A Privilege Speech delivered by HON. JO JAN PAUL J. PEÑOL during the Sangguniang Bayan of Pavia Regular Session January 24, 2012
Mr. Presiding Officer, Honorable Members of this august chamber, fellow workers in the government, beloved Pavianhons, a pleasant morning.
Today I would want to share with you a fact which everyone is not aware of. A fact which could make us prouder to be called Filipinos and even prouder to be called Pavianhons.
36 novels, 122 short stories, 231 short lyrics, 8 narrative poems, 7 novelettes, 5 corridos, 7 long plays, a number of sculptures, hundreds of paintings – such were the works of Magdalena Jalandoni – the first Republic Culture Heritage Awardee for Literature in 1969 by Former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Magdalena is the daughter of Gregorio Jalandoni from then City of Jaro and Francisca Gonzaga of Balabag, Pavia which was part of the old city of Jaro.
When she was 10, Magdalena wrote her first corridor “Padre Juan kag Beata Maria.” No one could stop her love for writing and her advocacies towards an observant women sector.
She studied at Iloilo High School in 1906, but decided to stop the following year to dedicate her every piece of life to her undying vocation which is writing literary pieces.
In her late 20’s, Magdalena joined the Women’s Suffrage Movement which aimed to be the voice of Filipino women and made her works with heavy touches of dynamism and vigilance.
During her generation, women didn’t have a major role in the society. They were known more as family persons and plain housewives.
In 1962, Pope John XXIII granted Magdalena the Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice because of her immeasurable commitment to the Roman Catholic Church. It is the highest medal bestowed by the Papacy upon the laity or people who are not part of the clergy.
Because of her dedication towards her rare career, she received the first Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature by the President Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 12, 1969, as stated earlier.
Being a phenomenal writer, it isn’t unlikely for her to dream of an ideal man of great brilliance – our national hero, Jose Rizal. Magdalena desired an embodiment of Rizal.
She however died on September 14, 1978 a spinster – not being able to find a man to meet the standards of the Filipino icon.
For information, a street at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay City, Philippines, is named in her honor.
On the other hand, due to rising industrialization and lack of time to take care of the heritage museum at Jaro, the remaining family of Magdalena decided to sell the lot to pave way to the construction of a commercial complex just last year. However, it was not a big deal because Magdalena’s works were shared ton institutions memorable to her. To cite a few, she gave some to the libraries of these schools: Colegio de San Jose, Central Philippine University, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, the National Library, Yale University and Syracuse University in the United States.
But have you known that most of her works such as novels, poems, sculptures, and paintings were donated to Balabag Elementary School?
Why Balabag Elementary School?
For the information of everybody concerned, a lot where Balabag Elementary School currently stands were formerly owned by the family of Magdalena Jalandoni, but was donated to the municipal government in the 1950’s.
As you enter the school premises, you will be amazed by the concrete sculptures found in front of the Principal’s Office and Jose Rizal’s bust sculpture on the left side of the campus.
As you enter the school library, Magdalena’s works will greet you with awe and surprise. These masterpieces were transferred just last year. Now, Magdalena Jalandoni’s family are asking the support of the Municipal Government of Pavia to help them preserve the legacies that this woman has set before us.
In fact, right before your very eyes, members of this august body, I present to you some works of Magdalena Jalandoni as early as 1917. I borrowed these artifacts from a close relative of hers last Thursday.
The family’s act of transferring Magdalena’s work to Pavia is a concrete expression that Pavia has a place in the heart of the prolific writer.
Let us help these works be retained and be seen by our children and our children’s children and realize how brilliant is Magdalena’s’ past and Pavia’s role in her life.
Truly, this makes us proud to be called Pavianhons.