Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mariano Ponce on Stamps

Mariano Ponce (March 23, 1863 – May 23, 1918), was a Filipino physician, writer, and active member of the Propaganda Movement. In Spain, he was among the founders of La Solidaridad and Asociacion Hispano-Filipino. Among his significant works was Efemerides Filipinas, a column on historical events in the Philippines which appeared in La Oceania Española (1892-1893) and El Ideal (1911-1912). He wrote Ang Wika at Lahi (1917), a discussion on the importance of a national language. He served as Bulacan's representative to the National Assembly.

Ponce was born in Baliwag, Bulacan where he completed his primary education. He later enrolled at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and took up medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. In 1881, he traveled to Spain to continue his medical studies at the Unversidad Central de Madrid.

There he joined Marcelo del Pilar, Graciano López Jaena and José Rizal in the Propaganda Movement which espoused Filipino representation in the Spanish Cortes and reforms in the Spanish colonial authorities of the Philippines. He wrote in the propaganda publication La Solidaridad (The Solidarity).

Ponce was imprisoned when the revolution began on August 1896 but was later released. Fearing another arrest, he fled to France and later went to Hong Kong where he joined a group of Filipinos who served as the international front of the Philippine revolution.

In 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo chose him to represent the First Philippine Republic. He traveled to Japan to seek aid and purchase weapons. With the help of a Filipino-Japanese named José Ramos Ishikawa, Ponce purchased weapons and munition for the revolution. But the shipment did not reach the Philippines due to a typhoon off the coast of Formosa.

Mariano returned to Manila with his wife, a Japanese girl named Okiyo Udanwara. In 1909, he was made director of "El Renacimiento" (The Renaissance). He also joined the "Nacionalista Partido" (National Party) and established "El Ideal" (The Perfect), the party's official organization. Ponce later ran for a seat in the Philippine Assembly and was elected assemblyman for the second district of Bulacan. Ponce wrote his memoirs, "Cartas Sobre La Revolución" (Letters on the Revolution), he died in the Civil Hospital in Hong Kong, on May 23, 1918. His remains are now in the Cementerio del Norte, Manila.

The stamp above was issued on December 30,1970