Category Office

August 1, 1944: The Death of a President

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 […]

Jose Garcia Villa’s Magical Poetry

“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 […]

Sofia de Veyra, Juan Arellano, and The Arts Club of Washington

The Arts Club of Washington has been around for close to a century. Its home is the Monroe House, where former U.S. President James Monroe lived in the 1800s. From the beginning, the club has welcomed members of the Filipino community. Sofia de Verya, wife of the Philippine Resident Commissioner Jaime de Veyra, gave a […]

Cavite Cannons at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Building

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building (also known as the Old Executive Office Building) is next door to the White House and was originally built to house the offices of the State, Navy, and War Departments. The steps leading to the North Wing of this office building (which was previously the office of the […]

Jose Garcia Villa and Bienvenido Santos at the Philippine Chancery

“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 […]

I Swear: A Filipino President Took His Oath of Office in DC

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 […]