FILIPINOS who value our relations with the People’s Republic of China as well as the Chinese on Taiwan should be aware that last October 1 was the People’s Republic’s national day, the 66th anniversary of its formal creation in 1949. Next Saturday October 10 is the 103rd anniversary of the formation in 1912 of the Republic of China (ROC) by Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Chinese friends of the ROC-affiliation call their national day the “Double Ten.”
The month of October for Filipino Catholics is the second month of the year devoted to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. Which is why October, like May, is a month of pilgrimages to shrines of the Mother of God and our Mother Mary.
Many events that happened in October are important in Philippines history, while some events that probably get more attention from journalists are not so important–like the October 1 “Thrilla in Manila” bout between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975.
The following are some of the events in October that we in The Times think ought to be remembered because they helped shaped our country’s development.
The October 6, 1913 assumption of the American post of governor-general of the Philippines by Francis Burton Harrison is one such date. Some signs put up by the national government now spell streets named after FB Harrison as “Harizon.” Known as an “anti-imperialist” (of the same persuasion as Mark Twain), US President Woodrow Wilson’s mission for Harrison was to improve the colonial governance of our archipelago by the American pro-imperialists. It was Harrison who announced his and Wilson’s Democraric Party’s desire to see the Philippines as an independent county. Under him a goodly number of reforms were made, allowing more Filipinos to assume high office and giving Filipinos more control of how the government was to be run.
On October 11, 1898, The Manila Times was founded by Thomas Gowan.
On October 17, 1857, Maximo Viola was born in Bulacan. (One of his daughters, Irene. became Mrs. Alejandro “Anding” Roces, of the Roces family that came to own The Manila Times and who wrote the daily Times column “Roses and Thorns” for many years.) A supporter of the Propaganda Movement, Maximo Viola was a doctor and became a close friend of our national hero Jose Rizal in Barcelona, Spain. He funded the printing of Dr. Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.
On October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur redeemed the “I shall return” pledge he made to the Filipinos when he and Filipino officials left our archipelago to the cruel Japanese Imperial Forces. MacArthur landed in Palo, Leyte, with Filipino officials of the Philippine Commonwealth, to begin the battles to win back the Philippines from the Japanese.
General MacArthur was the head of the largest US fleet of transport and warships assembled in World War II. He was accompanied by Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña and General Carlos P. Romulo, among others.
On October 23, 1857 Juan Luna was born in Badoc, Ilocos Norte. He won international prizes in painting contests in Europe, giving us Filipinos fame and distinction .
On October 26, 2007, President Gloria Arroyo pardoned former President Joseph Estrada who had been convicted by the Sandiganbayan anti-corruption court on September 12, 2007 of plunder and meted with a life sentence. This freed Erap of his fears that he would rot in prison as long as Mrs. Arroyo was president. This fear had made him persuade his best friend and drinking buddy, Fernando Poe Jr., years earlier to run for president.
On October 29, 1866, Antonio Luna was born in Binondo, Manila. General Antonio Luna y Novicio, was a doctor of pharmacy, a writer, a patriot, and the greatest Filipino military leader during the Filipino-American War. He was the youngest of seven children of Joaquin Luna de San Pedro, from Badoc, Ilocos Norte, and the Spanish mestiza Laureana Novicio-Ancheta. Juan Luna was his brother. He is the subject of the current blockbuster movie that shows shocked audiences that he was assassinated by other revolutionary leaders close to Emilio Aguinaldo.
On October 31, 1988, Gregorio F. Zaide, Filipino historian, died. He wrote some 67 books, many of which became well-researched basic history books which were later adopted as textbooks for high schools and colleges.
Audiences of the General Luna movie would not have been shocked about General Luna’s assassination if they had only paid attention to Dr. Zaide’s history lessons.