Jean paying homage to Boadicea, Photo by PH Morton
England and Great Britain have had some amazing historical famous female characters being brave, indomitable and true leaders in their own right.
Queen Elizabeth 1, Queen Victoria, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. One such powerful Queen, going back over 1400 years further in our history, is Boudicca of the Iceni people.
Boudica, Boudicca (also spelled Boudicea)e was a true warrior queen. In AD 60-61, she inspired and led the largest revolt against Roman rule in Britain
What we mainly know of her life derives from two Roman writers, Publius Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 56-117) and Cassius Dio (A.D. 150-235)
Boudicca is still celebrated as someone who stood up against foreign oppression, she took on the might of the Roman empire
From around 65 BC, the Iceni people of East Anglia had grown prosperous by trading with Romans on the Continent. When the forces of Emperor Claudius conquered Britain in AD 43, the Iceni were able to negotiate for themselves an arrangement that allowed them to exist as a client kingdom loyal to Rome. But trouble was on the way. When the Iceni King, Prasutagas, died, he bequeathed his kingdom jointly to his two teenage daughters and the Roman Emperor Nero. This was perceived as an insult by Rome, which believed it had a right to inherit and subjugate the entire Iceni kingdom. A brutal crackdown on the Iceni began.
Queen Boudicca was the widow of Prasutagus. In an attempt to quash the Iceni, Roman officials had her publicly flogged and allowed the empire’s soldiers to rape her daughters. But Rome had misjudged Boudicca and the Iceni. Instead of submitting humbly, Boudicca raised a huge army and led them against Rome’s forces in Britain. The Roman historian, Cassius Dio, writes that Boudicca was “most tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh.” She was an effective, brutal commander and her Celtic fighters soon overran the capital of Roman Britain, Camulodunum (modern-day Colchester).
THE SACKING OF LONDON
Boudicca’s timing was good. The majority of Rome’s legions were tied up in Wales, fighting the Druids. There was little effective opposition as Boudicca and her army swept into the commercial centre of Londinium (London) on the Thames. The Iceni were merciless as they tore through the town, razing most of it to the ground and butchering any civilians left behind by Rome’s retreating forces. Inspired by the crushing victory at Londinium, Boudicca turned north and headed for Verulamium, known today as St Albans. Another vicious sacking followed.
The Roman military governor, Suetonius Paulinus, had refused to commit his forces to the defence of Londiunium or Verulamium. Instead, he lured Boudicca and her warriors north of Verulanium to a site somewhere in the Midlands. Contemporary historians never identified where the crucial battle between Rome and the Iceni was fought but the outcome was decisive. Paulinus had just 10,000 men. Estimates of the Iceni strength vary between 100,000 and 250,000 but they were no match for the disciplined troops of Paulinus. Rome routed the Britons in one of the ancient world’s most bloody massacres.
The attacking hordes of spear-wielding Britons, many daubed with blue war paint derived from the woad plant, must have been a terrifying sight as they charged at the Roman lines but Paulinus had chosen his battleground carefully. The Roman historian, Tacitus, describes it as an area with a narrow approach, backed by woodland. This meant that the Britons could not use their superior numbers to outflank Paulinus and encircle him. Instead, they were forced to hurl themselves at the Roman front lines, in wave after desperate wave. The well-trained Roman soldiers advanced with their large shields, stabbing at the Britons with their easily manoeuvrable short swords. Boudicca’s best warriors had no room to swing their long swords and were trapped between the deadly Roman advance and their own advancing hordes. Around 80,000 Britons died as Paulinus took his revenge. Roman casualties were around 400 dead and a similar number of wounded. Boudicca and her daughters survived the battle but are believed to have taken poison to avoid capture and ritual humiliation at the hands of the Romans.
An interesting local London legend has it that Boudicca is buried beneath Track 10 at King’s Cross Station (Kings Cross is famous from the Harry Potter stories). Her final battle is believed to have taken place in the area.
Earliest surviving portrait of Ricahrd III painted circa-1520
Having an interest in history, particularly of medieval & Early English/British eras, I found this recent announcement and news item particularly noteworthy.
Our royalty spanning over a thousand years has produced some interesting and colourful characters. One such monarch is King Richard III 1452-1485 (his reign as King 1483-1485).
He was vilified as a cruel King, Shakespeare portrayed Richard III as a hunchbacked tyrant and murderer of rivals but modern historians argue that the king was the victim of Tudor propaganda. He lived in violent uncertain times.
King Richard III – Revealed
His brief reign from 1483 saw liberal reforms, including the introduction of the right to bail and the lifting of restrictions on books and printing presses.
Now Richard III is revealed at last after the remains of a near complete skeleton, excavated in September 2012, by archeologists from underneath a social services car park in Leicester.
The car park was built on part of the remains of Greyfriars Church. Researchers said they had concluded “beyond reasonable doubt” that the skeleton, which showed evidence of an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, was the monarch King Richard III.
The skeleton, with severe trauma to the skull, was unearthed on the first day of a three-week dig at the site of what is believed to have been the choir of the church.
Historical records show the long-lost church was the burial site of the monarch, following his brutal death at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
The remains were found at depth of 68 cm and in good condition, with the feet missing, The hands were crossed over the front of the pelvis. No remnants of a coffin or shroud were found.
The king’s remains will now be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral, the nearest consecrated ground, in keeping with archaeological practice.
After the discovery, a row between Leicester and York developed, which claims King Richard III should be buried in York according to his own wishes.
Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, said: “His self-identification with the north and York is reflected in his plans for a chantry of 100 priests in York Minster where he wished to be buried.
“That the burial site of this Yorkist king was determined by where he died from battle wounds makes the importance of adhering to his own wishes for his final resting place most important.
“City of York Council and all its political leaders are united in the belief that York is the most fitting burial place for Richard III, one of the city’s most famous and cherished sons.”
City of York Council will now write a letter to the Ministry of Justice stating its case.
Now the face of King Richard III has been unveiled to the world. Facial reconstruction of the monarch has been released by the Richard III Society after it was confirmed
The image is based on a CT scan taken by experts at the University of Leicester, who discovered the king’s skeleton during the archaeological dig.
The facial reconstruction was unveiled at The Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House in Piccadilly, London.
DNA samples from Michael Ibsen – a Canadian-born furniture maker who is a direct descendant of Richard’s sister, Anne of York – provided further proof.
Richard III was the last Plantagenet and Yorkist monarch later defeated by Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII, father of the famous King Henry VIII.
Lecturer Jo Appleby, who led the exhumation of the remains, speaking at Leicester University after tests established that a skeleton is that of King Richard III (Yahoo News)
Facial reconstruction of the skull identified as that of King Richard III
Michael Ibsen a direct descendant faces the face of his illustrious ancestor!
Andres Bonifacio is the antithesis to Jose Rizal, the unofficial national hero of the Philippines. Accolades have been poured on Rizal’s memory from far and wide; there is even a brotherhood in his honour called the Knights of Rizal. He was born from a well-to-do family. He was learned, well-educated; became a medical doctor, well-travelled, and a very accomplished writer and poet to boot. It was his two books, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo that inspired the likes of Andres Bonifacio to rise up against the hundreds of years of colonialism from Spain. For this reason, Jose Rizal was martyred at Bagumbayan. This should have not happened as Rizal often said that he never wanted Filipinos to completely separate from Spain. He did not want blood shed. He was into “the pen is mightier than the sword”.
Allegedly it was the American who mooted that Rizal be the National Hero because of his qualities, some says that this alleged encouragement from the Americans was to subliminally curve Filipinos’ fighting spirit. Hehehe
Anyway many of us, yes including me, are pro-Bonifacio.
Andres Bonifacio came from an ordinary family, he was to my mind as brilliant as Rizal. He was well read but did not have the same opportunities as Rizal. Bonifacio was self-taught. As most Filipinos, he was also multi-lingual. He spoke Tagalog, Spanish and a little English (and probably a few Philippine dialects as well). He read voraciously including Rizal’s novels (I read the novels too as part of our high school curriculum and it pained me to say that it did not hold my attention for long, found the novels rather laborious and tedious at times, sorry Rizal ;( !!! ), which apparently touched him to the core, he found the hidden message that there was no other way to sling the butts of the Spaniards out of the country but through the swords and brutal force.
Like Rizal, Bonifacio was a member of the La Liga Filipina which folded eventually. The members were divided into two factions, one for reforms through peaceful means and the other was for a truly radical and, dare I say, more credible option of baring arms against the unacceptable long running subjugation from Spain. Bonifacio was a member of the latter. He then founded the KKK which an acronym for kataastaasang Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (I would translate this as Superemely Proud Organization of the Children of the Country, LOL), and it was more known as Katipunan. And this was the beginning of the end for the 333 years of Spanish colonialism of the Philippines.
But not a happy ending I am afraid, because we became a “colony” of the USofA. And then the Japanese came…
I hope another Bonifacio or Rizal will rise up from the masses right now and do a total clean up of the Philippines inside and out. It is a shame that the Philippines seems to be forever lagging as a Third World country when it has so much to offer to the world.
All the blood shed by brave Filipinos, the named (famous) ones and those who died in obscurity, seem to amount to nothing as the country is gripped by a different force, a more heartbreaking one, CORRUPTION.
I hope this Bonifacio Day will jerk us from our stupor, and about time too. There is a real freedom crying to get out. It is time Filipinos to choose the people we put in office. Choose the most learned, the most efficient, the most trustworthy, the most experience; not the has-been movie/tv stars, not the boxer, not your street preacher, not because he is good-looking, not because he has money, not because he is white in complexion, not because he speaks perfect English. Choose the one who will promote the will of the people and the constitution.
Thank you Happy Bonifacio Day.
Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa
Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa,
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga wala.
Walang mahalagang hindi inihandog
Ng may pusong wagas sa bayang nagkupkop.
Dugo, yaman, dunong, katiisat pagod:
Buhay may abuting magkalagot-lagot
Ang nakaraang panahon ng aliw
Ang inaasahang araw na darating
Ng pagkatimawa ng mga alipin
Liban pa sa bayan saan tatanghalin?
Sa aba ng abang mawalay sa bayan
Gunita may laging sakbibi ng lumbay
Walang alaalang inaasam-asam
Kundi ang makita lupang tinubuan.
Kayong nalagasan ng bungat bulaklak
Kahoy niyaring buhay na nilantat sukat
Ng bala-balakit makapal na hirap
Muling manariwat sa bayay lumiyag
Ipakahandog-handog ang buong pag-ibig
Hanggang sa may dugoy ubusing itigis
Kung sa pagtatanggol buhay ang kapalit
Itoy kapalaran at tunay na langit
Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa
Aling pag-ibig pa wala na nga wala
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga wala .
ANDRES BONIFACIO SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUR NATIONAL HERO
From the Moon King
By Atty Alma Luna-Reyes
September 29, 2012 was a day of celebration among Filipinos in Southern California. But, of course, they have a reason to celebrate. An 8 foot statute of the Philippine National hero, Jose Rizal, was unveiled in the City of Carson in the morning and a thanksgiving gala was held at the Westin LAX in the evening.
The events had all the elements of festivities and the usual incidents that come along Filipino organized events. There were minor issues on seating arrangements, sound system glitzes and not only numerous but long speeches. The program was too long that some attendees, including a lady seated by our table (who happens to be a President of one organization) fell asleep during the program. In general, however, I did enjoy the evening. It was an opportunity to see and be with friends and do a couple of dance pieces.
What I want to take a closer look in the midst of all this celebration is whether Jose Rizal deserves all of the accolades. Should he be our National Hero? Or is Andres Bonifacio more deserving of the deference?
Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio opted for different courses of action. Rizal fought against the friars with the use of his pen. Bonifacio advocated for revolution. There is nothing wrong with advocating for something without revolt. In fact, a nonviolent means is the best way of achieving political change. Although I admire Rizal’s accomplishments, it seems like Rizal opted against the revolution because he was for the preservation of the status quo. This is why according to author Renato Constantino, the reason Rizal was given special attention as a hero by the American colonial administration because Rizal was interpreted to represent peaceful political advocacy, unlike more radical people whose ideas could inspire resistance against American rule.
If we look at Rizal’s life circumstances, he is among the rich. His family is one of the landed gentry of the province of Calamba. Rizal was able to travel and study abroad at a time when most Filipinoswere not even able to leave their home province. The success of Bonifacio’s Revolution may mean that Rizal’s family would lose their privileged position. There are also some historians who believe that Rizal did not actually advocate independence but merely wanted representation and better rights for Filipinos while remaining under Spanish rule. Bonifacio’s cause was more people-oriented. There was no indication of any type of self-service or of any type of self-preservation. He just fought to end the foreign rule. No properties to protect, no interest group to favor, no allegiance to anyone other than to the Filipinos. Contrary to popular belief and urban legends, Bonifacio was not an uneducated brute. He was self-educated and was well-read. He spoke Tagalog and Spanish and a little English as well. Despite this, his image is still that of the bare-chested insurgent and common man who launches himself into battle without regard for his safety.
Choosing Rizal as the national hero is for the benefit of the ruling class who will always favor preservation of the status quo. But in terms of nobility of the cause, passion, dedication and price of sacrifice, Bonifacio is by far more deserving of all accolades.
It bears noting that Jose Rizal is not the official national hero of the Philippines. In fact, the country does not have any official national hero. There has never been any law passed to recognize a national hero in the country.
In the first half of the 10th century a Muslim ruler of Afghanistan invaded the Punjab 11 times, without much political success, but taking away a great deal of loot.
A more successful invasion came at the end of the 12th century. This eventually led to the formation of the Delhi Sultanate.
A later Muslim invasion in 1398 devastated the city of Delhi.
The Mughal Empire grew out of descendants of the Mongol Empire who were living in Turkestan in the 15th century. They had become Muslims and assimilated the culture of the Middle East, while keeping elements of their Far Eastern roots.
They also retained the great military skill and cunning of their Mongol ancestors, and were among the first Western military leaders to use guns.
Babur the first Mughal Emperor, was a descendent of Genghis Khan and Tamerlaine.
Babur succeeded his father as ruler of the state of Farghana in Turkestan when he was only 12, although he was swiftly deposed by older relatives.
Babur moved into Afghanistan in 1504, and then moved on to India, apparently at the invitation of some Indian princes who wanted to dispose of their ruler. Babur disposed of the ruler, and decided to take over himself.
He captured the Turkic Ghur’iat Sultanate of Delhi in 1526, imposing his rule on most of Northern India.
The Empire he founded was a sophisticated civilisation based on religious toleration. It was a mixture of Persian, Mongol and Indian culture.
Under Babur Hinduism was tolerated and new Hindu temples were built with his permission.
Trade with the rest of the Islamic world, especially Persia and through Persia to Europe, was encouraged.
The importance of slavery in the Empire diminished and peace was made with the Hindu kingdoms of Southern India.
Babur brought a broad-minded, confident Islam from central Asia. His first act after conquering Delhi was to forbid the killing of cows because that was offensive to Hindus.
Babur may have been descended from brutal conquerors, but he was not a barbarian bent on loot and plunder. Instead he had great ideas about civilisation, architecture and administration.
He even wrote an autobiography, The Babur – Namah. The autobiography is candid, honest and at times even poetic.
Babur was followed by his son Humayun who was a bad emperor, a better poet, and a drug addict. He rapidly lost the empire. He did eventually recover the throne but died soon afterwards after breaking his neck falling downstairs.
While Humayan was certainly disastrous as a ruler, his love of poetry and culture heavily influenced his son Akbar, and helped to make the Mughal Empire an artistic power as well as a military one.
The third Emperor, Abu Akbar, is regarded as one of the great rulers of all time, regardless of country.
Akbar succeeded to the throne at 13, and started to recapture the remaining territory lost from Babur’s empire. By the time of his death in 1605 he ruled over most of north, central, and western India.
Akbar worked hard to win over the hearts and minds of the Hindu leaders. While this may well have been for political reasons – he married a Hindu princess (and is said to have married several thousand wives for political and diplomatic purposes) – it was also a part of his philosophy.
Akbar believed that all religions should be tolerated, and that a ruler’s duty was to treat all believers equally, whatever their belief.
He established a form of delegated government in which the provincial governors were personally responsible to him for the quality of government in their territory.
Akbar’s government machine included many Hindus in positions of responsibility – the governed were allowed to take a major part in the governing.
Akbar also ended a tax (jizya) that had been imposed on non-Muslims. This discriminatory tax had been much resented, and ending it was a popular move.
An innovation was the amount of autonomy he allowed to the provinces. For example, non-Muslims were not forced to obey Islamic law (as was the case in many Islamic lands), and Hindus were allowed to regulate themselves through their own law and institutions.
Akbar and Godism
Akbar took the policy of religious toleration even further by breaking with conventional Islam.
The Emperor proclaimed an entirely new state religion of ‘God-ism’ (Din-i-ilahi) – a jumble of Islamic, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist teaching with himself as deity. It never spread beyond his court and died when he did.
Fatehpur Sikri was the new capital built by Akbar, as a part of his attempt to absorb other religions into Islam. Fatehpur Sikri is a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic architecture.
Jahangir and Jahan
Akbar’s son, Emperor Jahangir, readopted Islam as the state religion and continued the policy of religious toleration. His court included large numbers of Indian Hindus, Persian Shi’a and Sufis and members of local heterodox Islamic sects.
Jahangir also began building the magnificent monuments and gardens by which the Mughals are chiefly remembered today, importing hundreds of Persian architects to build palaces and create magnificent gardens.
Jahangir’s approach was typified by the development of Urdu as the official language of Empire. Urdu uses an Arabic script, but Persian vocabulary and Hindi grammatical structure.
The architectural achievements of the Mughals peaked between 1592 and 1666, during the reign of Jahangir’s successor Jahan.
Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal marks the apex of the Mughal Empire; it symbolises stability, power and confidence.
The building is a mausoleum built by Jahan for his wife Mumtaz and it has come to symbolise the love between two people.
Jahan’s selection of white marble and the overall concept and design of the mausoleum give the building great power and majesty.
Jahan brought together fresh ideas in the creation of the Taj. Many of the skilled craftsmen involved in the construction were drawn from the empire. Many also came from other parts of the Islamic world – calligraphers from Shiraz, finial makers from Samrkand, and stone and flower cutters from Bukhara.
By Jahan’s period the capital had moved to the Red Fort in Delhi, putting the Fort at the heart of Mughal power. As if to confirm it, Jahan had these lines inscribed there: “If there is Paradise on earth, it is here, it is here.”
Paradise it may have been, but it was a pricey paradise. The money Jahan spent on buildings and on various military projects emptied his treasury and he was forced to raise taxes, which aggravated the people of the empire.
Jahan’s son Aurangzeb was the last great Mughal Emperor.
History’s verdict on Aurangzeb largely depends on who’s writing it; Muslim or Hindu.
Aurangzeb ruled for nearly 50 years. He came to the throne after imprisoning his father and having his older brother killed.
He was a strong leader, whose conquests expanded the Mughal Empire to its greatest size.
Aurangzeb was a very observant and religious Muslim who ended the policy of religious tolerance followed by earlier emperors.
He no longer allowed the Hindu community to live under their own laws and customs, but imposed Sharia law (Islamic law) over the whole empire.
Thousands of Hindu temples and shrines were torn down and a punitive tax on Hindu subjects was re-imposed.
In the last decades of the seventeenth century Aurangzeb invaded the Hindu kingdoms in central and southern India, conquering much territory and taking many slaves.
Under Aurangzeb, the Mughal empire reached the peak of its military power, but the rule was unstable. This was partly because of the hostility that Aurangazeb’s intolerance and taxation inspired in the population, but also because the empire had simply become to big to be successfully governed.
The Muslim Governer of Hydrabad in southern India rebelled and established a separate Shi’a state; he also reintroduced religious toleration.
The Hindu kingdoms also fought back, often supported by the French and the British, who used them to tighten their grip on the sub-continent.
The establishment of a Hindu Marathi Empire in southern India cut off the Mughal state to the south. The great Mughal city of Calcutta came under the control of the east India company in 1696 and in the decades that followed Europeans and European – backed by Hindu princes conquered most of the Mughal territory.
Aurangzeb’s extremism caused Mughal territory and creativity to dry up and the Empire went into decline. The Mughal Emperors that followed Aurangzeb effectively became British or French puppets. The last Mughal Emperor was deposed by the British in 1858.
Teresita (Teresa) Magbanua – Joan of Arc of the Visayas
I opened my emails today and found a very interesting one from a friend who’s related to Teresita Magbanua, who was known as the Joan of Arc of the Visayas. Anyway I googled Teresita Magbanua and this was an entry from Wikipedia:
Teresa Magbanua y Ferraris (October 13, 1868 – August 1947) earned the distinction of being the only woman to lead combat troops in the Visayas against Spanish and American forces. Born in Pototan, Iloilo, Philippines on 13 October 1868, to wealthy parents, she earned a teaching degree and taught in her hometown. Having come from a family of revolutionaries, she immediately volunteered her services to the motherland and became an exceptional horseman and marksman.
Without the approval of her husband, she led a large group of men in the Battle of Barrio Yoting, Capiz in early December 1898. She outfought the Spanish troops at the Battle of Sapong Hills near Sara.
She suffered greatly from the early death of her brothers General Pascual Magbanua and Elias Magbanua, at the hands of traitors.
Fifty years later, her heroism was once again displayed when she helped finance a guerrilla resistance movement by the liberators together with the Allied Filipino soldiers of the 6th, 61st and 62nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, 6th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the Ilonggo guerrillas against the Japanese in the Battle for the Liberation of Iloilo. Teresa Magbanua was likely called the “Joan of Arc”.
She migrated to Mindanao after the war and lived with her sister Maria in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, where she died in August, 1947, exact day unknown.
This is my friend, Bob Gabuna, had to say regarding his ancestress:
My roots, were revoloutionary leaders. The lady-warrior, Teresita
MAGBANUA of Pototan, Iloilo that earned the moniker, “Joan of Arc” of the
Visayas, is my great-grandaunt. Two of Nanay Isa’s elder brothers
(Isa is her endeared pet name), Francisco and Pascual, were already generals
in the revolutionary movement; but, Nanay Isa is the most feared leader of the
rebelde (rebels) because of her exploits in conducting her revolutionary activities. Her
battle tactics is novel. The colonizers were stumped how to counteract it.
If you’ve heard of the modern “agaw armas”, of the underground elements in
procuring armaments for themselves in fighting the government forces? That
sort of warfare was the methodology employed by Nanay Isa.
Nanay Isa finished Education from UST, the Dominican operated school.
When she returned to her hometown, she “saw” the atrocities committed by
the colonizers. She quit being a classroom teacher and joined her two elder
brothers who were officers in the revolutionary movement.
Because the Panay liberators were ill equipped, she was given the mission
to procure arms for the rebolusionaryo. Employing her womanly wiles, she
would visit the garrisons and offer tuba to Guardia Sibil late in the night.
When the guards on duty are already drunk, Nanay Isa would give out a
signal and her troops would spring up from the bushes and grab away the
firearms of the drunk Guardia Sibil.
Nanay Isa’s fighting tactics was deemed far more dangerous than the
overt fighting forces of the rebels. To ferret out Teresita Magbanua
from her hiding, the colonizers persecuted the rest of the siblings of
Nanay Isa. To escape persecution, the rest of the members of the family
dispersed. Some went to Antique, some were able to escape in Negros,
some hid in nearby towns of Iloilo. Nanay Isa has 18 siblings plus one
(from a different mother). My direct ascendant, however, and two of his younger brothers
moved further in the southern part of Tablas Island—the largest island in the
Province of Romblon (an hour away of banca ride from Boracay Island).
A military decree was then issued during that period that all residents
in any given settlement must adopt the same letter for their family name.
In Pototan, letter P was imposed, hence, today, the municipality of Pototan
is peppered with family names that start in letter P. In Romblon, the
capital proper, letter M was given; Sibuyan, letter R was assigned; the
central part of Tablas Island and the three islands, letter F was imposed.
In Southern Tablas, letter G was issued.
There is a letter G in the surname of MAGBANUA. What my ninuno did,
they dropped the first two letters and transposed the remaining vowels.
Ergo, the new family name—GABUNA.
In my growing up years, every time I asked why our great-grandfather
and his brothers have to change family names, the elder cousins of my
father, including my aunts and uncles (both from the paternal and
maternal side), would place their pointing finger before their lips and
makes a hissing sound, “SSSHHH…hipos. Naglayas ang imo Lolo kay
ginpintasan kag ginhingabot”.
Crudely translated: Hush….keep silent. Our ancestors were compelled to
disperse and hide because they were persecuted and harmed.
For scores and decades, the second and third generation of Nanay Isa’s
descendants carried that emotional trauma and psychological burden.