Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Antique pocket watches are some of the most intricate pieces of equipment that man has created, and are great for collecting as antiques. There have been a multitude of brands and types of watches over the years, comprised of different materials and all varying in value, which can make starting a collection difficult.  Pocket watches are made up of two major components called the watch movement and watch case. The case is the exterior of the pocket watch, usually made of a precious metal and the watch movement is the inside of the watch, and contains all the pieces that make it tick.

These antique Filipiniana pocket watches can range in price from anywhere to less than 15,000  to 100,000 pesos  in value depending on the intricacy of the design and brand of the watch. Some of these imported brands found here are Omega, Elgin, Longines and other Swiss watches.  Starting an antique pocket watch collection is not only potentially lucrative, but can be an incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable hobby.

There’s a wealth of knowledge about different Filipiniana watches that you can buy. Mostly stores carrying their name on the face, are the most popular and sought after. Estrella Del Norte, Geislammer Bros. and Felix Ullmann & Co. were some of the stores that sold these pocket watches. They were popular among Filipino gentlemen and were a fashion fad at the turn-of-the-century.  Most shops selling these pocket watches were in Escolta, a commercial district with stores and boutiques selling imported goods from Japan, US, and Europe.  

La Estrella del Norte advertisement selling an Omega pocket watch

MERALCO Tramvia Conductor's Pocket Watch
MERALCO Transportation Light Power. ELGIN USA



MERIDIAN GREILSAMMER BROS. Manila with Andres Bonifacio's
Balintawak Monument engraving at the back.
Poem of Rizal engraved at the inside back cover.

ELGIN Watch with Jose Rizal's profile lightly engraved on the back cover

Gen. Aguinaldo's Revolutionary BIAK NA BATO fob
(Melvin Lam Collection)

MERIDIAN GREILSAMMER BROS. Manila with intricate back cover design 
(Melvin Lam Collection)

MERIDIAN GREILSAMMER BROS. with Spanish and US Philippine coins fob.
(Melvin Lam Collection)
Rizaliana pocket watches and other memorabilia (Mon Villegas Collection)

La Estrella del Norte advertisement selling pocket watches, jewelries and other luxury items

Although these Marcos wristwatches are not pocket watches, they have become popular among watch collectors.

Monday, January 1, 2018

119. WHAT'S IN A NAME - Philippine Cigarette Trivia


According to Kapampangan at Ilocano, Pugot is described as a Negro (large black man), scary, but not malicious entity. These characteristics eventually came to the now known “Kapre” in Tagalog. It also has a power of change, sometimes it becomes a cat, or a ball of fire. It often lives in homeless houses or large trees such as duhat, santol, and tamarind.

Various Aeta groups in northern Luzon are known as Pugot or Pugot, an Ilocano term that came to be known as “goblin” or “forest spirit”, and is the colloquial term for people with darker complexions. The earliest belief of the Pugot “spirit” is found in Ilocano myths as the spirits of ancestral aborigines (Aetas) who guard treasures.
According to Maximo Ramos in his book, "The Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology", the word "Pugot" means “Black one or Negro”, "the decapitated one," or "one with hands cut off."
Looking at this creature in the perspectives of the Ifugao, we can look at its appearance in the former headhunting rites of the natives. For the Ifugao, the practice of this ritual has become important as a ceremony. Often a person's mortification is due to the desire to take revenge, so it is even more a burial. It is unfortunate that this ritual has become the cause of this ritual so it is said to be the most from all the misfortunes of an Ifugao.


The word Baluga is a term used to refer to the Aetas, the curly-haired, very dark-skinned indigenous peoples of the Philippines who are related more to the native tribes of Papua New Guinea who bear a closer physical resemblance to a few African groups than to the brown Malayans of Southeast Asia.
Often used in a derogatory sense, this word is not used in polite conversation!  Ang balugang aktres- the actress with African-American looks.

Other words related in meaning that are considered offensive and should not be used: nugnug, nognog, nug nug, nog nog


Maria Sinukuan is the diwata (fairy) or mountain goddess associated with Mount Arayat in Pampanga, Philippines, and is a prominent example of the mountain-goddesses motiff in Philippine mythology, other prominent examples being Maria Makiling of Los Baños and Maria Cacao of Cebu.

Legend of Maria Sinukuan
Sinukuan is associated with the unusual bounty of the forests in Arayat, and with the profusion of animals there. Watching over the needs of the people in the nearby town, she used to regularly leave fruits and animals at the doorstep of locals who needed food during hard times. At one point, though, a group of young men got greedy. They sought out where Sinukuan’s home was in the mountains, and when they found it, they asked for more than what they actually needed. Sinukuan did not object to this, and allowed them to pick a great load of fruits. She warned them, however, not to get any fruits from the forest without her permission. On their way back home, they decided they would get more. Why not? They asked each other. “She won't know we took home fruits and animals. They're so plentiful, she won't know the difference." But she did. As soon as they had started picking more fruit, their packs began to feel heavier. They soon discovered that all the fruit and meat they were carrying had turned into rocks. The young men ran away, but before they managed to escape the forest, Sinukuan appeared before them. As punishment, she said, she would turn them into swine. And so she did.

But the other people in the village were also getting greedy. More and more, they stole from Sinukuan’s forests. Angered, Sinukuan stopped leaving food at their doorsteps. She made the fruit trees and animals in the mountain to disappear. And she also never allowed the villagers to see her again.


The first Catholic Mass in the Philippines was held on March 31, 1521, Easter Sunday. It was said by Father Pedro de Valderrama along the shores of Limasawa at the tip of Southern Leyte.  Limasawa is this popularly known as the birthplace of the Church in the Philippines.

History of the name LIMASAWA

“Mazaua” is the original name of this municipality. There are two assumptions how the municipality got its name:  One assumption is that before the Spanish men arrived to the island, the natives don’t really have a name of their place. Upon the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan and his men, one of the natives was asked for the name of their place. The native, unable to understand what it meant, mistakenly interpreted the question to mean as to “how many wives their Rajah has”. So he answered immediately “Lima’y Asawa”, meaning that their Rajah has five wives. The Spanish too, thinking that was the answer to his question, return to tell his companions that the island is named “Lima’y Asawa ”. And from then on, the place came to be called as “Limasawa”.


The biblical Magi, also referred to as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings, were, in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.

The New Testament does not give the names of the Magi. However, traditions and legends identify a variety of different names for them. In the Western Christian church, they have been all regarded as saints and are commonly known as:

Melchior also Melichior, a Persian scholar;
Caspar also Gaspar, Jaspar, Jaspas, Gathaspa, and other variations), an Indian scholar;
Balthazar also Balthasar, Balthassar, and Bithisarea, a Babylonian scholar.

Encyclopedia Britannica states: "according to Western church tradition, Balthasar is often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India." These names apparently derive from a Greek manuscript probably composed in Alexandria around 500, and which has been translated into Latin with the title Excerpta Latina Barbari. Another Greek document from the 8th century, of presumed Irish origin and translated into Latin with the title Collectanea et Flores, continues the tradition of three kings and their names and gives additional details.

One candidate for the origin of the name Caspar appears in the Acts of Thomas as Gondophares (21 – c. AD 47), i.e., Gudapharasa (from which "Caspar" might derive as corruption of "Gaspar"). This Gondophares declared independence from the Arsacids to become the first Indo-Parthian king, and he was allegedly visited by Thomas the Apostle. According to Ernst Herzfeld, his name is perpetuated in the name of the Afghan city Kandahar, which he is said to have founded under the name Gundopharron.


The Philippine Assembly was the lower house of the Philippines from 1907 to 1916. Along with an upper house (the appointed Philippine Commission), it formed the bicameral Philippine Legislature during part of the American Colonial Period.

The Assembly was created by the 1902 Philippine Organic Act of the United States Congress, which established the Insular Government of the Philippines. In 1916, the Jones Act replaced the Philippine Organic Act and the Assembly became the current House of Representatives of the Philippines.

The first Philippine Assembly elections were held on July 30, 1907. These were the first nationwide elections ever held in the Philippines. The Assembly was inaugurated on October 16, 1907 with Sergio Osmeña as Speaker of the Assembly, Manuel L. Quezon as majority leader, and Vicente Singson as minority leader.

The inauguration of the assembly marked a "turning point in the country’s history, for its creation marked the commencement of Filipino participation in self-governance and a big leap towards self-determination."  The Philippine Assembly was the first legislative body in the Philippines fully chosen by national elections. It is a direct precursor of the current House of Representatives of the Philippines.

LA REINA FILIPINA (Carnival Queen)

Manila Carnival was an annual carnival festival held in Manila during the early American colonial period up to the time before the Second World War. The highlight of the event is the crowning of the Carnival Queens. Cameron Forbes and the carnival promoters established the Carnival Queen contest. The Queen will be selected through purchase of ballots through newspaper clippings. Initially, Forbes decided to restrict the contest to the daughters of the wealthiest families from the capital city of Manila but eventually accepted entries from different parts of the country. The Queen was voted through a system of money ballots or magazine coupons. Philippine magazines like Liwayway, Telembang and Lipang Kalabaw had such coupons inserted in their pages.

The Carnival Queens dressed the most beautiful costumes of the parade, ranging from Egyptian inspired to Siamese to that of the Arabian Scheherazade.

The first Manila Carnival in 1908 elected two queens representing the Oriental beauty and the Western beauty (called Occident) – Pura Villanueva from Iloilo City, Iloilo (Queen of the Orient) and Marjorie Radcliffe Colton from Galesburg, Illinois(Queen of the Occident). The only other time this happened was in 1920 Manila Carnival. In 1912, for the first time aside from the carnival queen the contest chose four ladies to represent Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and American homeland. In 1913, three women representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were named as co-winners of the Manila Carnival. The first and only American woman to solely win as Carnival Queen was Mela Kamakee Fairchild (born in Oakland, California in 1898) in the 1917 Manila Carnival. Two queens were also chosen in 1926 to elect the last to be called as the Carnival Queen (Socorro Henson) and the very first Miss Philippines (Anita Agoncillo Noble)

Manila Carnival Queen is the precursor of various national pageants in the Philippines.


Ang Bantay na Scout or Philippine Scouts was a military organization of the United States Army from 1901 until the end of World War II and disbanded in 1948 by the Philippines Government after the country's independence. Made up of Filipino-Americans assigned to the United States Army Philippine Department, these troops were generally enlisted and under the command of White-American officers, however, a handful of Filipino Americans received commissions from the United States Military Academy. Philippine Scout units were given a suffix of (PS), to distinguish them from other U.S. Army units.

The first Scout companies were organized by the US in 1901 to combat the Philippine revolutionary forces led at that time by General Emilio Aguinaldo. In 1919–20, the PS companies were grouped into regiments as part of the US Army and redesignated the 43d, 44th, 45th, and 57th Infantry Regiments, plus the 24th and 25th Field Artillery Regiments, the 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS) and the 91st and 92nd Coast Artillery Regiments. Service and support formations were also organized as engineer, medical, quartermaster and military police units. The infantry and field artillery regiments were grouped together with the U.S. 31st Infantry Regiment to form the U.S. Army’s Philippine Division. At this point, the Scouts became the U.S. Army’s front line troops in the Pacific.

The Philippine Department assigned the Scouts to subdue the Moro tribes on the island of Mindanao (see Moro rebellion), and to establish tranquility throughout the islands. In the 1930s, Philippine Scouts, along with the 31st Infantry Regiment, saw action at Jolo, Palawan.
Philippine Scout regiments became some of the first United States Army units to be in combat during World War II, until the surrender of USAFFE in May 1942. Even after that some individual soldiers and units refused to surrender and become beginning elements of the resistance to the Japanese occupation. Later paroled POWs would also join the resistance.


Rizal who has been known for his strong criticisms against the Spaniards wouldn’t have written all his essays and articles using his real name. He used the pen names Dimasalang and Laong Laan in many of his writings.

Dr. Jose Rizal used the pen name Dimasalang when he served as a correspondent of the same Spanish newspaper La Solidaridad. Rizal also wrote a literary work in Spain titled “Amor Patrio” meaning love of country. The piece was included in “Diarong Tagalog” which was a daily newspaper released in Manila. Rizal also used the pseudonym “May Pagasa” when he transferred to Madrid and became a member of Freemasonry.

Dr. Jose Rizal also used Laong Laan which was the name of a railway station in Manila, when he was a contributor of poems and articles for the Spanish newspaper “La Solidaridad” was. Others who contributed to La Solidaridad and used pen names were Marcelo H. del Pilar who used Plaridel, Mario Ponce used the aliases Naning, Kalipulo or Tigbalang, Antonio Luna as Taga Ilog and Jose Maria Panganiban who used Jomapa. “La Solidaridad” is an organization created in Spain and issued a newspaper of the same name published in Barcelona, Spain. Jose Rizal’s cousin named Galicano Apacible headed the organization.


ISAAC PERAL was an old street name in Ermita, Manila that was later changed to United Nations Avenue.  Little did I know that Isaac Peral was a Spanish scientist, inventor, and military man. He invented the submarine -- the first U-boat in naval history.

He was sent in mission to the Philippines in 1881, first as a geographer and later as an officer of a gunboat. During his stay in the Philippines, he received seven patents between 1887 and 1891 for his other inventions.

The PERAL was the first electric battery powered submarine built by Isaac Peral, for the Spanish Navy. The first fully capable military submarine was launched on September 8, 1888. It had two torpedoes, new air systems, hull shape and propeller and cruciform external controls anticipating later designs. When fully charged it was the fastest submarine yet built, with performance levels that matched or exceeded those of First World War U-boats. In June 1890 Peral's submarine launched a torpedo under the sea. It was also the first submarine to incorporate a fully reliable underwater navigation system.


MONEDA FILIPINA or Philippine Money during the American colonial era was first issued in 1903. It featured a lady with a hammer and an bald eagle on American shield which is similar to the design of US Philippine coinage.  Philippine artist Melecio Figueroa was enlisted to provide the designs for the coinage, creating a a standing woman design for the silver denomination coins, which have been modeled on his daughter Bianca.


We know Alhambra as a popular cigar/cigarette brand here in the Philippine, but in Spain Alhambra or "The Red One" is a popular palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered in the Renaissance style. In 1526 Charles I & V commissioned a new Renaissance palace better befitting the Holy Roman Emperor in the revolutionary Mannerist style influenced by Humanist philosophy in direct juxtaposition with the Nasrid Andalusian architecture, but which was ultimately never completed due to Morisco rebellions in Granada.

Alhambra's latest flowering of Islamic palaces were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain during the decline of the Nasrid dynasty who were increasingly subject to the Christian Kings of Castile. After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the buildings occupied by squatters, Alhambra was rediscovered following the defeat of Napoleon, who had conducted retaliatory destruction of the site. The rediscoverers were first British intellectuals and then other north European Romantic travelers. It is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country's most significant and well-known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories.


EL LUCERO DEL ALBA, sometimes called "Star of the dawn", is a popular name to refer to the planet Venus, when it is visible in the sky at dawn. In English it is used "Morning star", in French "Étoile du matin", and in German "Morgenstern", the 3 terms, literally "star of the morning". There is also the name "Evening Star" or "Evening Star" to refer to the vision of Venus at sunset. The term has poetic and mystical connotations.

(1) Wikipedia  
(2)  https://www.aswangproject.com/pugot/
(3)  https://www.tagaloglang.com/baluga/
(4)  https://www.joserizal.com/jose-rizal-pen/