JAIME CORPUZ AND HIS MARILAO0 Flares 0 Flares ×
It is one thing to be a historian, but to be a historian in a place where events leading to the birth of a nation happened, and where heroes lived is as they say, priceless.
That is what makes historian and book author Jaime Corpuz a perfect guide around his hometown of Marilao and the rest of Bulacan as well. A descendant of Filipino migrants to Hawaii at the turn of the century, he is a Bulakeno by birth and at heart.
As Chairperson of the Bulacan Heritage Conservation Society, Cultural Director of the Arte Bulakenyo Foundation and as a consultant and official of various historical groups like the Marilao Historical Society, and the Kulturang Yaman ng Santa Maria, Jaime goes around Bulacan and other interesting places to ‘search for a new story to share with my kababayans.”
And he has shared so much and kept Bulacanfs rich historical and cultural tradition alive with books like Isang Kasaysayan, Isang Marilao (1996), Bulakena: Anyo at Kasaysayan ng Baroft Saya (1999, co-author), Ang Malulos sa mga Dahon ng Kasaysayan (2000,ed), Lupang Tinubuan Mga Tula at Liham Pag-ibig nina Leoncio Gonzales at Montano Esguerra ng Marilaw, Bulacan (2007), and Calendario Bulakeno 900 AD – 2007 (2009).
Here, he takes us on a historical and cultural tour around his Marilao, his SM.
“In every place you visit, try to know its history . . . the story behind it. That way you can fully experience and enjoy it.”
Jaime in front of the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos City, which was the birthplace of the First Constitutional Democracy in Asia. In 1898, it was host to the proclamation of the First Philippine Congress, and it is where the First Philippine Republic assigned officials to the executive, judicial, and legislative divisions of the government. It has also served as the first state university, that’s why it’s the only church with a UP marker.
“If I would bring visitors around my hometown, I would bring them around the historical sites not only in Marilao but around my province. Bulacan is a model province for every individual who wants to experience the loving care of Inang Bayan.”
Jaime at different historical sites in Bulacan: (from left) at Kamistisuhan Street, in front of the Institute del Mujeres Ruins, the schoolhouse of the Women of Malolos to whom Jose Rizal addressed his famous letter. The Women of Malolos were 20 women from prominent Chinese-Filipino families who signed a presented a letter requesting permission to open a night school where they could be taught Spanish to Governor General Valeriano Weyler on December 12, 1888.
Inside the Paniki Cave at Biak na Bato, one of the many caves that served as the refuge of the Katipuneros. It is where the Malolos Constitution was signed by General Emilio Aguinaldo and Pedro Paterno, and where the Biak na Bato Republic was established.
At the Malolos Cathedral, the Basilica Minore de la Nuestra Senora Immaculada Concepcion, where Emilio Aguinaldo lived after he was legally adopted as President of the First Philippine Republic. The Kalayaan Tree inside the Malolos Cathedral Compound was planted by General Aguinaldo during a lull in the Malolos Convention, and it is said that many important political discussions were held there.
“Marilao has many historical sites like the Saint Michael the Archangel Church.”
Constructed in 1796, the St. Michael the Archangel Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It is the only one in the country that has the distinct architectural design of having a protruding bell tower in front of a church.”
“Bulacan is also known for high quality crafts like the buntal hat.”
Jaime with Ms. Rosie Decasa, Baliwag’s Tourism Council Chairwoman, who comes from a family of early buntal hat weavers and continues the craft through Baliuag Buntal Enterprises. Obtained from the buri palm, buntal is traditionally woven into hats and bags in a circular strip weaving.
Mariano Deveza brought buntal fibers from Lucban, Quezon to Dolores Maniquis of Baliwag, a town already famous for bamboo hat weaving. Dolores experimented with the fibers by softening it with a wooden roller, and the buntal hat industry sometime in 1910. Buntal hats are known internationally as Panama hats.
“ There is always a story behind the food we eat. Tourists in Bulacan will love to taste the kaluto ng bayan, the food of our heroes, and food of yesteryears.”
Jaime shows us a sampling of Bulakan specialties with Mr. Jose Ignacio, son of the late Aling Citang of Citang’s Kakaning Bulakenyo. The sumptuous fare includes Puto Caramba, deep fried dumplings of small shrimp and shredded squash; Bibingkang Monggo ng Sta. Isabel; homemade preserves like Buro ng Mangga, Atsara Labanos, and Atsara Papaya; and Lugaw, the survival food.
“SM has helped many Bulakenos by providing jobs and by its support for cultural and historical events.”
SM City Marilao, SM’s first mall in Bulacan, has raised shopping, leisure, and entertainment standards in the province.
Jaime at the National Bookstore branch at SM City Marilao.
“I love SM! It’s my second cultural home, my museum, and my cultural haven. It’s special for me because this is where I launched two of my historical books.”
Jaime goes over the fresh produce at the SM Hypermarket at SM City Marilao.
“Bulakenos are foodies.”