Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Makinaugalingon Advocacy of Rosendo Mejica

 Exploring the BisayanValue of Empowerment

Emiliano T. Hudtohan

For Pulbication in Bulawan Journal of Philippine Arts and Culture

July 20, 2014

Rosendo Mejica Museum
AGBoi Photos


Molo, Iloilo is well-known in culinary circles for the noodle soup, pancit molo. But more than the noodles,  Molo showcases a West Visayan value of makinaugalingon (self-reliance) which is characterized in the work ethics of Ilonggos in the island of Panay.  A few meters away from St. Anne’s church in Molo, is a Makanaugalingon signboard that hangs in front of the Mejica Library Museum. Rosendo Mejica, founder the Makinaugalingon  printing press and newspaper,  lived the value of makinaugalingon.

The Ilonggo from Molo

Rosendo Mejica (1873-1956) chose the name Makinaugalingon to drive home his patriotic intent at a time when Spanish and later American English languages were in vogue. His great grandfather, Carlos Maderazo, was a Spaniart and his aunt Cayetana married a Spaniard.  They did not deter his love for Hiligayan, his native tongue (CMejica: 1988).

He was a bona fide resident of Molo as evidenced by the Mejica family name. The Spanish registry created a security system which required the first letter of one’s family name to coincide with the first letter of one’s home town (CMejica: 1988).  For example, revolutionary progpagandist Graciano Lopez Jaena (1856-1896) was a resident of Jaro. And Rosendo’s friend in literary circles, nationalist-feminist writer Magdalena G. Jalandoni (1891-1978) was from Salog, Jaro.

Rufino Mejica married Eulogia Maderazo.  She bore three children: Rosendo, Ramona and Jose.  Rosendo appeared to have a destiny with history because he became a lone survivor among the three siblings.  As if to insure a healthy family tree, Rosendo married Pilar Mabal Madrazo who bore him 14 children, 5 died at infancy and early childhood.  He raised all 9 children and each one became a professional in their respective academic preference.   Rosendo, as first born, learned to be strong, responsible, and protective of his family members. He reflected and affirmed chosen family values like makinaugalingon.  He complied to (later enforced) rules and norms because of strict discipline. This discipline – as a passionate nationalist, a Free Mason, and an anti-cleric – he would enforce upon himself in governing his household and public affairs.

Rosendo’s roots have traces of Ilonggo, Spanish, and Chinese lineage. After all, the original populace of Molo were not only Ilonggos; there were Chinese immigrants who became permanent residents of this town. In fact, the name Molo is said to have come from a Chinese who announced the impending  attack of Muslim pirates. Moro was pronounced Molo.

The other name of Molo was Parian. Supposedly noted to be a place of priests, Molo was was Parian.  I was said, at the height of Christian influence, that every family in Parian had at least a son studying for priesthood. The first professional of  Parian was Fr. Praxedes Magalona ordained in 1891.

Makinaugalingon is Hiligaynon word meaning ‘self-reliant’.  The root word is ‘kaugalingon’ which is ‘self.’ The addition of ‘ma’ and ‘in’ makes ‘kaugalingon’ an adjective. Thus, Makinaugalingon Press is a press clients can rely or depend on. At a time when Spanish and American English were the language of ‘alta sociodad’ (high society), Rosendo used the vernacular Hiligaynon to punctuate his nationalist advocacy in Western Visayas.  Like Magdalena Jalandoni, he showed the way establishing a Hiligaynon newspaper for Ilonggo readership.

                        Ang paalam kag pag-tuon sang pulong sang iban indi malain, kag

kon mahimo nga ma-alaman ta ang anan nga labi na gid nga maayo;

apan labi sa tanan pakahimpiton ta kag pakamahalon ang aton

pulong nga isa man kita sang banwa nga makinaugalingon

(Mejica Collection).

                        (To  know someone else’s language is not bad; it would be still

better if we can learn all languages, but before all let us purify

and love our native tongue if we want ourselves to be considered

a free (self-reliant) country. (CMejica: 1988)

He discouraged his children and grandchildren from talking in English, when they were not speaking in Hiligaynon (PMejica: 1989).  Assited by another Ilonggo he put Hiligaynon into prominence by  translating  Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo into Hiligaynon.

Propagating Nationalist Interest

In pursuit of his youthful dream, he lived the value of makinaugalingon by leaving Molo to work as a farm hand in Negros.  From his earnings he finished his course in Perito Mercantil, a degree equivalent to bachelor’s of science in commerce. His love for learning was a fine example for his children to study.  Eight of his surviving children, except Rizalina, finished college. Socially, they were accepted as ‘titulado’ and they are listed as the early professionals of Molo. Today his grandson, Rosendo II, continues to run the modernized press, making it economically viable.

An illustrado, he waged his own fight against the Spanish colonials.  He was profoundly influenced by the nationalist and advocates of Philippine revolution. Graciano Lopez Jaena of Jaro was just a few kilometers away from Molo.  In 1953 his love for this hero came in form of a donation of the statue of Graciano Lopez Jaena to Baluarte Elementary School. In his memory, the authored and sponsored the renaming of Antigua St. to Graciano Lopez Jaena St., Molo.  An imbued nationalist, he was educating the minds of the Ilonggos to love our own.

Espousing the ideals of Graciano Lopez Jaena and the expose of Jose Rizal, Rosendo Mejica carried the revolutionary banner to the end. A patriot, he translated Rizla’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterism of Rizal into Hiligaynon with Ulpiano C. Vergara as co-translator.  The books were printed by his own printing house Makinaugalingon Press.

In 1953 he donated a monument of Graciano Lopez Jaena which stands in the school ground of Baluarte Elementary School. Dr. Consing, former governor of  Iloilo, acknowledged his contribution to the construction of Molo-Arevalo Blvd.  Rosendo donated cash and appropriated his own property for the boulevard project (Mejica Collection). As councilor he honored the great men of Philipppine revolution. Antiqua St. in Molo was renamed Graciano Lopez Jaena and Nueva St. to Marcelo H. del Pilar.

He established  Makinaugalingon press on January 13, 1916.  It was the first weekly newspaper. In 1937 it was coming out twice a week and had a circulation of  1,500 reaching a wide range of readership which included the timawa who were literate in Hiligaynon. Magdalena Jaladoni, vernacular writer herself, deeply appreciated the newspaper written in Hiligaynon:

Si tiyo Sendo Mejica…sia ang tagpasad kag tagbantala sang

Makinaugalingon, balasahon nga nahamut-an sang linibolibo

niya nga mga bumalasa kag nagpasanag sa linibo nga

banwahanon, nagagua ini nga balasahon  sing makaduha sa

isa ka semana kag nasulat man ini sa matam-is nation nga

Hiligaynon (Jalandoni:1973).

                        (Tiyo Sendo Mejica…is the founder and publisher of

                        Makinaugalingon, a newspaper that is patronized by thousands

                        of readers and enlightens thousand of residents, coming out

                        twice a week and is written in our sweet native Hiligaynon.

                        (Hudtohan: 2003)

Resisting Spanish Influence

Being a Mason, he was critical of the power and influence of the friars. Definitely, the Noli and Fili of Rizal and the Fray Botod of Lopez-Jaena both exposing the abuses of the Spaniards and friars must have shaped his anti-clerical position.  As a professional could it be that he was competing against another colleague who is a priest?  As a newspaper columnist, he must have been privy to the dark side of the confessional, the sacristy and the convent. He was adamant in discouraging his daughters from going to confession and attending mass (PMejica: 2003).

Rosendo creates an image of a principalia by  keeping his daughters away from public functions lie going to church.  In the tradition of the binokot Rosendo has kept his daughter as a treasured shining jewel hidden from the public eye. Only Marietta among of her seven  daughters got married. Ramon, Caroling, Oloy, Beatriz, Virginia, and Rizalina remained single.

The fiesta and procession are legitimate public display of the binukot beautiful maiden who bring pride and prestige.  Nonetheless, a binukot was a repressed and subordinated in human rights and dignity (Alcina: 2003).  But Rosendo empowered her eldest daughter, Eulogia, training her as his to eventually take over the management of the printing press.

Like Rizal, he retracted his allegiance to free masonry before his death.  Esperanza Valderrama Mejica, wife of his son, Porfirio, brought a St. Paul priest at his death bed to hear his confession, accept his retraction and gave him holy viaticum. His family regained social acceptance upon his burial at the Catholic cemetery in Molo. At a time when Church activities and functions played a central role in the community, coming back to the fold of Christianity was  most apropos.

Theologically, burial outside the Catholic cemetery would have posed spiritual concerns regarding his personal salvation and social stigma.  Esperanza was hoping that in his final moment he would present Porfirio as his son.  On  the  contrary, he reiterated that Ovidio was his only son.

On the occasion of Rosendo’s 100th birth anniversary on March 1, 1973 National Historical Commission Chair Esteban A. de Ocampo unveiled the centennial marker which acknowledged Rosendo Mejica as pioneer printer-publisher in Hiligaynon, journalist, educator, labor leader and well-known philanthropist in Iloilo.  He is recognized as the Dean of Visayan Journalist (CMejica: 1988).

Among others, he published her some of Magdalena’s earlier poems and pre-war novels, including Juanita Cruz.  Jalandoni, on the occasion of his 67th birthday in 1940 and 100th birth centennial in 1973, composed and delivered corridos in his honor. Rosendo and Magdalena were friends in the literary circles.

On October 26, 1940 when Rosendo was 67 years old, he was honored by national artist Magdalena G. Jalandoni with ‘Tiyo Sendo Mejica’. corrido in Hiligaynon, recounting his accomplishment. It was during this time that Jalandoni was doing her literary works in Hiligaynon.  And Makanaugalingon would publish her opus, including Juanita Cruz which marked her writing maturity as a novelist.  Again, he would honor her fellow nationalist and Ilonggo advocate by delivering a narrative, Kay Tiyo Sendo Mejica Kag Ang Iya Centenaryo on January 23, 1973 (Mejica Collection).

His residence at Lopez Jaena St., Molo, Iloilo was restored by the National Historical Institute and declared a historical landmark in 1988, a project of  Pres. Corazon Aquino. It is now The Rosendo Mejica Library and Museum, a tribute to the value makinaugalingon  he  espoused in his lifetime. He stood for good governance, education of the young, love of one’s native tongue, and independence from foreign intervention.

Makinaugalingon: West Visayan Value

The word makinaugalingon is coined as an adjective.  Rosendo as makinaugalingon was self-reliant; and, therefore,  reliable. Makina is a prefix denoting ‘the quality’ of kaugalingon.   His kaugalingon (self) was capable of being alone and had the ability to stand alone.  Closely linked to the value of makinaugalingon is makatindug  which denotes being able to stand and make a stand.  This means Rosendo was self-sufficient without being dependent on others.  The printing press as an enterprise is a symbol of his sense of financial independence.

May ginatindugan is an ethical orientation based on what is proper and good (principles) that  govern our behavior. Makinaugalingon allows an ethical stance to be trustworthy (masaligan), truthful (matuod; wala ga butig), just (matarong) and reasonable (maybuot) (Jocano:1998, 116) . Rosendo’s public service bespeak of his stance to improve the lot of the community: education Baluarte, self-development Makinaugalingon newspaper, patriotism books of Rizal, statue of Lopez Jaena, newspaper columns and articles in Hiligaynon .

The concept of dungog (honor) is related to makinaugalingon.  May palabra de honor ako is a Spanish maxim that describes the moral character of a person.  There is integrity between his/her words and action. Makinaugalingon empowers the doer to fulfill a promise.  The doer is makinaugalingon; the speaker (also the doer) has palabra de honor when the job is done.  That’s why the  client respects him/her.

May dungod siya (he is honorable; has pride in himself; thus, he is respected – ginatahud siya).  (A self-reliant person is not lazy, he is industrious). Wala huya is the opposite.

The value of makinaugalingon touches the mind (pamensaron) , the heart (balatyagon), the body (lawas) and the spirit (espiritu) (Jocano: 1998, 16) of the subject. A self-reliant person it seems to me is clear on what must be done, what s/he wants to do; is confident to accomplish the task by being focused and flexible to meet expectations; and has the desire to do the job for the good of parties concerned. In all this his/her spirit drives him/her to fulfill a personal mission.

Buot as will power was earlier discussed as in pagbuot sang Dios, or pagbuot sang tawo (God’s will and man’s will). Labaw Dunggon against many odds.  “Wala buot” is used not so much as lacking or no will power, but it implies that has lost or is not capable of reasoning.  Buot here aptly applies to a child who has not yet arrived the age of reason.  ‘May buot’ is someone who makes sense.  Same spelling but different accent is related to ‘buot’ in the sense that what is reasonable is ultimately desirable as good. And, therefore, not capable of executing what is right and moral.

Buot in relation to kaugalingon would mean “may alam/may buot” (knowledgeable) kag matuman niya ang iya buot (to execute his/her will to do). As a result “may kaugalingon siya” (self-determination/reliance on his/her decision). Kon wala siya  buot inutil siya (S/he has no reason, s/he is useless. – Wala pulos).

The ethnic meaning of human spirit in Visayan context may be understood better by re-visiting the concept of dungan and kabubut-on (will). Dungan serves as a source and springboard of kaugalingon.  Wellness of the self – mind, heart, body and spirit are so well-knitted.  Naunahan sa dungan (quick on the draw; takes opportunity)

The idea of personal misyon is very specific in the ethnic Visayan culture. The value of makinaugalingon is ground for one’s calling.  Self-reliance assumes growth and development in the four areas of mind, heart, body and spirit.

In the Visayan context, makinaugalingon prepares the self to respond to his/her particular calling.  The response is a dialogue with his/her own spirit and with the engkantos


The 21st millennium has made the world global.  But as it becomes global, the uniqueness of a given culture is a precise contribution to globalization.  Cross-cultural encounters facilitated by world travel made easy presents value differences.

For the Ilonggos the time is now to dig deep into their ethno cultural heritage.  Makinaugalingon long advocated by Rosendo Mejica is what keeps a Bisayan resilient through centuries of colonized existence.  And now with democratic space globally opened, this particular value modeled by Bisayan OFWs are already making a global impact.


Miquel R. Cornejo, ed.,Cornejos’ Commonwealth Directory of the Philippines: Pre-War

Encyclopedia of History and Government. Manila: Cornejo Publishing Co., n.d.

Carolina Mejica, Life and Works of Rosendo Mejica (handwritten manuscript), 1988.

Mejica Collection, n.d. mimeographed copy complied by Carol Mejica.

Landa F. Jocano, Filipino Worldview. Manila: Punlad Research House, Inc., 1998. p. 116

Magos, Alicia P., Dungan in Roots of Filipino Spirituality. Phils.: Mamamathala, Inc., 1998,

Teresita B. Obusan, ed., p. 43-46.

Perla Mejica Hudtohan, Interview, Manila 2003.

Concepcion Mejica Cham, Interview October 7, 2003

Magdalena Jalandoni, Biography, (Manuscript), n.d. [retrieved by Concepcion Mejica Cham in

Iloilo City].

Carolina Mejica, Family Tree of Rosendo Mejica (handwritten manuscript),  June 8, 1989.

Spanish registration is part of reducciones, a hamleting practice to round up Yndios. Those who

submitted to the Spanish rule were identified residents whose  first letter of the family name corresponded to the first letter of the name of the poblacion. The women converted to the faith were using the agnus dei scapular.  For example, my grandfather’s family name used to be Ogtongan, native of Ogton .  As member of a rebel group under Papa Isyu, he fled to Hinigaran, Negros Occidental to escape persecution. He changed Ogtongan to  Hudtohan. he survived Philippine Revolution.

Carolina Mejica, Handwritten Notes, n.d. [turned over to Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan circa 1990].

According to Cornejo’s Pre-War Encyclopedia, in 1937

there were 15 publications in Iloilo: Makinaugalingon is one of the 7 Visayan publications; 8 were in English and Spanish.

Perla Mejica Hudtohan, granddaughter of Rosendo Mejica. Interview at Assumption College,

Makati City, 1989.

Magdalena Jalandoni, ‘Kay Tiyo Sendo Mejica Kag Sa Iya Centenario”. January 27,  1973.

Mejica Collection. Mimeographed print, n.d..

Francisco Ignacio de Alcina, Historia de las isles de indios de Bisayas.  Isinalin ni Paul Lietz.

Chicago: Programa sa hilippine Studies, Univesidad ng Chicago.

Lucila V.Hosillos, ‘Nationalist-feminist Magdalena Gonzaga Jalandoni,’ Bulawan 5 Journal of

Philoippine Arts & Culture. National Commissionon Culture and Arts, p.16.

Carolina Mejica, ‘Life and Works of Rosendo Mejica’ (handwritten manuscript), 1988.

Landa F. Jocano notes that  there are  four elements of  life forces with the espiritu reflecting

cosmic force and katawan showing natural force in  Filipino Worldview. Manila: Punlad Research House, Inc., 1998. p. 116

Magos, Alicia P., Dungan in Roots of Filipino Spirituality. Phils.: Mamamathala, Inc., 1998,

Teresita B. Obusan, ed., p. 43-46.

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