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Showing posts with label Philippine History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippine History. Show all posts

Japan in Philippine History

Japayuki and comfort women… these are the usual words associated when we talk about any connections we have with Japan in Philippine history. Ambeth Ocampo, a public historian and currently a visiting professor in Sophia University, Tokyo says that history is all about connections. In his talk Before the Japayuki: Japan in Philippine History, it is in every little bits of information that Japan and the Philippines in common we connect each other’s history.

is a term referred to Filipina women in 80’s and 90’s who went to Japan as cultural entertainers however later on it had a negative connotation that when one is referred as this it meant a prostitute. Comfort women, are those who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II and the majority are from the Philippines and a few Asian countries.

Ambeth also says that to find connections it requires appreciation of useless information. We call a bottled cap of any kind “tansan” in Tagalog. In Japan, there is a brand called “Tansan” which is a bottle of carborated water. The mosquito killer emitting a pungent smoke we call it “katol”. Japan call it katori-senkou. We believe we are the ones who invented the halo-halo but as early as 16th century they already have this kakegori – shaved ice topped with sweet kinds of syrup. The scissors and paper game, we have a local version of it we call “Jack en Poy “. Japan call their version “Janken Pon”.

Many local historians and history lovers reacted when our current P1,000 bill’s back part showed the map of the Philippines not including the Spratly’s islands and Sabah, Borneo which we have dispute territory claim against China and Malaysia. Indonesia however in one of their money bills they show their map with some islands which other countries own but they say “traditionally this land is ours”. So how can we teach the young ones of today to fight for what is ours historically when we are too polite and playing safe for things we need to stand for no matter what? Why is it that the story of comfort women are not found in textbooks and not even mentioned in Wikipedia when they are also part of Japan in Philippine history?

Three Hundred Years of Philippine Maps from 1598 to 1898

"One of the most interesting facts about Carta hydrographica y chorographica de las Islas Filipinas map is it included the previously named Bajo de Masinloc or now called as Scarborough Shoal (often called Panatag Shoal) as part of Zambales. Since the dispute of China claiming that Scarborough Shoal is theirs is growing intense day by day, maybe we can let them go back and scan their history books and ours as well and let history be the judge. Dr. Leovino at the end said that it is sad that Spain is always and only portrayed through Rizal's novel in the 19th as always the villain and the colonizer. This is not true at all. He said."

What does Rizal’s Astrological Birth Chart Reading Says About Him?

"That he's never gonna get married and that's he's gonna die young. Rizal knew these would happen to him." says Filipino astrologer Resti Santiago, who talks about Rizal's life in accordance to certain planetary movements that may have affected him when he was alive. "Don't send him to school in Manila anymore. He knows enough and if he knows more, he will be killed." His clairvoyant mother even said one time to his father when he was 16 years old. Astrology is one of the oldest sciences and astrologers are also history-lovers. Honorio Lopez, the Father of Philippine Astrology even studied Rizal's life at some point in time he said.

Looking back at Rizal's Astrological Chart which is the map of the heavens when an event takes place, there are 12 people considered with insurmountable roles in his life. His parents, friends, critics, some family members, his first love Leonor Rivera and wife Josephine Bracken are classified according to what order of house they belonged under. These houses are called specifically like First House is Aries, Second House is Taurus up to Twelth House is Pisces.  There is a free downloadable software the Morinus 3.9 that could help anyone know his Astrological Chart and reading. Interesting! Yeah will download that soon.

Based on the the 3 Daughters of Fate and astrological technique he was predicted to die at age 33. Well, he died at 35. But what really happened when he was 33? Leonor died and at age 34 he said through a letter to Blumentritt 09/22/1891 "I am going to meet my destiny." At this age he felt that his vitality is waning already. Another letter to Blumentritt 10/09/1891 he said"It seems that I shall never marry." In a letter to the Women of Malolos, he might have accepted that he's never going to marry Leonor his first cousin as he mentioned there "not to marry a cousin." Rizal's love planet, Venus is not meant for him to be married. Fate is something that played so much in his life that after the merry times he spent in Europe and going back to Philippines he said he's got this feeling that the opposite will happen. He knew his life's pattern that "what follows after extreme happines is sadness". He  even believed in the theory of luck that he is known to have bought lottery tickets too.

Rizal is Pisces and Piscean people are natural artists, well-traveled and martyrs. Very few people knew he can sketch too, he traveled so much and who else does not know he is martyr? He knew his life is going to end early and he accepted it well that in Noli Me Tangere, Elias one of the character said "Next time don't tempt God too far." He knew he has weak body that he played fencing and swimming. "How about the many women in Rizal's life, what was their more significant role if there was?" asks one of the audience. "Balance. These women kept Rizal who is a superb intellectual to remain human... prone to emotions." Another one from the audience answers.  [Photo courtesy of Wikipedia]

Resti Santiago led this talk  as part of  Rizalizing the Future events  in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal organized by Yuchengco Museum.

Watch "Amigo", a movie about Philippine-American History

Amigo is reportedly the first film ever made about the little-known Philippine-American War. But it is not quite a war masterpiece like Platoon, Apocalypse Now, or Saving Private Ryan because of its below-average production budget—$1.2 million, according to the Internet Movie Database. Amigo is created by the writer-editor-director John Sayles who is  acknowledged as one of the godfathers of independent cinema according to

The fictional story  happened in the year 1900 when US  just bought the Philippines from Spain. Filipino rebels are everywhere the archipelago ready to sacrifice their lives for independence. Rafael Dacanay (Joel Torre), is the town’s Kapitan del Barrio  who is torn between helping the US aides  trying to establish a garrison in his town and his brother who is a rebel not going to let another invader of his homeland happen again.

Amigo will be shown in US theaters August 19th, 2011. It is currently showing in five theaters - Glorietta4, TriNoma, Robinson's Ermita/Galleria and SM Bacoor.  To read the complete movie review by please click here.

To visit Amigo's Facebook Fan Page, please click here.

Pinays Obsession on Skin Whitening Products: Let's Take a Look

Pinays are the highest users when it comes to skin whitening products with 50% among Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan women. This is according to Synovate, a global market research company which conducted a survey last 2004. Now it's 2010, still whitening products are one of the hottest and best sellers in the local markets today. See the white faces of idolized actors and celebrities or notice the dominance of people locally with whiter complexion,  these are the kinds  most of Pinays  go gaga to look like them. Think, if skin colours do show a rather unfair  trend.

Skin whitening products in the Philippines like Avon's Anew 360 White, Ponds Whitening Detox Creme, Olay Whitening Intensive Creme, Papaya products, glutathione and those from Belo are very in demand. It seems impossible to count how many products more Pinays are spending so much as according to Cheche V. Moral of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, skincare in the Philippines is worth P22 billion pesos or almost $48 billion. Certainly, this is a big and serious business here in the Philippines. It is also seldom to find beauty products without a whitening ingredient. Check the commercials/advertisements of most of the products mentioned above: a plain, boring girl is depicted for the one who has darker complexion and then goes smarter, prettier as she  becomes whitier and noticed more by people around.

Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo novels published in 1890's has a character named Donya Victorina, a pinay who is ashamed of her look and color that she tries to put on lots of make up just to look more Spanish. Whiter skin has become “a reflection of labour status.” says historian Gerald Horne of University of Houston in the digital news outlet GlobalPost.  When one sees a person with white skin, a quick impression is he/she is beautiful, glamorous and rich.

According to Veronica Cerrer's writing entitled Skin Whitening and Dark Beauty in the Philippines , pinays' obsession on skin whitening products can be traced back to colonial mentality. In my simplest translation, a state of feeling inferior or thinking of always being the least in anything. Spanish colonized the Philippines for almost 3 decades and Americans for over 50 years and it somehow left a negative mark about the ideal of beauty to the pinays or the women of the Philippines.  Come on, shrug that colonial mentality off! While skin whitening is a free option for pinays, why not we revive that tanned skin with "exotic look" as beautiful and glamorous not the usual pitied definition of domesticated and uneducated pinays?

Information source: Veronica Cerrer's  Skin Whitening and Dark Beauty in the Philippines published in dated April 20, 2010

National Geographic's Thirty Rare Images of the Philippines (1898-1966))

Scroll down to see the images


Currently displayed in Trinoma are thirty (30) rare images of the Philippines captured by the National Geographic camera lenses from 1898-1966. Images are mostly about the everyday life of different tribes and their culture, untouched by a Facebook-driven world of today and what the Philippines is, as the second richest country in Asia around 1950’s.


National Geographic Society or the National  Geographic  is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. It started as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel, 122 years ago. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone succeeded him in 1897 following his death.


National Geographic, has given grants for scientific researches and has recently awarded its 9,000th grant for scientific research conducted worldwide. Two of its most popular aided researches are Robert Ballad’s Titanic wreck findings and Jane Goodal’s Chimpanzee studies. Its trademark logo is a yellow portrait frame which is usually seen around the edge of the flagship National Geographic Magazine cover. This magazine is translated to 32 languages and has 50 million readers worldwide. National Geographic is located in Washington, D.C. where they maintain a museum free for the public.

National Geographic has ventured many endeavors such as book publishing, television, film, music, radio, museum exhibits, digital media and an annual International Geography contest for middle-school students.  Known as supporter of scientific projects, National Geographic is one of the international partners and consultants of the well-anticipated and first ever world class museum in the Philippines, The Mind Museum in Taguig which is scheduled to open last quarter of next year. This museum is also launching campaigns in search of volunteers, assistance particularly financial, hope we have inspired someone to be.

Here are a few photos taken from the exhibit:

Bogobo Man

Caption will be added soon

Dead Ifugao girl

Sultan of Sulu has Many Wives


Caption be added soon

This exhibition is presented to you by The Mind Museum, a science museum project of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. and its institutional partner, The National Geographic Channel.

Exhibition dates and venues (2010):

October 3-4 Greenbelt 5
October 7-10 Glorietta
October 21-24 TriNoma
November 12-14 Bonifacio High Street

Teodulo Protomartir: How his Photos of Manila in Ruins during World WarII made Him the Father of Philippine Photography

TV Director of comedy show “Bubble Gang”, Uro dela Cruz and celebrated Manila tour guide Carlos Celdran talked about “Images of Manila – Then (1946) and Now (2010)” through the efforts of Museum Foundation of the Philippines Inc. Uro, who is a camera collector shares how he serendipitously bought a camera from an antique-selling store in Escolta which is owned by a man said to be the Father of Philippine Photography.  He talked about the almost unbearable bad smell of the crumpled and wet negatives from Teodulo’s camera and how they painstakingly save his pictures from ‘extinction’.

Teodulo worked in a camera - importing company during his time. By 1930, he led a group of photographers scouring the old Manila taking pictures. Few photos that surprised Uro, was taken somewhere in Lucban, Quezon his hometown, in a place where he used to walk every day when he was a kid. Teodulo traveled outside Manila to take pictures too. He even took a photo of Mayon Volcano in Legazpi, Albay. His negatives usually have notes on it, like what level of exposure, the speed or what kind of film he used. Every week, his group would gather to discuss matters about their hobby which at that time is only for the rich, conduct photo exhibits and a radio show.

Carlos, an authority on Manila’s history guided by Teodulo’s photographs, visited again these places and took pictures of how it looked like today. He said that Manila is a reflection of the world: a hodge - podge of cultures from the East and West. One touching photo shown is an old and skinny Teodoro wearing sunglasses to hide his eyes that is nearly succumbing to blindness. He died shortly before two of his daughters became professional ophthalmologists.  But his photos of Manila are priceless and forever will be historical pieces to the Filipinos. He is indeed worthy to be the Father of Philippine Photography. Below are some of pictures he took around 1940's.

Teodulo getting blind because of old age with his priced cameras

Quirino Grandstand

Santa Mesa

Plaza Miranda

Lucban, Quezon

35 Mm Camera Club
Note: The talk was conducted last Sept. 8, 2010 at Silverlens Gallery, Makati

A Dare to Everyone: Walk Through the Streets of Intramuros; At leastOnce in Your Lifetime

It all started in the 30th Manila International Book Fair last September 19th held in SMX Mall of Asia in Pasay. I and two other friends having walked for 3 hours non-stop the almost countless book stands of all sorts happen to stop by another booth not known to us before. The name is Instituto Cervantes Manila. Sounds like French to me! Si! I know it is Spanish, it's just that it's something bizarre for me.

This institution offers cursos de espanol! Working in a call center for 4 years now and knowing to speak another worthy language is not an asset for everyone. It’s a treasure. A treasure not just in display but you’re paid. So we submitted our email addresses and since then we’re always included in their mailing lists.

There are film festivals, cultural activities & shows and conferences, symposia and seminars. Do not worry when you watch these films since there is an English subtitle like what I did before. I remember when I watched the 8th Spanish Film Festival in Greenbelt 3 Cinema Makati, I wanted to catch the last full show for that day. A 12 midnight show but I was able to arrive almost less than an hour. To my surprise all the tickets were sold out! I had no choice but to reserve a ticket for the next day. It’s like I am vying for a limited slot from now showing movies of these days. Not bad for just P65 I was able to watch films of high-class and multi-awarded. The usual movie fair is between P140-160, it depends on how ‘bankable’ the place is.

The rest is history… Though at this point I haven’t enrolled to any of their programs because of my murderous work schedule and it’s geographically far from where I am based now, I would definitely join when time permits. Sigh! I wonder when is that! The recent round-table discussion about preservation of our heritage sites I would say pinched my heart. I haven’t been to any symposia about cultural legacy and preservation and in these modern times that everybody is embracing a technology-driven environment but this one really knocked me out. I would and would always get this butt moving for any worthwhile activities that would focus on preserving our highest identities as Filipinos – our historical sites and things of our past.

I dare everyone instead of a usual trip to window-shop, engaging in a flirtatious chat online for hours or just going gaga over the Farmville, Mafia wars and Zynga Poker at Facebook to at least “once” in your lifetime walk-through the streets of Intramuros. Get inside the old houses and museums and take a look at the things of our past. Think of how we ourselves can cultivate and keep running in our blood the sense of ‘Filipinoism’ How the coming generations could still see at their own eyes the legacy of our mighty predecessors. Oh I hear my stomach grumping, might as well grab something to eat…

Pictures shown from top to bottom:

1. Old house in Intramuros
2. Spaniards gentlemen having some chatting with each other in a carpetted garden entrance in Villa Immaculada
reception place in Intramuros. I just loved the long straight thin vines that resemble a long hair.
3. A guardia civil standing through the passage.
4. Another old house in the same place