Epifanio de los Santos


Epifanio de los Santos

Epifanio de los Santos y Cristobal (July 7, 1871–April 28, 1928) was most distinguished as a Filipino historian, intellectual titan, literary critic, jurist, antiquitarian and patriot. He was appointed director of the Philippine National Museum and Library by Governor General Leonard Wood in 1925.

Infobox Person
name = Epifanio de los Santos y Cristobal


caption =
birth_date = July 7, 1871.
birth_place = Malabon, Philippines
death_date = April 28, 1928
death_place = Manila
other_names = Don Pañong, G. Solon (pen name), EDS (acronym) or EDSA
known_for = "First Filipino Academican"; "Great among the Great Filipino Scholars"; "The Librarian"; A Man of so many Talents
occupation = Historian, Jurist, Writer and many

Famous Name

Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (commonly known as EDSA), the main road through Metro Manila, was named in honor of him. Several schools, streets, a college and even a hospital were also named after him. There is an Epifanio De Los Santos Auditorium in the Philippine National Library.

His name when translated from Spanish means " Epiphany of the saints".

Humble Beginnings

He was born in 1871 in Malabon, Rizal, to an affluent hacendero Escolastico de los Santos of Nueva Ecija and harpist or pianist Antonina Cristobal of Malabon. He studied at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila where he obtained a summa cum laude of Bachelor of Arts degree and at the University of Santo Tomas where he finished his law studies. As a young man he was humbled by the feat of his classmates and study mates of their fluency in Spanish and had grown a liking and desire to learn Spanish though admiration of a novel entitled "Pepita Jimenez" of the Spanish realist, named Juan Valera. According to Agoncillo, "nobody suspected that he would someday become a literary man". His home in Intramuros became the meeting place of the finest and young cultured nationalistic literary clique comprising of Cecilio Apostol (Catulo), Fernando Ma. Guerrero (Fulvio Gil), Jose Palma, Rafael Palma (Hapon), Jaime C. De Veyra, Macario Pineda, Mariano V. Del Rosario (Tito-Tato), Salvador V. Del Rosario(X. Juan Tagalo) and Jose G. Abreu (Kaibigan). According to Wenceslao E. Retana, most of the men who contribute largely to the most brilliant period or Golden Age in Philippine-Spanish Literature were those same men who gathered every Thursday at Don Panyong's entresuelo.

“When I left the University of Santo Tomas, I had but a smattering of Spanish. My friends made sport of me. What keen mortification did I suffer at my ignorance! One day, no longer able to stand the jeerings of my friends, I made up my mind to learn Spanish. I purchased a dozen good novels and began to read. I did not spend hours over a grammar, but just kept on reading, taking care to remember the idioms. In the meantime my library grew. At the end of three years my knowledge of Spanish and of literature in general was far beyond that of my friends. It was then my turn to laugh!” (Hartendorp, “Don Pañong –Genius ”)

Family Man and Notable Children

He married twice. His first wife was Doña Ursula Paez of Malabon and second was the young Margarita Torralba of Malolos. Jose P. Santos, a son by his first wife, also became a distinguished Filipino historian, biographer, and collector. His underpublicized brother, Escolastico P. Santos(Tikong), became a pianist for silent films and has made artistic contributions as a poet and a realist story teller in Philippine magazines and newspapers. Socrates, son from second wife, became a leading Pentagon aeronautics engineer in his time. He got two lines of descendants with four children on his first wife and eight children on his second wife.

A Great Filipino Academician

De los Santos was considered one of the best Filipino writers in Spanish of his time, compared only to Marcelo H. del Pilar. As a young man, he was the first Filipino to become a member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Language, Spanish Royal Academy of Literature and Spanish Royal Academy of History in Madrid and was touted as the "First Filipino Academician". It was the admiration of his writings that Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo asked the Real Academia Española to open its door to the benevolent young native scholar. As an ardent nationalist, De los Santos was a young associate editor of the outselling and influential revolutionary paper "La Independencia"(1898), writing in scathing prose under the pen name G. Solon. He also co-founded other newspapers like La Libertad, El Renaciemento, La Democracia, La Patria and Malaysia. He also made valuable publications namely; Algo de Prosa (1909), Literatura Tagala (1911), El Teatro Tagala (1911) Nuestra Literatura (1913), El Proceso del Dr. Jose Rizal (1914), Folklore Musical de Filipinas (1920). He also authored Filipinos y filipinistas (Filipinos and Filipinists), Cuentos y paisajes Filipinos (Philippine Stories and Scenes) and Criminality in the Philippines (1903-1908). He was the most eminent scholar of “Samahan ng mga Mananagalog” which was initiated by Felipe Calderon in 1904, and it includes active members with the likes of Lope K. Santos, Rosa Sevilla, Hermenigildo Cruz, Jaime C. De Veyra and Patricio Mariano. He was a man of many excellent talents and had been documented as a translator (Spanish, English, French and German), linguist (even dialects like Ita, Tingian, Ibalao), philosopher, philologist, painter, musician (guitar, piano and violin), poet, biographer, bibliographer, monographer, journalist, publisher, essayist, editor, literary critic, art critic, lecturer, researcher, government executive, jurist, politician, lawyer, outstanding civil servant and philantropist in his lifetime by various historians (Gregorio F. Zaide, Libardo D. Cayco, Teodoro Agoncillo et al.), local and foreign writers and even American critics like Austin Craig and A.V. Hardtendorp. As a gifted artist, he was described as a brilliant painter but failed to develop more of this talent. As an accomplished musician, he was one of the expert pianist and master guitar player in his time compared to his follower,Guillermo Tolentino (distuinguished sculptor), and General Fernando Canon (revolutionary hero). The artistic potential of the guitar through his skills was realized and documentedly praised by local and foreign music critics like Charles E. Griffith. Griffith likened his guitar playing to the great Segovia of Spain. He was also known to play the violin as well. This outstanding feat earns him a polymath status just like Jose Rizal. Gregorio F. Zaide, his biographer, and Hartendorp has described him a rare genius with his encyclopedic knowledge and talents.

A Revered Filipino Patriot

De los Santos ( or Delos Santos) was well traveled, going to many places in Europe, Asia and Americas searching for rare Philippine documents in big museums, archives and libraries. As an inveterate bibliophile, his books is comparable to Pardo de Tavera & Jose Rizal’s collections. He collected almost 200 paintings and sculptor pieces (Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Fabian de la Rosa, Arellano, Pablo Amorsolo and Fernando Amorsolo, Nepomuceno, and Guillermo Tolentino), musical literatures, opera records, valuable printed materials, documents and manuscripts on the revolution and historical pictures. He built one of the best and rare collections and libraries in the Philippines, excluding those of the religious corporations. According to Zaide, his famous Filipiniana collection was rated by foreign scholars as the best in the world. His intense passion for learning makes him a revered great Filipino patriot. In Europe, he was recognized as the premier philologist and writer of biographical matters about the Philippines.

De los Santos had made a large body of works on Philippine literature, arts, music, politics and biographical and historical sketches of great and notable Filipinos which includes Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Pardo de Tavera, Ignacio Villamor, Francisco Balagtas, Jose Rizal, Wenceslao Retana, Yusay, Rafael Del Pan, Miguel Morayta, "The Women of Malolos" etc. He also translated Filipino literary works into Spanish, notably Balagtas’ Florante at Laura(1916).

Exemplary Service

Aside from his intense passion for the arts and culture, Don Panyong as he was fondly called was short-lived in politics due to his daring independence and popular literary criticisms to officials. Being an all around intellectual his scholarly criticisms whether art, literature and politics were constructive and lively as it gets. He published Rizal's story entitled "Los Animales de Suan," a satire of the political satraps of the time because of the conditions that still persisted among many officials even after the Spanish sovereignty. He has an intellect of the first magnitude and never runs out of humor. He was appointed district attorney of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. He was later elected as governor of Nueva Ecija in 1902 and 1904. His election victory made him the first democratically elected provincial governor and head of the Federal Party in Nueva Ecija. Being a member of the Philippine Commission, he was immediately considered as one of those worthy Filipino intellectuals to represent the prestigious and controversial Saint Louis World's Fair in 1904. After his stint as governor, he was appointed provincial fiscal of Bulacan and Bataan provinces. He even wrote a controversial treatise on electoral fraud “Electoral Fraud and its Remedies" (Fraudes Electorales y Sus Remedios) in 1907 for the Philippine Assembly. On the side, he devoted his spare time to researches in Philippine history and literature establishing himself as a historian, bibliographer and collector of Filipiniana. Portions of his collections where destroyed when fires hit his house in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. According to his descendants, he was asked so many times by famous historical figures to run for Presidency but he just never like dirty politics. In 1918, he was appointed by Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison as Technical Director of the Philippine Census. The last and most significant position Delos Santos held was Director of the Philippine National Museum and Library, to which was appointed by Gov. Gen. Leonard Wood in 1925.

An American historian, Austin Craig, says to him:

" When he assumed the position of Director, at the sacrifice of the comfort of his independent means gave him, he abandoned all his collecting and gave the same zeal to the futherance of the government's interest that had made his own collection in works, paintings, sculpture, furniture, and all other lines of artistic Philippines unrivaled. The Library and Museum profited by his administration more than under any of his predecessors, counting that their work was adding largely known collections by purchases made possible by legislative appropriation."

World Library People on Postage Stamps - Great Filipino Library leaders (1949). Part of a set of 3 semi-postals to aid in restoration of war damaged public libraries. From Left to Right: Epifanio De los Santos (1871-1928), Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera (1857-1925) and Teodoro M. Kalaw (1884-1940).

Title Earned

He died in office on April 18, 1928. The Philippine government paid him a tribute to a stately funeral. Local and foreign scholars lamented to a loss to what has been described by them as the "Great among the Great Filipino Scholars".

Visionary Historian and Faith to His Countrymen

According to Hartendorp, he was the first highly educated and cultured Filipino to direct the attention of his countrymen to their own illustrious men, and to their own art, literature, poetry and music. He once said: “We Filipinos are the most promising people in the world. We have unheard-of-possibilities. There have never been a people similarly situated. Here we are in the Orient with our Oriental thoughts and sentiments, but living amid a civilization more Western than was ever known in The East. The Philippines is the only country where East meets West. The Filipino is a true cosmopolitan. From him the world may expect something new and distinctive.”

Today's events are tomorrow's history,yet events as seen by the naked eyelack the depth and breadthof human struggles, triumphs, and sufferings.Writing history is writing the soul of the past-curiously unearthing facts and circumstances,and looking deeply into the reasons why,so that the present generationmay learn from past mistakes,be inspired by the ancestors' sacrifices,and take responsibility for the future.

cholarly Pursuits: The Delos Santos Collection on Philippine Revolution

According to Zaide, there are documents and printed matter in his collection that cannot be found elsewhere, not even in the Filipiniana Division of The National Library nor in any library the world over, the Library of Congress of the United States included. The best years of his life were spent in looking for them only to find them after an almost “wild good chase” of a lifetime. As a meticulous writer, he dominated the viewpoint in that era that writing history needs serious authentication, synthesis and perspective.

In all, there are 115 printed matter and 213 documents in the collection dealing with Philippine revolution. A resume of them follows.

A. Newspapers on the Revolution.La IndependenciaLa LibertadColumnas volantes de la Federation Malaya etc.

B. Printed Matter on Revolution.Resena veridica de la Revolucion Filipinar por E. Aguinaldo Reimpreso. Ambos Camarines. Very rare.Annual Reports on the War Department form 1898 to 1904. Only complete set.Castilla. The masterpiece of Emilio Jacinto. Very rare. 56 copies. Varias hojas Impresas de propaganda de la Revolucion Filipina. 17 copies. Rare.Ilojas Impresas de Noticias, Caritas, Manifiestos, Ordenes etc. referents a la Revolucion en Filipinas. 27 copies. Different sizes. Rare documents.Provisional Constitution of the Philippine Republic. Drafted by Artacho –Ferrer to be the organic law of the new Republic. Popularly known as the Biaknabato constitution. Very rare document. No copy exists in any library in the world.

C. Original papers of Revolution.Apuntes de combatos y memoriasDecretosMensajesMemorandums and diariosCircularesSeals and stamps of the Revolutionary GovernmentDistintivos del presidente, delos ministros, y del ejercitoAppointmentsTelegramsCartas anonimasOrden de fusimientos, etc.Orden de induitos, etcPlano de la linea del Paruao, con ex plicaciones por Emilio Aguinaldo. The unpublished plan of combat made by Gen. Aguinaldo. Invaluable document.Aguinaldo y su Captura en Palanan. Relato detallado de su captura en Palanan, Isabela, por Emilio Aguinado. A very rare and important document.Documents of Aguinaldo, Buencamido, Mabini, Aglipay, Paterno, Calderon, Viola, Flordeliza, Juan Climaco, Ambrosio Flores, Rizal, Plaridel, Gen. Jalandoni, Gen. Lukban, Gen. Delgado, Severino de las Alas, Leandro Ibarra, Gen. Luna, Blumentritt, Retana, Gen. Diokno, Zulueta, Palma ( Jose and Rafael), Candido Tirona, Daniel Tirona, Apostol, LeRoy, etc.

After the death of Don Pañong, the Philippine legislature, by virtue of the Philippine Clarin Act, negotiated with the widow and heirs of the great collector for the purchase of the collection and library. The Philippine government bought the priceless collections for P 19, 250.00.

EDS Quotes

"Less bluff, more study." - Words for the youth of today

"All that I have done is child's play compared to what I can do." - On his persistent quest for excellence in every endeavour

"There is nothing more regenerating than music." - On his love for music

"All of us here are servants of the reading public. I am the head of the servant [s] and I must show that I know better than any of the servant [s] where the materials are found. I want to show that our service here is efficient and that we are really working to serve.” - On humility and efficiency of service as Director of Philippine National Library and Museum

External links/source

CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. Vol IX. Philippine Literature. Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994

Agoncillo, Teodoro A. 2002 ed. The revolt of the masses- the story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan. University of the Philippines Press. E. de los Santos St., UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.

Epifanio de los Santos (Great among the great Filipino scholars). 1982. Printed by Merriam School & Office. Supplies Corporation, Manila.

The Delos Santos family descendants memorabilia, historical pictures and clippings.

Philippine Free Press. Manila. April 28, 1928.

Bacallan, Joyce. 1988. Hero of the month- Epifanio delos Santos- a great Filipino academician. The youngster. p.7.

Bernardo, Fernando A. 2000. Silent storms: inspiring lives of 101 great Filipinos. Anvil Publishing, Inc. pp. 37-38.

Bantug, Jose P. Epifanio de los Santos Cristobal. pp. 215-223.

Churchill, Bernadette R. Epifanio de los Santos, pioneer historian. In History & Culture, Language & Literature: Selected Essays of Teodoro A. Agoncillo. pp. 239-245.

Cullinane, Michael. 2003. Illustrado politics: Filipino elite responses to American rule, 1989-1908. Ateneo de Manila University.

De los Santos, Epifanio. 1913, Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera. Cultura Filipina 4 (1): 1-49.

De los Santos, Epifanio, 1913. Ignacio Villamor: El funcionario y el hombre. Cultura Filipina 4 (3): 351-359.

De los Santos, Epifanio, 1915. Ignacio Villamor: El funcionario y el hombre. Cultura Filipina 5 (4): 275-294.

De los Santos, Epifanio, 1916. Rafael del Pan: The Philippine Review 1 (May): 41-44.

De los Santos, Epifanio, 1973. The revolutionists: Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, Jacinto. Translated and edited by Teodoro A. Agoncillo. Manila: National Historical Commission.

Dungo, Dolores T. Epifanio de los Santos. Epifanio de los Santos College, Malabon, Rizal.

Espino, Licsi F. Jr. 1977. A Historian with style: love of learning chiseled the man. Archipelago: International Magazine of the Philippines.

Fermin, Jose D. 2004. 1904 World's Fair: the Filipino experience. E. de los Santos St., UP Campus, Diliman Quezon City. p. 73.

Gwekoh, Sol H. Biographical Sketch: Epifanio de los Santos. Variety. p 13.

Hardtendorp, A. V. H. Don Pañong – genius. Philippine Magazine 26 (Sept.)210-11, 234-235.

Hernandez, Vicente S. 1996. History of books and libraries in the Philippines 1521-1900: A study of the sources and chronology of events pertaining to Philippine library history from the sixteenth to the end of the nineteenth century. National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Manila.

Mella, Cesar. 1974. Directory of Filipino Writers: Past and Present. Manila. CTM enterprises.

Mojares, Resil B. 2006. Brains of the nation: Pedro Paterno, T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes and the production of modern knowledge. Ateneo de Manila University Press. Bellarmine Hall, Katipunan Avenue Loyola Heights, Quezon City. p.477.

National Historical Institute (NHI). 1990. Filipinos in history. Vol. II. Manila.

Nieva, Gregorio, ed. 1880- Manila, P.I.: G. Nieva [etc.] . 2005. The Philippine review (Revista filipina) [Vol. 2, no. 1] . More about Jose Rizal by Epifanio de los Santos. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library. p. 22.

Qurino, Carlos. 1995. Who's who in the Philippine history. Manila. Tahanan Books.

San Juan, E. Jr. Social Consciousness and Revolt in Modern Philippine Poetry. pp. 394-399. Villareal, Hector K. et al. 1965. Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Historical Commission.

Zaide, Gregorio F. 1930. Epifanio de los Santos, his collection and library. The Tribune Magazine. pp. 4-5

Zaide, Gregorio F. 1965. Epifanio de los Santos: Great among the great Filipino scholars. In Great Filipinos in history. 88: 575-581.

* [http://www.malaya.com.ph/apr07/news8.htm Malaya - Epifanio de los Santos remembered /source]
* [http://www.epifaniodelossantos.com/ - Who is EDSA?]
* [http://www.geocities.com/sinupan/delosantosefipanio.htm TOMAS L ] at www.geocities.com
* [http://fil.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Epifanio_de_los_Santos Epifanio de los Santos - Wikifilipino ] at fil.wikipilipinas.org
* [http://park.org/Philippines/centennial/heroes12.htm Philippine National Heroes ] at park.org
* [http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Literature/literary_forms_in_philippine_lit.htm The Literary Forms in Philippine Literature ] at www.seasite.niu.edu
* [http://es.wikisource.org/wiki/Florante_y_Laura Florante y Laura - Wikisource ] at es.wikisource.org
*gutenberg|no=15531|name=Florante by Francisco Balagtas
* [http://www.nonviolenceworks.net/NVWSite.htm/about.htm/GlobalSpreadNV.pdf ] at www.nonviolenceworks.net
* [http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2005/10/16/MTNN2005101646777.html :: EDSA: Freedom highway is country's busiest artery :: ] at www.mb.com.ph
* [http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2007/06/05/OPED2007060595271.html :: Looking for EDSA :: ] at www.mb.com.ph
* [http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2008/04/06/OPED20080406121262.html :: Birth Anniversary of Epifanio de los Santos :: ] at www.mb.com.ph
* [http://www.libraryhistorybuff.com/bibliophilately-people-world.htm :: The Library History Buff- promoting the appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of library history ] at www.libraryhistorybuff.com
* [http://www.lopezmuseum.org.ph/artscene_zeroin_amorsolo_02.html ] at www.lopezmuseum.org.ph
* [http://expo.edu.ph/government/phil/tnl/history.htm The National Library ] at expo.edu.ph
* [http://www.assumptionphil.org/beginnings.htm a photo of the editorial staff of La Independencia ] at www.assumptionphil.org
* [http://www.travelsmart.net/article/10000056/ Destination: Nueva Ecija - intellectual sons ] at www.travelsmart.org
* [http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/lp-2001/intro/world.html Strangers to Us All - The World's Lawyer Poets ] at www.myweb.wvnet.edu
* [http://philcsc.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/appreciating-amado-v-hernandez-proletarian-artis/ SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND REVOLT IN MODERN PHILIPPINE POETRY ] at http://philcsc.wordpress.com
* [http://www.pia.gov.ph/pubs/kalayaan2003.pdf - Viva La Independencia! -->] at www.pia.gov.ph
* [http://www.visitmyphilippines.com/index.php?title=HistoryoftheProvince&func=all&pid=717&tbl=0 - EPIFANIO DE LOS SANTOS (1902-1906) -->] at www.visitmyphilippines.com


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