Happy 112th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence! To celebrate this historic day, let’s go to Angeles City and virtually visit the Pamintuan Mansion, the site where Gen. Aguinaldo celebrated the first anniversary on June 12, 1899. By that time, the fledging Philippine Republic was in the midst of a war with the United States and Filipino forces were forced to retreat northward when the Americans captured Manila, thus the celebration in Pampanga. In his speech during that anniversary, Aguinaldo said that the “Filipinas is for the Filipinos”, repudiating America’s claim to the Philippine Islands.
The Pamintuan Mansion itself has had quite a bit of a history. Based on Internet research (so take this with a grain of salt), this residence was constructed by the Pamintuan couple, Don Mariano and Valentina Torres, in the 1890s as a wedding gift for their only son Florentino (who later became an alcalde [mayor] of Angeles in 1900 under American rule). During the Philippine-American War, the mansion became the seat of the Philippine Republic as well the presidential residence. So it was on June 12, 1899, the first anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence, that Gen. Aguinaldo waved the Philippine flag from the second-floor balcony of the mansion as a parade passed by on the street below. This was the same flag that he displayed a year earlier at his home in Kawit, Cavite. The photo below shows a reenactment.
Photo by angeles gallery
The Americans, however, managed to rout the Filipinos from Pampanga by July 1899 and Gen. Arthur MacArthur then occupied the Pamintuan residence. During World War II, the Japanese also used the house as a base when they conquered the area. After the war, in 1959, the house came under the ownership of the Tablante family until it was finally donated to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 1981. The central bank then had the mansion undergo a five-year restoration and the building now serves as a regional clearing office of the BSP.
Despite the mansion’s place in history, it had not been selected as a primary venue of national Independence Day celebrations unlike Rizal Park and the Aguinaldo Shrine. A local history and culture group, the Kuliat Foundation Inc. (KFI) (“Kuliat” was the old name of Angeles), has undertaken the task of bringing to the forefront the role of Pamintuan Mansion in history.