Tuesday, December 29, 2009

100 Reasons Why I Love Being Pinoy

1. Merienda. Where else is it normal to eat five times a day?

2. Sawsawan. Assorted sauces that guarantee freedom of choice, enough room for experimentation and maximum tolerance for diverse tastes.

Favorites: toyo't calamansi, suka at sili, patis.

3. Kuwan, ano. At a loss for words? Try these and marvel at how Pinoys understand exactly what you want.

4. Pinoy humor and irreverence. If you're "api" and you know it, crack a joke. Nothing personal, really.

5. Tingi. Thank goodness for small entrepreneurs. Where else can we buy cigarettes, soap, condiments and life's essentials in small affordable amounts?

6. Spirituality. Even before the Spaniards came, ethnic tribes had their own anitos, bathalas and assorted deities, pointing to a strong relationship with the Creator, who or whatever it may be.

7. Po, opo, mano po. Speech suffixes that define courtesy, deference, filial respect --- a balm to the spirit in these aggressive times.

8. Pasalubong. Our way of sharing the vicarious thrills and delights of a trip, and a wonderful excuse to shop without the customary guilt.

9. Beaches! With 7000 plus islands, we have miles and miles of shoreline piled high with fine white sand, lapped by warm waters, and nibbled by exotic tropical fish. From the stormy seas of Batanes to the emerald isles of Palawan-over here, life is truly a beach.

10. Bagoong. Darkly mysterious, this smelly fish or shrimp paste typifies the underlying theme of most ethnic foods: disgustingly unhygienic, unbearably stinky and simply irresistible.

11. Bayanihan. Yes, the internationally-renowned dance company, but also this habit of pitching in still common in small communities. Just have that ice-cold San Miguel Beer and some pulutan ready for the troops.

12. The Balikbayan box. Another way of sharing life's bounty, no matter if it seems like we're fleeing Pol Pot everytime we head home from anywhere in the globe. The most wonderful part is that, more often than not, the contents are carted home to be distributed.

13. Pilipino komiks ("comics"). Not to mention "Hiwaga," "Aliwan,""Tagalog Classics," "Liwayway" and"Bulaklak" magazines. Pulpy publications that Gave us Darna, Facifica Falayfay, Lagalag, Kulafu, Kenkoy, Jesebel, Characters of a time both innocent and worldly.

14. Folk songs. They come unbidden and spring, full blown, like a second language, at the slightest nudge from the too-loud stereo of a passing jeepney or tricycle.

15. Fiesta. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is just another day, shrugs the poor man who, once a year, honors a patron saint with this sumptuous, no-holds-barred spread. It's a Pinoy celebration at its pious and riotous best.

16. Aswang, manananggal, kapre. The whole underworld of Filipino lower mythology recalls our uniquely bizarre childhood, that is, before political correctness kicked in. Still, their rich adventures pepper our storytelling.

17. Jeepneys. Colorful, fast, reckless, a vehicle of postwar Pinoy ingenuity, this Everyman's communal cadillac makes for a cheap, interesting ride. If the driver's a daredevil (as they usually are), hang on to your seat.

18. Dinuguan. Blood stew, a bloodcurdling idea, until you try it with puto. Best when mined with jalapeno peppers. Messy but delicious.

19. Santacruzan. More than just a beauty contest, this one has religious overtones, a tableau of St. Helena's and Constantine's search for the Cross that seamlessly blends piety, pageantry and ritual. Plus, it's the perfect excuse to show off the prettiest ladies-and the most beautiful gowns.

20. Balut. Unhatched duck's embryo, another unspeakable ethnic food to outsiders, but oh, to indulge in guilty pleasures! Sprinkle some salt and suck out that soup, with gusto. 21. Pakidala. A personalized door-to-door remittance and delivery system for overseas Filipino workers who don't trust the banking system, and who expect a family update from the courier, as well.

22. Choc-nut. Crumbly peanut chocolate bars that defined childhood ecstasy before M & M's and Hersheys.

23. Kamayan style. To eat with one's hand and eschew spoon, fork and table manners-ah, heaven.

24. Chicharon. Pork, fish or chicken crackling. There is in the crunch a hint of the extravagant, the decadent and the pedestrian. Perfect with vinegar, sublime with San Miguel Beer.

25. Pinoy hospitality. Just about everyone gets a hearty "Kain tayo!" invitation to break bread with whoever has food to share, no matter how skimpy or austere it is.

26. Adobo, kare-kare, sinigang and other lutong bahay stuff.

27. Home-cooked meals that have the stamp of approval from several generations, who swear by closely-guarded cooking secrets and family recipes.

28. Lola Basyang. The voice one heard spinning tales over the radio, before movies and television curtailed imagination and defined grown-up tastes.

29. Pambahay. Home is where one can let it all hang out, where clothes do not make a man or woman but rather define their level of comfort.

30. Tricycle and trisikad, the poor Pinoy's taxicab that delivers you at your doorstep for as little as P3, with a complimentary dusting of polluted air.

31. Dirty ice cream. Very Pinoy flavors that make up for the risk: munggo, langka, ube, mais, keso, macapuno. Plus there's the colorful cart that recalls jeepney art.

32. Yayas. The trusted Filipino nanny who, ironically, has become a major Philippine export as overseas contract workers. A good one is almost like a surrogate parent --- if you don't mind the accent and the predilection for afternoon soap and movie stars.

33. Sarsi. Pinoy rootbeer, the enduring taste of childhood. Our grandfathers had them with an egg beaten in.

34. Pinoy fruits. Atis, guyabano, chesa, mabolo, lanzones, durian, langka, makopa, dalanghita, siniguelas, suha, chico, papaya, singkamas-the possibilities!

35. Filipino celebrities. Movie stars, broadcasters, beauty queens, public officials, all-around controversial figures:

Aurora Pijuan, Cardinal Sin, Carlos P. Romulo, Charito Solis, Cory Aquino, Emilio Aguinaldo, the Eraserheads, Fidel V. Ramos, Francis Magalona, Gloria Diaz, Manuel L. Quezon, Margie Moran, Melanie Marquez, Ninoy Aquino, Nora Aunor, Pitoy Moreno, Ramon Magsysay, Richard Gomez, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Sharon Cuneta, Gemma Cruz, Erap, Tiya Dely, Mel and Jay, Gary V. World class Pinoys who put us on the global map: Lea Salonga, Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Luisito Espinosa, Lydia de Vega-Mercado, Jocelyn Enriquez, Elma Muros, Onyok Velasco, Efren "Bata" Reyes, Lilia Calderon-Clemente, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Josie Natori.

36. Pinoy tastes. A dietitian's nightmare: too sweet, too salty, too fatty, as in burong talangka, itlog na maalat, crab fat (aligue), bokayo, kutchinta, sapin-sapin, halo-halo, pastilyas, palitaw, pulburon, longganisa, tuyo, ensaymada, ube haleya, sweetened Macapuno and garbanzos. Remember, we're the guys who put sugar (horrors) in our spaghetti sauce. Yum!

37. The sights. Banaue Rice Terraces, Boracay, Bohol's Chocolate Hills, Corregidor Island, Fort Santiago, the Hundred Islands, the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ, Rizal Park, Mt. Banahaw, Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano. A land of contrasts and ever-changing landscapes.

38. Gayuma, agimat and anting-anting. Love potions and amulets. How the socially-disadvantaged Pinoy copes.

39. Barangay Ginebra, Jaworski, PBA, MBA and basketball. How the verticaly-challenged Pinoy compensates, via a national sports obsession that reduces fans to tears and fistfights.

40. People Power at EDSA. When everyone became a hero and changed Philippine history overnight.

41. San Miguel Beer and pulutan. "Isa pa nga!" and the Philippines' most popular, world-renowned beer goes well with peanuts, corniks, tapa, chicharon, usa, barbecue, sisig, and all manner of spicy, crunchy and cholesterol-rich chasers.

42. Resiliency. We've survived 400 years of Spanish rule, the US bases, Marcos, the 1990 earthquake, lahar, lambada, Robin Padilla, Tamagochi and Erap. 43. Yoyo. Truly Filipino in origin, this hunting tool, weapon, toy and merchandising vehicle remains the best way to "walk the dog" and "rock the baby," using just a piece of string.

44. Pinoy games: Pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok. A few basic rules make individual cunning and persistence a premium, and guarantee a good time for all.

45. Ninoy Aquino. For saying that "the Filipino is worth dying for," and proving it.

46. Balagtasan. The verbal joust that brings out rhyme, reason and passion on a public stage.

47. Tabo. All-powerful, ever-useful, hygienically-triumphant device to scoop water out of a bucket _ and help the true Pinoy answer nature's call. Helps maintain our famously stringent toilet habits.

48. Pandesal. Despite its shrinking size, still a good buy. Goes well with any filling, best when hot.

49. Jollibee. Truly Pinoy in taste and sensibility, and a corporate icon that we can be quite proud of. Do you know that it's invaded the Middle East and the US, as well?

50. The butanding, the dolphins and other creatures in our blessed waters. They're Pinoys, too, and they're here to stay. Now if some folks would just stop turning them into daing.

51. Pakikisama. It's what makes people stay longer at parties, have another drink, join pals in sickness and health. You can get dead drunk and still make it home.

52. Sing-a-long. Filipinos love to sing, and thank God a lot of us do it well!

53. Kayumanggi. Neither pale nor dark, our skin tone is beautifully healthy, the color of a rich earth or a mahogany tree growing towards the sun.

54. Handwoven cloth and native weaves. Colorful, environment-friendly alternatives to polyester that feature skillful workmanship and a rich indigenous culture behind every thread. From the pinukpok of the north to the malong of the south, it's the fiber of who we are.

55. Movies. Still the cheapest form of entertainment, especially if you watch the same movie several times.

56. Bahala na. We cope with uncertainty by embracing it, and are thus enabled to play life by ear.

57. Papaitan. An offal stew flavored with bile, admittedly an acquired taste, but pointing to our national ability to acquire a taste for almost anything.

58. English. Whether carabao or Arr-neoww-accented, it doubles our chances in the global marketplace.

59. The Press. Irresponsible, sensational, often inaccurate, but still the liveliest in Asia. Otherwise, we'd all be glued to TV.

60. Divisoria. Smelly, crowded, a pickpocket's paradise, but you can get anything here, often at rock-bottom prices. The sensory overload is a bonus.

61. Barong Tagalog. Enables men to look formal and dignified without having to strangle themselves with a necktie. Worn well, it makes any ordinary Juan look marvelously makisig.

62. Filipinas. They make the best friends, lovers, wives. Too bad they can't say the same for Filipinos.

63. Filipinos. So maybe they're bolero and macho with an occasional streak of generic infidelity; they do know how to make a woman feel like one.

64. Catholicism. What fun would sin be without guilt? Jesus Christ is firmly planted on Philippine soil.

65. Dolphy. Our favorite, ultra-durable comedian gives the beleaguered Pinoy everyman an odd dignity, even in drag.

66. Style. Something we often prefer over substance. But every Filipino claims it as a birthright.

67. Bad taste. Clear plastic covers on the vinyl-upholstered sofa, posters of poker-playing dogs masquerading as art, overaccessorized jeepneys and altars-the list is endless, and wealth only seems to magnify it.

68. Mangoes. Crisp and tart, or lusciously ripe, they evoke memories of family outings and endless sunshine in a heart-shaped package.

69. Unbridled optimism. Why we rank so low on the suicide scale.

70. Street food: Barbecue, lugaw, banana-cue, fishballs, IUD (chicken entrails), adidas (chicken feet), warm taho. Forget hepatitis; here's cheap, tasty food with gritty ambience.

71. The siesta. Snoozing in the middle of the day is smart, not lazy.

72. Honorifics and courteous titles: Kuya, ate, diko, ditse, ineng, totoy, Ingkong, Aling, Mang, etc. No exact English translation, but these words connote respect, deference and the value placed on kinship.

73. Heroes and people who stood up for truth and freedom. Lapu-lapu started it all, and other heroes and revolutionaries followed: Diego Silang, Macario Sakay, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Melchora Aquino, Gregorio del Pilar, Gabriela Silang, Miguel Malvar, Francisco Balagtas, Juan Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Panday Pira, Emilio Jacinto, Raha Suliman, Antonio Luna, Gomburza, Emilio Aguinaldo, the heroes of Bataan and Corregidor, Pepe Diokno, Satur Ocampo, Dean Armando Malay, Evelio Javier, Ninoy Aquino, Lola Rosa and other comfort women who spoke up, honest cabbie Emilio Advincula, Rona Mahilum, the women lawyers who didn't let Jalosjos get away with rape.

74. Flora and fauna. The sea cow (dugong), the tarsier, calamian deer, bearcat, Philippine eagle, sampaguita, ilang-ilang, camia, pandan, the creatures that make our archipelago unique.

75. Pilipino songs, OPM and composers:"Ama Namin," Lupang Hinirang," "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal," "Ngayon at Kailanman," "Anak," "Handog,""Hindi Kita Malilimutan," "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit"; Ryan Cayabyab, George Canseco, Restie Umali, Levi Celerio, Manuel Francisco, Freddie Aguilar, and Florante-living examples of our musical gift.

76. Metro Aides. They started out as Imelda Marcos' groupies, but have gallantly proven their worth. Against all odds, they continuously prove that cleanliness is next to godliness- especially now that those darned candidates' posters have to be scraped off the face of Manila!

77. Sari-sari store. There's one in every corner, offering everything from bananas and floor wax to Band-Aid and bakya.

78. Philippine National Red Cross. PAWS. Caritas. Fund drives. They help us help each other.

79. Favorite TV shows through the years: "Tawag ng tanghalan,""John and Marsha," "Champoy," "Ryan, Ryan Musikahan," "Kuwarta o Kahon," "Public Forum/Lives," "Student Canteen," "Eat Bulaga." In the age of inane variety shows, they have redeemed Philippine television.

80. Quirks of language that can drive crazy any tourist listening in: "Bababa ba?" "Bababa!"

81. "Sayang!" "Naman!" "Kadiri!" "Ano ba!?" "pala." Expressions that defy translation but wring out feelings genuinely Pinoy.

82. Cockfighting. Filipino men love it more than their wives (sometimes)

83. Dr. Jose Rizal. A category in himself. Hero, medicine man, genius, athlete, sculptor, fictionist, poet, essayist, husband, lover, samaritan, martyr. Truly someone to emulate and be proud of, anytime, anywhere.

84. Nora Aunor. Short, dark and homely-looking, she redefined our rigid concept of how leading ladies should look.

85. Noranian or Vilmanian. Defines the friendly rivalry between Ate Guy Aunor and Ate Vi Santos and for many years, the only way to be for many Filipino fans.

86. Filipino Christmas. The world's longest holiday season. A perfect excuse to mix our love for feasting, gift-giving and music and wrap it up with a touch of religion.

87. Relatives and kababayan abroad. The best refuge against loneliness, discrimination and confusion in a foreign place. Distant relatives and fellow Pinoys readily roll out the welcome mat even on the basis of a phone introduction or referral.

88. Festivals: Sinulog, Ati-atihan, Moriones. Sounds, colors, pagan frenzy and Christian overtones.

89. Folk dances. Tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, karinosa, kuratsa, itik-itik, alitaptap, rigodon. All the right moves and a distinct rhythm.

90. Native wear and costumes. Baro't saya, tapis, terno, saya, salakot, bakya. Lovely form and ingenious function in the way we dress.

91. Sunday family gatherings. Or, close family ties that never get severed. You don't have to win the lotto or be a president to have 10,000 relatives. Everyone's family tree extends all over the archipelago, and it's at its best in times of crisis; notice how food, hostesses, money, and moral support materialize during a wake?

92. Calesa and karitela. The colorful and leisurely way to negotiate narrow streets when loaded down with a year's provisions.

93. Quality of life. Where else can an ordinary employee afford a stay-in helper, a yaya, unlimited movies, eat-all-you-can buffets, the latest fashion (Baclaran nga lang), even Viagra in the black market?

94. All Saints' Day. In honoring our dead, we also prove that we know how to live.

95. Handicrafts. Shellcraft, rattancraft, abaca novelties, woodcarvings, banig placemats and bags, bamboo windchimes, etc. Portable memories of home. Hindi lang pang-turista, pang-balikbayan pa!

96. Pinoy greens. Sitaw. Okra. Ampalaya. Gabi. Munggo. Dahon ng Sili. Kangkong. Luya. Talong. Sigarillas. Bataw. Patani. Lutong bahay will never be the same without them.

97. OCWs. The lengths (and miles) we'd go for a better life for our family, as proven by these modern-day heroes of the economy.

98. The Filipino artist. From Luna's magnificent "Spoliarium" and Amorsolo's sun-kissed ricefields, to Ang Kiukok's jarring abstractions and Borlongan's haunting ghosts, and everybody else in between. Hang a Filipino painting on your wall, and you're hanging one of Asia's best.

99. Tagalog soap operas. From "Gulong ng Palad" and "Flor de Luna" to today's incarnations like "Mula sa Puso"-they're the story of our lives, and we feel strongly for them, MariMar notwithstanding.

100. Midnight madness, weekends sales, bangketas and baratillos. It's retail therapy at its best, with Filipinos braving traffic, crowds, and human deluge to find a bargain.

(Note: This article of no established origin has been circulating among Filipino communities via e-mail. I have thought of editing it to get a few information updated but decided finally to post it as it is in deference to its author whoever he is.)

Marcos and After

Ferdinand E. Marcos, who succeeded to the presidency after defeating Macapagal in the 1965 elections, inherited the territorial dispute over Sabah; in 1968 he approved a congressional bill annexing Sabah to the Philippines. Malaysia suspended diplomatic relations (Sabah had joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963), and the matter was referred to the United Nations. (The Philippines dropped its claim to Sabah in 1978.) The Philippines became one of the founding countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967. The continuing need for land reform fostered a new Huk uprising in central Luzon, accompanied by mounting assassinations and acts of terror, and in 1969, Marcos began a major military campaign to subdue them. Civil war also threatened on Mindanao, where groups of Moros opposed Christian settlement. In Nov., 1969, Marcos won an unprecedented reelection, easily defeating Sergio Osmeña, Jr., but the election was accompanied by violence and charges of fraud, and Marcos’s second term began with increasing civil disorder.
In Jan., 1970, some 2,000 demonstrators tried to storm Malacañang Palace, the presidential residence; riots erupted against the U.S. embassy. When Pope Paul VI visited Manila in Nov., 1970, an attempt was made on his life. In 1971, at a Liberal party rally, hand grenades were thrown at the speakers’ platform, and several people were killed. President Marcos declared martial law in Sept., 1972, charging that a Communist rebellion threatened. The 1935 constitution was replaced (1973) by a new one that provided the president with direct powers. A plebiscite (July, 1973) gave Marcos the right to remain in office beyond the expiration (Dec., 1973) of his term. Meanwhile the fighting on Mindanao had spread to the Sulu Archipelago. By 1973 some 3,000 people had been killed and hundreds of villages burned. Throughout the 1970s poverty and governmental corruption increased, and Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand’s wife, became more influential.
Martial law remained in force until 1981, when Marcos was reelected, amid accusations of electoral fraud. On Aug. 21, 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated at Manila airport, which incited a new, more powerful wave of anti-Marcos dissent. After the Feb., 1986, presidential election, both Marcos and his opponent, Corazon Aquino (the widow of Benigno), declared themselves the winner, and charges of massive fraud and violence were leveled against the Marcos faction. Marcos’s domestic and international support eroded, and he fled the country on Feb. 25, 1986, eventually obtaining asylum in the United States.
Aquino’s government faced mounting problems, including coup attempts, significant economic difficulties, and pressure to rid the Philippines of the U.S. military presence (the last U.S. bases were evacuated in 1992). In 1990, in response to the demands of the Moros, a partially autonomous Muslim region was created in the far south. In 1992, Aquino declined to run for reelection and was succeeded by her former army chief of staff Fidel Ramos. He immediately launched an economic revitalization plan premised on three policies: government deregulation, increased private investment, and political solutions to the continuing insurgencies within the country. His political program was somewhat successful, opening dialogues with the Marxist and Muslim guerillas. However, Muslim discontent with partial rule persisted, and unrest and violence continued throughout the 1990s. In 1999, Marxist rebels and Muslim separatists formed an alliance to fight the government.
Several natural disasters, including the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on Luzon and a succession of severe typhoons, slowed the country’s economic progress. However, the Philippines escaped much of the economic turmoil seen in other East Asian nations in 1997 and 1998, in part by following a slower pace of development imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Joseph Marcelo Estrada, a former movie actor, was elected president in 1998, pledging to help the poor and develop the country’s agricultural sector. In 1999 he announced plans to amend the constitution in order to remove protectionist provisions and attract more foreign investment.
Late in 2000, Estrada’s presidency was buffeted by charges that he accepted millions of dollars in payoffs from illegal gambling operations. Although his support among the poor Filipino majority remained strong, many political, business, and church leaders called for him to resign. In Nov., 2000, Estrada was impeached by the house of representatives on charges of graft, but the senate, controlled by Estrada’s allies, provoked a crisis (Jan., 2001) when it rejected examining the president’s bank records. As demonstrations against Estrada mounted and members of his cabinet resigned, the supreme court stripped him of the presidency, and Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as Estrada’s successor.
Macapagal-Arroyo was elected president in her own right in May, 2004, but the balloting was marred by violence and irregularities as well as a tedious vote-counting process that was completed six weeks after the election.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Republic of the Philippines

Manuel Roxas became the first president of the Republic of the Philippines when independence was granted, as scheduled, on July 4, 1946. In Mar., 1947, the Philippines and the United States signed a military assistance pact (since renewed) and the Philippines gave the United States a 99-year lease on designated military, naval, and air bases (a later agreement reduced the period to 25 years beginning 1967). The sudden death of President Roxas in Apr., 1948, elevated the vice president, Elpidio Quirino, to the presidency, and in a bitterly contested election in Nov., 1949, Quirino defeated José Laurel to win a four-year term of his own.
The enormous task of reconstructing the war-torn country was complicated by the activities in central Luzon of the Communist-dominated Hukbalahap guerrillas (Huks), who resorted to terror and violence in their efforts to achieve land reform and gain political power. They were finally brought under control (1954) after a vigorous attack launched by the minister of national defense, Ramón Magsaysay. By that time Magsaysay was president of the country, having defeated Quirino in Nov., 1953. He had promised sweeping economic changes, and he did make progress in land reform, opening new settlements outside crowded Luzon island. His death in an airplane crash in Mar., 1957, was a serious blow to national morale. Vice President Carlos P. García succeeded him and won a full term as president in the elections of Nov., 1957.
In foreign affairs, the Philippines maintained a firm anti-Communist policy and joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954. There were difficulties with the United States over American military installations in the islands, and, despite formal recognition (1956) of full Philippine sovereignty over these bases, tensions increased until some of the bases were dismantled (1959) and the 99-year lease period was reduced. The United States rejected Philippine financial claims and proposed trade revisions.
Philippine opposition to García on issues of government corruption and anti-Americanism led, in June, 1959, to the union of the Liberal and Progressive parties, led by Vice President Diosdado Macapagal, the Liberal party leader, who succeeded García as president in the 1961 elections. Macapagal’s administration was marked by efforts to combat the mounting inflation that had plagued the republic since its birth; by attempted alliances with neighboring countries; and by a territorial dispute with Britain over North Borneo (later Sabah), which Macapagal claimed had been leased and not sold to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

World War II

War came suddenly to the Philippines on Dec. 8 (Dec. 7, U.S. time), 1941, when Japan attacked without warning. Japanese troops invaded the islands in many places and launched a pincer drive on Manila. MacArthur’s scattered defending forces (about 80,000 troops, four fifths of them Filipinos) were forced to withdraw to Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island, where they entrenched and tried to hold until the arrival of reinforcements, meanwhile guarding the entrance to Manila Bay and denying that important harbor to the Japanese. But no reinforcements were forthcoming. The Japanese occupied Manila on Jan. 2, 1942. MacArthur was ordered out by President Roosevelt and left for Australia on Mar. 11; Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright assumed command.
The besieged U.S.-Filipino army on Bataan finally crumbled on Apr. 9, 1942. Wainwright fought on from Corregidor with a garrison of about 11,000 men; he was overwhelmed on May 6, 1942. After his capitulation, the Japanese forced the surrender of all remaining defending units in the islands by threatening to use the captured Bataan and Corregidor troops as hostages. Many individual soldiers refused to surrender, however, and guerrilla resistance, organized and coordinated by U.S. and Philippine army officers, continued throughout the Japanese occupation.
Japan’s efforts to win Filipino loyalty found expression in the establishment (Oct. 14, 1943) of a “Philippine Republic,” with José P. Laurel, former supreme court justice, as president. But the people suffered greatly from Japanese brutality, and the puppet government gained little support. Meanwhile, President Quezon, who had escaped with other high officials before the country fell, set up a government-in-exile in Washington. When he died (Aug., 1944), Vice President Sergio Osmeña became president. Osmeña returned to the Philippines with the first liberation forces, which surprised the Japanese by landing (Oct. 20, 1944) at Leyte, in the heart of the islands, after months of U.S. air strikes against Mindanao. The Philippine government was established at Tacloban, Leyte, on Oct. 23.
The landing was followed (Oct. 23–26) by the greatest naval engagement in history, called variously the battle of Leyte Gulf and the second battle of the Philippine Sea. A great U.S. victory, it effectively destroyed the Japanese fleet and opened the way for the recovery of all the islands. Luzon was invaded (Jan., 1945), and Manila was taken in February. On July 5, 1945, MacArthur announced “All the Philippines are now liberated.” The Japanese had suffered over 425,000 dead in the Philippines.
The Philippine congress met on June 9, 1945, for the first time since its election in 1941. It faced enormous problems. The land was devastated by war, the economy destroyed, the country torn by political warfare and guerrilla violence. Osmeña’s leadership was challenged (Jan., 1946) when one wing (now the Liberal party) of the Nationalist party nominated for president Manuel Roxas, who defeated Osmeña in April.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Commonwealth

The Hare-Hawes Cutting Act, passed by Congress in 1932, provided for complete independence of the islands in 1945 after 10 years of self-government under U.S. supervision. The bill had been drawn up with the aid of a commission from the Philippines, but Manuel L. Quezon, the leader of the dominant Nationalist party, opposed it, partially because of its threat of American tariffs against Philippine products but principally because of the provisions leaving naval bases in U.S. hands. Under his influence, the Philippine legislature rejected the bill. The Tydings-McDuffie Independence Act (1934) closely resembled the Hare-Hawes Cutting Act, but struck the provisions for American bases and carried a promise of further study to correct “imperfections or inequalities.”
The Philippine legislature ratified the bill; a constitution, approved by President Roosevelt (Mar., 1935) was accepted by the Philippine people in a plebiscite (May); and Quezon was elected the first president (Sept.). When Quezon was inaugurated on Nov. 15, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was formally established. Quezon was reelected in Nov., 1941. To develop defensive forces against possible aggression, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was brought to the islands as military adviser in 1935, and the following year he became field marshal of the Commonwealth army.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Revolution, War, and U.S. Control

It was the opposition to the power of the clergy that in large measure brought about the rising sentiment for independence. Spanish injustices, bigotry, and economic oppressions fed the movement, which was greatly inspired by the brilliant writings of José Rizal. In 1896 revolution began in the province of Cavite, and after the execution of Rizal that December, it spread throughout the major islands. The Filipino leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, achieved considerable success before a peace was patched up with Spain. The peace was short-lived, however, for neither side honored its agreements, and a new revolution was brewing when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898.
After the U.S. naval victory in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey supplied Aguinaldo with arms and urged him to rally the Filipinos against the Spanish. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken the entire island of Luzon, except for the old walled city of Manila, which they were besieging. The Filipinos had also declared their independence and established a republic under the first democratic constitution ever known in Asia. Their dreams of independence were crushed when the Philippines were transferred from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898), which closed the Spanish-American War.
In Feb., 1899, Aguinaldo led a new revolt, this time against U.S. rule. Defeated on the battlefield, the Filipinos turned to guerrilla warfare, and their subjugation became a mammoth project for the United States—one that cost far more money and took far more lives than the Spanish-American War. The insurrection was effectively ended with the capture (1901) of Aguinaldo by Gen. Frederick Funston, but the question of Philippine independence remained a burning issue in the politics of both the United States and the islands. The matter was complicated by the growing economic ties between the two countries. Although comparatively little American capital was invested in island industries, U.S. trade bulked larger and larger until the Philippines became almost entirely dependent upon the American market. Free trade, established by an act of 1909, was expanded in 1913.
When the Democrats came into power in 1913, measures were taken to effect a smooth transition to self-rule. The Philippine assembly already had a popularly elected lower house, and the Jones Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1916, provided for a popularly elected upper house as well, with power to approve all appointments made by the governor-general. It also gave the islands their first definite pledge of independence, although no specific date was set.
When the Republicans regained power in 1921, the trend toward bringing Filipinos into the government was reversed. Gen. Leonard Wood, who was appointed governor-general, largely supplanted Filipino activities with a semimilitary rule. However, the advent of the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s and the first aggressive moves by Japan in Asia (1931) shifted U.S. sentiment sharply toward the granting of immediate independence to the Philippines.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Philippines Under The Spanish Control

The conquest of the Filipinos by Spain did not begin in earnest until 1564, when another expedition from New Spain, commanded by Miguel López de Legaspi, arrived. Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent communities that previously had known no central rule. By 1571, when López de Legaspi established the Spanish city of Manila on the site of a Moro town he had conquered the year before, the Spanish foothold in the Philippines was secure, despite the opposition of the Portuguese, who were eager to maintain their monopoly on the trade of East Asia.
Manila repulsed the attack of the Chinese pirate Limahong in 1574. For centuries before the Spanish arrived the Chinese had traded with the Filipinos, but evidently none had settled permanently in the islands until after the conquest. Chinese trade and labor were of great importance in the early development of the Spanish colony, but the Chinese came to be feared and hated because of their increasing numbers, and in 1603 the Spanish murdered thousands of them (later, there were lesser massacres of the Chinese).
The Spanish governor, made a viceroy in 1589, ruled with the advice of the powerful royal audiencia. There were frequent uprisings by the Filipinos, who resented the encomienda system. By the end of the 16th cent. Manila had become a leading commercial center of East Asia, carrying on a flourishing trade with China, India, and the East Indies. The Philippines supplied some wealth (including gold) to Spain, and the richly laden galleons plying between the islands and New Spain were often attacked by English freebooters. There was also trouble from other quarters, and the period from 1600 to 1663 was marked by continual wars with the Dutch, who were laying the foundations of their rich empire in the East Indies, and with Moro pirates. One of the most difficult problems the Spanish faced was the subjugation of the Moros. Intermittent campaigns were conducted against them but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th cent. As the power of the Spanish Empire waned, the Jesuit orders became more influential in the Philippines and acquired great amounts of property.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Philippines : Early History

The Negritos are believed to have migrated to the Philippines some 30,000 years ago from Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaya. The Malayans followed in successive waves. These people belonged to a primitive epoch of Malayan culture, which has apparently survived to this day among certain groups such as the Igorots. The Malayan tribes that came later had more highly developed material cultures.
In the 14th cent. Arab traders from Malay and Borneo introduced Islam into the southern islands and extended their influence as far north as Luzon. The first Europeans to visit (1521) the Philippines were those in the Spanish expedition around the world led by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Other Spanish expeditions followed, including one from New Spain (Mexico) under López de Villalobos, who in 1542 named the islands for the infante Philip, later Philip II.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.