Casa Real de Bucay
1st Capital of Abra
Reader's Commentary and Author's Reply
On December, 2008, I received an email from Mr. Angelito Romano of  the Divine Word College of Bangued, Abra with a critical note on the study. I do not keep the email but I do have in my hard disk my reply dated December 10, 2008 which includes his email. Following is the interchange to which there was no further follow-up:

Angelito Romano < wrote:

Casa Real de Bucay

Foremostly, I am Mr Angelito Torrijos Romano from Bangued, Abra, a college instructor of humanities, social sciences and philosophy at Divine Word College of Bangued. Currently, here in University of the Philippines, Diliman for my master's degree in Philosophy.

I have come across your manuscript on the Casa Real de Bucay through the internet for purposes of finding more related literature that would complete my studies on the Historical Development of the Province of Abra. I have started my research since January 2008 for an article to be published in DWCB Abreniana Institute. And most likely the research caters on the ecclesiastical development, with political and socio-economic perspective, in the province of Abra since 1598. Partly, I have finished my section on Abra River and the Discovery of the First Pueblos of the Province

So far, I have perused information coming from the books of Josef Schmitz, Fay Cooper and William Scott concerning  the historical roots of the province, the spanish regime, the tingguians, the igorots, the Augustinians and the SVD. In as much as there are also unpublished documents from each municipality I have visited, the histories of pilar, villaviciosa, san isidro, pidigan, bucay, manabo, tayum, lapaz (these are the only unpublished documents I have) can adduce to the completion of the whole picture of Abra.

When I was reading your article, I can't help myself but to comment. Roughly speaking, a good research must always be objective; which from my reading of the article, it reveals that most of your conclusions are founded on sentimentality and concern for the casa real. Technically speaking, if the paper passed through series of thesis critiques and defense, I myself as a mentor and panel, it would be returned for further explication of your findings in complete objectivity and detail. Nonetheless, I would be sending you detailed sketches of my comments per section lately. These comments are opined from an objective criticism and hermeneutic principles of studying history for which I am oriented.

Hope I could render more constructive criticisms for the betterment of our articles.

Thank you and may Abra find its true values and culture

My reply:

Dear Mr. Romano,

Being a layman in the field of history, I am gratified when members of the academe read and show interest in the little published work I do. Thank you, then for your interest in my manuscript and your mail comments.

I agree, history must be first and foremost an objective study, then it can be a good deal of other things for as long as based on objectivity.

You are partially right when you state that my conclusions are based on sentimentality and concern, for indeed, I feel a lot of it for that foreboding monument that I am sure you have seen in Bucay. However, while those feelings only explain the beginning of my interest, they did not guide in any measure my conclusions. Once I felt the interest I decided to have a look at the PRIMARY sources available in the Philippines, that is the materials in the National Archives. I found and perused –read each one of them in their original language- some six hundred manuscripts related to the early history related to the foundation of the province of Abra and OF Bucay as capital. I thought it would be not only nice but also useful to write a story based on them. So far as I know, these manuscripts have not been published nor used at all in any historical book or paper. I thought exposing them in a sort of running commentary could guide other researchers, perhaps you included, in pointing to and designing topics to be researched. And that is what my study is all about.

My conclusions are my own reading of the documents using my best educated guesses and common sense. But I would welcome all the time critics and other views on my conclusions for as long, that is, as they are also based on primary sources. The Appendix to my study contains transcripts of about 100 manuscripts in the National Museum, that could be a beginning.

I would like to share with you other reactions to my paper. In November of 2006, I was invited to present my study on Bucay to the First Symposium on Philipine Towns and Cities, organized by the National Heritage Society and the UP Department of History. Most of the presentors, six all in all, were like me civilian volunteers interested in the history and beginnings of our towns. Dean Llanes and Prof. Veneracion of UP called us “citizen historians” and appreciated the efforts as valid. Later in March of 2007 I did some research in the library of UP Baguio. There I met Dean Rovillos of Social Sciences with whom I discussed my work and who saw my paper, not yet finalized then. He shared with me his plan, a reality now, of setting up the Cordillera Archives on campus. I was honored by his accepting my paper on Casa Real and collection of digital copies of the 600 manuscripts in the National Archives mentioned above as one of the first contributions to the Archives. Javellana also takes seriously my work in his "Fortress of the Empire."

You say “may Abra find its true values and culture”, I wholeheartedly share your wish, and most fervently. Like you say, I feel ‘sentimental and concerned.’ I have one suggestion that can contribute in a small way to achieve that wish. I attended the Arya Abra fest in Bangued two years ago and noticed that the official foundation date for the province is 1917, when the American regime returned Abra to its former status. Let’s go to the true roots. Abra was founded as a province by a decree from Gov. Clavería dated October 1846, effectively established when Gov Tajonera took possession of his post in Bucay in January of 1847. Any of those two dates could serve the purpose. It may be very nice if the local academe, particularly its historians, in Bangued convinced the local government to set the dates right and devolve a piece of its real history and culture to its people.

With my best regards,

Jose R. Perdigon
'Citizen historian'


José R. Perdigón
San Juan, February 2013