Category Archive: Biography
Saving Private Claudio: A Forgotten Hero
We honor heroes for their exploits and selfless service because their heroic sacrifices made our lives better. Our war veterans are now old and sickly while some have died and others forgotten despite their huge contribution for the survival of our country.
Historical Controversies Series: The Legend of Henry the Black
I’m no expert in the history of the Philippine-Spanish contact but I did some research on the controversial story of Enrique of Malacca, also known as Henry the Black. He was said to be Fernao do Magalhaes’ translator during his voyage around the world and his subsequent arrival to the “Philippines.” I would try to be as objective as possible because I know for the fact that nationalist sentiments can play games into my head. Indonesians and Malaysians claimed that Enrique was one of their own while we Filipinos, especially Cebuanos, also claim that he is one of our own. Even Dr. Alejandro Roces believed that Enrique is a true-blue Cebuano. The fact is, we haven’t found his remains and therefore we can’t determine forensically his origin. Most important primary sources were based from witness accounts of the expedition, which are not reliable because most them may have forgot some of the details of their voyage, some of them may have exaggerated their claims and some may have kept their mouth shut and never told their harrowing experiences at all. We tend to believe we know who he was. In reality, there are no hard ‘facts’ that can support his origin, thus, his origin dies with him in the abyss of history. We may never know who Enrique really was but his life is definitely part of our history. This is the first installment of my take on historical controversies in Philippine history.
Historical Controversies Series: Urduja, The Warrior Princess
I got to know the legendary story of Urduja when I was still a student, I was told about the fabulous stories of love and war — typically Philippine drama as we see on telenovelas. Though I haven’t watch the animated movie of her life, I am relatively clueless about her life as a “historical” character because some said she’s just a legend and a product of popular culture, nationalist writer and historians claimed she really existed but they can give a really convincing evidence about her exploits. If you say she’s just fiction, then the people of Pangasinan would probably burn you in the stake.
Rizal and His Women
There were at least nine women linked with Rizal; namely Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Consuelo Ortiga, O-Sei San, Gertrude Beckette, Nelly Boustead, Suzanne Jacoby and Josephine Bracken. These women might have been beguiled by his intelligence, charm and wit.