I don’t want to add this article to the growing number of blogs about the Daet’s Jose Rizal monument but after seeing what this far off Bicolano town (some 300 kms from Manila) could offer in terms of tangible heritage, I figured there’s not much to write about. A local confirms that the oldest house is in Avenida Vinzons, built sometime in the early 1900’s. This explains why the monument is getting an abundance of attention from tourers. It’s the most visible and perhaps the only structure in Daet that dates back to the 19th century.
This monument is dedicated to the hero, his two novels, and the book he annotated. So the “Morga” in the monument was for the book “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” annotated and republished in 1890 by Rizal and not for Governor Antonio Morga, although ironically, that is his name. After its re-publication by Rizal it was simply called “Morga”. As if the original name was not long enough, the republished work carried a longer name, “Sucesos de las islas Filipinas por el doctor Antonio de Morga, obra publicada en Méjico el año de 1609. nuevamente sacada à luz y anotada por José Rizal y precedida de un prólogo del prof. Fernando Blumentritt.”
I guess Filipinos got tired saying the name in full so everybody unanimously agreed to just call it “Morga”.
It was here in Daet that this phenomena of putting up Rizal monuments in every town hall and plaza started. Daeteños did this only after some two years after Rizal’s death. But Daet has more to offer when it comes to history. The Lucbán’s of Daet for one were integral players during the infancy of the nation. It was unfortunate however, that I ran out of time trying to locate the family’s ancestral house, which I was told still stands to this day.
Aguinaldo sent the mustached commander Vicente Lucbán, on the merchant ship Taal (donated by the Villavicencios of Taal, Filipinos first navy war ship) where he employed another Bicolano by the name of Alfonso Moreno to recruit locals to join the revolution. Moreno worked as a ship crew on the Manila-Bicol merchant ships. He enlisted in the Katipunan in Manila. Moreno’s a pioneer of the revolution in these parts but his name is hardly ever heard even by Bicolanos.
Vicente Lucbán, was born in the town of Labo, a short jeep ride from Daet. His father a Bicolano, his mother a Tayabeña from the town of Lucbán. The patriarch Don Agustin decided to take Lucbán, in honor of the town where he had roots, after the decree that instructed Filipinos to adopt hispanic last names was implemented. They formally carried the last name San Miguel. Lukban is the Tagalized version of Lucbán. The latter being the original in official records. Vicente Lucbán became the governor of Tayabas until his death. He was also the first to introduce mason lodges in Camarines. One of the first governor of Camarines Norte, Miguel Lukban, was Vicente’s half-brother. Miguel was born in Daet, from the second marriage of Don Agustin. Another Lukban, Justo, along with Leon Ma. Guerrero, established the political party that eventually became the Nacionalista. The Lukban brood were overachievers. Another brother, Cayetano, was part of the Aguinaldo Hong Kong junta, later a judge in the American government. Two sisters are Oxford graduates, the first Asians to do so. The current generation of Lukban’s has shied away from public posts and lives (with the exception of the actress Pops Fernandez, whose mother is a Lukban).
Camarines Norte was formed in the early 1800’s. It kept the towns of Daet, Labo, Paracale, Talisay, Indan, Mambulao, Capalonga, Ragay, Lupi, and Sipocot. The towns of Indan and Mambulao were renamed, Vinzons and Panganiban–the works of nonsensical, if not totally imbecilic politicians who has nothing better to do but change the names of our historic towns. Sipocot later became part of Camarine Sur. During the American occupation, the province’s town composition was reorganized, Daet was kept as provincial capitol.
During the revolution, there were a total of 124 parishes in Bicol, around 60 was under the care of Franciscans, the rest under Filipino priests. Even after the brutal skirmishes, the Spanish Franciscans stayed behind (in other places, like Masbate, Spaniards fled to Iloilo). These priests had been treated well, even protected by locals from revolutionaries. They left Bicol after they were ordered by their superiors to do so. A historian notes that Nueva Caceres, unlike other provinces during the end of the 19th century, never had an antagonistic atmosphere against the Spanish friars.