Naglilingkod sa Diyos at sa Bayan sa pagtuturo ng Kasaysayan

WHO IS THAT POKEMÓN? F. Tañedo and Other Street Names in Tarlac City (To Celebrate Tarlac City Fiesta, 20 January 2013)

Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua [1]

ISLAND STUDIO classic shot of Mt. Pinatubo's first major eruption as seen from F. Tañedo Street in Tarlac, Tarlac, 12 June 1991.

ISLAND STUDIO classic shot of Mt. Pinatubo’s first major eruption as seen from F. Tañedo Street in Tarlac, Tarlac, 12 June 1991.

(First published at Tarlac Star Monitor, 22-28 May 2012, 5)

Street names are part of our everyday lives.  Despite that, or even because of that, we just pass them by day by day oblivious of whom or what those street names represent.  But street names reflect history.  That is why one of the best history books on the City of Manila is Luning B. Ira and Isagani Medina’s The Streets of Manila.[2]

Asking the question “Just who is F. Tañedo?” led me to writing a paper about the hero to whom the main street of the city was named.[3]  In the process of my research, Dr. Lino Dizon gave me a treasure—a copy of an old article by Tarlac micro (local) historian Vicente Catu published in The Monitor on 4 February 1973.

In “How Tarlac Streets Got Their Names,” Catu enumerated the national and provincial heroes which are honored in poblacion street names.  I will reprint his article in italics and annotate or add a thing or two to the data that he presented to update it for this write-up.

F. Tañedo Street.  Photo by Xiao Chua.

F. Tañedo Street. Photo by Xiao Chua.

F. TAÑEDO STREET (the poblacion main road) named after Gen. Francisco Tañedo, a native son of Tarlac, who died a martyr’s death at the hands of Spanish soldiers on charges of underground activities during the Philippine Revolution.  Hailing from the pioneer clan of Tarlac town, Don Kikoy was elected lieutenant for the colonial government in 1889 and served for two years.  He co-founded the first masonic lodge in Tarlac, the Logia Filipino Gran Nacional Orient, and was one of the leaders of the Katipunan in the province (Tarlac being one of the first eight provinces to revolt against Spain in 1896).  A conflict with a guardia civil led to his arrest, and when he refused to implicate fellow revolutionaries and mason, he was tortured to death.  According to letters found by Dr. Lino Dizon, his death was the reason why Makabulos continued to fight the Spaniards despite Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s surrender at Biak-na-Bato.

ANCHETA STREET (fronting the Alice theater) named after local hero Francisco (sic – Candido) Ancheta of Tarlac, Tarlac.

C. SANTOS STREET (fronting the Rural Bank of Tarlac) named after revolutionary leader Ciriaco Santos, the father of Don Joaquin Santos and grandfather of …Hilario Santos.

HILARIO STREET (fronting Ramos Hospital) is named after revolutionary leader Procopio Hilario Sr., and father of the late Procopio Hilario Jr., of Tarlac, Tarlac.  Procopio Hilario was the brother of Don Tiburcio Hilario, the brains of the revolution in Pampanga.  He married F. Tañedo’s sister Carmen.  Together with his brother-in-law, Francisco Macabulos, Candido Ancheta and Ciriaco Santos, they spearheaded the Philippine Revolution in Tarlac province.  For this, he was executed by the Spaniards.  His son, Procopio Hilario, Jr., became a beloved school teacher described as “very kind, simple and not greedy,”[4] and one of his grandchildren, Socorro Hilario-Timbol, became directress of the Tarlac First Baptist Church School (TFBCS).  I am proud to be his distant relative.

ESPINOSA STREET (fronting KB Sizzlers, near the Tarlac plazuela) is named after Don Porfirio Espinosa, former town president of Tarlac Town (1908-1909).

RIZAL STREET (fronting the Tarlac City Hall) is named after Dr. José Rizal, the national hero, who during his lifetime was a frequent visitor of the Tarlac masons.  On the same street once stood the house of Don Evaristo Puno (municipal president of Tarlac from 1885 to 1886) where Rizal stayed on 27 June 1892.

DEL PILAR STREET (at the back of the Old Tarlac Public Market, fronting Botica Sto. Cristo, Tarlac Ice Plant) is named after Marcelo H. del Pilar, the great reformist.

LUNA STREET (fronting the Sto. Cristo Elementary School) is named after Gen. Antonio Luna, the over-all commander of the Central Luzon Revolutionary Troops – 208,000 men.  It is now more popularly ascribed to the general’s brother Juan Luna, the Philippines’ National Painter whose masterpiece, the Spoliarium, won the gold medal in the Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts in 1884.

MABINI STREET (fronting the Tarlac Electric Plant) is named after Apolinario Mabini, the known Sublime Paralytic and Prime Minister of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s Government who never collected salaries in return for his services to the country.

BURGOS STREET (fronting Kentucky Fried Chicken, near the Tarlac plazuela) is named after Father José Burgos, one of the three Filipino priests who were garroted at the Luneta on the dawn of February 17, 1892 on charges of complicity with the Cavite Mutiny.

ZAMORA STREET (fronting Kent Lumber, Iglesia ni Cristo, Tarlac Central Elementary School) named after Fr. Jacinto Zamora, also one of the three priests to have died in the garrote in connection with the Cavite Mutiny.

MACARTHUR HIGHWAY (fronting Metrotown Mall, Siesta) the national highway named after Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

ROMULO BOULEVARD (fronting the Tarlac State University, Diwa ng Tarlak) is named after Don Gregorio Romulo, Camiling Municipal President from 1906 to 1907, Governor of the province from 1910 to 1914, and father to the Little Giant, Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, President of the United Nations General Assembly and President of the University of the Philippines, among other things.

AQUINO BOULEVARD (fronting new Tarlac Public Market, Uniwide) reclaimed from the Tarlac dike, it was named after former Tarlac governor and former senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino, Jr., who became a world icon of resistance against the Marcos dictatorship and died a martyr’s death on 21 August 1983.  Recently, the boulevard was extended from Cut-Cut I to Carangian.

HOSPITAL DRIVE (fronting the Central Luzon’s Doctor’s Hospital) the road leading to the Tarlac Provincial Hospital, the first provincial hospital in the Philippines.  The former University of the Philippines Tarlac Campus is now the site of the delapidated provincial guest house.  Facing it is another hospital, the Central Luzon Doctor’s Hospital.

MACABULOS DRIVE (fronting the Tarlac City Post Office, Development Bank of the Philippines) named after the Liberator of Tarlac Province during the Philippine Revolution, Francisco Macabulos of La Paz town, who continued the struggle despite Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo’s truce with the Spaniards in Biak-na-Bato in 1897.  Another road, the San Vicente Northern Road fronting Camp Macabulos is erroneously ascribed the same name.

The listing here is just preliminary.  Dr. Rodrigo Sicat of the Center for Tarlaqueño Studies had already written extensive papers on the toponyms or the origins of place-names in the province.  I hope other scholars and enthusiasts would expand on what we had written.  Further studies could deal with other street names or place-names or in depth research on the lives and sacrifices of many of our local heroes who just exist to us as trivial street names.

[1]               Mr. Michael Charleston “Xiao” Briones Chua, 29, is currently an Assistant Professor of History at De Sa Salle University and a Ph.D. Anthropology student at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he also taught for three years and finished his BA and MA in History.  He is governor-at-large of the Philippine Historical Association and a member of the International Order of the Knights of Rizal.  He appears regularly as historical commentator on national television.  He is a native of Tarlac City.

[2]               Luning B. Ira and Isagani R. Medina, Streets of Manila (Quezon City:  GCF Books, 1977).

[3]               Michael Charleston B. Chua, “F. Tañedo St., P. Hilario St.:  Ang Paglimot at Pag-alala sa mga Bayani ng Himagsikang 1896 sa Tarlac,” in Bernie S. de Vera, Rizal P. Valenzuela and Michael Charleston B. Chua, Dakilang Tarlakin (Quezon City:  Bahay Saliksikan ng Tarlakin, 2007).  Originally submitted to Dr. Jaime B. Veneracion as a paper for Kasaysayan 207 (History of the Philippine Revolution), first semester, 2005-2006 at the University of the Philippine in Diliman.  Presented in the sympoisum “Bulilit Kasaysayan: Mga Pag-aaral Ukol Sa Himagsikan at Mikro-Kasaysayan”, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Maragondon, Cavite, 6 October 2005.

[4]               Bor De Jesus, Interview, 18 September 2005.

TARLAC, TARLAC: Capital of the Philippine Republic, 1899 (To Celebrate Tarlac City Fiesta, 20 January 2013)

Published by Tarlac Star Monitor:

The Tarlac Church, site of the 1899 Philippine Revolutionary Congress (Lino Dizon Collection

 TARLAC, TARLAC:  Capital of the Philippine Republic, 1899[1] 

Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua[2] 

Department of History, De La Salle University Manila

I grew up in a time when television news reporting in the Philippines was Manila-centric and I felt that our province was insignificant, despite a Tarlaqueño president, because it was rarely cited in TV Patrol and I even felt that when Ernie Baron gives the thypoon warnings, all Central Luzon provinces would be warned but not even Tarlac has a storm signal.  Even history textbooks seldom mention significant events in Tarlac despite it being one of the first eight provinces who joined the Philippine Revolution in 1896.

Years later as a student of history, while doing research at the UP Main Library, I stumbled over a very old booklet by a Tarlac school teacher, Mrs. Aquilina de Santos entitled Tarlak’s Historic Heritage.[3]  It outlines the legacy of the province in the national history, specifically when it became seat of the Philippine Republic under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo from 21 June to 12 November, 1899.  I also read the scholarly work of our foremost historian Lino Dizon on the Tarlac Revolutionary Congress.[4]   In their writings, and other historical documents I learned that if there was TV Patrol back then, Tarlac could have dominated the news because as capital of the republic, a few significant things happened here that our national textbooks seem to reduce in a sentence or a footnote.

After the fall of Aguinaldo’s capital, Malolos, Bulacan, to the Americans, the Philippine Revolutionary Congress reconvened on 14 July 1899.  Seats for provinces not represented have to be filled in by Luzon people, a number of them Tarlaqueños, such as:  Don Jose Espinosa (Tayabas), Servillano Aquino (Samar), Marciano Barrera and Luis Navarro (Leyte), Alfonso Ramos (Palaos Islands), Capt. Lazaro Tañedo (Zamboanga), Gavino Calma (Romblon), and Francisco Makabulos (Cebu).

The Altar-Mayor of the Tarlac Cathedral with the prominent statue of Apung Basti (San Sebastian). 1930s. (Lino Dizon Collection


Ten days after the convening of the Congress, an article appeared in the revolutionary paper La Independencia criticizing the Tarlac Revolutionary Congress.  The article entitled “Algo Para Congreso” (Something for Congress), signed by PARALITICO, pointed out that the Congress was a failure.  No less than Apolinario Mabini, Sublime Paralytic and Brains of the Revolution, wrote the article in Rosales, Pangasinan on 19 July 1899.  He pointed out that the Congress, as convened in Tarlac, was not even a representative of the people; that the elections for Congress should not have been held because the Aguinaldo government was fighting a war; and that a declaration of principles is much more suitable in a revolution instead of using a constitution copied from French and South American Republics, which were made in times of peace.

Yet, despite Mabini’s criticism and the Philippine-American War at the background, the Congress enacted laws.  By doing so, according to University of the Philippines constitutional historian Sulpicio Guevarra, they “marvelously succeeded in producing order out of chaos.”  The Tarlac Revolutionary Congress convened in San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac, Tarlac.  This humble sanctuary became a witness to the First Philippine Republic realizing its fullest potential as a government, despite limiting circumstances.

Some significant decrees issued in Tarlac were the prescription of fees for civil and canonical marriages (28 June), the prohibition of merchant vessels flying the American flag from territories held by the Philippine Republic (24 July), the provision for the registration of foreigners (31 July), the organization of the Supreme Court and the inferior courts (15 September), and the promulgation of the General Orders of the Army (12 November).  The latter was even issued a day after the fall of the Aguinaldo government.

Another one of the early decrees of Aguinaldo in Tarlac was that on the establishment of the Bureau of Paper Money, 30 June 1899.  In the printing press of Zacarias Fajardo the first paper money were printed—the one peso denomination, followed later by the five-peso denomination.   Paper bills of two, five and twenty pesos were also printed.  For the coins, a maestranza or mint was established on the building of the Smith, Bell, & Co., at a property owned by Don Mauricio Ilagan in Gerona, Tarlac.

Another one of the early decrees of Aguinaldo in Tarlac was the clemency granted to the Spanish prisoners who defended the Baler Church, 30 June 1899.  Fifty Spanish soldiers, popularly known in Spain as “Los Ultimos de Filipinos,” made their last stand inside Baler Church.  Filipinos held constant siege of the church, yet despite deaths, diseases, starvation and loneliness, the Spaniards held out for 337 days.  On 2 June 1899, the 33 surviving Spanish troops surrendered, Filipinos received them shouting, “Amigos, amigos!”  Aguinaldo recognized the bravery of these men, and decreed that they should not be treated as enemies but as brothers.  They were issued safe conduct passes and were allowed to go back to their Madre España.  The event, which manifested the bravery of the Spaniards, the benevolence of the Filipinos, and the enduring friendship between two sovereign nations more than a former colonizer and colonized, is being celebrated today as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day on the date of the Aguinaldo Proclamation from Tarlac.

Not only was the Philippine Republic the first democratic republic in Asia, we also had the first Filipino University in Tarlac.  The Philippine Revolution of 1896 interrupted the schooling of most young Filipinos, many of them working in the Philippine government.  This can be attributed as the reason why education was top priority by the First Philippine Republic despite the fact that the times were difficult.  As mandated in a decree dated 19 October 1898, the Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas (Scientific and Literary University of the Philippines) was established in Malolos, Bulacan.  When Malolos fell to the Americans, the schools have to close down.  As mandated in a decree dated 9 August 1899, the university, together with the Burgos Institute (secondary school), was re-established in Tarlac.  The Tarlac Convent beside the San Sebastian Cathedral was used as the school building.  But because of the hostilities around Tarlac, all these plans were disrupted once again.  On 29 September 1899, the first and last graduation rites for the Literary University were held, the diplomas signed by Aguinaldo himself.

On 23 September 1899, the Imprenta Nacional (owned by Tarlaqueño Zacarias Fajardo) came out with the booklet Reseña Veridica de la Revolucion Filipina with Emilio Aguinaldo as its titular author.  An English version, the True Version of the Philippine Revolution, was also published translated by Marciano Rivera and corrected by a certain Mr. Duncan, probably for American readers.  Aside from being the very first work on the Philippine Revolution ever published, the work also condemned the atrocities of American expeditionary forces in the Philippines.  For Carlos P. Romulo, this added significance to an already important work because it presaged My Lai and other atrocities committed by American Forces during the Vietnam War by over half a century.

On 23 October 1899, the ex-communicated Filipino priest, Fr. Gregorio Aglipay, convened the Filipino clergy in Paniqui, Tarlac (the site is now part of Anao town) to affirm their common struggle against the Archbishop of Manila, Bernardino Nozaleda, and their common stand that the Holy See in the Vatican should recognize their petitions.  They came out with the Constitutiones Provisionales de la Iglesia Filipina(Provisional Ordinances of the Philippine Church), which “provided temporary regulations for the church in the Philippines due to the exigencies of war.”  This gave the impression that the document is a constitution for a new church.  Some even mistake the event as the founding of the new church, which, by this time, was still yet to happen until Aglipay and Isabelo de los Reyes would severe their ties from Rome and establish the Iglesia Filipina Independiente commonly known as the Aglipayan Church.

Tarlac is the terrain where so many battles were fought between the Philippine Army and the superior American Forces.  Yet despite the war that was being fought, it was socially alive during the brief stint there of the First Philippine Republic.  Fiestas and dinners drew crowds.  One such function happened on 2 November 1899, a formal banquet was held at the Teatro de Tarlac hosted by the Asamblea de Mujeresspearheaded by the president’s wife, First Lady Hilaria del Rosario Aguinaldo.

But these would all be over in days time.  By 11 November 1899, Gen. Arthur Macarthur was entering Tarlac Province.  But the Filipinos won’t let him through without a fight.  The 300 to 400 troops under the command of Gen. Makabulos, backed-up by Gen. Servillano Aquino’s brigade, tried to stop the Americans along the Bamban-Concepcion road.  But Macarthur’s 3,000 strong army was too much for them.  When night came, the Americans already had Bamban, Capas and Concepcion.

The next day, Gen. Macarthur and his troops entered Tarlac town, drenched in rain.  They have captured the seat of government, but Aguinaldo and his men were nowhere in sight.  They had fled.  In a few days, the Philippine Army would be disbanded.  For Nick Joaquin, this was the collapse of the Filipino nation, “The Republic had fallen.”

The Philippine Republic in Tarlac was not a mere footnote in history, for in that brief stint of the Aguinaldo government in the province, so many things were tried to be accomplished despite the limiting circumstances of the war.  Economic and educational institutions were raised up to be the foundation of government.  In Tarlac, the republic showed the world that we Filipinos could govern ourselves at that early stage.  Tarlac, therefore, is as historically significant as Malolos, Bulacan.  It is part of the story of our development as a nation, and our government as it is today.

Xiao Chua in front of Apung Basti at the Tarlac Cathedral, November 2011


Therefore, it is vital that young Tarlaqueños, as future leaders of our province, should be made aware of their own historic heritage.  As much as they learn the history of our country, our continent and our world in schools, so must be that they learn their province’s local history. To know our past is to know ourselves.  It tells us who we are, how we were and how did we become what we are today.  It also gives us a sense of direction for the future.  Screw people who think that life is all about the money; history gives us a sense of pride, and a sense of identity, that in no way we would feel the emptiness of non-belonging.

[1]               Expurgated and edited version of an undergraduate paper, “A FOOTNOTE IN HISTORY, Tarlac: Seat of Government of the Philippine Republic, 1899,” originally for Kasaysayan (History) 111 under Dr. Ricardo Trota José in the University of the the Philippines at Diliman.  Presented at  the 4th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Conference Workshop at the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT), Baler, Aurora on 29 July 2006.  It was published as a commentary in the third issue (December 2005) of Alaya:  The Kapampangan Resesarch Journal of The Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City.

[2]               Mr. Xiao Chua, 29, is currently an Assistant Professor at the De La Salle University Manila and Ph.D. Anthropology student at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he also finished his MA and BA in History.  He is a native of Tarlac City.

[3]               Mrs. Aquilina de Santos, Tarlak’s Historic Heritage (Manila:  Benipayo Press & Photo-Engravers, 1933).

[4]               Lino Lenon Dizon, Francisco Makabulos Soliman:  A Biographical Study of a Local Revolutionary Hero (Tarlac:  Center for Tarlaqueño Studies, 1994); Tarlac And The Revolutionary Landscape (Tarlac:  Center For Tarlaqueño Studies, Tarlac State University/Holy Cross College, 1997); “The Tarlac Revolutionary Congress” in The Tarlac Revolutionary Congress of July 14, 1899:  A Centennial Commemoration (Tarlac City:  Center for Tarlaqueño Studies, Tarlac State University, 1999);  “The Philippine Revolutionary Government, from Malolos to Bayambang (1898-1899)” in Kasaysayan:  Journal of the National Historical Institute, Volume 1, No. 4, Decdember 2001, pp. 1-15.