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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why name the church Barasoain?

Theories on Etymology of the word Barasoain are listed in the church's comprehensive website

According to some people who see the relevance of the name Barasoain in the Revolution, the word Barasoain came from the term "Baras ng Suwail" which means "dungeon of the defiant." It may be seen that Barasoain is the town of the nationalistic Filipino, fighting against the foreigners who oppressed the nation.

However, according to Jose P.W. Tantoco, the former president of Bulacan Historical, Inc., the name Barasoain came from the missionaries in this town who came from a similarly-named town in Spain. The town of Barasoain in Spain is located in the District of Navarra.

From Pampanga, the Augustinian missionaries arrived in Barasoain via Calumpit. Here, they saw a community that reminded them of the forest and the beauty of Barasoain in Navarra, Spain.
It can be said that a missionary from Navarra recognized his hometown he loved and considered Barasoain as his second town and he lived in one of the houses in Barasoain. During his visit in Malolos during the 1998 Independence Day Centennial Anniversary, former president Joseph Estrada stayed in this district of heritage houses.

One of the first houses in Barasoain today that serves as a commercial establishment is the Ancestral House of the former president Corazon Aquino, the 11th president of the Republic of the Philippines.

Presently, houses in Malolos City are commonly made of wood and cement, showcasing the modern construction methods prevalent in the present period. Some of the old houses still standing that show the heritage of the past are located in Barangay Anilao.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Legend of Mararison Island in Antique

It was such a joy to behold the beauty of Mararison Island when I and my friends visited it in 2012. Unspoiled and accessible from the mainland of Antique, this island is populated but there are hilly parts which are not occupied and a cove that is so cool to swim to. You may check out our photos here.

Recently, a facebook friend posted the legend of Mararison Island and I can't help but share the same as I had shared my oven English translation of the Legend of Islas de Gigantes. So here is the story about the island of Mararison.


ONCE UPON A TIME, a young datu named Haidar from northern Sumatra, along with four companions, went pearl fishing. A strong wind caught them ashore on Lipata point in northwestern Panay. The pearling vessel was badly damaged and so had to undergo some repairs. During the time, the lonely datu roamed about the island.

In one of his excursions into the hinterland, he saw a beautiful maiden bathing in a stone fountain at Moroboro. He found out that she was the only daughter of the native ruling chief, Datu Kukato of Madyaas.

Princess Sukita, for that was then the maiden’s name, became fascinated by the dashing young stranger, and so she began to think of ways in order to have him for her husband. Her aged father objected to her wishes but she had set her mind for Haidar. Haidar, in return, reciprocated the princess’ affections. The wiser counsels of the old men of the kingdom were of no avail because Haidar had planned to take Princess Sukita with him to Sumatra. He appointed the day for their departure which only Sukita and he knew.

When the day came, the princess could not contain herself. She could not sleep the night before the appointed day for she kept a vigil over the pearling vessel in the bay that was to sail before the crowing of the cocks.

At cockcrow, she dressed herself as a slave, stole past the guards, and hurried towards the waiting vessel where Haidar stood waiting. Then the sails were furled and the sure sturdy vessel began to glide silently out of Lipata Bay in the darkness to the smooth silent sea. But hardly had the vessel gone of the bay when a loud deafening thunder and a blinding flash of lightning dropped from the top of Madyaas, and the pearling vessel with Haidar and Sukita in her hold vanished in the air. A great wave rose and two islets, rough and rugged, appeared.

The people wondered. They believed that the deafening roar was the voice of Datu Kukato, cursing his daughter who disobeyed him and so had transformed her into an island and called it Mararison... “the disobedient one”. The other island was Datu Hadar, which was called “Batbatan” or the “counseled one.” It was believed that Datu Kukato had told Haidar several times of the curse that would befall them should they choose to go against his wishes. Because he did not listen, the other stone islet into which Haidar was transformed shall bear the ironic name, Batbatan.

After the tragic event, Datu Kukato shut himself up in Madyaas and many waterfalls gushed forth from its sides: these were believed to be perpetual tears of a loving father who mourned deeply for the loss of his only beloved daughter.

~ English translation by Beato A. de la Cruz, Contributions of the Aklan Mind to Philippine Literature (Rizal: Kalantiao Press, 1958, pp. 29-31).

*Special Thanks to my humorous facebook friend, Akeanon poet Alexander De Juan for posting this  in facebook. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Historical Landmark: Barasoain Church in Bulacan

The historical Barasoain Church where our first constitution was drafted.


The historical significance of this church in our political history is summed in the church's website. It relates that: The history of Barasoain Church also became the history of the Philippines. After General Emilio Aguinaldo transferred the capital of the Revolutionary Government in Malolos, a national convention was held on 15 September 1898 to write the Constitution in Barasoain Church. 

According to witnesses of the historical event, the opening day is glamourous. The houses along the procession route, now called Paseo del Congreso, are filled with colorful decorations with palmera leaves and flags. One hundred and ninety three delegates that represented each provinces of the Philippines like Fr. Gregorio Aglipay, Felipe Calderon, Antonio Luna and Teodoro Sandiko. Pedro Paterno was elected as the president of the convention. While the constitution is being written, in 29 September 1898, in this church, the independence of the Philippines was ratified that was announced in Kawit, Cavite in 12 June 1898.

In 23 January 1899, after a heated debate, the constitution was ratified. The Republic of the Philippines was founded on the same day with General Emilio Aguinaldo taking oath as the first president of the Philippine Republic. The republic lasted only for two years. However, it became the voice of the desire of the great Filipinos for independence, with their own government and own with its own flag waving. And, Barasoain Church, though as a religious institution built to worship God also became the place that announced the independence of the country. This is the reason why it is called the Cradle of Freedom and Shrine of Democracy.

On 19 October 1898, a law was passed that was ratified by the congress to create the Universidad Literaria y Cientifica de Filipinas in the convent of Barasoain. Don Mariano Crisostomo was the secretary. This is also where the Instituto Burgos was located. Unfortunately, the university was dissolved as soon as American forces entered Malolos.

On 1 August 1973, through the Presidential Decree No. 260, Barasoain Church was declared as a National Shrine. It provided for the maintenance and improvements of the shrine because of its colorful and important role in the history of the country. In the present, and in the future, people are assured of a neat and maintained place to see that became a silent witness to time when the Filipinos desired and moved to create an independent nation.



A carving on the wooden door.


The interior of the church.


A marble pieta just beside the Church.


Announcing the need to complete the photos of 
all of the members of the Malolos Congress.

The Malolos Congress.


A law mandates that this flag is to be raised day and night 
and whole year-round.



Not without historical controversy, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo is named 
as the first President of the Philippines. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Sereno, Acosta and Delima: Will they be matriarchal leaders?

Two weeks ago, we had our mandatory continuing legal education in Manila and aside from our chief at the Public Attorney's Office, two top government officials were invited: the DOJ chief and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And what they have in common is that they are all women.

It was a rare ocassion, listening to the three women manning the top agencies of the branches of our government. Of course, I was all so pleased just by knowing that women are now accepting the highest ranks in their respective league. However, a hindsight struck me: Will their being women enough for them to become maternal, productive and cooperative kind of of leaders?

Will they perpetuate the patriarchal leadership? In generations that passed, patriarchal society has been proven to be destructive for having leaders who are thirsty for power and controlling by use of power. Thus, the crafting of the book, "48 Laws of Power," which were all based on male-dominated societies.

Will they be matriarchal? Our future generation needs a matriarchal society. It is one whose power is generated through empathy, co-existence and sustainability. How will she entitle her book? Will it be "48 Laws of Sustainable and Empathic Governance"?

While women in public service is a happy news, their being women is not enough guage for us to secure a matriarchal society. We do not want to hear them participating in or cooperating with any kind corruption. We want to know how they will fight against political machinations. We are interested to know whether they will stand against the popular.

In our country, we tend to see women as powerful in the household as mothers only. We give deep and wide credit to the microorganization in our society led by mothers (which is, of course, very fitting) but forgot that in order to effect changes women should also involve themselves in macroorganizations like our government.

Of course, one important note before I proceed further is that let us not forget that men can also pave way for a matriarchal society in the same way that women can also perpetuate patriarchal society.

At any rate, with these three women in our top government, I am happy to find my personal role models. I still have to watch out for their future decisions and actions, though.

Presently, I am happy to know that our Chief Justice is a listener. Under her leadership, she put the speedy trial law in action by putting the burden of making sure that the adage "justice delayed, justice denied" is the burden of all stakeholders including the judges and prosecutors, not only by the PAO lawyers. The circular also seeks to remedy the pitiable congestion of our jails which can lead to inhumane condition of the detainees who are presumed innocent and cannot post bail.

Meanwhile, her objections to the appointment of a new justice on grounds that involve our national security is a laudable stance. She expressed her objections even though she cannot put it into writing and she inhibited herself in the voting.

Our PAO Chief is a matriarch too. Under her leadership, she makes sure that her house is in order and not neglected, as well as also praised when fitting. She fiestily represented in Congress for the passage of the PAO Law and now makes effort for the PAO to be seen by having high marks in the Anti-Red Tape Act Survey conducted by the civil service. All the additional workload is all designed by her to make PAO an important agency of the executive branch and for the provisions of the PAO law budgeted and implemented.


The DOJ Chief who is fiesty and seen by everyone as a DOJ secretary who means business. I still want to see more of her bloom in her leadership in a matriarchal way rather than merely replicate the men before her office.

We had women president but they did not set as role models for me. Thus, I want these three women succeed in their leadership so that they can put "faces" to many career women who contribute to civil service and try hard to be catalysts for change within their sphere of influence.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Repost: Harry Roque's article on Malaya Lola's new light in their search for war crime reparation

The members of Malaya Lolas who organized themselves in 2007 in order to get justice from the sufferings they went through  as comfort women during the war. Photo taken from a 2010 article.

On November 23, 1944, Japanese troops descended on the town of Mapanique in the Philippines. The troops gathered  men and boys in the town and proceeded to castrate them. Afterwards, the men were forced to put their severed sexual organs in their mouths before they were burned to death en masse. Women and girls were marched to what is known today as “Bahay na Pula” (red house) in San Ildenfonso, Bulacan. There, they were interred and repeatedly raped.

Lola Isabelita Vinuya is one of the faces of the women of Mapanique, Bulacan
who were violated by the Japanese soldiers during the war. Photo taken from a 2010 article.

The magnitude of the Japanese cruelty in Mapanique can be attributed to several causes. The town was known to be a hotbed of resistance to Japanese rule. It was in Central Luzon where the guerilla movement, HUKBALAHAP, was formed only months before the siege. One of the movement’s most respected leaders Commander Dayang Dayang was a native of Mapanique. The Japanese troops were also growing desperate because they knew they had already lost the war.

Fifty years later,  inspired by the revelations of South Korean women who publicly admitted that they were victims of the Japanese comfort women system, about 60 victims of war crimes from Mapanique formed the group known as Malaya Lola’s, or liberated grandmothers. While primarily an organization of women who were raped by the Japanese during the Mapanique siege, it also includes in its roster women whose husbands, sons and other male loved ones became victims of Japanese war atrocities.

In 2004, the Malaya Lolas filed suit in the Philippine Supreme Court to compel the Philippine government to espouse, or sponsor, their claims for compensation from the Japanese government. Prior to this suit, the Malaya Lolas had a suit for reparations dismissed by Japanese courts on the ground that the women do not have personality to sue under international law. The Japanese courts opined that the Philippine government must sponsor their claims. Hence, the case Vinuya et. al. versus Executive Secretary.

The position raised three points: one, mass rapes against civilian populations have always been subject of a non-derogable prohibition in times of war; two, it is also subject of a duty for all states to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators thereof. And three, the commission of mass rape will not only entail the duty of a state to pay compensation as a consequence of the doing an internationally wrongful act, it is also the basis for individuals to incur individual criminal responsibility.

To counter the Philippine Government’s position that further reparations are barred by a waiver which the Republic had signed, the women argued that the waiver is null and void for being contrary to public policy and also that the state cannot waive a right that inures to its nationals.

6 years after the filing of the Vinuya case, and after 20 of the original petitioners had died, the Philippine Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the Malaya Lola’s petition. In its 33 page decision, the Court said that the claims for compensation are barred because of the San Francisco Peace Pact. In exchange for nominal war reparations, the government was said to have waived any and further claims for compensation from Japan, a view consistently espoused by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, the court ruled that while it commiserates with the sufferings of the women of Mapanique, this, allegedly, is one instance where there is a violation of right but bereft of a legal remedy. The Court also said that while rape is prohibited, there is no non-derogable obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those who committed mass rape as a war crime. This decision is the second siege of the women of Mapanique.

Fortunately, the women of  Mapanique have found new allies in their continuing search for justice. Pending resolution of their motion for reconsideration, the Korean Constitutional Court, ruling on a petition with the same issues as those in the Philippine Supreme  Court, ruled that the Korean government must espouse the claim of the Korean comfort women. Further, the European Center for Constitutional  and Human Rights filed intervention in the Philippine Supreme Court to argue that pacta sundt servanda cannot prevail over the jus cogens prohibition on rape. The intervention of the ECCHR in the case was facilitated by a non-profit organization, the Bertha Foundation, which has been funding young lawyers in both the ECCHR and Centerlaw, and counsel of the comfort women in the Philippine case.

Article is a repost from the blog of human rights lawyer and international law authority Atty. Harry Roque. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Various Photos of Bahay Na Pula in San Ildefonso, Bulacan

I grabbed this photo from a Facebook page dedicated to all facts about Bahay na Pula.
Here's the link to that page which still contains few and wide posts. 

This one was still taken from the page referred above. 
Must be an old photo given the lush greeneries around.

This one photo is a latest photo of the renovated  mansion because this is how it looked 
when I visited last 19th of October 2014.  This was taken from an article that tackled whether the haunted story is for real or not.

This is the one I took when we dropped by the Bahay Na Pula. Had I known that a pertinent wartime event happened here, that it is more than a haunted house, I would have had taken time to capture much of its details within and without. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bahay Na Pula in San Idefonso, Bulacan is More Than its Haunted House Fame

The Bahay Na Pula in San Ildefonso, Bulacan has been known as haunted house, it having been utilized as set of Abs-cbn horror series, "Oka Tokat," way back in 1997 to 2002.

I did not pay much attention to this house when we dropped by because I was told by my host-friend who resides in San Ildefonso, Bulacan that this is the famous haunted house. True to its introduction, the house is famous (or infamous) as haunted house when I searched for it in google. Horror stories perpetuated the relevance of the house today but historically, the house is also a symbol of one sad local wartime event.

One article of note that caught my attention and led me to immediately write this story tells of the story of the comfort women who were violated at the Bahay Na Pula and who in 1997 organized themselves and called themselves as Malaya Lola.

"It was Nov. 23, 1944. This was their story: Central Luzon suffered heavily during the war as it was the base of the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon or Hukbalahap, a guerilla group initially formed to fight the Japanese troops. At 6:30 a.m., Japanese soldiers were on the hunt for the Huks. They gathered all the men, young and old, at the school courtyard.
Women were forced to watch as the soldiers tortured the men identified as Huks by a “Makapili,” a Filipino who collaborated with the Japanese against the Huks and hid his identity by putting a bayong over his head.
One of the most horrifying images Galang remembers is that of the father of a fellow lola, Tarcila Sampang, being castrated. His severed genitals were then shoved into his mouth.
By 10:30 a.m., 37 men had been bayoneted and shot. Soldiers piled the bodies into the school house which they then torched, along with the residents’ houses made of bamboo and pawid (nipa shingles).
The women were ordered to walk and carry their material possessions to a big, Dutch-inspired mansion they referred to as “Bahay na Pula,” located in neighboring San Ildefonso, Bulacan. During the trek, Galang recalled the soldiers kicked and shoved them.
Upon reaching the mansion, the soldiers dragged the women, ranging from 13 to early 20s, into dark rooms and took turns raping them. The soldiers released them only at around 6 p.m. Some of the women were even more unfortunate because they were brought to the Japanese headquarters in San Miguel, Bulacan, where they were imprisoned for at least three months at the “comfort station.”
The “Bahay na Pula” mansion is privately owned and still stands to this day. Vinuya said they will request that the owners allow them to install a small marker commemorating the events of Nov. 23, 1944.
The Mapaniqui residents denied kinship with the Huks then out of concern for their safety, but they admit with pride today that they were their fathers and brothers."
Another must-see video on Bahay Na Pula can be found here. As I gather the Malaya Lolas have not yet been compensated of the sufferings they have undergone during the war. I still have to further research on what happened to their compensation claims here in the Philippines and in the international court.