Wartime Photo of Baao #2

The other picture of Baao which Harold L. Brodhead took was the Catholic parish church. For this photo he wrote a simple caption: 'Baao, Philippine Islands - Baao Church'. Note the fence with huge balustrades around the patio. The old convento which was destroyed by fire in 1966 is partly visible in the picture. And so is the grotto of Lourdes. The neo-baroque facade of the church with its twin belfry is a pre-war (1920s) construction, but the thick walls made of lime and ladrillos originate from the Spanish era. See more of Harold's Wartime Photos published in the internet.

Wartime Photo of Baao #1

Harold Laubach Brodhead (b. 1924 and d. 1959) from New Jersey was a technician 5th grade of the 158th Infantry “Bushmasters”. He partici- pated in the liberation campaign of Luzon (15 Dec 1944 - 4 July 1945). While passing through Baao he took this picture and wrote the following caption: '1945 Baao, Philippine Islands, Flips and carts, many lived in the carts and toured the islands.' "Flips!" - that was how the American soldiers condescendingly called the Filipinos. Harold was obviously misinformed about the use of the carreta. After the war he joined the occupation forces in Yokohama, Japan. See more of Harold's Wartime Photos published in the internet.


Poems about BAAO by P.B. Robosa

Rignos Waves

From the window pane
rice fields stretch and shimmer
westward slivers a path
out of gaze along the winding vale.
Ancient farmers gave names
to winds from certain places
with a sense of the invisible
that I first felt and remembered
Sea from the blue sky,
thousands of sparrows dappled its face
I didn't know that there
was a word for life's desires
To leap out of itself
Now looking down and
swooping past my window
and I stand still in wonder.

Around My House

To the east sits steady
Ki Agang’s throne
A splendid blue volcano
where the sun slips in at dawn

The south sprawls a cacophony
of people, friends and kin
clump of trees and concrete
to lose cares in the busy din.

The vast north open boundless
where soothing breeze begin
and Simurai skims the clouds
and the road to dreams open

Sunsets to the west bodes peace
and balmy tranquility sleeps
at Baao lake where my people began
with God’s glory, grandeur, and gifts

At Barlin Park

Summers end at Barlin park
beneath St. Bartholomew’s
I’d climb the stone bulwark
slippery and wet with dew
and see the town anew

then I would jump free
to the soft grass below
on scraped hands and knee
as others would follow
and roll away triumphantly

and the monkey bars will call
and we clamber up the device
arm over arm we’d crawl
through a gauntlet of pipes
till at last our breath sufficed

no one remembered home
and we wished for the rain
scanning the clouds that roam
as we cleared the grass of grain
where last summer we had lain

come at last the first raindrops
from skies turning grey and dim
I’d close my eyes to the drops
till water reach grass tips rim

and lift me off a carpet of green


The Death & Burial of Msgr. Jorge Barlin

The original Spanish article was published in the review El Santisimo Rosario, vol. XXIV (1909) p. 722; English translation by Felipe Fruto Ll. Ramirez, SJ.

The Illustrious Msgr. Jorge Barlin Imperial

Dominican tertiary, first native bishop of the

In this Review, we said something about the life of this renown prelate, a Dominican tertiary, who had lived defending us and died loving us. Now we shall say something about his death in order to mourn him and beg our readers to pray for his soul.

The illustrious Filipino prelate was not yet old. He was born in Baao on April, 1850. He was every bit a ‘Spaniard’ and a Dominican. He was consecrated bishop of Nueva Caceres on June 1906. When he came to Rome in May of this year 1909, for the purpose of making an ad limina visit, he became grievously ill in the Eternal City and suffered with great courage until he died on the fifth day of September in the college of the Spanish Dominican fathers at Via dei Condotti [see photos], comforted by all the sacraments and the special apostolic blessing sent by His Holiness Pius X.

Vested in episcopal regalia, his body was waked in the church. The day after his death, a solemn funeral Mass was celebrated. The Reverend Father Jeronimo Coderch, Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and assistant to the Most Reverend Master General of the Order of Preachers, officiated. The aforementioned Reverend Father General Jacinto M.a Cormier intoned the final prayers of commendation for the dead.

Various cardinals, bishops, superiors general of religious orders, secular priests, and devout members of the Roman nobility attended the funeral.

The cadaver of the virtuous Dominican bishop was placed on an elegant funeral car and brought to the cemetery of Campo Verano, and laid to rest in the chapel owned by the Dominican Fathers in that cemetery.

May the illustrious prelate rest in peace!


A Poem by Luis G. Dato

The Spouse
Rose in her hand, and moist eyes young with weeping,
She stands upon the threshold of her house,
Fragrant with scent that wakens love from sleeping,
She looks far down to where her husband plows.

Her hair dishevelled in the night of passion,
Her warm limbs humid with the sacred strife,
What may she know but man and woman fashion
Out of the clay of wrath and sorrow—Life?

She holds no joys beyond the day’s tomorrow,
She finds no worlds beyond her love’s embrace;
She looks upon the Form behind the furrow,
Who is her Mind, her Motion, Time and Space.

O somber mystery of eyes unspeaking,
O dark enigma of Life’s love forlorn;
The Sphinx beside the river smiles with seeking
The secret answer since the world was born.

A poem by P.B. Robosa

To An Old Statue of Barlin

I'm seen all around as everyone knows
on my shoulders the birds launch to fly,
and my feet are crowded with swallows,
the last stop to the place where they die.

My pillow is the moon slowly rising,
and the wind sprinkle my clothes with sand,
these eyes that seek out what meaning,
to the torn and forgotten toils of my hands.

my pulse muffled and chained and mellow,
someday it will burst out through this cast
like flowers planted amidst grass down below,
someday picked, like names from your past.

Till then, I'll hide my soul in this rock,
With the spit and scratches in the paint,
And yield to the flood of your neglect,
With my proud demeanor well spent.

And you may cover me then with darkness,
sweep my base with a flick of your wrist.
Under my shadow, this accursed harness--
To watch over you and all that there is.

Barlin Centennial

The Centennial of the Episcopal Ordination of The First Filipino Bishop, Jorge I. Barlin of Baao, Camarines Sur.
June 29, 2005 - June 29, 2006

On the Late Morning of June 29, 1906, inside the University of Santo Tomas at what was then the Dominican Church of Sto. Domingo, multitudes gathered under drizzly weather on an event never seen by Filipinos in three centuries of Catholicism. The event was the Consecration of the Bishop of far away Caceres on whose elevation to the purple ended the centuries-long yearning of the Filipino Clergy for recognition of their capacity to reach the fullness of the priesthood. Msgr. Jorge I. Barlin's consecration ended too a turbulent period in Philippine Church History that wrought havoc on the changing Filipino conciousness of nationalism, it ended the question of whether the Filipinos can truly be trusted to govern themselves, if not yet politically then ecclessiastically. Bishop Barlin's role as Apostolic Administrator has proved his capacity to hold his flock together even amidst the onslaught and encroachment of a Nationalist Church fast gaining favor among Filipino minds resentfull of any foreign influence. His consecration too was also a beginning; the Filipino began to find that they can live well enough with even the foreign heritage of their past and yet retain the nuances of their race, that they can live in harmony, albeit uneasy, among nations, the hierarchy of the Universal Church and all that was brought by the birththroes of the 21st century--- and yet maintain their Filipino identity.
April 23, 2006 1:00 pm at Baao Covered Social Hall
Local Conference: "The Consecration of Bishop Barlin and its Impact on Philippine History and Filipino Identity."
To be followed shortly by the unveiling of the Bishop Barlin Birthplace Marker
Brought to you by:
BAAO LGU + SMAAA + Spirit of 78-82 + Baao Historical Society


Barlin Centennial [update: 03/09/06]

Paulix, Understandably, you're already committed to push through your Barlin Conference Souvenir Program by May. Then you should. As you say, that won't close our option to still do a Kaiba Barlin Centennial Yearbook. We'll see. Nonetheless, do email to me your BCSP ad solicitation letter please. Yours, -- Jun Ramirez

Barlin Centennial [update: 03/08/06]

Tiyong Jun, I misundesrtood completly after I read your letter a second time. You mean't to marry the Centennial Book with the Kaiba newsletter not separate it. From my reply I mean't we cannot compromise and make midstream adjustments with the Conference souvenir program we have already started working on and which we cannot delay release not later than May to be over with it and devote ourselves to our other objectives. What i also meant about the Kaiba Yearbook/Barlin Centennial Book is make it a separate publication, a much better one than what we have planned and set into motion here. But to make it worthwhile back it up with research and wait for whatever materials that may come up from the activities this year. Thanks Again. – Paulix B. Robosa

Barlin Centennial [update: 03/06/06]

Paulix, Thanks for your reply. Just some clarifications: * Barlin Centennial Book and Kaiba Souvenir Program. My idea is to marry the two, not to publish separately. Instead of page ads, line ads (but same revenues for Kaiba,) hence, less printing cost of ads (notice: in past souv progs much of the cost of print would go to ad pages); savings on ad printing goes to printing of non-revenue pages for articles (only the names and addresses of advertisers will be printed, so that in one page there may be a hundred names.) The line ads can sell because of the quality of the hard-bound, glossy, colored, book of collector's value. The Barlin group (call it, say, the Barlin Centennial Committee chaired by you, or, if you will, the Baao Historical Society run by you as Executive Director) should also sell ads and be allowed to keep say 70%, and 30% goes to 'share in printing cost.' If the Barlin Group has other attached selling orgs under it, e.g. SMAAA, then its 70% share may be split in whichever way desired. If we can have more accurate costings we can refine the revenue and cost sharing scheme. * Conference. I noted you already plan to cut down the sessions to just half-day. Good. I recall i once attended a Lenten recollectionin our parish. Not truly exciting topics to listen to. But after each 30 min. topic/talk the participants were treated to classical music played by a live string quartet. We lasted thru five talks without noticing it. * I have gotten a txt from Fred saying he's on his way here; will see if i can have a chat with him. Got to sign off now. Keep the mail going. -- Jun Ramirez

Barlin Centennial [update: 03/04/06]

Tiyong Jun, The Centennial is generating quite a stir now in Naga when they heard of our preparations. Danny G. is very interested and the Seminary Museum is helping me get one of their historian priests to be among the speakers, USI is sending people and everyone I talk to in Naga wants to attend (serious? needs to be seen.) Your right, maybe we had more time if we started last year when it would really be a centennial, to bad I have only this year to get a go at these. I'm now looking at half day conference with Danny Gerona and Fr. Rex Alarcon, we will try to see if we can do away with some of the plans anyway nothing is definite yet but I'm afraid we will have to push through with the souvenir program as letters and solicitations have been sent and the target for its publication is at a latter date anyway and it will be our only source of fund for the Conference. GOOD IDEA for the Kaiba Souvenir Program I'm all for it and we will have enough time to gather more materials, its good if they can even sponsor my research on Barlin this whole year so I can write a definitive biography and a more extensive compilation of source materials that are now disappearing(its 100 years old) Naga is really working on their June 29 celebration but as things appear they'll probably come to me for some materials. The museum idea suddenly lost support from the USI brass, they are now thinking of improving their own "dead museum" when they saw what the students was about to bring to SMA (Why do we give away good Ideas that others can use for their own)But no matter I have plentyof materials to spare only I regret I lost 15k for the mounting and framing, I"ll see Fred today. Thanks, see you Easter -- Paulix B. Robosa

Barlin Centennial [update: 03/03/06]

Dear Paulix, * Help. True, there's a risk you might spread yourself too thinly. You may wish to get some help from our Baao Historical Society. I'm sure Fred can help you. He mentioned some plans also for April 23rd - the ususal "concert", i believe, which i'm not very much in favor of, but which i couldnt object to because i do not yet have the time to work on an alternative program. Rather than some band concert i would rather have a more serious, scholarly stuff apropos to the late bishop. Fred is flexible enough to consider other ideas. And, it seems he has gotten a pledge of financial support from Jun Boncayao. I suggest you and Fred mobilize the parish and civic groups. Fred is part of the Mugmates yahoogroups, so he gets to read this mail. * Museum. In your prior email you mentioned SMA backed out from their venue offer. I thought of offering one of the upper units in our Verandah Building as alternate and temporary site. It's good the sisters have given the go signal. * Conference. You plan to have a whole day session with four (?) speakers. I'm afraid no one, no matter how keenly interested in Barlin or history, will have an attention span of 6-7 hours and the patience to listen to speeches the whole day. I suggest you limit it to half day. Besides, you save the expense of a lunch, if you must serve one. I also suggest that you limit each talk to 35 minutes, allow a Q&A of 5 minutes each, introduction of speakers of 5 mins. The gap of 15 mins. will be taken up by the opening and closing remarks, and, I strongly propose, musical numbers to keep the proceedings more lively. The speakers can write their papers ad infinitum, to be distributed to the more mature audience, but their speeches should be no more than 35 or so minutes and re-styled to suit the diverse audience. * Centennial Book. You will need a lot more time to do it. Instead of trying to publish it early and "in time" for the dates you mentioned, why not first focus on the preparations for your different activities, implement the plans well, document them, complete with pictures, get all interesting materials, generate the ads all through the months, then go for a late year book launch? / Manila Kaiba. I suggest you make the Barlin Centennial Book the 2006 publication of the Kaiba organization in Manila. In other words, we'll ask the Kaiba Board to give us the franchise to publish their 2006 Souvenir Program. You see, they are very good at 'soliciting' advertisements, but understandably poor in layouting, editing, graphic designing, etc. In short, they generate the ad revenues, we co-publish with them a nice, glossy, full-color coffee-table book that would contain the articles we want. That way, we expand the reach of the Barlin Centennial celebration up to Manila and overseas, we create more awareness, and even widen the circulation of the book. * I have other ideas. Too bad, i'm too busy with work here and may not be home till Easter. But, let's get the email going. Your plans are all very good and deserve all the support. Thank God we have people like you in Baao. Regards -- Jun Ramirez

Barlin Centennial [update: 03/02/06]

The Museum at SMA is now go, they just had misinterpreted something, I'm now working closely with the USI poeple with this, I might get 15K from them for the project the place for the Museum will be the existing Coop Building behind the grotto which might need some work, the important thing is that it will be started and if it goes on for years it would be a rich repository of antique household and farm implements, photographs of Baao and its people and an ever increasing collection of Baaoeno Art and Literature. Very worth while project do you think? We are now looking at installing a Marker for Luis Dato too, it his birth centennial this year also, July 4, 1906 is is birthday, He is well known in Philippine literature why not in Baao, When are you coming to Baao so we can talk this out, the project might be too big for us to handle and concerns all Baaoenos, I'm ill equipped to mobilize so many people and the SMAAA are manned by the younger set quite concerned only with the year end ball, they think I'm being too idealistic i might bite in more than I can chew. What do the people there think? Thanks – Paulix B. Robosa

Barlin Centennial [update: 02/24/06]

Just yesterday, I met with the mayor to check out what we need to have the Social Hall for a whole day affair on Sunday, April 23, 2006. With me was one of the organizers from USI, Chad Inocencio who will bring 250 students from USI to conduct community research on that day regarding the sociocultural profile of BAAO in preparation for the "Museum project." A few minutes later we called at Tyang Nena's house to ask permission from her so we can install a marker on Barlin's birthplace. Then we went to SMA to present the Project proposal for the MUSEUM. (Today I received news from my wife, that SMA cannot push through with the Museum project, red tape is the matter, we look for another place.) I wrote letters to Cong. Villafuerte, Governor Villafuerte. I will write official letters to the mayor, the archbishop, the parish priest when I have the time. I am negotiating with USI with possible promotional programs for the Centennial. the Local conference will be from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm: morning session Dan Gerona and Mike Hernandez, afternoon session Atty. Toldanes and myself. At the end of the day, unveiling of the Barlin Birthplace Marker. If you have any suggestions fire away. Baao Historical Society can document. Schedule for me too tight right now but I'll definitely be there before holy week. Please pass our correpondence as wide as you can to generate inerest there, pending, official project profile I'm preparing, can you negotiate with Manny Gaite for us for support if not you can send me his email address. For the conference, the budget may cost to arround 20 thousand tops, for the Souvenir Program around 35 can you look around for major baaoeno sponsors for us so we can send communications. I sent Tony Martirez 20 letters to be distributed in the States as he is leaving a few days from now. I'm looking for a way to get some to you. We're recieving news from Manila, we pray everything will be OK. Thanks. -- Paulix B. Robosa

Barlin Centennial [update: 02/23/06]

Just to get you an update. The Local Conference on Barlin will now be a whole day affair on Sunday, April 23, 2006 The speakers who have confirmed are From USI, I myself will tackle Barlin's consecration 100 years ago, Atty Louie Tuldanes, the Barlin vs. Ramirez case. From Ateneo, Prof. Mike Hernandez for a deconstruction of the myths about Barlin and Danny Gerona a historical discussion of Barlin's role in Philippine History. We will try to get the seminary to send someone. Thanks. -- Paulix B. Robosa

Barlin Centennial [update: 02/06/06]

Our Batch at SMA is the Host Batch for this year and we have planned that SMAAA will spearhead several Activities for the Barlin Centennial. We will be doing it at Baao where it is most needed. (The Seminary is Celebrating Barlin's Centennial here at Naga on June 29) On April 23, we plan to hold a local conference on "The Centennial of the Episcopal Ordination of the First Filipino Bishop, Jorge Barlin of Baao, Camarines Sur" and aside from myself we have invited two more speakers from USI and Ateneo. We will publish a souvenir program of the proceedings of the conference. a month later we will launch "The Museum of Baaoeño Memory" at SMA showcasing my collection of Baaoeñana and Barliñana and at June we may hold a Quiz Bee and Essay writing Contest based on the Barlin conference. We will end the centennial perhaps wih a mass, Flower offering and Fireworks display. We will be sending out solicitations for advertisement for the souvenir program to help us regarding funds for the activity. Can you help us with this as I'm sure Many Baaoeños would love to have a copy of the collectible souvenir program. Thank you and I'll keep you posted -- Paulix B. Robosa. P.S. My man at intramuros turned with nothing, maybe I need to go there myself.