Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rancho Caridad Historical Marker Program, June 15, 2013

In honor of members of the family, past and present, who tended the land, my sisters and I, in cooperation with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, have installed a historical marker at our beloved Rancho Caridad.

The Program

Rancho Caridad Historical Marker Program
Gallego Family Chapel, Rancho Caridad
Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
June 15, 2013


National Anthem                   c/o Manuel P. Gallego (recording)

Invocation                             Fr. Christian R. Magtalas, Nampicuan Parish Priest

Welcome Remarks                Violeta P. Gallego-Kramer

Unveiling of Marker               Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno
                                             Chair, National Historical Commission of the Philippines

                                             Maria Teresa P. Gallego-Zaldarriaga

Presentation of the 
Historical Marker                  Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno


Signing of the Certificate of Transfer of the Historical Marker:

Gallego Family                      National Historical Commission of the Philippines
Manuel P. Gallego                 Chair Maria Serena I. Diokno

Witnesses:

Gallego Family                      National Historical Commission of the Philippines
Dominique P. Gallego            Deputy Executive Director Carminda R. Arevalo


Acceptance Message            Manuel P. Gallego

Master of Ceremonies           Manuel P. Gallego

The Marker Text

Filipino Version

RANCHO CARIDAD

LUPAING SAKOP NG BAYAN NG NAMPICUAN, NUEVA ECIJA, NA PAGMAMAY-ARI NG MAG-ASAWANG CARIDAD VELASCO ONGSIACO AT MANUEL VIOLA GALLEGO. DATING BAHAGI NG MALAWAK NA HACIENDA ESPERANZA NA IPINAGKALOOB NG HARI NG ESPANYA SA ISANG ESPANYOL, IKA-19 NA SIGLO. DITO ITINATAG ANG GALLEGO INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY (GIAI) UPANG MATUGUNAN ANG PANGANGAILANGANG PANG-EDUKASYON NG MGA TAGA NAMPICUAN AT ISULONG ANG EDUKASYONG PANG-AGRIKULTURA SA GITNANG LUZON, 1953, KALAUNA’Y IPINAGKALOOB ANG PAARALAN SA DIYOSESIS NG SAN JOSE, NUEVA ECIJA UPANG IPAGPATULOY ANG SINIMULAN NG GIAI, 2011.

English Version

RANCHO CARIDAD

LOCATED IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF NAMPICUAN, NUEVA ECIJA AND OWNED BY CARIDAD VELASCO ONGSIACO AND MANUEL VIOLA GALLEGO. REMNANT OF THE VAST HACIENDA ESPERANZA, A ROYAL LAND GRANT GIVEN IN THE 19th CENTURY. SITE OF GALLEGO INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY (GIAI), ESTABLISHED TO FULFILL THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF NAMPICUAN AND ADVANCE AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN CENTRAL LUZON, 1953. THE INSTITUTE WAS DONATED TO THE DIOCESE OF SAN JOSE, NUEVA ECIJA, IN ORDER THAT ITS MISSION BE CONTINUED, 2011.

The Acceptance Message of the Family
by Manuel P. Gallego

Good morning everyone.

I’d like to acknowledge once again the presence of our distinguished guests.

From the National Historical Commission of the Philippines . . .

Chairperson Maris Diokno

Deputy Executive Director Carminda Arevalo

Mrs. Gina Batuhan, Chief of Historic Sites and Education Division

Ms. Ellen Samonte, who is responsible for organizing this event

From the Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija . . .

Provincial Administrator, Atty. Al Abesamis

Our Municipal Administrator, Mr. Danny Bartolome, representing Mayor Lacurom

Our Parish Priest, Fr. Christian Magtalas

Our Beloved Principal of St. Pius X Institute of Nampicuan, Ms. Ella Bautista

On behalf of my father, who conveys his regrets for his absence today, my mother who is here in spirit, and my beautiful and brilliant sisters, welcome to Rancho Caridad and thank you for gracing this event.

Today, we commemorate the history of a parcel of land that has been with my family for five generations. On a personal level, the land is near and dear to my heart because it is a remnant of what was inherited by my paternal grandmother, Lola Ego or Lola Caring, Caridad Ongsiaco, who would have spoiled me rotten if she had lived longer. But that was her way and we loved her for it.

From another perspective, the land has been a compelling presence in the family through the generations. Developing then a vast uninhabited swampland into an agricultural enterprise, securing the same from lawless elements then and now. In the case of my grandfather, Manuel Viola Gallego, establishing then a high school for the local community when there was none provided by the government. In the case of my father, Manuel Ongsiaco Gallego, establishing then one of the pioneering and largest mango orchards in Central Luzon and, at the height of the communist insurgency in the country, standing our ground in refusing to pay any so-called “revolutionary taxes”.

However, the most significant collective decision of the family with respect to the land, my paternal grandparents included, was to comply at the very outset of land reform, which has been a great sacrifice and, indeed, a profound gesture of patriotism on the part of the family.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Apart from the loss of economies of scale in our agricultural sector, where in the civilized world would agricultural land be forcibly taken from the owner by law for making the mistake of planting a single grain of rice? Not only has the Philippines been a net importer of rice for decades,  it is as if our land as well as our dreams have been reduced to measly sachets of toothpaste and shampoo, just enough to tide us over from day to day.

Hence, what is left of Rancho Caridad today represents a glimmer of the once vast Hacienda Esperanza, a glimmer of hope that we, as individuals and as a nation, need not and should not restrict our dreams into measly sachets. Rancho Caridad serves as an inspiration to dream in a grand scale, even if government is in the way—and I don’t mean the NHCP.

To this end, my family envisions Rancho Caridad evolving like many country estates in Europe and the Americas--as an agricultural-tourism or agri-tourism site. And a very special one for various types of recreational aviation, including those that would exploit the abundant natural thermals in the area, ideal for sailplane gliding, hang gliding and paragliding.

Rancho Caridad is the only place in the Philippines today in which you can readily fly in a sailplane. Thanks to my friend, Rolf Dunder, an avid sailplane pilot who hails from Germany and has been living with his family for many years in Alabang. Rolf has already made several modest contributions to Philippine aviation history, including the first recorded sailplane flight in the Philippines, the first endurance sailplane flight in the Philippines and the first cross-country sailplane flight in the Philippines. All from Rancho Caridad, Nampicuan.

Rancho Caridad is also strategically located vis-a-vis airports and airfields throughout Luzon and is, therefore, an ideal launching point for air safaris, a novel and high-value tourism activity that has great promise in the Philippines. I have personally flown my aircraft to several of these locations for proof of concept and I am eager to share my exceptional experience with other recreational aviators and adventurers.



In closing, I thank the NHCP for recognizing the historical and moral importance of Rancho Caridad. By some stroke of luck, TPLEX, the expressway to Nampicuan, will probably be completed before the end of the year. Hopefully, our new friend from the Provincial Government, Atty. Abesamis alongside Governor Umali, will help our town of Nampicuan by prioritizing the long-awaited repair of the road from Anao to Cuyapo. That would greatly benefit our local community as well as Rancho Caridad in moving forward with our agri-turismo initiative.

Maraming salamat po.

The Tall Tree
A Poem by Sijbren G. Kramer

It stands tall the thief of light
It gains and strengthens with all its might
But comes a time in the dark of night
When all is silent no matter the height
When light returns its strength increases
While those below still wither and weaken.

The History

The Picture Essay

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