Pandemic heroes, unsung revolutionaries in new book

PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE BOOK Ryan Caslib’s artwork on the frontliners.

Research leading to the publication of scholarly journals and books has continued even through the coronavirus pandemic, although it is done with caution and the aid of sources available online.

The Bulacan provincial government, for one, recently published the third in a series of books on its history, culture, heritage and the arts, Sineliksik Bulacan Heritage Book III: Bayani ng Kanyang Panahon, Inspirayon Natin Ngayon!

Two books in the series, about its history and built heritage, were previously published in 2019 and 2020 by the Bulacan Provincial History, Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office History and Heritage Division.

With support from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and Project Saysay, a non-government organization on the promotion of Philippine history, this latest book focuses on heroes of Bulacan during the 19th century to the turn of the 20th century, as well as frontliners of the pandemic who are considered heroes of this moment.

Photograph by Edgar Allan Sembrano FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE
The third in a series of books on Bulacan history, culture, heritage and the arts.

It is edited by historian Jaime Veneracion, who was recently honored by the Bulacan provincial government with the Gawad Mariano Ponce for his immense contribution to the province’s historiography.

Divided into four chapters, the book tackles the storied lives of these heroes, the histories of their families and towns, and their contributions to the nation.

The first part delves into heroes who were featured in documentary films as the book is part of a yearly, provincial film fest. Those that were researched and were not part of the said event are featured in the next chapter while the next two chapters of the book discuss the other heroes of the province and the heroes of the current pandemic.

Among those featured include Ciriaco Contreras, the hero of Langka in Meycauayan; Maestrong Sebio of the Battle of Kakarong; and the propagandist Mariano Ponce of Baliuag. Also included are General Isidoro Torres, a Katipunero and one of the local leaders during the Philippine-American War; Anacleto Enriquez of the Battle of San Rafael; another Katipunero member of the La Liga Filipina, Deodato Arellano; and Felipe Salvador, the founder of the Kapatiran ng Santa Iglesia that revolted in the town of Apalit in Pampanga. Pedro Serrano-Laktaw of the Diccionario Tagalo-Filipino fame is likewise included as well as Jose Rizal whose maternal ancestor allegedly came from the town of Baliuag.

Other Bulaqueño heroes featured are Sinfroso de la Cruz, the hero of Norzagaray; the women of Malolos; Mariano Crisostomo, a member of the Malolos Congress; Capitan Bindoy of Bustos; Faustino Quijano, the hero of San Ildefonso; and the controversial Felipe Beuncamino, Sr.

A portion of the book contains essays on the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic which include health workers, food production workers, security forces, and even those tasked for the handling of the fallen.

The research work for the book is commendable and the book in general is worthy of praise and admiration as it sheds light on the lives of heroes who are on the brink of being forgotten.

The book does not only include biographies but also presents local histories, adding essence to Filipino historical consciousness. It is a good resource not only for the people of Bulacan but for Filipinos in general.

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