Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT IS THE BLACK NAZARENE OF QUIAPO?

Every January 9, we witness the biggest religious procession in the Philippines, the one held in honor of the Black Nazarene. Some foreign senior friends of mine asked me about this religious image, so here are facts which I researched.

THE BLACK NAZARENE: AN INTRODUCTION

The Black Nazarene is a popular life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying the cross. It is enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene(simply called Quiapo Church), in the Quiapodistrict of the City of Manila3, Philippines.

This iconic image is called Poong Itim na Nazareno or Hesus Nazareno in Filipino, and El Nazareno Negro or Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno in Spanish.

The image derived its name from “Nazarene”, a title of Christ identifying Him as a native of Nazareth in Galilee.

450px-black_nazarene

Source of Picture:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Black_Nazarene.jpg, by Constantine Agustin, https://www.flickr.com/photos/biagkensiak/857870853/

The miraculous Black Nazarene is venerated every Friday. Many devotees relate their poverty and daily struggles to the Passion of Christ4, as represented by this image. Devotees also believe that merely touching this renowned image could cure diseases, so it continues to attract more and more devotees from across the nation and even from overseas. A composite replica, however, was made in recent years for its processions.

Cagayan de Oro City, in Northern Mindanao, has an official replica of the Black Nazarene given by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene1 in 2009. A replica of the Black Nazarene was also canonically enshrined at Saint Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Parish in Reseda, California, USA. Another replica can be found at the Old Chapel of St. Rock the Healer Mission Center, Bishop’s Compound, Barangay Cawayan, Catarman, Northern Samar, where devotees venerate the image, especially on Fridays.

DESCRIPTION OF THE IMAGE

The Black Nazarene’s head wears a braided wig made of dyed abaca, along with a golden crown of thorns. Attached to the crown are the traditional “Tres Potencias” (“three powers”), or three rayos (“rays” symbolizing the three powers of the Holy Trinity), exclusively used for images of Jesus Christ in traditional Filipino and Hispanic iconography to signify His divinity.

The original image has lost several fingers over the centuries.

The barefoot image is shown in a genuflecting posture, symbolizing the agony and the weight of the Cross, along with the overall pain Christ endured during His Passion4.

The Cross itself is of black wood tipped with flat, pyramidal gilt brass caps.

The image is dressed in a heavy velvet tunic of maroon, embroidered with floral and plant emblems on gold thread, and trimmed with matching lace collar and cuffs. Around the waist is a gold-plated metal belt embossed with the word “NAZARENO”, while a golden chain ending in spheres is looped around the neck and held in the left hand, representing His Scourging5.

The many devotees of the Black Nazarene relate their poverty and daily struggles to the Passion of Christ4 as represented by the image of the Black Nazarene. His eyes and His mouth manifest the writhing pain He suffered and portrays a calling for someone to help Him carry the heavy cross. Anyone who focuses his eyes for some time on this image will be irresistibly moved with pity.6

HISTORY

The image was originally owned by the Recollects and was carved by an unknown Mexican sculptor using mesquite, a dark wood that was a popular medium in the 16th century in Mexico. The image was then transported to the Philippines in 1606 aboard a galleon from Acapulco. It arrived in Manila on May 31, 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to His crucifixion. A similar image called Cristo Negro7 is venerated in Portobelo, Panama.

It is said, however, that it was either charred by a fire on the galleon or its dark complexion was due to votive candles8 burning before the image. These still have to be proven.

Pope Innocent X approved veneration of the image in 1650 as a sacramental, and authorized the establishment of the lay Confraternity9 of the Most Holy Jesus Nazarene (Confradia de Nuestro Santo Jesus Nazareno in Spanish).

Pope Pius VII gave the image his Apostolic Blessing10 in 1880, which granted plenary indulgence to those who piously pray before it.

The Black Nazarene was originally enshrined in the high altar of the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino11 (popularly known as the Recoletos Church), located some distance away from modern-day Rizal Park12, inside Intramuros13. Both the church and the image perished during the bombardment and the flames of the Liberation of Manila14 in 1945.

On January 9, 1787, the Recollects donated a copy of the image to the Church of the Camisa (one of Quiapo Church’s original names) and it has been housed there ever since. This “solemn transfer” of the image’s copy from Intramuros to Quiapo was later on celebrated by the faithful every January 9 by means of a procession (henceforth called the Traslacion). This image has withstood four centuries of fires, earthquakes, and even World War II.

The image presently enshrined above the main altar of Quiapo Church is a composite of the surviving copy’s head and a body-replica sculpted by renowned Filipino santero (saint-maker) Gener Maglaqui, who was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Manila15.

The other composite comprises the surviving copy’s body and the head of the Maglaqui replica. Enshrined in a direct part of the Minor Basilica16, it is the second composite which is used in the three major processions (see below). This arrangement began in the 1990s because of security concerns, and to better protect the icon. Until then, the image donated in the 18th century was used in whole during processions.

DEVOTIONS IN HONOR OF THE BLACK NAZARENE

Here are the devotions in honor of the Black Nazarene:

  1. Every Friday, except Good Friday, is called “Quiapo Day” in Metro Manila, where masses are held in the image’s honor. At the end of each Mass in this Minor Basilica16, devotees pay homage to the image by clapping their hands. Heads up on every Friday in that vicinity because of the heavy traffic due to the high influx of devotees.
  2. Paglalakad nang Paluhod – The reverential custom of “walking” on one’s bended knees (kneeling down posture) along the main aisle, from the entrance of the church, towards the image at the altar.6
  3. A nine-day annual novena17 in honor of the Black Nazarene starts midnight, December 31, with a procession in Quiapo2, Manila3, and continues until January 8.18 For the complete novena, days 1 to 9, visit: http://www.god-answers-prayers.com/jesus_christ_prayers/novena_prayer_black_nazarene/day1/index.html

A novena is also held every Friday, attended by thousands of devotees. A note is sounded before the novena begins as the devotees to the Black Nazarene troop in, reciting their strings of petitions.

  1. Traslacion19 – I will make a post soon.
  2. Pahalik – This “kissing” ritual of the statue is held during the eve of the Traslacion19, following the folk belief that a cloth can absorb the powers of a holy object, usually and specifically its curative abilities and blessings, originating from the ancient custom of ex brandea (cloth wiped on the bodies or tombs of the Twelve Apostles), itself part of the wider category of Third-class relics20.
  3. Pabihis–This “dressing” ritual refers to the changing of the vestments of the Black Nazarene which is done by a priest vested in a cope21 and stole22, and devotees either inside the Minor Basilica16, or outside, in Plaza Miranda23. It is performed five times a year during preparations for major religious occasions, and is open to the public.
  4. Pahawak– This refers to touching the statue or the garments of the Black Nazarene.6
  5. Pasindi (“lighting”) or lighting of multi-colored votive candles8 outside the Minor Basilica16.

Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio, rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, said that over the years the devotion has increased. He identified three elements for such popularity: miracles and healing; the identification of the Filipinos with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; and, the Panata24 commitment.6

Karl Marx, a German philosopher, socialist revolutionary, sociologist, political theorist, historian, journalist and economist, said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people,” according to the Wikipedia pages “Karl Marx”25 and “Opium of the people”.26 Other people also say that all these devotions, especially the wiping of the image, represent idolatry or fanaticism.

They may call it as such but how can you explain the conversion of devotees who previously led not-so-good lives? Genuine faith to the Black Nazarene has led to the miraculous healing of devotees. I, myself, witnessed the complete healing of my husband’s aunt who had a terminal sickness. Personally, I believe that we must respect one’s freedom of religion and his/her relationship with God for a meaningful, happy and contented life.

Pope Benedict explained popular piety in the devotion of the Black Nazarene. “I urge you to retain an appreciation for popular piety, which is different in every culture yet always remains very similar, for the human heart is ultimately one and the same. Certainly, popular piety tends towards the irrational, and can at times be somewhat superficial. Yet it would be quite wrong to dismiss it. Through that piety, the faith has entered human hearts and become part of the common patrimony of sentiments and customs, shaping the life and emotions of the community. Popular piety is thus one of the Church’s great treasures.” Pope Francis is also asking us to support and strengthen, understand and find meaning in popular piety.6

THE THREE PROCESSIONS OF THE BLACK NAZARENE

The image is brought out of the church three times a year:

  1. January 9, for the largest procession in the country, drawing millions of devotees for the anniversary of its translation19 or “solemn transfer” in 1787 from its original shrine inside Intramuros13 to the Minor Basilica16 where it is currently housed.
  2. Good Friday27, the Nazarene’s liturgical feast, commemorating the culmination of the Passion4; and,
  3. December 31, New Year’s Eve, the first day of its annual novena17. See Devotions above.

The information was obtained from the following Wikipedia pages: “Black Nazarene”28, “Quiapo Church”29 and “Translation (relic)”30.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you seen the Black Nazarene? Have you ever experienced the Traslacion? Do share your comments. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

Viva, Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno!

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These footnotes are specially made for foreign viewers and those who would like to know more about the terms below:

1The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, commonly called Quiapo Church, is a prominent Mexican Baroque31 minor basilica16 in the district of Quiapo2, in the City of Manila3, Philippines. This minor basilica, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist32, is the home of the revered Black Nazarene. It was founded in 1586 by Fray Antonio de Nombela, OFM, and is under the Archdiocese of Manila15. You can visit its website: www.quiapochurch.com. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Quiapo Church”.33

2Quiapo is a district in the city of Manila3, in the Philippines, with 16 barangays34. It is the home of the Quiapo Church and known as a place for marketplace bargain hunting. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Quiapo, Manila”.35

3The City of Manila is the capital of the Philippines and the most densely populated city proper in the world. It was founded on June 24, 1571 and became the first Philippine chartered city, on July 31, 1901. It is the city where the Rizal Monument, Fort Santiago, Malacañang Palace, and University of Santo Tomas are located, among others. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Manila”.36

4The Passion of Christ, in Christianity, refers to the short final period in the life of Jesus, covering: the portent grievance of the Blessed Virgin Mary; His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper; His bleeding and Agony in the Garden; and, His crucifixion on Mount Calvary, defining the climatic event central to Christian doctrine of salvation history. In the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, the Passion is commemorated during the Holy Week, beginning on Friday of Sorrows, followed by Palm Sunday, and culminating on His death on Good Friday. NOTE: Passion comes from the Latin word passionem, meaning “suffering, enduring”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Passion of Jesus”.37

5Scourging is the act of inflicting severe corporal punishment or self-mortification using a whip or lash, usually made of leather, according to the Wikipedia page “Scourge”.38

6https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/51722

7Cristo Negro is a wooden statue of Jesus Christ carrying a cross, located in Iglesia de San Felipe, a Roman Catholic parish church in Portobelo, Panama. The life-size statue is carved of heavy cocobolo wood which is dark brown in color. It was found on the shores of the town’s harbor. It is adorned with a robe that is changed twice a year, wine or red in color during the Festival of the Black Christ on October 21, and purple during Holy Week. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cristo Negro (Portobelo)”.39

8A votive candle, or prayer candle, is a small candle, typically white or beeswax yellow, intended to be burnt as a votive offering40 in an act of Christian prayer, especially within the Anglican and Roman Catholic Christian denominations, among others. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Votive candle”.41

9A confraternity is generally a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. It is most common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and the Western Orthodox. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Confraternity”.42

10The Apostolic Blessing or Papal Blessing, is a blessing imparted by the Pope, either directly, or by delegation through others. Bishops are empowered to grant it three times a year, and any priest can do so for the dying. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Apostolic Blessing”.43

 11Saint Nicholas of Tolentino (c. 1246 – 1305) was an Italian saint and mystic, known as the Patron of Holy Souls, and was canonized on June 5, 1446 in Vatican by Pope Eugene IV, the first Augustinian to be canonized. At his canonization, Nicholas was credited with 300 miracles, including 3 resurrections. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nicholas of Tolentino”.44

12Rizal Park, or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila3, in the Philippines. It is a major tourist attraction in Manila and a favorite leisure spot, especially on Sundays and national holidays. The execution of the national hero, Jose Rizal, on December 30, 1896, happened in this park, thus, the park was named after him. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Rizal Park”.45

13Intramuros, or Walled City, is the historic walled area within the modern city of Manila3, administered by the Intramuros Administration. It was the seat of government and political power when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire.The Spaniards constructed the defensive walls in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasions. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Intramuros”.46

14The Liberation of Manila was the result of the Battle of Manila from February 3 – March 3, 1945, during World War II. It was fought by American and Filipino forces against Japanese troops in Manila and resulted in the death of 100,000 to 240,000 civilians, 1,010 Americans, and 16,665 Japanese, as well as in the complete devastation of the city, destroying architectural and cultural heritage sites. The city’s capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur’s key to victory in the campaign of reconquest. It is the last of the many battles fought within Manila’s history. With Intramuros13 secured on March 4, Manila was officially liberated, albeit completely destroyed with large areas leveled by American bombing. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Battle of Manila (1945)”.47

15The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila is the archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Metro Manila, Philippines, covering Manila3, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Pasay City (except for Villamor Air Base and Newport City which is under the jurisdiction of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines), with headquarters in 121 Arzobispo Street, Intramuros13, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila”.48

16A minor basilica is a title given to some Roman Catholic Church buildings by apostolic grant or immemorial custom. Presently, the authorizing decree is granted by the Pope though the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments49. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Minor basilica”.50

17A novena is an ancient tradition of devotional praying in Christianity, consisting of private and public prayers repeated for nine successive days or weeks. During a novena, the devotees make petitions, implore favors, or obtain graces by worshipping Jesus Christ, and ask for intercessions of the Virgin Mary, or the saints of the faith. Persons may express love and honor by kneeling, burning candles, or placing flowers before a revered statue. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Novena”.51

18https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/01/01/novena-masses-honoring-black-nazarene-begin-2/

19Traslacion is the Spanish term referring to “passage” or “movement”. In Christianity, the transfer (or translation) of relics is the removal of holy objects from one locality for placement in another. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia pages “Black Nazarene”52 and “Translation (relic)”53. For the devotees of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo2, this term means the procession held every January 9 to honor the said statue.

20Third-Class Relic refers to any object that is touched to a First- or Second-Class relic54. Most are small pieces of cloth that touched the bones of saints or touched the body or tombs of the apostles. NOTE: A First-Class relic is an item directly associated with the events of Christ’s life (manger, cross, etc.), or the physical remains of a saint (a bone, hair, skull, limb, etc.). A Second-Class Relic is an item that a saint owned (e.g., a shirt, glove, etc.) or frequently used (e.g., a rosary, crucifix, book, etc.). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Relic”.55

21cope is a liturgical vestment, i.e., a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp, in any liturgical color. It may be worn by any rank of the clergy, and also by lay ministers in certain circumstances. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cope”.56

22A stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations, consisting of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. It is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is also often decorated with contrasting galloons (ornamental trim), and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15: 38-39.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Stole (vestment)”.57

 23Plaza Miranda is a public square bounded by Quezon Boulevard, Hidalgo Street and Evangelista Street, in Quiapo2, Manila3. It is the plaza which fronts the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene1 (Quiapo Church), and is considered as the center of Quiapo as a whole. It was inaugurated by Mayor Arsenio Lacson in 1961, named after Jose Sandino y Miranda, who served as the Philippines’ Secretary of the Treasury from 1833 and 1854. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Plaza Miranda”.58

24Panata is a Filipino term for a solemn promise or vow.

25“Karl Marx,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx.

26“Opium of the people,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people.

27Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and His death at Calvary, observed during Holy Week.

 28″Black Nazarene,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nazarene.

29“Quiapo Church,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiapo_Church.

30“Translation (relic),” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translation_(relic).

31Mexican Baroque is a variation of Baroque architecture, a European style which is highly ornate and extravagant in style. It was introduced through Spain, then adapted to reflect the taste of Mexican indigenous works and criollo, i.e., Mexican-born Spaniards. It has the following characteristics: ornamentation (of most architectural facades and interior walls); hybridity (the combination of European and Spanish-Mexican/Armerindian aesthetic traditions/tastes); the use of azulejos, or ceramic tiles, in decorative patterns in the facade; the use of a wider array of materials (a technique called yeseria where plaster is carved into complex geometric patterns); the use of polished and gilded wood; the use of retablos, paintings of saints set in wood frames; and, the use of life-sized wooden statues of saints.59

32John the Baptist (late 1st century BC – 28-36 AD) was a prophet, even considered a saint, who baptized Jesus Christ in the river Jordan, according to the Wikipedia page “John the Baptist”.60

33 “Quiapo Church,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiapo_Church.

34A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”61

35 “Quiapo, Manila,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiapo,_Manila.

36“Manila,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila.

37“Passion of Jesus,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion_of-Jesus.

38“Scourge,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scourge.

39“Cristo Negro (Portobelo),” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristo_Negro_(Portobelo).

40A votive offering, or votive deposit, is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Some offerings are made in anticipation of the achievement of a particular wish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Votive offering”.62

41“Votive candle,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Votive_candle.

42“Confraternity,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confraternity.

43“Apostolic blessing,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_blessing.

44“Nicholas of Tolentino,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_of_Tolentino.

45“Rizal Park,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizal_Park.

46“Intramuros,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intramuros.

47“Battle of Manila (1945),” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manila_(1945).

48“Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_Manila.

49The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the congregation of the Roman Curia63 that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Church64 as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the Sacraments. Its functions were originally exercised by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, set up in January 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments”.65

50“Minor basilica,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_basilica.

51“Novena,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novena.

52“Black Nazarene,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nazarene.

53“Translation (relic),” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translation_(relic).

54A relic, in religion, usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint, or venerated person, preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Relic”.55

55“Relic,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relic.

56“Cope,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cope.

57“Stole (vestment),” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stole_(vestment).

58″Plaza Miranda,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaza_Miranda.

59https://study.com/academy/lesson/mexican-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

60“John the Baptist,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Baptist.

61“Barangay,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

62“Votive offering,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Votive_offering.

63Roman Curia is the group of administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the Roman Pontiff conducts the affairs of the universal Catholic Church. It acts in his name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the necessary central organization for the correct functioning of the Church and the achievement of its goals. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Roman Curia”.66

64The Latin Church is a particular church of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, with headquarters in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, according to the Wikipedia page “Latin Church”.67

65“Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_for_Divine_Worship_and_the_Discipline_of_the_Sacraments

66“Roman Curia,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Curia.

67“Latin Church,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_Church.

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT IS SIMBANG GABI?

The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is known to be one of the biggest holidays in the country and the longest Christmas season in the world. Christmas carols are played as early as September 1,and the season ends either onEpiphany1, on the Feast of the Black Nazarene(January 9), or on the Feast of the Santo Niño(the third Sunday of January).

A Christmas tradition among Filipinos is Simbang Gabi. Well, Tita S is here to tell foreigners what it is all about.

Simbang Gabi (Filipino for “Night Mass”) is a devotional nine-day series of masses practiced by Roman Catholics and Aglipayans4 in the Philippines in anticipation of Christmas. A well-known folk belief among Filipinos is that if a devotee completes all nine days, a request made may be granted. It is the Filipinos’ spiritual preparation for Christmas.

It is similar to the nine-day series of dawn masses leading to Christmas Eve, practiced in Puerto Rico called Misa de Aguinaldo.

Seniors, if you are physically fit, sleep early so you can attend Simbang Gabi, and not doze off during the sermon portion of the mass. Joke only!

Filipinos attend Simbang Gabi at dawn and sacrifice to wake up early as a gesture of their gift to God, and as a form of gratitude to Him for giving His only Son, Jesus Christ, the ultimate gift that all can receive.5

0-pagsajan-church-textOur Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church, Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines, alit for Simbang Gabi 2018

These masses in the Philippines are held daily from December 15-24, and occur at different times, ranging from as early as 3:00 am to 5:00 am. Some churches celebrate this mass between 8:00 and 10:00 pm, from December 15 to 23, to accommodate the needs of the parishioners who have different schedules.

befunky-collageChristmas decoration inside St. John the Baptist Church, Longos, Kalayaan, Laguna, Philippines (photo by Maybelle Rabisanto)

On the last day of the Simbang Gabi, which is Christmas Eve, the service is instead called Misa de Gallo (Spanish for “Rooster’s Mass”).

Just how did Simbang Gabi start?

Simbang Gabi originated in the early days of Spanish rule over the Philippines as a practical compromise for farmers, who began work before sunrise to avoid the noonday heat out in the fields. It began in 1669, when priests started to say mass in the early mornings instead of the evening novenas6 so the farmers could attend.

Pope Sixtus V7 ordered that the masses be held before sunrise since it was harvesting season and the farmers needed to be in the fields right after the celebration.

The mass, nowadays, may begin at 4:00 am. Churches are decorated with colorful lights and parollanterns.befunky-collageA Christmas tree and a Nativity Scene outside the Santa Maria Magdalena Parish Church, Magdalena, Laguna, Philippines (day and night photos by Venus Buenaceda-Calo)

The Belen, or Nativity Scene, is displayed in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ.49661535_308423833116652_9175900746879598592_nNativity Scene inside the San Sebastian Parish Church, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines (photo by Rodalyn de Guzman)

Traditionally, after mass, Filipinos bought native delicacies and drinks sold in the church courtyard for breakfast like bibingka9, hot pandesal10, puto bumbong11, tsokolate12 and salabat13.

Rice-based foods were traditionally served to fill the stomachs of the farmers, since rice is a cheap and primary staple. The kakanins14 were full of carbohydrates needed by colonial Filipinos for the work they undertook in the rice paddies and sugar mills.

Nowadays, other food and beverage items are offered, e.g., puto15, suman,16 arroz caldo17, and kapeng barako18.

So, dearest foreign Seniors, now you know more about Filipino culture. Why not plan a Christmas vacation in our country next year, especially those of you residing in temperate countries, so you can not only witness our Christmas traditions but also enjoy sunny beaches in any of our wonderful islands. See you around!

The information mostly came from Wikipedia page “Simbang Gabi”.19

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy to Google such terms:

1Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In the Philippines, it commemorates the visit of the Magi (named Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior) to the Christ Child, and is celebrated in different ways, e.g.,  children leave their shoes out so that the “Kings” will leave behind gifts like candy or money inside; or three men/boys who are dressed as kings, ride around on horseback, distributing trinkets and candy to the children of the area. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Epiphany (holiday)”.20

2TheBlack Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-skinned, image of Jesus Christ kneeling while carrying the Cross, enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in the Quiapo district of the City of Manila, Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page “Black Nazarene”.21

3Santo Niño is the Spanish title for the Child Jesus.

 4Aglipayans are the members of the Philippine Independent Church, an independent Christian denomination, with Gregorio Aglipay as its first Supreme Bishop, according to the Wikipedia page “Philippine Independent Church”.22

5www.businessmirror.com.ph

6A novena is an ancient tradition of devotional praying in Christianity, consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days or weeks, where a devotee makes a petition, implores a favor, or obtains graces by worshipping Jesus Christ, and asking for the intercessions of the Virgin Mary or the saints of the faith, according to the Wikipedia page “Novena”.23

7Pope Sixtus V, or Xystus V, (1521-1590) was the Pope of the Catholic Church from April 24, 1585 to his death on August 27, 1590, according to Wikipedia page “Pope Sixtus V”.24

8parol is an ornamental, star-shaped Christmas lantern in the Philippines, traditionally made out of bamboo sticks and covered by colored pieces of either Japanese paper or crepe paper. Its design evokes the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Kings to the manger. It also symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and the Filipinos’ hope and goodwill during the Christmas season. It is the iconic symbol of the Filipino Christmas, and is as important to Filipinos as the Christmas tree is to Western cultures. It comes in various sizes and shapes, but generally the basic star pattern remains dominant, from the small, tinsel and foil lanterns to the gigantic ones that are electrically lit at night, and may have one, three, or more tails aside from the ubiquitous two. More complex shapes are bromeliad, rose, sea urchin, and snowflake, among others. Pampanga lanterns now have electronic lights that can be programmed to produce a dancing effect, as is the use of LED rope lights, known as “flexilight” lanterns. The parol is displayed as a Christmas decoration until Epiphany.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Parol”.25

9Bibingka is a traditional rice cake in the Philippines made of rice flour, coconut milk, eggs, milk and water, traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves with preheated coals top and bottom, usually enjoyed during the Christmas season, served hot or warm for breakfast or as a dessert. Toppings include butter/margarine, sugar, cheese, grated coconut and salted duck eggs26.

10Pandesal is a common yeast-raised bread roll in the Philippines made of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, and salt. It is commonly served hot during breakfast, and originally consumed by dipping in coffee or hot chocolate drink. It can also be enjoyed with butter/margarine, cheese, jam or peanut butter. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Pandesal”.27

11Puto bumbong is a traditional cylindrical, purple/violet, Filipino, steamed, sticky rice cake made from pirurutong (glutinous rice flour, soaked in salted water and dried overnight) with violet coloring, placed into bumbong (bamboo tubes) attached to a lansungan (steamer) then steamed until done (i.e., when steam rises out of the bamboo tubes). The cooked sticky mixture is tapped out of the bamboo tubes, traditionally onto a banana leaf, with a dollop of margarine/butter, then topped with a mixture of freshly grated coconut and (muscovado28 or white) sugar. It is then wrapped and kept warm in a (thermal) container.

12Tsokolate is a native Filipino thick hot chocolate drink made from tabliya, tablets of pure ground roasted cacao beans, dissolved in water and milk. It is traditionally made using a tsokolatera29 and briskly mixed with a wooden baton called the molinillo30 (also called batidor or batirol), causing the drink to be frothy. It is typically sweetened with a bit of muscovado28, and has a distinctive grainy texture. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tsokolate”.31

13Salabat is the Filipino term for hot ginger tea, enjoyed as is, or with a sweetener.

14Kakanin is the Filipino term for a common native snack in the Philippines, consisting of various kinds of rice cakes. NOTE: Kakanin comes from the word “kanin”, meaning “prepared rice”.

15Puto is a traditional, round (like a cupcake), soft, moist, Filipino, steamed rice cake, served for breakfast or merienda32, usually as an accompaniment for dinuguan33 or pancit34 (Filipino stir-fried egg noodles with sliced meat, shrimps and chopped vegetables). A small amount of wood ash lye can be added, especially in the Tagalog region of the Philippines. There are many kinds of puto and modern variations are available in various colors and sizes. Puto can be eaten as is, or with butter and/or freshly grated coconut.

16Suman is a Filipino rice cake made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, often wrapped in banana leaves or buli/buri (Corypha) leaves for steaming, usually eaten sprinkled with sugar, or laden with latik35. There are many varieties of suman. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Suman (food)”.36

17Arroz caldo is a Filipino rice and chicken porridge or gruel, heavily infused with ginger, and garnished with toasted garlic, scallions, and black pepper, usually served with calamansi37, soy sauce, or patis (fish sauce) as condiments, as well as hard-boiled egg. Most versions also add kasubha (safflower) which turns this dish to turn almost yellowish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Arroz caldo”.38

18Kapeng barako is a very strong coffee with a fragrance reminiscent of aniseed, grown in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite. It is also called Batangas coffee or Barako coffee. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kapeng barako”.39

19“Simbang Gabi,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simbang_Gabi.

20“Epiphany,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany.

21“Black Nazareme,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nazarene.

22“Philippine Independent Church,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Independent_Church.

23“Novena,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novena.

24“Pope Sixtus V,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Sixtus_V.

25“Parol,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parol.

26A salted duck egg is a preserved food product made by soaking duck eggs in brine or packing the eggs in damp, salted charcoal. In the Philippines, the eggs are traditionally dyed red to differentiate it with fresh duck eggs. It is used as a topping for bibingka9, or mixed with chopped, fresh tomatoes and scallions, onions and fish sauce, as a side salad for fried fish.

27“Pandesal,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandesal.

28Muscovado is a partially refined sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor. It is considered a healthy alternative to refined sugar due to higher levels of minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium). It is used in various food and confectionery, like puto bumbong11 in the Philippines.

29A tsokolatera is the Filipino term for chocolatera, a Spanish/Latin-American type of high-necked metal pot shaped like a pitcher used for the traditional preparation of tsokolate12, used in combination with a molinillo30 baton to froth the chocolate. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chocolatera”.40

30A molinillo is a traditional turned wood whisk used in Latin America, as well as the Philippines, where it is called batidol or batirol. It is used primarily for the preparation of hot beverages like tsokolate12, held between the palms and rotated by rubbing the palms together, creating a frothy drink. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Molinillo (whisk)”.41

31“Tsokolate,”accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsokolate.

32Merienda is a light and simple meal in the Philippines, southern Europe and Hispanic America. In the Philippines, it is taken for brunch or mid-afternoon (called merienda cena), often consisting of a beverage (coffee, hot chocolate, juices, spirits) and a sweet/savory bread/pastry, desserts/sweets or kakanin, street food, noodle dishes, or other Filipino snacks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Merienda”.42

33Dinuguan is a Filipino savory stew usually made of pork offal (typically ears, heart, intestines, kidneys, lungs and snout) and/or meat simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar, according to the Wikipedia page “Dinuguan”.43

34Pancit is the Filipino term for noodles, introduced by the Chinese, and adopted into the local cuisine, with many regional variations. The noodles are stir-fried, often with sliced meat, shrimps and assorted/chopped vegetables.

35Latik, in the Visayan region, is a syrupy caramelized coconut cream used as a dessert sauce, derived by reducing coconut milk and sugar, used to sweeten kakanins14 like suman16, according to the Wikipedia page “Latik”.44

36“Suman (food),”accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suman.

37Calamansi is a small (about 30-mm in diameter), tangy-sour citrus fruit with a thin, green skin (which turns yellow-orange when ripe), with a yellow/orange pulp. The juice is used in various food and beverages as a major/minor ingredient, seasoning or dipping ingredient.

38“Arroz caldo,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arroz_caldo.

39“Kapeng barako,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapeng_barako.

40“Chocolatera,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolatera.

41“Molinillo (whisk),” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molinillo.

42“Merienda,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merienda.

43“Dinuguan,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinuguan.

44“Latik,” accessed December 12, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latik.

THE BALANGIGA BELLS–A TIMELY HOMECOMING AFTER 117 YEARS!

The last time you might have heard of the Balangiga Bells was when President Rodrigo Duterte, in his 2017 State of Nation Address, requested that they be returned. Well, the American government finally listened and returned them in time for Simbang Gabi1, which started December 16. Hurray!

But tell me, dearest foreign Senior Citizens, are you aware of these bells and why the Americans got them? Well, no need to stress your senior minds, think no more! Tita S will tell you all the details, blow by blow, taken from various sources.

The Balangiga bells are three church bellstaken by the United States Army from the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir, the town church of Balangiga3, diocese of Borongan4, province of Eastern Samar5, in the Philippines, as war trophiesafter reprisals following the Balangiga massacre in 1901 during the Philippine-American War7.

THE BALANGIGA BELLS

It took the town folks of Balangiga four years to raise funds to acquire the first campana colgante(hanging bell), with a mouth diameter of 31 ¼ inches, a height of 30 inches, and the inscription: “R. San Francisco Ano El 1853 (R. San Francisco The Year 1853), either named after the parish priest at that time or as a reference to the Franciscan order. It was cast around 1863 and bears what was believed to be the Franciscan coat of arms.

1853 bellThe 1853 Balangiga Bell – photo by Rhk111 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75014059

The town acquired the second bell, cast around 1889, having a mouth diameter of 27 ¾ inches, a height of 27 ½ inches, through the initiative of Fr. Agustin Delgado, with the inscription: “Se RefundioSiendo Cura Parroco El M. R. P. F. Augustin Delgado Ano 1889.

1889 bellThe 1889 Balangiga bell – photo by Rhk111 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75014058

The third and smallest bell was acquired in 1895, through the initiative of Fr. Bernardo Aparecio, with a height of 23-24 inches and a mouth diameter of about 20 inches and bears the Franciscan emblem. It has this inscription: “Se RefundioSiendo Parroco P. Bernardo Aparicio Ano 1895”.

1895 bellThe 1895 Balangiga bell – photo by Rhk111 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75014060

This bell can be considered an esquila (small bell) or campana de vuelo (“flight bell”), a bell used to sound warning for locals to escape or evade in times of peril. This was the bell used to signal the start of the attack by the Filipinos against the American troops (see below).

SO, WHAT EXACTLY WAS THE BALANGIGA MASSACRE?

The smallest Balangiga bell which ended in the possession of the 9th Infantry Regiment10 at Camp Red Cloud11 in South Korea, was said to have been rung to signal the surprise attack by the Filipinos, the townspeople who were allegedly augmented by guerillas12, against the American troops of the Charlie Company of the said infantry regiment, while they were eating breakfast on September 28, 1901, during the Philippine American War7, after the US took possession of the Philippines following the Spanish-American War13.

Valeriano Abanador, the town’s local chief of police, was believed to have been the mastermind behind the attack.14

Waray15 men, dressed as pious women carrying little coffins, purportedly of children who died of cholera, and armed with bolos, staged the attack which was a reaction to the oppressive treatment they got from the American colonizers.

Various historical accounts recounted that the US soldiers, in order to flush out the rebels, cut off the food supplies to the town, and they also assaulted young women. The attack was, therefore, an act to protect the dignity and freedom of the Filipinos, and their bravery against an oppressive power, an act of defiance, courage and heroism.16

The villagers killed 48 and wounded 22 of the 78 men of the unit, with only four escaping unhurt and four missing in action. They were able to capture about 100 rifles and 25,000 rounds of ammunition. An estimated 20 to 25 of the villagers died in the fighting, and a similar number were wounded. It was a massacre of Americans, from the American point of view, but represented a victory for the Filipinos during the Philippine American War, from the Philippine point of view!

It was the US Army’s worst defeat since the Battle of the Little Bighorn17 in 1876. The attack, and the subsequent retaliation, remains to be one of the longest-running and most controversial issues between the Philippines and the US, with conflicting records from both sides of the Pacific confusing the issue. According to historian Teodoro Agoncillo, the “true Balangiga Massacre” was the subsequent retaliation against the Samar population and guerillas when American soldiers, turned arsonists, burned whole towns during the March across Samar18.

An outraged American General Jacob H. Smith deployed 180 soldiers a day after the attack and ordered them to turn the town into a “howling wilderness” where every Filipino male, at least 11 years old and capable of carrying firearms, was killed while communities were burned down.19

The town was recaptured on September 29, 1901 by 55 men of Company G, 9th Infantry. That unit departed the town the same dayand was replaced by 132 men from Companies K and L of the 11th Infantry Regiment20 which garrisoned the town until relieved on October 18, 1901.

The Americans claimed 2,000 Filipinos died but a Filipino historian who was interviewed by ANC said that the figure could have reached 10,000. This US response was so brutal, and they even burned down the town, so should we not consider it a massacre as well, and call it the real Balangiga massacre, from our point of view?

WHAT HAPPENED TO U. S. GENERAL JACOB H. SMITH?

US General Smith and his primary subordinate, Major Littleton Waller of the US Marine Corps, were both court-martialed for illegal vengeance against the civilian population of Samar. Waller was acquitted of the charges, but Smith was found guilty, admonished, and retired from service, but charges were dropped shortly thereafter. He was later hailed as a war hero.

REMOVAL OF THE THREE BALANGIGA BELLS& CANNON TO THE USA AND KOREA

The 11th Infantry regiment took the bells removed from the burnt-out Catholic town church, along with a cannon from the plaza in front of the church. All three bells remained under the charge of the 11th Infantry quartermaster, Captain Robert Alexander, at their Tacloban headquarters.

The 9th US Infantry Regiment10, however, maintained that the single bell in their possession was presented to the regiment by villagers when the unit left Balangiga on April 9, 1902. That bell was given to them by the 11th Infantry Regiment20 which took the three bells when they left Balangiga for Tacloban on October 18, 1901.

But tell me, if the bells were freely given by the villagers, why have the Filipinos been asking for their return for decades?

The smallest church bell was in the possession of the 9th Infantry Regiment10 at Camp Red Cloud11 in South Korea. It is said to be the bell which was rung to signal the attack against the American troops. The bell arrived in San Francisco on June 27, 1902. It was returned to its old Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor, New York where a brick pedestal was built to display the bell. In 1928, it was moved to Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington. The bell was later kept at the 2nd Infantry Division Museum in Camp Red Cloud11, Uijeongbu, South Korea. It had previously been displayed at the unit’s Camp Hovey headquarters.

The 11th Infantry left the Philippines in 1904, taking their trophies with them and redeployed to Fort D. A. Russell (renamed Fort Francis E. Warren in 1927, then Francis E. Warren Air Force Base21 in 1949) in Wyoming, and arrived on March 23, 1904. On May 16, 1905, the Cheyenne Daily Leader newspaper reported that the cannon had been mounted on the parade ground near the flagpole, along with other relics from the Philippines, including the two three-feet tall church bells.

A sign was installed over one of the bells which said: “This bell hung in the church at Balangiga, Samar, PI, and rung the signal for the attack on Company C, 9th US Infantry, Sep 29 [28], 1901. Taken by Company K, 11th Infantry and detachment of Company K, 11th Infantry, the first units to reach the scene after the massacre.” This sign was erroneous, so the text was changed in 1911, giving proper credit to Company G 9th Infantry, for recapturing Balangiga. It eventually became artifacts in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

In 1967, Colonel Robert J. Hill, then commander f the 90th Missile Wing, had a curved red brick wall constructed in the F. E. Warren Air Force Base21 trophy park for the bells, with a bronze plaque on the wall between the bells telling the story of the massacre at Balangiga: “Used by Philippinos [sic] to sound signal for massacre of Company C 9th Infantry at Balangiga PI 28th September 1901”.

In 1979, it was discovered that the bronze cannon taken from Balangiga, along with the bells, was in fact British in origin, cast in London in 1557, and bore the monogram of Mary I of England. As of 2001, a glass case housed the bells along with the 400-year old Falcon cannon.

WHAT WERE THE RECOVERY ATTEMPTS?

 The recovery of the three Balangiga church bells had been sought by various individuals representing the Catholic Church in the Philippines, the Philippine government, the Veterans of Foreign Wars22, the American Legion23, and the residents of the municipality of Balangiga3 since the late 1950s.24

The earliest record of Filipino interest in the return of the Balangiga bells was on November 1957, when Fr. Horacio de la Costa of the Department of History at the Ateneo de Manila University wrote a letter to the 13th Air Force’s command historian Chip Wards at Clark Air Base, stating that the bells belonged to the Franciscans and that they should be returned to the Philippines.

The following year, a group of American Franciscans based in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, again wrote Wards stating that the two bells were Franciscan.

In the mid-1990s, during the term of President Fidel Ramos, attempts were initiated by his administration to recover one or more of the bells from US President Bill Clinton. The US government was adamant that the bells were US government property, and that it would take an Act of Congress25 to return them and that the Catholic Church had no say in the matter. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines held the position that the bells were inappropriate as war trophies.

In 1998, President Ramos proposed casting two new bells, then having each country keep an original and a duplicate. Philippine Ambassador to the US Raul Rabe visited Cheyenne, Wyoming, twice, trying to win support for this proposal. He was not successful.

In 2002, The Philippine Senate approved Senate Resolution No. 393, authored by Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., urging the Arroyo administration to undertake formal negotiations with the US for the return of the bells.

In 2005, the Bishop of Borongan4, Samar26, Bishop Leonardo Medroso and Balangiga parish priest Saturnino Obzumar wrote an open letter addressed to President George W. Bush, the US Congress and the Helsinki Commission, requesting them to facilitate the return of the bells. That same year, the Wyoming Veterans’ Commission favored the return of the relics, however, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal stated that he disagreed and opposed the return of the bells.

On January 13, 2005, US Congressman Bob Filner introduced H. Res. 313, urging the President to authorize the transfer of ownership of one of the bells to the Filipinos. The resolution died on January 3, 2007, with the sine die adjournment27 of the 109th US Congress.

On September 26, 2006, US Congressman Bob Filner, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Congressman Ed Case, co-sponsored House Concurrent Resolution No. 481, urging the president to authorize the return of the church bells. The resolution died on January 3, 2009, with the sine die adjournment27 of the 110th US Congress.

In 2003, Napoleon Abueva, the Philippines’ National Artist for sculpture, made a monument of the Balangiga3 encounter to serve as a reminder of how Filipinos stood up for independence.14 He then wrote the American Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, in 2007, asking for her help in the bells’ recovery. On October 25 of the same year, during the 14th Congress of the Philippines, Senator Manny Villar filed Senate Resolution No. 177, “expressing the sense of the Senate for the return to the Philippines of the Balangiga bells”.  He also said: “… the bells were a part of the lives of the Filipinos because despite their poverty, the people and the church raised enough money to have the bells cast …”.16

The townspeople of Balangiga asked the US to return their church bells after receiving relief from the US military, subsequent to Typhoon Haiyan which hit the town in 2013.

In his second State of the Nation Address on July 24, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte demanded the bells’ return, citing ownership of the Philippines. He said: “They are part of our national heritage. Isauli naman ninyo. Masakit iyon sa amin” (Please return them. It is painful for us.). Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella emphasized that the return of the bells was “important for our national pride … it was a reminder of the gallantry and heroism of our forebearers.”24

In February 2018, two US lawmakers, Randy Hultgren and Jim McGovern, objected to the bells being returned to the Philippines due to the current human rights record established by Duterte’s Philippine Drug War.

Wyoming’s congressional delegation said the church bells should not go back to the Philippines as they serve as memorials to American war dead.28

REPATRIATION OF THE BALANGIGA BELLS

During the 2017 ASEAN Summits, Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana met with his counterpart, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. At this meeting, Lorenzana raised the issue of the bells. In a later meeting with Philippine President Duterte, Mattis made a personal commitment to secure the bells’ return. Mattis then sought legislation to enable the legal repatriation of the bells. Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, however, disclosed in an interview with CNN Philippines that President Duterte personally told Mattis to return the bells during the ASEAN Summit meeting in Clark, Pampanga, in October 2017.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said the US was committed to return the bells but there was still ongoing discussion.24 In August 2018, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis notified the US Congress of their intention to return the bells. The US Congress then made a resolution for their return.28

However, prominent Eastern Visayas33 historian Dr. Rolando Borrinaga of the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts said that US congressional approval was no longer needed as the return was also provided for in the US’s National Defense Authorization Act of 2018. “The final clincher is the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense to the President for the bells to be returned,” he said.28

On November 2018, Dr. Borrinaga stated that the two bells at the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base21 will be turned over to Philippine representatives on November 15, 2018. The third bell in South Korea was also ready for repatriation.

A military ceremony attended by Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez and US Defense Secretary James Mattis was held on November 15, 2018 at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, prior to the two bells’ return to the Philippines.28

Secretary Mattis said: “In returning the bells of Balangiga3 to our ally and our friend, the Philippines, we pick up our generation’s responsibility to deepen the respect between our people.” Ambassador Romualdez added, “The significance of this event is the fact that we honor all of those and the kind of relationship that we have with the US … the return of the Balangiga bells signify closure of the Filipino-American War.”28

The two bells in Wyoming were then shipped to Philadelphia for restoration work before being sent to Japan, where they joined the third bell. All three bells were then on their way back to the Philippines.

On December 10, 2018, all three church bells were in Kadena Air Base in Japan, awaiting repatriation to the Philippines. The morning after, the US Embassy in the Philippines stated that the bells were on board a US Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules on the way to Manila. The plane arrived in Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, at 9:00 am.28

Touchdown, after 117 years – December 11, 2018! A simple welcome ceremony was held upon its arrival.19

The bells were put in display at the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum until December 14, 2018. They were then airlifted by a Philippine Air Force C130 plane to nearby town of Guiuan, arriving on December 14. These were then delivered to Balangiga3 in a two-hour journey via road.

Considered “sacramental or sacred objects that call the faithful to prayer and worship”, all three bells arrived in the Balangiga Church on December 15, 2018. President Duterte attended the turnover ceremony and said that the credit of the return “goes to the American people and the Filipino people”. A transfer certificate was then given to Mayor Randy Graza.

The Balangiga bells were finally home and were rung, for the first time in 117 years, for the first mass of Simbang Gabi 2018 on December 16, 2018! Great timing! It also symbolizes the closure of a painful episode lasting longer than a century between two countries. The bells will be rung for nine days this Christmas season, not for an attack, but for worship and prayer in observance of Simbang Gabi1.

SEPTEMBER 28: BALANGIGA ENCOUNTER DAY

September 28 was declared a special non-working holiday in the province of Eastern Samar to commemorate the Balangiga encounter, in accordance with Republic Act No. 6692, enacted on February 10, 1989. On this day, the town’s people also re-enact the encounter between the American soldiers and Filipinos so as not to forget history.14

The aforementioned information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balangiga bells”29 unless there is a footnote.

So, dearest Seniors, would you like to include a visit to these historical bells as part of your travel bucket list for 2019? I heard the town is asking the help of the Department of Tourism for their town to be declared a tourist attraction, to highlight the Balangiga bells, and to rekindle our love for our country. Let’s all support domestic tourism, ok? See you there some time …

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy to Google such terms:

1Simbang Gabi (“Night Mass”) is a devotional nine-day series of masses practiced by Roman Catholics and Aglipayans in the Philippines, in anticipation of Christmas, and to the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Masses are held daily from December 16-24 and occur at different times ranging from as early as 3:00 to 5:00 am. On the last day, which is Christmas Eve, the service is called Misa de Gallo (“Rooster’s Mass”). It is similar to the Misa de Aguinaldo practiced in Puerto Rico. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Simbang gabi”.30

2A church bell, in the Christian tradition, is a bell rung in a church for a variety of reasons and can be heard outside the building. Examples are: to call worshippers to the church for a communal service, to announce the time of daily prayer, to signify special occasions like wedding or funeral service, and some believe to drive out demons. This cup-shaped metal resonator, hung within a steeple or belltower of a church or religious building, has a pivoted clapper hanging inside which strikes the sides when the bell is swung. All information is from the Wikipedia page “Church bell”.31

3Balangiga is a fourth class municipality32 in the southern coast of the island of Samar facing Leyte Gulf, in the province of Eastern Samar, in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)33, in the Philippines. It sits at the mouth of the Balangiga River. The information is obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balangiga”.34

4Borongan is a component city35 and the capital of the province of Eastern Samar5, in the Eastern Visayas Region33, Philippines. It was founded on September 8, 1619 and became a city on June 21, 2007, according to the Wikipedia page “Borongan”.36

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Borongan is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Borongan4, Philippines, created on October 22, 1960 by Pope John XXIII, with Bishop Vicente Reyes as its first diocesan bishop, according to the Wikipedia page “Roman Catholic Diocese of Borongan”.37

5Eastern Samar is a province in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)33, in the Philippines, which occupies the eastern portion of the island of Samar, according to the Wikipedia page “Eastern Samar”.38

6A war trophy is an object or souvenir taken from a battlefield after a victory, and displayed as a cultural object, and becomes the property of the state to which the soldiers responsible for the capture belonged. The information is obtained from the Wikipedia page “War trophy”.39

7The Philippine-American War was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic40 (FPR) and the US that lasted from February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902. Filipino nationalists viewed the conflict as a continuation of the struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution41, while the US government regarded it as an insurrection. The conflict arose when the FPR objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris42 under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War (April 21, 1898 – August 13, 1898). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.43

8A campana colgante is the Spanish term for a hanging church bell, usually hung from a beam, and rung using a rope attached to the clapper, according to the Wikipedia page “Balangiga bells”.44

9Refundio is the Spanish word which means that the bell was recast from scrap bronze, according to the Wikipedia page “Balangiga bells”.44

10The 9th Infantry Regiment is a parent infantry regiment of the Army, active from 1855 till the present, which got involved in the Balangiga Massacre during the Philippine-American War7 on September 28, 1901. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “9th Infantry Regiment (United States)”.45

11Camp Red Cloud (CRC) is a US Army camp located in the city of Uijeongbu, between Seoul and the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)46, renamed after Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient, on Armed Forces Day, May 18, 1957, from its earlier name of Camp Jackson. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Camp Red Cloud”.47

12A guerilla is a member of a small group of combatants, like armed civilians, who fights a larger and traditional military, using military tactics like ambushes, hit-and-run tactics, petty warfare, raids, sabotage, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military, according to the Wikipedia page “Guerrilla warfare”.48

13The Spanish-American War was fought between the US and Spain in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba, leading to US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. US acquisition of Spain’s Pacific possessions led to its involvement in the Philippine Revolution41 and ultimately in the Philippine-American War7. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Spanish-American War”.49

14www.interaksyon.com

15The Waray people are a subgroup of the Visayan people who inhabit the whole island of Samar where they are called Samareños/Samarnons. Their primary language is the Waray language, also called Lineyte-Samarnon, an Austronesian language native to the islands of Samar, Leyte, and Biliran, which together comprise the Eastern Visayas Region33 of the Philippines. The information was obtained from theWikipedia page “Waray people”.50

16www.news.mb.com.ph

17The Battle of the Little Bighorn, Battle of the Greasy Grass, or Custer’s Last Stand, was an armed engagement between the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army on June 25-26,1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of US forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Battle of the Little Bighorn”.51

18The March across Samar, or Waller’s March across the island of Samar, was an attempt made in 1901 by a US Marine unit commanded by Major Littleton W. T. Waller to traverse the Philippine island of Samar26 from Lanang (now Llorente, Eastern Samar) to Basey, Samar, a distance of about 35 miles (56 km). Waller proposed the expedition in October 1901 to US Brigadier General Jacob H. Smith, commander of the military district as a prelude to the establishment of outposts stretching across the island and thereby stop the flow of supplies to rebels in the north and to isolate rebels in the south. The expedition proved disastrous due to the unexpected harsh conditions as well as a mutiny of many of the Filipino porters. Ten Marines died during the attempt and eleven Filipinos were subsequently executed for their role in the mutiny. The information was obtained from theWikipedia page “March across Samar”.52

19www.newsinfo.inquirer.net

20The 11th Infantry Regiment is a regiment in the US Army which came into existence in January 1799 which was sent to the Philippines during the Philippine-American War7 from 1901-1903, to help put down the Moro Rebellion53, where it was in engagements against the Moros of Mindanao and the Visayans. It was disbanded on June 15, 1800. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “11th Infantry Regiment”.54

21The F. E. Warren Air Force Base is one of the three strategic missile bases in the USA, named in honor of Francis E. Warren55 in 1930, home of the 90th Missile Wing, assigned to the Twentieth Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command, and also the home of Twentieth Air Force, which commands all US Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “F. E. Warren Air Force Base”.56

22The US Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is an American war veterans organization headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, established by James C. Putnam on September 29, 1899. It includes veterans who were soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen who served the US in wars, campaigns, and expeditions on foreign soil or in hostile waters. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Veterans of Foreign Wars”.57

23The American Legion is a US war veteran organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, made of state, US territory, and overseas departments, and these are in turn made up of local posts. Veterans who served at least one day of active duty during wartime, or are serving now, are potentially eligible for membership. Members must be honorably discharged or are still serving honorably. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “American Legion”.58

24www.panaynews.net

25An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the US Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Act of Congress”.59

26Samar is the third largest island in the Philippines, located in Eastern Visayas33, within central Philippines. It is divided into 3 provinces: Samar26 (the western two-fifths of the island), Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar. These three provinces, along with the provinces of the nearby islands of Leyte and Biliran are part of the Eastern Visayas region. This information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Samar”.60

27Adjournment sine die (from the Latin “without day”) means “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing”. To adjourn an assembly sine die is to adjourn it for an indefinite period. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Adjournment sine die”.61

28www.philstar.com

29“Balangiga bells,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangiga_bells.

30“Simbang Gabi,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simbang_Gabi.

31“Church bells,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_bells.

32A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province62, subdivided into barangays63, a town, and is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws.

There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines and there are 6 income classes of municipalities in the Philippines: first class municipality (with at least 55 million pesos annual income); second class municipality (between 45-less than 55 million pesos annual income); third class municipality (between 35-less than 45 million pesos annual income); fourth class municipality (between 25-less than 35 million pesos annual income); fifth class municipality (between 15-less than 25 million pesos annual income); and, sixth class municipality (at most 15 million pesos annual income). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines”.64

33Eastern Visayas, or Region VIII, is an administrative region in the Philippines which consists of 3 main islands: Samar26, Leyte and Biliran. It lies on the east central section of the Philippines and faces the Philippine Sea to the east. The region has 6 provinces (Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte), one independent component city65 (Ormoc), and one highly urbanized city66 (Tacloban). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Eastern Visayas”.67

34“Balangiga,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangiga.

35A component city in the Philippines, according to the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160), is a city that does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city or an independent component city, and deemed part of the province in which it is geographically located. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.68

36“Borongan,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borongan.

37“Roman Catholic Diocese of Borongan,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman _Catholic_Diocese_of_Borongan.

38“Eastern Samar,”accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Samar.

39“War trophy,”accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_trophy.

40The First Philippine Republic, or Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, in the city of Malolos, province of Bulacan. It ended during the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “First Philippine Republic”.69

41The Philippine Revolution was a revolution that began in August 23, 1896 when the Spanish authorities discovered the Katipunan, an anti-colonial secret organization, and ended on August 13, 1898, after Emilio Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12. This information was taken from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.70

42The Treaty of Paris was an agreement, signed on December 10, 1898, that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US, thus ending the Spanish-American War13. It came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged. The cessation of the Philippines involved a payment of US$20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Treaty of Paris (1898)”.71

43“Philippine-Amercian War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War.

44“Balangiga bells,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangiga_bells.

45“9th Infantry Regiment (United States),” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States).

46The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula, about 250 km (160 miles) long and 4 km (2.5 miles) wide, established by the provisions of the Korean Armistice Agreement to serve as a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea, created by agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations in 1953. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Korean Demilitarized Zone”.72

47“Camp Red Cloud,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Red_Cloud.

48“Guerilla warfare,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerilla_warfare.

49“Spanish-American War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_American_War.

50“Waray people,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waray_people.

51“Battle of the Little Bighorn,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Little_Bighorn.

52“March across Samar,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_across_Samar.

53The Moro Rebellion (1899-1913) was an armed conflict between the Moro people (the Muslim population in Southern Philippines) and the US military during the Philippine-American War, according to the Wikipedia page “Moro Rebellion”.73

54“11th Infantry Regiment,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/11th_Infantry_Regiment.

55Francis E. Warren (June 20, 1844 – November 24, 1929) was an American politician of the Republic Party, best known for his years in the US Senate representing Wyoming and being the first Governor of Wyoming. He was the last veteran of the American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865) to serve in the US Senate. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Francis E. Warren”.74

56“F. E. Warren Air Force Base,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._E._Warren_Air_Force_Base.

57“Veterans of Foreign Wars,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_of_Foreign_Wars.

58“American Legion,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Legion.

59“Act of Congress,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Congress.

60“Samar,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samar.

61Adjournment sine die,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjourment_sine_die.

62A province in the Philippines is divided into cities and municipalities32 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays63, formerly called barrios.

63A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for village or ward. It was formerly called a barrio. It is informally subdivided into smaller areas called purok (“zone”), barangay zones consisting of a cluster of houses, and sitios, which are (usually rural) territorial enclaves far from the barangay center. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Barangay”.75

64“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philipippines.

65An independent component city (ICC) is a city in the Philippines which is independent from the province in which it is geographically located. It has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials. In Eastern Visayas33, it is Ormoc. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.76

66A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a city in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 people and with at least 50 million pesos latest annual income. There are 33 such cities in the country, 16 of which are located inMetro Manila. In Eastern Visayas33, it is Tacloban. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.76

67“Eastern Visayas,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Visayas.

68“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines.

69“First Philippine Republic,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Philippine_Republic.

70“Philippine Revolution,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Revolution.

71“Treaty of Paris,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of-Paris.

72“Korean Demilitarized Zone,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Demilitarized_Zone.

73“Moro Rebellion,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moro_Rebellion.

74“Francis E. Warren,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_E._Warren.

75“Barangay,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

76“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_The_Philippines.

 

Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Dear Senior Citizen (SC), did you know that there are 145 cities1 in the Philippines? Do you know what they are and their locations? Here’s a table which alphabetically presents the cities, along with their years of ratification, legal class*, province2 and region3.

This post is also for foreigners who would like to know more about the Philippines.

  CITY

Year of Ratifi-cation as a City

 LEGAL  CLASS*   PROVINCE   REGION
Alaminos 2001 CC Pangasinan I – Ilocos
Angeles 1964 HUC Pampanga III – Central Luzon
Antipolo 1998 CC Rizal 4-A – CALABARZON
Bacolod 1938 HUC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Bacoor 2012 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Bago 1966 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Baguio 1909 HUC Benguet CAR – Cordillera Administrative Region
Bais 1968 CC Negros Oriental VII – Central Visayas
Balanga 2000 CC Bataan III – Central Luzon
Batac 2007 CC Ilocos Norte I – Ilocos
Batangas City 1969 CC Batangas 4-A – CALABARZON
Bayawan 2000 CC Negros Oriental VII – Central Visayas
Baybay 2007 CC Leyte VIII – Eastern Visayas
Bayugan 2007 CC Agusan del Sur XIII – Caraga
Biñan 2010 CC Laguna 4-A – CALABARZON
Bislig 2000 CC Surigao del Sur XIII – Caraga
Bogo 2007 CC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Borongan 2007 CC Eastern Samar VIII – Eastern Visayas
Butuan 1950 HUC Agusan del Norte XIII – Caraga
Cabadbaran 2007 CC Agusan del Norte XIII – Caraga
Cabanatuan 1950 CC Nueva Ecija III – Central Luzon
Cabuyao 2012 CC Laguna 4-A – CALABARZON
Cadiz 1967 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Cagayan de Oro 1950 HUC Misamis Oriental X – Northern Mindanao
Calamba 2001 CC Laguna 4-A – CALABARZON
Calapan 1998 CC Oriental Mindoro XVII – Southwestern Tagalog
Calbayog 1948 CC Samar VIII – Eastern Visayas
Caloocan 1962 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Candon 2001 CC Ilocos Sur I – Ilocos
Canlaon 1961 CC Negros Oriental VII – Central Visayas
Carcar 2007 CC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Catbalogan 2007 CC Samar VIII – Eastern Visayas
Cauayan 2001 CC Isabela II – Cagayan Valley
Cavite City 1940 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Cebu City 1937 HUC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Cotabato City 1959 ICC Maguindanao XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
Dagupan 1947 ICC Pangasinan I – Ilocos
Danao 1961 CC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Dapitan 1963 CC Zamboanga

del Norte

IX – Zamboanga Peninsula
Dasmariñas 2009 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Davao City 1937 HUC Davao Del Sur XI – Davao
Digos 2000 CC Davao Del Sur XI – Davao
Dipolog 1970 CC Zamboanga

del Norte

IX – Zamboanga Peninsula
Dumaguete 1948 CC Negros Oriental VII – Central Visayas
El Salvador 2007 CC Misamis Oriental X – Northern Mindanao
Escalante 2001 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Gapan 2001 CC Nueva Ecija III – Central Luzon
General Santos 1968 HUC South Cotabato XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
General Trias 2015 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Ginggog 1960 CC Misamis Oriental X – Northern Mindanao
Guihulngan 2007 CC Negros Oriental VII – Central Visayas
Himamaylan 2001 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Ilagan 2012 CC Isabela II – Cagayan Valley
Iligan 1950 HUC Lanao del Norte X – Northern Mindanao
Iloilo City 1937 HUC Iloilo VI – Western Visayas
Imus 2012 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Iriga 1968 CC Camarines Sur V – Bicol
Isabela 2001 CC Basilan IX – Zamboanga Peninsula
Kabankalan 1997 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Kidapawan 1998 CC (North) Cotabato XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
Koronadal 2000 CC South Cotabato XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
La Carlota 1966 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Lamitan 2007 CC Basilan ARMM
Laoag 1966 CC Ilocos Norte I – Ilocos
Lapu-Lapu 1961 HUC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Las Piñas 1997 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Legazpi 1959 CC Albay V – Bicol
Ligao 2001 CC Albay V – Bicol
Lipa 1947 CC Batangas 4-A – CALABARZON
Lucena 1962 HUC Quezon 4-A – CALABARZON
Maasin 2000 CC Southern Leyte VIII – Eastern Visayas
Mabalacat 2012 CC Pampanga III – Central Luzon
Makati 1995 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Malabon 2001 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Malaybalay 1998 CC Bukidnon X – Northern Mindanao
Malolos 1999 CC Bulacan III – Central Luzon
Mandaluyong 1994 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Mandaue 1969 HUC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Manila 1901 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Marawi 1950 CC Lanao del Sur ARMM
Marikina 1996 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Masbate City 2000 CC Masbate V – Bicol
Mati 2007 CC Davao Oriental XI – Davao
Meycauayan 2006 CC Bulacan III – Central Luzon
Muñoz 2000 CC Nueva Ecija III – Central Luzon
Muntinlupa 1995 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Naga 1948 ICC Camarines Sur V – Bicol
Naga 2007 CC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Navotas 2007 HUC NCR
Olongapo 1966 HUC Zambales III – Central Luzon
Ormoc 1947 ICC Leyte VIII – Eastern Visayas
Oroquieta 1970 CC Misamis Occidental X – Northern Mindanao
Ozamiz 1948 CC Misamis Occidental X – Northern Mindanao
Pagadian 1969 CC Zamboanga del Sur IX – Zamboanga Peninsula
Palayan 1965 CC Nueva Ecija III – Central Luzon
Panabo 2001 CC Davao del Norte XI – Davao
Parañaque 1998 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Pasay 1947 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Pasig 1995 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Passi 1998 CC Iloilo VI – Western Visayas
Puerto Princesa 1970 HUC Palawan XVII – Southwestern Tagalog
Quezon City 1939 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Roxas 1951 CC Capiz VI – Western Visayas
Sagay 1996 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Samal 1998 CC Davao del Norte XI – Davao
San Carlos 1960 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
San Carlos 1966 CC Pangasinan I – Ilocos
San Fernando 1998 CC La Union I – Ilocos
San Fernando 2001 CC Pampanga III – Central Luzon
San Jose 1969 CC Nueva Ecija III – Central Luzon
San Jose del Monte 2000 CC Bulacan III – Central Luzon
San Juan 2007 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
San Pablo 1941 CC Laguna 4-A – CALABARZON
San Pedro 2013 CC Laguna 4-A – CALABARZON
Santa Rosa 2004 CC Laguna 4-A – CALABARZON
Santiago 1994 ICC Isabela II – Cagayan Valley
Silay 1957 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Sipalay 2001 CC  Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Sorsogon City 2000 CC Sorsogon V – Bicol
Surigao City 1970 CC Surigao del Norte XIII – Caraga
Tabaco 2001 CC Albay V – Bicol
Tabuk 2007 CC Kalinga CAR – Cordillera Administrative Region
Tacloban 1953 HUC Leyte VIII – Eastern Visayas
Tacurong 2000 CC Sultan Kudarat XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
Tagaytay 1938 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Tagbilaran 1966 CC Bohol VII – Central Visayas
Taguig 2004 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Tagum 1998 CC Davao del Norte XI – Davao
Talisay 2000 CC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Talisay 1998 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Tanauan 2001 CC Batangas 4-A – CALABARZON
Tandag 2007 CC Surigao del Sur XIII – Caraga
Tangub 1968 CC Misamis Occidental X – Northern Mindanao
Tanjay 2001 CC Negros Oriental VII – Central Visayas
Tarlac City 1998 CC Tarlac III – Central Luzon
Tayabas 2007 CC Quezon 4-A – CALABARZON
Toledo 1960 CC Cebu VII – Central Visayas
Trece Martires 1956 CC Cavite 4-A – CALABARZON
Tuguegarao 1999 CC Cagayan II – Cagayan Valley
Urdaneta 1998 CC Pangasinan I – Ilocos
Valencia 2000 CC Bukidnon X – Northern Mindanao
Valenzuela 1998 HUC NCR – National Capital Region
Victorias 1998 CC Negros Occidental VI – Western Visayas
Vigan 2001 CC Ilocos Sur I – Ilocos
Zamboanga City 1937 HUC Zamboanga del Sur IX – Zamboanga Peninsula

Legend: Legal Classes – CC –Component City4; ICC – Independent Component City5;HUC – Highly Urbanized City6

See my related posts – simply click the links below, so you will know more about the regions3 and provinces2 of the Philippines.

Well, dear Senior Citizens (SCs), how many of these cities have you visited? I have computed that if we visit one city per week, it would take us 3 years and 1 week to visit all our cities. Let’s start soon, ok?

Do visit related posts: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES? and Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Did you find this post informative? Filipino SC, from what city do you come from? Please share the wonderful destinations, sites, or events that you recommend for SCs like us to enjoy when we visit your city. I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A city is the local government unit in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which serves as the city’s legislative body. Congress is the only legislative entity that can incorporate a city in the country. All Philippine cities are chartered cities7, generally are more autonomous and are given a bigger share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) compared to regular municipalities8. Upon receiving its charter, a city also receives a full complement of executive departments to best serve its constituents. A city is governed by both the Local Government Code of 1991 and its own municipal charter9, under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. There are 145 cities, as of 2016, in the country: 33 are highly urbanized6; 5 areindependent component5 and 107 are component cities4 of the provinces2 in which they are geographically located. NOTE: If the population of a city reaches 250,000, a city is entitled to at least one representative in the Philippine House of Representatives. The income classes for cities, based on average annual income for a 4-year period, are: first class city (400 million pesos or more); second class city (320 million but less than 400 million pesos); third class city (240 million but less than 320 million pesos); fourth class city (160 million but less than 240 million pesos); fifth class city (80 million but less than 160 million pesos); and, sixth class city (below 80 million pesos). All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”10

2A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. NOTE: A province in thePhilippines is divided into cities and municipalities8 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11, formerly called barrios. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”12

3A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 18 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. NOTE: It is further subdivided in provinces2, composed of cities and municipalities8 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11, formerly called barrios. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”13

4A component city (CC) is a type of city1 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city6. It is under the jurisdiction of a province2. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality8. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”10

5An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city1 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city6. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”10

6A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city1 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos. There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see table). All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”10

7A chartered city is a type of city1 in the Philippines which exists as an administrative and a corporate entity governed by its own specific municipal charter9, along with the Local Government Code of 1991 which specifies its administrative structure and powers. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”10

8A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province2, subdivided into barangays11, and is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines and there are 6 income classes of municipalities in the country, based on annual income: first class municipality (with at least 400 million pesos); second class municipality (between 320 million -less than 400 million); third class municipality (between 240 million -less than 320 million pesos); fourth class municipality (between 160 million -less than 240 million pesos); fifth class municipality (between 80 million -less than 160 million pesos); and, sixth class municipality (below 80 million). All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”14

9A municipal charter is a legal document (charter) establishing a city1 in the Philippines. The Philippine Congress has established cities since 1946 with majority holding a plebiscite among the city’s voting population to ratify city charters.

10“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines.

11A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb or a suburban neighborhood. NOTE: The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”15

12“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

13“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Phjilippines.

14“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

15“Barangay,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

 

 

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

A province1 is a primary administrative and political division in the Philippines and is called “lalawigan” in Filipino2.

Now, you might ask again, dear Senior Citizens (SCs), why does Tita S need to list the 81 provinces of the Philippines? Well, I just want to suggest that you include the provinces1 you want to visit in your domestic travel bucket list (perhaps a short list per region3, depending on your interest, health and budget) and hopefully, tick them off one by one.

For the remaining half of 2018, why not enjoy a road trip with your high school or college/former work buddies or organize a long weekend with your family? Better yet, get away from your regular routine and just leave for a new province1 with your partner/loved one. See our beautiful country first before going overseas. Read my related posts: 2018 LONG WEEKENDS … “Byahe Na”! (Travel Now!) to guide you to plan your domestic trips and Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES? to see the regions and provinces therein.

There are 81 provinces1 in the Philippines to choose from, and I have listed them alphabetically below, along with their capitals, and the region3 where they belong, according to Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines”.4

PROVINCE CAPITAL REGION
1.      Abra Bangued Cordillera Administration Region
2.      Agusan del Norte Cabadbaran Region XIII – Caraga Region
3.      Agusan del Sur Prosperidad Region XIII – Caraga Region
4.      Aklan Kalibo Region VI – Western Visayas
5.      Albay Legazpi Region V – Bicol Region
6.      Antique San Jose Region VI – Western Visayas
7.      Apayao Kabugao Cordillera Administration Region
8.      Aurora Baler Region III – Central Luzon
9.      Basilan Lamitan Autonomous Region in

Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

10.  Bataan Balanga Region III – Central Luzon
11.  Batanes Basco Region II –Cagayan Valley
12.  Batangas Batangas City Region IV-A – CALABARZON
13.  Benguet La Trinidad Cordillera Administration Region
14.  Biliran Naval Region VIII – Eastern Visayas
15.  Bohol Tagbilaran Region VII – Central Visayas
16.  Bukidnon Malaybalay Region X – Northern Mindanao
17.  Bulacan Malolos Region III – Central Luzon
18.  Cagayan Tuguegarao Region II –Cagayan Valley
19.  Camarines Norte Daet Region V – Bicol Region
20.  Camarines Sur Pili Region V – Bicol Region
21.  Camiguin Manbajao Region X – Northern Mindanao
22.  Capiz Roxas Region VI – Western Visayas
23.  Catanduanes Virac Region V – Bicol Region
24.  Cavite Imus City Region IV-A – CALABARZON
25.  Cebu Cebu City Region VII – Central Visayas
26.  Compostela Valley Nabunturan Region XI – Davao Region
27.  Cotabato (North Cotabato) Kidapawan Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
28.  Davao del Norte Tagum Region XI – Davao Region
29.  Davao del Sur Digos Region XI – Davao Region
30.  Davao Occidental Malita Region XI – Davao Region
31.  Davao Oriental Mati Region XI – Davao Region
32.  Dinagat Islands San Jose Region XIII – Caraga Region
33.  Eastern Samar Borongan Region VIII – Eastern Visayas
34.  Guimaras Jordan Region VI – Western Visayas
35.  Ifugao Lagawe Cordillera Administration Region
36.  Ilocos Norte Laoag Region I – Ilocos Region
37.  Ilocos Sur Vigan Region I – Ilocos Region
38.  Iloilo Iloilo City Region VI – Western Visayas
39.  Isabela Ilagan Region II –Cagayan Valley
40.  Kalinga Tabuk Cordillera Administration Region
41.  Laguna Santa Cruz Region IV-A – CALABARZON
42.  Lanao del Norte Tubod Region X – Northern Mindanao
43.  Lanao del Sur Marawi Autonomous Region in

Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

44.  La Union San Fernando Region I – Ilocos Region
45.  Leyte Tacloban Region VIII – Eastern Visayas
46.  Maguindanao Shariff Aguak Autonomous Region in

Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

47.  Marinduque Boac MIMAROPA
48.  Masbate Masbate City Region V – Bicol Region
49.  Misamis Occidental Oroquieta Region X – Northern Mindanao
50.  Misamis Oriental Cagayan de Oro Region X – Northern Mindanao
51.  Mountain Province Bontoc Cordillera Administration Region
52.  Negros Occidental Bacolod Region VI – Western Visayas
53.  Negros Oriental Dumaguete Region VII – Central Visayas
54.  Northern Samar Catarman Region VIII – Eastern Visayas
55.  Nueva Ecija Palayan Region III – Central Luzon
56.  Nueva Viscaya Bayombong Region II –Cagayan Valley
57.  Occidental Mindoro Mamburao MIMAROPA
58.  Oriental Mindoro Calapan MIMAROPA
59.  Palawan Puerto Princesa MIMAROPA
60.  Pampanga San Fernando Region III – Central Luzon
61.  Pangasinan Lingayen Region I –Ilocos Region
62.  Quezon Lucena Region IV-A – CALABARZON
63.  Quirino Cabarroguis Region II –Cagayan Valley
64.  Rizal Antipolo Region IV-A – CALABARZON
65.  Romblon Romblon MIMAROPA
66.  Samar (Western Samar) Catbalogan Region VIII – Eastern Visayas
67.  Sarangani Alabel Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
68.  Siquijor Siquijor Region VII – Central Visayas
69.  Sorsogon Sorsogon City Region V – Bicol Region
70.  South Cotabato Koronadal Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
71.  Southern Leyte Maasin Region VIII – Eastern Visayas
72.  Sultan Kudarat Isulan Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN
73.  Sulu Jolo Autonomous Region in

Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

74.  Surigao del Norte Surigao City Region XIII – Caraga Region
75.  Surigao del Sur Tandag Region XIII – Caraga Region
76.  Tarlac Tarlac City Region III – Central Luzon
77.  Tawi-Tawi Bongao Autonomous Region in

Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

78.  Zambales Iba Region III – Central Luzon
79.  Zamboanga del Norte Dipolog Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula
80.  Zamboanga del Sur Pagadian Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula
81.  Zamboanga Sibugay Ipil Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula

Visit www.nap.psa.gov.ph for the official list of provinces1 in the Philippines. You can also click on a province in the list of the website for more details.

Well, how many provinces have you visited to-date? It’s never too late, dear SCs. Just plan your trips ahead of time with your partner, family, or friends.

I personally computed that if I visit one province per week, it would take me: 1 year, 8 months and 1 week. If I visit one province per month, it would take me: 6 years, 2 months and 1 week.

Rates are way cheaper when you book way ahead of time. So, can you tell me where your next domestic trip will be?

Do visit related posts: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES? and Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

Did you find this post informative? Filipino SC, from what province do you come from? Please share the wonderful destinations, sites, or events that you recommend for SCs like us to enjoy when we visit your province. I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities5 and municipalities6 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”4

2Filipino is the national language (or “pambansang wika”) and one of the official languages of the Philippines. The Filipino language is largely the Tagalog dialect with additional words and letters from other existing Philippine languages, according to the Wikipedia page “Filipino language”.8

3A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 18 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. A region is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities and municipalities6 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays7, formerly called barrios. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”9

4“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

5A city is the local government unit in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which serves as the city’s legislative body. Congress is the only legislative entity that can incorporate a city in the country. Upon receiving its charter, a city also receives a full complement of executive departments to best serve its constituents. There are 145 cities, as of 2016, in the country. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”10

6A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays3, and is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”11

7A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb or a suburban neighborhood. NOTE: The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”12

8“Filipino language,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipino_language.

9“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Phjilippines.

10“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines.

11“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

12“Barangay,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

 

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

The Philippines is an archipelago1 and is divided into regions2 since 1972.A region is an administrative division based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. Each region is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities4 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios, according to Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”.7

Filipino Senior Citizens (SCs), you might ask: “Tita S, why write about this?” I’ll answer you with a question too, “Well, do you know all 17 regions of our beloved country and how many have you visited?” Besides, this post is also for the SCs and non-SCs from other countries who are curious to know more about our country, and as a Filipino, I am proud to share this information. Recall as well that I plan to travel as much as I can and explore the various regions of our beautiful country, ok? Besides, we can all be tourism ambassadors of our beloved country so we need to know this information if a foreigner asks.

This post can also help us make our SC bucket list. We can tick off our trips by region2. Or, if you like, you can also make your Philippine bucket list by province3 or by city4/town, depending on your state of health, interest and budget. Be wowed by our country before going abroad! I just wish that it will less expensive and more SC-friendly to travel domestically.

There are 17 regions in the Philippines, 16 are administrative regions8, and one is an autonomous region9, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – see Region XV below. Allow me to briefly describe each region2, based on Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”:

Region I, called the Ilocos Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with San Fernando (La Union) as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Dagupan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

Region II, called the Cagayan Valley Region, is a Philippine region located in the island groupof Luzon10, with Tuguegarao as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, and Santiago.

Region III, called the Central Luzon Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with San Fernando (Pampanga) as its regional center. It has 9 local government units11 (LGUs): Angeles, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Olongapo, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

Region IV-A, called the CALABARZON Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Calamba as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Lucena, Quezon, and Rizal. NOTE: CALABARZON is an acronym for this region’s provinces: CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON.

Region V, called the Bicol Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Legazpi as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Naga, and Sorsogon.

Region VI, called the Western Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Iloilo City as its regional center. It has 8 local government units11 (LGUs): Aklan, Antique, Bacolod, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental.

Region VII, called the Central Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Region VIII, called the Eastern Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Tacloban as its regional center. It has 8 local government units11 (LGUs): Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Ormoc, Samar, Southern Leyte, and Tacloban.

Region IX, or the Zamboanga Peninsula Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Pagadian as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Isabela City, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga de Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.

Region X, or the Northern Mindanao Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Cagayan de Oro as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental.

Region XI, or the Davao Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Davao City as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental.

Region XII,or the SOCCSKSARGEN Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Koronadal as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Cotabato, Cotabato City, General Santos, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. NOTE: SOCCSKSARGEN is an acronym for this region’s provinces: SOuthCotabato, Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, SARangani, GENeral Santos.

Region XIII, or the Caraga Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Butuan as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs):  Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Butuan, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Region XIV, or the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Baguio as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Abra, Apayao, Baguio, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

Region XV, or theAutonomous Region9 in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), isa Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Cotabato City as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Basilan (excluding Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

The latest news regarding Region XV was on July 17, 2018 when the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, was approved by the 28-member bicameral conference committee (House of Representatives and Senate of the Philippines combined). It was ratified by both the Senate and House of Representatives on July 23 and 24, respectively, and was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 26, 2018, according to the Wikipedia page “Bangsamoro Organic Law”.29 The law will then be ratified through a plebiscite in November 2018. If it is ratified, the ARMM will be replaced by this new region. If not, ARMM will stay.30 Let us wait and see if there will be changes regarding this region, which might affect the composition of the other existing Mindanao regions.

The National Capital Region (NCR) is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10,with Manila as its regional center. It is the official and administrative urban area in the southwestern portion of Luzon surrounding Manila, established in 1975 through Presidential Decree No. 824. It is the capital region of the Philippines, the seat of government, and is officially called Metro Manila, composed of 16 cities4 (Caloocan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Novotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela) and the municipality5 of Pateros. It is the center of culture, economy, education and government of the Philippines.

MIMAROPA, or the Southwestern Tagalog Region (as of 2016), is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Calapan as its regional center. MIMAROPA is an acronym for this region’s provinces: MIndoro (Occidental and Oriental), MArinduque, ROmblon, PAlawan. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Puerto Princesa (a city in Palawan), and Romblon. This region was formerly called Region IV-B (2002-2016).

Now, Senior Citizens, can you add one milestone to your travel list? Why don’t you visit even just one province3 per region2? Then, you can say that you visited all the regions of our country, right? Achieve!

Visit other related posts: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES? and Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Did you find this post informative? Dear Filipino SC, from what Philippine region do you come from? Please tell me and my followers the wonderful destinations, sites, or events that you recommend for SCs like us to enjoy when we visit your region. I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1An archipelago is a chain or cluster of islands or an island group. It is isolated, surrounded by bodies of water, and often volcanic, according to Wikipedia page “Archipelago”.14 Examples are the Philippines, Greece, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand, to name a few.

2A region is the first-order administrative division inthe Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6. The aforementioned Philippine regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”7

3A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region2. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”15

4A city is the local government unit in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod16 (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”17

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province3, subdivided into barangays6, and is called town, or “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines and there are 6 income classes of municipalities in the country (based on annual income): first class municipality (with at least 400 million pesos); second class municipality (between 320,000,000-less than 400 million pesos); third class municipality (between 240 million-less than 320 million pesos); fourth class municipality (between 160 million-less than 240 million pesos); fifth class municipality (between 80 million-less than 160 million pesos); and, sixth class municipality (below 80 million). All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”18

6A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines.A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”19

7“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines.

8An administrative region in the Philippines is an administrative grouping of provinces in the Philippines, except the National Capital Region which is composed of cities4 and municipalities5, according to Wikipedia page “Administrative divisions of the Philippines”.20

9An autonomous region in the Philippines is an administrative grouping of provinces3 in the Philippines which has the authority to control the region’s culture and economy. This region2 is a minority entity that has a higher population of a particular minority ethnic group, according to Wikipedia page “Administrative divisions of the Philippines”.20

10Luzon is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the country’s largest (ranked 15th largest in the world) and most populated island, as well as its economical and political center. Luzon is composed of 8 regions2: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas12 and Mindanao13.

11A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces3 and independent cities21; component cities22 and municipalities5; and, barangays6, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.23

12Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Panay and Samar) mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.24 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon10 and Mindanao13.

13Mindanao is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the second largest island of the country and covers 6 administrative regions: CARAGA Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Zamboanga Peninsula, and ARMM.It is composed of 22 provinces and 33 cities. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Mindanao.”25 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon10 and Visayas12.

14“Archipelago,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archipelago.

15“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

16Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) is the legislature of cities in the Philippines, with legislative and quasi-judicial powers and functions. The vice mayor of the municipality, or city, serves as the presiding officer, with councilors as members. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Sangguniang Panlungsod”26

 17“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines.

18“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

19“Barangay,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

20“Administrative Divisions of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_Divisions_of_the_Philippines.

21An independent city is a type of city4 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province3 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region2 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city27 or independent component city28. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”17

22A component city is a type of city4 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. It is under the jurisdiction of a province3. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5.

23“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines.

24“Visayas,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas.

25“Mindanao,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao.

26“Sangguniang Panlungsod,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangguniang_Panlungsod.

27A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city4 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.17 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link below).

28An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city4 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”17

29“Bangsamoro Organic Law.” accessed August 8, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangsamoro_Organic_Law

30www.newsinfo.inquirer.net

 

 

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE NEW (2018) PHILIPPINE COINS?

I have a Balikbayan friend who arrived recently and asked me if she can still use the Philippine old coins she kept from her recent visit.

IMG_6016                   Old Philippine coins (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

Well, dearest Balikbayan friend, Seniors, and other tourists who might not know about the new (2018) Philippine coins, here’s a summary:

The Central Bank of the Philippines (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas in Filipino, abbreviated as BSP) released the complete newly designed New Generation Currency (NGC) Coin Series on March 26, 2018. The series was formally launched in July 2018, to coincide with the BSP’s 24th anniversary.

IMG_6015 - Copy                                        Summary of Designs, 2018 Philippine coins                                                                                  (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

 

The old coins will remain in circulation, to coexist with the new coins, and can still be used for day-to-day business transactions until the BSP calls for their demonetization.

The NGC Series was produced using the latest technology in minting coins, and features enhanced aesthetics and security to deter counterfeiting as well as to improve wear and corrosion resistance capabilities.The BSP announced that the metallic composition of these coins similarly discourages the illegal practice of hoarding copious quantities of coins for the extraction of their metal content in overseas smelting entities.

NGC features modern designs for the 1-centavo, 5-centavo, 25-centavo, 1-peso, 5-peso, and 10-peso coins. Take note, dearest Seniors, there is no NGC 10-centavo coin. Thus, the old ten-centavo coin remains in place. Can you recall what it looks like, Foreign Senior? See the picture above.

The BSP announced that all the NGC coins have “a metallic silver appearance”, and are “made from durable nickel-plated steel that possesses very good wear and corrosion resistance”. The new coin series also addresses concerns on discoloration predominantly observed for copper-based metals.

The new coins feature the BSP logo, national heroes, and endemic flora, complementing the design of the NGC Banknote Series launched in 2010 which shows Philippine flora. These designs, features, and other specifications were the result of an extensive and in-depth study by two expert committees of the BSP – the Numismatic Committee, and the Currency Management Committee. Their proposals were reviewed by the Monetary Board and then recommended for final approval of the President of the Philippines.

flora-2018 coins-ok                               Summary of Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine coins                                                                            (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The centavo-coins of the NGC (2018) Coin Series have common features: all are silver with the obverse side (or face) featuring the stylized 3-stars-and-a-sun motif from the Philippine flag, a smooth background, and the words “Republika ng Pilipinas” on top, all covering two-thirds of the coin from the left. Occupying the remaining one-third of the face to the right are: a vertically-written year mark that appears on top; an “X sentimo” indication (depending on the denomination, 1-sentimo, 5-sentimo and 25-sentimo); and, a very small mint mark at the bottom.The smooth reverse side features an indigenous plant (distinct for each coin denomination) on the left, with the logo of the BSP on the right.

The centavo coins differ in size, type of edge, weight, and featured endemic flora:

The 1-centavo coin is a 15-mm silver coin with a plain 1.54-mm edge, weighs 1.9 grams, and features the Mangkono1 plant on the reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 1-centavo

2018 Philippine NGC 1-Centavo Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

1-cent-2                              Mangkono, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 1-centavo coin                                                                   (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The 5-centavo coin is a 16-mm silver coin with a 1.6-mm reeded-edge, weighs 2.20 grams, and features the Kapal-kapal Bagingplant on the reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 5-centavo-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 5-Centavo Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

5-cents-2-ok                Kapal-Kapal Baging, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 5-centavo coin                                                             (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The 25-centavo coin is a 20-mm silver coin with a 1.65-mm plain edge, weighs 3.60 grams, and features the Katmon3 plant on the reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 25-centavo-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 25-Centavo Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

25-cents-2-ok                          Katmon, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 25-centavo coin                                                                       (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The peso-coins of the NGC (2018) Coin Series have common features: all are silver and feature a national hero in the obverse (or face) side, with the words “Republika ng Pilipinas” on top. The right side of the face, occupying about one-third of the coin, has a vertically-written year mark, an “X piso” indication (depending on the denomination, 1 piso, 5 piso, and 10 piso), and a very small mint mark at the bottom. The reverse side features a unique endemic flora (but with different backgrounds – plain/smooth or with microprint) on the left, with the logo of the BSP centered (over different backgrounds – plain/smooth or with microprint) on the right.

The peso-coins differ in size, type of edge, weight, and featured national hero on the obverse side and endemic flora on the reverse side:

The 1-peso coin is a 23-mm silver coin with a 2.05-mm intermittent reed-edge, and weighs 6.0 grams. It features Jose Rizal4 on its smooth obverse side, and the Waling-Waling5 on its smooth reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 1peso-ok

 

2018 Philippine NGC 1-Peso Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

1-peso-2                   Waling-Waling, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 1-peso coin                                                                 (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The 5-peso coin is a 25-mm silver coin with a 2.20-mmsmooth/plain edge, and weighs 7.40 grams. It features Andres Bonifacio6 on the smooth two-thirds of the left side of its obverse, and, on the right, “5 piso” is indicated over a microprint background of “Republika ng Pilipinas”. On the reverse side, it features the Tayabakplant on the left two-thirds, and the remaining one-third has a microprint of “Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas”.

NGCCoinsPoster - 5peso-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 5-Peso Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

5-peso-2                          Tayabak, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 5-peso coin                                                                          (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

This new 5-peso coin, weighing in at 7.4 grams, is way heavier than the 6.1-gram old 1-peso coin. It is also thicker (2.2 mm vs. 1.8 mm) and slightly larger (25 mm vs. 24 mm). It has a smooth edge while the old 1-peso coin has ridges. So, with just 1-mm difference, be careful when giving out new coins. I personally find it difficult to differentiate these two coins and henceforth, I check on the face of the coin before I hand over a 1- or 5-peso coin. For the visually-impaired, it would be wise to feel the edge to differentiate the said coins.

The new 5-peso coin was released as early as December 2017 to mark the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio (on November 30) and to meet the greater demand for coins during the Christmas season. This coin, along with the 10-peso coin, has “micro-printed details using laser-engraving technology” so it would be difficult to be duplicated using traditional coin counterfeiting methods.

The old 5-peso of the BSP Coin Series features the former BSP logo and Emilio Aguinaldo8. Aguinaldo was replaced by Bonifacio in the BGC coin, and the former is instead featured on the obverse side of the 200-peso NGC banknote as part of the image of the Declaration of Philippine Independence.

The 10-peso coin is a 27-mm silver coin, has a 2.05-mm milled edge with the lettering “Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas”, and weighs 8.0 grams. The obverse side is like the 5-peso coin but features Apolinario Mabinion the left side, and the “10 piso” indication over a microprint of “Republika ng Pilipinas” on the right.  The reverse side is also designed like the 5-peso coin, but features the Kapa-Kapa10 plant with microdots.

NGCCoinsPoster - 10peso-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 10-Peso Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

10-peso-2                          Kapa-Kapa, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 10-peso coin                                                                   (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

Bottomline, dearest Seniors, the differentiation between the old BSP Coin Series and the new (2018) NGC collection is achieved through visual and tactile familiarization.

The original coin picture/slide, which I cropped, were officially obtained through the BSP Currency Communications Staff and the Currency Issue and Integrity Office. The description per coin is my own, based on the information I received.

For more information, contact: Currency Issue and Integrity Office – Telephone Numbers: (02)988-4834 or (02) 352-1495; Email: ciiohelpdesk@bsp.gov.ph; BSP Corporate Affairs Office – Telephone Numbers: (02)708-7140 and (02) 708-7701 local 2876; Fax Number: (02) 708-7138; Email: corao@bsp.gov.ph; bspmail@bsp.gov.ph; Website: www.bsp.gov.ph

You can also visit – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BangkoSentralngPilipinas; Twitter: @BangkoSentral;   Instagram: @bangkosentral; YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BSPCORAO

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1The Mangkono (Xanthostemonverdugonianus) is a rare and endangered species of plant in the Myrtaceae family, endemic to the Philippines, and known to be the hardest Philippine hardwood species. Its inherent hardness and density have earned it the tag “Philippine Ironwood”. It is threatened by habitat loss due to human activity and urbanization. It can take two to four days to cut a 70-cm thick Mangkono tree with an axe compared to the average three hours for other trees with the same diameter. For this reason, diamond-point saws, together with a great volume of water (to counter overheating), have been used exclusively. It is known to have a very limited habitat, indigenous only within the “Mangkono Triangle” area (consisting of the Dinagat Island in Surigao, the Homonhon Island in Samar, and Babatngon, Leyte), and in Palawan. Information sourced from the Wikipedia page, “Xanthostemonverdugonianus” where the tree is referred to as “Magkono”.11

2The Kapal-Kapal Baging plant (Calotropis gigantea; Crown Flower) is a medium-sized (2 to 4-meter-high) shrub, with a pale bark, obovate or oblong (10-20 cm long, 3-8 cm wide, cottony beneath, heart-shaped at the base with pointed tip) light green leaves with a milky stem, that is cultivated for its long-lasting flowers. It is native to the Philippines, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and tropical Africa. The clustered, waxy flowers are either white or lavender. Each flower consists of five pointed petals and a small “crown” which holds the stamens. It is said to be the host plant of Hawaii’s monarch butterflies (recall their black-orange-white patterned four-inch wings). It is known as a Philippine medicinal plant: antibacterial; anti-diarrheal; antihyperglycemic (lowers glucose levels in the blood for diabetics); anti-inflammatory; antimicrobial; antipyretic (prevents or reduces fever); cytotoxic (able to kill cells for cancer treatment), hepatoprotective (prevents liver damage), insecticidal (destroys/controls insects); vasodilatory (widens blood vessels thereby promoting increasedblood flow); with wound healing properties; and, free radical scavenging activity.12 It seems this is a great plant with so many medicinal uses!

3The Katmon plant (Philippine Catmon) is a (6-15 meter-high) evergreen tree with leathery, shining, ovate, elliptic, or oblong-ovate 12-25 cm leaves, closely toothed at the margins, according to the Wikipedia page, “Dillenia philippinensis”.13 The large, white 6-15 cm (in diameter) flower is soft, with large fleshy sepals tightly enclosing the true fruit, and with reddish pistils and stamens. It is endemic to the Philippines and only found in forests, at low and medium altitudes. Its round, edible, 6-8 cm fruit can be cooked as a vegetable, used to flavor fish, or made into jams and sauces. It is also used in the Philippines as an alternative medicine: analgesic (pain reliever), antibacterial, antihyperglycemic (lowers glucose levels in the blood for diabetics), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar).12 Another great plant, our very own, but sadly, it is considered a vulnerable, threatened species!

4Jose Rizal (1861-1896) is widely considered as the national hero of the Philippines. He was a Filipino patriot and a distinguished reform advocate during the end of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. He was also a polymath, i.e., a person with a wide-ranging knowledge/learning – he was an ophthalmologist, painter, educator, sculptor, playwright, poet, linguist and novelist. He was executed by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion, inspired in part by his writings, according to the Wikipedia page “Jose Rizal”.14 Remember, dearest Seniors, that our country has no official national hero to-date since there has been no law or proclamation for such a Philippine national symbol.

5The Waling-Waling is a flower of the orchid family, endemic to Mindanao in the provinces of Cotabato, Davao, and Zamboanga, and considered the “Queen of Philippine flowers”, according to Wikipedia page “Waling-waling”. It comes in two colors – pink and white.15

6Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) was a Filipino revolutionary leader and the President of the Tagalog Republic, the revolutionary government involved in the Philippine revolution against Spain, from 1896-1897. He is also considered a de facto national hero of the Philippines, according to Wikipedia page “Andres Bonifacio”.16 He is often called “The Father of the Philippine Revolution”. He co-founded the Katipunan and later became “Supremo” (Supreme Leader).

7Tayabak (Strongylodonmacrobotrys) is the local term for emerald vine, jade vine, or turquoise vine. It is an endemic woody vine in Philippine tropical damp forests. Its stems can reach up to 18 meters in length. The claw-shaped, turquoise, blue-green to mint-green flowers are carried in pendent trusses, or pseudoracemes, of 75 or more flowers and can reach as much as three meters long, according to Wikipedia page “Strongylodon macrobotrys”.17 I first saw this flowering plant in Nagcarlan, Laguna, and I just loved the awesome long flowers!

8Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964) was the first and youngest president of the Republic of the Philippines. He was a Filipino revolutionary, politician, and military leader. He led the Philippine forces first against Spain in the latter part of the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), and then in the Spanish-American War (1898), and finally against the United States during the Philippine-American War (1899-1901), according to Wikipedia page “Emilio Aguinaldo”.18

9Apolinario Mabini (1864-1903) was a Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served first as a legal and constitutional adviser to the Revolutionary Government, and then as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines upon the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. He is known as the “Brain of the Revolution” despite having lost the use of both his legs to polio in 1896, according to Wikipedia page “Apolinario Mabini”.19

10Kapa-Kapa (Medinilla magnifica), also called showy medinilla or rose grape, is a species of flowering plant in the family of Melastomataceae, native to the Philippines, and commonly called the Philippine orchid. The flowers grow in panicles (multi-branched bunches of flowers arranged on a stem) up to 50 cm long, with ovoid pink bracts (specialized leaf with the flower). The individual flowers can measure up to 25 mm in size, and are pink, red or violet, according to Wikipedia page, “Medinilla magnifica”.20

11”Xanthostemonverdugonianus”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthostemon_verdugonianus.

12www.stuartxchange.org

13“Dillenia philippinensis”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dillena philippinensis.

14“Jose Rizal”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Rizal.

15“Waling-waling”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waling-waling.

16“Andres Bonifacio”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andres_Bonifacio.

17“Strongylodon macrobotrys”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strongylodon_macrobotrys.

18“Emilio Aguinaldo”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Aguinaldo.

19“Apolinario Mabini”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apolinario_ Mabini.

20“Medinilla magnifica”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medinilla_magnifica.

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT IS VISITA IGLESIA?

Filipinos observed Holy Week 2018 from March 25-31, and foreign tourists asked me: “What is Visita Iglesia?”

VISITA IGLESIA (or SEVEN CHURCHES VISITATION) is the Roman Catholic Lenten practice to visit seven (and even 14) churches during Holy Week, traditionally on the evening of Maundy Thursday, to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in each church, according to the Wikipedia page “Seven Churches Visitation”.1

There are no set prayers given by the Catholic Church for this activity, except to pray for the intentions of the Pope and recite the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory Be. Some may opt to pray the Stations of the Cross2.

Way of the cross - 1-3

Way of the cross-4-6

Way of the cross-7-9

Way of the cross -10-12

Way of the cross-13-14.jpg

Historically, this Lenten observance was started by Saint Philip Neri3 around 1553. He initiated the tradition of making a one-day pilgrimage to seven churches, starting from St. Peter’s Basilica (www.varicanstate.va) and ending at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (www.vatican.va), often with music and a picnic on the way, according to the Wikipedia page “Philip Neri”.

The Catholic Church commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples through the Mass of the Lord’s Supper or Service of Worship for Maundy Thursday, along with the “Washing of the Feet” reenactment. The chancels4 are traditionally stripped, with the altars often draped with black paraments5, in preparation for Good Friday, and as a symbol of humiliation and barrenness of the cross, according to Wikipedia page “Mass of the Lord’s Supper”.6 Countries slightly vary on the observance of this Lenten tradition.

In the Philippines, Catholics generally visit seven churches, traditionally either Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, but nowadays, any day of the Holy Week. They recite two Stations of the Cross per church. Seniors, and those who are sick and are not able to travel, visit just one church, while those who are very pious and able, tend to visit fourteen churches — one for each Station — usually accompanied by family members and/or or parish members, serving also as bonding time as well as an opportunity to sample the local cuisine and enjoy sites in the towns/cities visited. Offerings can be made at each church and to the poor as a form of almsgiving. There is even a bicycle tour, called “Bisikleta Iglesia”, organized in 2010, with a route covering seven churches.1

I had a very early Visita Iglesia this year in Laguna with two of my elementary batchmates, one of whom is a balikbayan (returning Filipino) and whom I have not seen since elementary graduation (please don’t ask when LOL). I toured them in different towns and saw to it that we were able to visit seven churches, which I will feature one by one in this blog in the future, but for now, I will only mention them and show some pictures.

We visited the following towns (and their parish churches): Pakil (San Pedro de Alcantara Church), Pangil (Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Parish Church), Paete (Saint James the Apostle Parish Church), Lumban (San Sebastian Parish Curch), Pagsanjan (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church), Liliw (Saint John the Baptist Church) and Pila (San Antonio de Padua Parish Church). We skipped Sta. Cruz, Laguna, because the Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church was closed when we went there. I will feature these churches in future posts.

1-Pakil church-altarPakil, Laguna – SAN PEDRO DE ALCANTARA PARISH CHURCH’s altar (church was founded in 1676)

1-Panguil church - facadePangil, Laguna – NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LA NATIVIDAD PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1579)

1-Paete church facadePaete, Laguna – SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1580)

1-Lumban-church-facade-with paxLumban, Laguna – SAN SEBASTIAN PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1578)

1-Pagsanjan church - facadePagsanjan, Laguna – OUR LADY OF GUDALUPE PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1687)

1-Liliw-church-facadeLiliw, Laguna –  SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1605)

1-Pila-church-facadePila, Laguna – SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1578)

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia/information which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you so please leave a comment. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your device. Please do not forget to “like” this post and share it with your Facebook friends. Thank you!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1 Seven Churches Visitation,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Churches_Visitation.

2The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, Ways of Sorrow, or Via Crucis, refers to the series of fourteen images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of His crucifixion and accompanying prayers, considered to be patterned after Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The devotion of Roman Catholics to do the Way of the Cross during Holy Week is like a spiritual pilgrimage through the contemplation of the Passion of Christ (the final period of the life of Jesus from His entrance in Jerusalem till His crucifixion on Mount Calvary). The 14 stations are: (1) Pilate condemns Jesus to die; (2) Jesus accepts His cross; (3) Jesus falls for the first time; (4) Jesus meets His mother, Mary; (5) Simon helps carry the cross; (6) Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; (7) Jesus falls for the second time; (8) Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem; (9) Jesus falls for the third time; (10) Jesus is stripped of His clothes; (11) Jesus is nailed to the cross; (12) Jesus dies on the cross; (13) Jesus is taken down from the cross; and, (14) Jesus is placed in the tomb. All these are according to the Wikipedia page “Stations of the Cross”.7

3Saint Philip Neri (Philip Romolo Neri or Flippo Romolo Neri) was an Italian priest known for a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory. He is called the Third Apostle of Rome, after Saints Peter and Paul, according to the Wikipedia page “Philip Neri”.8

4A chancel is the space around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary, of a traditional Christian church building, according to the Wikipedia page “Chancel”.9

5Paraments are the ornaments of a room of state, like the liturgical hangings on and around the altar, the cloths hanging from the pulpit and lectern, as well as the ecclesiastical vestments, mitres, and altar cloths, with colors changing on the season of the year (e.g., purple for Lent and white for Christmas and Easter), according to the Wikipedia page “Parament”.10

6Mass of the Lord’s Supper,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_of_the_Lord’s_Supper.

7”Stations of the Cross,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stations_of_the_Cross.

8“Philip Neri,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Neri.

9 “Chancel,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancel.

10“Parament,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parament.

Foreign Seniors Ask: DO I NEED A VISA TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES? HOW LONG CAN I EXTEND MY STAY AS A TOURIST?

I hope this blog catches the attention of foreign seniors/travelers who might be interested to visit my beloved country – the Philippines – and are wondering if they need a visa. Or, dearest Filipino Seniors, you might have new friends who are planning to visit you here in our country. Do they need a visa?

Well, ask no more! A foreign tourist1 (from the 154 countries, enumerated below) with a regular passport can visit the Philippines WITHOUT A VISA IF S/HE WILL STAY FOR 30 DAYS OR LESS, provided s/he has a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside the Philippines. These countries are:

  1. Andorra
  2. Angola
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Australia
  6. Austria
  7. Bahamas
  8. Bahrain
  9. Barbados
  10. Belgium
  11. Belize
  12. Benin
  13. Bhutan
  14. Bolivia
  15. Botswana
  16. Brunei
  17. Bulgaria
  18. Burkina Faso
  19. Burundi
  20. Cambodia
  21. Cameroon
  22. Canada
  23. Cape Verde
  24. Central African Republic
  25. Chad
  26. Chile
  27. Colombia
  28. Comoros
  29. Congo, Democratic Republic of
  30. Congo, Republic of the
  31. Costa Rica
  32. Cote d’Ivoire
  33. Croatia
  34. Cyprus
  35. Czech Republic
  36. Denmark
  37. Djibouti
  38. Dominica
  39. Dominican Republic
  40. Ecuador
  41. El Salvador
  42. Equatorial Guinea
  43. Eritrea
  44. Estonia
  45. Ethiopia
  46. Fiji
  47. Finland
  48. France
  49. Gabon
  50. Gambia
  51. Germany
  52. Ghana
  53. Greece
  54. Grenada
  55. Guatemala
  56. Guinea
  57. Guinea-Bissau
  58. Guyana
  59. Haiti
  60. Honduras
  61. Hungary
  62. Iceland
  63. Indonesia
  64. Ireland
  65. Italy
  66. Jamaica
  67. Japan
  68. Kazakhstan
  69. Kenya
  70. Kiribati
  71. Kuwait
  72. Kyrgyzstan
  73. Laos
  74. Latvia
  75. Lesotho
  76. Liberia
  77. Liechtenstein
  78. Lithuania
  79. Luxembourg
  80. Madagascar
  81. Malawi
  82. Malaysia
  83. Maldives
  84. Mali
  85. Malta
  86. Marshall Islands
  87. Mauritania
  88. Mauritius
  89. Mexico
  90. Micronesia
  91. Monaco
  92. Mongolia
  93. Morocco
  94. Mozambique
  95. Myanmar
  96. Namibia
  97. Nepal
  98. Netherlands
  99. New Zealand
  100. Nicaragua
  101. Niger
  102. Norway
  103. Oman
  104. Palau
  105. Panama
  106. Papua New Guinea
  107. Paraguay
  108. Peru
  109. Poland
  110. Qatar
  111. Romania
  112. Russia
  113. Rwanda
  114. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  115. Saint Lucia
  116. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  117. Samoa
  118. San Marino
  119. Sao Tome and Principe
  120. Saudi Arabia
  121. Senegal
  122. Seychelles
  123. Singapore
  124. Slovak Republic
  125. Slovenia
  126. Solomon Islands
  127. South Africa
  128. South Korea (Republic of Korea)
  129. Spain
  130. Suriname
  131. Swaziland
  132. Sweden
  133. Switzerland
  134. Tajikistan
  135. Tanzania
  136. Thailand
  137. Togo
  138. Trinidad and Tobago
  139. Tunisia
  140. Turkey
  141. Turkmenistan
  142. Tuvalu
  143. Uganda
  144. United Arab Emirates
  145. United Kingdom
  146. United States
  147. Uruguay
  148. Uzbekistan
  149. Vanuatu
  150. Vatican City
  151. Venezuela
  152. Vietnam
  153. Zambia
  154. Zimbabwe

Citizens of Taiwan may apply for an entry permit through the Electronic System for Travel Authorizationat the website of the Philippine Representative Office in Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office: www.meco.org.tw.

Foreigners from Brazil and Israel are given 59 days to stay visa-free in the Philippines, and those from Hong Kong, Macau and Portugal (with passports issued to permanent residents of Macau only) are given 14 days.

Nationals of China traveling as tourists and holding a valid visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, United States or a Schengen Area3 state may enter and stay without a visa for up to 7 days.

Nationals of India holding a valid business, resident, or tourist visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, United States, or a Schengen Area3 state may enter and stay without a visa for up to 14 days.

Upon arrival, you will receive a free Visa Waiver, given at the immigration desk in airports and ports.

Visit www.immigration.gov.ph for more details.

THE EXTENSION OF THE PHILIPPINE VISA

Assuming that foreign tourists from the countries enumerated above enjoyed their stay in the Philippines and decided to extend their stay beyond 30 days, can they? The answer is YES!

If you want to stay longer than 30 days in the Philippines, you can obtain a Visa Extension from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country, even before your trip. If you are already in the Philippines, you can obtain it from the Bureau of Immigration; just be sure to have it extended more than a week before the expiry date.

The extension of the Visa Waiver for another 29 days costs 3,130 pesos. This can then be extended every two months thereafter for up to 16 months in total. Consult the said website’s “Visa Extension” section.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration is very strict, so visa violations and overstays often result in penalties, imprisonment, and deportation.

Please note that the information in this post is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information. Visit www.immigration.gov.ph and go to “Procedures for foreigners”.

For holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports, as well as an APEC Business Travel Card, you can stay longer (ranging from 59 days to 3 months). Visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration: www.immigration.gov.ph

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia/information that you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your device. Thank you!

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1A tourist holds an ordinary/regular passport; s/he is not a holder of a diplomatic, official or service passport or even an APEC Business Travel Card. NOTE: Holders of diplomatic, official or service passports as well as an APEC Business Travel Card can stay longer (ranging from 59 days to 3 months); please visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration: www.immigration.gov.ph

2The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel.

3The Schengen Area refers to an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other type of border control at their mutual borders: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This area acts as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Do you want to know where the term Schengen came from? The Schengen Agreement was signed on June 14, 1985 near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, by 5 countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany), effective March 26, 1995. The agreement proposed the gradual abolition of border checks at the signatories’ common borders and common visa policies. A Schengen Convention followed in 1990. All these are according to the Wikipedia page “Schengen Area”.4

4Schengen Area,” accessed December 15, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area.

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE NATIONAL SYMBOLS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

Last month, a foreigner asked me what the national symbols of my country are. I enumerated what I remembered from elementary school with one or two which I recalled have been changed, like the national bird and motto. But this made me think, are there other updates/changes? Do you know them all, dearest Seniors? Well, here is the result of my research.

The following are official national symbols of the Philippines, all enacted through law, prior to 1998:

  1. Coat of Arms of the Philippines – The coat of arms was adopted on July 3, 1946 through Commonwealth Act No. 731, and reaffirmed on February 12, 1998 through Republic Act No. 8491.
  2. Lupang Hinirang – The national anthem with the music adopted on June 12, 1898 through a proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo, and the lyrics adopted on May 26, 1958 through an Administrative Order by the Department of Education. This was reaffirmed on February 12, 1998 by Republic Act No. 8491.
  3. Philippine eagle (Pithecophagajefferyi) – It was initially adopted as the national bird on July 4, 1995, through Proclamation No. 615.
  4. Flag of the Philippines – The national flag was adopted on June 12, 1898 through a proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo and reaffirmed on February 12, 1998 by Republic Act No. 8491.
  5. Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) – It was initially adopted as the national flower on February 1, 1934 through Executive Proclamation No. 652, issued by Governor General Frank Murphy.
  6. Philippine pearl (Pinctada maxima) – It was initially adopted as the national gem on October 15, 1996, through Proclamation No. 905.
  7. Filipino – This is the national language, adopted on February 11, 1987 through Article XIV, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.
  8. “Isang bansa, isang diwa” (One nation, one spirit) – national motto; see my post: (I will insert the link here)
  9. Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) – It was initially adopted as the national tree on February 1, 1934, through Executive Proclamation No. 652.

There were new and reaffirmed national symbols of the Philippines enacted through law, by Republic Act 8491 (The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines), passed by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 12, 1998:

  1. Philippine eagle (Pithecophagajefferyi) – It was initially adopted as the national bird on July 4, 1995, through Proclamation No. 615.
  2. Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) – It was initially adopted as the national flower on February 1, 1934 through Executive Proclamation No. 652, issued by Governor General Frank Murphy.
  3. Philippine pearl (Pinctada maxima) – It was initially adopted as the national gem on October 15, 1996, through Proclamation No. 905.
  4. “Maka-Diyos, maka-tao, makakalikasan, at makabansa” (For God, for the people, for nature and for the country) – This is the new and current national motto. See my post: (I will place the link here)
  5. Arnis – It was recognized as the national sport and martial artand reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 9850 on December 11, 2009.
  6. Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) – It was initially adopted as the national tree on February 1, 1934, through Executive Proclamation No. 652.

Now, now, dearest Seniors, I know what you are thinking: Tita S, where are the other national symbols we were taught or knew for some time? Well, bottomline, the proper authorities have not declared/enacted them through law, so they are unofficial, i.e., not officially recognized as national symbols.

Take the case of our national hero:

  1. On November 15, 1995, the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee, created through Executive Order No. 5 by former President Fidel Ramos, recommended nine Filipino historical figures to National Heroes: Jose Rizal1, Emilio Aguinaldo2, Melchora Aquino3, Andres Bonifacio4, Marcelo H. del Pilar5, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat(declared a national hero during the presidency of President Marcos), Juan Luna7, Apolinario Mabini8, and Gabriela Silang9. However, to-date, they have not yet been declared as national heroes.
  2. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo officially declared Benigno Aquino, Jr.10, as one of the national heroes, through an Executive Order in 2003.
  3. Congresswoman Liwayway Vinzons-Chato filed House Joint Resolution No. 42 declaring the nine heroes recommended by the Technical Committee above, along with two other historical figures (Benigno Aquino, Jr.10 and Corazon Aquino11) during the 14th Congress (July 23, 2007-June 9, 2010).12

But wait! Foreign Seniors, whenever you visit a town/city in the country, go to the plaza, usually fronting or beside the municipal/city hall, because most of the time, there will be a bust, statue or monument of Rizal. Ask the name of the main or major street in a town, most likely it is named after Jose Rizal! Doesn’t these prove that Dr. Jose Rizal deserves to be the national hero? He even has so many monuments worldwide. See a related post: (I will place the link here)

On January 17, 2014, Bohol First District representative Rene Relampagos filed a bill at the Philippine House of Representatives, House Bill 3926, or the “Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014”, that sought to declare and re-declare and to recognize a number of national symbols like: the coat of arms (Commonwealth Act No. 731 and reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491), Jose Rizal1 (as the only historical Filipino to be recognized as a national hero), adobo13 (as national food), anahaw14 (as national leaf), carabao (as national animal), mango (as national fruit), bangus15 (as national fish), baro’t saya16 (as national costume), bakya17 (as national slippers), bahay-kubo18 (as national house), jeepney19 (as national vehicle), Bayan Ko20 (as national song), cariñosa21 (as national dance), the national flag (proclaimed by President Emilio Aguinaldo and reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491), and MakaDiyos, Makatao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa (Pro-God, pro-people, pro-environment and nationalist).22

The House of Representatives approved, on third and final reading, House Bill 7070 declaring the balangay23 as the national boat, sponsored by Congressmen Ramon H. Durano VI and Lawrence Lemuel H. Fortun, but was not enacted as a law.24

Oh, no! So, we officially do not have a national hero, nor a national boat, nor the following:

  1. adobo, lechon25, or sinigang26 (national food);
  2. anahaw14 (national leaf);
  3. bakya17 (national slippers);
  4. bangus15 (national fish);
  5. barong27 and baro’t saya16 (national costume, his and hers);
  6. “Bayan Ko”20 (national song);
  7. carabao (national animal);
  8. cariñosa21 or tinikling28 (national dance);
  9. Jose Rizal1 (national hero);
  10. Jeepney19 (national vehicle);
  11. Juan de la Cruz29 (national personification, symbolizing the Filipino people);
  12. Malacañang Palace30 (national seat of government);
  13. mango (national fruit);
  14. Manila (national capital);
  15. National Seal (modified version of the coat of arms of the Philippines);
  16. nipa hut (bahay kubo18, national house);
  17. Philippine peso (national currency);
  18. sipa31 (national sport); and,

Unfortunately, all these were also not included in the said 1998 law, RA 8491, and still need to be formally declared as national symbols. So, to-date, these do not have any official status.

Remember, a Philippine national symbol can only be considered official if it is declared through a new law or a proclamation, after consultation with the public. And now we all know!

All symbols cited are according to the Wikipedia page, “National symbols of the Philippines.”32

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Jose Rizal (1861-1896) is widely considered as the national hero of the Philippines. He was a Filipino patriot and a distinguished reform advocate during the end of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. He was also a polymath, i.e., a person with a wide-ranging knowledge/learning – he was an ophthalmologist, painter, educator, sculptor, playwright, poet, linguist, and novelist. He was executed by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion, allegedly inspired in part by his writings, according to the Wikipedia page “Jose Rizal”.33

2Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964) was the first and youngest president of the Republic of the Philippines. He was a Filipino revolutionary, politician, and military leader. He led the Philippine forces first against Spain in the latter part of the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), and then in the Spanish-American War (1898), and finally against the United States during the Philippine-American War (1899-1901), according to Wikipedia page “Emilio Aguinaldo”.34

3Melchora Aquino (1812-1919), commonly known as “Tandang Sora”, was a Filipino revolutionary during the Spanish regime. Her store became a refuge for the sick and wounded revolutionaries. She fed them and gave them motherly advice and prayers so she was given the titles “Mother of Balintawak”, “Woman of Revolution”, and “Mother of the Philippine Revolution”, according to Wikipedia page “Melchora Aquino”.35

4Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) was a Filipino revolutionary leader and the President of the Tagalog Republic, the revolutionary government involved in the Philippine revolution against Spain, from 1896-1897. He is considered a de facto national hero of the Philippines, according to Wikipedia page “Andres Bonifacio”.36 He is often called “The Father of the Philippine Revolution”. He co-founded the Katipunan and later became its “Supremo” (Supreme Leader).

5Marcelo H. del Pilar (1850-1896) was a Filipino journalist, lawyer, writer, and freemason. He was a leader of the Reform Movement in Spain, together with Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena. He is commonly known for his pen name – Plaridel. He was a leading propagandist for reforms in the Philippines as well as editor and co-publisher of La Solidaridad, a newspaper published in Barcelona, Spain, for 6 years.Said newspaper revealed the social, cultural, and economic conditions of colonial Philippines, and featured the speeches of the Spanish liberals about the country. Information is from Wikipedia page “Marcelo H. del Pilar”.37

6Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat (1581-1671) was the 7th Sultan of Maguindanao (1619-1871) who, during his reign, successfully fought off Spanish invasions. He was declared a national hero during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. Information is from Wikipedia page “Muhammad Kudarat”.38

7Juan Luna (1857-1899) was a Filipino painter, sculptor, and a political activist of the Philippine Revolution during the late 19th century. He is known for his famous painting – the Spoliarium – which won the first gold medal (out of three) in Exposicion Nacional de BellasArtes in 1884 in Madrid. In 1896, he was captured and imprisoned in Fort Santiago on suspicion of being a Katipunero39. Information is from Wikipedia page “Juan Luna”.40

8Apolinario Mabini (1864-1903) was a Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served first as a legal and constitutional adviser to the Revolutionary Government, and then as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines, upon the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. He is known as the “Brain of the Revolution” despite having lost the use of both his legs to polio in 1896, according to Wikipedia page “Apolinario Mabini”.41

9Gabriela Silang (1731-1763) was a Filipino revolutionary leader known as the first female leader of a Filipino movement for independence from Spain. She took over Diego Silang’s (her husband’s) revolutionary movement after his assassination in 1763, leading the Ilokano rebel movement for four months before she was captured and executed by the colonial government of the Spanish East Indies. Information is from Wikipedia page “Gabriela Silang”.42

10Benigno Simeon “Ninoy”Aquino, Jr. (1932-1983) was a senator of the Philippines and, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition against President Ferdinand Marcos. He was arrested in 1972, incarcerated for seven years, allowed to seek medical treatment in the USA for his heart attack, stayed in self-exile in the USA, and returned to the Philippines in 1983, but was assassinated at the Manila International Airport. Information is from Wikipedia page “Benigno Aquino Jr.”.43

11Maria Corazon“Cory” Cojuangco Aquino (1933-2009) was the wife of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. She eventually became the 11th President of the Philippines after the 1986 People Power Revolution. She was the first woman to assume this office. Information according to Wikipedia page “Corazon Aquino”.44 CongresswomanVinzons-Chato stated that she deserves to be a modern national hero (as Asia’s Joan of Arc and modern Gabriela Silang9) because she restored Philippine democracy that led to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. In addition, she was recognized as a democracy icon by the international community (e.g., honored as Time Woman of the Year, 1986; recipient of the J. William Fullbright Prize for International Understanding, 1996; recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, 1998; and, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, 1986).12

12www.news.abs-cbn.com

13Adobo is a Filipino dish, Spanish-inspired, where meat (usually pork and/or chicken) is stewed with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns.

14Anahaw or round-leaf fountain palm (Saribusrotundifolius) isa palm tree found in Southeast Asia. It is also called Luyong in Filipino. The leaves are used for thatching and food wrapping. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Anahaw”.45

15Bangus or milkfish is the sole living species in the family Chanidae which grows to be no more than 1 meter in length. It has an elongated and almost compressed body, with a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance, one dorsal fin, falcate pectoral fins, and a sizable forked caudal fin. Its body color is olive green, with silvery flanks and dark bordered fins. Its mouth is small and toothless. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Bangus”.46

16Baro’t saya is the (unofficial) national dress of the Philippines. Traditionally made of piña (a fiber made from the leaves of the pineapple plant), it is the feminine equivalent of the barong27. This conservative attire is composed of a blouse called “baro”, with butterfly sleeves, and the skirt is called “saya”, generally fashioned out of opaque plaid or striped cotton and sinamay varieties. An “alampay” is a square kerchief usually made of the same fabric as the saya, worn over the “baro” to cover the breasts which also doubles as a veil, later called the “panuelo”. An overskirt made of a darker and thicker material called a “tapis” is wrapped around the lower half of the woman’s body and tied at the waist or below the breasts. It is the pre-colonial clothing of the Tagalogs and Visayans made of silk in matching colors, exclusively worn by women from the upper class; those belonging to the lower caste wore a “baro” made from pounded white bark fiber. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Baro’t saya”.47

17Bakya, or wooden clogs, was the common footwear in the Philippines before the rubber slippers. It was made from local light wood like santol and laniti. It is cut to the desired foot size before being shaven until smooth. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Bakya”.48

18Bahay kubo or nipa hut, is a native house of the indigenous people of the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived. Originally made of bamboo, it is considered an icon of Philippine culture. Anahaw14 thatching material is often used for its roof. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Nipa hut”.49

19Jeepney is the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. It was originally made from the US military jeeps left over from World War II.

20Bayan Ko is a popular patriotic song and kundiman (Filipino love song) of the Philippines, originally penned in Spanish by the Revolutionary general Jose Alejandrino as opposition to the on-going American Occupation (1898-1946), and translated into Tagalog by the poet, Jose Corazon de Jesus. It is also used as a protest song by different political groups at various points in Philippine history. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Bayan Ko”.50

21Cariñosa is a Philippine dance of colonial era origin from the Maria Clara suite of Filipino folk dances, where the fan or handkerchief plays an instrumental role as it places the couples dancing in a romantic scenario. It originated in the Panay Island in the Visayan region and was introduced by the Spaniards during their colonization of the Philippines. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Cariñosa”.51

22www.manilatimes.net

23Balangay or Butuan boat is the oldest watercraft found in the Philippines which is a plank boat adjoined by a carved-out plank edged through pins and dowels. It was the first wooden watercraft excavated in Southeast Asia and is evidence of early Filipino craftsmanship and their seamanship skills during pre-colonial times.Information is from the Wikipedia page “Balangay”.52

24www.news.mb.com.ph and www.congress.gov.ph

25Lechon is a pork dish, popularly served during fiestas and special occasions in the Philippines. It is the Spanish term for “roasted suckling pig”, according to the Wikipedia page “Lechon”.53

26Sinigang is a Tagalog sour-savory soup/stew made of meat/fish, vegetables (like tomatoes, water spinach, yardlong beans, eggplant, finger-long peppers, okra, radish, taro) and a sour ingredient (e.g., fresh tamarind or powdered tamarind mix, guava, kamias, calamansi, santol or unripe mango) in the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page “Sinigang”.54

27Barong is the short term forBarong Tagalog, the traditional, lightweight, long-sleeved, embroidered, formal shirt for Filipino males. It is worn untucked over an undershirt. It is considered the (unofficial) national dress of the Philippines. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Barong”.55

28Tinikling is a traditional Filipino folk dance where 2 people (the “clackers” or ”clickers”) sit or kneel on the ground holding a parallel pair of bamboo poles which they then tap, and slide together on the ground (or on 2 raised pieces of wood). The poles are tapped twice on the ground on the first 2 beats then brought together on the 3rd beat, with the tempo progressing faster and faster. Two or more barefoot dancers then step over and in between the poles to the rhythm of the 1-2-3 beat. In some instances, more pairs of clackers and bamboo poles are utilized, and the dancers then weave through the rapidly moving bamboo poles. The dancers need to be skillful and agile enough to follow the rhythm to ensure that their ankles/feet do not get caught between the poles when these are snapped closed on the 3rd beat. The dancers start with their hands at their hips or clasped behind their backs, then they hold hands when the tempo becomes faster, and end by letting go of each other’s hands and stepping out of the moving bamboo poles. Traditionally, the tinikling is performed to rondalla music, an ensemble of stringed instruments (e.g., bandurrias, guitars, laúdes, octavinasor ukuleles), with the female participants wearing a dress called balintawak or patadyong, and their male counterparts wearing the barong27. NOTE: Tinikling means “to perform like a ‘tikling’, a local bird” that walks gracefully and speedily between grass stems and runs over tree branches. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tinikling”.56

29Juan de la Cruz is the national personification of the Philippines, often used to represent the “Filipino everyman”, coined by Robert McCulloch-Dick, the editor-publisher of The Philippine Free Press in the 1900s. He is usually depicted wearing the native hat, barong27, long pants and tsinelas (Filipino for slippers). Information is from the Wikipedia page “Juan de la Cruz”.57

30Malacañang Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines, located in the city of Manila.

31Sipa is a traditional Filipino game where players kick or toss a washer covered with colorful threads using a foot. A player starts to toss the washer and counts the number of times s/he does it successfully without the washer touching the ground. The player who has the most kicks wins the game. Sipa literally means “kick”. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Sipa”.58

32“National symbols of the Philippines,”accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_symbols_of_the_Phlippines.

33“Jose Rizal,”accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Rizal.

34“Emilio Aguinaldo,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Aguinaldo.

35“Melchora Aquino,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melchora_Aquino.

36“Andres Bonifacio,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andres_Bonifacio.

37“Marcelo H. del Pilar,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcelo_H._del_Pilar.

38“Muhammad Kudarat,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Kudarat.

39Katipunero refers to a Filipino who was a member of the Philippine secret revolutionary society, called the Katipunan. This secret society was founded by anti-Spanish colonialism Filipinos in Manila in 1892, and its primary aim was to gain independence from Spain through a revolution. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Katipunan”.59

40“Juan Luna,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Luna.

41“Apolinario Mabini,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apolinario_Mabini.

42 “Gabriela Silang,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriela_Silang.

43“Benigno Aquino Jr.,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benigno_Aquino_Jr.

44“Corazon Aquino” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corazon_Aquino.

45“Anahaw,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anahaw.

46“Bangus,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangus.

47“Baro’t saya,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baro’t_saya.

48“Bakya,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakya.

49“Nipa hut,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipa_hut.

50“Bayan Ko,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayan_Ko.

51“Cariñosa,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cariñosa.

52“Balangay,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangay.

53“Lechon,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lechon.

54“Sinigang,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinigang.

55“Barong,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barong.

56“Tinikling,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinikling.

57“Juan de la Cruz,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_la_Cruz.

58“Sipa,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_la_Cruz.

59“Katipunan,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katipunan.