Sinibaldo de Mas

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Sinibaldo de Mas y Sanz (1809-1868) was a known diplomat of the Spanish government to Asia during the 19th century. He also served as the Spanish ambassador to Macau in China.

He was born in 1809 in Barcelona, Spain. He loved having adventures and writing poetry. He supported Iberian Federalism and he proposed the idea of a combined flag of the Iberian Peninsula, which is divided into two nations--Portugal and Spain.

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Photography

He was the one who introduced the concept of photography in the Philippines in 1841. De Mas left Spain in 1834 and went to the Philippines. Due to limited financial support from the Spanish government during his two and a half year stay in the colony, he made a living by taking photographs. It was said that his daguerreotype camera came either from Spain or Bengala in India in 1839.

Political stand

De Mas wrote “A Report on the Status of the Philippines in 1842” (“Informe sobre el estado de las Filipinas en 1842”). Together with Pedro Chirino, Antonio de Morga and Lope Povedano, he asserted that the local people of the Philippines were literate. They contradicted the observations of their compatriots by saying that “almost every native in the Visayas and the rest of the country, both men and women, know how to read and write”.

He was one of the few Spanish sympathizers of the country. In 1842, he warned the royal officials in Madrid that the Philippines would forcefully separate from Spain unless they address the causes of the Filipinos. Dr. Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar and other Filipino expatriates in Spain gave a warning to their Spanish sympathizers that there would be a revolution in the Philippines if the demands of the Filipinos were disregarded. del Pilar said that the revolution was inevitable and so it erupted on 23 August 1896.

Sinibaldo died on 1868 in Madrid at the age of 59.

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