BALIWAG, Bulacan -- A new monument of the great Bulakenyo hero and propagandist Mariano Ponce was unveiled here Thursday, in recognition of his key role in the quest for Philippine independence against Spanish rule.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the municipal government of Baliwag led the unveiling of the historical marker and the full body monument of one of the province’s illustrious sons in front of the Museo ni Mariano Ponce, Calle Ponce in this town.
The event coincided with Ponce’s 101st death anniversary celebration.
Dr. Rene Escalante, NHCP commissioner and chairman of the Board, led the ceremony, together with Dr. Maria Luisa Camagay, president of the Philippine Historical Association and professor emeritus of the UP History Department, who served as guest of honor.
Ponce’s relatives, other government and local officials, and town residents were also present to witness the activity.
A museum that features the life and works of Ponce was also inaugurated and formally opened to the public.
Other event highlights was the launching of the commemorative biographical book titled, "Mariano Ponce y Collantes, Dangal ng Lahing Pilipino". The book was edited by Dr. Jaime B. Veneracion, with articles written by National Artist for Literature, Resil B. Mojares, among others.
In an interview, Camagay said it is appropriate and timely to recognize the greatness of Ponce, not only in Bulacan but in the whole country as well.
“Some people are not aware of the writings of Mariano Ponce. That is why, this is the time to let the Filipinos know who was Mariano Ponce through his museum,” she said.
The museum features rare photographs, original artifacts, and artworks. It also has a resource center with digital files, including other photographs, writings, and articles by and about Ponce.
Meanwhile, Escalante, in his speech, narrated the life of Ponce during the Spanish era as one of the propagandists, along with Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcelo del Pilar.
“This Mariano Ponce Museum was offered to the people of Baliwag, as well as to the relatives of Ponce,” he said.
Ponce was born in Baliuag, Bulacan on March 23,1863.
He joined the Propaganda Movement in Spain, together with Rizal, del Pilar, and other propagandists.
He also helped in the campaign for reforms, and served as one of the writers of La Solidaridad and Asociacion Hispano-Filipino.
Among Ponce’s significant works was the Efemerides Filipinas, a column on historical events in the Philippines that appeared in La Oceania Española (1892-1893) and El Ideal (1911-1912 ). He also wrote Ang Wika ng Lahi (1917) discussing the importance of a national language.
He served as Bulacan’s representative to the National Assembly.
He studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and took up medicine at the University of Santo Tomas.
He traveled to Spain in 1881 to continue his medical studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. (PNA)