Bicol and the Bikolana in the eyes of a painter

In 1929, the Philippine Education Company published the book “Paintings of Twelve Philippine Women: Christian, Mohammedan, and Pagan”. These are the paintings of Fernando Amorsolo and his brother, Pablo; Fabian de la Rosa; and I.L. Miranda.

One of the paintings is the “Bikol Girl” by Fernando Amorsolo himself. According to A.V.H. Hartendorp, the editor of the Philippine Magazine, the painting, along with the other collections in the book, “must not be taken as representing the best work of (the) painter”. Even then, the painting  presents a general picture of what Bikolana women looked like in the early 2oth century. As it is often said: A picture paints a thousand words.

Accompanying the painting is an ethnographic note of Professor H. Otley Bayer “Population of the Philippine Islands in 1916”. The population estimate, though, according to Hartendorp, is for 1928. The note is quoted en toto as follows:

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Past governors of Bicol — Catanduanes

Catanduanes was once a part of Albay. On October 26, 1945, it was emancipated from Albay and was declared an island-province by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 687.

Based on records, gubernatorial elections for Catanduanes started in 1948. According to Prof. Alex De Guzman, when the island was still in transition to becoming a full-pledge province, it was headed by Lt. Governor Felipe Olesco Usero. The complete list of governors of Catanduanes from 1948 to present is as follows:

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The Asuncions of Bulan, Sorsogon

When I started my work on the Imperials of Albay, many encouraged me to write also on a number of local clans and families. These include the Maronillas who, apparently, are our distant relatives by affinity. But while research works like these are interesting, the availability of resources are not.

But the members of the Benito Clan, unintentionally, showed us how to build patches of history — that is, through  information-sharing. What they did is actually a model in knowledge development. Dakul an natatakot na mag-share ki information for a number of reasons pero an dai ninda aram, when one shares a set of information and another adds what he knows, a new set of information is developed. Bako arog kan pagkaon o ano pa man na bagay. When two kinds of food are set on the table, nothing new is developed. Pag kinaon pa, nawawara na. An inpormasyon, kun dai hihilomon, lalo pang nabibilog sa sarong bagong kaaraman.

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