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Cagayanos remember
US black

By Estanislao Caldez

Perhaps having little or no memory of the ''good'' colonizer, many young Filipinos will have no cause to celebrate Philippine-American Friendship Day today.

But the people of Cagayan province do and each year on America's Fourth of July--at one time observed here as Philippine Independence Day--they remember their ''beloved Americans.''

These individual Americans are remembered for their role in binding Cagayanos and foreigners together toward a common goal--the development of the province.

Among them is the late Dr. John H. Manning Butler who wrote the province's anthem.

Butler, the only black in the remarkable batch of 199 American teachers--the so-called Thomasites--who came to the Philippines in 1902, was one of the best-loved education superintendents of Cagayan.

Old-time residents here said Butler employed the finest and most efficient teaching methods in educating Cagayanos.

Butler's legacy to Cagayan, the Cagayan Song, has been translated into Ibanag, Ilocano and Tagalog. It is sung everyday in schools, seminars, and civic and religious assemblies by Cagayanos here and abroad.

The song's refrain goes: ''Cagayan, O smiling land of beauty / Cagayan, my heart clings unto thee / Tho' from thee my footsteps far away may stray / I shall love thee ever be where'er I may.''

Other well-remembered Americans were those who had married Cagayan women and endeared themselves to the locals by their good heart, courage and by helping Cagayanos economically.

Henry Becker Sr., who married a Cagayana, was known as the ''Grand Old Man of Cagayan'' and the ''Napoleon of Cagayan'' for his courage in exposing corruption in government and for helping the poor.

Becker also saved 11 people, seven of them Filipino sailors, when a ship capsized off Balintang Channel on Dec. 1, 1916.

Another well-loved American is Claude Edgar Andrews who founded the Cagayan Trade School, now the Cagayan State University.

He also established schools in Alcala, Baggao and Gattaran towns to help educate Cagayanos.

Andrews was married to Maria Gonzaga, a Cagayana.

Another American, Carl E. Stoops, married Isabel Quinto. They had a son, Joe, who was part of the US Air Force contingent that liberated Cagayan from the Japanese during World War II.

Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Cagayanos remember
US black