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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Last Ten Days of January in Philippine History and Culture

Jan. 22, 1952: Ace Vergel (d. December 15, 2007), popularly known as "The Original Bad Boy of Philippine Movies," is born in Manila. Vergel started young in show business: At the age of seven, he portrayed the human friend of the titular giant bird in the 1959 film Anak ng Bulkan.

Vergel started as an action star in the late 1970s. He continued starring in lead roles in the genre until the mid-2000s. Some of Vergel's notable action movies include Batang City Jail, Kanto Boy, Hari ng Tondo, Pieta, Bomba Arienda, Seth Corteza and Masamang Ugat. 

Jan. 22, 1957: Rene Requiestas (d. July 24, 1993) is born in Manila's Tondo district. Requiestas started playing bit roles in the late 1970s. A stint in the 1980s satire TV program Sic O' Clock News led to the rediscovery of Requiestas' knack for comedy, resulting in him being cast as sidekick in movies.

Requiestas eventually became top comedian, topbilling movies such as Pido Dida, Cheetae! Ganda Lalake and Hulihin: Probinsyanong Mandurukot. 

Jan. 22, 1987: Philippine security forces open fire on a crowd of at least 10,000 demonstrators at Mendiola Street near MalacaƱan Palace in Manila, killing 13. The incident later became known as the Mendiola Massacre. The demonstrators were demanding fulfillment of the campaign promises that had been made during the campaign of President Corazon Aquino. 

Jan. 23, 1899: The Malolos Constitution is inaugurated at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. The event marks the inauguration of the first republic in Asia. Emilio Aguinaldo is also sworn in as President of the First Philippine Republic. 

Jan. 24, 2011: Journalist, environmentalist and community organizer Gerardo Valeriano "Doc Gerry" Ortega (born August 28, 1963) is assassinated apparently due to his advocacy against mining on the island of Palawan. Ortega was also known for promoting crocodile farming in the Philippines. 

Jan. 25, 1933: Corazon "Cory" Aquino (d. August 1, 2009), the 11th President and first woman president of the Philippines, is born in the town of Paniqui in the province of Tarlac. Aquino was regarded as the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which ousted the two-decade regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

Aside from being named as Time magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 1986, Aquino was also the first Philippine president without any prior political experience as she had not held any other elective position. 

Jan. 26, 1930: National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Isabelo Veloso Abueva is in Tagbilaran, Bohol. He is a sculptor given the distinction as the Philippines' National Artist for Sculpture.

Among other works, Abueva's best known sculpture commemorates the international treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos in the 16th century. Popularly known as the Sandugo (Blood Compact), the sculpture is now one of his home province's tourist attractions. 

Jan. 27, 1961: Film and television actress Geraldine Schaer Bonnevie, better known as Dina Bonnevie, is born in Quezon City. Bonnevie first appeared in teen dramas Underage, Temptation Island, and Katorse. She continues to portray dramatic roles in television. 

Jan. 27, 1961: Television host, comedian and recording artist Willie Revillame is born in Manila. Revillame hosted the ABS-CBN variety game show Wowowee from 2005 to 2010. When he left ABS-CBN in favor of rival TV5, Revillame also hosted programs with the same format. Those programs were Willing Willie, Wil Time Bigtime and Wowowillie.

Jan. 27, 1989:  Dancer-turned-actor Bayani Casimiro Sr. (b. July 16, 1918)  dies in Manila. Casimiro was among the leading stars of bodabil (vaudeville) in the 1930s and 1940s. Due to his excellent skills in tap dancing, Casimiro was earned the moniker "Fred Astaire of the Philippines." 

Jan. 27, 2004: Salvador Roman Hidalgo Laurel (b. November 18, 1928), the 10th Vice-President of the Philippines, dies in  Atherton, California. Laurel also briefly served as the Prime Minister of the Philippines from February 25, 1986 to March 25, 1986.

Jan. 28, 1861: Julian Felipe (d. October 2, 1944), the composer of Lupang Hinirang, the Philippine national anthem, is born in Cavite. Felipe's composition was originally titled Marcha Nacional Magdalo. It was was played during the raising of the Philippine flag following President Aguinaldo's declaration of Philippine independence in 1898.

Jan. 28, 1904: Stage performer and Canuto Francia (d. September 4, 1979), better known as Canuplin, is born in Manila's Tondo district. Francia's screen named is a portmanteau of his given name, Canuto, and the comedian Charlie Chaplin's surname. Francia became known for impersonating the said comedian in Filipino movies and in bodabil (vaudeville) performances.

Jan. 29, 1979: Actor-turned-entrepreneur Marvin Agustin is born in Manila. In 1995, Agustin started his show business career at ABS-CBN, where he stayed for ten years. He spent another six years at GMA Network until transferring to TV5. Agustin has also ventured into concert production, bringing popular foreign acts to the country.

Jan. 30, 1911: Taal Volcano in Batangas erupts at about 2:30 in the morning. Official records show that the eruption claimed 1,335 lives and injured 199. Some sources report at least 1,500 casualties. 

Jan. 30, 1945: A force comprising 126 Filipino resistance fighters and American Rangers raids a camp held by the Japanese Imperial Army in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Over 500 prisoners-of-war are later liberated. The daring rescue is the subject of the 2005 film The Great Raid. 

Jan. 31, 1876: Pedro Abad Santos (d. January 15, 1945), founder of the Partido Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (Philippine Socialist Party), is  born in San Fernando, Pampanga.

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