07 SEPTEMBER 2023
Embassy Press and Information Section
WASHINGTON D.C. – In partnership with the US-Philippines Society (USPS) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Sentro Rizal of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. hosted one of the foremost authorities on Philippine history, Professor Ambeth Ocampo, in a presentation entitled, “Rizal, Maps, and the Emergence of the Filipino Nation” on 07 September 2023 at the Embassy’s Chancery Annex. This event was organized as part of the Embassy’s commemoration of the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness (MANAMo) Month celebrated every September.
During his welcoming remarks, Chargé d’affaires, a.i. Jaime Ramon Ascalon, Jr. said that Professor Ocampo’s presentation was an opportunity to reflect on Dr. Jose Rizal’s life, legacy, and his integral role in shaping our nation as well as trace the footprints of Philippine history through maps and cartography starting from the 16th century.
Professor Ambeth Ocampo is a Horacio de la Costa Professor in History and the Humanities at the Ateneo de Manila University. His research and works covers the late 19th century Philippines – its art, culture, and the heroes, who played a pivotal role in the birth of the Filipino nation. He also served as the Chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Professor Ocampo discussed the importance of maps and the research of Dr. Rizal in understanding Philippine history and geography, emphasizing that “…not only did he (Dr. Jose Rizal) read maps, write about maps, but he actually created one of the first relief maps that I think inspired this iconic relief map, which is now in Luneta Park in Manila.” He discussed how maps are important, particularly how the shape of the Philippines not only defines us (Filipino people) but becomes something that is a source of pride.
Following the presentation, Dr. Frank Jenista, a former American diplomat who served in the Philippines twice and a specialist in Philippine history, reflected on on Philippines-U.S. relations stating that “the complexities, the contradictions, and sometimes even the craziness of the relations is what has fascinated me over the years… While we always wish that our government officials or diplomats will be able to continue having success negotiating issues between our governments, at the end I think the ever enlarging foundation of Philippine-American relations is the invisible relations (of the personal Filipino-American connection).”
MANAMo is the Philippines government’s annual celebration to harmonize, integrate and synchronize programs that will raise national consciousness on maritime and archipelagic issues and policies of the Philippines. This year’s national theme for the MANAMo celebration is “Kapuluan, Kabuluhan, Kaunlaran” (Archipelago, Significance, and Development) to underscore the essence of our archipelagic nation’s unique identity and emphasize the crucial role that our archipelago and its marine resources play in our journey toward sustainable development. Learn more about MANAMo here: https://sites.google.com/dfa.gov.ph/dfamanamo23/home?authuser=0 .
This event served as a prelude to the Edgar P. Richardson Symposium – 1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on 08 to 09 September 2023, where the Philippine-American War and the Philippines-US relations during the 1890s were discussed. The 1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revision exhibition will continue to be on display at the Gallery until 25 February 2024. Visit the Smithsonian Institution’s website to know more. ###