Looking Back by Ambeth Ocampo

1990 and 2010 Editions
What's better than to celebrate the First Philippine Independence by enjoying a factual book rich in history and trivia? This 92-pager of a thin book is a flash read that will make your day of commemoration as a proud Filipino worthwhile. I highly recommend this to my fellow Filipinos and also to lovers (scholars and dabblers aside) of Asian History.

Some interesting stories here in case you forgot about your brown roots and its colorful past:

  • Magellan originally named the Philippines as Archipelago de San Lazaro. Actually, it wasnt Magellan who gave the name Las Islas Filipinas but Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in 1542. 
  • The patriarch of a very popular and historic mestizo family (popularly synonymous to the name Makati) was convicted as a German spy in Manila in 1870s by the Spanish friars.
  • Bonifacio tried to seek revolutionary aid from Japan, and failed/fooled.
  • Prior to the Spanish-American War and the buyout of the Philippines for a sum of 20 Million US dollars; Belgium, Germany, and Japan were also interested in owning the Philippine Archipelago.
  • Manuel Quezon hired in secret the national artist Honorata "Atang" de la Rama to serenade and win the heart of Doña Aurora Aragon. 
  • Gen. Gregorio "Goyo" Del Pilar can compete with Jose Rizal in regards to women but Heneral Goyo easily wins over Rizal in regards to "papormahan." 
  • Gen. Douglas MacArthur's secret Filipina lover is the record holder of first Philippine motion picture on-screen kiss.
  • We have our own version of the mysterious Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo Da Vinci---Juan Luna's La Bulaqueña. The identity of the woman in portrait remains a mystery and the current theories, inconclusive. 
  • Juan Luna's Portrait of Paz Pardo de Tavera is not just popular due to its paradoxical catholic eroticism but also because it survived the burnings and damages throughout history and most especially the popular curse legend that it carries today. 
  • The man appointed by Aguinaldo to work for American recognition of Philippine independence-- Felipe Agoncillo ditched his lover for another on the day of his marriage. The marriage was cancelled after the groom changed his mind and stuck on his bed pondering the future while still dressed for the occassion. This man, who will become the father of Marcela Agoncillo will also become the first Filipino diplomat, and a man worthy of 1000+ TNL points. Sinong lolo mo? lol

There are more stories in this surprisingly short book that will lead to a chuckle or a lighthearted gab within a group. I can only imagine how cool it was if you had Manuel Quezon as your grandfather to learn a proven "diskarte" move or two. The first book in a series originally published in 1990 and republished and re-edited in 2010, it's cool to enjoy history with this as much as knowing that it's good to be free reading any book these days.

La Bulaqeña by Juan Luna ca.1895

Category: History, Trivia
Rating: 4.5 freshly baked monays with quesong puti fillings

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