The Anda Circle and Simon de Anda

One of my favorite story in our history is that of Simon de Anda. So fascinated by his life story that I started using his surname as my internet alias. He fought against his countryman’s abuse and has made many enemies along the way. He reminds me of another Basque, the first Bishop Salazar, who stood up and criticize injustice against the natives.

The “oidor” who proclaimed himself governor after his fellow Spaniards, yielded the key of Manila to the British when they came knocking at the door.

Philippine was British  for the next three years. Could you just imagine us being British subjects? if this occupation lasted beyond those short years, removing the Spaniards out of the islands, we would be speaking English before the Americans came.

I was reminded of Simon de Anda’s loyalty and sacrifice to his country when I was walking around Intramuros last week. It was raining. I was walking around the place with an umbrella on the left hand and a camera on the other. I came to look for the lone standalone tribute (a bust of his, damaged during WWII, can be found on the wall of the church of Sta. Cruz. This was made to honor him for reclaiming Manila from the British on the Church’s plaza) to the Spanish governor. I was surprised to see the monument and the Anda Circle, not maintained well, still standing.

con amor reconstruido…con amor reconstruido…

It was reconstructed after the war. I believe it was toppled during the so called “liberation” of Manila. The days when the city suffered massive casualties reaching up to one hundred thousand deaths. Aside from civilian deaths, the other victim was Intramuros, where it lost much of its historic buildings. After the war, out of seven churches, only one was left standing. The first to be founded inside the walls, the church we call now as San Agustin.

For those not familiar with the area, Anda Circle is located on the Manila South Harbor vicinity. The area is where government offices like DPWH, Customs and the Ports Authority are headquartered. Other popular buildings in the area are that of the Philippine Red Cross, Manila Times and Knights of Rizal. Not far from the Harbor and the Piers is the squatter colony called Baseco. The bridge that connects this side of Manila to the suburbs of Tondo and Binondo is Del Pan. I’m somewhat familiar with this part of Manila because my father worked in the piers when I was still a small boy. Even then, I would be in awe at those enormous walls of Intramuros. And I will always ask my parents to take me to see the bay and the river. I could remember even then, the neighborhoods were crammed full and garbage was already a problem. Then there’s Luneta for play, resting and picnic. Such was life in the early 80’s when we still call Manila home.

A town in Bohol, called Anda (formerly Quinale a barrio of Guindulman), was named after the governor in 1875 by Goberbador General Jose de Malcampoy Monje. A rear admiral, who became governor. He was given the title of count of Jolo and vizconde de mindanao for his efforts in that part of the colony.

It is unclear why the new town was named after Governor de Anda. It is possible that the naming of that town after the brave Spaniard was to celebrate  the coming centennial of his death anniversary. Simon de Anda died in 1776.


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