Friday, February 03, 2012

Manila Bulletin: The Untold Origin

On Feb 2, 2012, the Manila Bulletin celebrated its 112th anniversary. Towards the end of this article, you will read about its untold history.

Manila Bulletin celebrates its 112 years of service to the nation

February 1, 2012, 10:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Bulletin was founded on February 2, 1900, as the Philippines was about to cross into the twentieth century. From a newspaper publishing local shipping and commercial news, it is now one of the few centenarian publications in the world recognized as the leading newspaper in this country and one of the leading English dailies in Asia.

The Manila Bulletin lived through the peaceful struggle for political freedom, the wartime occupation, the independence, and the demands of a democratic republic. It continuously served the country as it went through a major war, and economic upheavals. On the political front, the country was governed under five successive Constitutions and the administrations of 15 Presidents, namely, Emilio F. Aguinaldo, Manuel L. Quezon, Jose P. Laurel, Sergio S. Osmeña, Manuel A. Roxas, Elpidio R. Quirino, Ramon F. Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado P. Macapagal, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Corazon C. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph E. Estrada, Gloria M. Arroyo, and Benigno S. Aquino III, from 1900 to 2012.

The nation’s population has grown from 6 million in 1901, when the first national census was taken, to over 98 million as of June 30, 2011.

Responding to the consequent societal demands, the Manila Bulletin has been transformed into a comprehensive newspaper with a weekly magazine Panorama and Style Weekend, a second daily Tempo, a third daily Balita, special interest magazines Agriculture, Cruising, Animal Scene, Sports Digest, and Sense & Style, and magazines in the vernacular Liwayway, Bisaya, Bannawag, and Hiligaynon, for a total of 14 daily, weekly, and monthly publications.

It also publishes the Manila Bulletin Yearbook which provides valuable information on government officials, civic organizations, and notable institutions in our country.

The newspaper continues to expand, with its modern and sophisticated printing equipment in the country. It was the first newspaper company to go public on April 18, 1990, and had 2,829 Stockholders as of December 31, 2011.

Most important is the fact that the Manila Bulletin has remained faithful to its mission of providing honest, factual, and impartial news service to the citizenry. Its priority is information and its hallmark is objectivity. Ethical accuracy, and not sensational journalism, is its editorial policy, which is appreciated by an enlightened people as shown by the increasing readership of its publications.

On the occasion of its 112th Anniversary today, the Manila Bulletin rededicates itself to its mission of service to the Filipino public and pledges once more its commitment to be a vehicle of fidelity and impartiality in meeting the information needs of our people and our democratic institutions.

The Manila Bulletin Chairman Dr. Emilio T. Yap, Directors, Officers, and Editors, once again extend their sincere appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to our Readers, Advertisers, Dealers, Friends, and Supporters for their continued support and patronage. MABUHAY!


Manila Bulletin

The Manila Bulletin logo
The Manila Bulletin announcing the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
The Manila Bulletin announcing the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
TypeDaily newspaper

OwnerManila Bulletin Publishing Corp.
EditorCris Icban, Jr.
Political allegianceAdministration,
HeadquartersManilaMetro Manila,Philippines
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation (PSEMB) is a publicly-listed and Philippines-based newspaper company that publishes the Manila Bulletin. It is the oldest newspaper published in the country and the second oldest English newspaper in the Far East. The company is owned by Chinese-Filipino businessman Emilio Yap. Manila Bulletin bills itself as "The Nation's Leading Newspaper", which is its official slogan. As of December 15, 2010, the company has a total market capitalization of P1.8 billion and share price of P0.60.



[edit] History

Manila Bulletin was initially established as the Daily Bulletin by Carson C. Taylor in 1900. In 1906, The Daily Bulletin changed its name to Manila Daily Bulletin. In 1912, it was incorporated as Bulletin Publishing Company with Taylor controlling 75% of the company. Business operations continued until 1945 when at the height of World War Two in 1942, Japanese officials closed down the company. Three years later, the Manila Daily Bulletin office was destroyed in the Battle of Manila.
However, in 1946, the company would resume its publications under the leadership of editor Ford Wilkins and Han Linn. It was eventually sold to Menzi and Co., Incorporated owned by Swiss-Filipino Brig. General H.W. Menzi. In 1959, it was re-incorporated as Bulletin and Publishing Company. It was under Menzi’s leadership that the publication’s circulation increased by 20 times.
In 1961, Yap purchased the shares of Menzi and was unanimously elected as Vice-Chairman and Director. In 1972, the company was also shut down together with other major publications when former president Ferdinand Marcos proclaimed Martial Law. Two months later, it re-opened as Bulletin Today.
In 1989, it was renamed Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. On April 1980, its common shares were listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

[edit] Other titles

Aside from Manila Bulletin, the company also publishes Panorama Magazine on Sunday, Style Weekend on Friday, and Travel Magazine on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Also included in its publications are daily tabloids, Tempo and Balita.
The company also publishes magazines of special interest. Agriculture Magazine talks about the latest programs and developments in farming that includes production of vegetables, poultry and cattle-raising, agri-business and fish production.
Cruise Magazine promotes local tourism and travel. It also includes information on travel routes, destinations, restaurants, lodging, resorts, and even flea markets. It also includes safety and medical advice for travellers. Animal Scene features news and information for animal enthusiasts. It also tackles veterinary concerns, tips on proper pet caring and grooming,
Manila Bulletin Sports Digest provides up-to-date news on sports, features athletes’ profiles and offer sports trivia. Sense and Style is a lifestyle magazine that promotes the latest trends in fashion and beauty, food and dining, gardening, and even opportunities for women. The company also publishes magazines in different vernacular. Liwayway in Tagalog, Bisaya in Cebuano, Bannawag in Ilocano and Hiligaynon in Ilonggo

The Untold History

Here are some of my recent findings, not as a professional historian, but as a curious individual.

These findings are based on commercial and legal documents whose original purposes were for documentation as required by law and contracts.

Yet, such documents are a very important source of history.

After all, history is sourced from documents, not the other way around.

Now, let us proceed to the untold history.

Here is what history books do not tell us. This origin is taken from a document. Remember, documents were not written for history. There were encoded and entered as transactions in the ordinary course of business on a day to day basis. Unlike history, documents do not make up angles or perspectives or interpretations.

One document, a certificate of land title, numbered OCT-01-4 which was created formally in 1764 (yes, it's that old), was preserved, and re-constituted, and re-created and re-registered whenever the land registration laws changed over the years, contains certain annotations at the back.

One such annotation is relevant to: Manilal Bulletin:

This annotation is dated November 13, 1902, annotation number EDC-096S-1900. The date of the real estate mortgade is February 3, 1902, for the amount of P1.5 millions with Banco-Filipino-Espanol (now called BPI).

Real Estate Mortgage executed by Don Esteban Benitez Tallano secured by 250 hectares of commercial lot in Centro Intramuros, in favor of Banco Filipino-Español for the sum of P 1,500,000.00. The said sum received by Messrs. H.G. Farris and Carson Taylor for the establishment of Manila Daily Bulletin.
Date of the Document:  February 3, 1902
(Sgd) H.K. SLEEPERLand Registration Officer
November 13, 1902

What does the above transactional annotation document in the land title OCT-01-4 tell us?

It tells us what history books have failed to capture.

1. There is a title Oct-01-4.

2. The title has annotations.

3. One of such annotations refers to a real estate mortgage.

4. The land involved is 250 hectares of commercial lot in Centro Intramuros

5. The land is owned by Don Esteban Benitez Tallano (heirs of Luisong Tagean)

6. The money borrowes in P1.5 million.

7. The sum was received by H G Farris and Carson Taylor.

8. The purpose of the loan was to establish Manila Daily Bulletin (now Manila Bulletin). (apparently to expand the originally a shipping bulletin into a full fledged newspaper)

9. The annotation was signed by HK Sleeper, the land registration officer at the time.

10.. The date of the real estate mortgage was Feb 3, 1902.

As you have noticed, the annotations and the history accounts dovetail in agreement.

This is what the history books failed to capture, but in reality was documented not by a historian, but by an officer who was doing his work in the ordinary course of business on day to day basis.

And this is a validation, once again, of the existence, the validity, and the authenticity of Torrens Title OCT-01-4 issued in favor of

"Prince Lacan Acuña Tallano Tagean (formerly Tagean Clan), married with
Princess Rowena Ma. Elizabeth Overbeck Macleod of Austria,
the owner in Fee simple of certain lands, known as HACIENDA FILIPINA"

(email me to get a scanned copy of the title issued by the register of deeds)

Note: The early transcriptions were in Spanish but the government had its translated into English through the efforts of then Solicitor General Felix Makasiar under Pres. Diosdado Macapagal (who later become Chief Justice under Marcos). Therefore, the government itself has consistently recognized the validity and the authenticity of OCT 01-4.

History from original source documents! What a refreshing perspective!