In her universally acclaimed magnum opus, THE MARCH OF FOLLY(New York: Ballatine Books, 1984), Professor Barbara W. Tuchman, eminent American historian, and two-time winner of Pulitzer Prize, chronicles the turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of the acts of folly – the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by Renaissance Popes, the loss of the American Colonies by Britania’s George III, and the United States own persistent folly in Vietnam. Professor Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit of policies or goals contrary to one’s own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives.
According to Professor Tuchman, “a phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place of period is the pursuit by government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defined as the exercise of judgment acting on experience, common sense and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests, why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function?”
In contrast to the march of folly by other people, the distinctive feat among Capiceños is the pursuit of excellence in varied fields of endeavors and vocations. It seems to appear that throughout the ages, Capiceños have pursued goals, professions and carriers with dogged determination and excellent performance.
In the days of Spanish colonialism, the armed resistance put up by Capiceños against the colonizers has foreshadowed the kind of character, intellect and moral fiber a typical, Capiceño possess. The Capizeños were the first to rise in armed revolt against the Spaniards outside of Luzon in the 1890’s. It is true that revolutionary activities were first initiated in Aklan. But Spanish authorities nipped in the bud the incipient revolutionary action in Aklan when organizers were caught and executes, now known as the Aklan martyrs. On the other hand, Capizeños were first in Western Visayas in the 1890’s to fire their guns and draw blood against the Spaniards. The Spaniards were so incensed by the casualty they suffered that in retaliation they practically razed down the town of Panay on May 4, 1897, where hundreds of Capizeños perished.
In the years of followed, Capizeños have kept up with their glorious intellectual and political tradition. Capiz has produced the first president of the Republic, Manuel A. Roxas. It has also produced a couple of Senators (Jose Altavas, Antonio Belo and Gerardo Roxas) and a two-time Speaker of the house, Cornelio Villareal. The topnotcher in the latest senatorial elections, Senator Mar Roxas, who has earlier served as DTI Secretary, honed his political skills as representative of the first District of Capiz.
Captivating Capiz is also proud of its sons having landed No. 1 in the Bar examinations: President Manuel A. Roxas, Rafael Dinglasan, Sr. and Leonardo Amores. President Roxas was the first U.P. alumnus who topped the Bar. There were also a couple of Capizeños who were top ten placers in the Bar examinations: Enrique Belo, Gabriel Villarel, Anthonio Picazo and Florencio Martinez. The managing partner of the topnohteh law-firm Quisumbing and torres, a member firm of Baker and Mckenzie, is lawyer Ricardo P.C. Castro, Jr, from Dumalag, Capiz. The number 3 Bar tonopcher in 1993 was Rosemarie Uy Griño, a young lass from Dao, Capiz and a graduate of Ateneo Law School.
The highest judicial tribunals have not been spared by the pusuit for excellence by Capiceños. Two of the recent justice of the supreme Court are Capiceños: Supreme Court Senior Justice Josue N. Bellosillo of Panay , Capiz who had also served as Justice of the Court of Appeals and as Court Administrator, and Justice Santiago Kapunan of Mambusao, Capiz who had served also as Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals. Justices Jose Hontiveros and Venicio Escolin both from Roxas City have earlier serve in the Supreme Court. Very recently, two Capizeños were appointed justices of the Court of Appeals: Roberto Barrios of Roxas City who earlier served as Executive judge of RTC Manila, and Sergio Pestaño of Mambusao, Capiz, Who earlier serve as Executive Judge of Roxas City. In his student days, Justice Pestaño served as editor-in-chief of the school paper Rizal High School in Pasig, then the biggest high school in Asia. Much earlier, Justice Conrado Barrios was with the Court of Appeals.
During the Presidency of Sergio Osmeña, Sr., a Capizeño was appointed Secretary of Justice: Ramon Quisumbing, Sr. of Sapian, Capiz. Some of his children have become legal luminaries in the country.
Two previous presidents of the Philippines Bar Association, the prestigious group of trial lawyers, were Capizeño: Enrique Belo and the late Eugene Tan who also served as President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and was a TOYM awardee.
A number of Capizeños have also served in the national government. In the Cory administration, the Energy Secretary Wenceslao dela Paz, came from Dao, Capiz, and the legislative liaison officer was lawyer Ramon Arcenas Tirol of Sigma, Capiz. In the Ramos Administration, Lina Bellosillo Laigo served as DSWD Secretary. During the Marcos year, Florest Bayot served as Executive Secretary and COMELEC Commissioner, and Alenjandro Barza Melchor served as Executive Secretary. Roberto Lastimoso, former PNP Chief, and now Chief of the Land transportation Office hails from Roxas City. Jocelyn “jocjoc” Bolante from Dao, Capiz, a student leader in his college days, served as undersecretary in the department of agriculture under the Arroyo administration. The former Chief of Air Transportation Office Ivisan, Capiz-Gen. Edilberto U. Yap. The renowned political analyst, Antonio “tonyagat” Gatmaitan is a Capiceño on the material side being the first cousin of President Manuel Roxas. The present Civil Service Commission Chair Karina C. David is a Capiceña, her mother being Leticia Roxas Constantion, who is also a cousin of President Manuel Roxas.
A rising political star in Iloilo, Manuel “Boy” Mejorada, the provincial administrator of Governor Neil Tupaz, hail from Roxas City.
In the field of business, Capiceños have also prospered Alfonso Supetran, maker of Pride Detergent and procedure of industrial chemicals, and Ambassador to the Vatican, Francisco A. Alba, the pioneer in pre-need plans and founder of the prudential Life Group of Companies. Atty. Edilberto B. Bravo of U-Bix Corporation, the Salgados of Miladay jewelry are from Capiz. FILBARS, the popular US comics store in Metro Manila is owned by Filemon Barbasa of Panay, Capiz. In the 1950’s, the popular Basa’s Shoes in Manila was founded by Mamerto Besa, a native of Panay, Capiz. He was also a renowned boxing promoter with a big stable of amateur and professional boxers. He was also instrumental in the in the promotion of socio-cultural activities in Panay, Capiz when he constructed a big 2-story social hall in the 1960’s. He also provided college scholarships to many Capiceños.
Another Capiceño whose business has phenomenally prospered in Mainla is Roberto “bobby” Barbasa, an importer and retailer based in Tutuban Commercial Center.
In the field of culture, Capiz has produced a National Artist in the person of Jovita Fuentes. The popular Barbie Almalbis of Barbie’s Cradle is from Roxas City. The renowned pianist Jose Maria Contreras who had served as professor at the UP college of Music and practiced his craft in Italy, was born and grew up in Roxas City. Music diva Carmen Soriano and actors Charlie Davao and his sons are from Ivisan, Capiz. The courageous crusading journalist, Ruther Batuigas, is from Pontevedra, Capiz.
One of the earlier distinguished professors of the College of Arts and Sciences, UP Diliman, in the 1940’s was a Capiceño, Professor Antonio Viterbo, who was educated in the USA, Cornell University. Later on, his sons and daughters were campus figures in UP Diliman. Antonio, Jr. was team captain of the UP Law debating team. Jose Viterbo was the grand archon for a long time of Sigma Rho Alumni Council. Dr. George Viterbo served as Capiz Delegate to the 1991 Con-Con. Their other brothers, Hernan and Gabriel Viterbo, are successful entrepreneur-farmers in Roxas City.
The Philippine Heart Association was once headed by a Capiceño, Dr. Adolfo B. Bellosillo, who is now much-in-demand in the international lecture circuit on cardiology. His son, Nobel graduated with honors from the Harvard School of Medicine and is now on the staff of John Hopsking University Hospital. The present medical director of Medical Center of Parañaque, Dr. Humberto M. Villarreal, is from Ivisan, Capiz. The current Dean of the UP College of Medicine, Dr. Alberto Roxas, is from Roxas City.
The recent awardee of Dr. Jose Rizal Memorial Awards for the academe and research is Dr. Abundio Balgos who hails from Panay, Capiz.
Many Capizeños have also landed in the top ten slots of various professional examinations, and many more Capizeños currently hold top positions in various firms here and abroad.
The members of the Capiznon sa Manila, a civic club composed of Capiznons residing in Metro Manila, are successful professionals and businessmen. They render medical services in captivating Capiz every Holy Week.
As taught by the Greeks, character is fate. And since the character of Capizeños has been molded through the years in the crucible of excellence, Capiz and Capizeños have nowhere to go but on the top of the heap, so to speak.
Capizeños indeed are not parochial as they have made substantial contribution in the development and progress of Philippine Society.
from: Capiz by Judge Contreras
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