Heritage and History

Welcome to Sulu Garden Foundations’ blog site. Hope you enjoy reading about our home town, Miag-ao, its history and our heritage conservation efforts.

About our writer/editor:

Jonathan R. Matias is the founder and Chief Science Officer of Poseidon Sciences Group. Among his many interests include writing about the convergence of science, history and research being conducted at Poseidon. You can follow his writings via www.poseidonsciences.scienceblog.com. He currently resides in Miag-ao, Iloilo (Philippines) while Sulu Garden is being developed as a center for arts, sciences and conservation. These articles reflect past and ongoing interest of the Foundation. These blog articles are shared from our other companion website, www.sulugarden.com. You may also read entries in our history-related Facebook group: Historic Miagao @ Sulu Garden.

We invite articles from writers who share similar passions to become guest bloggers on this site. Please contact us at poseidonnova@aol.com using “Sulu Blog” as subject heading. Send us the topic you wish to write about, information about yourself, and a draft version for editorial review.

Jonathan R. Matias | December 2, 2015

Historical timelines are also a pre-occupation, a mental exercise about history. Without understanding timelines and how certain events happened in sequence, it is often not easy to make sense of why things happen throughout history.

It was often surmised that Miag-ao became a town in 1731 during the election held in Guimbal to decide on the town officials to run Miag-ao — Nicolas Pangkug as capitan (equivalent to mayor) and Diego Sale as teniente mayor (our equivalent of vice-mayor) were elected [4]. I presumed that the attendance during this election by the then Spanish Governor Victorino made it a significant event in the province.

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Jonathan R. Matias with Allanah Jaleel Lorella | October 24, 2015

Etymology is the history of a word. How the word came into being, where it came from and how it has changed its meaning and even its spelling over a long period of time.

Words often evolve from its original meanings. Some are often added to other languages where the spelling and meaning are then often transformed into a different application. 

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Jonathan R. Matias | June 12, 2015 | 3rd revision, October 15, 2017

Tan Pedro is more known about his epic and controversial book called Maragtas about the coming of the ten Bornean datus to Panay. Even the word Maragtas did not have a local meaning; academics presumed it was a word made up by Tan Pedro. This part of his life came a few years after that momentous day in April 1900, long after the Revolutionary days. But, he must have had the idea about Maragtas even before the Revolution and started writing soon after peace in Miag-ao came to being.

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Jonathan R. Matias with Araceli Q. Adrias, Norman Posecion, Jacob A. Lorella, Arjun P. Palmos, Jaleel A. Lorella and Kian A. Lorella | June 12, 2015

The most intriguing part of the budbudan salt-making process is the mixing of a vine extract with the supersaturated salt water they call ‘tuma.’ The vine does not grow in the lowlands, at least not anymore, but can still be found in the mountains.

Identifying the species of any organism requires more than just the indigenous names. The common names vary so much not only from island to island, but also from people to people. This is true in the case of this mystery vine. 

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Jonathan R. Matias | Research and Photography by Norman Posecion and Coleen P. Sucgang | April 28, 2015

Immersing one’s self into a culture is never easy. But, there is no other way for an ‘outsider’ to gain knowledge of a different culture without an immersion process.

Black volcanic sand characterizes much of Miag-ao’s shoreline, with some small areas, like in Barangay Guibungan, with rocks of all sizes mixed with the sand. Fishing villages dot the shoreline so that Miag-ao’s beach becomes a 13 km parking lot of fishing boats and salt farms.

The cleanliness of the sand and the sea are most important to the ‘budbudan’, the Kinaray-a term for the salt farm, derived from the word ‘budbud’ which means to sprinkle. The Asinderos are particularly upset when some insensitive neighbors would start burning leaves or have charcoal kitchen nearby because they are worried about the ash falling into the finished salt. 

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Jonathan R. Matias with Araceli Q. Adrias and Coleen P. Sucgang | April 17, 2015

Today, the common salt is a much maligned ingredient in the dining table. More than 75% of our salt intake comes from processed and restaurant foods. Over use of salt contributes to heart disease and early mortality, particularly in developing and less developed countries where there is less awareness of the hazards.

The common salt is the least exciting of all the condiments on your dining table. Not so uncommon several millennia ago. The earliest confirmed salt production was about 6,000 BC, in the salt springs of Lunca in Romania and near the Xiechi Lake in Shanxi, China. The Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians and many other ancient civilizations traded salt or salt products throughout the Mediterranean. 

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Jonathan R. Matias | April 5, 2015

Rumors if passed along often enough, may turn into urban legends. And, sometimes become accepted as a historical fact. Just give it enough time to circulate around for over a generation or two. Most towns and cities have their own urban legends and the usual ‘mis-encounters’ with historical accuracy. Such is the case even for the seaside town of Miag-ao (Iloilo) which is entering its 300th Foundation Day in February, 2016.

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Jonathan R. Matias | October 11, 2014

Puente de Isabel II was famous during the Spanish era because the engineers that built the bridge in 1856 received a Silver Medal for excellence in design from the Spanish Governor General Don Ramon Montero. It is more important historically. During the Battle of Imus in 1896 General Emilio Aguinaldo of the Philippine Revolutionaries or Katipuneros won the first major victory of the Revolution by blasting one span of the bridge to trap the Spanish army.

The elders of Imus considered the Puente as haunted. The elders would say that at night the ghosts would appear –of a Filipino priest beheaded on the bridge by the Spaniards during the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish soldiers and Katipuneros who died fighting on the bridge and the men and women who died there during the Japanese Occupation in World War II. 

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Jonathan R. Matias | September 11, 2011

Where were you on 9/11? This is a most often asked question posed to any New Yorker travelling overseas or just going across the State lines. I wish I can say how terrifying that day was. How the acrid smoke and the dust filled my lungs. How much anguish it had been to see the Twin Towers disintegrating right before my very own eyes. I could not say those words. I wasn’t there. I was 6,000 miles away, watching the events of that fateful day unfold in the safety of a hotel lounge far away from home.

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To download a PDF copy, please click HERE.

Jonathan R. Matias | August 22, 2011

Despite the recent spectacular scientific achievement of DARPA (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) on a hypersonic glider traveling at 13,000 miles per hour, American innovation, like this Mach 20 glider, is on a downward path towards unknown depths, with profound ramifications to our economic and political status among nations.  We all know intuitively that the declining trend exists and I am not sure there is a way to reverse that in such a complicated world we live in today.  In my life experience as an American scientists and a former immigrant, I can see it as clearly as the sun sets behind midtown Manhattan from across the East River in Gantry Park. 

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To download a PDF copy, please click HERE.

Jonathan R. Matias | February 24, 2011

“The revolution that surprised the world” was a headline in 1986 and just as easily applies to the revolutions now sweeping the Middle East.   Today is the 25th anniversary of the first People Power Revolution that took the Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, out of power.  That was Feb 22-25, 1986, the remarkable days of non-violent civil resistance against the 20-year repressive rule of a dictator.  Those were the 4 days when 2 million unarmed people –common folks, priests, nuns – took to the main thoroughfare of Manila, called EDSA, built barricades, sang songs, made prayer vigils and refused to disperse.  Those were the days when soldiers and tank crews facing the crowds were given kind words, praises and flowers.  Also the days when soldiers simply could not fire on their own people and turned their guns around to join the revolution instead.

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To download a PDF copy, please click HERE.

Jonathan R. Matias | January 23, 2011

Gavrilets developed a mathematical model, using hundreds of years of human historical data, to predict the rise and fall of complex societies.  Through numerical simulations that take into account parameters such the size of the state, political power, length of rule, economic variables, etc, his team was able to explain the dynamic processes that cause kingdoms, states and empires to collapse on the scale of decades and centuries.  

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To download a PDF copy, please click HERE.

Jonathan R. Matias | December 16, 2010

Having lived and worked in New York City all my adult life, I often dreamed of living in a tropical island, a house by the sea, with coconut palms and beautiful sunsets.  My wife and I visited many islands in SE Asia and did chose the island of Panay and the town of Miag-ao, where I continued research on totally new directions—barnacles, spiny lobsters, endangered clams, eels and tropical abalone.  What captivated me on my first visit to Miag-ao was the view of the small fishing boats going out to sea at night with lanterns and the hundred or so boats racing to market in the early morning to sell the night’s harvest of fish.

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To download a PDF copy, please click HERE.

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