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Marking moments in our history

NHCP declares Easter College in Baguio a historic site, honors key persons in Bicol and Rizal

Text and photos by Edgar Allan M. Sembrano, Contributor

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has declared the Easter College in Baguio City as a historic site, installing a historical marker at the 100-year-old Anglican educational institution in December last year.
Originally named Easter School, it was founded in 1906 by Anglican bishop Charles Henry Brent for the education of young boys from the Mountain Province, which comprised most of the Cordilleras then.
The school located in the Guisad area of Baguio started accepting girl students in 1909, established a weaving room for them thereafter, added a secondary education in 1963 and became a college in 1995.
It also served as a headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War.

Heritage buildings
The school had five original buildings when it was established — a church, weaving room (now the Easter Weaving Room, which is under reconstruction), dormitory, mission residence, and a print shop.
It is not clear whether all or some of these structures survived the Second World War however there are three heritage buildings of wood (at least 50 years old) on campus at present — the high school building or the Rev. Samuel Drury Hall, Rev. G.C. Bartter Memorial Library, and the Brown Building, which houses the college's hospitality and business management department.
The Drury Hall, constructed during the American period, was originally called the Western New York Building.
The current building is a possible reconstruction in the 1950s of that building that was originally used as dormitory for boys and elementary building, which later became the structure housing its high school department.
Beside Drury Hall is the Bartter Memorial library, which was the school's old Holy Innocents Chapel reused into a library about 10 years ago following the construction of a bigger church.

'Filipinas' lyrics
Also in 2017, the NHCP acknowledged the importance of the town of Bautista (formerly part of Bayambang) in Pangasinan as the site where Jose Palma wrote the poem “Filipinas,” which later became the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem “Himno Nacional Filipina,” now “Lupang Hinirang.”
The agency has installed a historical marker in Bautista for this matter.
NHCP has likewise marked the starting point of the Bataan Death March in Mariveles, Bataan, and recognized the Liberators Guerilla of Maragondon, Cavite, and the Tangcong Vaca Guerilla Unit of Canaman, Camarines Sur, which both fought against the Japanese in World War II.
The Manila Police Department building on United Nations Avenue, established in 1901 by then Governor-General William Howard Taft, has also received a historical marker from the NHCP for its historical importance.
This prewar structure became an office of the Manila local government, a prison and headquarters of the Japanese forces.
It was damaged during the war and rehabilitated afterwards.

Manila Hotel
The historic Manila Hotel was also recognized by the historical commission for being the site of the first consulate office of Australia in the Philippines.
The consulate was established in 1946 in the first level of the hotel with Herbert Peterson as the first Australian Consul-General.
Also in the 2017 NHCP recognitions are revolutionary and writer Felix Galura (1866-1919) of Bacolor, Pampanga; Bikolano revolutionary Camilo Jacob (mid-19th century-1897) of Polangui, Albay; and the revolutionary hero Licerio Geronimo of Sampaloc, Manila (1855-1924).
Their respective historical markers were installed in Bacolor, Polangui and in Taytay, Rizal, respectively.
Galura was the head of the Bacolor forces during the Philippine Revolution, became Bacolor mayor during the American period, and a prolific Pampangan writer. Jacob was a member of Bicol's Quince Martires, who died from a firing squad in Luneta in 1897 due to rebellion allegations.
Geronimo was the hero of the Battle of San Mateo (Manila, now Rizal) in 1899, who with his group, killed General Henry Lawton and other American military officials in the said battle.
Completing the list is the controversial Comfort Women monument on Roxas Boulevard in Manila, which drew the ire of the Japanese government, prompting the Department of Foreign Affairs to form a fact-finding investigation into the matter.
But President Rodrigo Duterte was recently quoted as saying the monument is a constitutional right that he cannot stop.

Note: The author acknowledges Easter College's Fermina Brillo, Ma. Elizabeth Gerzon and Lina Agaldang for their input and assistance in making this story.


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