The Philippines ‘chosen’ town

By Maria Teresa GB Beñas, Ph. D.

Writing local history is never an easy task. It takes a lot of patience, knowledge, and skills in taking advantage of every bit of opportunity and resources to gather and organize historical facts and details.

Moreover, it entails creativity in the chronological presentations in order to break the monotony of enumerating the litany of events and people.

True to its meaning, Pinili, an Ilokano word, means “the chosen.”

The municipality of Pinili in Ilocos Norte leveled up from 5th class to 3rd class in 2008. (Photo from Municipaility of Pinili-Engineering Office/Facebook) 
The prologue of Honor Blanco Cabie’s Pili Metamorphoses Into Motion conditions the mindset of the reader on its emphasis that Pinili is the chosen town. This keeps the reader turning the pages uncontrollably, because the chronological presentation of events draws interest on Pinili’s evolution amid adversities.

Part 1 depicts the culture of the people of Pinili and their fighting stance influenced by the prowess and determination of the Revolutionary Catholic priest Gregorio L. Aglipay.

His utter rejection of the colonizers who enslaved the people resulted in the establishment of Aglipayanism or the Iglesia Filipina Independiente launched through the able leadership of Don Isabelo de los Reyes, Sr., a layman and husband of famous Ilocano poet Leona Florentino.

Part 2 relates the drama that transpired during the years of preparation for the township status of Pinili.

The different barangays forming Pinili used to be part of the municipalities of Badoc, Batac, and Paoay.

A shrine in Pinili built in honor of Revolutionary Catholic priest Gregorio Aglipay who became the first head of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. (Photo from IFI Page Gallery/Facebook) 
It was made an independent town on January 1, 1920 by virtue of Executive Order No. 92 signed by then Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison on December 20, 1919.

The succeeding parts of the book, Parts 3 and 4 narrate more struggles encountered by Pinili as a municipality. The challenges include the Japanese occupation until their rehabilitation from the devastation caused by World War II and the Martial Law regime.

An enormous transformation was initiated by their lady mayor, Anunciacion D. Pagdilao in 2001.

The municipality of Pinili leveled up from 5th class to 3rd class in 2008. With consistent and dedicated efforts of the successors of Mayor Pagdilao, Pinili had reaped honors as one of the country’s “most” in many aspects of development endeavors such as the Clean and Green Program implementation; Poverty Reduction; Population Management; Good Governance and many more awards.

The book did not limit its presentation of Pinili’s historical events before its christening as a town, during its life and beyond. It likewise contains the works of its own children that contribute to the honor and glory of its name.

The welcome arc greeting guests entering Pinili. 
Strengths and weaknesses

The historical data presented in the book are well-founded and organized. This is attributed to the fact that the author has the advantage of procuring both first-hand and secondary information from the local folks and officials since he hails from the municipality under study.

While history as a subject is boring to many readers, the book is exquisitely presented that it is able to arouse the interest of readers because of his creative craftsmanship.

The desire of readers to learn the evolution process of the town becomes a journey in itself as well.

Cabie has integrated Pinili’s cream of the crop’s obra maestra that include his own literary outputs. These give a more colorful picture of what Pinili has to offer to its outside world.

Not to flatter, but honestly, I must say that I see no weaknesses in the content and the organization and chronological presentation of the historical data in the book.

‘Pinili Metamorphoses Into Motion’ by Honor Blanco Cabie.

History allows us to know our past and appreciate our present that guides us in defining our destiny/future.

This book, Pinili Metamorphoses Into Motion, is a must-read item especially now that the Philippines is commemorating the 500 years of Christianity in our country.

The reader could appreciate the turn of events and understand the people’s contribution to the successes of the more than 100 Philippine revolts against the Spanish conquistadores and other foreign nations that attempted to colonize our dear native land.

(Dr. Maritess Beñas, former manager of the Philippine Information Agency, is a columnist of Abraham Journal, a local paper in Abra, and an online executive officer of Empowered Consumerism.)

Topics: Pinili , Ilocos Norte , Honor Blanco Cabie , Pili Metamorphoses Into Motion
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