Mariano Ponce

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Mariano Ponce was a Filipino bibliographer, propagandist, journalist, historian, diplomat, and reformist.

He was born on 23 March 1863 in Baliuag, Bulacan. He was the eldest of the seven children of Mariano Ponce and Maria Collantes de los Santos. He had his early schooling in his home town and finished secondary education in the private school of Juan Evangelista, Hugo Ilagan, and Escolastico Salandanan in Manila.

He graduated from Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he obtained his Bachiller en Artes in 1885. He then transferred to the University of Santo Tomas to study medicine. In 1887, he left for Europe and registered at the Central University of Madrid where he finished his medical degree in 1889.

Ponce joined Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, and other patriots in the crusade for the needed Philippine reforms. On 12 February 1889, he assisted Lopez Jaena in founding La Solidaridad in Barcelona. He also headed the Literary Section of the Asociacion Hispano-Filipina, a society of Liberal Spaniards and Filipinos which was founded to help the Propaganda Movement. He served as its Secretary.

As managing editor for La Solidaridad, he wrote regularly on history, politics, sociology, and travel under various pseudonyms like Naning, Kalipulako, and Tigbalang.

When the revolution broke out in 1896, he was imprisoned in Barcelona for 48 hours as he was suspected of having connections with the uprising.

Ponce traveled extensively to Canton, Handow, and Hongkong where he met with Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. In 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo appointed him as diplomatic representative of the First Republic to Japan where he me his wife, Okiyo Udanwara, with whom he had four children.

He also traveled to Indo-China and Shanghai where he met Sun Yat-Sen, the Founder and first President of the Republic of China.

In 1907, he returned to the Philippines with his wife. With the help of Jose Ramos, Ponce purchased weapons and munition for the revolution. But because there was a typhoon off the coast of Formosa, the shipment did not reach the country.

From 1908 to 1912, he served as representative of the second district of Bulacan in the Philippine Assembly. He also served as director of El Renacimiento in 1909. He also joined the Nacionalista Party and established El Ideal, the party's official organ.

While in China to visit his old friend, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, whose biography he published in 1914, Ponce died in the Civil Hospital in Hong Kong on 23 May 1918 because of Tuberculosis. Before his death, he wrote his memoirs, Cartas Sobre La Revolucion. His remains lie at the Cementerio del Norte in Manila.



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