“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 […]