Ambeth R. Ocampo

From Wikipilipinas
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ambeth Ocampo

Ambeth R. Ocampo is a Filipino historian, writer, educator, and cultural administrator. He has achieved distinction for his articles detailing fascinating little-known historical facts. His bi-weekly editorial column “Looking Back” has been running in the Philippine Daily Inquirer since 1993. He served as chairman of the National Historical Institute (NHI) from 2002 to 2011 and of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) from 2005 to 2007.

Education and Career

Ocampo was born in 1961 in Manila. He took his primary, secondary, and tertiary studies at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). Later, he went to the De La Salle University where he earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in Philippine Studies. He enrolled at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies to obtain a doctorate in Southeast Asian History. In 1993, he left the university and entered the monastic life in the Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Manila. He was then known as Dom. Ignacio Maria, OSB. Four years later, he left the monastery and has not renewed his monastic vows since then.

Ocampo was appointed chairman of the NHI from 2002 to 2011 and of the NCCA from 2005 to 2007.

He became lecturer in the University of the Philippines, teaching Philippine Literature, Filipino, and Art Studies and History. He was also a columnist in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where his Looking Back column first appeared. From these columns, he had written 55 essays about Jose Rizal from 1987 to 1990, which he later compiled for his best-selling book, Rizal, Without the Overcoat―a book with rare facts and stories about Rizal. Ocampo gathered uncommon details through his travels and personal consultation with the people who deeply know Rizal.

In 2008, he was conferred the degree Doctor in Public Administration Honoris Causa by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. He is an associate professor in History at ADMU and a professional lecturer under the Filipino Department at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He also teaches at San Beda College and the De La Salle University.


  • Looking Back (1990, revised 2009)
  • Rizal Without the Overcoat (1990, revised 2008)
  • Makamisa: The Search for Rizal's Third Novel (1992, revised 2008)
  • 60 Years and Bon Vivant: Philippine-French Relations (As editor, 2008)
  • Centennial Countdown (1998, revised in 2008 and retitled "101 Stories of the Philippine Revolution")
  • Teodora Alonso (1995, reprinted 2008)
  • Meaning and History: The Rizal Lectures (2001)
  • Bones of Contention: The Bonifacio Lectures (2001)
  • Talking History: Conversations with Teodoro A. Agoncillo (1995)
  • Bonifacio's Bolo (1995)
  • Aguinaldo's Breakfast (1993)
  • A Calendar of Rizaliana in the Vault of the Philippine National Library (1993)
  • Mabini's Ghost
  • Luna's Moustache

Awards and Recognitions

  • National Book Awards for the Essay, Literary History, and Bibliography
  • Premio Manuel Bernabe, Centro Cultural de la Embajada de Espana en Filipinas (Makamisa: The Search for Rizal's Third Novel)
  • National Fellow for Essay by the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center (1995-1996)
  • Fulbright Senior Research Scholar (2000)
  • Research Fellow, Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies (2003)
  • TOYM Ten Outstanding Young Men (History) (1997)
  • Gawad Balagtas Lifetime Achievement Award (Essay) from the Writers Union of the Philippines (2006)
  • MetroBank Outstanding Teacher Award
  • Gatpuno Villegas Award/Patnubay ng Sining from the City of Manila for Culture (2007)
  • Commander in the Order of the Knights of Rizal
  • Encomienda [Commander] de la Orden del Merito Civil from the Kingdom of Spain
  • Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the Republic of France


  • "Ambeth Ocampo." (Accessed on 20 March 2009)
  • Ocampo, Ambeth. "A personal introduction." A Philippine Daily Inquirer article. (Accessed on 20 March 2009)
  • "Ambeth Ocampo honored by French government." (Accessed on 20 March 2009)
  • "Historian Ambeth heads NCCA." A Manila Standard Today article. (Accessed on 20 March 2009)