by Serafin Colmenares Jr.
On Nov. 22, 2020, the Knights of Rizal-Aloha Chapter launched its Rizalian Lecture Series via Zoom, with Dr. Floro Quibuyen, Ph.D., a retired associate professor who currently resides in Sydney, Australia, as its first speaker.
The Rizalian Lecture Series is a project of the Aloha Chapter aimed at promoting a major plank of the Knights of Rizal – educating people about the life, works and ideas of the Philippines’ foremost national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Designed as a year-long, bimonthly event, the lecture series hopes that through these discussions people will be able to discover, learn more, and understand the depth of Dr. Rizal’s genius and the importance of his legacy. It is the intent of the organizers to have all the lectures in the series published in book form.
Dr. Quibuyen’s lecture was titled Rizal’s Unfinished Research: Rediscovering Philippine Prehistory and the Philippines-Marianas Connection Circa 1500 BC/3500 BP. Based primarily on an earlier work The Future Has an Ancient Heart: In Search of Our Antiguas Buenas Calidades. A Voyage of Rediscovery from Jose Rizal’s (Ignored) Translation of Theodor Waitz’s Die Malaien to the Jesuit Missionaries’ (Forgotten) Reports on the Chamorros of Marianas (UP CIDS Public Policy Monograph, 2020), the lecture talked about Rizal’s aborted plan to translate Waitz’s Die Malaien. Instead, he focused on annotating Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. As a consequence, Dr. Quibuyen argued that the failure created a gap in Philippine pre-history.
The lecture talked about the Philippines as a source of the peopling of the Pacific Islands, particularly the Marianas (Guam). Dr. Quibuyen debunked the theory that the people of the Pacific Islands came from the south (Indonesia) through linguistic, archaeological and genetic evidence that show the Chamorro natives actually came from the Philippines. He also disproved the theory that it was impossible for Filipinos to travel by sea directly to the Marianas, by showing proof of sea voyages undertaken by Chamorros between the Philippines and Guam. These voyages indicate knowledge of sailing against the wind using the proa, a single outrigger boat used by Chamorros, which was also found in the Philippines. In fact, Rizal drew this kind of proa when he was in Dapitan.
Dr. Quibuyen also talked about the “antiguas buenas calidades” of the Chamorros (or early Filipinos) that the Jesuit missionaries found in Guam, their matrilineal society, their hospitality, etc. and how these cultural values were destroyed with the introduction of Christianity and subsequent colonization.
The lecture was followed by reactions from a couple of professors. Dr. Francis Dalisay, PhD, an associate professor from the University of Guam and an internationally known researcher and scholar, talked about more current relationships between Filipinos and Chamorros in Guam. Dr. Federico Magdalena, PhD, associate director of the Center for Philippine Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, on the other hand, mentioned about the difficulty in answering what seemed to him as a “chicken or egg” dilemma, and how this would create problems in relationships between groups of people, not only in Guam but also in the Philippines. A question-and-answer period followed the reactions.
There were more than 40 people who attended the virtual lecture. They came from the Philippines, Australia, Hawaii, Guam and the mainland USA, representing various walks of life. There were professors and students from various academic institutions, government officials, nonprofit workers, etc. A special participant was Gemma Cruz Araneta, former Miss Universe and a cultural aficionado, who is a descendant of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Dr. Floro Quibuyen is a retired associate professor of Philippine Studies at the Asian Center, University of the Philippines in Diliman. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of the Philippines at Diliman, and his master’s degree in anthropology and Ph.D. degree in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa under an East-West Center fellowship. He retired from the academe in 2008 after teaching at the University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, and University of Hawaii for 25 years. He continued to do research and publish after his retirement. His best-known work is A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony and Philippine Nationalism (2008). Sir Dr. Quibuyen, KCR, is a member of the Knights of Rizal-Sydney Chapter.
A recording of Dr. Quibuyen’s lecture will be uploaded on YouTube. For questions about the lecture, you may contact Dr. Quibuyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second virtual lecture in the series has been tentatively scheduled on January 16, 2021, with Sir Atty. Edwin Bael, KGOR, as speaker. His talk is titled “Rizal’s Unfinished Revolution.” Sir Bael was formerly Consul/Consul General in Madrid, Honolulu, Canberra and Los Angeles. He is currently the Undersecretary for the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Overseas Filipino Workers and Muslim Affairs, Republic of the Philippines.
For questions about the lecture series, please contact Jun Colmenares at email@example.com.