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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Philippine Almanac Called "Dimasalang"

The Dimasalang: Kalendariong Tagalog (Tagalog, "Untouchable: Tagalog Calendar") is a Philippine almanac that has been continuously published since 1897. Formerly called La Sonrisa (Spanish, "The Smile"), Dimasalang is originally written by Don Honorio Lopez. It contains forecasts based on the Western zodiac and folk religion. Aside from featuring dates of high tides and low tides, Dimasalang also provides dates of festivals related to fishing and farming.

almanacs, Dimasalang: Kalendariong Tagalog, Dimasalang, La Sonrisa, Honorio Lopez
2014 edition of Dimasalang: Kalendariong Tagalog

The book, however, does not provide information on when it was renamed from La Sonrisa to Dimasalang. It might have been a tribute to emergent national Jose Rizal, who used that word as a pseudonym. The image of Rizal image also appears in the book's cover. It is surrounded by the images of Jose Burgos, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio. The diphthong "ng" in Dimasalang is written as "g" with a tilde above it. Considering that the book was written during the Spanish period, Spanish-language speakers nasalized the "g" instead of pronouncing "ng."

You may ask who Honorio Lopez was. According to the almanac's title page, Lopez was a "Technical Assistant" to the Philippine President. He was the commanding general of the Legion de Veteranos de la Revolucion from 1896 to 1899 and a colonel of the Philippine Army during the War for Independence in 1899. Lopez also served as councilor in the City of Manila in 1916.

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