Today in Philippine History, October 15, 1866, Manuel Artigas was born in Tacloban, Leyte

Saturday October 15, 2011 ()

On October 15, 1866, Manuel Artigas, a biographer, bibliographer, historian and journalist, was born in Barrio Panalaron Tacloban, Leyte to Miguel Artigas y Rodriguez, a Spaniard from Cadiz, Spain, and Soledad Cuerva y Molina, a Bulakeña.

   Manuel Artigas
   Manuel Artigas (Photo credit: Wikiplipinas).

When his father died in 1874, Artigas moved to Manila, pursued his studies and worked in several colonial government agencies. Artigas worked for Administracion Central de Impuestos Directos, Almacenes de la Aduana de Manila, Administracion Central de Loterias, Intervencion General de la Administracion del Estado, and the Administracion Provisional de Manila.

While working in the government, Artigas pursued his interest in journalism. He wrote for the Diario de Manila and later for El Amigo del Pueblo. In 1891, his first book, Manual del Empleados, was published. In 1892, he was publisher and editor of the bi-monthly local government review, El Faro Administrativo. In 1894, he published El Municipio Filipino 2 Volumes and Diccionario Tecnico-historico de la Administracion de Filipinas.

Artigas setup his own printing press on Calle San Jose in Intramuros. He bought the press that used to print the Periodical El Eco del Sur in Camarines.

At the height of the revolution in early 1897, Artigas sold the press and evacuated his family to Spain. There he continued writing for some periodicals. He founded the periodical La Voz de Ultramar, through which he exposed the abuses of Spanish authorities in the Philippines. He became acquainted with prominent Spaniards who sympathized with the Filipino cause like Señores Moret and Quiroga Ballasteros, who employed him in the Junta de Publicidad del Ministerio del Ultramar, which he served from January to June 1898. In Barcelona, he became adviser and chronicler of Sub-comite Revolucionario headed by Tito Acuña. Artigas later became its director.

In 1899, he founded the El Filipino.

Artigas returned to the country in 1902, resumed his works in journalism, and joined political groups. He was editor-in-chief of El Grito del Pueblo published by Pascual Poblete. In 1905, he joined La Democracia for a short while.

Artigas served as general secretary of the Nacionalista Party (1902 to 1905) and the Asociacion de Maquinistas Navales y Terrestres de Filipinas (1903-1909). He also published the latter’s periodical El Maquinista (1903-1904).

Before the elections in the First Philippine Assembly, Artigas switched party from the Nacionalista to Federalista and ran for the seat of the third district of Leyte but lost to Florentino Peñaranda.

In 1907, he was appointed assistant librarian in the Philippine Section of the American Circulating Library. Through his initiative, Act No. 1849 creating the Philippine Public Library was passed by the Philippine Assembly.

As acting chief and later director of the Philippine Library, he was able to increase the Filipiniana collection that became one of the most complete collections in Philippine studies.

Artigas died of heart ailment in Manila on April 2, 1925. He was survived by his wife Luisa Losada y Mijares by whom he had 12 children.

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