Gems of History

Balagtas and Binondo

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino DigestSeptember 6-19, 2016, vol. 29, no. 7 What does Francisco Balagtas, the “Prince of Tagalog Poets,” have got to do with Binondo?Balagtas was a significant part of Binondo’s cultural history, according to a book by Fred Sevilla.Most historians refer to Binondo as the economic center of the Philippines during …

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Mariano Ponce’s book in Chinese

China’s reformists and revolutionists had paid great attention and importance to the Philippine war for independence. This is attested by the fact that a book written by renowned propagandist Mariano Ponce is probably the first book by a Filipino translated into Chinese and published in China – not once, but twice. The first edition came …

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The Manila Chinese Cemetery

The book Himlayan, Pantiyon, Kampo Santo, Sementeryo: Exploring Philippine Cemeteries, edited by Grace Barretto-Tesoro (University of the Philippines Press, 2017), includes a chapter on the “History of the Manila Chinese Cemetery” written by Donna Mae N. Arriola and Eleanor Marie S. Lim. Arriola and Lim’s comprehensive research is part of the “Exploring Philippine Cemeteries: Alive …

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Balut and the Chinese

Balut is a popular delicacy among Filipinos. The late food critique, renowned Doreen Fernandez, considers balut as the Philippines’ national street food. But what are the origins of this delicious and nutritious street food in the Philippines? Margaret Magat, who did extensive research on balut for her master’s thesis, wrote: “Balut was introduced to the …

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All for silver

Silver played a big role in the Galleon Trade between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico that lasted 250 years, from 1565 to 1815. The silver from Mexico and Peru not only sustained the Philippines’ economy through the Galleon Trade, but encouraged the trading of Chinese goods, mainly silk and porcelain. Silver was in great demand during …

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