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Opening of the Malolos Congress on September 15, 1898, Image Courtesy of

On September 29, 1898, the Malolos Congress ratified the June 12, 1898 Act of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed in Kawit, Cavite.

The Declaration of Independence of the Philippines was attended by only one foreigner, an American colonel of artillery, Mr. L. M. Johnson. The Philippine independence was not recognized by any other country.

It all began on September 15, 1898, when the revolutionary congress convened in Barasoain Church in Malolos which also decided to draft a constitution. This constitution would become the Malolos Constitution of 1899.

The new constitution was approved by the Revolutionary Congress on January 20, 1899, and sanctioned by President Emilio Aguinaldo on January 21, 1899.

Source: Philippines News Agency, Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan

(Filed by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

The Macapagals

(Left to right, Young Gloria Macapagal, President Macapagal, EVa Macapagal)

On September 28, 1910, Diosdado Pangan Macapagal, 9th President of the Philippines serving from 1961 to 1965, was born in Lubao, Pampanga.

Known as the “Poor Boy from Lubao”, Macapagal, who finished law at the University of Santo Tomas through assistance from a friend, topped the 1936 Bar examinations with a score of 89.95 percent.

He was the father of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 14th President of the Philippines.

President Macapagal earned his Master of Laws degree in 1941, a Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1947, and a Ph.D. in Economics in 1957.

Among his most significant career achievements was the abolition of tenancy accompanying the land reform program in the Agricultural Land Reform Code of 1963 which underscored his endeavor to fight mass poverty.

Macapagal changed the Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12 which symbolized his policy of promoting and achieving true independence from foreign domination. He placed the peso on the free currency exchange market, and liberalized foreign exchange and import controls.

Macapagal also served as vice president in 1957 in the administration of President Carlos P. Garcia. He defeated Garcia in his reelection bid in the 1961 elections.

He also became representative of the first district of Pampanga in 1949 and was consistently selected by the Congressional Press Club as one of the Ten Outstanding Congressmen during his tenure. He was selected as “the Best Lawmaker” in his second term in Congress.

In 1965, Macapagal lost his reelection bid to President Ferdinand Marcos.

Macapagal was elected president of the Constitutional Convention which would later draft what became the 1973 Constitution.

Macapagal, who devoted much of his time to reading and writing books in his retirement, died of heart failure, pneumonia, and renal complications on April 21, 1997. He was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Source: Philippine News Agency archives

(By Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

On September 27, 1865, General Miguel Malvar, a revolutionary general, was born in Santo Tomas (now a city), Batangas to Maximo Malvar locally known as Capitan Imoy and Tiburcia Carpio.

Malvar, a former gobernadorcillo of his hometown, played an instrumental role during the Philippine revolution against Spain, and the subsequent Philippine-American War.

Malvar joined the Katipunan before the Philippine Revolution of 1896. When the revolution broke out, he emerged from a leader of a small army to being the military commander of Batangas. He coordinated offensives with General Emilio Aguinaldo of the Cavite revolutionaries and with General Paciano Rizal, leader of the revolutionaries in Laguna.

On February 1899, when the hostilities between Americans and Filipinos began, Malvar was appointed second-in-command to General Mariano Trias, who was the overall commander of the Filipino forces in Southern Luzon.

With General Emilio Aguinaldo’s capture by the Americans in 1901, and the earlier surrender of his (Aguinaldo’s) successor, General Mariano Trias, Malvar took the task of running the resistance movement against the Americans.

In early 1902, the American campaign inflected heavy casualty on both guerrilla fighters and civilians. As early as August of 1901, the Americans released exact description of Malvar’s physical features aimed at capturing the General. Malvar would escape American patrols by putting on disguise.

General Malvar surrendered to American General J Franklin Bell in April 1902 followed by his troops, ending the battle in Batangas.

In 1891, Malvar married Paula Maloles, daughter of Don Ambrocio Maloles. Don Ambrocio was his successor as gobernadorcillo of Santo Tomas. Ulay, as she was known locally, bore Malvar’s thirteen children, only eleven of them would survive.

Malvar retired to a quiet farming life and passed away on October 13, 1911 at the age of 46 due to liver failure.

Pambansang Komisyon Pangkasaysayan

(Filed by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

Image Courtesy of

Today in Filipino history, September 25, 1879, Lope K. Santos was born in Pasig to Ladislao Santos, a native of Pasig and Victorina Canseco, a native of San Mateo (Rizal).

Santos was a Tagalog language writer and former senator of the Philippines. He is best known for his 1906 socialist novel, Banaag at Sikat and his contributions for the development of Filipino grammar and Tagalog orthography

Banaag at Sikat is considered as the first socialist-oriented book in the Philippines which expounded principles of socialism and seek labor reforms from the government.

The book was later made an inspiration for the assembly of the 1932 Socialist Party of the Philippines and then the 1946 group Hukbalahap.

In early 1910s, he started his campaign on promoting a “national language for the Philippines” through organized lectures, cultural societies which he founded all over the country, and headed the department of national language in various leading universities.

Mang Openg, as he was fondly called by his friends, was elected governor of Rizal province in 1910, served until 1913. In 1918, he was appointed as the first Filipino governor of the newly-resurveyed Nueva Vizcaya until 1920.

Consequently, he was elected to the 5th Philippine Legislature as senator of the twelfth senatorial district representing provinces having a majority of non-Christian population.

He was the primary author of Philippine Legislature Act No. 2946 which enacted November 30 of every year as Bonifacio Day, honoring Andres Bonifacio. He championed the cause of labor with his introduction of several measures designed to better the workers’ working conditions.

In 1940, Santos published the first grammar book of the Filipino language, Balarila ng Wikang Pambansa (Grammar of the National Language) which was commissioned by the Surian ng Wikang Pambansa.

The next year, he was appointed by President Manuel L. Quezon as director of Surian until 1946. When the Philippines became a member of the United Nations he was selected to translate the 1935 Constitution for UNESCO. He was also appointed to assist for the translation of inaugural addresses of presidents Jose P. Laurel and Manuel A. Roxas.

He was married to Simeona Salazar on February 10, 1900. They were blessed with five children.

He died on May 1, 1963 at the age of 86.

References: Philippines News Agency archives

(Filed by Jr Amigo/AI/MNM)

Image Courtesy of The Kahimyang Project

Today in Filipino history, on September 24, 1669, Manuel de Leon took possession of the Philippines as the new governor-general. He was appointed by royal provision on June 24, 1668, and arrived in Manila on September 24, 1669.

During his time the seeds of cacao were brought to the Philippines and planted first in Carigara, Leyte. De Leon extended the commerce of the islands to China, India, and Java, and thus enabled the citizens of Manila to attain unusual wealth and prosperity.

On April 11, 1677 (according to Concepcion’s account from his Hist. de Philipinas, vii, pp. 258, 259), Governor Manuel de Leon died due to excessive obesity. De Leon left all his property for charitable purposes.

Casimiro Diaz from his Conquistas said that Governor General Manuel de Leon died on the night of April 8, 1676.

On account of his death, the senior auditor, Don Francisco de Coloma, took charge of the government, in company with auditors Don Francisco de Mansilla and Don Diego Calderón y Serrano for civil affairs.


Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan
The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XLII, 1670-1700, page 15, 157-161 E. H. Blair, Gutenberg EBook #34384

(Filed by Jr Amigo/A. Inigo/mnm)

On the evening of September 23, 1762, the British flotilla landed in Manila Bay, which marked the beginning of the British invasion of the Philippines.

Admiral Samuel Cornish led the expedition to capture Manila, which at that time was a Spanish colony. General William Draper, who was in the service of the British East India Company, commanded the troops.

The English fleet entered the Manila Bay in the form of a half circle stretching from Cavite to the middle of the Bay, 13 ships in all. It was a dull misty evening, with a typhoon forming to the southwest. The Manila officials thought them a fleet of trading junks and sent out Captain Fernando Alcala to inquire as to their business. He was detained on board until the next morning, when he accompanied two English officers ashore with a demand for the surrender of the city.

The flustered Archbishop and acting Governor General Manuel Rojo, reported that:

“The city was suffocated with consternation at the approaching conflict”, but with his Council made reply that “he was determined to protect for His Catholic Majesty the City and Islands under his care, and was prepared to sacrifice all in the defense of religion and the honor of the Spanish arms.”

The naval force of the English was composed of the war and troopships Norfolk, Elisabeth, Grafton, Seahorse, Seaforth, Argo, Falmouth, Panther, Lenox and Weymouth, and the storeships Osterly, Stephen and South Sea Castle, with a complement of seamen and marines.

The military arm under General William Draper was the 79th Regiment; a company of Royal artillery with 30 Madras assistants; 600 Indian regulars known as Sepoys; two companies of French deserters, and prisoners numbering 250.

The English operations came as a result of the Seven Years’ War, which starting as a purely European issue, became almost worldwide in its scope. Austria, Russia and France had combined to crush Prussia under Frederick the Great, the stake being Silesia. England, the banker of Frederick, was drawn into the struggle which lasted from 1756 to 1763. Sweden, Saxony, Parma, Naples and Portugal were also drawn into the conflict; and Spain, her reigning house related to Austria, declared war on England.

The following day, September 24, 1762, Draper and Cornish sent an edict to the Filipinos announcing that the Filipinos need have no fear of the British fleet, provided that they do not join the Spaniards or assist them in any way.

They will be received under British protection; their women and children will be free from outrages; full prices will be paid them for food; they will be free to go and come as they please; and freedom of worship will be conserved to them. If they do, on the contrary, aid the Spanish, then they must fear the punishment that will be inflicted.

Don Simon de Anda, a judge in the Audiencia, arrived in the Islands a year before the capture of Manila, escaped to the provinces. He assumed the role of patriot in the eyes of his supine countrymen, but his usurped and self-appointed power only endured because the clergy, especially the Augustinian order, who really dominated the provinces, rallied around and upheld him in his power.

With the Spanish forces and hundreds of volunteers facing defeat against British troops, it was the native population of nearby Pampanga and Bulacan provinces who gave the British forces a lesson or two in guerrilla warfare.

About a thousand Filipino fighters, who was convinced by their Spanish parish priests that the British were invading demons, staged surprise attacks against the invaders, although they were subsequently repelled.

On the other hand, among those siding with the British were Filipino freedom fighters like Diego Silang who led an uprising in the Ilocos against Spanish rule, and Juan de la Cruz Palaris in Pangasinan who had direct or indirect ally in England during and after the war.

Sultan Azim ud Din I (Alimudin) of Sulu and Sabah also entered into a mutual defense pact with the British.

Majority of the Chinese residents in Manila aided the British and formed military units against Spain.

The British occupation of the Philippines was short-lived as the Seven Years’ War ended in Europe on February 10, 1763 with the signing of the peace treaty in Paris (Treaty of 1763).

The Spanish troops re-entered Manila May 31, 1764, possession of the city being taken by Don Simon de Anda, since the new governor ad interim, Francisco de la Torre, was sick. That night a banquet was given to the British commanders. On June 4, 1764, the British tendered a banquet to Anda and other officials on their ships. The British vessels left the bay for India on June 10 and 11, 1764.

Archbishop Manuel Rojo died in captivity on January 1763. The British respected him as a man of his word and gave him an imposing military funeral with all the honors of war.

The British occupation left a distinct features of Indian ancestry, as seen in the towns of Cainta and Taytay in the former Morong (now Rizal) province, as Sepoy members of the British forces chose to remain and married Filipino women. The war also brought about ideological change among Filipinos. Knowing that Spain was not invulnerable at all and its rule in the Philippines would not last forever, it was inevitable that Filipinos themselves would rule.


The British Occupation of the Philippines, Percy A. Hill, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Volume 3, Number 5, May 1923
The English Invasion, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, Volume 1, Number. 49, Helen Emma Blair, et al. 1911
Philippine News Agency Archives

(Filed by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

The Original Flag raised by Emilio Aguinaldo in declaring the independence in 1898

Today in Filipino history September 22, 1943, the Philippine national anthem and the national flag were declared official symbols by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 211.

The national anthem was first played officially along with the raising of the national flag on June 12, 1898, when Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo formally proclaimed Philippine Independence from Spain at the central second-story window of his house in Kawit, Cavite.

The Philippine national anthem, which embodies the struggles and the glory of the Filipino people in search of freedom from foreign domination, was composed by Julian Felipe and played by the San Francisco de Malabon Band.

The Spanish lyrics were written by Jose Palma a year later.

The Philippine national flag was made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, assisted by Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herbosa, while General Aguinaldo was in exile in Hong Kong.

It features a blue band on top, a red band below, and a white triangle on the side. The triangle stands for equality and its white color stands for purity. The blue stripe stands for peace and the red for courage.

At the corners of the white triangle were sewn yellow stars symbolizing the three main Philippine island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

At the center of the triangle is a sun with eight rays, representing the first provinces that rose in arms against Spanish rule in the Philippines (Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, and Batangas).

Reference: Philippines News Agency archives
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

(By Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

Photo shows then-President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. announcing the declaration of Martial Law on September 23, 1972.

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand E. Marcos placed the Philippines under Martial Law, suspending civil rights and imposing military authority. Congress was also abolished.

September 21 is the official date of the declaration but was formally announced on TV and radio live by Mr. Marcos on September 23.

Marcos who stayed in office for more than 20 years — from 1965 to February 1986 — explained that martial law was intended to suppress civil strife and the threat of communist takeover following the series of bombings in Manila.

During those times, the threat to the country’s security intensified following the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in 1968.

Supporters of CPP’s military arm, the New People’s Army, also grew in number in Tarlac and other parts of the country.

The attempt on the life of then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile gave Marcos a window to declare Martial Law (Enrile would later reveal that the assassination attempt on his life was staged).

The President declared the emergency rule the day after the Enrile assassination attempt. Mr. Marcos also declared that the insurgency in the south, caused by the clashes between Muslims and Christians, was a threat to national security.

Initially, the imposition of martial law was supported by the majority of Filipinos. It was viewed as a change that solved the massive corruption in the country.

Gradually, however, martial law became unpopular due to human rights abuses and excesses by the military, not to mention the incarceration of opposition leaders critical of martial law. Journalists, student leaders, and labor activists critical of the Marcos administration were also detained.

Numerous media outfits were either closed down or operated under tight control.

Businesses owned by the oligarchy were confiscated and taken over by Marcos’ family members and close personal friends and were allegedly used as fronts to launder proceeds from institutionalized graft and corruption in the different national governmental agencies.

Martial law was lifted on January 17, 1981, although the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus continued in the autonomous regions of Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao.

Source: Philippine News Agency archives

(Compiled by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

Image Courtesy of:

On September 20, 1898, Josefa Llanes Escoda, noted civic leader, educator and founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), was born in Dingras, Ilocos Norte.

Escoda, who obtained her teaching degree in 1919 at the Philippine Normal School in Manila, was a social worker for the Philippine Chapter of the American Red Cross.

She was sent to undergo training in Girl Scouting in the United States under the sponsorship of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

She also obtained a master’s degree in Social Work in 1925 from Columbia University, through Red Cross Scholarship.

Upon her return to the country, she began training women to become Girl Scout leaders and eventually proceeded to organize the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

On May 26, 1940, when President Manuel L. Quezon signed the GSP Charter, she became the group’s first National Executive.

She was married to Antonio Escoda, whom she met as a reporter from the Philippine Press Bureau. They had two children.

She was executed on January 6, 1945 at the age of 46 on Japanese suspicion of being a guerrilla sympathizer. Her husband, Colonel Antonio Escoda, was also executed in 1944, along with General Vicente Lim.

A street and a building in Manila have been named after her and a monument has been dedicated to her memory.

Reference: Philippine News Agency

(Filed by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

On September 19, 1829, Joaquin Pardo de Tavera, reformist, liberal-minded lawyer and an early supporter of the Filipino cause during the Spanish colonization, was born in San Roque, Cavite to Julian Pardo de Tavera who was originally from Toledo, Spain and Juana Maria Gomez also of Spanish descent.

He attended the College of San Juan de Letran and the University of Santo Tomas where he studied law.

De Tavera, who became a professor of the University of Santo Tomas, organized a group of like-minded intellectuals and students known as Comite de Reformadores who openly advocated reforms in the colonial government.

When the Cavite Mutiny broke out on January 20, 1872, De Tavera and other members of the Comite de Reformadores were implicated in the incident which led to their arrest and exile in the Marianas, and the unjust execution of the three priests – Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora.

De Tavera received a royal pardon after two years, left for Paris, France, accompanied by his wife. In Paris he lived with his nephew Trinidad Pardo De Tavera.

De Tavera never returned to the Philippines.

He died in Paris on March 19, 1884 at the age of 54. He was buried at the Père-Lachaise cemetery


Philippine News Agency archives

(Filed by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)


On September 18, 1891, the second novel of Dr. Jose Rizal, El Filibusterismo (Reign of Greed), written in Spanish and a sequel to Noli Me Tangere, was published in Ghent, Belgium.

Rizal, who began writing El Filibusterismo in October 1887 in Calamba, Laguna, revised some chapters while he was in London and completed the book on March 29, 1891.

Rizal wrote El Filibusterismo in dedication to the three martyred priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, expressing conviction that their treatment and deaths at the hands of the Spanish authorities was unjust.

Plots are poles apart compared with Noli Me Tangere, where people were encouraged to ask and aspire for change and liberation, in El Filibusterismo, Rizal urged the society to open its eyes to reality and rebel against the Spanish government for its oppression and abuse.

In Noli Me Tangere, there is aspiration, beauty, romance, and mercy. In El Filibusterismo, readers will feel bitterness, hatred, and antipathy. The romance and aspirations are gone. Even the characters’ personalities seem to have undergone radical change.

Source: Philippines News Agency archives