We Were Indios: A Short History on Becoming Filipinos

When the Spanish explorer and priest Ruy López de Villalobos reached the archipelago in 1544 he named it Las Islas Filipinas (The Philippine Islands) in honour of Prince Philip of Spain who will later become King Philip II (Rey Felipe II de España). He was the same king who sent the mighty Spanish Armada to conquer England …

Francisco Rodriguez: British Spy or Banking Pioneer?

Back in the days when Spain ruled the Philippines, the locals or the natives were called ‘Indios’ and not Filipinos. Spaniards who were born in the Philippines were the ‘Filipinos.’ This means that anything Filipino was identifiably Spanish. One such Filipino was Francisco Rodriguez (1790-1857), a wealthy gentleman who founded the first privately-owned financial company in …

Filipino Officers of the British Empire

Honorary Award from Her Majesty the Queen (Part I) Special awards are usually granted to those who have achieved special contribution. These achievements are shown and felt in many ways – acts of charity or philanthropy, exceptional exercise of public service, corporate loyalty and longevity, academic and scholarly excellence, and many more.When I received my …

Filipino Author Featured in The Guardian

Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco British traveller, jazz singer, and a friend of mine Mr. Jack Burns sent me a link of an interesting review of a novel entitled Ilustrado written by internationally acclaimed Filipino author Miguel Syjuco. The particular Guardian article was written by British novelist and literary critic Adam Mars-Jones. His review made me …

Filipina housewife gets standing ovation at the X Factor UK

Full-time Filipina housewife and mum, Neneth Lyon, surprised both judges and crowd at the auditions for The X Factor UK week 3. As she appears before the crowd Nick Grimshaw, one of the judges, asked her, “How are you?” She just honestly responded, “Nervous.” Nick responded back, “I can tell.” And with that some people’s …