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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Last Nine Days of April in Philippine History and Culture (April 22 to 30)

Apr. 22, 1970: Singer and actress Regine Velasquez, known by the moniker "Asia's Songbird" is born in Manila. According to the Philippine Association of the Record Industry, Velasquez is the country's Best-Selling Female Artist of All Time in the Philippines. Aside from selling more than 7,000,000 albums in the country, Velasquez has sold more than 1,500,000 albums in other Asian countries.

Apr. 23, 1946: Manuel Roxas is elected the last President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and first President of the Third Philippine Republic. Roxas, standard-bearer of the Liberal wing of Nacionalista Party, clinched 54.94% of the vote. Sergio Osmeña of the said party's conservative wing garnered 45.71%, while Hilario Moncado of Partido Modernista had 0.35%.

Apr. 23, 1934: Song composer George Canseco (d. November 19, 2004) is born in the town of Naic in Cavite province. About 300 songs are credited to Canseco's name. Many Filipino singers' rise to popularity is also attributed to Canseco's works such as Ngayon at Kailanman, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Anak, Langis at Tubig, and Kastilyong Buhangin.

Apr. 23, 1985: Film and television actress Angel Locsin (born Angelica Colmenares) is born in the town of Sta. Maria in Bulacan province. Locsin is best-known for portraying the superheroine Darna in GMA Network's eponymous television series. Now a part of ABS-CBN's roster of talents, Locsin is also a perennial topnotcher in FHM Philippines' Sexiest Woman of the World list.

Apr. 24, 1972: Fernando Amorsolo (b. May 30, 1892), the first Filipino to be distinguished as National Artist of the Philippines, dies in Manila. Amorsolo was known for portraying rural scenes and landscapes in a very idyllic setting. His most enduring legacy is the image of St. Michael vanquishing Lucifer on the label of the Ginebra San Miguel gin.

Apr. 25, 1994: An Angeles City court finds actor Robin Padilla guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The court meted out a minimum jail term of 17 years, four months, and one day.

Apr. 26, 1945:  Filipino troops of the 66th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL and the American troops of the 33rd and 37th Infantry Division, United States Army was liberated in Baguio City. Together, they fought Japanese forces that were led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Apr. 26, 1995: Actor and recording artist Daniel Padilla is born in Manila. Padilla's team-up with Kathryn Bernardo was launched in the 2013 movie Must Be ... Love. He will also headline a birthday concert titled "Daniel Live!"

Apr. 27, 1521: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is killed by natives led by chief Lapu-Lapu in the island of Mactan. At that time Magellan was leading an expedition to sail from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. Juan Sebastian Elcano continued the expedition, which turned out to be the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Apr. 27, 1565: Explorers led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi establishes in Cebu the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Cebu was eventually renamed Villa del Santíssimo Nombre de Jesus (Town of the Most Holy Name of Jesus).

Apr. 28, 1611: Miguel de Benavides, the Archbishop of Manila, establishes the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario, which was elevated by Pope Innocent X to a university, A La Real y Pontificia Universidad de Santo Tomas de Aquino, in 1645. The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, is now popularly known as the University of Santo Tomas.

Apr. 28, 1949: Aurora Quezon, former First Lady of the Philippines,  is assassinated while on the way to Baler, Tayabas (now part of Aurora province) to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband, President Manuel L. Quezon.

Apr. 28, 1954: Comedian and producer Vic Sotto, popularly known as "Bossing," is born.

Apr. 30, 1937: The Philippines conducts a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage. More than 90% would vote in the affirmative.

Apr. 30, 1910: Composer and lyricist Levi Celerio (d. April 2, 2002) is born.

Monday, April 15, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (April 15 to 21)

Apr. 15, 1900: During the Philippine-American War, Filipino guerrillas led by Domingo Rebadulla instigate a surprise attack on U.S. 43rd Infantry Regiment and start a four-day siege of Catubig in the northern part of Samar island. Later known as the Siege of Catubig, the conflict claimed the lives of about 150 Filipinos and at least 21 Americans.

Apr. 15, 1985: Movie and television actress Rosemarie Joy Garcia, better known as Diana Zubiri, is born in the province of Bulacan. Zubiri's fame started to rise in 2002, when she posed on top of the EDSA-Shaw flyover in Mandaluyong City, wearing only a two-piece bikini, for FHM Philippines magazine. The ensuing controversy motivated the city mayor to file charges against her and the magazine. The charges were later withdrawn.

A discovery of Seiko Films, most entries in her filmography are sex-oriented movies produced by Seiko Films. Some of these movies are Itlog, Bakat, and Kasiping in 2002 Liberated in 2003, Liberated 2 in 2004, and Bikini Open in 2005. On television, Zubiri was part of the cast of the fantasy series Encantadia and the sitcom Bubble Gang, both on GMA Network. She is now with the cast of the ABS-CBN soap Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin.

Apr. 15, 1962: Journalist and politician Arsenio H. Lacson (b. December 26, 1912), the first mayor of Manila to be elected three times, dies at a hotel suite in the city. His career as a journalist started when he worked as a sportswriter before the start of the Second World War. Lacson then joined the military resistance against the Japanese Imperial Army. Lacson resumed his career after the war by hosting the social and political commentary radio program In this Corner.

In 1949, Lacson was elected to the House as representative of the Second District of Manila. Two years later, Lacson was elected as mayor of the City Manila. He won his reelection bids in 1955 and 1959. Lacson considered running in the 1957 presidential elections, but ruled against that possibility due to the lack of funds and machinery.

Apr. 16, 1899: Emilio Jacinto (d. Dec. 15, 1875), a Filipino revolutionary and writer known as the "Brains of the Katipunan," is born in Manila. At the age of 19, Jacinto joined the secret society and later became the advisor of leader Andres Bonifaction on fiscal matters. As a member of Katipinan, Jacinto assumed the alias Pingkian (Tagalog for "friction" or "flint"). He wrote for Kalayaan (Independence), the Katipunan newspaper, under the pseudonym Dimasilaw.

Apr. 18, 1877: Vicente Sotto (d. May 28, 1950), a senator who became the main author of Press Freedom Law, is born in Cebu City. He served in the Senate of the Philippines from 1946 to 1950. Sotto was also known for establishing La Justicia, the first newspaper to be published in Cebu by a Filipino citizen in 1899.

Other periodicals Sotto established include El Nacional, The Philippine Republic, and The Independent. Aside from being a politician, Sotto was also a playwright and short story writer. Among his works are Paghigugma sa Yutang Natawhan (Love of Native Land), Maming, and Elena, the first Cebuano play.

Apr. 19, 1937: Joseph Estrada, the 13th President of the Philippines, is born in Tondo, Manila. Estrada is the first movie actor to be elected to that position. One of Estrada's most famous movie roles was Asiong Salonga, which is also the title of the 1961 movie that catapulted him to stardom. His movie roles are typically those of a person of simple means who fights the corrupt elite.

Estrada's political career began in 1969 when he was elected mayor of the town (now city) of San Juan. He held this post until 1986. From 1987 to 1992, he served as Senator in the 8th Congress of the Philippines. Estrada was elected as for a six-year term as Vice President in 1992. He won in 1998 a six-year term as President, but was ousted by the so-called People Power 2 in 2001 over charges of plunder.

Apr. 19, 1990: Chinese-Filipino television and film actress Kim Chiu is born in Tacloban City. Chiu's fame rise after being declared as Big Winner in the reality program Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition in 2006. She went on to star in various ABS-CBN programs and Star Cinema movies. Chiu is currently seen in the primetime series Ina, Kapatid, Anak (Mother, Sibling, Child).

Apr. 19, 1994: A Quezon City court finds Fernando Galera, a 26-year-old fish vendor, guilty of rape and robbery. Judge Maximiano Asuncion meted the death sentence, the first since the Philippines restored capital punishment in 1993.

Apr. 21, 900: The Gregorian calendar date which is indicated in the the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the earliest known document found in the Philippines. According to this document, "The Honorable Namwaran and his children, Lady Angkatan and Bukah, are granted pardon from all their debts by the Commander in chief of Tundun, as represented by the Honourable Jayadewa, Lord Minister of Pailah..."

Apr. 21, 1942: The most well-known - and first international - Aggie Muster is conducted in the island of Corregidor. Aggie Muster is a tradition at Texas A&M University which celebrates the camaraderie within the institution while commemorating the lives of Aggies who have died in the past year. In that year, Brig. Gen. George F. Moore led the observance, along with 25 fellow Texas A&M graduates who are under his command. The Aggie Muster was done while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a five-hour attack.

Apr. 21, 1976: Professional basketball player Rommel Adducul is born in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Adducul's professional career when he joined the Manila Metrostars team at the (now-defunct) Metropolitan Basketball Association in 1998. He played a key role in the team win as league champions in 1999. After the league's dissolution in 2002, Adducul joined the Philippine Basketball Association draft in 2003. He was then picked by the Barangay Ginebra team. Adducul also played for San Miguel Beermen, Red Bull Barako, and Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants. He is now part of the GlobalPort Batang Pier team.

Apr. 21, 1981:  Actor, television host, and model Luis Manzano is born in the town (now city) of San Juan, Metro Manila. Manzano is one of the most visible personalities in ABS-CBN as host of Minute to Win ItKapamilya: Deal or No Deal, and co-host of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 4. Moreover, his filmography includes box-office hits such as Ang Cute ng Ina Mo, In My Life, and This Guy's in Love with U Mare!

Monday, April 8, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (April 8 to 14)

Apr. 9, 1942: The Battle of Bataan ends with the capitulation of joint United States and Philippine military forces to the Japanese Imperial Army. More than 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war were then forced into the infamous Bataan Death March. The surrender in Bataan accelerated the fall of Corregidor island, a month later on May 6.

The event is observed every April 9 as a public holiday (Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor) by virtue of Executive Order No. 203, which was enacted on June 30, 1987.

Apr. 9, 1975: The first two games of the Philippine Basketball Association takes place at the Araneta Coliseum. The very first match pitted the Mariwasa-Noritake Porcelain Makers and Concepcion Carrier Weathermakers against each other. Joy Dionisio made the first shot for the Weathermakers. The Porcelain Makers, however, beat the Weathermakers, 101-98. In the second game, the Toyota Comets defeated the Universal Textiles Weavers, 105-101.

Other teams in the leagues inaugural season include Consolidated Foods Company Presto Ice Cream Makers, Crispa-Floro Redmanizers, Royal Tru-Orange Orangemen, Seven-Up Uncolas, and Tanduay Distillers.

Apr. 12, 1989: Dominic and Felix Roco, twin sons of actor Bembol Roco is born in Cebu, Philippines. They started their career in the entertainment industry through the reality dating program Qpids in 2005. Dominic is now seen mostly in GMA Network's programs, while Felix is recently seen in ABS-CBN's Angelito: Ang Batang Ama.

April 12, 2010: Veteran comedian Reynaldo Alfredo R. Hipolito Sr. (b. September 4, 1934), better known as Palito, dies in Manila. Known for having a thin frame, his screen name is the Tagalog word for matchstick. Typically cast as a zombie/corpse or sidekick roles, Palito also had his share of lead roles in action-comedy movies.

Some movies in which Palito was lead actor include Rambuto (a pun on Rambo with buto being the Tagalog word for bone) , No Blood … No Surrender, Kumander Kalansalay, James Bone (spoof of James Bond film series), and Walang Matigas na Buto sa Gutom na Aso (There's No Hard Bone to a Hungry Dog).

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.