Footnotes to Philippine History

Footnotes to Philippine History

Footnotes to Philippine HistoryThe American edition of Sydney-based historian Renato Perdon’s Footnotes to Philippine History is now available in US, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific in hardcopy and electronic form US’ Universal Publisher announced recently.

Every Filipino household, particularly those residing overseas, should have a copy of this book, a handy source of information about Philippine history. Overseas born Filipinos will find this little handbook an ‘easy read’, one historian regarded it as a ‘short cut’ to learning Philippine history.

This little book, now available in the United States, through and in hardcopy or electronically, provides a significant number of historical information which typical American and other Philippine school history books–old and new–do not address.

One book reviewer said: ‘The author accomplished what the author sought to do, that is, provide a ready, easy background historical resource for our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) about Filipinoness; a good historical narrative and at times quite satisfying since the author injects nationalistic commentary and understanding of the events in our history and not falling into the usual self-censorship brought about by a mis-educated Filipino mind. I find “the book a good one to taste” — for a start to learn about our history; to share, keep and give to friends and relatives; a truly handy primer, firstly for our ownselves as Filipinos and our descendants; and for informing our foreign hosts and friends in foreign lands.

‘We Filipinos need this kind of handbook in helping discover, know and understand ourselves from our past and in the struggle to revive our nationalism and thus regain our homeland from our traitorous fellowmen and their foreign partners/sponsors.’

Another writer, the illustrious Sylvia Mayuga said about the book: ‘The author makes good his promise to make this a handbook for Filipinos plunged to interaction with other cultures unprepared for deeper questions on where we’re coming from. From three decades of archival research on Philippine history in Manila and Australia, he responds to questions that came up in direct encounters with his fellow-overseas Filipinos in Australia and other countries.’

The first part of the book is all about Filipino identity – a succinct but careful review of Spanish ‘discovery’ and the conquest of these islands until the Philippine revolution. After a gentle introduction, the second part is ‘a wake-up call, pointed and surprising. It etches a sharp account of America joining the Big Boys’ Colonial Club 110 years ago, the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico under arm. The rosary beads suggest: Now is the moment to look back with the author – as we behold what the wildly expansionist Yankee spirit hath wrought in the world over a century later.’

Footnotes on Philippine History ends as globalization begins, slowly closing-up on Australia, site of one of the first-ever Filipino diplomatic missions in 1946, where the author, since his decades working in the Philippine National Historical Institute, wrote this book for love of a now “global nation” in the 21st century.

Having revisited the Sabah Claim and the Spratlys conundrum, the author’s last thoughts turn to musical flag-bearers, the artists who brought Miss Saigon to life in London, the first round of many world performances.

Written in 2008 and published this year in the United States by Universal Publisher, the author’s ‘history in a hurry’ notes the million Filipinos worldwide moved by yet another romantic tragedy set off by American expansionism, interpreted by gifted Pinoy thespians and performers.

Book synopsis – Footnotes to Philippine History is a departure from the usual history textbooks regarded by many as largely distant and formidable, written by academics containing dogmas and definitive treatises. It is a ‘history in a hurry’ that notes interesting ins and outs about Filipinos and the Philippines that everyone wondered about but were never answered. It is a new take on Philippine history, focusing on details and a lot of juicy bits, and gives attention to details that are oftentimes just glossed over in most history books. It discusses in straightforward manner and provides answers to the questions of Filipino identity and how that identity formed through a succinct but careful review of Spanish ‘discovery’ and conquest of these islands until the Philippine Revolution. What are the symbols of Filipino identity, national and political? Then it tackles the question on why Filipinos became known as “the brown Americans of Asia,” and explains how America’s Pacific adventure changed the lives of Filipinos and how the Americanization of the Filipino was easily realized with the wildly expansionist Yankee spirit seen in the background. The last part of the book talks about Global Filipinos, referring to the more than eight million Filipinos living and working in over 193 countries in the world, the problems they encounter, how they survive outside their country of birth, and how Filipino migration help the Philippines survive? Discussion also follows about two current issues needing clarification—the Philippines’ territorial claims on Sabah and the Spratlys. Following that is a portrait of Pura Santillan-Castrence – writer, pioneer diplomat and migrant to Australia, where she ended her illustrious days a few years back at 102 year of age. The book ends in a slice of a modern Filipino epic, Imelda Marcos juxtaposed with Evita Peron – beauty born in poverty clawing its way to great power and wealth at the expense of their countries, and their own sanity.

This handbook is now available in hardcopy or electronically. For further information about this interesting book, visit;;; or


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