10/11/07

Moro raids---in Baao?

Some readers found my commentary on the image of 19th Century Baao surprising, if not hard to believe. What Moro raids? Moro raids on a place so far inland?
Moro raids were indeed a real danger for almost a century in the Bicol Region not excluding the town of Baao. Moros or Muslim raiders would wreak havoc on the coastal and inland towns of Bicol in search of loot and Christian slaves to be carried away to be sold or traded. Many of these towns, after being raided, would not recover and would disapper from the map. In the Rinconada area I can only assume that this raiders either entered the area from the Bicol river upon entering San Miguel Bay or through a land trail through one of the many gaps along the mountain range west of the region beside the China Sea. There are many accounts that the raids reached inland towns.
One of these recorded accounts, about the measures against them, was the one observed by Fr. Gomez-Platero then parish priest of Baao who recorded that sentinels(which were called with the Hispanized-Bicol word"bantayes") would roam the main streets of Baao ready to give the alarm.
A local account in Nabua recorded the intance when the Moros reached one of there outlying Barangays and the people took refuge in the parish church which was protected with "lantakas" or small cannons installed specifically for this purpose.
The failure of the provincial government to provide protection to the people, even after repeated petitions, elicited simply the province-wide instructions to make bladed weapons, bows and arrows and the setting up of an alarm system with sentinels and lookouts. The Battle of Tabgon Bay is almost unknown to our students but it was a Bikolano victory over these raiders. The threat of the Moros only ended in the close of the 19th Century upon the arrival of the steampowered launch which could easily outrun and shoot their "vintas" out of the water.
This happened more than a century ago and I still remember my Grandmother when as a child when misbehaving would silence me, "Paluway, marungog ngani ika kin mga Moro".

10/5/07

The Philippine Colors

A reader of this blog from Amsterdam, Peter Praggs, who studies flags, insists that I've got to make some modifications on my painting below. He writes " not only was the sun depicted with a mythogical face but also the stars, and why is the Blue field on top if it was a time of war". I must disagree.
First, the painting is an interpretation of an event based on eyewitness accounts and the only part of the account I reconstructed is that it shows the dead and wounded being carried from the battle field on carabao drawn sleds and these casualties are being replaced from the rear, their comrades taking up the rifles where they fell and firing away. there was no mention of flags but by the gallant way the Bikolanos opened the fight and by military practice this is not impossible.
Second, from the accounts of the Americans, the flag captured is usually a personal battle standard, the Philippine flag was at its infancy and no rules was laid out as to its dimensions, size of the fields and proper color, but I depicted the Philippine flag from what I know from Aguinaldo's instruction, which was in use in the Bicol Region already at this time. someone did told me of the mythological faces on the stars, but I need to look into this.
Third, the practice of putting the Red field on top in times of war was suggested to Pres. Quezon when he laid out the practice of using the "Official Philippine Flag" in 1919. Although some historians who favor Aguinaldo, now insists that at the Battle of Alapan in 1898, the flag was carried into battle with the red field on top.
All these fascinates about history, its in the past but you do not run out of interesting things.

10/3/07

"The Philippine Colors are Removed from the Battlefied at the End of the Battle of Agdangan" by P.B.Robosa


Oil on canvas, Unfinished, dimensions 6ft x 9 ft, First Exhibited at "Exploring Expressions" P.B. Robosa's First One Man Show, UNC Museum. On permanent display at the Museum of BaaoeƱo Memory, St. Monica Academy, Baao, Camarines sur.