Seventy-five years after his death on August 1, 1944, the name of former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon has become resonant again as his unknown heroic deed during the World War II gets unveiled through the critically acclaimed flick “Quezon’s Game” currently being shown in theaters nationwide.
Here are 10 trivia about him that you probably haven’t read on textbooks nor heard from your Araling Panlipunan and History lectures.
Broaden your knowledge and take note of these Q-Notes presented by Kuya Kim Atienza.
1) His full name
We usually refer to him as Manuel Luis Quezon, but his full name is Manuel Luis Quezon Antonio y Molina. The “Antonio” actually isn’t a part of it, however, due to his overwhelming gratitude to the man who helped him in times of dire need and for him to make both ends meet, he decided to affix it on his name.
2) People’s President
Some of the qualities many, either well-known or ordinary, admired about him were his humility and compassion, which were supported by the anecdotes of those people surrounding him. That’s why, it’s not surprising that he was able to get the love and support of the Filipino people during his reign as the President.
Even before embarking on his career of being a statesman, Quezon had been known for his empathy towards the less fortunate. Although he had the right to impose expensive fees to his clients being the Top 4 of the1903 Bar Exams, he stilled offered legal services to the poor pro bono while placed excessive fees to his affluent clients when he became a lawyer.
3) His death
Quezon succumbed to tuberculosis on August 1, 1944 during his sojourn in Saranac Lake, New York. He was temporarily laid to rest in Arlington County, Virginia for 35 years before his remains were flown to the Philippines and were interred in the Quezon Memorial Circle.
4) His refusal to learn English
While our leaders are expected to be fluent in English, the ex-President initially refused to learn the language because of his intense patriotism. However, he had a change of mind when an American General named Harry Bandholtz offered him a free English class which got cancelled when the latter was designated to another place.
He went back to studying English again in 1909 when he was proclaimed the Philippine Commissioner to Washington.
5) His childhood mischiefs
As a schoolboy, Quezon was described as “bright yet lazy,” which was ironic since both her parents Lucio Quezon and Maria Dolores Molina were elementary instructors. It’s also safe to say that he was a naughty kid as his classmates and teachers at school tagged him “gulerato” or bluffer.
6) He’s a talented pianist
Aside from his brilliance as a lawyer and leader, he also amazed us with is unbelievable flair in playing the piano that he showcased when he singlehandedly taught the orchestra of a trans-Atlantic ship how to play the Philippine national anthem. He astonished everyone aboard the vessel, including the great Polish pianist Jan Paderewski.
7) “Ama ng Wikang Pambansa”
Among his greatest contributions to his motherland and fellowmen as the ‘quintessential Filipino politician’ was the ratification of the Commonwealth Act No. 184 of the 1935 Constitution, which declared ‘Tagalog’ as the national language. Thus, he is hailed “Ama ng Wikang Pambansa” and Buwan ng Wika is celebrated every August in honor of his birth anniversary.
8) He’s a fashionista
Going through his unearthed pictures and video clips, it’s easy to point out how fashionable Quezon was. But would you believe that everything he wore were his own creations? Yes, you read that right. The late Chief Executive didn’t only know how to make laws and treaties and run the country for he’s only skilled in tailoring. In fact, he designed an outfit that he described as “semi-uniform of high russet riding breeches, a soft white shirt, and a high-buttoned military tunic with a high collar.”
However, it wasn’t all the time that he dressed to the nines as he was said to don either an unbuttoned polo shirt or a Barong Tagalog when receiving visitors at home.
9) His presidency
As what we have already known, Quezon was the second President of the Philippines and the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, which was the period when the liberation of the Philippines from the Americans was being processed.
10) He is a hero to the Jews
But most of arguably didn’t know is how he become not only a legendary Filipino statesman but also a hero to the Jewish people. In his pursuit of helping the Jews during the Holocaust, he devised a plan on how to rescue them and was able to bring 1,200 refugees in the Philippines.
But how did he do it? That’s for you to find out by watching “Quezon’s Game,” now showing in cinemas nationwide.