Friday, March 12, 2010

The National Anthem of Libya

When Libya became independent in December 1951, it was a kingdom until the overthrow of the monarchy by Moammar Qadaffi in 1969. During the time of the monarchy, the anthem "Libya, Libya, Libya" was used. The composer of the music, Mohamad Abdel Wahab, also wrote the music for the anthems of Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. The words were written by Al Baschir Al Arebi.

In 1969, a new anthem "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) was adopted. It is not only the title of the anthem of this Islamic north African state, but also the Muslim call to prayer. Originally, the text and the melody were written by Mahmoud El-Sherif as a battle song of the Egyptian Army during the Suez War in 1956.

When Muammar Qadafi transformed Libya into a republic in 1969, he adopted this Egyptian marching song composed by Abdalla Shams El-Din as the Libyan national anthem, as part of his ultimate goal of unity of all Arab nations. When Qadafi broke off the relations with Egypt after Egypt's peace treaty with Israel in 1979, the anthem was retained, but the Egyptian origin of the song is no longer mentioned by the Libyan authorities.

The stamp above issued by Egypt features Mahmoud El-Sherif, the national anthem lyricist.

Monday, March 8, 2010

South Korea Revisited

During my first visit to South Korea five years ago, I was not able to see much of the place because the trip was a convention and 90% of the time we were inside halls listening to lectures. This time, I was able to see and appreciate the beauty of the country and understand its people and culture. It really helped that our tour guide, Mickey, was a loquacious and accommodating host. Through her, I was able to learn more about Korea in 4 days than reading book for a month. We visited several interesting sights and scenes. We had the opportunity to go and see the Blue House- where the Presidents reside, The Korean Folk Museum- where I was able to buy the sought after Korean Music Series Stamps, and the Kyungbok Palace. The Daejangguem Theme Park was an eye opener. It is the Hollywood version in Korea, where the sets for the Koreanovelas- one of Koreas greatest exports- can bee seen and interacted on. A few decades ago, entertainers and actors were frowned upon in Korea, but after several artist became millionaires, the old folks in Korea now encourage there young to sing and dance. Other places we visited include, the Dongnaenum market, Ginseng center, Amethyst and Kimchi making factory. The Kings Palace in Seoul is devoid of a living royalty because the last heir lived in the USA and married a non-Korean, breaking the royal genealogy.

The JUMP show- a comedy martial arts show was highly entertaining. I really enjoined their kind of comedy- I developed side stitches due to overlaughing. The visit to Seoul tower offered a magnificent 36o degress view of the city. Looking at the breath taking view, you will really admire the Korean people especially its leaders for transforming the country from a third world to first world in just two generations. Hope we can do the same for our leaders.....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Francisco Dagohoy on Stamps

The native of Bohol, Francisco Dagohoy, has the distinction of leading the longest revolt against the Spaniards (1744-1829). Dagohoy's rebellion started when a priest denied his brother a Christian burial. Supported by about 20,000 people, he held his base in the mountain regions between Inagangan and Talibon. Twenty Spanish governor- generals were unable to quell Dagohoy's liberation struggle.

There is no document available to shed light on Francisco Dagohoy's birth, his parentage and death. It is believed that this was due to the disinterest of the Spanish authorities to record the hero's life and achievements and immortalize the exploits of one whom so humiliated them.

Placido Sinsano, a centenarian grandson of Francisco Dagohoy's brother and successor Maximino, explained that Francisco Dagohoy was born in 1724 in Cambitoon, a barrio of Inabangan town some 20 kilometers from the poblacion.

Descendants claimed that Francisco Dagohoy's father's name was Polon, probably Apolonio, while his mother's name was Sisa or Narcisa. Francisco was the second child in a family of three brothers and one sister Sagarino (the eldest and the immediate cause of Francisco's rebellion) Maximino and Narcisa.

The family's real name surname is still uncertain to this day. Dagohoy was believed to be his “nom de guerre” when he was already leading the rebellion. A subsequent name adopted by some of his descendants, Sendrijas, has been adopted as a probable surname. Sendrijas may have been adopted by his family after the rebellion to protect them from the wrath of Spanish sword to annihilate the hero's memory.

The Dagohoy's were a model family in the community. They were devout Catholics, (which can be borne out by the hiring of Sagarino the eldest, by the Jesuit priest, Gaspar Morales, as a sacristan and constable). The males engaged in farming and fishing, while the females wove blankets and mats made of buri palm.

In Francisco's youth, he showed Atlethics prowess, excelling in running, jumping, wrestling, fencing and dagger trowing when they were still in the mountains, and in boating and swimming when they moved near the coast.

Francisco married Berinja Bugsok a beautiful lass during the early part of the rebellion. Unfortunately, the couple was childless. Berinja proved to be a perfect partner, ably providing warmth and compassion that helped maintain her husband's relationship with his followers. She accepted Francisco's sons by another woman .... Hantud ..... Cawag .....Boasa..... Camangay and Estaca... and reared them as her own.

Francisco was known as a great lover of animals. Gabriel Nipis, a descendants of Francisco's soldier described the hero's mountain capital and military quarters as a Zoo.

The immediate cause of the rebellion in 1744 was traced to father Morales' refusal to give Christian burial to his brother Sagarino. Sagarino accordingly was sent to arrest a renegade Indian ( for the pejorative word Indio ) who killed the former instead. It is believed that father Morales refused to bury Sagarino in consecrated ground and the corpse lay rotting for three days. Because he died in a duel and, by the law of the church, he "did not merit a Christian Burial". Angered by the injustice, Francisco swore vengeance on the Jesuit priest and persuaded the natives to join him. Some 3,000 followers abandoned their homes and fortified an inaccessible retreat in the mountains.

On their way, they plundered San Xavier, a large estate belonging to the Jesuits, which was well stock with carabaos, cows, horses and other animals. The rebellion rolled across the island. " like horrendous cogon fires", Francisco Dagohoy, idolized as a liberator, emerged victorious on all fronts. His prestige "soared skyward" and his name "sped swiftly” from cost to cost, from hills to hills, and from town to town."

Francisco Dagohoy was an expert strategist who made full use of his familiarity with Danao's many caves and plunging cliffs. He had the knack for choosing appropriate names and sites. He established his headquarters in Cambito-on, a plateau named such because it is "near the stars." From there, Francisco had a commanding view of any approaching enemy force while being naturally protected by dangerous cliffs and rising hills. He could see as far as the skyline of Cebu and the island of Mactan and even have a wonderful view of the Chocolate Hills.

It is recalled that stories handed down through generations about a watch tower on Tawagan Hill where the sentry calls out an alarm at the sight of approching vessels from Cebu. Francisco also devised an effective relay using native gongs. The presence of an approaching stranger was known to him hours before it reaches the first outpost. A sitio of Cambito-on, aptly named Pasanan from the Cebuano word "pasa", served as a relay point. Barrio Taming (visayan for shield) a plateua, provided the "shield" and guard post. Magtangtang got its name from the practice of the natives to untie their cargoes from carabao's back from wallowing in the river. Dagohoy's offices were housed in Caylagan, a sitio in Magtangtang. It came as no surprise that Don Pedro Lechuga, the Spanish military commander in Bohol in 1744, found that Francisco Dagohoy was a master of guerilla warfare.

Francisco was known for his penchant for anting-antings (amulets). This worked to his advantaged as his followers eventually believed he possessed supernatural powers. On his neck hung a talisman which gave him "power" to appear and disappear. Stories abound about Francisco Dagohoy's ability to jump from hilltop to another and from one side of the river to the other. His followers eventually called him "Daganan". Dagang was the visayan word for feathers, perhaps playing up his ability to glide among the hills.

The Word Dagohoy itself is believed to be a mere contraction of two visayan words: " Dagon " and " Hoyohoy." Dagon is a charm of magical power and given to a good man by supernatural beings, while hoyohoy reffered to gentle breeze or wind. Francisco Dagohoy nurtured the image of a hero who had the magical powers of gentle breeze, to float and disappear as he wished. Francisco Dagohoy, mastered the numerous caves and underground rivers in Magtangtang, which have remained mysterious and critical to this day. This baffled the enemy to the end and to such an extent that even his followers heightened his mystic.

Francisco Dagohoy lived till he was 101, died of rabies, probably in 1825. The rebellion which he led outlived him, valiantly carried on by his brother Maximino, better known as Tugpa. By the time the joint Filipino-Spanish troops commanded by Capt. Manuel Sanz crushed the rebellion in 1829, it was already 85 years old. It remains the highlight in the Philippines struggle against the colonization unmatched in durability.

The stamp was issued in May 18, 1982.

Leandro H. Fernandez on Stamps

Fernandez earned his masters degree in History and Doctorate in Education from the University of Chicago in 1912. In 1935, he became the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of the Philippines and Chairman of the Graduate Studies Program. He wrote A Brief History of the Philippines which was issued as a textbook for history students.

A foremost educator and noted historian, Leandro C. Fernandez rose to national prominence from his humble beginnings through hard work, perseverance, and consistency motivated by a strong sense of public service and nationalism.

Fernandez was born on March 13, 1889 in Pagsanjan, Laguna to Esteban Fernandez and Bonifacia Caballero. He was the third of five children, the others being Susana, Domingo, Zosimo, and Estanislao. He lost his father during his early childhood. Fernandez took his primary studies at the school of barrio Pagsawitan, thereafter proceeding to the Provincial High School in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, for his secondary education, finishing in 1909, at the Manila High School.

Sent to the United States as a government pensionado , he enrolled at Tri-State College in Angola, Indiana, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy in 1910. Although he received a regular stipend being a government scholar, he worked as a waiter in a restaurant so as to earn extra money. From Tri-State, he went to the University of Chicago, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 1912. The following year, he received his master’s degree, major in history, from the same institution.

His first job upon his return from his studies abroad was to teach at the Tondo Elementary School, where he stayed for only eight weeks because the University of the Philippines took him into the service as instructor in history. He took and passed the test for Public School Superintendent, one of the first to do so in the country. At the UP, he rose from instructor to associate professor, to assistant professor and finally professor in 1920. In 1919, Ginn and Company published his book A Brief History of the Philippines , which public and private schools soon adopted as a textbook for the 7th grade.

In 1923, he returned to the US as a university fellow for postgraduate courses at Yale University. He likewise did research at the Bureau of Insular Affairs in Washington, D.C. From Yale, he proceeded to Columbia University, graduating three years later with a doctorate in philosophy. Within the year, Yale published his dissertation entitled “The Philippine Republic”.
Back at the UP, he took over the chairmanship of the history department from the newly resigned Professor Austin Craig, and from there, rose steadily up the academic ladder. Aside from serving concurrently as director of the Summer School in 1926, he became Registrar-in-Charge of the university in 1927, replacing Professor Vidal A. Tan of the Mathematics department.

In 1933, he represented the country at the Institute of Pacific Relations. Two years later, he replaced Maximo Kalaw as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, as well as editor of the Philippine Social Science Review , which he led in printing unheard-of historical documents on Philippine history, much to the delight of subscribers. He likewise served as Chairman of the Committee on Graduate Studies.

As a teacher of history, Fernandez was concerned mainly with the birth of Philippine nationalism, and on Philippine prehistory. Upon his students (two of whom became more famous historians: Gregorio F. Zaide and Teodoro A. Agoncillo) he emphasized the importance of using archival or documentary evidence as means of ferreting out historical truth, and zealously promoted original research on still unplumbed areas of Philippine history. A serious Filipiniana collector, Fernandez amassed an extensive library that proved useful in his scholarly work, including the writing of biographies of Filipino leaders, and preparation of a more relevant curriculum for students.

Aside from A Brief History of the Philippines , he produced a significant body of researches and articles both in English and Spanish and published in various periodicals and scholarly journals. He was married to Josefina Yan, and fathered six children. Fernandez died on March 23, 1948.

The stamp was issued in May 18, 1989. Decade of Filipino Nationalism (Great Filipinos) I.

Olivia D. Salamanca on Stamps

Salamanca earned her degree from theWomen's Medical College in Pennsylvania in 1910, making her the second Filipina to earn a medical degree from the U.S. She became the secretary of the Philippine Anti-Tuberculosis Society where she wrote its constitution and by-laws. She died shortly after that at the age of 24, of tuberculosis.

Olivia Salamanca (1889-1913) was a pioneer of her profession. Olivia Simeona Demetria Salamanca y Diaz was the second child of a well-to-do couple, Jose Salamanca, a colonel in the Philippine Revolutionary Forces, a pharmacist, and a signer of the Malolos Constitution, and Cresencia Diaz. Olivia was born on July 1,1889 in San Roque, Cavite where she spent her childhood.

She obtained her early education is a private school in Cebu where her father worked as a pharmacist. When the family returned to Cavite, Olivia studied in the Colegio de la Sagrada Familia in Cavite City and later at the Cavite High School where she completed the first two years of the secondary course.

When an examination for scholarship to the US was given in 1905, Olivia took it and was one of the two women awarded a grant. She enrolled in a high school in St.Paul, Minnesota and finished the secondary course at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. Although her original plan was to take up teaching, she shifted to medicine and was admitted to the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia in 1906.

During her second year in college she won a prize in anatomy. Being brilliant she finished the medical course in four years, obtaining grades that were above 90 percent. In 1910 she took and passed the civil service examination in the US. she also visited medical centers in New York and Washington D.C., BAltimore, New York City, Rhode Island, and Boston.

It was on July 24,1910, when Dr. Salamanca returned to the Philippines after a whole month's voyage. Upon her arrival she was appointed secretary of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society. She was so engrossed with her work that she became neglectful of her own health. She became a victim of white plague that she was sent to the Baguio Hospital to recuperate. She continued working in this hospital while undergoing treatment. when her condition did not improve, she was sent to Hongkong for treatment by the Lopez family of Batangas. however, her stay in Hongkong did not improve her health. She returned to Philippines and on July 13, 1913, she died at the age of 24.

As a tribute to this exemplary woman, a historical marker was installed by the Philippines Women's Medical Association at the Plaza Olivia Salamanca. A street in San Roque, Cavite and a ward in the Mary Johnston Hospital in Tondo, Manila, have been named after her.

The stamp was issued in May 18, 1989. Decade of Filipino Nationalism (Great Filipinos) I.

Camilo Osias on Stamps

Osias was an educator and a statesman. He was the first President of the National University and was appointed Philippine Resident Commissioner to Washington D.C. in 1929. He authored the Philippine Readers Series ised in public schools for Grades 1 to 7, popularly called the Osias Readers. He translated both Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo and wrote many books and essays on Rizal.

Camilo Osias (March 23, 1889 Balaoan, La Union - May 20, 1976 Manila) was a Filipino politician, twice for a short time President of the Senate of the Philippines.

He attended school in Balaoan, Vigan and San Fernando, and was appointed government student to the United States in 1905. He studied at the University of Chicago in 1906 and 1907. He graduated from the Western Illinois State Teachers College at Macomb, Illinois in 1908, and from the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City in 1910.

He returned to the Philippine Islands and taught school. Here he entered education politics, becoming successively the first Filipino Superintendent of Schools (1915 to 1916), Assistant Director of Education (1917 to 1921), a member of the first Philippine mission to the United States (1919 to 1920), a lecturer at the University of the Philippines (1919 to 1921), President of the National University (1921-1936).

Then he entered national politics. He was elected a member of the Philippine Senate in 1925, and, as a Nationalist, a Resident Commissioner in the United States House of Representatives in 1928, reelected in 1931 and served from March 4, 1929 until January 3, 1935, when his term expired in accordance with the new Philippine Commonwealth Government. In 1934 he was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Philippine Senate, but became a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1934, and a member of the first National Assembly in 1935. In 1939 he was a member of the Economic Mission to the United States, and chairman of the Educational Mission between 1938 and 1941.

Back in the Philippines he became chairman of the National Council of Education in 1941, Director of Publicity and Propaganda until January 1942, chairman of the National Cooperative Administration in 1941, later Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Education, Health, and Public Welfare, then Secretary of Education until 1945. He was also Chancellor of Osías Colleges. He was elected again to the Philippine Senate in 1947 for a term expiring in 1953.

He was President of the Senate of the Philippines twice for a short time in 1952 and in 1953. He was the Philippines' representative to the Interparliamentary Union in Rome and to the International Trade Conference in Genoa in 1948. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Nationalist Party nomination for President of the Philippines in 1953, losing to Ramon Magsaysay. He was again elected, this time as a Liberal to the Philippine Senate (1961-1967), and served as president pro tempore. He was a resident of Mandaluyong, Rizal, Philippines, until his death.

The stamp was issued in May 18, 1989. Decade of Filipino Nationalism (Great Filipinos) I.

Tomas Bautista Mapua on Stamps

Mapua was the first registered architect in the Philippines. He established the Mapua Institute of Technology. He is famous for designing the buildings of De La Salle College, Centro Escolar University, the Nurse's Home at the Philippine General Hospital and the J. Mapua Memorial Hall in Intramuros.

Tomás Bautista Mapúa (December 21, 1888 – December 22, 1965) was the first registered Filipino architect. Born in Manila to Juan Mapúa and Justina Bautista, he was one of the first Filipino scholars sent by the government to the United States during the American regime. He finished high school at Boone's Preparatory School in Berkeley, California, and graduated from Cornell University in 1911 with a degree in Architecture. Among his works include the Manila City Hall, Post Office Building, the St. La Salle Hall, and his own home on Taft Avenue. He was supervising architect for the Bureau of Public Works from 1918-1927, during which period he was in charge of important insular work, including the Nurses Home of the Philippine General Hospital, Training School Building of Normal School, and various provincial and municipal buildings.

Mapúa married Rita Moya on November 3, 1916. In January 25, 1925, he founded the Mapúa Institute of Technology, a school specializing in architecture and engineering, using a run-down building in Carriedo Street on Quiapo, Manila. Retiring from public service, Mapúa devoted himself to private practice since 1928, and in addition to heading his own construction company (MYT Construction Works,Inc.) was president of the Mapúa Institute of Technology. He died on December 22, 1965. Misericordia Street in Sta. Cruz, Manila was renamed to Tomas Mapua Street in his honor.

The stamp was issued on May 18,1989. Decade of Filipino Nationalism (Great Filipinos) I.

Andres Bonifacio on Stamps

Andres Bonifacio was born into a poor family and was orphaned at age fourteen. He had to discontinue his education to work at odd jobs to support his younger brothers and sisters. He continued his education by reading books. Victor Hugo's Les Miserables was one of his favorites and Rizal's novels inspired his ideals for a free Philippines. Bonifacio founded the secret society, the Katipunan on July 7, 1892.

Philippine historiography at the turn of the 20th century tended to neglect Bonifacio's seminal leadership of the Philippine Revolution. Under the auspices of the American colonial educators, a systematic attempt was made to cast aside Bonifacio and insist on Rizal as the prototypical national hero. For example in 1912, an important decision was made by the Americans in connection with the inauguration of the Rizal Monument in what was then Luneta Park, and the subsequent national commemoration of his death anniversary.

Esteban A. de Ocampo of the National Historical Institute recounted the events leading to the decision of Governor William Taft in choosing Rizal as the Philippines' national hero. Taft said: "'And now, gentlemen, you must have a national hero.' These were supposed to be the words addressed by Governor Taft to Messrs. Trinidad Pardo De Tavera, Benito Legarda Jr., and Luzurriaga, Filipino members of the Philippine Commission of which Taft was the chairman. It was further reported that 'in the subsequent discussion in which the rival merits of the revolutionary heroes (Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez-Jaena, Rizal, General Antonio N. Luna, Emilio Jacinto, and Bonifacio) were considered, the final choice - now universally acclaimed a wise one - was Rizal. And so history was made.'"

Since then, the debate of Rizal versus Bonifacio has remained unabated, mercilessly pitting the qualities of one against the other: the ilustrado class versus the proletariat, the sophisticated European education versus the self-schooled one, the priviledged situation of one versus the plebeian beginnings of the other, Rizal's mastery of Spanish versus Bonifacio's Tagalog background, and the list goes on. As a result, a prejudiced view of Bonifacio persisted in almost all Philippine history books.

In 1956, the publication of a landmark book in Philippine historiography changed the historical and intellectual treatment of Bonifacio. Teodoro Agoncillo's Revolt of the Masses advanced the view that Bonifacio's accomplishments were worthy of the accolades given to a national hero, and that the Philippine revolution was primarily driven by the masses. These theses were encapsulated in a classic Marxist dialectic, beginning the rise of a distinctly nationalist historiography, aimed at reappropriating the signs and symbols of the nation.

A new line of Philippine history books based on the nationalist discourse of Agoncillo followed, culminating with Reynaldo Ileto's Pasyon and Revolution in 1979. Ileto's book started the trend of studying history using unofficial documents, textual references in plays, oral tradition, and other similar sources. History from below, as it came to be known, focuses on the story, achievements, and contributions of sectors of society that were either neglected or cast aside for various reasons.

This nationalist trend would eventually be challenged by other historians. On April 7, 1995, American scholar Glenn Anthony May of the University of Oregon delivered a paper entitled, "Andres Bonifacio: Inventing a Hero" at a meeting of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Washington, D.C. In this paper and the subsequent book, Inventing a Hero: The Posthumous Re-Creation of Andres Bonifacio, May revealed in very strong words that the Bonifacio story was "a story of a fabrication of a national hero -- a history of deception, dissimulation, and distortion....all that can be reliably known is the illusion itself, the product of doctored, spurious, or undocumented sources and the collective imagination of several generations of historians."

Various scholars, academicians, and historians attacked May's thesis that Bonifacio's accomplishments and certain portions of his life were mere fabrication of some Filipino nationalist historians. Malcolm Churchill contended that May was not savaging and degrading the honor and memory of Bonifacio but was making a name and building a reputation of being a revisionist historian in the Philippine and American academic community.

The stamp was issued on November 30, 1963.

Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in Stamps

Bautista is best remembered as the author of the Declaration of the Philippine Independence. He was a supporter of La Solidaridad, the official organ of the Propaganda Movement in Spain. He served as political adviser to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. He read the Declaration of Philippine independence during its proclamation in Kawait, Cavite in 1898

Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista (b. December 17, 1830-d. December 4, 1903) was a lawyer and author of the “Declaration of Philippine Independence.” A distant relative of the Rizal Family, Jose Rizal, always sought his advice during his school days in Manila.

Ambrosio was born in Biñan, Laguna to Gregorio Enriquez Bautista and Silvestra Altamira. He attended preparatory school in Biñan and studied law at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), obtaining a degree in 1865. He then practiced law in Manila by offering free legal services to poor clients. One day, Ambrosio was captured by a group of bandits, on his way to Malolos, Bulacan. The bandits learned that he was the famous "Don Bosyong" who had saved many of their friends and was the defender of the poor in court cases against greedy Spaniards and the rich Filipino, they immediately apologized and set him free.

Bautista solicited funds to finance the campaign for the reforms in the Philippines, then he became a member of the La Liga Filipina, Cuerpo de Compromisarios, and La Propaganda. In 1896, the Spaniards arrested and imprisoned him in Fort Santiago as he was suspected for being involved in the revolution. He defended himself and was later released from prison. He became the first adviser of Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 and subsequently wrote the “Declaration of Philippine Independence.” On July 14, 1899, Bautista was elected vice-president of Tarlac's Revolutionary Congress. He was later appointed judge of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan.

The stamp was issued on September 15, 1981.

Francisco Baltazar on Stamps

Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar is known as the Prince of Tagalog Poets. A rival suitor for the favor of one Asuncion Rivera caused his imprisonment. It was during this confinement that he wrote his epic for which he is famous for, Florante at Laura.

Francisco Balagtas, later Francisco Baltazar or nickname Kikong Balagtas or Kiko, was born on April 2, 1788 in the barrio Panginay in the town of Bigaa, now known as Balagtas in his honor, in the province of Bulacan. He was the youngest of four children: Felipe, Concha, and Nicholasa. His parents where a blacksmith, Juan Baltazar, and Juana de la Cruz.

As a young boy, Balagtas loved to watch the land and hear the sound of the leaves. He saw beauty in the sparks caused by the pounding hammer of his blacksmith father. He even heard music in the sound of the horses' shoes.

Balagtas studied in a parochial school in Bigaa, where he studied prayers and catechism during his elementary years. Once Baltazar was eleven he moved to Tondo, Manila to work as a houseboy for his aunt, Doña Trinidad, who sponsored his studies. He enrolled at the Colegio de San Jose, where he graduated with degrees in Crown Law, Spanish, Latin, Physics, Christian Doctrine, Humanities, and Philosophy.

Dr. Mariano Pilapil taught him how to write while one of the most famous Tondo poets, José de la Cruz (Huseng Sisiw) mentored his poetry. Cruz challenged Balagtas to improve his writing, and even refused to edit Balagta's poetry. He continued to write more awits, corridos and moro-moros.

In 1835, Balagtas moved to Pandacan and met Maria Asuncion Rivera, who would later serve as a muse for his writings, such as in Florante at Laura as 'Celia' and 'Mar'.

Balagtas' feelings for Maria were challenged by Mariano Capule. The influential Capule used his wealth to imprison Balagtas and marry Maria. In prison, Balagtas relates the parallels of his own situation in Florante at Laura.

During an age when Filipino writings were written in Spanish, Balagtas wrote his poems in Tagalog. Scholars are lead to believe his poems reflect the abuses of the Spanish colonists.

Upon Balagtas' release from prison, he published Florante at Laura in 1838. In 1840, he moved to Udyong, Bataan and served as a Major Lieutenant. There, he met Juana Tiambeng of Orion, Bataan whom he would wed in 1842. Together, they had eleven - five boys and six girls - although seven died.

In 1849, Governor-General Narciso Claveria ordered that every Filipino native adopt a Spanish surname. Henceforth, Balagtas became known as Francisco Baltazar. He was imprisoned in 1856 for shaving the head of Alferez Lucas' housemaid, forcing his wife to spend their entire fortune to pay the court expenses. In 1860, he was released and continued writing to support his family.

Upon his death bed, Baltazar asked that none of his children become poets like him, who had suffered under his gift. He stated that it would be better to cut their hands off than to let them be writers.

Francisco Baltazar died on February 20, 1862.

Balagtas is considered the equivalent of William Shakespeare and the "Prince of Tagalog Poets" for his impact on Filipino literature with Florante at Laura regarded as his defining work. In fact, he is so greatly revered in the Philippines that a tradition held for debating in extemporaneous verse is known as 'Balagtasan'.

The stamp was issued on March 27, 1953.

Jesus Balmori on Stamps

Jesus Balmori was a renowned Filipino Poet and journalist in the Spanish language. His column Vida Manileña was written in verse and appeared in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia under the pen-name Batikuling. He won the Commonwealth Literary Awards in 1940 for his poetry collection entitled Mi Casa de Nipa.

Jesús "Batikuling" Balmori (January 10, 1887 – May 23, 1948) was a Filipino Spanish language journalist, playwright, and poet.

Jesús Balmori was born in Ermita, Manila on January 10, 1887. He studied at the Collegio de San Juan de Letran and the University of Santo Tomas, where he excelled in Literature. He was married to Dolores Rodríguez. Joaquín Balmori, a pioneer labor leader of the foremost organizer of Labor unions in their Philippines, was his brother.

In his early years, Balmori was already gathering literary honors and prizes for poetry. In a Rizal Day contest, his three poems, each bearing a different pen name, won the first, second, third prizes. Later, he figured in friendly poetical jousts, known as Balagtasan (in reference to Tagalog poet Francisco Balagtás), with other well-known poets in Spanish of his time, notably Manuel Bernabe of Parañaque and the Ilonggo Flavio Zaragosa Cano, emerging triumphant each time. Before the war, under the pseudonym "Batikuling", Balmori wrote a column called "Vida Manileña" for Vanguardia, a daily afternoon newspaper. It was a trenchant critique of society’s power elite, showcasing his gift for irony and satirical humor, as well as serious verses. After the war, he wrote a similar column, "Vida Filipina", for the Vox de Manila. However, the number of Spanish-speaking readers was already diminishing by that time. It was his work as a lyric poet, however, on which his fame and reputation rested.

In 1904, when he was 17, he published his first book of verses, Rimas Malayas; it was noted for its spiritual and nationalistic themes. A second volume containing his satirical verses, El Librode mis Vidas Manileñas, came out in 1928.

In 1908, his poem "Gloria" was adjudged first prized winner in a contest sponsored by El Renacimiento. In 1920, another poem, "A Nuestro Señor Don Quijote de la Mancha", received the major award in a contest promoted by Casas de España. He reached the pinnacle of his success as a poet in November 1938 when his Mi Casa de Nipa, a collection of his best poems, gave him the first prize in the national literary contests held under the auspices of the Commonwealth Government, as a part of its third anniversary celebration.

Critics began to notice his literary skills more when he joined a contest sponsored by the newspaper El Renacimiento in commemoration of Rizal Day. Three poems of his poems won. These were "Specs", "Vae Victis" (Woe to the Victor), and "Himno A Rizal" (Hymn to Rizal).
In 1940, his Mi Choza de Nipa (My Nipa Hut), another volume of poetry, won grand prize in a contest sponsored by the US-sponsored Commonwealth Government.

He wrote three novels: Bancarrota de Almas (Failure of the Soul), Se Deshojó la Flor (I Tear The Pages Out of The Flower), and Pájaros de Fuego (Birds of Fire) which was completed during the Japanese occupation. The themes of these novels revolved around the issues of sensuality, the privacy of morality, the existence of God, and man's limitations in society. He also wrote three-act dramas, which were performed to the capacity crowd at the Manila Grand Opera House: Compañados de Gloria, Las de Sungkit en Malacañang, Doña Juana LA Oca, Flor del Carmelo, and Hidra. In 1926, he and Bernabé were awarded the Premio Zóbel for his contributions to Philippine literature.

Balmori was sent abroad as Philippine Ambassador of Goodwill to Spain, Mexico, South America, and Japan. In Spain, Generalissimo Francisco Franco decorated him with the Cross of the Falangistas.

He was traveling in Mexico when he suffered partial paralysis. He died of throat cancer on May 23, 1948, shortly after writing his last poem, "A Cristo" (To Christ), which he dedicated to his wife. At the time of his death, he was a presidential technical assistant and a member of the Philippine Historical Research Committee.

The stamp was issued on December 28, 1987.

Melchora Aquino "Tandang Sora" on Stamps

Melchora Aquino is popularly known as Tandang Sora, Mother of the Philippine Revolution. In spite of being a widow with six children, she still provided Andres Bonifacio and the Katipuneros with rice and carabaos. She nursed the sick and the wounded under her own roof.

Melchora Aquino was born on 6 January, 1812. She was a famous Filipino revolutionary. Her popular name was Tandang Sora meaning old. Her parents were poor but hard working people. Melchora Aquino never went to school institution. However, she was apparently literate at her early age.

She got married to Fulgencio Ramos, a village chief and they gave birth to six children. Unfortunately, she was left to take care of the six children as single mother since her husband died at an earlier age of their marriage.

She was a businesswoman during the Philippine revolution. During the Philippine revolutionary, her businesses become a refuge camp for the wounded and sick revolutionaries. She gave motherly love to the revolutionary victims. Treated them, fed them and above all, she encouraged them with motherly love and prayers. In addition, her house harbored secret meetings of the revolutionaries.

After the Spaniards discovered all these secretive activities, she was arrested and deported to the Marina’s Islands and sentenced to be exiled. However, in 1898, when the Americans took possession of the Philippines, she was returned to the Philippines. Before her death, on 2nd of March 1919 she was living with her daughter. She died at the oldest age of 107 years.

In Philippines, roads and cities were named to honor her death. In addition, her profile existed from 1967 to 1992 in the Philippines five-centavo coin. She was the first Philipina to appear on the Philippine peso banknote.

The stamp was issued on November 30, 1969.