BAUTISTA—This town, known as the home of “Lupang Hinirang”, the Philippine national anthem, will forever etch this pride with a marker set to be unveiled next month.
Rochelle Florendo, the town’s tourism officer, said a marker will be posted on the nine-foot statue of a seated Jose Palma on a platform at the municipal park fronting the town hall, that reads: Pook kung saan sinulat ang “Filipinas”, liriko ng Pambansang Awit, Bautista, Pangasinan.
“Sa pook na ito sinulat ni Jose Palma Y Velasquez ang tulang “Filipinas” na naging liriko sa wikang Espanyol ng himno Nacional Filipina, ngayo’y Pambansang Awit ng Pilipinas. Nalathala sa pahayagang La Independencia, 3 Septyembre 1899. Ang nasabing pook ay itinatag bilang munisipalidad ng Bautista noong 1900.
It was in a house in Barangay Poblacion West, known as Casa Hacienda owned by Favis-Gomez family, where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo had his Luzon headquarters in 1899, Gen. Antonio Luna, along with his La Independencia staff worked. Gen. Arthur MacArthur also used it as his headquarters in 1898.
It was also reportedly where Jose Palma wrote his poem “Filipinas” but National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), claimed otherwise – Palma wrote his poem inside a coach of a still train stationed at that time in Poblacion West.
“Because at that time, Palma reportedly wanted a quiet place when he did his writing but the house (Casa Hacienda) also became his residence at that time,” Florendo said.
The marker was supposed to be installed inside Casa Hacienda but when negotiations with the family were delayed, the local government headed by Mayor Amadeo Espino opted to put the marker at the park fronting the town hall.
Florendo said during the time of then Gov. Amado Espino Jr, now 5th District representative, and, then Mayor Amado Espino III, now the governor, the NHCP and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts allocated funds for the park’s improvement and the marker.
Florendo said students in this town are aware of the historical significance of Palma’s “Filipinas” to the town.
Meanwhile, Jesus de Guzman, 59, caretaker of Casa Hacienda since 1981, said in a separate interview, four centuries-old narra trees are still standing at the sprawling compound.
He said his father, Geronimo de Guzman, who also served as Casa Hacienda’s caretaker, maintain it was in Casa Hacienda where the national anthem was composed.
As the town looks forward to the unveiling of the marker that will officially establish the town’s role in history, Florendo said it will be the legacy of Bautista “that nobody can take away from us.” (Tita Roces)
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