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Epifanio de los Santos Day 2015


Ten years ago, I unilaterally declared April 7 as "Epifanio de los Santos Day." It was commemorated in 2006 and 2007, but it hasn't been celebrated on this blog since. Thankfully, Ambeth Ocampo wrote about the librarian after whom the the Philippines' best-known highway is named just last week. Here's what he wrote in "Contemplating Edsa" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 March 2015):
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue starts north from the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan stretching almost 24 kilometers through Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, to the Mall of Asia in Pasay.

What did De los Santos do to deserve such a singular honor? He was not just a two-time governor of Nueva Ecija, he was more than an epal politician: He was a historian, journalist, musician, bibliophile and antiques collector who served as director of the National Library of the Philippines...

Epifanio de los Santos wrote for the revolutionary paper La Independencia and was also an accomplished painter. It is said that a beautiful young lady in charge of a college for women (Rosa Sevilla?) received an oil portrait from an anonymous admirer. Nobody knew who had sent the gift, so some of her many suitors courted her attention and affection by claiming that they had sent the portrait. So one day when all the competitors were wooing the woman, praising and commenting on her portrait, De los Santos asked that they take the painting out of its frame. On the back they found his name. Furthermore, a piece of music hidden behind the painting was found, and De los Santos serenaded the woman with it, “to the mingled delight and despair of the other suitors.”
Next year, I hope that we'll have a story about a living librarian to share, someone who shares Epifanio de los Santos's qualities.

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