Guiuan hosts national history conference

The historic town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar is this year’s host of the Philippine National Historical Society’s (PNHS) National Conference on Local and National History, happening from 25 to 27 August.

PNHS is the country’s oldest voluntary professional organization of historians founded in 1941. The conference, to be held onsite and online, is the 43rd edition since its debut at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City in 1978. This year’s theme is “History and the Environment.”

University of Hull’s Greg Bankoff will deliver his keynote speech “Letter to the Editor: Reporting Disasters in the Late Nineteenth Century Philippines.”

Papers to be presented on the first day are “The National Cultural Treasure Churches of the Philippines: Gifts of Nature and History” by Regalado Trota Jose of UP Diliman and PNHS; “Restoring the La Inmaculada Concepcion Church of Guiuan, Eastern Samar: A National Cultural Treasure” by Mary Jane Louise A. Bolunia of the National Museum; “Coral Stone in Colonial Philippine Architecture” by Rona Repancol of the University of Santo Tomas; and “The 1696 Palau Drifters in Guiuan, Samar and the Search for their Islands” by Rolando O. Borrinaga of the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte and PNHS with Kinnna G. Kwan of the Guiuan local government and PNHS.

UN Evacuation Center marker in Tubabao Island.

Also to be presented are “Guiuan as a Naval and Air Base in World War II” by Jose; “The Paradise: Understanding the Impact and Significance of the 1949 Tubabao Refugee Camp and the Philippines’ First Experience in Aiding Refugees as an Independent Republic” by Kwan;

“Finding your Favorite Food: The Application of Food History to Philippine Social Studies and Civics” by independent researcher Felice Prudente Santa Maria; “The Arbitrariness of Philippine Place Names” by Ian Christopher B. Alfonso of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines; and “Appreciating a System of Fighting and Weaponry by the Visayans through the Examination of the 1885 Diccionario Bisaya-Español of Juan Felix de la Encarnacion” by Sandra Ebrada of UP Diliman.

Second-day papers include “Augustinians from Filipinas before 1700” by Felix I. Rodriguez of Washington State University; “The Harold C. Conklin Research Collection: A Legacy to Philippine Studies of Environment, Language, and Culture” by Patricia O. Afable of Yale Peabody Museum; “The ‘Papa’ Wore White: Exploring Redness and Red Cloth in Pulahan Historical Literature Through the Lens of Mindanao Clothmaking” by Cherubim Quizon of Seton Hall University;

“The Polarized War Histories of Davao Filipino-Japanese Local Relations amid Successive Regimes, 1940s” by Maria Cynthis B. Barriga of the Global Education Center, Waseda University; “Remembering a Time of Tig-gulutom: Substitutes, Memory, and Propaganda in WWII Japanese Newspapers” by Rad Xavier R. Sumagaysay of UP Visayas;

“Everyday Life in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1942-1945” by Marcelino M. Macapinlac Jr. of the De La Salle University; “Precolonial Trade Linkages Between Indochina and the Philippines” by Edgar Allan M. Sembrano of PNHS;

“The Dutch Archives and Philippine History” by Ariel C. Lopez of the Asian Center, UP Diliman; and “The Indigenous Peoples and Bangsamoros in Mindanao: Parallels and Contrasts” by Calbi A. Asain of the Mindanao State University in Sulu.

All presenters will attend in person except for Santa Maria, Rodriguez, Afable, Quizon, Barriga and Lopez, who will be presenting via Zoom.
Culminating the second day is the launching of The Journal of History 2022, edited by Borrinaga and PNHS co-president Bernardita R. Churchill. It features selected papers from the 2021 online conference.

Meanwhile, “Lakbay Aral” will explore sites in the town such as the Guiuan Quincentennial Exhibition, Guiuan Church complex, plaza and market, Guiuan Airport, the scenic Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration Weather Station, Veterans’ Park, ABCD Beach and Saint Anthony de Padua Pilgrimage Shrine.

In a statement, the PNHS said the 43rd National Conference on Local and National History takes place during History Month and on the eve of this year’s celebration of National Heroes’ Day.
“Very much attuned to these August celebrations is our venue, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, which has been both witness and participant to significant developments in our history,” the organization said.
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