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A Preview of Pampanga History

The man behind the portraits of the 25 governors of the province strode out with a very proud soul, feeling so light and external happy.

Rafael Maniago, Los Angeles- based visual artist is also the artists who made the portraits of 21 governors in 1977. Until he did so, the leaders who steered Pampanga during the tumultuous and peaceful decades were known only by their names.

For the 2008 undertaking, he restored 15 portraits and made 10 new ones-all on oil on canvas and faithful to their facial features.

The gallery carries a complete collection. Several of the governors, forgotten in fact, were finally included through careful research.

The photograph of Gov. Olimpio Guanzon, for instance, was found only in May.

“Some of the photographs were found in libraries in Metro Manila or through the descendants who were traced for this project,” said provincial administrator Vivian Dabu, who supervised the undertaking.

The gallery, actually the walls on the lobby of the capitol's second floor, presents the leaders in a timeline from 1896.

Of past governors, only Estelito Mendoza and father and son, Manuel and Mark Lapid, are alive.

The governors’ relatives unveiled the portraits as board members took turns reading the biographies of the leaders.

Maniago’s talent and the importance given to the governors accorded them respect, said Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao, son of the late former Gov. Bren Guiao.

Moreover, Guiao said that this is a noble project of Among Ed (Governor Panlilio). It's a way of honoring the Kapampangan who sacrificed to be in the forefront of local government.

One of the heirs of the first governor, Tiburcio Hilario (1896-98) said that they feel distinguished because the honor we have is something we did not buy.

Justice Minister, solicitor general and Governor Mendoza during the Marcos years said that the gallery gives a glimpse of history, hoping also that “leaders see the past and the lessons as their guides in governance. [via Inquirer.net by Charlene Cayabyab and Tonette Orejas]


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