On 23 February 2021, Dr. George Emmanuel R. Borrinaga, Assistant Professor at the History Section – Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and History of the University of San Carlos and Member of the Philippine National Historical Society (PNHS), was conferred the Philippine Social Science Council’s 9th Virginia A. Miralao Excellence in Research Award (VAMERA) for his article titled “José Rizal in the Emotional Landscape of Samar and Leyte at the Turn of the 20th Century,” published in the PNHS’s The Journal of History Vol. LXVI.
According to PSSC Executive Director Dr. Lourdes M. Portus, the Council “selected the article because of its contribution to new knowledge on the Philippines’ struggle against Spanish and early American colonial rule, particularly on how this struggle and an accompanying sense of nationalism spread through the islands via Rizal’s martyrdom. The unique presentation of analyzing local developments through popular songs and poems during the revolutionary period lends credence to the rise of nationalist fervor or of Philippine nationalism beyond the confines of Manila and the Tagalog-speaking regions. It traverses beyond the country’s educated elite who could read Rizal’s writing.”
Following the awarding ceremony, Dr. Borrinaga presented his winning article and tried to answer the following questions:
- What role did the memory of the martyred Rizal play in the nationalist movement in Samar and Leyte?
- What emotions, values, and practices were at play in these mobilizations?
- What was Rizal’s lasting significance for the region’s newly self-identifying “Filipino” communities as armed struggle gave way to a new round of colonization?