“Marching forward in March” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (March 25-31, 2015; page A6)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of March 25-31, 2015


Are we done with International Women’s Month? Could we really run out of notable Filipinas to mention? True or false: Do we celebrate National Doctors Day here in the USA on March 30 of every year? Should we really beware the Ides of March?

The short answers (to beat of the drum) are: No, no, true, and it depends.

No, we are not done with International Women’s Month. On this last week of March, please allow me to feature these amazing Filipina achievers: Leonor Orosa-Goquinco (1919-2005) who was declared National Artist for Dance on Mar. 27, 1976, and Encarnacion Alzona, Ph.D., who was born an Aries on March 25, 1895, lived until she was 105, and declared National Scientist for History in 1985.

Leonor Orosa-Goquinco, true to the inclination of her brilliant Leo Sun, was the total performer. She was known as the “Trailblazer,” “Mother of Philippine Theater Dance,” and “Dean of Filipino Performing Arts Critics.” Born on July 24, 1917 in Jolo, Sulu of doctor-parents, Ms. Orosa could play the piano, draw, design scenery and costumes, sculpt, act, direct, dance, and choreograph. However, the excellent artistry most attributed to her was in the realm of Dance. She choreographed many dance presentations and at the age of 19 was the only dancer sent on the first cultural mission to Japan in 1939.

During her younger years, she has also performed in venues as varied as the American Museum of Natural History, Theresa Kaufmann Auditorium, The International House, and Rockefeller Plaza. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in education majoring in English Literature from St. Scholastica’s College Manila, and then took graduate courses in theatre craft, drama and music at Columbia University and Teachers College in New York City. She also took professional and teacher courses at the Ballet de Monte Carlo. Ms. Orosa organized the Filipinescas Dance Company and the Philippine Ballet, taking them on international tours for several years. She was married to Benjamin Goquinco and had three children. Ms. Orosa was not only a superb dancer but also a writer of poems and plays, and a writer of performing arts reviews. She was conferred the title of National Artist for Dance during the month of March like this one, thirty-nine years ago in 1976.

Having featured a National Artist, let’s now present a National Scientist. We can say that Encarnacion A. Alzona, Ph.D., born in Biñan, Laguna on March 25, 1895, lived the spirit of her sign Aries by being a female pioneer in so many ways. She stood out as a Filipina historian, educator, and tireless advocate for women’s right to vote or suffrage. Dr. Alzona was also the very first Filipina to obtain a Ph.D. which she received from Columbia University in 1923. From the book, “National Scientists of the Philippines (1978-1998),” a publication of the DOST-NAST (Pasig: Anvil Publishing, 2000), here is the citation when the Philippine national government recognized Dr. Alzona as a National Scientist for History in 1985:

“Dr. Encarnacion A. Alzona is an eminent historian and mentor to a generation of other eminent historians in the period of transition after the Philippine Revolution and the war against the United States to the present time. Some of her works have already become classics, particularly her “A History of Education in the Philippines, 1565-1930.” For her “El Legado de España,” she received the Lone Prize awarded by the II Congress de Hispanistas de Filipinas in 1954. Dr. Alzona has the distinction of being the first woman Ph.D. in the Philippines. Her other writings on notables of the Post-Revolutionary era have made available to our people a legacy of the past which has been illuminated for us in a unique way because of her proximity in time to those parts of history and its participants. A much honored preceptor in the tradition of the Academic Guild, Dr. Alzona has received practically every distinguished award the country can bestow her.” Dr. Encarnacion Alzona passed away beyond the centenarian mark at 105 years old in 2001. Ms. Orosa and Dr. Alzona are truly remarkable Filipino women!

You know, like I said in my previous column, there were quite a number of cosmic happenings last March 20: the total solar eclipse, the new moon, and the spring equinox. I’ve heard feedback from my fellow astrologers that all these energy bursts were making some of them restless, especially those of them who are sensitive to these – shall we say electromagnetic? – forces. I posed the partially rhetorical question re: the Ides of March simply to sound a note of positivity despite whatever challenges we are trying to overcome at this time. The ides of March or March 15 was actually the first day of the Roman New Year and the first day of spring in the Roman calendar. On the other hand, we know from our English Lit class that King Julius Caesar met his doom on this day courtesy of an assassination by his closest allies because he didn’t take enough heed of what the soothsayers told him, “Beware of the Ides of March.”

I believe that we can empower ourselves to shape our own realities. Let’s just suppose that it will be very easy for us to do that in time, according to the rate of evolution of our spirit. Which reality, then, should we choose to believe? Spring, the birth of new things, flowers, hope – or discouragement, destruction, death? The first effects of the heightened energy we received at the start of the astrological year last March 20 will be determined by April 4 when there will be a Full Moon (a time of culmination) and a total lunar eclipse in the Libra-Aries axis. Simply put, two weeks from now, we might be winding up some push-pull issues between partnership and individuality. To those of us who are called to lead a solitary life, know that you don’t have to constantly defend your choice to anyone. Be creative, develop your one-line quip, and say it the next time somebody tactless brings up your single status. To those of us who are called into partnership, though, whether in a business or personal sense, maybe this marks the time to embrace the two-heads (and/or two-hearts)-are-better-than-one concept. Why struggle? This period may herald the final silencing of that voice that told us we weren’t good enough to be loved, and it can bring a new and long-lasting healing of even unacknowledged wounds deep within our psyche.

Speaking of healing: March 30 of every year happens to be National Doctors Day in the USA. Observances of this event, as promoted by Ms. Eudora Brown Almond from Winder, GA, date back to March 30, 1933, the first time general anesthesia was used in surgery. The first official celebration of National Doctors Day was in 1991. So during this period, I humbly urge you to take the time to express your appreciation for the doctors in your lives. Theirs is a difficult yet rewarding calling. Grateful patients like us are actually a big reason why they went into Medicine in the first place. Our doctors simply want to know that they are making a difference in our lives through their service, competence, and compassion. The physician’s motto is to “first do no harm.” Maybe the patient’s motto for National Doctors Day should be to “first thank your doctor for everything she/he has done.”

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567, M-F 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings (fee required), email me here: blessingsandlight725@gmail.com