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Tag Archives: Héctor K. Villaroel

Justo Lukbán — “sanitary” politician

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Although it is true that I already have a strong aversion towards democracy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I dislike all those who work within that political system. Technically, democracy was brought here by the invading White Anglo-Saxon Protestants a.k.a. the North American invaders. The leaders of the much revered Malolos Congress were pioneers of democracy or republicanism. But that doesn’t equate them to becoming corrupt individuals. Yes, democracy failed from the very start. Many scrupulous persons were swallowed by political perversion brought about by democracy’s defects. However, if we are to compare the players of today’s democracy to yesterday’s, Noynoy Aquino, Erap Estrada, Manny Villar, et al., would have paled in comparison to their predecessors who lived during pre-war Philippines, a fabled time when our country still knew how to respect herself.

Thus this blogpost is my commendation to one of that epoch’s incorruptibles: Justo Lukbán of Labo, Camarines Norte. It is his birth anniversary today. Lukbán (originally spelled Lucbán during earlier times when there was still no prejudice against Fil-hispanic orthography) was a former politician during a time when democracy was, in a way, less corrupt. He lived during a time when the Spanish language was still the country’s lingua franca, a time when the “gentleman of the old school” reigned supreme, when our Filipina maidens were still pure and virginal, when Christianity in the Philippines was still one and strong, a time when Philippine literature was in its época de oro or fase de plenitud, when most Filipinos were hombres renacentistas, an era when our country had reached the pinnacle of glory. If only Filipinos of today were like Señor Lukbán and his astounding contemporaries…

Below is a brief biographical sketch of this eminent politician written by Héctor K. Villaroel (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute which was recently renamed the National Historical Commission of the Philippines on 12 May 2010).

JUSTO LUKBÁN
(1863-1927)

Justo Lukbán, a member of the Malolos Congress in the days of the Philippine Revolution, was born in Labo, Camarines Norte, on May 28, 1863, to Agustín Lukbán and Andrea Rillos.

He obtained his early education in a private school conducted by Hugo Ilagan and studied at San Juan de Letrán from 1873, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in 1880. He enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomás afterwards; and in 1884, while still a medical student, he was appointed Ayudante Director of the institution’s School of Medicine. He graduated in 1888 and soon opened his own private clinic in Manila.

When the revolution broke out, he joined his brother, General Vicente Lukbán, and was elected delegate of Ambos Camarines to the Malolos Congress. Authorized to collect money for the cause of the revolution, he turned in ₱20,200 for the Revolutionary Government.

During the American Regime, he was appointed district health officer of Ambos Camarines. When complete peace and order was re-established, and political parties were permitted to be organized, he was one of those who actively initiated the formation of the Nacionalista Party in 1906. Meanwhile, he became editor of La Independencia.

In 1909, he was delegate of the first district of Manila to the National Assembly; he was re-elected in 1910. Later elected as Mayor of Manila, he created a controversy by banishing to Mindanáo all women of ill repute. At the instance of Governor-General Leonard Wood, he was appointed President of the Board of Appeals.

He died on September 2, 1927 of heart disease.

Labo, Camarines Norte, the hometown of illustrious statesman Justo Lukbán.

León Mª Guerrero, “lion” scientist

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Dr. León Mª Guerrero, the Father of Philippine Pharmacy.

From the illustrious and remarkable Spanish-speaking Casa de los Guerrero comes another Filipino genius: León Mª Guerrero (1853-1935), scientist brother of artist Lorenzo Guerrero and grandfather of diplomat/writer León María Guerrero (his namesake, author of the opus The First Filipino, 1962). Today is his birth anniversary.

Below is a brief biographical sketch of the the man who is considered as the Father of Philippine Pharmacy and Botany. It is again written by Héctor K. Villaroel (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute).

LEÓN MARÍA GUERRERO
(1853-1935)

Born on January 21, 1853 at Ermita, Manila, Dr. León María Guerrero was first among the many Filipinos to put the Philippines on the scientific map of the world.

A man of astounding scientific ability, he finished pharmacy in the University of Santo Tomás in 1876, specializing in pharmacology and botany, particularly the study of flowers. Later, he was awarded the degree of Licentiate in Pharmacy, the highest degree in that line at that time.

In 1887, he became a professor in pharmacy and botany and chemical technician of the Supreme Court in 1888.

During the Revolution, he assumed the editorship of the República Filipina; and upon the founding of the short-lived Philippine Republic University, he served as its dean and professor in pharmacy. Likewise, he was a delegate of three provinces to the Malolos Congress and representative to the first Philippine National Assembly in 1907.

Pursuing other fields of study, like zoology, ornithology, and lepidopterology, he wrote and published several penetrating and brilliant scientific papers which attracted the admiration and respect of Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.

He died on April 13, 1935.

José Escaler, lawyer extraordinaire

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It’s a pity that nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a principled lawyer made from genuine intellectuality such as José Escaler of Pampanga. What we have instead are unprincipled lawyers molded from genuine lies.

It’s also a shame that the glory brought by this illustrious Pampangueño to his fellow Cabalens would years later be tainted by the arrival of perhaps the most corrupt president this archipelago has ever known.

Today we commemorate his birth anniversary. Below is a brief biographical sketch of this lawyer extraordinaire from Apalit, Pampanga. It was written by Héctor K. Villaroel (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute).

JOSÉ ESCALER
(1885-1927)

José Escaler, intellectual, lawyer, industrialist, and businessman, was born in Apalit, Pampanga, on January 19, 1885, the eldest of six children of Manuel Escaler and Sabina Sioco.

He obtained his early education from private tutors; afterwards, he studied at San Juan de Letrán, where he finished his segunda enseñanza at the head of his class in 1897. His studies were briefly interrupted during the Revolution. When peace was restored, he studied at the Liceo de Manila, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors in 1903. In 1905, he earned his Bachelor of Laws from the Escuela de Derecho at the head of his class; after which he left for the United States and Europe and studied briefly at Yale and Oxford universities. In 1909, he returned to the Philippines and took and passed the bar examinations.

In recognition of his educational attainment, he was elected president of the Philippine Columbian Association for several terms and made vice-president of Club Filipino. Meanwhile, after a brief apprenticeship in the law office of William Kincaid, a noted American lawyer, he was made the latter’s junior law partner. Later, he established his own office in Intramuros, with Quintín Salas as his partner.

As a public servant, he started as clerk of the Philippine Assembly; then became attorney of the City of Manila; and, in 1916, was appointed first Assistant Director of Education. The following year, he was appointed Undersecretary of Justice; and, in 1918, acting President of the University of the Philippines, where he had served earlier as member of the Board of Regents and as professorial lecturer.

Escaler was one of the most active businessmen of his generation. He was at one time vice-president and director of several commercial enterprises. A firm believer in the country’s economic progress, he stressed that government intervention in the economic realm was inevitable, that technical know-how must be developed, and that research facilities and laboratories should be established.

Not being a person of very strong constitution, his health soon broke down. He left for Europe to rest and recuperate, but it was too late. He returned to Manila in January 1927, and died on February 17 of a heart ailment. Escaler married Aurea Ocampo on June 26, 1915, by whom he had seven children.

Oh where have all the gentlemen from the old school gone?

Lorenzo Guerrero: artist, genius, Filipino.

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Today is the birth anniversary of Lorenzo Guerrero. He’s from Ermita, Manila, belonging to the legendary ilustrado family: los Guerrero.

Guerrero was one of eminent painter Juan Luna’s teachers during the latter’s youth.

Below is a brief biographical sketch of Lorenzo Guerrero written by Héctor K. Villaroel (from the 1965 book EMINENT FILIPINOS which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute).

LORENZO GUERRERO
(1835-1904)

A great painter and art teacher whose “primitive brush strokes found solidity and vigor in the canvases of Luna and de la Rosa,” Lorenzo Guerrero was born in Ermita, Manila, on November 4, 1835, to León Jorge Guerrero and Clara Leogardo.

He studied Latin at San José College; and painting, briefly, under different Spanish masters, like Cortina and Valdez; and, perhaps for a long period, under Agustín Sáez. At the age of 16 he started giving lessons in drawing. José Rizal described him as a “master who had virtually taught himself.”

In 1858, together with Lorenzo Rocha y Ycaza, he was appointed ayudante de naturales in the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura. Likewise, he gave drawing lessons at Santa Isabel and La Concordia colleges, and worked as a private tutor of the sons and daughters of Manila’s prominent families. Two of his students, Juan Luna and Fabián de la Rosa, won international acclaim.

As a connoisseur of music and literature, he had his house in Ermita turned to a veritable salon where Manila’s intellectuals met and exchanged views. As a gifted painter, whose delicacy of execution and handling of light and shadow was incomparable, he centered his work on two subjects — religious themes and scenes depicting native life and customs. His religious paintings that were housed and greatly treasured in the churches were “Nuestra Señora de Guía,” “Santa Filomena,” “Saint John the Baptist,” and “Santa Verónica de Julianus.” Similarly appreciated were the reproductions of local scenes, like the “Chinese Vendor of Tsin-Tsao,” “River’s Bend,” and “Scene at a Brook,” which were exhibited at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904.

Lorenzo married Clemencia Ramírez in 1868 by whom he had two children.

He died rather suddenly of acute asthma in Ermita on April 8, 1904.

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