Monday, January 25, 2016


Apolinario Mabini outside his tent at Asan

On this day 115 years ago, the US Rosecrans arrived in Apra Harbor, Guam from Manila. It carried 34 Filipino political exiles and their male servants. But among the most famous of them was Apolinario Mabini, the "Brains of the Philippine Revolution." His deportation to Guam was justified by the American authorities based on Mabini's communication, even while inside an American jail in the Philippines, with Filipino fighters continuing the fight against American rule.

Mabini returned to Manila in February, 1903 after having sworn an oath of allegiance to the U.S.

Mabini's two year stay on Guam (along with his fellow exiled countrymen) is commemorated by a historical marker at Asan Point.

Another marker is just a few feet away. From this vantage point, you can see how close the camp site was to the capital city of Hagåtña.


Last year, yet another monument to Mabini was to be erected in Asan, in the center of the community and not at the seaside spot where Mabini's camp actually was.

This was not received well by a number of vocal village residents.

For half a century or more, the village residents never said a word about the two monuments at Asan Point (or the old Camp Asan). That was, in fact, where Mabini's camp was and the village itself was not located there.

But this intended monument was in the heart of the village, which is small enough that any marker or monument placed there would stand out. Planned to rest next to the mayor's office and community center, which is next to the parish church, perhaps villagers felt that this monument would be too defining a structure, coloring the Chamorro villagers with an association to a person who had no significant relationship with the village or villagers themselves over 100 years ago. Mabini happened to live a short while by a beach a mile or so distant from the community itself, and that was all, so to speak, in the eyes of the community.

My sources tell me that the monument was completed and dedicated. But Mother Nature had a quick and, at least for now, final word. A typhoon toppled a tree branch nearby and damaged the monument. Thus, only the foundation and base remain.

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