by Norman G. Owen
New Day Publishers, 1999
Most Filipinos know little of the history of Bikol region byond the celebrated eruption of Mount Mayon in 1814, which buried the church at Cagsaua. In this book, Dr. Norman G. Owen shares osome of the results of his more than 20 years of research on Bikol history, from the isolated Franciscan missions of the Spanish era to the effects of the Great Depression. This is not, by and large, a story of “national heroes.” The names that were featured in the essays may not be familiar to most readers: Antonio Martin Laurenciano, Fr. Josef Perciva, Pedro Estevan, Jose Ma. Penaranda, Simeon Ola, George H. Pierce, Carol Imperial, Ramon F. Santos. But their stage was municipal or provincial, far from the national spotlight that focused on Rizal and Quezon, de la Torre and Taft, they too had their parts to play in Philippine history. Above all, however this social history: the story of ordinary Filipinos, as they were born, got married, lived and died during an era of enormous change in Philippine society. They grew rice, abaca and coconuts; they seized economic opportunities and struggled to overcome the hardships of famine, wars, and depressions Through it all the Bikolanos farmed, prayed, and survived. It is the fabric of their everyday lives that the quiet drama of Bikol history is to be found.