After the ceremonial closing of the Fulbright Orientation in Washington, Ms Maricor of the Cultural Section of the Philippine Embassy invited me on a private tour. It was a happy occasion as well as educational because she took me through a short version of the history of the Philippines in the Hall of Presidents. This hall housed the embassy’s collection of portraits of the past to current presidents of the Philippines, painted mostly by national artist, Ferdinand Amorsolo. Presidential portraits of Manuel Roxas, Manuel L. Quezon, and Sergio Osmeña were made specifically for the Philippine embassy in Washington D.C.
The image on the bottom left in black & white is of my great-grandfather, Quintín Paredes, who lived in Washington from 1936-38 as the first Resident Commissioner from the Philippines when it was a commonwealth territory of the United States, before its independence in 1946. The painting at the top right is of the Philippine Military Academy, from where my dad graduated in the 1960’s before we emigrated to the United States.
I haven’t been back to the Philippines since our family converged there in November 2010 for our mom’s funeral in Manila, so I was grateful for the invitation by the embassy to “walk the path”of my great-grandfather even for a few minutes.