Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CHARLES II OF SPAIN- "El Hechizado"



Charles II of Spain by Juan Miranda Carreon)

Believe it or not... this monarch once ruled a vast empire that includes the Philippines. This is Carlos II (reigned 1665-1700) also known as Carlos "el Hechizado" (the Hexed). A Hapsburg monarch. Scientists and historians of today believes his strange physical features was the result of excessive inbreeding,  since it was a common practice among the monarchs like the Hapsburg to match cousins to cousins and even uncles to nieces. Carlos II was born physically and mentally disabled, and disfigured. He died without an heir, thereby ending the Hapsburg line and ushering in the reign of the house of Bourbon in Spain and its colonies. 

  


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SPICE TRADE- Ang Papel Nito Kasaysayan Ng Pilipinas

Ng marating ng mga Griego sa pamumuno ni "Alexander the   Great" ang Persia, Palestina, Arabia at India (circa 300 BC). Namangha sila sa mga eksotikong pamamaraan ng paghahanda at pag preserba ng mga lutuin at pagkain ng mga bansang nasakop nila gamit ang mga kilalang "Spices". Ang mga Romano (Romans) naman ay pinilit alamin ang ruta o "trade routes" ng nasabing kalakal. Subalit noong pa man panahong iyon, kontrolado na ng mga Arabians o Arabo at ilang ilang nasyon sa silangan (east) ang pangangalakal ng mga eksotikong produkto tulad ng "Spices". Ang tanong ng mga Europeo..."Saan nangagaling ito?" Sa kadahilanang mahirap at tila malayo ang pinagkukuhanan, naging mahal ang presyo ng nasabing spices sa mercado ng Europa. Kadalasan mga hari at mga royalty o yung mga dugong bughaw lamang ang nakakabili at nakakagamit nito. Halimbawa, noong panahong medieval,  ang "Piper Nigrum" o black pepper (paminta) ay tinawag na "black gold" dahil sa taas ng halaga nito, na kadalasa'y ginagamit pa na pang regalo sa mga hari. Marami din ang nagsasabi na ang isang malaking dahilan kung bakit pinilit mabawi ng mga "Crusaders" ang Holy Land ay ang nakatago nitong hangarin ma kontrol ang mga eksotikong kalakal tulad ng Spice Trade. 

 
Ang ruta o "trade routes" ng mga spices. 100-1500 AD

  


   
Ilustrasyon ng pag ani ng "paminta" sa  Coilum sa India. Ika 14 na Siglo

Noong 1453, sa pagbagsak nga ng kristiyanong Constantinople sa kamay ng mga muslim na Ottoman at sa patuloy na monopolya ng ilang Italyano sa spice trade ng region, tuluyan ng nahirapan ang nakararaming Europeo pumapel sa nasabing kalakal. Kaya napilitan silang maglayag sa karagatan upang humanap ng bagong ruta papuntang silangan kung saan pinaniniwalaan nilang nagmumula ang nga Spices. Nang marating ng mga Portuges ang India, nalaman din nila na ang isa sa pangunahing lugar na pinagkukuhanan ng Spices ay isang lugar sa Timog-Silangan Asya na tinatawag na  Moluccas. Ang Moluccas ay nasa ibaba lamang ng isla ng Mindanao, parte ngayon ng Indonesia. Nalaman din ng mga Portuges na malaki ang papel ng mga Chinese at mga Malays sa Spice trade dahil sila ang kumakalakal nito mula Moluccas papuntang India.

 
Siege of Constantinople mula sa "Chronique de Charles VII"- obra ni Jean Chartier



Noong 1519 dahil sa pag iwas sa karibal nitong Portugal, naglayag ang isang flotilla ng mga Galleon ng Espanya sa pamumuno ni Magellan patungo kanluran (pabaligtad) upang humanap ng ibang daan patungo sa Moluccas. At noong 1521, narating ni Magellan ang mga islang tatawaging balang araw na Pilipinas. Dahil malapit ito sa Moluccas, noong una ay inakala ni Magellan na maraming "Spices" dito. Talo. Wala gaano spices at hindi rin ugali ng mga tao sa isla na magtanim nito. Ng sakupin ng mga Kastila ang Pilipinas,  ginamit lamang nilang "outpost" ang bansa sa pangangalakal ng produktong Chino, (galleon trade) at ang pagpapalawig ng Katolicismo. 





                                Ilang Kilalang "Spices"   


Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum), "Paminta"- Kilala bilang "King Of Spices",  ginagamit  na noong araw  pa sa Egipto at sa Roma . Ang Black Pepper ay nagmula sa Timog-Silangan Asia kinakalakal ito papunta sa Europa noong unang panahon sa pamamagitan ng mga kilalang trade routes gaya ng "silk road" at sea routes na karaniwa'y kontrolado ng mga Arabian at Indian merchants.  Napakamahal noon ng presyo ng paminta, katunayan ginamit din ito bilang "currency "  o pera sa ilang lugar sa Europa.



  
   
Nutmeg  (Mystrica fragrans)- Ang giniling na buto ng nutmeg ay karaniwang ginagamit na sangkap sa ilang lutuing noong panahon "Medieval" sa Europa. Mahalaga din ito sa mga kulturang Muslim para sa kanilang lutuin at ginagamit din bilang gamot. Ang "Mace" naman , ang outer lining o ang nakabalot sa buto ng nutmeg na may kulay pula (nasa ilustrasyon) ay ginagamit din pampalasa sa ilang delicacy sa Europa at Arabia. Ang pinaka kilalang puno ng Nutmeg (Mytstrica fragrans) ay nagmula sa isla ng Banda, Indonesia, parte ng Moluccas, taal na matatagpuan lamang ito sa nasabing lugar noong unang panahon kaya inilihim ng mga nangangalakal nito ang lugar at ito din ang dahilan sa mataas na presyo nito.

 


Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)- Ang bulaklak ng cloves ang siyang inaani at pinapatuyo, isa rin ito mahalagang sangkap sa mga lutuing "Middle Eastern" kaya naman  ito ay nakagawian din ng mga Europeo. Karaniwan gamit ito sa mga fruit cakes at pastries. Ang cloves ay mula din sa isla ng Moluccas.

  

Cinnamon- Ang balat ng puno o  "tree bark" ng Cinammon ay siyang inaani upang  gamiting pampalasa at aromatic. Maraming specie ng Cinnamon ang matatagpuan sa mundo. Matagal at kalat na din ang pag gamit ng Cinammon noong araw pa. Sa Indonesia ito ay kilala sa tawag na "kayu manis" (sweet wood).




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jose Rizal's Bomb Plot





The Plot



Long before suicide bombers and bomb couriers were adapted by international terrorist in their campaign of blood and vengeance, our national hero Jose Rizal thought of a plot in his novel that involves blowing a whole town to start a revolution. 


Victorian lamp

In "El Filibusterismo" (Chapters 34-35), Simoun brought along a lamp in the wedding reception of Juanito Pelaez and Paulita Gomez. It is his gift to the newly weds and it has an explosive liquid compound known as "Nitroglycerin" in it. The reception takes place at the former home of the late Captain Tiago, which was filled with other explosives planted by Simoun. According to Simoun, the lamp will stay lighted for only 20 minutes before it flickers; if someone attempts to turn the wick, it will explode and kill everyone inside the house-mostly the important members of civil society and the Church hierarchy.  The explosion will be the signal to start a revolt in Manila. 

Reading this chapters of the "El Filibusterismo" somehow  gives me the idea of relating it with the planed attack on Manila by the Katipuneros. They were waiting for that signal which Bonifacio failed to give. Was Bonifacio using this plot as a strategy?


                     

SIMOUN'S LAMP-Actor Pancho Magalona playing the role of Simoun with the 
"lamp" in the movie adaptation of El Filibusterismo. 
(Photo courtesy of Video 48)   


Enter Bonifacio's Plan


The prime target of Andres Bonifacio's attack at San Juan, 29. August 1896 was the water reservoir. Part of the plan was to deny Manila (Intramuros) with fresh water supply making the stand of the would be defenders and the Spaniards inside the wall difficult. The strategy was , once the place was secured, "balloons would be release or fire a cannonade to signal the beginning of a coordinated uprising". It was already 4am (30th of August) when Bonifacio realized he has to make the signal, four hours late of the appointed time...too late. Meanwhile some Katipuneros (as far as Cavite) were waiting for the signal in the skies above Manila. It never came.



Postcard featuring of the water tube that runs from San Juan water reservoir towards Manila.


Both fiction and reality failed. Rizal ended the plot of the explosive lamp into a failure for Simoun.(Rizal
 wanted a bloodless change?)  Bonifacio's planed attacked on Manila was called off. Badly beaten by the reinforcement troops of the colonial government,  the Supremo and his men retreated to the hills of Balara. The Katipuneros of Cavite, (who waited and never got the signal), went back to their homes wondering whatever happened to the Supremo and the revolution.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Germany's Colonial Ambition In the Philippines 1898

Following the defeat of the Spanish fleet at the hands of Dewey's American squadron in Manila Bay, Berlin then dispatched its "Ostasiatische Kreuzergeschwader" (East Asia Squadron) under the command of Admiral Otto von Diedrichs to the Philippines, the instruction: to protect German interests, and if possible, seize a colonial concession in the Philippines. 

It took a while before von Diedrichs was able to assemble his fleet , but by mid June 1898, the German squadron numbering to 5 ships (consisting of SMS Kaiser,SMS Irene,SMS Cormoran,SMS Kaiserin Augusta and SMS Prinzess Wilhelm) were at the entrance of Manila Bay, enough to post a serious challenge against the American fleet. This led Dewey to imposed a naval blockade not only against the Germans but also against the other foreign warships (of Great Britain, France, and Japan) lurking at Manila Bay. But the provoking actions and presence of the German fleet did not end there, the Germans violated Dewey’s blockade of Manila by bringing in supply of flour to the trapped and beleaguered Spaniards and even treating the Spanish residents aboard the German vessels.


The breaking point came when the German gunboat Cormoran refused to acknowledge signals from the Americans to be boarded for inspection. The gunboat had to be stopped by firing a shot across its bow. Von Diederichs then sent an officer to complain about Dewey’s provocative acts. The incident almost got the Americans and Germans to an exchange of fire. Finally, realizing that Spain would not sell the Philippines to her and with the arrival of the American expeditionary forces, Germany abandoned her colonial ambition in the country. Few weeks later, the Treaty of Paris was signed.




                                                           
Admiral Otto von Diedrichs  (1843-1818). Commander of the "Ostasiatische Kreuzergeschwader"  or East Asia Squadron that was sent to Manila Bay 1898 (Photo -"Das Bundesarchiv")


     
The cruiser SMS Kaiserin Augusta- Became the temporary flagship of von Diedrichs fleet due to the unavailability  of the "SMS Prinzess Wilhelm" and the "SMS Kaiser" at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, May 1898.  
(Photo US Library of Congress)

            



  
SMS Kaiser 1874 later renamed "Uranus"
(Photo courtesy www.kaiserliche.marine.de)



  
SMS Irene


    

SMS Cormoran  
    
SMS Prinzess Wilhelm
After the fall of the Manila, most of the German ships departed the Philippines; only Prinzess Wilhelm remained on station to protect German nationals in the islands. She was replaced by Arcona in October. In mid-November, Kaiser ran aground and had to go into drydock for repairs; Diederichs therefore made Prinzess Wilhelm his flagship. The ship remained in Asia for only a few more months and returned to Europe in July 1899.
  



 In celebration of the 40th birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the “Ostasiatische Kreuzergeschwader" (German East Asia Squadron) treated its officers and crew with a sumptuous meal. Starter: Asparagus soup, then comes “fish with potato”, “braised ham in burgundy sauce” with sauerkraut , “fried beef tenderloin w/ vegetables, “goose with salad”. For dessert, choice of cheese, fruits and pastries-cakes. Of course coffee in the end. Looking at the menu, one can say that it was really typically German. One could ask whether the German fleet was really sent to Manila to try to seize it or they were just there for a holiday cruise? (laden with those German gourmet delights.)



Deutsche Marine Schiffpost. Postcard featuring Malacañang Palace sent by a sailor from the German fleet in Manila 1898.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GEN. CAMILO POLAVIEJA?

Rizal's Executioner






Camilo Polavieja y del Castillo, Marques de Polavieja (1838–1914)



 Regarded as a villain in Philippine history for ordering the court martial and subsequent execution of Jose Rizal, Governor General Camilo de Polavieja had a brilliant career as a military man. He became Governor General of the Philippines in a turbulent time replacing Gov. General Ramon Blanco y Erenas. He is known to be favored by the friars. It was also said that when Dona Teodora pleaded for Rizal's life, she walked in bend knees in a stair in Malacanang and meeting Polavieja who coldly said to her ; He cannot spare the life of this rebel while young Spanish men are dying in battlefields in the hills of Luzon". Another version says that Dona Teodora and a daughter were simply shooed away from the gates of the palace. Polavieja never won the war to pacify the Philippines. In fact,  parts of Cavite were still in rebels hands when he resigned due to bad health (palusot?). He went home to Spain becoming War Minister for a short period in the government of Francisco Silvela in 1899. He also became active in politics heading a group whose platform centers in the renewal of Spain after the so called disaster of 1898 (when Spain lost her colonies). He was even part of a planned coup d etat to restore order and the prestige of nation. In one of his sorties around Spain, he passed by the city of Gijon, at that time a known place for liberal thinking and anarchism and was met by public protest causing his early departure. It is even said that the streets were flooded with leaflets containing Jose Rizal's "Ultimo Adios". 


On January 1914, Camilo Polavieja died of Hepatitis. He is mentioned in Philippine history as Jose Rizal's executioner and nothing more.

Polavieja in Mexico 1910. As head of the Spanish delegation commemorating the "Centenario" of Mexico 1910. (Aurelio Escobar Castellanos Archive)




Polavieja's funeral 1914
               






Wednesday, August 29, 2012

AN ACT OF REVENGE FOR RIZAL

The 8. August 1897 assassination of Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo




Illustration of the assassination of Canovas by J Passos, J. Cuchy and V. Gines
   .
  It was in one mild summer in the spa Santa Águeda, in Mondragón, Guipúzcoa, (the Basque region of Spain) when Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo met his brutal end.  The assassin Michele Angiolillo, an Italian anarchist, posing as tourist and traveling with a false identity was able to approach Canovas and shot the Prime Minister point blank. Angiolillo was subsequently arrested and during investigation claimed that he acted alone and that the killing was an act of vengeance for the execution and torture of the Montjuich prisoners (involved in the Barcelona 1896 Corpus Christi procession bomb attack) and lastly Angiolillo claimed that the assassination was also an act of reprisal for the execution of Filipino patriot Jose P. Rizal.

Angiollilo was sentenced to die by "garrotte" which was carried out on August 20 1897. During the execution, he was calm and showed no remorse. Canovas del Castillo would then be succeeded by Manuel Azcarraga (born in the Philippines to a Spanish father and Bicolana mother)

Up to now there are those who seek a connection between Rizal, Angiollilo and some Puerto Rican patriots in Spain.



Michele Angiollilo



The trial of Angiollilo in a military court.


An artist drawing describing the Corpus Christi bomb attack of 1896


Execution of  individuals involved in the Corpus Christi bomb attack




The execution of Angiollilo in a prison in Vergara, Guipizcoa.

Antonio Cánovas del Castillo- Six term Prime Minister of Spain. His government was in power when Rizal was sentenced to die via musketry. There were attempts in Madrid to lighten the sentence on Rizal. It is said that even Pi y Margall (somewhat a political rival of the Canovas government) even approached Canovas del Castillo to save Rizal and warned the government on the consequences that might happen.


 Philippine born Marcelo Azcarraga a UST alumnus would succeed  Canovas as Prime Minister
       





Saturday, July 7, 2012

Falange in the Philippines



 Manila 1938. Falange gathering with prominent Spanish-Filipinos (Soriano, Zobel et al) doing a "saluto romano" .


Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903-1933)


Falange", the Spanish rightist group was founded in 1933 by Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of Miguel Primo de Rivera (the Spanish dictator who was at the Biak Na Bato photo with Aguinaldo-acted as the Govenor General's "good faith" guy). It was the leading party in Gen Francisco Franco's front in the Spanish Civil War. Many Falange members perished in that civil war fighting for Franco.








Falange reached the shores of the Philippines before WWII and recruited prominent names of Filipino of Spanish ancestry in its rank. Among the action of the Falange in the Philippines was to gather support for Gen Francisco Franco and his "nationalist" troops. Franco controlled the patry's ideology trough out his reign and slowly losing importance until his death. It is still an active political party in Spain but hardly noticed now. In the Philippines the role of the Falange has left unanswered questions. How much influence did its prominent members had in the government during the commonwealth period?  How much financial support did they give in the election of Quezon and that of Roxas?




Gen. Francisco Franco

                                              


The flag of Falange Española

                                   

Heroic representation of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera

                                           

Soldiers of the Falange Española 1930's


The new face of the Falange, Spain 2010

                                              


                                         

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Last Bourbon Rulers of the Philippines


The Twilight Years of Spanish Monarchy in the Country


Queen Isabel

Queen Isabel


ABOUT 150 YEARS AGO, THE PHILIPPINES HAD A WOMAN FOR A RULER. Yes, our forefathers perhaps had also shouted "Viva la Reina!" She ruled in a turbulent and defining times not only for Spain but also for her colonies including the Philippines. Queen Isabel II was unpopular and was deposed in a revolution led by some of her generals in 1868.

When the monarchy was abolished, Spain sent a liberal Governor General named Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada to the Philippines. He then made popular reforms for the colony and was well loved by the Filipinos. Unfortunately the Spanish Cortes restored the monarchy choosing an Italian nobility named Amadeo I as new king in 1871. De la Torre was sent home, a new Governor general named Rafael de Izquierdo y Gutiérrez was installed. Perhaps the most controversial moved Izquerdo did was to abolished the tax exemption and the exemption from manual labor enjoyed by natives (Filipinos) in the Spanish armed forces (Engineering and Artillery corps). In Jan. 20 1872 The troops in Cavite mutinied. As a consequence many known liberals were arrested and exiled. The 3 priest GOMBURZA were executed. Filipino nationalism sprang. The idea of a Filipino nation began to be conceptualized.  


It all happened during the lifetime of Isabel II. She never saw Spain again. She died in France. In an ironic twist of faith, Amadeo I abandoned Spain. The Cortes was left with no choice but to put Alfonso XII, son of Isabel II, to the throne. Meanwhile a 10 year old boy in Calamba was hearing the stories about the events of 1872 from his brother....and the rest was history.  





King Alfonso XII




TWO SPANISH MONARCHS. Both reigned in the Philippines. Picture of mother and son, the deposed Queen Isabel of Spain and the Infante, who became King Alfonso XII (Duodecimo) at an early age (reigned 1874-1885). The queen fondly called his son "Alfoncinito"




 In the Philippines the memories of both Isabel and her son Alfonso XII son are well preserved in old Spanish coins. A hit to coin collectors. Actually we can even label Alfonso XII as the "ten centavo king" for his image can be seen in this low denomination coin. (in fact the lowest denomination in old Spanish coin in the Philippines). Not much happened in his reign. He ruled for a short time, dying at an early age of 26. An ugly rumor was always an issue in his times. Alfonso's biological paternity is uncertain: there is speculation that his biological father may have been Enrique Puig y Moltó (a captain of the guard), or even an American dental student. These rumours were used as political propaganda against Alfonso by the Carlists.



King Alfonso XIII


ALFONSO XIII of Spain, the last Spanish monarch who reigned in the Philippines (seen in this photo with his mother, the queen regent or "Reina Regente")


Filipinos in the last years of Spanish rule knew him as the "boy king". A one peso coin bearing his youthful image was widely circulated in the country that time. Alfonso XIII was king when the Philippine Revolution of 1896 started, also the year when Rizal was executed. Spain would then lose her colonies. Decades later the Spanish civil war broke, the king would be deposed then forced into exile in the 1930's. (No. 13-unlucky ba talaga?). El Caudillo Gen. Francisco Franco would rule the country for decades under a fascist regime. But Franco would appoint King Juan Carlos I (the present Spanish King and grandson of Alfonso XIII) as successor. King Juan Carlos successfully oversaw the transition of Spain from dictatorship to parliamentary monarchy. Now that's History before our very eyes!




Monday, May 7, 2012

Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de Tavera

DOES HE DESERVE A SECOND LOOK?


T.H. Pardo de Tavera
    Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho (1857-1925). Filipino physician and historian. An outstanding Filipinologist who wrote notable scholarly works in various fields of Oriental and Philippine studies; language, anthropology, folklore, etc. His training and qualification as a doctor is simply immense. Trinidad received his licentiate in medicine at the Faculté de Médecine de Paris and his bachelor in medicine also in the same institution. In mid-1880s, he enrolled in École nationale des langues orientales vivantes (now Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales) and took courses under Pierre Étienne Lazare Favre. In December 1885, he received his diploma in Malay language. One of his book 'Plantas Medicinales de Filipinas' is an outstanding study on the different medicinal plants of the conutry. (I must say it is a good read on a rainy day).  But as a politician, history is simply unkind to T.H Pardo de Tavera. Perhaps he always went to the wrong side, feeling safe on his stance, he never took chances. He never tried the difficult and bold path like what Rizal did. Always mistrustful of Aguinaldo, he jumped to the American bandwagon when things started to look dim for the revolutionary. He, together with some notable "Balimbings" founded the "Partido Federal" with the aim of total assimilation to the US and making the Philippines a legitimate state in the American Union. Historian Teodoro Agoncillo once wrote: "Pardo de Tavera should have been shot for his betrayal of the Revolution"



  Reading some of TH Pardo de Tavera's works and some of his bibliography makes me want to say: "Cmon he deserves a second look".



Pardo de Tavera's opus on Philippine medicinal plants

Monday, April 30, 2012

Remembering Quijano de Manila




Well let me tell you this; there's so many things written or people writing about him. Some, too fancy or academical, some really quite a bore. Let me get it straight...He likes Cole Porter, practically anything that is Porter. Right from the first bar he'll start swinging his hands like a maestro conducting a big band. Now why do I know that? Well I should know....I played in front of him many times and I love the way he asked for his favorite tune....He'll raised one hand to catch your attention, points his finger at you and will quickly say....."Cole Porter!" Now that is style.... the man simply got it.

I never approached him and he never approached me. But when he comes to the hotel lobby he would gaze around to find me..then that famous nod. I knew then my evening would be a swing. No! when he's there I won't start my set with his Porter. No...no. I will wait for him to tell me. He has his rituals. He must have his San Mig first. He must have the right conversation whoever his companions were. Let the night and the mood rolls first. Then I would know when the right moment comes when his hand is raised and his finger pointing at me. Always that name, always that approached....."Cole Porter!" No other words no other remarks...nothing, not even a few peso for a tip. He would leave as he came. Always with that nod. No thank yous no goodbyes.... Only that nod.

When I heard the passing of this man who loves Cole Porter, I dedicated one set of my three set performance at Sulo Hotel only of Porter. My pianist was shocked and was somehow bored. That night I asked a waiter to bring me a bottle of San Mig. To this he asked me why I changed my drinks. So I told this wondering waiter."No change of drinks! Maybe I just don't want to forget"...... But God I miss my friend's nod!