philippine Independence History

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Hello Everyone!

Today, we will continue with Mama’s story of Philippine independence.

Philippine Independence Day (Filipino:Araw ng Kasarinlan, Araw ng Kalayaan) commemorating the country’s declaration of independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 is a regular holiday in the Philippines.
The event was led by General Emilio Aguinaldo in his mansion on June 12, 1898. The flag of the Philippines, which was made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, was first flown in that event. It is, also, where the Philippine National Anthem, composed by Julian Felipe, was first played by the San Francisco de Malabon band. The song was played under the name Marcha Filipina Magdalo, later renamed as Marcha Nacional Filipina.

Picture of the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 in Cavite, Philippines

The Declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898

The Philippines celebrated its Independence Day every July 4, the date in 1946 that the United States granted independence to the nation, until 1962. In that year, President Diosdado Macapagal signed the Presidential Proclamation No. 28, changing the official celebration to June 12, the date in 1898 that Emilio Aguinaldo declared the nation’s independence from Spain. The government  offically named June 12 as Araw ng Kalayaan (Independence Day) and July 4 as Republic Day and Philippine-American Friendship Day.
On June 12, 1998, the nation celebrated its centennial year of Independence from Spain. The celebrations were held simultaneously nationwide by, then, President Fidel V. Ramos and Filipino communities worldwide. A commission was established for the said event. The National Centennial Commission, headed by former Vice President Salvador Laurel, presided over all events around the country. One of the major projects of the commission was the Expo Pilipino, a grand showcase of the Philippines’ growth as a nation for the last 100 years, located in the Clark Special Economic Zone (formerly the  United States Air Force  Clark Air Base) in Angeles City, Pampanga.

In future postings, Mama and I will continue with the history of the Philippines and the beautiful culture of our people.

See you tomorrow!