RSS Feed

Category Archives: Ciudad de Macati

Learn Spanish from a master!

Posted on

“…La batalla por el hispanismo en Filipinas se presenta desde el mismo hogar donde se tiene que hablar en castellano a los hijos; se presenta en las aulas donde se lucha por enseñar el español a los alumnos filipinos; se presenta en las emisiones de radio donde se inserta un programa, un número de canto o de declamación en español; se presenta en la televisión donde se inserta algún baile español, o unas canciones o toda una película; y se presenta, al fin, en la misma calle donde se le tiene que advertir al ordinario Juan de la Cruz de la hispanidad en su ser como indivíduo, como  sociedad y como nación integrada…” Guillermo Gómez Rivera

Time and again, yours truly have asserted that to be a complete Filipino, one must inculcate in himself at least a basic knowledge of the Spanish language since it had a major role in the creation of the Filipino National Identity. Acquiring this linguistic knowledge opens up secrets about our country’s past due to the fact that much of our unadulterated history is recorded in that language (take note that our national hero himself, José Rizal, clearly and deftly expressed his thoughts solely in Spanish). Once these secrets have been unlocked, a stark realization will dawn upon him that Spanish is indeed part and parcel of the Filipino spirit, that Spanish is truly indispensable, especially if we are to assert our “Filipinoness”.

However, we are not blind to the (sad) fact that not all Filipinos are interested in nationalistic talk. Many Filipino language students consider Spanish as just another language to learn. Many study it for the economic opportunities it offers. In my opinion, that is OK because the language will still lead the Filipino student, wittingly or unwittingly, towards that stark realization of nationalistic self. With the thousands of Spanish words and rootwords  that we use in everyday speech (regardless if you are Tagalog, Bicolano, Cebuano, etc.), there is virtually no escaping the Spanish language because it is truly “blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh“. It is in us already. All we need to do is to tap it to its full potential.

Going back to economics, it’s been observed that there has been a surge of interest in the Spanish language in recent years especially during the previous decade. This is because many BPOs and back office companies (such as APAC Customer Services, Genpact, Accenture, Mærsk Global Service Centres, and Convergys to name a few) are always on the hunt for Spanish-fluent workers to fill hundreds, if not thousands, of vacancies in their offices all over the country. The best part of this is that they usually pay Spanish speakers a much higher salary. In fact, ₱30,000 for rookies is already considered very low. Furthermore, there seems to be no stopping this huge demand for Spanish-speaking employees. More and more investors from Latin America and other Spanish-speaking countries have set their eyes towards Filipinaw. And as an added bonus, the Spanish language also prepares the student to easily learn other Romance languages (of which Spanish is a part). Companies such as Hubwoo in Alabang and Sunpower in Biñán are always on the lookout for people who are fluent in either French or Italian. And the pay is even higher. Since Spanish, being a Filipino language, is easier to learn, it can be used as a stepping stone to learn these Romance languages. That’s why it should come as no surprise why Rizal learned Italian in just a few days, and that he and his contemporaries were able to master French with relative ease. Also, one’s proficiency in English will be enhanced since Spanish is its linguistic cousin (both are cognates). That explains why a Spanish-speaking Manuel Quezon learned English in about two weeks, and a Spanish-speaking Claro M. Recto mastered it in only three months.

And let’s not forget Spanish-speaking Nick Joaquín, the greatest Filipino writer in the English language.

Where to learn

In Metro Manila, there are two well-known institutions that offer comprehensive Spanish language lessons. The most popular among students, of course, is Instituto Cervantes located in Ermita, Manila. Locally known as Instituto Cervantes de Manila (ICM), it is not just a school but a cultural center as well. Every month, ICM has several activities in store for both students and the general public such as film viewings, literary and art exhibits, and scholarly symposia to name a few. These activities, aside from supplementing the grammar classes, intend to familiarize Filipinos with myriad versions of Hispanic culture which exist all over the globe, from Europe to the Americas. As such, those who are enrolled are wonderfully exposed to the cultura hispánica.

The other school offering Spanish is Berlitz which has two branches in Macati and one in San Juan. Berlitz is famous for utilizing a unique kind of teaching methodology which it calls the Berlitz Method®. This technique teaches students Spanish in the same manner one learned his own native tongue — through conversation. Both the ICM and Berlitz, however, teach Spanish to Filipinos only as a foreign language. This should not be the case because Spanish is not…

Were Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Graciano López Jaena, Recto, etc.  foreigners?

Learn Spanish as a native language!

There is one teacher, however, who is now opening the doors to his home to Spanish language students who wish to learn the language the Filipino way, and in a manner which is homely, more personal, and guaranteed to be more effective. Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, renowned scholar, linguist, maestro flamenco, historian, and 1975 Premio Zóbel awardee offers Spanish language classes to interested individuals. His classes, located near Chino Roces corner Vito Cruz extension in Macati City, are divided into four levels (1, 2, 3, and 4), with each level consisting of 30 hours. Tuition is only ₱7,000 nett per person (₱9,000 if one on one). The maximum number of students per class is up to four, thus ensuring intensive care towards the learning of each student. Classes run every Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, but other schedules may be arranged.

To those who have not yet heard of Señor Gómez, please take note that he is not just one of those many language instructors who teach for merely profit. The spread of the Spanish language in Filipinas has been his lifelong passion and advocacy. Other than that, Señor Gómez is the leading authority of the Spanish language in Filipinas. A veteran teacher of language of Cervantes, he was once the head of Adamson University’s now defunct Spanish Department for many years as well as a simultaneous interpreter (he was Thalía’s interpreter when the Mexican sensation visited our country many years ago) and translator of legal documents. He has also published various books and magazines on Filipino History and was the editor-in-chief of Nueva Era, the last Spanish-language newspaper in Filipinas. More importantly, Señor Gómez is the most senior academic director of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española (a local branch of Spain’s Real Academia Española), the country’s only Spanish-language regulating body.

True enough, there is probably no other authority on the Spanish language in Filipinas but Señor Gómez. It’s a guarantee that you will be able to speak Spanish on the first day of class! Enroll now and in a few weeks time, you’ll be able to understand part of Señor Gómez’s Premio Zóbel acceptance speech posted at the beginning of this blogpost. For inquiries, please call 895-4102 or (0930)665-9156 and look for Mr. Hermie Manongsong.

¡Vamos a hablar español pronto!

¡Agradecemos a todos los que nos ayudaron!

Posted on

Aunque soy cristiano, tengo una tendencia a ser pesimista. Pero los acontecimientos recientes han restaurado completamente mi fe en la humanidad.

Tantas personas respondieron a mi petición de ayuda la semana pasada, y algunos de ellos ni siquiera hemos conocido aún en persona. Es la hora para mostrar mi humilde gratitud.

 

Yeyette en el hospital, un día después de su parto e histerectomía. Las flores son de mi hermana Jennifer.

 
Más de una docena de personas, de una u otra forma, nos ayudaron durante este episodio más difícil de nuestras vidas. De parte de mi mujer Jennifer “Yeyette” Perey de Alas, me gustaría dar mi agradecimiento especial a estos ángeles: mis hermanas Jennifer y Jessica, mi suegra Teresa Atienza de Perey y su paisana Jene Alfaro, mi suegro Jaime Perey, la Familia Catáquiz de San Pedro Tunasán (la srᵃ alcaldesa Lourdes Catáquiz, su marido Don Calixto Catáquiz, su hijo Aris Catáquiz, y su sobrino León Buenavista), mi tío Ramón Alas, el gran filipinista Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, Antonio Marques Sans (salimos del hospital principalmente a causa de él), Shee-Ann Meneses, Diego Pastor Zambrano, José-Rodaniel Cruz, Luis María Cardaba Prada, nuestra vecina Flor Junio de Pérez (por cuidar de nuestros otros niños durante nuestra estancia en el hospital), Ronald Yu, Sylvia Santos de Pineda (bisnieta de Marcelo H. del Pilar), Jennalyn Carmona y Jingky Sumañga (respectivamente del departamento de facturación y una enfermera de St. Clare’s Medical Center), y mi mejor amigo Arnaldo Arnáiz.
 
Gracias también a los médicos que trabajaron arduamente para salvar la vida de Yeyette: la ginecóloga obstetra Drᵃ Catherine Pujol de Azores y su cirujano marido Dr. Rouel Azores, el anestesiólogo Dr. Gerald Vita, y otra ginecóloga obstetra Drᵃ Orpha Montillano de Corrado.
 

Junífera Clarita en el cuarto del bebé del hospital.

 
Y por supuesto, mil gracias también a todos los innumerables y valiosos amigos y parientes nuestros que oraron por la seguridad y recuperación de mi mujer y nuestra nueva bebé, Junífera Clarita. ¡Muchas gracias a todos ustedes! Gracias por el apoyo y el aliento espiritual y moral. Yeyette ahora disfruta de su segunda vida en la Tierra con nuestros cinco hijos hermosos. Somos muy afortunados de tener a todos ustedes en nuestras vidas.
 

¡Hogar, dulce hogar!

 
¡Enaltecer la familia para la gloria más alta de Dios!

List of historic sites and structures installed with historical markers.

Posted on

Did you know? The website of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines has a complete list of  the country’s historic sites and structures that are installed with historical markers. The list was last updated on January 16 last year. CLICK HERE to view the list so that the next time you plan your next out-of-town trip, you might as well have a print out of the said list to see if your itinerary may have any historic site or structure. Para may pang historic selfie selfie din cayó pag may time, ¿di ba?

The baroque Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Gracia, popularly known as Guadalupe Church because it is located in Barrio Guadalupe Viejo in Macati City.

Also, the website has a list of institutions with markers and another list for declared historic sites and structures by region. Check ’em out!

Hombac” is the Tagalog term for storm surge

Posted on

Finding a Filipino word for storm surge: ‘Daluyong’ or ‘humbak’?

Posted at 11/18/2013 8:41 PM | Updated as of 11/18/2013 9:35 PM

MANILA – Not many people in the Philippines knew what a storm surge was before ‘Yolanda’ hit central Philippines. It was a new concept that did not arouse fear, unlike the the word tsunami, which evokes images of the destruction in Japan in March 2011 and in countries affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

After the super typhoon claimed the lives of more than 4,000 (and counting), people began to criticize authorities for not explaining well what a storm surge is.

Filipino-American geologist and environmental scientist Kelvin Rodolfo told ANC authorities correctly warned about the threat posed by storm surges before Yolanda struck on November 8, but many did heed the warning.

Thus, Rodolfo suggested there should be a Filipino term for “storm surges.”

He said communication is key in effective information dissemination.

Rodolfo disagreed with some local officials of Leyte and Sámar who say they it would have been better if they had been told that a tsunami was coming.

He said the public should not be warned of an incoming tsunami when what is going to happen is a “storm surge”.

“While people know what tsunami is like, we could have generated unnecessary panic…and you would have also killed people in panic,” he said.

Rodolfo said a tsunami is triggered by an earthquake, and a storm surge is not.

CLICK HERE to read the rest.

Photo by Aarón Fávila.

In light of super typhoon Yolanda’s record-breaking onslaught last November 8, there has been a debate on what should really be the Tagalog equivalent of “storm surge”. National Artist Virgilio Almario says it’s “daloyong” (or “daluyong“) while Lagunense historian Jaime Tiongson, using the 17th-century Spanish-Tagalog dictionary “Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala” as his basis, claims that it should be “hombac” (or “humbak“).

I support Almario’s advocacy of using Filipinas instead of the dull-sounding Philippines to refer to our country (more on this in a future blogpost). But with regard to a Tagalog term for “storm surge”, I’ll go for Tiongson’s “hombac” because it was well defined/mentioned at least three times in that ancient dictionary which was compiled by Fr. Pedro de San Buenaventura (published in Pila, La Laguna in 1613) and it accurately describes the tragedy that happened in Tacloban (and other nearby areas) early this month. Below are three entries for that ancient Tagalog word in the said dictionary:

1) ARibar : Hombac pc : con tormenta es de la costa y tambien de la laguna : significa, golpe de mar, cami.y. hinohombacan nang dagat, hiconos la mar arribar aputos golpes de sus olas. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/77.html
2) Fondo : Humbac pc : de entre ola y ola, hungmohumbac .1.ac. hazer fondos la mar, hinohumbacan .1.P. . ser arrojado y goldpeado dellos, humbac aya nang dagat nayto, o que de fondos haçe esta mar. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/323.html
3) Ola : Vmbac pc : que hae el agua con la fuera del viento, hinohumbacan .1.P. ser golpeado dellas; patabi tayo at nang di tayo humbacan, bamos haia la orilla no nos golpeen las olas. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/452.html
(emphasis mine)

As can be gleaned from above, we can easily see that “hombac” has been associated with storms (“con tormenta“) or a strong/violent surge of water (“golpe de mar“, “ser arrojado“). Also, in definition 3, I believe there is a typographical error: instead of la fuera del viento (outside the wind), I’m pretty sure Fr. San Buenaventura meant la fuerza del viento (wind force) especially when preceded by “que hae el agua con“. Now, hae is another typo error (it doesn’t mean anything at all in Spanish); it should be hace (yes, this ancient book has lots of typos with many words lacking the appropriate accent marks). Loosely translated into English, “que hace el agua con la fuerza del viento” means “what the water makes (or what happens to the water) when blown by forceful winds”.

Meanwhile, (and if I’m not mistaken), Almario’s “daluyong” appears in only one entry (spelled archaically) in the country’s oldest dictionary, and it is even subcategorized under the Spanish word “ola” which means “wave”:

Ola : Daloyon pp : de la mar o de otra agua, dungmadaloyon .1.ac. olear el agua, dina daloyonan .1.P. ser golpeado; lubha tayong dina daloyonan nitong dagat, mucho nos golpeen las olas. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/452.html

Unfortunately for Almario, his Tagalog candidate for storm surge had nothing to do with gale-force winds nor storms.

On a related note, the city of Mandaloyong in Metro Manila was named after “daloyon” which meant “a place of waves” because hundreds of years ago, there used to be a beach there. Due to geographical and tidal shifts coupled with anthropogenic circumstances, that beach is no more; it is now covered by the bustling city of Macati, “a place of tides”. The place therefore opened up to what is now Manila Bay.

For the sake of argument, let us pretend that Almario is correct. Since Mandaloyong was named as such, it can be surmised that it was frequently visited by large waves. But frequently visited by large tidal waves or wave surges? A stretch. Besides, there has been no record of a tidal wave —or a storm surge— that had happened in Manila Bay. At least, none that I know of.

Tiongson is correct. What destroyed Tacloban was a deadly hombac, not a surfer-friendly daloyong.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

It’s not over till it’s over. People in the Visayas still need our help. Their road to recovery will not be overnight. It might take months or even years. So please, let us do everything we can to help them. Remember: we are all in this together.

La gente filipina es una familia, no una nación. :-)

Please CLICK HERE on how you can help our Visayan brothers and sisters. Thank you.

Happy 75th birthday, Señor Gómez!

Posted on

Happy 75th birthday to the man who gave my life direction: Señor Guillermo Gómez y Rivera!

My wife Yeyette with the birthday celebrant himself, Señor Gómez, el Padre de Filipinismo.

Click here to view photos of Señor Gómez’s advanced birthday bash last 10 September 2011 at the Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar, Ciudad de Macati!

Urbanities?

Posted on

Ayala Avenue, Macati City (01/04/2010)

Macati’s Guadalupe Shrine

Posted on

One cool Tuesday morning, last September 22, just days before the great flood of Metro Manila, Arnold and I visited the great scholar –and our dear friend– Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera in his Macati home in Barrio María de la Paz. We had our usual discussions about Philippine history and the identity of our nation.

After accompanying Señor Gómez to his Rockwell studio (and after a hearty lunch in nearby Power Plant Mall), Arnold and I passed by the centuries-old Guadalupe Shrine on our way home.

It was early afternoon, and the skies were blanketed by endless gray clouds, giving out a bleak mood throughout the slums neighboring the silent, hulking gray walls of the church. And the people living near the church –almost mindlessly doing routine tasks each and every dying day due– don’t have any idea at all about the significance of this almost forgotten church in Philippine History.

The Guadalupe Shrine

The Guadalupe Shrine

Santuario de Guadalupe, San Pedro de Macati

Santuario de Guadalupe, San Pedro de Macati


CHURCH AND MONASTERY OF GUADALUPE

The foundations of this church and monastery of the Augustinian Order were laid in 1601 and construction work was finished in 1629. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was chosen Titular Patroness in 1603. After the Chinese uprising of 1639, this sanctuary served as a seat of devotion for the Chinese. The buildings withstood the earthquakes of 1645, 1658, 1754, and 1863; the masonry roof of the church collapsed in the earthquakes of 1880 and the structure was rebuilt in 1882 by Rev. José Corujedo, O.S.A. Site of an orphan asylum and trade school administered by the Augustinian Order for the benefit of the children of the victims of the cholera of 1882. Both church and monastery were gutted by fire in February, 1899, during the early skirmishes between Americans and Filipinos.

1937.

Details of one of the windows.

Details of one of the windows.

THE GUADALUPE SHRINE

As written on the historical marker, the Augustinians began constructing the shrine in the early 1600s. The Provincial Chapter declared the monastery a domus formata on 7 March 1601. A domus formata is a religious house in which reside at least six professed members (four of which should be priests), and this one in Macati was placed under the advocacy of Our Lady of Grace. Construction was completed in 1629. The shrine was named after the world-famous and miraculous Basílica de Guadalupe in México City, México.

The first domus formata was composed of three priests and a lay brother. Later on, the Provincial Chapter of November 30, 1603 received a petition from the Spanish community in Manila and from other prominent Filipinos to change the advocacy. They prevailed when the Provincial Chapter approved the petition. Thus, the Our Lady of Grace became Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It was not until the shrine had its third prior administrator when stone construction commenced. This administrator was Fray Juan de Montes de Oca. But he was not able to finish the project because he was transferred to another mission outpost. And so those who took over his spot continued the construction.

And since the church stood the test of times, it has had its share of countless (and historically famous) Priors Administrator, some of them renowned friar-scholars, such as:

Simón Dantes — widely believed to be the first prior of the Guadalupe Shrine.
Juan de Montes de Oca — started the construction of the stone sanctuary.
Francisco Coronel — published the book Artes y Reglas de la Lengua Pampanga (1617) when he was still in Pampanga.
Hernando Guerrero — became Archbishop of Manila in 1635; best remembered for his feud with Governor General Hurtado de Corcuera.

In my opinion, perhaps the most famous friar who have ever served the altars of the Shrine of Guadalupe was Fray Manuel Blanco of Navia, Zamora, Spain. He entered the Augustinian order when he was just 16 years old. Aside from his religious duties, he was also an erudite and multifaceted scholar who excelled in history, languages, medicine, and even my “favorite” subject — mathematics! When he was assigned to the San Agustín Church, he maintained a garden there (now fondly called as Fr. Blanco’s Garden). But he’s best known for his contributions to natural sciences, particularly botany. This led to the publication of the groundbreaking Flora Filipina. Because of this book, plants can now be classified according to their species, class, and genus. His blessed remains are still in the Guadalupe Shrine.

A side entrance.

A side entrance.

Dark nights of the Shrine.

The period of seventy years from the War of Independence up to the Second World War was the darkest for the sanctuary. The termination of the Spanish-American War brought about by the ratification of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 caused the Filipino-American conflict to flare up into an all-out war. Manila was the immediate theater of destruction. It did not take long for the superior American forces to rout the Filipino forces.

The Americans, having cleared the city of the Filipino forces, proceeded eastward to Makati as far as San Pedro. The Filipino soldiers, tipped off of the advancing Americans, positioned themselves in Guadalupe. They outnumbered their enemies. The Americans sensed this, and not having enough troops that would stay behind to safeguard the place from being retaken by the Filipinos, they halted for a day waiting for reinforcement. The next day, the American forces under the command of General Lloyd Wheaton advanced to attack Guadalupe.

Having advanced for a mile, the Americans started to subject Guadalupe to artillery fire together with that of the gunboat Laguna de Bay along the Pásig river. The siege was fierce. The Filipinos under General Pío del Pilar, unable to resist the stronger forces, retreated, but not before they burned the church and the monastery. It was like adding insult to injury because the shrine had already been battered by American artillery fire. This even marked the end of Guadalupe shrine whose aisle Filipinos and Spaniards alike, for almost three centuries, used to throng to manifest their devotion to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

After the War of Independence, the Guadalupe shrine and the monastery became a foreboding place because it was shrouded by the grasses and trees. Even on its walls the trees grew, dissolving little by little the bricks, the stones and the lime. (“The Guadalupe Shrine” by Rodolfo M. Arreza, O.S.A., Globalcomp, Manila, 1991)

The gross disrespect for God’s home in Guadalupe, Macati didn’t end here. What was left of the abandoned church was further razed to the ground by both American and Japanese artillery during the final days of World War II. In the words of Fr. Arreza, “the walls of the monastery and the shrine became the only standing skeletons left that served as a mute witness of the many misfortunes in the past”.

But Guadalupe couldn’t just die like that.

On 29 July 1970, the Augustinians were recalled to Guadalupe. Patiently, they began reconstructing the church of their predecessors, the church which has harbored countless candles during Tridentine Masses of yore.

And so the magic of Guadalupe persists to this day.

The undying Watcher of the City of Macati...

The undying Watcher of the City of Macati...

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 946 other followers

%d bloggers like this: