Teodoro M. Kalaw: Aide-de-Camp to Freedom

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This book is about the life of Teodoro M. Kalaw and his experience as a journalist, public servant, and historian. He earnestly defended the Filipinos and the “Filipino Soul” in his various publications and was called in diverse domains of service in which he was severely praised. A certain publication organ called The Citizen said: What he is and what he has attained are all due to his own effort and represent the best reward for merit and worth. Unaided by family or financial influence, by sheer force of industry coupled with ability, he has scaled the heights of success. (p. 137)

Kalaw was born on 1884 in Lipa, Batangas and was from a middle class family. He even said that, “The poor, and we of the middle class, contented ourselves with just watching them (sons of the wealthy class) quietly from the sidewalks” (p. 1). During that time, his family name was spelled as Calao, a hispanicized version of the Tagalog word. He was a sickly boy until the age of seven and that became the reason why his parents took special care him (p. 3)

Kalaw was enrolled in the Escuela Pia in which he stated, “I learned there my first alphabets. My first teacher was my uncle-in-law, tall, very fat, but withal well built (p. 5). He was then transferred to the school of Don Sebastian Virrey to learn Latin and even said the following:

In the classroom and out of it, even in the vicinity of the schoolhouse, we were allowed to speak only Latin and Spanish. Tagalog, never. Its use was forbidden and punishable by fines. (p. 6) In 1897, he was sent to Manila to study, a journey delayed by one year because of the political turmoil caused by the activities of the Katipunan. He returned to Lipa to continue his studies at the prestigious Instituto Rizal, where he first began writing by contributing poems, essays, and short stories to the student paper. “I finished my fourth year course with first honors, to the great joy of my parents and other relatives”, he supposed. He was then enroll in the Liceo de Manila by his father and by Hugo Latorre, the prefect of studies in the Instituto Rizal (p. 21). “After graduating with high honors from the Liceo de Manila, I went on to the Escuela de Derecho, the first Filipino college of law founded by the illustrious Don Felipe G. Calderon”, he narrated. (p. 30) He went back to Manila to take the required examinations for the degree of Licenciado en Ciencias Juridicas (p. 38) and topped the bar examinations that same year with a grade of 100 percent in civil law and three other subjects.

With regards to his religion, he is said to be a Mason. He also had the same views as to what Quezon said:

You know very well that I am a free thinker. I do not believe in that trash about marriage being an indissoluble tie, in the same way that I do not believe in the need for any religion, whether for individuals or for nations. Science should be, and must be, the religion of the future… (p. 90-91)

He even wrote Derecho Parliamentario Masonico, a pamphlet on Masonic parliamentary rules for Masonic deliberative bodies. He said, “From the utilitarian point of view, it is the most successful of my books, being the one that has sold most copies.” (p. 124-125) Also, in March 1920, his book on Masoneria Filipina was published. He even reported that it was the best received of his works. Governor-General Harrison said it was “a most interesting and valuable book, especially the chapters dealing with the early days of Philippine Masonry”. (p. 133) Kalaw narrated, “In 1928, I was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Island, the highest honor that can be conferred upon a Mason in a symbolical Lodge. In that same year, he was also elected as President to the Asociacion Hispano-Filipino which is composed of prominent Spaniards and Filipinos. (p. 214) Teodoro M. Kalaw had a very colored occupation. He first joined the staff of the El Renacimiento, the organ of the Nacionalistas, a political group that...
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