Manila Times, July 1, 2005

Descendants of last Spanish colonial troops in RP honored
By Dino Balabo

BALER, Aurora - Descendants of the last group of Spanish soldiers to surrender to Filipino troops over a century ago intend to invest at least P14 million in this eastern town of Luzon to invigorate its development.

Sen. Edgardo Angara told hundreds of participants here that members of the Los Ultimos Filipinos will provide money for a new water-distribution service in Baler.

The Spaniards, he added, were also willing to support the development of a junior soccer team which, he hoped, would one day produce world-class players.

The lawyer Jose Ignacio Bidon Vigil de Quinones, one of the descendants of the Los Ultimos Filipinos, said that they will also invest in a radio station in Baler where Spanish-language lessons can be broadcast.

"I am emotionally touched and to see many memories from the things I only read and heard before," he said in Spanish, which was interpreted by Exequiel Sabarilla, a Filipino tour agency operator based in Madrid. Sabarilla tracked down descendants of the Los Ultimos Filipinos.

The celebration of the third Philippines-Spain Friendship Day started in San Miguel, Bulacan, on Tuesday. It was followed by a daylong conference at the Aurora State College of Technology and the reenactment of the Siege of Baler on Wednesday night.

Some, however, were disappointed with this year's celebration. Isagani Giron, member of the Bulacan Historical Society said that Spanish guests were recognized during the celebration while the descendants of revolutionary colonel Simeon Tecson of San Miguel, Bulacan, were hardly mentioned.

Tecson laid siege on Baler for 11 months until the Los Ultimos Filipinos, who did not know that the war between Spain and the Philippines was over, came out of Baler Church. Tecson spared the lives of the Spanish soldiers who surrendered.

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