From the February 23, 1926 issue of the Washington Post: “Filipino residents of this city commemorated [George Washington’s 194th] birthday anniversary with a meeting at the Playhouse, 1814 N street northwest. The principal speaker was Senator Sergio Osmena, president protem of the Philippines’ senate. Others who spoke were Representative James A. Frear, of Wisconsin; Clyde H. […]

The easiest Valentine’s Day post to write is probably on the history of heartbreak in DC: the unhappy love story of Douglas MacArthur and Isabel Rosario Cooper (early 1930s), the broken engagement of Nina Thomas and Manuel Quezon (around 1916-1917), and the story (circa 1905) of the Sultan of Sulu and Alice Roosevelt, the headstrong […]

February 11, 1937, a sit-down strike by autoworkers in Flint, Michigan ended after 6 weeks and General Motors (GM) formally recognized the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union. Michigan Governor Frank Murphy — who served as the last US Governor General of the Philippines a few years earlier — is also remembered today for rejecting the […]

Wooden stamp of members of the Katipunan, according to the caption. The Katipunan was the secret organization that fought for Philippine independence during the Philippine revolution against Spain from 1896 on. One of the many treasures of Philippine history in the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD. The center […]

Working on POPDC has been a richly rewarding experience, like being granted a privilege of putting together an immense jigsaw image. But there is a special kind of joy that comes from finding a familiar face in the middle of this puzzle. Here is a photograph of the June 1953 ordination of about 40 Jesuits […]

At 10:00 in the morning 76 years ago, at the beginning of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, Capt. Jesus Villamor and his squadron of 6 old training planes engaged superior enemy warplanes over Zablan field (in Camp Murphy, east of Highway 54/EDSA, now known as Camp Aguinaldo). They battled Japanese air raiders again two […]

A page from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first typed draft of his Pearl Harbor speech delivered 76 years ago today before a joint session of US Congress. This typewritten draft was marked up and updated as new military information came in. “Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands” appears mid-page. It was handwritten, reflecting […]

We visited the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford and saw these!  

Remembering Gen. Gregorio del Pilar—the “Boy General”—who died at the age of 24, about 118 years ago during the Philippine-American War. He and his 60 men fought valiantly against some 300 American soldiers who were led by Major Peyton March and were guided up the Tirad Pass trail by a Filipino. “We had seen him […]

We visited the last residence of William W. Grayson on Masonic Avenue in San Francisco. Grayson fired the first shot that started the Philippine-American War in February 1899. He was a British migrant and a member of the Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. In late 1899, Grayson was honorably discharged, got married and settled down in San […]

  Reading the correspondence between US President Dwight Eisenhower and Philippine Commonwealth Secretary of Defense Basilio Valdes. (The Eisenhower library generously provided a copy of their correspondence.) At the time these letters were written (March/April 1943), Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander in North Africa. A few months later he became Supreme Allied Commander in Europe […]

On one of the upper floors of this building, the old Philippine Chancery, the following scene took place exactly 73 years ago today, according to Carlos Romulo: “On the morning of August first, the President’s chief of staff General Valdes, called me from Saranac to tell me that the President has just died. I went […]

We visited Union Station a few days ago and we think we found the exact spot where US President Franklin Roosevelt welcomed Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon and his family in May 1942. President Quezon, other Commonwealth officials, and their families were in exile in DC during the Second World War. (Photo credit: Quezon Family […]

We visited Annapolis, MD the other day (about 30 miles east of DC) and saw the foremast of the USS Maine on display on the grounds of the US Naval Academy. (The main mast is at the Arlington National Cemetery.) The sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898 and the […]

Titchie’s article on the Manila House published in this week’s issue of Positively Filipino! Juliana (center) and Rudolfo Panganiban (far right) with friends in front of the Manila House, 1944. (Source: The Rita M. Cacas Filipino American Community Archives Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, College Park, Maryland)

In 2013, we visited the site of the Manila House. It was an amazing experience to walk in the same rooms described by Bienvenido Santos in his short story, “Manila House.” Since then we have learned more fascinating stories about this place–once the center of community life among Filipinos and Filipino Americans in DC–and together […]

On the Berth Deck of the USS Olympia, the crew ate and slept (of the 400+ crew members, according to one sign we saw, some 200+ men slept in hammocks on this deck). The sign also said that at various points in the USS Olympia’s history (1892-1922), this deck had a dentist’s office, a laundry […]

A few years ago we visited the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. The Museum features the USS Olympia, Admiral Dewey’s flagship. We saw the exact spot where Dewey stood on May 1, 1898–119 years ago today–and said to the captain, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley”. With these words, the Battle of Manila […]

A little over three years ago, we published an article in Asian Journal called “Finding Philippine Art in Washington, DC”. The article was about important Filipino artists who spent some time in the metro Washington, DC area and Philippine works of art that are among Washington’s collections or currently on display at an art gallery […]

Our exhibit, The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement,” is now at the University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library. Please check it out if you are in the neighborhod. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Novara  

This is a stereo card (or stereograph) featuring Filipino Scouts in Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade, March 4, 1905. (US presidential inaugurations always took place on March 4 through 1933 then the 20th amendment moved the inauguration to January 20.) Because it is a stereo card, it appears as a three-dimensional image when viewed through a […]

“First, a poem must be magical / Musical as a seagull” These are the first lines of our favorite Jose Garcia Villa poem. We first read these lines in a freshman literature class decades ago.The poem appears in Villa’s first poetry anthology, “Have Come, Am Here” (1942). This month marks the 20th year since the […]

The origin of Senate Rule XIX, the little known rule invoked by Senate Republicans this week to prevent Senator Warren from reading a letter about Senator Jeff Sessions: A fistfight in February 1902 between two Senators from South Carolina over a Philippine bill. The rift began almost exactly three years before when the two Senators, […]

“Our first home was a two-story brick house on Wisconsin Avenue,” wrote Anita Magsaysay-Ho in An Artist’s Memoirs, her spare, elegant autobiography. Newly married, she and her husband Roberto moved from San Francisco to Washington in 1948 and lived a quiet life. In her memoirs there are stories about spending time with friends who worked […]

You probably know the story of Mr. Tolentino, Philippine National Artist for Sculpture, meeting US President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Mr. Tolentino was a waiter in DC, one of his customers arranged for him to meet President Wilson, he presented the President with a small mother-and-child statue (“Pax”) that he sculpted, Mr. Wilson loved it, […]

In 1909, a series of “grand concerts” to celebrate William Howard Taft’s Inauguration featured twice the Philippine Constabulary Band. (A few years earlier, Taft served as Governor-General of Philippines and the band–Col. Henry Allen’s idea–was formed during Taft’s administration.) Here are photos of pages from the original program. On Inauguration Day, in middle of a […]

Remembering Gregorio del Pilar, the young general who died on December 2, 1899 at the Battle of Tirad Pass during the Philippine-American War. (The DC link is explained at the end of this post.) Here is a first-person account by R.H. Little, a Chicago Tribune correspondent: “We had seen him cheering his men in the […]

Jose Abad Santos was the fifth Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court and served briefly as Acting President in 1942, at the beginning of the Second World War, when President Manuel Quezon and his cabinet escaped to the US. In 1909, Abad Santos was a DC resident, one of the first generation of government […]

We remember Francis Burton Harrison, who is buried in the Manila North Cemetery. He served as Governor General of the Philippines from 1913 to 1921. He was “tall, trim and handsome,” according to Stanley Karnow, had a “pedigreed blueblood” and traced his ancestry to Lord Fairfax, a prominent Cromwell ally during the English Civil War. […]

Our first exhibit, “The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement,” will run from June 16 to 23, Romulo Hall, Philippine Embassy. Please see the flyer for details. See you there!

When Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, the United States acquired a new colony and, in the process, ushered in a new era of Philippine-American relations. Now over a hundred year old, this era spans the Philippine-American War (what some historians refer to as the Philippine […]

General Carlos P. Romulo and his family were long-time DC residents in the 1940s and 1950s, as Gen. Romulo’s lengthy career in public service – spanning eight Philippine presidencies –included appointments as General Douglas MacArthur’s aide-de-camp during the Second World War, Resident Commissioner of the Philippines, Ambassador to the United States, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, […]

“In the fall of 1942, Ben Santos was summoned from his studies at Columbia University and assigned a basement desk in the Information Division of the Commonwealth Building (now the Philippine Embassy) in Washington. Some of the upstairs officials preferred speaking Spanish and, on the avenues, passing as Latin American. Near Santos worked Jose Garcia […]

Recalling fond memories of her time in the Philippines while her husband was Governor General, Helen Herron Taft, as First Lady in 1909, wanted to “convert Potomac Park into a glorified Luneta where all of Washington could meet…” On April 17 that year, the first musical concert was held at the Potomac Park and the […]

In 1944, when the Philippines was counted among U.S. territories, the Department of Interior was also in charge of many Philippine-related affairs.  When Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon died in exile on August 1, 1944, Vice President Sergio Osmeña immediately took his oath as the new Commonwealth President at the office of Secretary of Interior Harold […]

Jose Abad Santos received his MA in Law from the George Washington University in 1909, one of the first generation of pensionados or government scholars. He became Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court in 1941 and served briefly as Acting President in 1942, as President Quezon left for the U.S., until his death at […]

Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon and his family occupied a suite at the Shoreham between 1942 and 1944 while the government was in exile and just before Quezon died in New York. Though visibly frail, Quezon established an office and met regularly with members of his cabinet, including Sergio Osmeña (Vice President), Andres Soriano (Secretary of […]

February 12, 1945, the Yalta Conference formally ended. It was the 2nd wartime conference of the leaders of the “Big Three” Allied countries–US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin–who met to discuss the structure of postwar Europe, among many other complex issues. Some 15 years after, Roosevelt’s […]