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Link to: Mga Bagong Impormasyon, Tips at Usapin tungkol sa History ng Mindoro

Plano naman sa 2009 Occ. Mindoro Kwentuhan and Historical Tour


Brainstorming Points:
Per Ronet: Two tour options are floated by kuya rudy: 1] ambulong, ilin, sta teresa via boat, 2] central northwards.... gawing annual december activity itong historical tour.... puwede ring gawing tour package talaga....very similar to the walking tours that carlos celdran does for intramuros and another old woman for old manila....you just need a good guide who can explain the history of the places..... yung kasi ang core essence ng experience.. .without the explanation, the tour seems to offer nothing..... puwede naman mag-train ng mga guides.... with air-conditioned off-road vehicles like rod's...and the tour ending with a winding down session at sikatuna cafe or pilot's lounge or villa paulina...i think this could cater to a specific market....






Tour of Historical Sites in Southern Mindoro - Serye 2008 
December 30, 2008, 8 to 6 pm
mapping by sikatuna_sunsetParticipants: Rudy Candelario, Gil Manuel (Central onwards only), Ka Bisi Acebes (second landing marker only), Kenneth Pangilinan, Wena Festin, Eunice Novio Cordova, Jojo Cordova, Karl Cordova, Rosemin de los Trinos, Io Santos, Mikmik Santos, Ronet Santos
a] Century old Church Bell in Caguray
When we arrived in Caguray in two conspicuous vehicles, the village residents trooped in droves to the chapel where we disembarked. They told us they were worried that we would take the more than century old church bell from its makeshift tower! They told us that the Catholic Church in San Jose sent them a formal letter of request to turn over the bell to the Catholic Church because it is church property. Kuya Rudy explained to the Caguray residents that the Catholic Church only wanted to take the bell so that it could be protected and preserved. Kuya Rudy related what happened in Ilin where similar church bells and canons disappeared because the village residents did not take care of these. But seeing the Caguray village residents so protective of the church bells, Kuya Rudy said that he doesn't think the Catholic Church would still insist on taking the bell.
marker by sikatuna_sunset. 
We met the second oldest woman in the village, 84-year old, Modesta Lualhati. Her deceased husband was part of the guerilla forces under Sgt Jose Garcia that Ka Bisi wrote about in his latest book. Nang Modest, as she is fondly called by relatives, was once a barangay captain of Caguray; she was the only female village chief the community had so far.
Caguray is one of the oldest settlements in Southern Mindoro, along with villages in the island of Ilin and in the village of Mangarin.
Some action points for the e-group history team that emerged from the discussions:
Action points
Point person
Accomplishment status
1] help the village put together the complete list of the names of the barangay captains of the village since it was established
2] distribute a copy of the document "history of Caguray" written by Kuya Rudy to the village residents and ask them for comments and additions
3] get updates on the implementation of the plan of the village to construct a higher tower for the church bell
4] get information on the actual date of the formal establishment of the village of Caguray
 [Note: pics for this section: one that shows the bell and the chapel, meeting with village residents in the chapel, one that shows Nang Modest]
b] Mangarin Fort
The discussion with the barangay officials in this leg of the tour focused on why the fort was constructed (answer: to serve as a watchtower) and why it is now located inland when it was close to the shore during the time of its construction (answer: because of siltation along the Palanghiran River).
Kuya Rudy and Ronet pointed out that Mangarin was already a hive of economic activity even before the arrival of the Spaniards because the topography of the bay and the area then made it an ideal port for merchant ships that plied the Southeast Asian trade routes; but because of siltation, the bay was reduced in size. Ronet thinks that in another 200 or 300 years the entire bay will become totally silted.
Action points:
Action points
Point person
Accomplishment status
5] talk to the eldest member of the family of the owner of the land where the fort is located to discuss possibilities for protecting and preserving the remains of the fort (name: Jess Passion residing at Fernandez block in Magsaysay)
6] do a write up on the history of the fort and Mangarin and give a copy to the barangay government
7] send a copy of the write up to the National Historical Institute (NHI) and request their support
8] assist the barangay government and the municipal government of San Jose in formulating a resolution to protect and preserve the remains of the fort.
Efren Pasion, whose house is located adjacent to the remains of the fort told the group that he will convince his nephew to dismantle the goat shed within the fort. We suggested to him to construct a bamboo fence around the structure and ask visitors a "viewing" fee, provided that he explains to visitors the history of the structure and the village.
[Note: photos for this part: one that shows the fort, one that shows the discussion with the community, one that shows the hanging bridge, one that shows the century old well]
c] Central
This leg of the tour took the longest time to complete because there were so many things to see. We visited the following sites: former post office, church, mill site, elementary school constructed in 1912, vault for cash and important documents, public swimming pool, towers, train terminal, old houses for managers.
Central attracted a lot of people from different parts of the Philippines when it was constructed in 1900 (operation started in 1910). The operation of the sugar mill in Central served as the core of the most vibrant economy in Occidental Mindoro from 1910 to the 50s. The economy of Central started to decline in the 1950s because of the following factors:
history kwentuhan 2 by sikatuna_sunseti] the mill wasn't getting enough production export quota. The 1950s was the time of foreign exchange and export controls when the national development strategy was import substituting industrialization (ISI). Sugar was one of the main export crops of the country at that time. Old central residents who witnessed this period said influential politicians from Negros were the ones who cornered the bulk of the export quota [this needs more research]. This seems to explain why the sugar industry in Negros got more developed. Gil, however, thinks that the sugar milling technology in Mindoro at that time was getting obsolete and this was the reason for the decline of Central.
ii] the arrival of the American forces in 1944 made Pandurucan (which is now the center of San Jose) a busy place with lots of construction going on (airports, roads, buildings) and attracted migrants that kick started the economy in Pandurucan (Ronquillos, Rodas, etc)
iii] all of the lands in central belonged to the corporation that operated the mill, therefore there was no chance for central residents to make land-based investments there. Tthese Central residents instead made their land-based investments in Pandurucan where it was possible for them to buy and own land.
iv] the shift from sugar to rice led to the construction of rice mills in Pandurucan. The entire Central was corporation property so it was not possible to construct rice mills there that by other business players. Besides it made more sense to build the rice mills in Pandurucan because of its proximity to the sea as the principal mode of trade transport was via the sea.
Together with old central residents, we attempted to recreate a map of the central community during its heyday. A Central resident told us that the Philippine National Bank (PNB) has a copy of the map of the entire community because PNB took over the financing of the sugar mill from RFC (rehabilitation finance corp., the precursor of DBP).
Action points:
Action points
Point person
Accomplishment status
9] to get an artist to draw the reconstructed map, frame this and give it to the community of Central.
10] request besprenjames who works at PNB to find out if indeed the bank has a copy of the map of the community of central and secure a copy for the group if possible
 [Note: pics for this part: school, post office, parts of the mill, vault, meeting in recreating the Central map)
d] Marker for the Second Landing of the American forces
We did not get to discuss with the barangay officials because we arrived at the site late by an hour. Anyway, Ka Bisi distributed a copy of a write up on the history of the arrival of the American forces on the shores of Pandurucan on December 15, 1944. The write up was lifted from his latest book.
No action point was discussed for this leg of the tour because what the e-group can do to help efforts in improving the site has already been covered in the History Kuwentuhan 2 discussion (held December 28), the minutes of which are being written up by Wena.
dwcsj history club by sikatuna_sunsetWe then did a quick wrap up discussion, followed by a quick assessment of the conduct of the tour (will not discuss details anymore) and then some of us proceeded to Sikatuna Cafe for a winding down session and were just in time to watch the magnificent Sikatuna sunset.
[note: pics for this part: one that shows the marker, one that shows us in discussion with Ka Bisi] 
Thanks to the following:
1] Jon Callos for the snacks
2] Rod Agas and Kuya Rudy Candelario for the vehicles and drivers
3] Gil Manuel for the arrangements in central
4] Ma'am Carino for more snacks in central
5] and of course to everyone who participated



Pictures Sources and Links: 


doc Rosemin De los Trinos': http://www.flickr. com/photos/ menics13/










PETSA:     December 28, 2008

ORAS:       Ika-apat ng Hapon

LUGAR:    Bahay ni Ka Bise Acebes




1] take stock of what the e-group history team has accomplished in 2008
2] brainstorming for the 2010 san jose 100th foundation anniversary (extended plan for 2009)
1] kuya rudy candelario
2] ka bisi acebes
3] gil manuel
4] bokal rod agas
5] councilor guy abeleda
6] wena festin
7] tos anonuevo
8] eunice novio
9] ronet santos
at kung sino pa na gustong sumali;
some in the list above have not confirmed participation and ka bisi is inviting more participants....





Proceedings of History Kuwentuhan Series 1

December 30, 2007

3 to 6 pm, Sikatuna Beach Resort Café

San Roque 2, San Jose, Occ. Mindoro



(Final version)



Organized by:


DWCSJOM E-group Mindoro History Team



1      Participants. 1

2      Objectives. 1

3      Discussion flow.. 1

4      Proceedings. 1

4.1       Background of how the History Kuwentuhan came about 1

4.2       Personal introductions. 2

4.3       Timeline exercise. 7

4.4       Discussions with Ka Bise. 11 


1          Participants

1.      Rudy Candelario

2.      Gil Manuel

3.      Wena Festin

4.      Eunice Novio

5.      Ronet Santos


2           Objectives

1.      To take stock of resources (books, photos, films, etc.) on Mindoro History that we already have or have access to

2.      To formulate a simple action plan to promote awareness about Mindoro History


3           Discussion flow

1.      Background of how the History Kuwentuhan came about

2.      Personal introductions

3.      Timeline exercise


4           Proceedings

The contents of the proceedings for each section are organized using the DDA (discussion, decision, action) format. In cases where no decisions were made or no actions were agreed upon, headings for these parts were not included anymore.

4.1         Background of how the History Kuwentuhan came about


Ronet explained that the idea of holding an annual (every December) History Kuwentuhan in San Jose first came up in the DWCSJOM[1] e-forum. The DWCSJOM e-forum is a free listserv established in 2003 by Dino Carnay, a batch 1987 high school alumnus of DWC who is now based in the United Kingdom (UK).

The listserv has more than six hundred (600) members, mostly DWCSJ alumni who are now working or residing abroad. Apart from engaging in electronic discussions on any theme, the members of the listserv (also called the e-group) also support projects/causes that are related to “San Jose or Mindoro.”

Example of DWCSJOM e-group projects:

1.      Raising more than 150K pesos for the operation of a kid with a heart condition of a San Jose-based parent

2.      Raising funds for an ailing DWCSJ teacher

3.      Adopt-a-Pupil Project that supports at least 50 poor elementary students studying at the San Jose Pilot Elementary School

4.      “Book Nook” project – a public library for residents of San Jose

5.      Donation of copier and laptop to the Murtha Elementary school

6.      Donation of books and other resources to the Murtha and Batasan Elementary schools


The idea of the holding an annual history kuwentuhan emerged from a particular discussion thread sometime in the middle of 2007 among three (3) members of the e-group: Tos Anonuevo (based in Switzerland), Wena Festin (based in Manila) and Ronet Santos (based in Cavite). The three (3) thought at that time that there were not a lot of materials on Mindoro History (particularly Occidental Mindoro History) and not a lot of people were doing any work on Mindoro History. They were also not aware of the existence of the Occidental Mindoro Historical Society (OMHS).

In the discussion thread, some members of the e-group informed the three (3) of the following:

1.      the existence of OMHS, with Gil Manuel as president

2.      Kuya Rudy Candelario having written loads of stuff on Occidental Mindoro History

3.      the works of Ka Bise on Mindoro history (his article on DWC history was abridged by Ronet and uploaded by Hope in the DWCSJOM e-group website – www.dwcsjomalumni.googlepages.com)


During his visit to San Jose in November 2007, Ronet visited Ka Bise and informed him of the discussion threads on Mindoro History that is taking place in the DWCSJOM e-forum. Ka Bise immediately called Kuya Rudy and Eunice Novio and introduced Ronet to them. Ronet then visited Kuya Rudy in his home and arranged (with the help of Ched Bagatsolon-Sy) for e-copies of the “History of the Towns of Occidental Mindoro” that Kuya Rudy wrote to be sent to Hope and uploaded in the DWCSJOM e-group website. The e-copies have been sent and uploaded to the website.

4.2         Personal introductions


Ronet asked participants to:

1.      give a general introduction on themselves

2.      to share what they know of Mindoro History and of people and/or groups who are working on this theme, and .

3.      to share what they think are the gaps that need to be addressed in terms of research or work on Mindoro History.


Eunice Novio

Freelance writer based in San Jose. She took a postgraduate course (Theological Education for Asian Women) at the Ewha Women’s University in South Korea. She is a member of the Asian Women’s Resource Center for Culture and Theology based in Kuala Lumpur. She has written a novel entitled “Rin-ay” (about a Mangyan woman and the issue of a potential large-scale open pit mining in Mindoro). She is very active in women’s advocacy work. She has written several short stories in Tagalog for the Liwayway magazine. She has also written loads of stuff on women’s issues such as the impact of mining on women for international journals. For 2008, she plans to collect and put together into a volume the “kuwentong bayan” that she heard were being related by the old residents of different towns of Occidental Mindoro. 

Rudy Candelario

Kuya Rudy belongs to the third batch of DWCSJ graduates. He actually majored in Mathematics, but found himself sucked in by the undertow of researching and writing topics related to Mindoro History. He taught at the former San Jose National High School for five (5) years. His wife is the former librarian of the San Jose National High School. He also worked with the National Statistics Office (NSO). It was during his stint with the NSO (in the 1970s) when he started collecting materials that he later used in writing the history of the towns of Occidental Mindoro. He then worked with the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose (AVSJ).

When he retired in 2004, the Bishop's Chancellor, Fr. Mario Ronquillo, requested him to write the history of the Catholic church in Mindoro, including the histories of the seventeen (17) parishes under its jurisdiction.  He is receiving an honorarium from the head of AVSJ, Bishop Antonio Palang, SVD, DD while researching and writing the histories of the parishes and acting as the editor-in-chief of the Vicariate's newsletter.

His co-workers at DZVT requested him not to leave his one-hour religious and one- hour musical program every Sunday.  He is still hosting the two (2) programs, as volunteer announcer and to be able to play the songs of Tom Jones, Matt Munro, Engelbert Humperdinck, which he likes.      

Kuya Rudy served as the founding chair for the Committee on Research and Publications of the Occidental Mindoro Historical Society (the founder was Dr. Gabriel). On the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of the province of Occidental Mindoro, the OMHS published the materials that Kuya Rudy has written on the history of Occidental Mindoro. The results were two books: one on the history of the province of Occidental Mindoro and the other a compilation of the history of each town in the province.

Kuya Rudy told the group that he had plenty of materials to work on (Mindoro Yearbooks, Pandanggo sa Ilaw by Agpalo, etc.) in writing the history of Occidental Mindoro, but he did not have many materials on pre-Spanish and Spanish times. For this particular period, he sought the help of former SVD priest Antoon Postma. He visited Fr. Postma in the late 90s in his mountain community in Panaytayan, in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. Fr. Postma shared with Kuya Rudy what he (Fr. Postma) found in his research in the archives of the SVDs in Spain and Germany. The relevant sections of the documents that Fr. Postma found in these archives he already translated into English from the original Spanish and German. Kuya Rudy also visited the library of DWC in Calapan to get more materials on Occidental Mindoro history.

He also visited the National Library to get copies of articles written by Mindoro teachers in the 1950s. He also sent a survey questionnaire to all the barangay captains of Occidental Mindoro, asking them to share with him what they know of the history of their barangays based on a structured format. He personally visited the barangays who did not return the completed questionnaire. The survey questionnaire had a fifty (50) percent return rate.

Kuya Rudy said that he thinks Ka Bise has the most complete historical materials on Occidental Mindoro during the Japanese period. 

Wena Festin

Wena studied at the San Roque 2 Elementary School, then at the Saint Joseph’s School (SJS) where she finished high school (she belongs to the last batch of SJS graduates before SJS was “absorbed” by DWC. Wena studied Sociology at the University of the East (UE). While in UE, she became a member of the Mindoro Collegiate Society (MCS), an organization of students who come from the island of Mindoro. At UE, she was active in the student council and the school paper, “The Dawn.”

She taught at a high school in Nueva Ecija for a few years. She then went back to Manila to pursue her masters at the University of the Philippines (UP). She is now teaching at De La Salle University and pursuing further graduate studies. She won a Palanca award for her short story in the late 80s.

What brought her to the history kuwentuhan? She related that during one of her MA classes, the professor asked them what they could write about the history of the places where they originated. She said that at that time she couldn’t give the teacher an honest answer. This incident served as her trigger for delving into Mindoro history, which she is still doing until now.

She started with library research. And came across the works of Violeta Lopez, Volker Schultz (Economic History of Mindoro). She frequents the National Library; she laments that many of the books there can’t be accessed in book form anymore because the books will literally crumble into powder if moved from their shelves. And she can’t read materials in microfilm. Most of the stories and poems she writes on are about Mindoro.  

She worked with ISIS International, a women’s advocacy group for a few years. She was also involved with work with children for four (4) years. She also worked with

Amnesty International (AI), where Tos also worked at the time but she only learned that they were both with AI last year.


Ronet Santos

Ronet’s family arrived in San Jose in 1967. His father is the “katiwala” of the fishpond owned by the Goco’s in the island of Sinaoga[2]. Ronet’s parents lived in Sinaoga until 1991. He is a loyalty awardee of DWCSJ, having finished both elementary and high school education in the school. He graduated from high school at the DWCSJ in 1978. He studied Fisheries at UP Diliman, courtesy of the UP Government Scholarship (scholarship for children of low-income families) that paid tuition and a modest allowance. He has worked in development for more than twenty five (25) years, first with a local NGO, then with the Philippine Resource Centre (PRC) of London (as their Manila-based consultant), then with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) for ten (10) years. He is currently a consultant for the international standards and certification of the marine aquarium trade.


What brought him to the history kuwentuhan? Ronet related to the group that he actually tried to be based in San Jose to work with a local NGO in 1994, but for some reason it did not work out. He had been visiting San Jose regularly since he left it in 1978. In 2005, he became a member of the DWCSJOM e-group and had been active in the discussion thread on Mindoro History.


Gil Manuel

Gil spent two (2) years of college life in DWCSJ. He did most of his studies in Manila. His first job was with the Herdis (Herminio Disini) group of companies. When he was working for this group of companies, he lived the life of a niÔo bonito, but it was a life devoid of meaning. In 1981, he started an MBA course at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and finished it a few years later. His brother became a bishop just before he finished his MBA at AIM. The subject of his MBA thesis was development in Mindoro and the role of communications in it. When he returned to Mindoro, he led the community development work (livelihood movement) of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose. They got involved in organizing pre-cooperatives and in promoting IPM (integrated pest management). His involvement in “history work” started in the mid-1990s. He says that like Kuya Rudy he got sucked in (nahatak) by initiatives started by other older people to promote awareness of Mindoro history. He was elected president of the OMHS. And before he knew it there were so many things that needed to be done. In fact, even the members of staff of the Apostolic Vicariate that he led got involved in the work of the OMHS.  

The establishment of the OMHS was met with great enthusiasm by the people of San Jose. It was seen as the gathering of the “intellectual elite” of San Jose. It included as members of the Deans of the different schools. Ssome of the founding members of OMHS were Dr. Gabriel, the Gabriel sisters, Ben Walata, Mrs Espinas, Mrs Malilay, Dr. Sanqui, and Chit Ramones. The OMHS is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

There were two (2) vice presidents: Mrs. AÔonuevo for operation and Joel Valera for finance and administration. Joel served as liaison person with the provincial government. Governor Nene helped the OMHS from 1996 to 2000. In 1996 the provincial government awarded 500,000 pesos to OMHS’ yearlong activities. In 1998, the provincial government again awarded OMHS more funds. The OMHS was basically responsible for the preparations for the celebration of the Philippine Independence Centennial activities then.

In 2000, the provincial government gave OMHS funds for the celebration of the province’s 50th founding anniversary. The publication of Kuya Rudy’s books was funded by the money given by the provincial government, along with activities such as quiz bees on history, inter-scholastic activities, cultural activities, Mangyan dances, song composition contests, etc.  The books of Rudy were widely distributed to several groups in Occidental Mindoro. 

In 1998, a resolution was filed (by whom?) regarding the selection of ten (10) local Occidental Mindoro heroes. Rudy was instrumental in preparing the biographies of these heroes. Three (3) biographies were relatively lengthy, those of Fortune, Cooper, and Mayor Barretto of San Jose during the Japanese time. Who are the other local heroes? What are the first names of Fortune, Cooper and Barreto?.  

The biography of Mayor Barreto was written by his grandson, Ferdie Mercene. The biography of Cooper was written by Paglicawan, a DWCSJ Alumni. And the biography of Fortune was written by Ka Bise.

The OMHS was very active from 1996 to the year 2000. It implemented a lot of activities and the provincial government supported it.


In the year 2000, the OMHS also created a “traveling museum” consisting of 30 panels of photos and brief texts about the history of Mindoro. Gil still has these panels, but he is not sure of the state of these panels. Rudy wrote the text. The panels are essentially the summary of the contents of Rudy’s books. These were displayed in all the towns of Occidental Mindoro.


Gil has a copy of all the photos used in Ka Bise’s forthcoming book.


Another project of the OMHS was the establishment of a Museum. They already had a groundbreaking ceremony as early as 1997. Vice-President Doy Laurel, who was the head of the Philippine Independence Centennial Movement, was present during the ceremony. There was already an architectural design for the museum. It resembled the Parthenon in Greece. An engineer friend of Joel Valera made the design. The museum building would have two (2) storeys. The second floor would be a hall that can be used for intimate plays and other performances and meetings especially for the youth.


Governor Nene helped Gil to find a lot (piece of land) for the museum. They approached the NFA office in Manila. The NFA donated a lot near the airport of San Jose. However, there was no money for the construction of the building, which would cost somewhere between 3 to 4 million.   


When people in San Jose learned of the plan to construct a museum and that there was no money, a provincial board member (Baldonado, who is not a member of OMHS) approached Gil and asked for a copy of the architectural design. He used the design apparently to solicit for funds from the office of Senator Shahani. The office of Senator Shahani approved Baldonado’s request for funds. The funding, however, was not coursed through the OMHS. The OMHS members were surprised when one day there was already a billboard on the site where the museum would be constructed proclaiming something to this effect: “On this site will rise the Occidental Mindoro Museum… through the efforts of Congresswoman Villarosa, Board Member Baldonado, and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).”


Construction started but only the posts were finished.


After this the enthusiasm of the OMHS members in its activities started to wane.


Discussion prompted by Gil’s sharing


Kuya Rudy informed the group that SB Villanada is sponsoring an SB (Sangguniang Bayan) resolution that would pave the way for the creation of a museum in San Jose to be housed in one of the existing structures in the town. Kuya Rudy said that they are asking him how much the project would cost. SB Villanada is eyeing the Senior citizen’s building as a possible site. Gil thinks the place is too small. But he says that if there will be a next meeting, Rudy and he should attend the meeting.


Action 1:

Rudy and Gil to attend SB meeting on the creation of a museum in San Jose if one were organized.   


Gil shared that a more certain prospect is the rebuilding of the parish convent (that is now a condemned building) into a museum. The parish pastoral council has discussed and approved the plan. The Saint Joseph Alumni Association is involved in this plan, alongside many other organizations. This museum will, however, primarily be a museum of the parish of San Jose. An engineer is already making an estimate of the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the structure.

4.3         Timeline exercise

For the timeline exercise, Ronet requested the group to visualize a wide white board with the template below written on it (Figure 1). Ronet asked each participant to:

1.      share what materials (books, photos, films, etc) they know of that document Mindoro history.

2.      identify gaps in terms of documentation and research

3.      identify which among the gaps can be addressed by the group, given its limitations.


Figure 1: Template used as discussion guide for the History kuwentuhan timeline exercise, December 2007

Pre-colonial times

Spanish period



1950s up to present times

What materials do we already have?

Gaps - general

Gaps that we can address



 see template on the downloadab

Pre-colonial times

Spanish period



1950s up to present times

What materials do we already have?

Gaps - general

Gaps that we can address

Pre-colonial times

Spanish period



1950s up to present times

What materials do we already have?

Gaps - general

Gaps that we can address



















Kuya Rudy started the discussion by saying that during the pre-colonial times, Mindoro people were already trading with the Chinese, but there are not a lot of records of what happened during this period.


“Maybe there is a need to do research in China and not only in Spain,” Kuya Rudy declared. Kuya Rudy says there are not a lot of resources in the Internet. Gil thinks Kuya Rudy has exhausted all sources that are available locally.


Ronet suggested that perhaps Kuya Rudy could list down all the titles of the resources that he used in writing his two (2) books on Mindoro History. Kuya Rudy thinks there are only five (5) or so of these books. Some of these are those written by:

1.      Landicho

2.      Agpalo

3.      Villarica

4.      Schultz

5.      Lopez

6.      those written by teachers in microfilm at the National Library, but some of these materials border on legend rather than history. For example: there was a time that Ilin Island disappeared. Another is the story of Jose Bantug whose arrow divides into three.



Action 2:

Kuya Rudy to enumerate (author, year published, title, name of journal if applicable, publisher, number of pages) all the key resources on Occidental Mindoro History that he thinks the group should have a copy of.

Ronet asked where these materials are available. Gil says he has copies of Schultz’s book. Eunice says she has copy of Agpalo’s book and Landicho’s book. Kuya Rudy also has copies of some of these books. Kuya Rudy asked if we get these materials where will these be housed?

Decision 1:

The owners of these books keep their own copies. That copies of the books will be made (the group will have to fundraise for the cost of copying these resources) and stored in the DWCSJOM Alumni Library to build up a Mindoro History section in it. These books should be publicly available to the residents of Occidental Mindoro and other interested individuals and groups.

Action 3a:

Make photocopies of books that document Mindoro History and place these copies in the DWCSJOM Alumni Library. For those books whose authors are still alive, permission to make copies will be sought from the authors. There is a printing press in the building where Eunice lives, so some of the books can be photocopied and bookbound there.

Action 3b:

Kuya Rudy to donate one of the two copies of the book written by Schultz to the DWCSJOM Alumni Library. His name is at the back of Schultz’s book.

Kuya Rudy informed that group that he, along with some teachers of DWC (Mr Sualog, Mr Hernandez among others), was commissioned by Fr. Lacaron to prepare a history of Divine Word College San Jose. The group, who called themselves “The Recollectors,” has finished a draft that they submitted to Fr. Lacaron. Rudy suggested that perhaps the draft could be shortened and published.

Ronet asked who gives the imprimatur on the publication of this material. Gil said that the DWC leadership in San Jose, specifically Fr. Lacaron, who commissioned that work, would have to be the one to sign off whatever comes out.

Action 4:

Wena to visit Fr. Lacaron at the Villa Cristo Rey in the Christ the King Mission Seminary to get his approval for the group to work on the draft of the history of the Divine Word College in San Jose.

Ronet asked what about materials and resources during the Spanish period up to now? What comes to mind immediately in terms of resources? What comes to mind immediately in terms of gaps?

Gil said that maybe the group noticed that the books written by Rudy were written from the perspective of those who are active in the Church, or written from the perspective of church people. He thinks it seems that almost everything there is on Mindoro History that needs to be written has already been written, meaning are already included in Kuya Rudy’s books. What seems to be needed is an “enriching process.”

Ronet asked which specific area in the timeline needs to be enriched? Gil said that for him one area would be the one that answer questions like: “Were the Americans cruel to us?” In Kuya Rudy’s books the fact that the Americans killed many Mindoreños and that they inflicted so much suffering to the Mindoro people were not highlighted. It seems that what we only remember of the American period is the sugar central.

Unlike in Cebu and Bohol and many other parts of the Philippines, the Spaniards did not build churches that still stand up to this day. The few structures that they build were razed to the ground by the marauding Moros.


Lumang simbahan in Sablayan

In Sablayan, there is a “lumang simbahan” that was built in the 1780s that still stand up to this day, but descriptions of the history of that church does not go beyond one page and is hazy, written as part of the description of the town. Perhaps the group should do more research on this. 

Eunice added that there is a kuwentong bayan regarding this “lumang simbahan” according to her grandmother. Which goes like this: the altar of the “lumang simbahan” holds a cache of treasure that when taken will open the floodgates of the sea and submerge the town underwater.

Ronet asked it the church is preserved. Gil said the church is still there but it is not maintained. The belfry is still there but he is not sure if the bells are still there. And people in Sablayan ignore and are not interested preserving this church. 


Mangarin ruins

Ronet asked about the ruins in Mangarin. Kuya Rudy said the ruins were formerly part of a Spanish fortress. Eunice said the place was called “Ang Kota.”

Eunice added that her Mangyan friends in Oriental Mindoro told her they still keep gongs that probably were brought by the Chinese in Mindoro.

Gil said that there are at least three (3) pieces of memorabilia in these ruins: a part of a church, ramparts and wells that are clearly Spanish vintage. He said that they tried to partner with the local government to preserve the ruins, but they just got tired talking to the people in the local government and nothing happened. It is very difficult to inject to the consciousness of the local people the importance of these things. For example, Gil continued, the marble slabs in the historical marker for the Second Landing of the Allied Forces have been chipped away and the marker suffers from total neglect.

Statue of Liberation

Another case is the Statue of Liberation at the Plaza. Gil said that when he was growing up, this monument was the main attraction of the town. It was always painted in immaculate white. Its location before was near the plaza stage and it was elevated. After the war in 1945, schools re-opened. SMA (Southern Mindoro Academy, the precursor of DWC) organized a fund-raising activity for the construction of the statue of liberation to symbolize the liberation of Mindoro from the Japanese imperial forces. This is one of the oldest markers in San Jose, and it was a project of very young SMA students.

During the time of Mayor Santos, the statue was plucked out from its original location and placed in its present location. During the time of Mayor Festin, in order to please him, the engineer’s office “prettified” the statue and made it look like a butterfly or a fairy. This angered the mayor of course. These incidents, according to Gil, show the kind of historical ignorance that abounds among the people in the town. 


Second landing historical marker

Ronet asked about the second landing historical marker. He asked whose project it is, because in the inscription he saw the logo of the Rotary Club. No one knows whose project it is. Gil said he has a design for and costing for the rehabilitation of the second landing historical marker. Ronet, Wena and Eunice said that it seems what is needed is just repair work and some form of security such as the construction of grills surrounding the historical marker.

Eunice suggested that it might be important to encourage teachers in San Jose (who are mostly “dayo”) to include field trips to this historical marker for their students and discuss during the field trip the importance of the marker.

Action 5:

Find out who is the owner or who is responsible for the Second Landing historical marker (most likely the LGU of San Jose). Once this is clear float in the e-group and other avenues a fundraising campaign to rehabilitate the historical marker. 

Wena suggested that it might be good to organize a delegation that would approach the current mayor (Mayor Festin) to discuss the issue of the historical marker. Gil said that the OMHS could have done this work, but personally he is suffering from “fatigue” when it comes to these things and would rather allow “new bloods” to take the lead. Gil says there was a time when he would write and direct cultural plays every fiesta celebration. But suddenly he just felt very tired.


Annual history meetings

Ronet asked what the likes of him and Wena and Tos (who are not members of the OMHS but interested in Mindoro History can do). Gil said that the OMHS is currently dormant. Maybe what can be done, he opines, is to reconstitute the group. The leaders of OMHS are already very old and do not seem to be interested in it.

Gil said that he has been asking himself if he should call a meeting of the original group. He is sure they will attend, but he just has not taken the time to do this and he has not mustered the energy and the enthusiasm to do this.

Ronet said that the history team of the DWCSJOM e-group would definitely continue discussing and collecting historical materials and storing these in digital form that can be accessed by the public. Ronet said that he sees a possible complementation of the virtual and the physical forums, ie between members of the e-group discussions on Mindoro History and the members of the OMHS. In fact this is already happening. Members of the OMHS and the e-group are already discussing via the internet and face-to-face.

Kuya Rudy asked who among the officers of the e-group are based in San Jose. Ronet said that the e-group does not really have officers. The booknook project has officers and one of them (Rady Macasaet) is “historically-inclined” but he is very busy at the moment. Eunice and Gil both said that Rady is a talented scriptwriter.

Kuya Rudy said we need “mga bagong dugo.” The name of Norman (from the social action center) was mentioned. Eunice, Rudy and Gil agreed that Norman is a talented writer.

Action 6a:

For a second history kuwentuhan to be held on December 30, 2008. The topic would depend on how the email discussions on Mindoro History play out. But the history kuwentuhan could involve more people and might involve paper presentations such as Eunice presenting the results of her research on “kuwentong bayan” in Occidental Mindoro. Gil suggested an interpretative reading of the writings of Rizal, December 30 being Rizal Day. In between the history kuwentuhans, the discussions will have to be virtual and the e-group becomes the hub.

Action 6b:

Explore the possibility of organizing events such as workshops, lectures, etc. that discusses Mindoro history during the summer break when the likes of Wena or Nona Cacho are free from classes to visit San Jose. 


“Dayo” phenomenon

Gil built on Eunice’s comment on the “dayo” phenomenon. He said that in a workshop he facilitated, he asked participants to trace their history in Mindoro. Most of the participants could only trace it up to the 1950s, which meant that most of the people came in the province after the 1950s or after the war.

So the people in the province do not really have a deeply shared history yet. The Antiquenos in San Jose, the Ilocanos, the Batanguenos, the Cavitenos are still Antiquesos, Ilocanos, Batangueno and Cavitenos by heart. The Antiquenos go to Antique for vacations. So how does one promote a sense of history in a situation where most of the people in a place are “dayo?”

Gil thinks that the way to encourage the “dayos” embrace Mindoro as their home is through legislation, a legislation that contains provisions for the creation of a structure within the local government that would deal with history and culture with a legislated budget. Which means people in San Jose will be treated to a constant stream of activities that discusses Mindoro History.

No action point on this one. Perhaps we can continue discussing in the e-group.

4.4         Discussions with Ka Bise

We (Ronet, Wena and Eunice) had the chance to meet Ka Bise separately the next Day. We shared with him the highlights of the history kuwentuhan. This sparked more discussions that basically revolved around things that have been discussed above already and one thing that can be done. 

Action 7a: Explore the possibility of commissioning Bobet Monoso to paint a “centennial mural” in time for the centennial celebration of the town of San Jose in 2010.

Action 7b: Explore the possibility of holding a “Balik Central” program (mass plus talks) on May 1, 2010 for former residents of Central during the heyday of the San Jose Sugar Mill operations.


Action 7c: Explore the possibility of commissioning an artist to create a diorama of the San Jose Sugar Central and the community around this in time for the centennial celebration of the town of San Jose in 2010.

[1] Acronym for Divine Word College San Jose Occidental Mindoro.

[2] Some of those in the kuwentuhan did not know the location of Sinaoga Island.