Friday, November 30, 2007


The City of Manila celebrated today the 144th Birth Anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio at the Bonifacio Shrine beside Manila City Hall. It was highlighted by a commemorative program led by Mayor Alfredo Lim.

There were wreath offerings by several dignitaries such as Senator Manny Villar, Gemma Cruz Araneta, Emelita Almosara and Nenita Distrito, a Bonifacio descendant.

A moment of prayer was led by Michael Dela Pena who was accompanied by the Ramon Magsaysay High School Chorale. A cultural tableau of Bonifacio's life was presented and performed by the students of Florentino Torres High School and Lakandula High School.

Senator Villar, a Tondo native, provided the keynote address. Right after his impassioned speech warmly received by the audience, Mayor Lim announced that he will spearhead the changing of the names of The City College of Manila and Universidad de Manila to Pamantasang Bonifacio.

Moreover, the mayor acknowledged our modern day heroes; that is, the volunteer firemen from the various firefighting groups. They're the men from various organizations such as the Association of Volunteer Fire Chiefs & Fire Fighters of the Philippines, Association of Philippine Fire Brigade, and Fire Brigades & Communication Groups, Inc.

Mayor Lim and Gemma Cruz Araneta with the Bonifacio descendants.


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:02 PM | 21 comments

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Andres Bonifacio, the founder and organizer of the Katipunan, was born in the Tondo district of Manila on November 30, 1863 to a Tagalog father, Santiago Bonifacio and a Spanish mestiza mother, Catalina de Castro. He had three brothers and two sisters: Ciriaco, Procopio, Espiridiona, Troadio and Maxima.

Fate may have deprived him the opportunity to pursue a formal education, but he was gifted with a beautiful penmanship, talent in craftsmanship and love for books.

Andres was forced to give up his schooling when his parents died so he could shoulder the burden as being the family's breadwinner. The canes and paper fans that he peddled, including the posters he created for the local merchants, earned him just enough money to make ends meet at home.

Late in his teens, he was hired as a messenger clerk in the commercial firm of Fleming and Company, a British commercial firm where he learned the rudiments of the English language. His diligence and hard work soon rewarded him with a promotion as the company's agent in which he sold rattan, tar and various other products. Later, to further increase his earnings, he transferred to a German firm, Fressell and Company, which provided him with a more substantial salary as its agent.

And whatever free time he had, he indulged in self-study. Some of the books he read were the two novels by Rizal, The Ruins of Palmyra, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Wandering Jew, by Eugene Sue, the lives of the Presidents of the United States, International Law, the Penal and Civil Codes, some novels and a book on the French Revolution, which must have been fascinating for him because of its proletariat leadership and great success.

His first marriage was short-lived, for his wife, Monica, died of leprosy. In 1892, he met Gregoria de Jesus, and after several months of courtship, they were wed in Binondo Church. They were also remarried according to the Katipunan rites. After the ceremony, Gregoria was initiated into the Women's Chapter of the Katipunan. She chose Lakangbini (Muse) as her symbolic name. Her role in the Katipunan was taking custody of its papers, revolvers, seals, and other paraphernalia.

It was on July 7, 1982 when Rizal was arrested to be exiled in Dapitan that Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, and Deodato Arellano founded the Katipunan. And although the secret society's founder, Bonifacio did not insist to become its president. He was cognizant of his limitations and recognized the worth of others. However, it was only after discovering that the first two presidents lacked the enthusiasm and seriousness in their duties as expected of them that he took over the helm. He also authored numerous articles and poems in the course of the revolution.

Unfortunately, Bonifacio lost all his battles during the revolution which led to heavy casualties and massacres. The revolutionaries in Cavite had better success, led by officers which included Emilio Aguinaldo. Consequently, they sent out a manifesto calling for a revolutionary government of their own that totally undermined Bonifacio's leadership.

Nonetheless, a convention was held in Tenejeros, Cavite to establish a unified front and to vote for a true leader of the revolutionary movement. It was attended by Bonifacio and some of his men and by the members of two locally-based rival Katipunan factions -- Magdalo and the Magdiwang. The former was headed by Emilio Aginaldo's cousin, Baldomero Aguinaldo.

Overwhelmed by the presence of numerous Caviteno delegates and lacking a power base in the province, Bonifacio was relegated a mere Director of the Interior, while Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President. The slighted Bonifacio then invoked his authority as Supremo and declared the results of the Tejeros Convention as null and void and left incensed.

It is believed that Bonifacio headed towards Batangas to lead another Katipunan faction in order to establish his own government. The Magdalo group subsequently got wind of it. Fearing the existence of a rival government in times of the revolution, Emilio Aguinaldo ordered for the arrest of Bonifacio and his brothers. Bonifacio and some members of his contingent were discovered by the Magdalo soldiers in the town of Indang, but refused to come out of the house peacefully when asked by the Magdalo men. A standoff ensued which lasted through the night.

At dawn, the Magdalo soldiers closed in and opened fire, but Bonifacio ordered his men not to shoot. The soldiers made their way in, tied up Procopio Bonifacio and beat him with a revolver. Ciracio Bonifacio, on the other hand, was held down by two soldiers and shot to death. Andres Bonifacio was stabbed and beaten with a rifle butt. Andres and Procopio were then taken to Naic, charged with treason and sedition, and tried in a court headed by General Mariano Norel. Punishment for the brothers was death by firing squad.

Aguinaldo supposedly superseded this judgment and ordered the Supremo to be exiled and banished to Mt. Nagpatong instead. Major Lazaro Makapagal, along with four soldiers, was given orders to take the Bonifacio brothers to Mt. Nagpatong. A sealed envelope was also given to Makapagal with strict orders not to open it until they reached the mountains.

At Mt. Buntis, on May 10, 1892, Major Lazaro Makapagal opened the letter and read its contents aloud. The letter was an absolute directive for him to have Andres and Procopio executed by firing squad or he himself would be shot. It was signed by General Mariano Noriel. Upon Makapagal's order, his soldiers opened fire on the Bonifacio brothers. They were buried in a shallow grave covered with twigs and branches. Andres was only 34 years old.

An expedition conducted by one of these former Magdalo soldiers found the grave of Andrés Bonifacio in 1918. His remains were exhumed and placed in an urn at the Legislative Building, which is now the National Museum in Manila. The building, however, was obliterated during the carpet-bombing of Manila by the Americans in 1945. Bonifacio's remains are lost forever.


Additional Sources:
by Teodoro A. Agoncillo
Garotech Publishing

by Ambeth R. Ocampo
Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Top Photo:

The monument of Andres Bonifacio that became famous in time for commemorating the Cry of Balintawak. Created by sculptor Ramon Martinez, it was unveiled on September 3, 1911, in Balintawak, but it has since been transferred in front of Vizon's Hall in the University of The Philippines Diliman.

Bottom Photo:
The Bonifacio Shrine near Manila City Hall and Universidad de Manila

copyright 2007 - Senor Enrique - all rights reserved


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:40 AM | 29 comments

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The brother of Marilou Renario, Allan, was overcame with tears at today's rally, hence unable to address the crowd of rallyists nor answer any question from the media. The rally, organized by Migrante International, was a call of support to save the life of Marilou, as well as a demand for the administration to expeditiously facilitate her pardon and release.

The death sentence by hanging on Marilou was upheld by the Kuwait supreme court yesterday, and it may be carried out within three months from the day of conviction unless the Emir grants a pardon.

Marilou is a 35-year-old former schoolteacher but was working as a maid in Kuwait when she was charged with murder for having killed her Kuwaiti employer on January 11, 2005.

Vice President Noli De Castro, meanwhile, was directed yesterday by President Arroyo to fly to Kuwait to hand her personal letter to the Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. De Castro is expected to leave for Kuwait next week to deliver the president's appeal for clemency to spare Ranario from death.


posted by Señor Enrique at 4:45 PM | 25 comments

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Garden Elements is the title of Jim Orecencio's 16th one-man exhibition of his recent paintings at Boston Gallery in Cubao, Quezon City.

As many of you know by now, I am one unable to articulate my thoughts or reactions regarding fine works of art so, don't expect a smart critique from me regarding this exhibit. All I have to say is that Jim's painting on the right, "Under The Shade," happens to be my favorite from this entire collection.

I suggest for those interested to see the exhibition to do so immediately, for it ends on the 28th of this November.

Telephone 722-9205


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:03 AM | 20 comments

Monday, November 26, 2007


The 1st AHPADA International Arts & Crafts Expo was held over the weekend in SMX beside SM Mall of Asia.

The Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Foreign Affairs have joined hands with Henry Sy’s SM Mall of Asia to usher the event headed by former Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina T. Gabor.

ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA) was formerly inaugurated in Jakarta in March of 1981 as a forum for both the government and private sectors concerned to meet and to complement each other in the promotion and development of arts and craft activities. Its mission is to preserve and improve the staturs of craftspeople within and outside the Asia Pacific region.

The founding members of AHPADA are Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. Joining AHPADA in September 1999 were Singapore, Bruenei Darusalam, Camboadia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

And to entertain the many visitors of this first AHPADA exposition, there were cultural performances presented by Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia. The National Commission for Culture and Arts produced the Philippine cultural presentation segment in which some of the participants were the Philippine Ballet Theater, Ramon Magsaysay Chorale, Quezon City Orchestra, Banda Kawayan, and Earthsavers Ensemble.


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:35 AM | 25 comments

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The way Mayor Lim has envisioned it, the Manila Historical & Heritage Commission "shall document the built heritage resources of Manila and heritage districts; undertake efforts to increase and inculcate historical and cultural awareness, as well as pride of place in all sectors of the city, especially in barangays and in all levels of public and private school and universities."

The mayor also noted that "Manila is the only city that shows all the periods of our history -- the native, the Spanish and then the American." Hence the mayor believes that our legacies from the past have to be conserved. The MHHC is now spearheading the following projects: the refurbishing of the Army & Navy Club; the reopening of the Museo ng Maynila to the public; and the restoration of the Metropolitan Theater.

"Traditional values," the mayor also said, "have to be restored for the sake of our youth. They are in search for role models, for people to emulate so they have to learn about our heroes, those Filipinos who placed the interest of the country above their own."

The Chairperson of the Manila Historical & Heritage Commission is Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, while her daughter Gemma Cruz-Araneta is a member of its Secretariat.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:51 AM | 10 comments

Saturday, November 24, 2007


The Museo ng Maynila is housed inside the former Army and Navy Club building on the South Boulevard near the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.

A brainchild of Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, the museum's purpose is to create a center that promotes heritage consciousness for all Manilenyos, as well as serve as a repository for historical and cultural documents.

Manila's Army and Navy Club, on the other hand, was founded in 1898 and built on its present site in 1902 as part of architect Daniel Burnhams' urban plan in Manila. Its purpose was to provide a club for the American military officials stationed or visiting the Philippines; Admiral George Dewey was its first president. However, it wasn't without its own share of controversy.

An article in Time's October 10, 1927 issue revealed that the rangy, steel-grey, 52-year-old junior Senator from Connecticut, Hiram Bingham, claimed: " "I am, I believe, the only American representative of government who has ever refused to enter the doors of the Army & Navy Club in Manila."

The senator went on to say that when he was invited as guest of honor to a banquet in the Army & Navy Club of Manila, he had asked whether outstanding native politicians, such as President Manuel Quezon of the Philipine Senate or Senator Sergio Osmena, independence leader, would be present.

"Certainly not," snorted the Army & Navy Club of Manila, and proceeded to instruct the senator that no Filipinos (except, of course, servants) were admitted within the doors of the Army & Navy Club of Manila.

"Then I am sorry, gentlemen," replied the senator, "but I shall not be able to accept your invitation."

Supposedly, it wasn't until the time of the late President Marcos when the Filipinos were finally allowed entry into the club. In 1976, General E.V. Meim, PC, AFP was elected its president.

Currently, the Museo ng Maynila hosts an exhibition of late 19th and 20th Century picture postcards of the Philippines taken during the American colonial period. These photographs are regarded as valuable historical documents that reveal continuities and disjunctions in the archipelago's post-colonial experiences. These images captured scenes of Manila's streets, parks, churches, hotels, office buildings, school and universities; some still exist to date.

The photographs are from the Curt Teich Postcards Archives which have been donated to the Museo ng Maynila. These rare images of Manila have never been exhibited nor published in the Philippines.

The exhibition will be on display until December 28, 2007 and can be viewed every Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Museo ng Maynila
South Boulevard, Ermita, Manila 1000
Telephone: 405-0135
Ma. Monina Santiago, Officer-In-Charge


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:41 AM | 38 comments

Friday, November 23, 2007


The young man reading the inscription on the floor inside the Jose Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago is, in fact, Rizal's great great great grandnephew, or fifth generation nephew. I was tasked to document his first visit to the Rizal Shrine a couple of days ago.

I was told by his aunt that the young man's father (who recently passed away), had facial features which strikingly resembled those of Jose Rizal's. Nonetheless, out of courtesy I opted not to reveal this young man's name or publish a picture that showed him facing the camera.

You see, from what I understand, it is their family's tradition not to publicly discuss their kinship with the country's national hero. The most tragic episode stemming from which occurred during the Second World War when the Japanese Secret Police or
Kempeitai tried to round-up the members of Rizal's clan to serve in the occupying forces' propaganda campaigns. Those who were found and refused to cooperate were brutally tortured or used as bayonet thrusting practice, and then shot to death.

Many more family members would have suffered such ghastly fate had not the puppet president of the country during the Japanese Occupation, who also shared Rizal's bloodline, intervened on their behalf at the great risk of jeopardizing his own life.

But on a lighter note, throughout the whole time I spent taking pictures of this young man in Fort Santiago, I couldn't help but think about Manolo Quezon's tongue-in-cheek essay on Jose Rizal's possible illegitimate sons Adolf and Mao. Although I'm certain that most of you have already read or heard about it, nonetheless, I'm compelled to bring it up it once again, for it makes a delightful read.

Click here to read the complete essay.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:26 AM | 27 comments

Thursday, November 22, 2007


This ube-colored firetruck is owned by Gerry Chua, the man who made a fortune from those ube-flavored hopias that he sells at his family-owned store, Eng Bee Tin in Binondo.

It is manned by volunteers and
funded by private contributions, mostly from various Chinese business associations. This truck is one of several privately-owned and operated firetrucks stationed across the city. The goal is to provide Metro Manila with free expeditious firefighting response units to supplement the services provided by the official firefighters of the city.

So if you live within Metro Manila or know of anyone who does, please take note of this volunteer firefighters' hotline: 0918-688-8888

In case of a fire, send an SMS message: Type in Report (space) specific location of the fire, and send it to the above number.

Incidentally, this entry was inspired by an article emailed to me by our fellow blgger, Romy. Entitled Rapture 911. It is a disturbing look at America's growing industry -- private disaster response teams for a fee.

* * *

Update: November 30, 2007

At the commemoration ceremony of the 144th Birth Anniversary of Andres Bonifacio held at the Shrine of Bonifacio near City Hall, Mayor Alfredo S. Lim acknowledged our heroes of today -- the city's volunteer firemen. Standing with the mayor and Senator Manny Villar are some volunteer firefighters from the Association of Volunteer Fire Chiefs & Fire Fighters of the Philippines, Association of Philippine Fire Brigade, and Fire Brigades & Communication Groups, Inc.


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:06 AM | 29 comments

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


* * *

Related Link: ART IN THE PARK


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:14 PM | 22 comments


Almost always, when asked what I wanted from Manila, I'd excitedly say a Crispa T-shirt. Visiting friends and relatives would then be too happy to oblige because not only were these easy to throw into one's luggage, but quite affordable to boot. And once these folks arrived in New York, I couldn't wait for the customary beso-beso and small talk to be over with so they could dig in their pasalubong bags and hand over my much-awaited Crispa T-shirts.

Sadly, there came the day when I was told that Crispa had closed its store on Bustos Street near Santa Cruz Church, and that they've become hard to find.

When I came back to Manila, one of the very first things I did was search for this brand of T-shirts that I've worn throughout my teenage years. It took some tenacity, but imagine the smile on my face when I found them on the main floor of Isetann Department Store on Carriedo Street in Quiapo.

From what I understand, Crispa got more into producing for other fashion companies, while their own brand of T-shirts have been minimally marketed -- basically to serve a remaining, though ageing, die-hard customers.

So while friends and relatives appreciate those Banana Republic, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch pasalubong T-shirts I gave them, I, on the other hand, will always be a nostalgic fool and remain loyal to my Crispas.


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:16 AM | 48 comments

Monday, November 19, 2007


Whenever I suffered from severe coughing and sore throat when I was a child, my mother used to cut in half a couple of kalamansi to rub on my throat. Afterwards, she would wrap a handkerchief around my neck. An ample supply of kalamansi juice would also be made avaialable for me to drink the whole day.

These days, as an option, I also go for a mug of hot ginger brew or salabat. This can be made from scratch, or you can buy a bottle of its powderized form from the grocery and just mix a teaspoonful with a mug of piping hot water.

By the way, I might have already mentioned this once before: my brother Napoleon used salabat as an effective cure against vertigo. He suffered from which for many years, including bouts with blackout episodes. With the medical community unable to help him, he took the initiative to seek for alternative cures, which led led him to salabat. And ever since making it his primary beverage, he never again suffered from vertigo.


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:10 AM | 26 comments

Sunday, November 18, 2007


While Manila's street foods climb the greasy pole of respectability by gradually invading the malls' food courts with their cute franchised kiosks, the fancy packaged foodstuffs and nouvelle cuisine craved by those from the tony Makati enclaves, on the other hand, have taken to the street.

I knew about the Salcedo Market for quite some time now when a cousin invited me to join her one Saturday morning. She claimed it would somehow remind me of Manhattan's Union Square weekend farm market. However, at that time, I preferred checking out Manila's wet markets than spend time in a place reminiscent of New York. Don't get me wrong, I love New York, but I wanted a more typical Manila experience.

I finally did go to Salcedo Market for the first time yesterday. A writer from San Francisco's Philippine News asked me to take some photographs of some Fil-Ams she's writing an article about who came back home to become entrepreneurs. And according to these guys, Salcedo Market happens to be a profitable outlet for their products.

I'm glad I went. It proved to be a wonderful mouth-watering experience even though the prices are not any lower than I had expected. Be that as it may, the mix of offerings are simply delightful. The Vietnamese fresh rolls, lasagna, baked pastries and bread pudding from Bacolod that I got to taste were of fine quality and truly scrumptious. Most definitely I intend to return to try the others.


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:16 AM | 32 comments

Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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