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Monday, April 1, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (April 1 to 7)

Apr. 1, 1962: Avelino B. "Samboy" Lim, Jr., a former player for the San Miguel Beermen team in the Philippine Basketball Association, is born. Lim's career spanned more than a decade, from 1986 to 1997. Nicknamed "The Skywalker" because of his shooting skills, Lim also became popular for wearing knee-high socks.

Apr. 1, 1963: Teddy Diaz (d. August 21, 1988), a founding guitarist and songwriter of rock band The Dawn, is born.

Apr. 1, 1978: The Philippine College of Commerce, through Presidential Decree 1341, is converted into a chartered state university, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Apr. 2, 1788: Francisco Balagtas (d. February 20, 1862), author of the epic Florante at Laura is born in Barrio Panginay, Bigaa (now Balagtas), Bulacan. Another legacy of Balagtas is Balagtasan, a debate that is recited through poetry.

Apr. 2, 1672: Saint Pedro Calungsod (b. 1654), the second Filipino saint (after Lorenzo Ruiz) is killed while conducting Catholic missionary work in Tumon, Guam. Calungsod was formally beatified on March 5, 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. He was officially canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on October 21, 2012.

Apr. 2, 1976: Singer and actress Geneva Cruz is born in Manila. Cruz's career started with the now-defunct music group Smokey Mountain. As her popularity soared higher, Cruz's also ventured into television and movies.

Apr. 2, 2002: Levi Celerio (b. April 30, 1910), National Artist for Music and Literature, dies in Quezon City. Aside from being a composer, Celerio had over 4,000 songs to his credit. Celerio's ability to play music using leaves earned him an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Apr. 3, 1939: Film director Lino Brocka (d. May 21, 1991) is born in the town of Pilar, Sorsogon province. Two among Brocka's works are the first Filipino entries to become part of the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival: Insiang in 1978 and Bona in 1981. Another two are the first ones to get nominated for the festival's Palm D'Or award: Jaguar in 1980, and Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (My Country: Clasping the Blade) in 1984.

Apr. 3, 1942: Japanese forces started to attack the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula, leading to the joint forces' capitulation six days later.

Apr. 3, 1946: Lt. General Masaharu Homma (b. November 27, 1888) of the Japanese Imperial Army is executed in Los Baños, Laguna for leading the Bataan Death March in 1942.

Apr. 3, 1994: Former New People's Army leader Leopoldo "Ka Hector" Mabilangan is shot to death at the front of St. Thomas Church in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

Apr. 5, 1947: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines is born in the town of San Juan, Rizal province (now part of Metro Manila). Macapagal-Arroyo assumed and finished the term of Joseph Estrada, who was ousted by a popular revolt in 2001. She got elected to a fresh six-year term in 2004.

Apr. 5, 1971: Poet and rock musician Westdon Martin Abay, better known as Dong Abay, is born in Manila. Abay is a founding member, songwriter and lead vocalist of the band Yano, which became popular because of hit songs such as Tsinelas (Slippers) and Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo (Holy Dog, Saintly Horse).

Apr. 6, 1988: Television personality Melisa "Melai" Cantiveros is born in General Santos City, South Cotabato province. Cantiveros' career started  to rise after becoming the Big Winner in the reality program Pinoy Big Brother in 2010. She is also the other half of the Melason love team, opposite Jason Francisco, whom she met in the Big Brother house.

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